December 18, 2013

kid silk haze

Rwan Kidsilk Haze-1

Dreaming up a felt and lock knitted combination wrap maybe a cowl or and wanted to remember these two yarns, Rowan kidsilk haze mohair and silk SH00590 and Debbie Bliss Andes alpaca and mulberry silk color 370002. Both are beautiful neutrals and amazingly soft. Can't wait to knit them up. This fluted cowl is lovely, perhaps.

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July 6, 2011

fun with felting

Feltheadband White
Vivienne Feltheadband

This is a handmade headband I created for Vivienne. I sewed the rosettes and leaves from a piece of handmade flat felt. I then felted around a metal headband and sewed the details to it. It feels very soft and comfortable. I am pleased with the results. Vivienne wasn't so sure, she said she didn't like white and wished it was. . .you guessed it, pink!
Needlefelt Piggy1
Needlefelt Piggy2
Feltpiggy Headband
Speaking of pink, I needle felted a little piggy from a bad batch of wool that felted into a giant dreadlock when I tried to dye it. I've got way too much of it so I'll be needing to come up with other clever needle felting ideas to use it all up.

May 25, 2011

amelia owl: wool buddy

Woolbuddy1
Woolbuddy2
Woolbuddy3
Woolbuddy4

I made my very own "Amelia" owl wool buddy tonight. It took about two hours. I made it from the kit I bought at the Maker Faire. The kit is practically perfect. The wool amounts are generous (I used too much blue around those eyes!) I have a little left over in each color except white, blue, and orange. This generosity allows for personal decisions such as do I want blue eye rings or green? There's enough roving to choose. There are two shades of brown so you can decide between each for the body vs wing colors. My beak is a bit too big too 'cause I used the whole supply — thinking that was a good idea. As with most things, a little goes a long way. I still need to learn this lesson. The rough quality of the roving in his kit works perfectly for sculpting. I hope to learn the type he's using as it's best for this application and I'd love to make more "friends." I found holding two or even three needles at a time helped speed the process along. Good fun!

July 13, 2010

felting lesson two

Firstfelt Brightpink-1
Secondfelt Orangey-1
My first small piece of felt is the top photo. Clearly felt is difficult to photograph with an iphone. It measures 10 inches square. It's not fully felted since I didn't do a second agitation or drop it in a hot water wash. I actually like it loose and gauzy. My second image is of the larger felt piece I am currently making which is a pink and orange on a white background. It measures 21x14 right now but it will shrink by 30% once it's felted. I am hoping it will cover the small window in my closet which is 18 x 7.5. That strange little window has had an ugly piece of cardboard tapped to it since we moved in nearly ten years ago. It's about time it has a proper window covering. Though I'll likely just hang it with pins, so not sure how proper it will really be. Anyway, the felt is wet and still needs lots of rolling. The felt making process is very mediative, but depending on your mood that can translate to repetitive and tedious. I am enjoying it for now and having lots of stitching ideas.

I am feeling the pull of needle and thread. I keep thinking how lovely it would be to use my handmade felt to make darling little barrettes with crewel embroidered designs. Do I know how to crewel? Uh no. However I think I'll be stopping by a needlework store this afternoon or maybe Britex tomorrow morning to pick up some thread. I want to see if I can find wool thread with a matt finish to match the felt, I don't want to use the shiny embroidery thread I already have which I've used on a few knitted animals. I've just ordered alligator barrettes and some metal headbands, I've been spending far too long clicking through websites for tutorials on embroidery and headwear. Here's my reference list.

Lovely DIY headband tutorials by Altered Cloth (found by way of Sew Mama Sew)
Sewn Headband tutorial wide & narrow versions by Foofanagle
Felted rolled flowers by Craft Gossip lots of inspiration on this site
Felt covered barrettes and tutorial by Wee Folk Art
Fun with a glue gun, ribbon covered barrette tutorial by living with lindsay
Needle and Thread is embroidery heaven, wow this is an awesome resource
The Unbroken Thread embroidery blog
more patterns at Needlecrafter
Lastly, back to my first post on this subject for a few more tutorials, supplies and inspiration.

July 10, 2010

slugs 'n snails

Slugsnsnails

Here's a darling free knitting pattern for little slugs and snails by mochimochi. I love her tagline "let's make happy."

July 5, 2010

knitspiration

Venn Scarves

Daily Candy emails keep me somewhat informed on what's hip by emailing me bite size bits about what's happening in USA & SF fashion, food and kid funsies. Today I'm inspired by Venn's simple textile work and since I don't have time to cull through their blog reading the interview or checking out the fibershed stuff I just wanted to quickly post it so I can return to it later. Art Barn is my ever on-going wish and to-do list blogrolled up in one location. Actually I have this insanely stuffed folder sitting on my desktop called 'bunny to blog" with a subfolder called 'random stuff' and it's filled with so many links on art, knitting, kids and more. I like way too many things! It's can be a problem.

June 28, 2010

felting lesson one

Feltingclass
Lily Wateringfelt
Lily Agitatingfelt
Orangedyedwool
On a last minute whim I signed up for an art class at Sharon Art Studio in Golden Gate Park for the next four monday nights. The building is so sweet and I've been walking by it for years. Each time I take my kids to the playground I wish I was going into the stone studio too. I'm thrilled to finally be inside the space and taking an art class. I was interested in a number of different classes such as watercolor and monoprint making but the only one I liked with an open space just days before the class began was felting. So I jumped at the chance and Mr. C helped out too, thank you dear. Last night we dyed merino roving a variety of colors, I was on the orange team (yes, I suggested the color!) We cooked the acid dyes for 45 min at 175 degrees careful not to let the pan boil so our wool wouldn't shrink — yet. Then we tried our hand at a small felting square. We had to pull small wispy sections and over lay them three times in criss cross directions. Then wet it with a soapy water, cover in plastic and roll, roll and roll more using bubble wrap from a swimming pool cover and a small swim noodle. You can see teacher Joy-Lily doing it above. It takes so long that I didn't finish my project and I've had to take it for completion. I should be doing it right now rather than bloggin' eh. Getting right on that...

A few felting links I like:
Felting directions
Blackbird Design
Ume Crafts

Combining embroidery with felting is really intriguing to me. I've always wanted to try crewel embroidery, I even have a book on it and haven't done it yet. I'm thinking darling hair clips for Vivienne, she'd go crazy for some geeish boo boo ones!

Barrette supplies: snap, alligator and pinch, french clips and metal headbands
Barrette tutorial @ Angry Chicken
Barrette tutorial @ On the Creative Path
Rose barrette tutorial @ Purl Bee

Felt bowls are another item I'd like to try.
Felted bowls and more @ Papaver Vert
Felt bowl tutorial @ More Ways to Waste Time
Machine felting @ Knitty & little bowls too
DesignSponge felted bowl
Simple nesting bowls felt in washer & one more here

April 28, 2009

twas the night before bunny

Jellybean Bunnies
...and all through the day we hopped to every yarn store along our way (no joking!). None had the Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in white. Can you believe that? We called at least six or more stores between Sausalito and Healdsburg and then stopped at three or four who claimed to have the yarn only to find they didn't or had the wrong shade of white (again, really the wrong shade of white? WHITE right?!). I felt like I was on crazy pills. After Petaluma I threw in the towel, admitted defeat and committed to delivering a legless rabbit for Easter. That morning Max claimed the unfinished one as his own and has been sleeping with it ever since — legs or no legs. I went back to my LYS a few days later and bought the yarn to complete the project, but of course I haven't had the extra time or motivation to follow through. Timing is everything as they say.

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April 18, 2009

knit toys: chester, frances & albert

Knittoys Danger
Frances Monster
Chester Bunny
Albert Monster
By way of my new membership to a knitters e-paradise called Ravelry, I found these darling knit toys by Rebecca Danger. My favorites (as seen above) are Chester the bashful bunny, Frances the charismatic monster, and Albert the absent minded monster — all so cute eh?! I've saved these to my favorites on Etsy so I can swing back by and purchase the patterns when I'm ready to knit a new toy. I still need to finish the second jellybean bunny and I'm thinking of trying to knit Totoro. I haven't been able to find a knit pattern for a toy, but I did find a great hat, so I may need to write a pattern myself.

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April 9, 2009

jellybean bunny now with legs

Jellybean Legs
Knitting Notes
Again another marathon jellybean bunny knitting night, but not enough progress! I stayed up 'til 1 am knitting three legs. Yikes the race just got more intense. I'm now carrying my knitting with me through the day in the hopes I can squeeze in a few rows during random waiting periods — this is serious eh?! 1 leg (on the other bunny), 4 arms, 2 ears and 2 tails to go with only 3 more nights until easter "OYE!" I included a shot from my knitting note book because I have a new method to my madness. Rather than tally marking rows, then recounting the marks and constantly referring back and forth to the pattern, I've started writing rows in numerical order and simply scratching them out after completing. I circle rows that have increases/decreases so I know ahead of time to check the pattern only for those rows. This makes it so much easier to return to my knitting after each interruption plus scratching out the row number is more satisfying than a little tally mark.

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April 8, 2009

jellybean bunny progress

Jellybean Bodies
Jellybean Ear
Stayed up way too late again last night finishing the second bunny body, embroidered face details and two ears. Two ears, four arms, four legs and two tails to go...

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April 6, 2009

jellybean bunny body

Jellybean Body1
The race is on! I've managed to pressure myself into a knitting frenzy once again. I am trying to whip out not one but two knit amigurumi jellybean bunnies by friday night so I can give them to the kids for Easter. I've got one body completed and stayed up until 12:30 last night getting through 2/3 of bunny # two's body. Facial embroidery plus 4 ears, 4 arms and 4 legs to go (plus 2 tails if I feel an encore?!), wish me luck!!

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April 2, 2009

yarn shopping

Ultraman Yarncolors
Max and I hit up our local yarn store today. He made himself right at home and instantly came up with a knitting project idea — an ultraman spaceship! He chose the cascade yarns 220 superwash in red, yellow, grey and white. For my memory and because he already ripped off the tags, it's 5 stitches = 1" on US size 7 or 5.5 sts =1" on US 6, 4" = 20 sts. Max promises to draw me the spaceship so I can create a pattern, though he also says he's going to finger knit it. Just for the record I also want to mention how much he reminds me of his daddy. Max instantly connected (aka flirted) with the sales girls by asking how yarn was made, they explained about spinning and showed him unspun wool. Then he asked them for a spinning demonstration while mentioning that princess Aurora was put to sleep by pricking her finger on a spindle. And for the cherry, he topped it all by showing off the icelandic intarsia sweater he happened to be wearing today! Uh hem, little knit lady killer!
Rialto Bliss
Jellybean Bunny
For the "Jelly Bean" bunny I am hoping to start knitting tonight, I bought size 4, 24" circulars and Debbie Bliss Rialto DK merino superwash in soft white and ballet pink colors. The yarn calls for US size 6 needles but I think it will work fine with a 4 — which is what the pattern calls for, though the pattern calls for "worsted weight" and I bought "DK" oh well no worries since no one will be wearing it!

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March 29, 2009

knit robot

Knit Robot
Robot Bunny
I finished my knit robot today! Other than Max calling him "FAT" and Mr. C saying "well I see his point, most robots aren't landscape" — he's perfect! (?!!@!>? Oye people, may I please have a drum roll rather than a ridiculously critical review?!) I for one think he's down right adorable. I have been appreciating all the patterns Jess Hutch has made. I am so happy I chased down one of the last booklets available of Unusual Toys for You to Knit and Enjoy. Her patterns are really easy to follow and her creative visions are genuinely fun and worthy of knitting — I adore these two patterns so much. I'm even feeling as low as to prompt my sweet darling son to ask Paga (aka grandpa) to buy my bunny and robot back from the preschool auction! (yes, I feel slithery for suggesting it). I hope to find the will to knit these again for my own kiddies to love and cherish!

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March 17, 2009

more knit robot progress

Robot Twosides
Buttons
Robot Facebuttons
Here are more photos of the knit robot progress. I'm having so much fun knitting this one because of the gorgeous heirloom quality yarn and the funky embroidery and button details. I sewed on the front details last night. I may add a few more embroidered stitches around the smaller buttons, but other than that the front is complete. I had to include a photo of all the lovely buttons I purchased yesterday at Britex. I mentioned this already but the palette of greens and pinks is making me super happy. I have high hopes I'll have the stamina and endurance to whip up a few more for my own kids. Wish me luck.

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March 16, 2009

robot progress

Robot Progress-2
Robot Buttons
My knitting needles are on fire! I've been staying up way too late whipping up this robot. I've actually already completed the backside too. While Vivi napped on sunday afternoon and Max was at his little buddy Gabriel's 5th birthday party with daddy, I sorted through an old bag filled with "extra" buttons. It was fun to sort all those one or two extras they give you with each sweater, pants etc I've been saving them long after I've gotten rid of the clothes. I found some lovelies in there and decided that I'll embroider a rectangle with ribbon and thread and attached a variety of buttons to the 'bots middle rather than the intarsia the pattern calls for. I think it'll be darling. I stopped by Britex this morning and bought some pale peachy pink and dusty green ribbons to match. I'm loving the peach, pink, mauve and olive color palette. I think I'm going to want to buy this robot back from the auction! More pics soon...

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March 14, 2009

finshed bunny

Finished Bunnytwo
Bunny&MaxTwobunnies
I finished the knit bunny for the preschool auction last night, seen above one his own, with Max and with my first knit bunny. I started a robot too, so there will be more knitting updates to come.

March 12, 2009

knit bunny progress

Bunny Body
Bunny now has a body and arms...legs to go and all done. I'm considering trying to whip out a robot using the same yarn. I'm wondering if I can come up with a good embroidery idea for his center and possibly use some real buttons?

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March 7, 2009

knit bunny progress

Bunny Head
Just a quickie progress update on the knit bunny — head, ears and embroidered face are complete.

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February 23, 2009

frogged roman stripe

Frogged Romanstripe
I volunteered to knit a bunny and a robot for Max's preschool auction. I will need more of the mohair, silk, wool blend called kyoto that I used before so I can make a look alike of the bunny seen above, so I frogged the roman stripe pattern scarf which used said yarn and which I started years ago but haven't ever wanted to pick it back up again so . . . bye, bye scarf and hello bunny. I need to get this project rolling asap as the deadline is pressing.

I just heard an amazing version of "Ohh Child" by Beth Orton — I needed that!

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December 2, 2008

dwell puppets & yak yarn

Dwell Puppets

I just got a notice about the Dwell Studio warehouse sale which runs for the remainder of the holiday season. I love our Dwell sheets (you can see them often in the background of my photos, all the ones with the brown stripes). I love them so much that they are getting holes in them, so a new set would be lovely. However, while visiting their site, I was totally distracted by these adorable felt and printed canvas puppets.

A note to self: Someday buy some Tibetan yak yarn by Shokay.

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August 8, 2008

finished jojo sweater

Vivi Finished Sweater
Sweater Buttons
Vivi Insweater
Drum roll please : : : : it fits!! yah! It took me a year (minus 21 days) to complete. But it is adorable and there are no visible mistakes which really pleases me. I could have a done a better job seaming and blocking, but I was in such a hurry at the end to get it on her to I just made do. I love the sweet pink shoulder buttons and the embroidered lazy daisy flowers best. It feels great to have finally finished a knitting project!

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July 29, 2008

jojo sweater progress

Sweater Sleeve
I've been panicking. I really wanted to have this sweater finished in time for Vivi to wear it and it hasn't been happening. The pace of my life with two kids and working from home has left me with little personal time — let alone time to relax or knit. But I wasn't going to settle for gifting this since I started it so long ago (a whole year!!). I really wanted the satisfaction of finishing it and seeing my little girl wearing it. So I stayed up too late for many many nights and made it happen. I'm just about finished. It's a race to see if she'll out grow it before I can seam it up.

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November 29, 2007

big bad baby blanket

Baby Blanket
Hat Detail
I've started going through Max's baby clothes and deciding what to keep for heirlooms (cant wait for a niece or nephew!), what we want to recycle for Vivienne and what we'll sell or give away. Today, I found the big bad baby blanket and hat that I knit for Max back in '04 and thought I should add it to the blog. It's knit in all seasons cotton and the pattern is from Stitch 'n Bitch.

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October 12, 2007

jojo sweater progress

Jojo 2
A quick progress posting...I finally finished the back and started the front. I haven't had much time or energy to keep up the momentum needed to finish. I keep mentally dangling the pink daisy embroidery finishing stitch in my mind because I'm so looking forward to doing the finish details that I hope it'll pull me to the end. Meanwhile I got some chocolate on the stitches one night and practically cried — I'm so pregnant!

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September 11, 2007

knit cupcakes

knit_cupcakes.jpg

Check out these knitty marzipan creations [by way of "uncle yaya" via Design Sponge]. Well done eh?! The site is complete with tutorials too. I'm no vegan, in fact I'm a hardened carnivore, but Lolo's lovely site does a lot to convince me that vegans do have some good eat options. By way of her site I linked to Slashfood, lots of interesting eat inspiration and information on there.

like_dirt.jpg

Yaya also turned me on to tiny showcase, so now I'll be checking their site on tuesdays to see what fabulous little illustrations are popping up. Detail from "Thou Shalt Not Treat People Like Dirt" by Andy Kehoe.

August 29, 2007

knitting again!

Beanie Hat
Baby Beenie

I'm thrilled that I've found a few hours to start knitting again! I just finished the beanie hat from Natural Knits. I knit it with No 4 addis, blue sky organic cotton using the girl's beanie pattern sized for up to 6 months. It turned out huge. Mine measures 18" around so it's more like an up to 18 months size. Oh well, it's still sweet and the picot edging is darling. I just need to add the lazy daisy stitch flower details around the edge. I think I'll knit it again using No 3 addis and see if that lands me closer to 6-12 months. I knew the yarn was thicker than specified and I did swatch (mistakenly thought going down a needle size would solve the too big swatch problem, oopsie), I just threw caution to the wind since I wanted to use this particular yarn. Next time I'm knitting it in the round because I'm not fond of the inside seam. This was the first time I've knit a hat flat. Knitting in the round is so much smarter — why have a seam?

Jojo Crew
Baby Sweater1

The night before last I started the JoJo Crew Sweater. I'm knitting it with No 3 addis using the same blue sky organic cotton and the up to 6 months size specs. Again it's looking big, so I hope it'll at least match the hat's size. It's looking super cute, I like the yarn over eyelets and can't wait to add the daisy stitch flower details with the lovely soft pink yarn (color shell 606). Fun fun fun!

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August 10, 2007

fabulous yarn basket

Big Box

A wonderfully large box arrived at our house yesterday. It was a treat for us all to be home and open it together (though it had my name on it!)

Max Opening-1
Reading Card

Max thoroughly enjoyed opening it and pretending to read the card.
Birthday Basket

Inside a was a giant gorgeous basket from Fabulous Yarns filled with blue sky organic cotton hanks, straight and circular bamboo needles size 8, sparkling jeweled stitch markers and a truly lovely book of knitting patterns for babies and moms called "Natural Knits." Love this! Wow, what a wonderfully thoughtful gift, thank you so much "Gamma Sherry." I can't wait to start knitting some of these darling projects — I'd better hurry with less than 15 weeks till meee due date. Will blog all of course.

Max Knitting

It was also heart-warmingly sweet to hear Max say "look, I'm knitting mom!"

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August 9, 2007

george the octopus

Felt Octopus

While site hopping per usual, I came across this knitting blog which posts free patterns on fridays called f.pea. There's a sweet baby cardigan called "mossy jacket" pattern I really like, but what got me to post about it is the knit and felted george the octopus pattern and a flicker link to her photo stream of a few other knit toys.

To visit later (when I'm not falling asleep):
Simply Crafted
xtreme knitting blog
sknitty blog

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July 15, 2007

extreme knitting

Knit Ferarri
Yes, you can knit your way through art school. Apparently this women got an honors degree from "Bath Spa U" hmmmm and this was her final project, Anyway she knit this car cozy Ferarri replica and weld the under frame too (it says she had a little help from 20 friends and family knitting all those 250 garter stitch squares). Now where to put this italian masterpiece??

More entries and links about extreme/guerrilla knitters: knitta ladies, MicroRevolt, Dari Tavoularis, Freddie Robins, the little red blog of revolutionary knitting, guerrilla knitter exhibit, Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting exhibit, craftivism, & knittavism.

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June 8, 2007

well hello again

My oh my little art barn blog, I've missed you so! I've been missing so many aspects of my "hobby life." I've been far too sick, tired and generally super pregnancy yucky over the last 10 weeks. I'm just starting to feel better and that's quite a relief. I'm still hitting a "too tired to be inspired" wall come 7pm, so I've barely made it through dinner many a night. It's just been day after day of falling asleep on the couch and dragging myself to bed, ugh so boring. Just getting through the work day and getting Max to bed exhausts me. I wish I had the energy to pick up my knitting needles, or to blog about all the things I think of or find inspiring — and there's so much I'm forgetting 'cause I can't get it typed it into my memory blog. I'm just hoping that over these next few months I'll find some energy and of course precious time. I know come November when baby #2 arrives I'll probably be underground again and who knows for how long?? Oh the bloggy cobwebs...

Robot Front

I did manage to knit half a pink robot, but haven't picked up the other side. (Pattern by Jess Hutch)

Malabrigo Bluegraphite
Japaense Sweater2
Japanese Sweater1

I'm really wanting to measure and knit a copy of this great japanese sweater/shrug combo piece that I wear all the time and works fabulously with "the growing belly." If I get that done over the next months, well, I 'll give myself a serious pat on the back. I got a great big pile of Malabrigo yarn in graphite blue from a Fabulous Yarns gift certificate my very thoughtful auntie Lulu gave me ages ago and am hoping I can use it to make the sweater copy.

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April 6, 2007

surprise treats

Just in time to celebrate easter! I opened a sweet package from my secret pal this evening which really reflected my love of bunnies, handmade goodies, of course knitting and well the generosity of the human spirit. It's so fun to participate in secret pal exchanges and experience surprise gifts put together just for you...I should say me! First I opened the card with a lovely saying printed on the front "It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones." — Jean Webster
well said.

Handmade Soap
Bunny Turtle
Bunny Soap

In the top two bags were adorable handmade soaps made by my pal, three yellow turtles for me and a green bunny for Max. Max happened to be in the bath with his daddy at that very moment so I ran in and gave him his little bunny soap. "It's slippery" was his comment. He then licked it and had to rinse his mouth afterward, tee hee.

Bunny Cookies
Next I pulled out "hopping along" all natural sugar cookies made by starlight creatives, mmmm tasty and so cute! Eating them as I type this, but promise to save some for Max.

Cottonyarn
Lastly there were two hanks of hand painted 100% cotton boucle Chilean yarn called Pehuen by Araucania. The variegated colors are warm and bright and really fun, right now I'm feeling like this may turn into a bunny one day. I love being exposed to a new yarn. This is wonderful package, thank you so much secret pal!!
Happy Easter!

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March 11, 2007

scarf pattern

Here's a pattern for a scarf I want to knit (who knows when I'll ever find the time!?). Blogging it 'cause I just know I'll lose this tiny piece of paper that it's scrawled on long before I'm ready to make it. Sorry no photo, but the pattern makes beautiful open waves.

1 skein Malabrigo (I saw the scarf in pink frost)
3.5 sts = 1" in garter stitch
CO 26 sts using a #10.5 needle

Rows 1& 2: knit
Row 3: (right side) K6 *yo twice, K1, yo three times, K1, yo four times, K1, yo three times, K1, yo twice, K6*
Row 4: knit, dropping all yo's off needle
Row 5 & 6: knit
Row 7: K1, rep from * of row 3, three times except end with K1 on last repetition
Row 8: as per row 4

Rep rows 1-8 until desired length. End after row 2 or row 6, then bind off.

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March 8, 2007

knit amigurumi

jelly_bean.jpg

It's been frustrating that amigurumi patterns are always in crochet (I'd learn it if I had more time maybe?!) so it was a rare treat to come across this darling knit bunny pattern "jelly bean" while browsing through the online spring version of knitty — just in time for easter! The bunny pattern is my first (gasp!) purchase from an Etsy seller. I adore Etsy and love viewing all the handmade goodies but have never made the leap to buying anything...uh oh, now that I have an account eeeck gads danger ahead!

February 28, 2007

basic beastie bunny

Beastie Love

Knit with No. 4 Addis in stockinet in the round using the magic loop technique, using 100% alpaca by Blue Sky in cream (color 000). The arms are 2x2 ribbing, knit flat, 40 sts for 4.5 inches, seamed with mattress stitch and then turned inside out. The bunny was knit in the round making crazy alterations along the way...and I've lost the papers with all my calculations and adjustments, urgh. I'll have to start the next one by dissecting this one and of course I'll write down the whole process in this blog so I'll never have this "I lost my homework" frustration again. This finished beastie is 17" tall, 7" at widest point across the face and legs, each leg is 3.5", ears 2.5" all increases and decreases run in parallel down the side seams. It turned out quite a bit larger than I expected and the arms need to be smaller in the next version. I'll either go down a needle size or recalculate, ok maybe I'll do both? I think I'll switch approach too and knit from the bottom up rather than the top down since I'm not that happy with the picked up stitches seam where the ears begin. And I'll need to be adding in color so the beastie is more charming and fun. Thinking striped shorts or a circle of color for the face background would be sweet. I was so focused on writing a pattern and figuring out all the "how to" details I couldn't manage color changes or instarsia, will try for next time.

sketch
design
progress

Stroller Beastie

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February 26, 2007

designing a sweater II

Sweater Back-1

calculating the back panel of a sweater that's designed to fit my measurements (on sketch diagram stitches are circled, inches are not)

Notes to self:

Test gauge in multiple places: this Malabrigo swatch ranged from 4 to 3.75 inches across 20 stitches.
20 / 3.75 = 5.33 or 20 / 4 = 5 average the stitch change 5.33 + 5 = 10.33 / 2 = 5.165
Gauge = 5.165

Row Gauge = 7.5 rows per 1"

(measured 15 rows over 2") round down from 7.5 to 7
Bust = gauge 5.165 x 19 (half 36" plus 2" ease) = 98.135 (round down) 98 sts plus 2sts (selvedge, add 1 knit stitch on all edges for seaming) = 100 sts

[ I ] Bust = 100 sts
Waist = gauge 5.165 x 16 (half 31" =15.5 round down + 1" ease) = 82.64 round up and get to an even number = 84 sts plus 2 sts selvedge = 86

[ K ] Waist = 86 sts
To figure out the needed decreases calculate the difference between the bust 100 - waist 86 = 14 sts / half = 7 times, must decrease in pairs (2) = 14 sts. * need to calculate where to put decreases across 5" bottom to waist & 10" waist to bottom of armhole. Options: every 2 rows or every 4 on the right side of fabric. Or create a flat waist area and push decreases closer together away from true center?

[ D ] Back/Chest = 80 sts across back from beginning of armhole
5.165 x 15 [D] = 77.47 (round up) 78 + 2 = 80 sts
bind off over 2 rows (since you can only bind off at the beginning of a row) 5 sts on each side, decrease the extra 10 sts immediately over every other row on the right side (public) of the fabric

[ G ] minus 1" = 8"
knit for 8" then start decrease bind offs for sloping shoulder quickly over the last 1" (7 rows) 25 sts divided by 7 rows = 3.5

[ E] neck opening = 30 sts
[ F ] shoulders = 25 sts

[ E ] neck opening = 6" x 5.165 = 30 sts, subtract 30 sts from 80 = 50 divide in half = 25 sts
to check for correct calculation, divide 25 sts by gauge 5.165 = 4.84 round down [ F] = 4.5 a match!
bind off center neck 1" from end/shoulder (56 rows) in 2 stages/steps, bind off 14 sts in the center, then 8 each of the next rows (add new/2nd skein of yarn on one side)

test gauge for hem: folded over stockinet, use thread tack down fabric - thinking 1"? Undecided and too tired to continue.

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February 23, 2007

SP10 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love natural fibers, wool, merino & alpaca are favs, I'm interested in working with bamboo. I also like silk & mohair. I'm not too fond of novelty, fluffy, rayon or synthetic yarns but I try not to rule anything out as it all depends on the project
favorite yarns: rowan, blue sky, brown sheep, debbie bliss, manos del uruguay, malabrigo, bouton d’or

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
a gorgeous clutch by offhand designs

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Hmmmm not sure how long, I have a bad memory for time. I'm always saying last week when it was really a few months ago. I just embarrassed myself with an across the street neighbor when I said "so how long ago did you move in, six months?" He answered "uh, two years." See how I am! Anyway, I think I started about four years ago and I'm an intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
yes, I do right here, with lots of knitting books and other stuffs for my little man.

5. What's your favorite scent?
ylang ylang and verbena

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
sure do. milk Chocolate, licorice, cookies

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I love Japanese crafts and patterns, embroidery, photography, art, design, illustration. no I don't spin but I love handspun yarns

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I can play MP3s and like happy house, reggae, disco, old 70s, & 80s stuff, I think I'm all over the map really, just not so much into country or screeching operatic sopranos. I like world music a lot.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love orange the deep orange reds and pumpkin shades, though I don't think it looks good next to my pale face so I rarely wear it. I like most colors, but tend to stay away from yellow and beiges.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm married (ten years last month), we have one son 2 years old named Max, and two black cats Madeline & Miro

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
yes, yes, yes, no

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
toys, scarves, sweaters, hats

13. What are you knitting right now?
robot, child's scarf and shawl collar sweater

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
of course

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
circular metal (love magic loop technique) & bamboo/wood

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
no, I'd love either but they are quite pricey

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
two years, I'm on the cusp of frogging it

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving to celebrate the love of food and family, Easter for the pained eggs, bunnies and chocolates

19. Is there anything that you collect?
art & design books, letterpress cards

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Jo Sharp's Knit 1 book, I don't have any knit mag subscriptions

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
of course there's a lot I'd like to learn, but I'm too busy with life's matters to tackle anything really complicated. I like my knitting to be a little challenging but mostly relaxing

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
not yet, I've got big feet but I'm also tall so it's not too freaky

23. When is your birthday?
August 7

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February 20, 2007

string shopping

I had fun spending gift certificate money (thank you Lulu!) at Fabulous Yarn last night. I had a little difficulty with their shopping cart (it made me spend a little more than my certificate amount in order to work) but I was pleasantly surprised that they are live and responsive on instant messenger, so I had the ultimate customer service experience.

malabrigo_verdes1.jpg

malabrigo_verdes.jpg

malabrigo_citrus.jpg

I couldn't help myself, I bought a bunch of hanks of my new favorite yarn Malabrigo in verdes and citrus colors. Malabrigo, located in Uruguay, works with a local woman's cooperative to create wonderfully organic looking, funky and beautiful yarns — their merino wool is super soft and the colors are deeply delicious. I figure I can either make another sweater like the one I am embarking on designing myself or I can whip up some gift items (I'm really only justifying growing my stash).

felted_clutch.jpg

I also picked up some suri alpaca yarn in a rose color that was on sale and I'm thinking that this felted cabled clutch bag I found while perusing Spun Magazine would be the perfect project.

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February 15, 2007

malabrigo merino

Malabrigo Polar1
Polar Morn
I've swatched by new love, polar morn by Malabrigo — 5 sts and 7.25 rows per inch on No. 8 needles. Next I'll have a bunch of math to do to figure out how to design a sweater to fit me, and then figure out how to create the shawl collar I'm envisioning. Not being a math lover I've got my work cut for me, check and recheck eh?

Sweater Swatch

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February 12, 2007

designing a sweater I

I often use my blog as a way of remembering, so below you have me learning to design my own sweater. I hope you won't be too annoyed but I'm marking all my measurements (talk about getting to know me!) so I can just refer to the site rather than search for the paper or pad I usually write on — I've lost so many scraps with pattern and measurement notations!

Sweater

A] 6.75" — circumference of cuff
B] 20.5" — armpit to cuff
C] 10.5" — bicep
D] 15" — shoulder bone/seam to shoulder bone
E] 6" (7.5) — width of neck opening
F] 4.5" — shoulder width, opening to end of shoulder
G] 9" — armhole depth, shoulder to underarm
H] 15" — armhole to bottom
I] 18" — 1/2 bust circumference
J] 18" — 1/2 bottom circumference
K] 15.5" — 1/2 waist circumference
L] 10" — underarm to waist

yarn standards, see the pdf download, how to measure diagram and fit/ease chart (standard fit add 2-4")

swatch fabric, CO 32, first 4 sts in garter, next 24 in stockinet, last 4 in garter, knit large enough swatch to get a feel for the fabric you are making. Be sure to swatch each different pattern you'll be using such as ribbing, seed etc. Measure gauge to two decimal points eg 4.75 per 1".
Yarn requirements says for a 4" - 5" stockinet gauge and a 36" bust I need approx 1,018 - 1,285 yards, good thing I bought 1,512?!

links to explore
Knitting Fool
knitting help
Knitty - knit by numbers article
custom fit raglan

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February 5, 2007

secret revealed

I've been seriously spoiled by my secret pal, many many thank yous! You are so good at giving, very generous and thoughtful. I love love love it all. The box Max and I opened tonight was divine. It was filled with yummy yarns in my favorite color and a beautiful hank of ribbon that I can't wait to wear; delicious chocolate covered strawberries and orange dark chocolate; chestnut and brown sugar luxury soap and lavender fine washable laundry concentrate (keep those knits nice); an utterly adorable teeny tiny "ich habe schwein gehabt" lucky pig (it's the lunar year of the Golden Pig too!); and a wonderfully humorous and inspiring knitting book Mason-Dixon Knitting. I read some super funny excerpts and perused the projects. I can't wait to dive in, especially the thin/thick open patterns scarves and the wacky pillow cover pattern (both below). I love the sidebar "must knit tv" it describes a scenario that hits home for me, "Kay has sat through The Hunt for Red October enough times to knit several ponchos, but still has no clue what it is about or why the captain of the Soviet nuclear submarine has a Scottish burr." Kay and I have a simultaneous reality happening in our living rooms.

Max Opening
Emily Chocolates
Giotto Ribbon
Yummy Yarns
Soaps
Lucky Pig
Mason Dixon
Thick Thin
Pillow Cover

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January 15, 2007

amazing gifts

Lambspride Red
Lambspride Whitebrown

Seeing that I'm currently knitting a toy robot (two arms to go) with Lambs Pride, I was thrilled to open the first couple of gifts from my secret pal. What fun, more yarn for toys, woo hoo. But I really wasn't clued in (though I should have guessed with brown, red & white yarn) what was coming next...

Knitted Sock Monkey

Oh so cool, I love this pattern for a knit sock monkey, how fun! The pattern sounds so unique, the shaping resembles a traditional machine-knit sock heel and toe. As you know I have a serious thing for knitted toys — and you the fabulous ms. secret pal have obviously read my archives and figured me out in a big big way. You are divine, and such a good gift giver!! I am so excited to knit this monkey. So who is Carol Wood and where did you find this pattern?

Fruit Chocolates

And here's a little knitting fuel...

Knit Anywhere

And no excuses, I can now knit ANYWHERE! tee hee these are great!

Toys To Sew

Then, I opened this lovely book full of wonderfully adorable and inspiring toy patterns. So zakka, I love love love this too. Happy happy me! There are even lots of little toy clothes patterns inside. The sock cuddles, button eyed crocodile, elephant and the felt mouse are so sweet. Way too much fun, thank you thank you thank you. You've just out done yourself. I can't wait to find out who you are, though I already know you are a wonderfully generous and incredibly thoughtful soul.

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December 23, 2006

scrumptious sweets

Christmas Cookies

I was hoarding the box sent by my secret pal, I got it two days ago. I was waiting for a moment when I was alone and could really focus and enjoy the opening. I kid you not, right before I opened it I thought about making some tea as I was craving a little sweet treat to go with it. I considered eating the last gingerbread cookie left from our gift baking leftovers, but I didn't have the heart since I knew Max would really love to eat it too. So I just grabbed the scissors and and my camera and sat down without a beverage or sweet. I open the box and VOILA!!! You read my mind! There was a box filled with so many lovely homemade christmas cookies. Wow! six different treats to choose from. How did I get so lucky to get the best secret pal? Seriously wonderful, thank you thank you thank you. Not only will I pig out right this instance and make that pot of tea to wash it down, I promise to share the rest with my two men who we know will eat them up like the cookie monsters they are. Merry Christmas! You're divine.

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December 16, 2006

latvian mittens

Latvian Mittens-1

Latvian Mitten1
Latvian Mitten2

Wow, this site appears to be straight-forward — swag for NATO diplomats — but really it's an intensely interesting look at Latvian ethnographic regional identity. The site shows the work of about 300 knitters who made over 4500 mittens for the NATO summit visitors and it categorizes them by their four regions as well as a break down of whether they were knit for men or women. I'm seriously moved by sheer volume and unique designs. Please check out the links listed below the ornate gold framed picture, there are many pages of amazing knit patterns to behold. Below that is a list of FAQ about the mittens and here's an interesting history link about the oldest mitten. Plus each mitten has a high resolution download.

One should not wipe their nose in a mitten. Whoever does that never gets rich.
— Latvian superstition

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December 1, 2006

secret treats

Notepaper Card
Wow. I even said "wow" out loud when I opened these gifts. My secret pal is so wonderfully thoughtful and generous! Let me just say I like it all so much, thank you thank you. As you see here the fun started with a darling chic knitter silhouette card and the perfect Christmas list note paper.

Chocolate Treats
Choco Baby
Choco Love
Next I opened all the chocolate treats, yum yum yummy. Of course with Max as my little choco-lover helper we immediately opened the Christmas kisses and peanut butter cups. He kept saying "another green one please", "more please". He defiantly knows that please is the magic word and was using it liberally with each repetitive plea. Eventually I had to remove all the sweets from sight, but never fear they will not be forgotten by sweet tooth mama.

Katia Ingenua
Next I had a melting moment. The Katia Ingenua mohair yarn is stunning. It's so soft and fine that as first I thought it was unspun. I was delighted to pull a few strands and see it's ready to knit loveliness. I also adore the color No. 25 denim which is the most flattering rich blue lavender shade. It's beautiful and I haven't ever knit with it so I'm thrilled at the prospect. I'll be searching for the perfect open weave pattern...I think I'll find it in the book below?

Finger Puppets
Beautiful Patterns
Yes, there was still more in the box. First a small book of adorable knit bug finger puppets by knit picks. You know I love knit toys...and I don't have any finger puppet patterns (or size 1 needles they are so small!) The patterns are adorable, I love the ladybug, butterfly, moth and even the mosquito. So cute cute cute. What can say about orange yarn?? I'm so in love with the color orange it could be tainting my ability to be visually fair to all the world has to offer. I appreciate that you single out my favorite color (mentioned it in the card too), see what I mean about thoughtful? And lastly but not at all least, a great reference book filled with all kind of beautiful knitting patterns. I will surely be using this for years.

You are fabulous, thank you so much for all the sweet inspiration!

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November 30, 2006

robot progress

Robot Progress-1
I've got one side of my first knit robot completed. I cheated on the pink rectangle intarsia by looping the purple behind and over the three pink stitches on every row. I was thinking of how lovely it would be to have one less string to untangle. It's didn't work out too well because the purple yarn keeps the pink stitches from stretching naturally, instead the pink stitches pucker a bit. But oh well, lesson learned and it's really not that bad... I'm just a wee little cheater with a perfectionist itch, not an ideal combo. I'm hoping to find time one night this weekend to do the other half. The front took two nights so hopefully with two or three more nights of uninterrupted knitting it'll be finished. There's still hope that I can complete one or two more before Christmas.

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November 26, 2006

tubular toddler

Singing Hat

Tube Hat

I finally got back to knitting, yeah! I'm so happy to have had the time to finish this little project and experience that delicious inner moment of knit satisfaction. It's a simple stockinet knit tube hat with an i-cord tied around the top. It's easy to make and super cute on anyone under 12. Max seems to like it, so I'm a truly happy mommy. Yesterday I had the pleasure of a fireside tea sipping and knitting afternoon with my favorite little New Yorker bunny and my little sister bunny extraordinaire. Both ladies are knitting scarves for holiday gifts. What a wonderful time it was.

Lambs Pride
I had time to yarn shop this weekend too. I bought some seriously covetable gifts for my Secret Pal and six skeins of lambs pride to start making a few unusual toys for holiday gifts. I bought myself fancy handcrafted 40" No. 8 ebony wood circulars by Lantern Moon called "destiny." They were calling my name, I couldn't fight the power of fate! Ready, set, knit.

For the record...
Yarn: Worsted 190 yards per skein
Gauge: 4.5 sts per inch, size 8 needle
Colors:
M-77 Blue Magic
M-188 Tiger Lily
M-145 Spice
M-34 Victorian Pink
M-195 Midnight Green (looks like black)
M-182 Regal Purple (Max ripped tag, so guessing here)

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November 2, 2006

vancouver

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.Ursula K Le Guin

Knit Bench-1

Knit Bench Detail-2

Knit Bicycle

Daria Tavoularis

While wandering the streets of Vancouver I found a clothing store {will post shop name when I find the card} with a wonderful window display of knit art. A street bench, bicycle and street sign were all wrapped in knit fabric. Every little detail had been covered including the bicycle lock. There were also a few felted birds in the display. Love love love it. The shop girl said Daria didn't actually knit any of it but used fabric from the shop's products to sew it all together. The art school purest part of me wishes it had all been hand knit, but I suppose that really shouldn't matter. And using the shop's leftover material should be seen as an environmentally brilliant move on the part of the artist. So I've talked myself right out of a critique. Turns out Daria is from Vancouver too. I'm so glad I walked by.

Now let me get back to San Francisco...

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October 24, 2006

bouton d'or

Boutond'or

I found these skeins of Bouton d'Or yarn on sale and I couldn't pass up [colors Orme 643 & Lichen 304]. They are 50% camel and 50% wool which is so soft it's amazing, plus machine washable which is perfect for little man's head. Ksar suggests using a No. 10 needle for 4.5 sts to the inch, but I'm using No. 9 addis and getting 4.5. I've cast on about four times now and finally think I have it right at 70 sts. I'm hoping the stretch amount will be right this time. It also took me a good half hour to remember how to knit in the round using the magic loop technique. Obviously It's been far too long! As always I'm loving the internet and all the knit bloggers - it's so wonderful to find "how to" in just a few clicks. [Note to self: use the back needle with the yarn coming off the back and up through the middle, knit off the front needle]. I'm knitting a simple stockinet tube hat for Max with an i cord which will gather and tie off the top. This should knit up quickly if I can find the time to finish it.

Check out these interesting Scandinavian free knitting patterns. by drops design/garns studio.

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October 20, 2006

yarn speak

jeremy_sanders.jpg

Cruising through the student work on SFAI's site [my alma mater], I found this little clever yarn speak piece by Jeremy Sanders and had to post it since it's letterpress meets yarn art clever. However I am in no way in support of this or any war, just supporting the arts in all formats. I'd prefer "knitted strand" to be the new american slogan and movement.

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October 12, 2006

whoopsy daisy

Lace Whoopsy
Whoopsy Flowers

While mulling over the possibility of starting the "woody" sweater by Debbie Bliss, I decided to do a google search and see who else had knit it. You know, I was looking for color ideas, project hiccups etc. While browsing I came across Whoopsy Daisy by a fellow knitter names Kerstin with a a son name Max - ok a little close to home with those names, but what's really amazing about her site is the photography. Stunning images together with thoughtful prose, politics and knits makes for a blogroll worthy site, check it out.

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October 7, 2006

kiddie knits

Kiwi Stripes
Sophie Lili
Sophie Lili2

I came across some adorable kiddie knits today while shopping at the aptly named Hayes Valley shop Lavish. I loved Kiwi Industries stripy sweaters and hats, yummy sweaters, scarves and hat sets by a company I already knew and enjoyed blablah, and more gorgeous knit designs and some matching knit dolls by Sophie and Lili. I can't get enough of all these kids knits and would be broke if I had a daughter (or if these came in my size!). So much inspiration, if only I had the skills and time to design some and then speed knit 'em too.

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October 5, 2006

SP9 questionnaire

Sp9 Buttons

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I seem to gravitate towards Rowan and Debbie Bliss yarns. I like natural fibers, cotton, wool, cashmere, silk. I'm not into novelty yarns as a general rule nor do I like acrylic yarns or anything too bulky.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have two gorgeous bags, one I bought the other was a SP8 gift (luv luv it)

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 a terrible memory (blogging motivation) I think about four years, I took some classes at my LYS. intermediate

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
sure do, click here

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
ylang ylang & verbena

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
chocolate

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I sew a little and draw. I don't spin yet...seriously not enough time or space to try it

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I can play MP3s and like happy house, reggae, old 70s, 80s stuff, I think I'm all over the map really just not so much on country or screeching sopranos. I like world music a lot.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
orange is my favorite by far, but I'm huge color lover. yellow is my least favorite color to wear. I'm big on watery colors right now.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
husband, son (2 years on the 25th) and two cats

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
scarves & mittens more than hats & ponchos

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
scarves, sweaters and toys

13. What are you knitting right now?
urgh, still working on a knit toy and shawl (see No. 17)

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
of course

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
circular addis or bamboo straights

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
nope

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
eeek almost a year

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving for the family warmth and joy & easter cause I love bunnies and chocolate

19. Is there anything that you collect?
art & design books and letterpress cards

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 have any subscriptions. I have one Rowan magazine (No38) which I think is amazing.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
so many I'd love to try but can't begin anything new right now, too busy!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
nope (see No. 21)

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
August 7...

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September 29, 2006

what the world needs now

Knit Pole

Knitting as a guerilla art statement?! I hadn't thought of that — but why not? I think the whole world needs to be decorated in a gorgeous doily or wrapped in a cozy muffler a la Christo. Not sure if the knitta ladies will allow submissions, but I'm thinking next time I fly off someplace exotic I'll knit it a gift. Or perhaps the next time I can't figure out what to do with those leftover yarn bits I'll make Rodin's Thinker a wrist warmer.

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September 15, 2006

knit stalking story

How much shall I confess? Really, there's an embarrassing aspect to my stalker madness, but I'll have you know that with all earnestness I just really love knit toys. Okay, twist my sticks, I'll confess and you can judge as you see fit. If you follow my blog even a wee bit you'll see that I indeed love little knitties. I've done a fair amount of knit toy research, and I feel strongly that Jess Hutch is the reigning queen designer of knit toys. Sure Debbie Bliss, Kath Dalmeny and many others have designed cute monkeys, bears and even adorable sea life but Jess — well she's truly unusual and set apart from the other designers by her cool robots, two headed freaker creatures and the sweetest knit bunny ever. So it was heartbreaking to learn that she'd printed a book with her knit toy patterns and that I discovered it after she'd sold her last copy. Wah, sad me. I wrote her some emails asking for a copy, a pdf, a xerox anything. I waited. Nope. I dreamed she was working with a fabulous book publisher like Chronicle [she's an SF'er and it just seemed like a great fit] but apparently not. I then begged. Nope, nada, negative. Then I got an email from Jess's google group saying she's decided not to reprint the book because she has other life pursuits, Hard to imagine anything more important than knit toys [!@#$%^*!], but ok as she wishes.

But I didn't give up there. Next I set out on a web quest to see if anyone would share the patterns with me, I was happy to pay of course — as I'd already offered Jess access to my bank account. I stalked a few sites to see who was knitting her adorable patterns and sent off some beggin' share requests. I must say that the three or four knitters I wrote to were all unwilling to share, as they said it went against Jess' copyright — replies full of integrity which I totally respect, but they left me feeling that all hope was lost. I'll never get a hold of this booklet. Again wah. Damn, I imagined if they were my neighbor I was sure I could've just borrowed it! Then I got an email back from Denise, saying I can't share my pattern book but I happen to know where you can get a copy — my heart skips a little — Imaginkit in Hastings Nebraska of all places. Call Karla at the store (she's there Wed-Sat) 402-462-9276. I call and leave the sweetest - I really need this booklet, please sell it to me -message. She calls back. I call again. On and on the phone tag goes. Whoas me.

A few days later I get a message from Karla saying that someone had come into the store and they wanted to purchase the booklet but she was holding it for me. However, I need to call back within 24 hours and say if I want the pattern booklet or she'll sell it to the other customer. Oh crap!! I hang up on my voice mail and freak and stress irrationally. I imagine that an in-store customer trumps a phone customer - n'est pas?! My husband thinks I'm weirder than he'd thought [secret pal knit exchange is now less weird], though I suspect he's slightly impressed by my bizarre commitment to the pursuit. Anyway I can't get a hold of Karla and I'm beginning to resign myself to the loss. The weekend goes by and I don't think of the pattern book much [but I wake at 5 am sunday morning stressing about a myriad of other problems, where is my brain off switch??]. Monday morning I remember that I need to follow up with a call — I leave a message again, begging that she keep the book for me, that I really really really want it and this game of phone tag is driving me insane. The next night I'm at home putting Max to bed and hubby hears my phone ringing in my purse, he grabs the phone just in time for it to switch to voicemail. The call log reveals it was Karla. She was calling from Nebraska at 10:30 pm. I immediatly call back and get a busy signal. Wah again. I wait. A few minutes later then I call back and get her...

Her voice is music to my ears. Karla has a great mid western accent and she has all the integrity and down home charm that I've heard about heartland folks having. We had a sweet conversation and I wished for a wee moment that I lived in Hastings so I could meet her and shop at her store. What a nice woman! I hung up the phone and practically danced in my pjs like a giddy little kid. I got the last copy and it's in the mail to me right now. Seriously, I'm so happy my knitting sticks are in flipping through the air :-) Oh yeah!! I so so happy happy, I can't wait to get this in my hands. Today I heard the message she left me right before I'd called her back, which said that the booklet was mine and she wasn't worried about payment since all knitters are honest, she just wanted to get my address and ship it to me. Karla — you are too kind. I hope to meet you one day.

Unusual Toys1

Unusual Toys2

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August 29, 2006

purl soho, patchwork & bee

Purl Soho

Many months ago I strolled into a new nearby knitting store called Noe Knit. I had one of those freaky "where are they now?" moments when I saw my college house-mate's book Last Minute Knitted Gifts on the shelf. Wow, there was Joelle Hoverson! She's no longer the artist I knew, or the Martha Stewart employee I'd heard about, now she's a published knitter and a store owner. It's funny but I had wandered by her store Purl in Soho when I was in New York the summer I was pregnant, but of course didn't know it was hers. I clearly remember the darling itty bitty sweaters strung across the door each with an intarsia letter spelling P-U-R-L. I keep coming across many links to her book, store and new blog on the knitting and craft blogs I read. Today I toured her e-store. What an adorable website curated with impeccable taste - yes, this is defiantly the Joelle I remember. I couldn't help myself, I bought one of the sweet small fabric bundles. I hope to sew some into the wee wonderful kitty, bunny, and bear patterns. There's a good list of links to browse too.

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August 24, 2006

secret pal revealed...

and I'm reveling in all the goodies! Wow. Allow me to visually walk you through the surprises. As you can see they were all wrapped in colorful tissue paper. Max insisted on helping me open all and he carefully walked each one into the living room before opening under my intense supervision.

The first was a beautiful needle carrier in deep warm purples and earthy greens. I love the abstract batik floral and olive green grosgrain ribbon. What a lovely gift! It has nice deep and wide pockets for all my circulars. However, Max really seemed to think that the tying ribbon should come "off." I had to put down the camera and rescue the bag.

Then we opened the two skeins of soft orange sherbet Rowan kid classic. I LOVE this! It's a lambs wool and mohair combo in my favorite color. I am absolutely sure I have THE best secret pal. You are so thoughtful.

Next we opened the darning needle and beads. Ok I must confess here that the beads are darling but I have no idea if they are for stitch marking, decorating, or if I should hang them from my ears? I am just too novice to know I assume? Max opened the beads and immediately stuck them in his mouth. That means they are officially yummy.

Lastly we opened a knitscene magazine filled with folklorico design, city knits, flirty and femine ideas plus some mod stuff. I want to knit the fabulous large "uptown mommy" bag [they're calling it a diaper bag] on page 24. Lots of great ideas in here. And they have extras online at knitscene. And one is a fat knit cat!! Fun fun. Oh and Max went choco-baby crazy over the Ritter. At first he thought it was a "snack" because the packaging was similar to the Odwalla bars I let him eat. But when I broke down and gave him a corner I didn't hear the end of "MORE CHOCOLATE" for far too long.

So who is my secret pal??? Drum roll please... http://www.artwinknits.typepad.com/
You're the best! Thank you so so so much.

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July 15, 2006

spun right round baby

Handspun Mymy

Stellah, you divine giver of handspun yummy! Thank you for this delicious hank of "farmland" handspun by MyMy. You have such impeccable taste. I love the mix of sea and olive green with flecks of pink, orange and gold. I can't wait for some serene august evenings so I can knit this into something dreamy.

On another note, mee fabu techie hubby has hooked me up with ecto so I can blog whilst on the road through Asia. I hope to find the time as it will be such a great way to keep a visual diary so I can remember and share all the details and stories along the way. On a jet plane in 28 hours...

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July 8, 2006

new skeins

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I look forward to the day when I can start my next beastie! I bought these sweet strings last week in the hopes that I could whip out my no.3 addis and get to knittin' another bunny. But my life has taken a turn down busy boulevard. I doubt I'll be having the time to blog much either, so please forgive the lack of posting over the next few weeks. Turns out I'm taking a 20 day trip of a lifetime fully funded by my employer (whom I try never to blog about thanks to knowing Heather's story). However I will say that I'll be photographing my journey like crazy and I hope to post lots of inspiration during the month of august, so check back later, kay. Meanwhile, happy knitting to you.

June 19, 2006

beastie progress report

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I'm happy to report that I caught up on my knitting over the weekend and made some serious headway. The beastie now has a head, body and leg. The transition from body to leg was a little tricky. I bound off six stitches in the middle of each side, passed half to a stitch holder and then cast on three stitches while knitting in the round. That probably wasn't the best idea as I ended up with some funky holes at the bind off/cast on spot. I'm thinking next time I'll split the stitches then bind off the first and last of each leg. Hopefully the casting on will work better that way too. I only had one yarn over accident that I didn't notice (the one thing you really have to keep an eye on while using the magic loop technique). I was thinking of doing a three needle bind off (and another site with photos) for the bottom leg seam, but the instructions say the fabric has to be right sides together. I couldn't figure out how to do that while knitting magic loop style — so I skipped it and just sewed it up as per usual. Maybe I'll try to figure it out for the beastie version 2.0. Ready to go on leg two, stay tuned.

see beastie bunny grow from conception to birth:
123456

June 16, 2006

garter & cable knit handbag

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While clicking around the SecretPal 8 participants list, I came across this site with a knit handbag project and free pattern that I really like. Isn't it cute?! I would so carry this. Only tricky bit is finding cool straight handles or following through with the suggested DIY wood sanding and gluing project. Thanks for sharing Sara. Be sure to send her a picture if you knit it.

June 8, 2006

stunning knitting bag

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Ok how luxurious is my new knitting bag?! A friend found this yummy handmade clutch by offhand designs at a store going out of business, lucky me! It's a beautiful vintage velvet fabric called sahara stripe with a bright shiny aqua shantung-like fabric interior. There are lots of pockets for straight needles, two rows with wider pockets for circulars, and a long zipper pocket for knitting notions. Best thing is it folds up, snaps and looks like an amazing evening bag. Knitting at the symphony anyone? What a wonderful treat. As you can see Mr. Millian’s sticky fingers like it just as much as his mommy.

May 30, 2006

a fuzzy favorite

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Most of my knit projects don't stand up to the test of time. Sure the fashions change (uh just wait for my poncho confession) and that accounts for some "I knit what?", others it just seems that it's my fickle nature or my harsh inner critic which makes me never wear them. I typically chalk it up to getting to know myself better. However, this old project is defiantly an anomaly. Somehow I still like it even though it' was knit with a double strand of ribbon and novelty yarn. I still wear it because I love the shimmery watery blue, the super long length (it wraps around 2-3 times) and the ultra softness of the synthetic fuzzy yarn. The pattern is a loose seed stitch and was knit with a size 13 needle.

May 29, 2006

snuggly snaggle tooth

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I’m adding a few old projects from my pre bloggin' days. Given how many kitty and yarn photos I see in knit blogs, I couldn't resist taking one with my darling Miro. He's 13 years old, with lovely solid black thick fur, golden eyes, a stunningly long snaggle tooth, and will put up with any abuse from our toddler. He also eats spaghetti, begs like a dog, brings us prize rats and birds and weighs in at 19lbs. He's the purr-fect cat.

This striped scarf was knit in stockinet stitch with six different random colors; pink, burgundy, camel, army green, acid green, as well as baby and navy blues using a yarn made by art fibres. Looks like they don't sell this yarn anymore. I can't remember the needle size but I'm guessing it was about a size 8. Since the edges roll in I never sewed in the tails from each color change. What a cheater I am!

May 24, 2006

itty bitty progress

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Last night I ate early, didn't drink any wine, nor did I turn on the tv (all great feats mind you!) so that I could have the maximum amount of time to get my head back in the knitting game. I miss knitting. My sore wrist and shoulder from my work days spent mousing are really wearing on me, either that or it's old age, Uh, more likely bad posture. So I organized my tiny yarn stash, made a needle inventory check, and looked through my huge stack of project ideas and book patterns. My living room rug was in shambles. I decided to continue the beastie rather than start another new project. I psyched myself up to complete rows and rows - maybe even start designing the rest of the beastie pattern. [knitting the prototype with Blue Sky baby alpaca yarn in sport weight] Ha! the gods were against me. Three rows into the head (now at row 28- the center point) Max woke up screaming. Poor baby bunny had an "owie" tummy and couldn't sleep. Since hubbie was away, we ended up reading magazines together and falling asleep in my bed. Max slept pretty well, while I suffered from this impending cold and a flip flopping toddler taking over the entire bed.

May 23, 2006

knitty kitty kate

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Whoo hoosies!! By way of Louise makes stuff, I've come across another Jess Hutch pattern, kitten Kate. I'm sooooo excited. Last Sunday I stopped by my lys and chatted with my favorite knitting teacher, Maria. We suspect Jess is going to come out with a book probably published by Chronicle. You heard the news here first. Happy kitten knittin'.

p.s. Looks like Jess has captured the cover for the new Make magazine: Craft, it's slated to come out in Fall 2006. I am so looking forward to getting my hands on that robot pattern!

May 19, 2006

knit bunny & kitties

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Check out these darling knit toys coming to you all the way from Scotland. Looks like the perfect size project for left over yarns and the pattern is free as well. Happy knitting. {Be sure to send a picture of your finished stuffie to the designer, Ysolda.}

May 10, 2006

knit your digestive system

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This is definately the most interesting knit project and free pattern I've seen so far. It's even shockingly not that ugly. Plus while you're knitting away you learn exactly where each of these important organs is situated and how they are connected. Huh, sorta brilliant in it's own disgusting way. This is a great assignment for those cross discipline home economics meets biology classes, teachers take note.

Check out extreme knitters Theresa Honeywell's object cozies (the machine gun is the coolest and only truly knitted object) and Tom Savini's Dawn of Dead zombies for more unusual project ideas.

May 5, 2006

secret pal 8

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Ohhhh this is so fun. Hi! Here's my questionnaire reply.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? No acrylics, nothing too scratchy or itchy or super chunky, and I'm not into the crazy novelty stuff either, and I’m not too fond of variable colored yarns unless they are subtle. Ok, I sound picky. I love natural fibers including silk, mohair, cotton and wool.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Nothing, I’ve got them thrown in a bag and they are quite a disorganized mess.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Three years, beginning intermediate I suppose. How does one measure this?

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I do, Amazon.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) I love ylang ylang, verbeena, lavender & gardenia

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Mmmm chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I draw a fair amount and sew a little. I love Japanese crafting and am currently making a sock elephant from my first eBay purchase. I don’t spin...yet. I don’t have enough time as it is, but I'm interested.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Yes MP3 ok. My musical taste varies, lots of dance, chill electronica, old 70s & 80s, reggae, world stuff like all the putumayo CDs.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?Any colors you just can't stand? I adore orange it’s so damn happy. I also love most warm colors except yellow, and I like most earth tones, dark colors, greens and blues. Not so much with pastels or really bright and true color.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Married for almost ten years, we have one son — Maximillian 18 months, and two cats Madeline & Miro.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? No ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Scarves, hats, gloves and toys

13. What are you knitting right now? A bunny that I’m trying to design myself and an UFO wide lacey scarf.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Love it!!

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

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? No

17. How did you learn to knit? Classes, I love group settings for learning and sadly I have no knitting mentors.

18. How old is your oldest UFO? Ohhhh six months I’d say. Yikes.

19. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving for the love and joy — Easter for the bunnies and chocolate.

20. Is there anything that you collect? Art books & letterpress cards.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? No knitting magazine subscriptions, that’d be fun. I love most Rowan stuff— I have one of their magazines, No. 38.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Fair Isle.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Not yet. I have huge feet shoe size 10US {ok but I'm also tall so it's not too freaky}.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) August 7.

April 28, 2006

knit-osaurs

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by way of green dilly beans I've found xtreme knitting's dinosaurs patters. I'm thrilled to learn and share the news that someone else (other than the fabulous, but totally unresponsive to my plea to buy any of her knit toy patterns, Jess Hutch) is designing and sharing free patterns for cool knit toys. Yeah, thank you Jennifer Thurston! I must make one of these, they're so darling — just add these to my ever growing to knit list.

April 17, 2006

kenyan knit toys

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I'm always on the look out for well designed knit toys and I've just come across a darling selection. All are made by a company called Dwelling and are for sale through branch. It says they are handmade by artisans in rural Kenya using naturally-dyed wool. And while you are shopping at branch (nice site, gorgeous designs and all their products are eco-aware) check out their organic cotton german-made plushies they are so sweet.

March 19, 2006

a snapshot

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These are the days. My knitting and rocking Max while he naps days are numbered and I know it. I'm holding on, trying to convert these to long-term memory because I know I'll never have them again. No worries, I'm not freaking out about it because I'm zen-ly embracing the fact that things always change and I'll enjoy those new moments too...but I really loved this moment and I want to remember it, forever. (isn't 17 month old Max absolutely GARGANTUAN?!)

p.s. not getting too far on the beastie bunny, I'm only at row 20 of 54.

March 16, 2006

making it up as I go

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I'm making some progress on figuring out how to design my beastie bunny and simultaneously writing my first knitting pattern. I swatched enough last night to determine the stitch and row gauges should I decide to stick with my practice yarn. I've got the head designed and the instructions written out. I think the only catch so far will be determining the right vs. left slanting decreases and how those will look given that I'm thinking in 2-D and am having trouble visualizing the 3-D result. I'm stopping the brain fry and going for the trial and error method in the hope that my k2tog and ssk's are placed correctly. I'm also hoping that my idea of having three stitches down each edge surrounded by all the increases and decreases will produce the overall boxy shape and the flat front and back I'm hoping for. I found a great knitting site with video instructions for both continental and english knitters. It's got lots of useful information and the videos are quite helpful, check it out.

So here's to hoping I can stay awake long enough tonight to get past row 28 to see how the decreases work. I'm thinking there's no way I'll make it since Max kept me up from midnight to 3 a.m. and I got up to greet the day three hours later. I'm guessing last night's trouble was all about his molars which are starting to come in. He was running a slight fever and pointing to his ears. Poor little guy.

March 10, 2006

lovin' literary bunny

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Make a website about anything, maybe even just about some small bits of yourself, and you will get visitors. Just like that saying build it and they will come. Seriously, I guess old adages are true for a reason. I'm shocked that people actually find my site (ok not many in the scheme of the web, but still). I just received the sweetest comment from Cara saying my knit bunny was the cutest bunny ever and asking for the pattern (more kudos to patternmaker Jess, who—by the way—never wrote me back after I practically begged to buy more of her patterns, wah poor me and yet I still desperately want more!). Cara's comment more than made my day. It's so fun to make an effect in the world even if it's only teeny tiny. I keep thinking of what Reese said in her Oscar speech about what June Carter used to say when asked how she was doin'? She said, I'm just trying to matter. Me too-sies.

March 4, 2006

ride on rody

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well, five fingers are complete on one glove, but I'm not happy with the pinky finger knitting and am contemplating pulling out the scissors and snipping it right off. Better to be happy right? I accidentally made a yarn over and then tried to close it up while sewing in ends. When you're using the magic loop technique yarn overs are a constant threat. Making sure the yarn is cleanly coming out through the center and over the top of the back needle's cord is key to its success. I think I will start over but not tonight. I have to work up the gumption to cut, frog and re-do.

Isn't that orange horsey a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e!

February 22, 2006

boing boing bunny

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I win!!!!@#$%^&*(!!*^%$) bunny has legs and can now hop right off the olympic podium. Am I too early? Have I disqualified myself by finishing four days too soon? Well, since there are no real medals being handed out, I'm going to declare myself a super duper uber winner having completed my project early therefore finishing in 1st place. Yeah, take the gold baby and 'round my neck the bling bling goes. Meanwhile my long armed bunny sits atop our rais fireplace chatting with our cherished ceramic froggie friend. Next time I knit this bunny, I may cut 2-4 rows of arm to correct for proportion issues, otherwise this bunny is freaken perfect.

love bunnies too? visit the inspiring bunny-knit-along

February 21, 2006

wrap your arms around me

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Hello, hello! Bunny waves hello to all of you with her new arms. Being truly olympic in my knitting spirit, I've just finished watching the skating short program and have simlultaneously completed bunny's arms, yeah! Just legs to go. Perhaps I will complete this bunny early and be challenged to design and knit her a sweater? But I'm also home alone sans hubbie and have much to do in the wee hours between dinner and pass out. Not sure I'll get much more than two legs done by cast off closing ceremonies. We'll see, eh?

There's no greater burden than having potential. — now that's a heavy thought with credit due to the not so nice skating commentator Dick Button
whatever "Dick" that was an amazing performance by Sasha, you go girl!

February 16, 2006

bunny ears

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it's getting harder and harder to go to work. The more Max grows up and aware of the world, the more fun he becomes. The more fun we have together, the more I feel like I'm missing out when I'm not there. It's hard to accept the way things are. I imagine it may be equally as difficult to accept the ways things would be even if I changed the paradigm entirely. So there you have it, clear insight into my daily existential issues.

Now back to the bunny... who can hear! Her distinguishing bunny features were knit and sewn last night. I even went too far and tied a little brown bow around her neck, sooooo cute.

February 13, 2006

mind & body

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I'm feeling the olympic highs and lows as I shed tears watching the winners and losers reach their life challenges and defeats. It's amazing what humans can achieve. I'm overwhelmed by these athletes — their focus, determination, perseverance, courage and dedication not to mention talent. You go! And then there's me...comfy on the couch knitting away. Not quite the same life path, however I am passionate about my mohair baby and have successfully completed my bunny's innard container. Woo hoo, go team me.

February 12, 2006

bunnyhead part deux

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The fun part is over! It's like I ate dessert first. The perfect little bunny head and face are complete. I couldn't be happier. There's still lots of knitting to do, the body and all six appendages will keep me plenty busy. I haven't been able to knit since friday due to my over scheduled social calendar and of course keeping an eye on mr. millian. I'm even double booked this afternoon juggling out of towners. I should be happy about all the fun but secretly I'd rather be home knitting my fuzzy friend. I'm already dreaming up other color and yarn combos and making mental lists of potential bunny recipients. Jess's pattern is adorable. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her darling designs.

February 10, 2006

let the games being

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You know your life has changed when you get a babysitter so you can participate in the knitting olympics. Yep, I officially cast on at the imagiknit opening party and am off hopping down the bunny trail. I'll be posting progress, even the tiny incremental bits and blunders. I'm very happy with the results so far and really loving the mohair halo around bunny's head. I'm also enjoying knitting this project using the magic loop technique and again on fabulously slippery addis. Knitting life is good today. That's my glove instructor, Maria, below.

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January 29, 2006

time to twine

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It's tough to find helpful info on shibori knitting/felting on the web. Best I've found is here and here. Both of these show the wrapping a rubber band around a marble or other object process which I did last time. Rather than making another bumpy shibori scarf I'm going out on a limb and doing my own wrapping idea. The scarf was machine knit in stockinet stitch with Blue Sky 100% alpaca in a natural milky beige color. I'd been warned not to choose a yarn that has been bleached since bleached yarns don't felt well. It's about 8 inches wide and 125 inches long. The recommended needle for this yarn is a no. 3 —no. 5. I believe the machine needle was the equivalent of a no.8. The stitches are really wide and loose at 4 per inch, which is what you want when felting. To get a good felting result you want the hot water and agitation to be able to get between the stitches and shrink 'em. So what I've decided to do is tightly wrap in 4 inch stripes down the length of the scarf with nylon twine. I'm hoping it will create a strange curly ruffle effect. Worst case it's gets deemed a Dr. Suess costume accessory. Wrapping takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R so get ready for some boring bitching and moaning entries.

January 28, 2006

olympic supplies

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I'm getting ready for the knitting olympics (feeling like such a geek, but I'm in good company since the list of participants is overwhelmingly long!). I must admit I'm a bit thrilled to challenge myself and to participate in the online collective. Turns out my local yarn store is having an opening ceremony knit-along to celebrate as well. Glove teacher, Maria, has offered to give me her leftover polyester fiberfill stuffing since she has no need for it. How sweet! I'm using ArtFibers Kyoto yarn made of silk, kid mohair and extra fine wool, spun in Japan it says — wow an import. It's super soft, shiny and gorgeous. What a fancy bunny she shall be. I've already swatched (yes this was allowed since it's considered practice) and I've decided to knit two strands together and use a size 9 needle so my gauge matches the pattern exactly. I figure the double strand will also help hid any stuffing show through since the fabric will be stretched. I swatched both single and double strand with a no. 8 and couldn't quite get to 4 stitches per inch (16 over 4"). I went to Britex last week and picked up some coral pink and chocolate brown embroidery thread for the mouth and eyes.
On your mark...get set...13 days to go.

January 26, 2006

kaja—koigu

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That's a blast from the past thought. Making pretty good progress on my gloves even with the ripping out and starting over trauma. I was hoping to have finished both to the point where tonight's class picks up but don't you know it, I fell asleep at 9:30 on the couch AGAIN. Sad but true. I'm really looking forward to learning to knit the digits.

January 22, 2006

backassward cast on

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I was knitting, knitting, knitting 'round and 'round quickly because I was so excited to see my first gusset fully formed. I finally got to the last increase row and saved my thumb stitches off onto my waste cotton yarn, tah dah. Then it was time to cast on four stitches using the backward loop cast on. So I tried. And then I tried again. Then I even referenced the above photo I took of my teacher Maria doing it, (so that's not my glove) but she's putting the stitch on the wrong needle. You wouldn't think that would matter, but it really screwed me up. Many tires later, nope, nada, still not working for me. What's going through my head? Maria's voice saying, "This is the cast on they teach children. It's so easy they probably don't even mention it in Vogue Knitting." And she's right, they don't. Thankfully she put two other cast on options in her pattern — cable and knit on. So I looked those up and chose the knit on. I actually did successfully teach myself to knit on the four stitches using the Vogue book. Phew, I can still learn something. I was starting to wonder if I'd really truly lost my mind. So you thought this was a happy ending? Not so fast. I continued knitting only to realize that my first knit into the cast on stitch wasn't tight enough and left a pretty big hole. Note to all, make that first stitch damn tight. Then I found a crappy accidental yarn over right on the outside seam and it was below the "on hold" thumb stitches. At least I didn't start irrationally crying. I knew it would have to be ripped out, and I knew in my frame of mind I shouldn't do it myself. I had to take an emergency trip to the knitting store and find Maria. Thankfully she was working on Sunday and she easily recognized and solved the problem. She even showed me a frogging trick. Using the needle you poke it through and under the left stitch of each "v" in the stockinet pattern all the way across the row. Then when you rip, it ends with that row on the needle ready to knit. It was cool. Hopefully I can repeat it?! I'll be knitting it all over again this evening, stay tuned.

I really look forward to the day I can read my knitting and fix errors without panicking.

January 17, 2006

just wacked enough

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Ok, I be certifiable. I'm going to join the knitting olympics. Yes, the yarn harlot has come up with a knit-a-long that takes place from the lighting of the olympic flame until they extinguish it. It's 16 days February 10 through the 26. The rules are simple, just cast on at the lighting ceremony and finish by the closing. You can choose any project that suits your level but challenges you. As I peruse her list of contestants I just get so overwhelmed at the amount of people on the planet, and all these ladies knit and have websites?! Most of them knit so well and succeed at such complicated patterns - whoa - it's overwhelming. So back to my first thought, yes I'm crazy, 'cause I'm going to enter! Clearly I fit her description of "just whacked enough to play along."

The big question is what to knit. I could do the woody sweater for Max. It would be super challenging just to finish that much knitting in time, let alone figure out the confusing pattern directions. I might have better success doing a glove project in so far as I might actually finish it. Hmmm. But re-reading the bliss book I'm thinking the Nell pattern is a better fit for my junior level and my lack of access to any help. Ok yep, that's the one. Still doing it for Max of course so I won't be choosing lavendar. Signing up, yikes.

Lookie what I found. Ok how fun is this site?! Love this. Devoted entirely to bunny creation! Fabulous. I've been itching to make a knitted animal. Jess Hutchison has a free pattern I could try. I'll give this olympic project an over night sleep and decide tomorrow. night night.

January 15, 2006

hand warming homework

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I'm so into the custom glove project. I can't stop thinking about it, though I can't keep knitting because I've already knit both hands up to the point where I'm supposed to stop and wait for next instructions. I've got one hand on the needles and the other on the waste yarn, just waiting.

For the record, I knit the 2x2 ribbing for 2 inches and then started the stockinet for three quarters of an inch. The pattern only calls for a half inch of stockinet before the increases start, but I decided I want my gloves just a wee bit longer in the wrist. The next step is to start the increases for the thumb gusset. That's where Thursday's class starts up, stay tuned...

January 13, 2006

kristi goes koigu

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I took the first of three thursday night 7-9 p.m. glove classes last night. I got pretty far along on my first glove seeing that I learned a new knitting in the round method called magic loop. What's cool about magic loop is you don't get the laddering effect that happens where you change needles when you knit with double points and you don't need two sets of circular needles so you save a little money. With magic loop you simply just split the stitches in half leaving the stitches you are knitting on the front needle and the on hold stitches on the cable behind. The working yarn always comes up through the center. Our teacher Maria, also showed us an easy joining method for joining the first round. You simply cast on one additional stitch at the very end, then pass it to the other needle (toward the next stitch you would knit) and then knit two together. It works beautifully.

For this glove project I'm going all the way and knitting the fingers. I figure if I don't like 'em I can always frog it back to the fingerless point and bind off. At least this way I'll learn how to do fingers. For this project I chose Koigu Kerstie 100% merino wool in a variable olive green hue that is approx 5.5 stitches to the inch. They recommend using a number 6 needle, but Maria said for gloves it's better to have it a bit tighter so I went with No. 5 addi turbos 'cause the cable is more flexible that the plastic cords on the Clover bamboo needles. We are using Maria's custom glove pattern which is great because you can easily change the pattern to accommodate any size hand by just plugging the measurements into her formula. My hand is a 7.5 inch circumference and my big thumb knuckle is 3.5 inches. My gauge is 6.25 inches. So you multiply the the hand circumference by the stitch gauge and that’s your cast on number. I needed to round down for a number divisible by 4 (I decided to do 2x2 ribbing on the cuff) so I cast on 44 stitches. Then you're ready to begin. I’m doing a 2 inch cuff which is about as far as I got last night. You can see my progress above and a fellow class mate, Alison.

January 9, 2006

woody by bliss

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I found myself having to spend a minimum of $30 at Borders Books (King Street location) in order to get free parking in the their "validated" lot. Nice eh? A fucking $30 minimum, I think that's outrageous! So I'm now officially boycotting Borders. The gift I was buying was $25, so what, should I try to buy a $5 latte to make up the difference? I was already strung out on caffeine that a.m. and I had to pee, so more coffee was out. of course I decided to head toward the craft section knowing damn well I'd spend more than $5. I did so much page flipping searching for something I liked I was starting to run late. I struggled to find any knitting books that were worthy of a minimum purchase. There's such a dearth of interesting, inspiring, and stylish knitting books. I can't stand all the chunky, shapeless sweaters, knitted chair covers, hideous tea cozies, and endlessly ridiculous fuzzy pda and felted cell phone covers. Who knits these let alone wears them? I was hoping to find the one book I really want which is Teva Durham's Loop d Loop, but they didn't have it. The reviews for this book are you either love it or hate it. Some critics say the models look too stoned (and that matters because?), the designs are too edgy, and the patterns run too small. Others say the designs are radically inspired and cutting edge. Either way it's the most passionate knitting design discussion I've read. So I did finally came across a book I could settle in with since it had three sweater designs I liked for boys sizes 3 to 10 years old. Seeing that Max is only 14 months old, I’ll have plenty of time to knit them. The book is by Debbie Bliss, titled Junior Knits. I’m considering starting the beginner pattern Woody (see today’s image). I’ll probably stick with the grey merino aran No.301 which it calls for, since the only other color I like is the deep watery blue No.203. I’ll see what Imagiknit has in stock before deciding. I gave the patterns a deeper read through last night and I’m not sure I like her writing style. It’s not terribly detailed...or I really still don't know what I'm doing? I’m going to have to jot down the confusing directions and find an experienced knitter to guide me. Maybe I can sneak a question or two in at the end of the glove class I’m starting on Thursday.

December 30, 2005

yikes, a self portrait

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I just finished the big picture's kyle scarf & patty hat patterns. Of course I'm feeling momentarily satisfied but then sets in the big question . . . Will I actually wear this? Having just skipped off to the loo to admire my creation, I've returned praying I won't end up on you knit what? Seriously, chunky is fun, but perhaps I'm crazy thinking I'll have an opportunity to sport this hat in San Francisco?! Who am I kidding? It rarely drops below 50º here. I think this hat warrants a minimum of 40º, don't you? I'm justifying keeping it since the hat was easy to knit, taking only about half an hour. If I only wear it once (does tonight count?), so be it. I can always sleep in it since these old Victorian homes get pretty damn drafty.

December 29, 2005

biggie print progress

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I made some serious progress last night on the kyle pattern scarf. Of course I stayed up too late racing the clock thinking I could finish it. I still have about eight inches to go, and then I must add the fringe. Since my last knitty post, I did end up frogging the scarf again since I was incorrectly slipping the stitches knit-wise rather than purl-wise. Expert "knitting fiend" Lucia thought I may not have needed to start over because I probably wouldn't see the difference since the yarn is super bulky. However, I re-did it anyway and am much happier with the overall look of the pattern (with no mistakes!) and I'm satisfied that I've learned a lot about slipping stitches. Slipping purl-wise kept each slipped stitch from having an unnecessary additional twist. Here's a close-up of the giant stitches (Rowan's biggie print yarn in humbug):

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December 22, 2005

knitty holiday finger

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'Tis the season, to question your holiday spirit. I haven't had anyone question mine. Guess I'm cheery enough, or not offensive enough to be noticed?! Hmmm, I'm going out for the latter and actually using the nifty little knitty christmas gift from the irreverent and of course totally fabulous (cause ray ray's all over this!) venabels bell & partner's holiday gift. And just to upset most of America...this finger puppet package was subversively addressed to my 13 month old son!

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Here is it world! And yes, I purposely chose to position my holiday finger at the united states for a terribly subtle political subtext in my grandiose "goodwill towards men" statement. For my knitting readers— Using a size 4 or 5 needle and yarn that that measures a 9 stitches per inch gauge, cast on 21 stitches, knit your tube in the round or across 3 double points in stockinet stitch until the piece measures 3 inches long. Then with wrong sides facing simply sew one end seam closed, then turn right side out and, voila! Fits most standard adult size middle fingers. Be sure to choose a yarn with a little sparkle for that added extra spirit.
Happy Holidays.

December 20, 2005

knitty gritty

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I've recently been torturing my husband by filling the tivo to the brim with knitty gritty espisodes. Although, it's not the "hipster" knitting it claims to be, the demonstrations are really helpful and informative, so watching them knit is not the total bore you might imagine (but then again, I actually like knitting). When they do a close up with the "knitty cam" (they use lots of silly terminology on the show such as calling the guests "knitsters") you do end up really understanding the subtle details of yarn overs, cabling, wrap arounds, etc that help make your knitting more interesting. If only the show wasn't so overly scripted and if the "knitsters" actually asked questions that were relevant, or talked about their own ideas and inspirations, then that would be the start of a truly engaging program on knitting (but for the record, this show is way better than "knit one, purl two" which is super dry, boring, and the host's thick french accent is insurmountable). The "knit bits" can also be somewhat informative even if the skits that accompany the info are, sorry to say it again, pretty dumb. However, I did learn a bit that has me starting my chunky biggie print kyle scarf all over yet again, geeeeee what fun. Turns out when you slip a stitch it's always "knit-wise unless it says other-wise". That's helpful and with the rhyme I may actually remember it, wish I knew that earlier. But now that I've started over, I'm not sure I see the difference? However there is this other bit "normally when stitch pattern directions tell you to slip but don’t specify knitwise or purlwise, the knitter is expected to slip the stitches purlwise" this contradictory information is causing me great angst. Anybody want to help me out with the right way to go on this issue?

December 17, 2005

not even a foot long

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I was going to make this for a christmas gift, but unfortunely I ordered the yarn, pattern and needles from theknittinggarden.com, which doesn't inform you during the ordering process if an item is out of stock, and low and behold the Rowan biggie print "mermaid" yarn I wanted for the Kyle pattern was...yes, you guess it, on back order. So waiting, waiting, waiting, turned into a 15% off discount if I was willing to change the yarn. I went for it, switched my yarn choice to "humbug" (feeling that vibe right about now) and I received the yarn about three days ago. Uh, eight days before Christmas, and not even a foot long into the scarf, I surrender. Perhaps I'll keep it for myself, or save it for a later gift to some unknown chunky knit lover I have yet to meet. Since the secret-ness of the project is no longer an issue, I'll be blogging my progress. Here's the lovely Rowan photo from big picture, and my starting photo below. I don't want to dis the knitting garden in any way other than saying how frustrating it was not having the option to back out since the site doesn't inform you when a yarn is back ordered. I think their site is easy to use and they have a good selection.

As an aside, I had a wee bit of trouble at the beginning because I haven't ever knit with a yarn forward, slip 1, knit 1, pass slip stitch over in the pattern. At first, I got mentally tangled thinking the pass slip stitch over would have me decreasing into no-where-ville. Took me a few tries (and a lame help email to Rowan, who were very responsive and actually helpful, thank you) to master the yarn forward which creates the increase and the pass slip stitch over which decreases, so all stays at the same number cast on. Phew. I'm good to go.

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December 12, 2005

frogged again

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Yet another project that didn't make it. I was knitting the matching cutie patootie hat round and round on double pointed needles when somehow I noticed that each needle only had 18 stitches. Doh, I hate math! Each needle should have 20 stitches for a total of 80 'cause I'm supposed to be knitting the med/large in the parenthesis. Guess I wasn't fully conscious while casting on and started the small version. Ooopsie, yet again, arrrggg. I'm way too tired to start tonight. Will try again some other time.

December 5, 2005

cutie patootie

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Just finished the "cutie patootie" kimono style baby sweater last night. I am in love with the watery blue-green debbie bliss cotton angora yarns and the shiny, perfectly matching shell buttons I found. I actually started this project many, many months ago when Max was just about six months old. I thought I could finish it before he was nine months, ha ha ha! Knitting anything takes forever when you only do it an hour here and there once a week. I ended up forgetting about it for a while (I do that with knit projects which is why I need to have more than one going at a time) and then when I finally picked it up again, and had finished the all the pieces, I read the finishing details..which are crochet! I crocheted once, a long, long time ago and have no memory for it, let alone the ability to even read a crochet pattern. Fortunately Sonya, my machine knitting teacher, was kind enough to give me a quick private lesson so I could complete this sweater. Thank you Sonya! I went a little nutty part way through the pattern and lengthened the sleeves, thinking this would be a good idea for my giant baby. Alas it was not a great idea, so I won't be doing that ever again. My proportions are all wacky now with a long arm and short waist look. Oh well. It actually fits Max right this second. Today may be his only wearing?! I've started the hat too because I think I have just enough yarn to finish it, may as well eh? But defiantly not doing all those weird i cords.

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November 29, 2005

how to shibori

yeah! I've gotten some unsolicited compliments on my Shibori scarf. The only funky comment was an enthusiastic women in the elevator who said she loved it, " it looks homemade". Can't say that didn't sting a little. A Colleague asked me for the pattern. So after writing it all up on email I thought I should just post it here too. My long "How to Shibori" notes:

You must use a wool yarn to felt. It can have some alpaca but that's about it, no silk, cotton etc. The store owner said not to use a white wool because the bleach they use to whiten doesn't felt. I made mine during a machine knit class so only took an hour to knit! The fact that it was so easy to knit doesn't break your heart if the experiment goes awry. The yarn was a no 5 gauge. I cast on 40 (my teacher casts on 25 for a skinnier look) and to get a very loose stitching you should probably use no. 8 or 9 needles. Knit in stockinet until the length measures anywhere from 110 to 140 depending on how long you want it. For felting the stitches must be loose to allow the hot water and agitation to work. With a lot of slack, bind marbles with rubber bands (like ones the grocers uses to bind green onions). Design a marble wrapping pattern of your choice along the whole scarf. I did sort of an argyle pattern 3 across, then 2 across. My teacher had 4 across then 3, hers turned out a little less puckered than mine, which I like better. My classmate did a zig-zag pattern and hers ended up having a ruffled edge look. To make it have texture on both sides I wrapped the out side marbles from one direction and all the inside pattern marbles from the other. my classmate wrapped all the marbles from the same side and I think it didn't look so good.

Here's the experimental part: Fill a top loading washing machine with a small load setting on SUPER HOT. Add a tiny amount of detergent. Put your scarf in and close lid letting the machine agitate. Check the scarf every 5 minutes. DO NOT LET THE MACHINE START TO SPIN. Take out when you've achieved the desired amount of felting. Cold water rinse. Roll the wet scarf in a towel to remove excess water. Then untie all the marbles and let the scarf air dry.

Every yarn and washing machine is slightly different so the wash time varies. The washer I used was super hot and it only took my scarf 10 minutes to felt. My teacher had to wash hers through 2 whole cycles. Many of my marbles fell out during the wash. It wasn't because I tied the rubber bands too loosely. It was because the knit fabric stretched while wet and agitating so the marbles slipped through the loops. Try to leave enough slack so the fabric won't stretch and allow the marbles fall through. Maybe try big marbles? I used small ones. Another idea we had was to try rubber balls.

happy experimenting!

November 25, 2005

shibori process

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Here is the post machine knitting class but pre-shibori scarf. My classmate came up with a more fitting color name of "sweet potato". I cast on 40 stitches and knit 6 skeins until it was about 140 inches long. It took about and hour and half and I think the row counter was in the mid 200s when I was finished. I didn't make many mistakes except misjudging how far I could knit the last inches of a skein. Turns out if the yarn fits around the tension knob then it will make it across the row. It seems important to remember to move the weights up about every inch so the edges keep the proper tension. It was fast and easy as promised, but I can see how limiting it is to use just a few gauges that work with machines fixed needle size and only knit in stockinet stitch.

I forgot to take a photo pre-felting, sorry about that. Here's how I shibori-ed my scarf: I tightly wrapped the rubber bands around the marbles but made sure to try and leave enough slack so the marbles wouldn't fall through the knit loops. I wrapped the marbles in an argyle-like pattern 3 across then 2 across repeat to end, I did all the outside marbles on the wrong side and all the inside ones on the right side of the fabric. My classmate's project turned out so overly felted that all the ball shapes were on one side. I wanted to make sure my design worked on both sides incase mine got too felted as well. I placed the marbles about three inches apart across. Hubby helped me with the washing machine management, mostly for support. I get so tweaked every time I do something experimental. We filled the machine on the hot setting with just a touch of detergent. I agitated for about ten minutes then stopped the wash and while wearing rubber gloves fished the scarf out and had a look-see.


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Probably half the marbles had fallen out, and maybe ten rubber bands had come off. The felting was stronger in some areas and then not enough in others. I decided to add back a few marbles to some obvious problem areas and then put the scarf back in the hot water hoping to even out the felting. After about 4 more minutes I pulled the scarf out, ran it under cool water and then wrapped it in a towel to absorb some of the water. Hubby helped me take out the rubber bands and marbles. Under the rubber bands retained the most knits or unfelt areas. When a marble fell out, the tip of the ball area felted too. I think the biggest lesson when using this marble method would be to increase the tension of the fabric so the marbles can't fall through the wet loops. Here's the result:

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Here's a hippie dippie photo in the late afternoon sunlight to honor the process.
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November 20, 2005

suri with the fringe on top

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Here's the shibori-to-be. It's a suri merino by plymouth yarn co. color 2037 which means pumpkin if you don't speak number. It uses US7 -5sts=1inch. 55% suri alpaca, 45% extra fine merino wool. I'm feeling sad to sacrifice it to the machine and then to the Asian hippie process of marbleized felting. But hey I'm committed to the class, so there you have it. We're using a Silver Reed LK150. The directions say to cast on 25-30 stitches and knit until 100-120 inches in length. I'm thinking of casting on 40-50 and going longer hoping it will turn out somewhat luxurious. Perhaps I'll actually wear it? I bought eight skeins, so I may actually add fringe and just go whole hippie hog on this one, yippee kai yeah.

November 17, 2005

some kind of wisdom

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For the second time I frogged the Art Fibers gypsy yarn project. First I had started the fall shawl project . It was going along fine, but then after one too many nights of shiraz swiggin' mixed with the slippery metal needles and silk yarn, well whoopsie the triangle was a wee bit askew. Apparently I was favoring my mistakes all along one side. C'est ma vie. Next I decided to just wing it and try the roman stripe pattern. You know I have defiantly learned from all this froggin' that I need to commit to making swatches. Yes, yes, I hear the familiar "check your gauge" ringing in my ears. All you seasoned knitters will laugh as you remember when you finally committed too. I thought I'd just jump right in and make a big yummy gyspy silky roman stripe scarf slash shawl thingee. I think I cast on 100 or even 120 stitches [it was 144]. Well when you get into all the yarn overs on certain rows I was knitting 200+ across. Uh ya, that gets über tedious quickly. After three nights of only getting through seven rows, and again a enough mistakes with the slippery yarn, needles and vino, I threw in the towel. Now I've cast on 70 and I think the width will be lovely if I can just get through the endless process of actually knitting it. I've also learned that I really like dreaming up the project, choosing the materials and then admiring the finished product more than the process. I have to practice getting into the meditative mind to appreciate the zen of knitting. And be ok knowing that this project may not be finished until sometime next year. Some kind of wisdom in all this?

November 15, 2005

shetland wool

If the sweater fits...oh no, it's true!

You are Shetland Wool.

You are Shetland Wool.
You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side.
Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies.
Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.


What kind of yarn are you?
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Continue reading "shetland wool" »

November 10, 2005

shibor-ing

I made it to the machine knitting class last night without much ado. Teacher Sonya wasn't that into it, though she warmed by the end. I was right to worry about not liking the finished product too much - I'm so picky. The scarf is a felted stockinet with a Japanese tie-dye-like process they call Shibori. We didn't get to this part yet, but you wrap marbles in the scarf and tie off with skinny rubber bands [the size the grocer wraps around green onions] and then agitate it in really hot water until you're happy with the amount of felting. It looks pretty hippie-dippy and the term Shibori doesn't make it any fancier. It's not really my look. I spent a ridiculous amount of time just trying to pick a yarn I like so I'd be happy with the result. Of course each yarn I picked only had a few skeins in stock, so I ended up with about my 5th or 6th choice [this always happens to me]. It's a pumpkin colored wool with a little alpaca in it. It's pretty soft and it should show the technique well. I'm making mine wider and longer than her sample. I always like my knits big and yummy or sheer and wispy. So tonight I learned the bare basics of machine knitting which were setting up the bed and threading. I couldn't troubleshoot to save my life, so I kept going even with all my mistakes. I figure practice is the only way to learn it and I won't get much with just this one class. Teacher was cool enough to change the next two sessions so classmate and I could work around our scheduling conflicts. Next class isn't until tue the 22nd...long wait.

Meanwhile I managed to miss garbage night so we'll have diapers out our ears for another week. I NEVER sleep through the garbage trucks barreling down our tiny echoing alley. Of course when my husband is in NYC and it's all up to me I sleep more soundly than I have in about two years. Go figure. And this am on my walk to BART, 3 - 22 Fillmore buses pass me by and I'm between bus stops each time. There's a stop on every block! the gods just weren't with me today.

November 8, 2005

feeling crafty

Feeling like I need a swift kick in the arse so I'll start doing something crafty. Fortunately I'm taking a machine knitting class tomorrow night. I'm just a little worried that the felted Shibori scarf project won't be my style. I'm simultaneously concerned that I'll instantly become addicted to machine knitting and acquire another machine to add to my storage collection of enlargers, surgers and sewing machines. How I long for my spacious art barn and all the time in the world.

For the class I need to find some scrap yarn that's 5- 5.5 knit per inch, DK worsted weight. Love the internet where I can instantly find out what that means: "Sheep's wool is divided into two categories when referring to the resulting yarn, depending on the length of the fibers and the way they are handled before spinning: "worsted" and "woolen". Worsteds are spun from longer, combed fibers, so the resulting yarn is smooth and firm. Woolens are spun from uncombed wool, and is fuzzier and not as strong (Icelandic Lopi and Shetland yarns)." Only issue is now I have to identify if any of the yarn I own is worsted and then I'll be trying to figure out if 5 -5.5 stitches equals 1 inch with a 7 or 8 needle. I think I may have some double points from a hat project that will work. Wish me luck while I spend the evening swatching.

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