Wednesday, May 31, 2006

How Do You Spell Progress?


Monday, May 29, 2006

How to Avoid a Padded Footlet

So my plans for starting the Green Gable sweater this weekend just didn't happen. I keep swatching, and swatching...getting gauge has become an obsession. Do I have to figure this out right now? No. But it's more fun than restarting the Padded Footlet.

This gift is now way overdue, and considering the amount of time it takes to make one of these suckers (well, factoring in the procrastination) it's just down right tacky. Time to suck it up and make some progress. So I cut off the mistake-ridden footlet and re-cast. I WILL MAKE PROGRESS! Atleast that is what I keep telling myself.

Speaking of progress, I did get some weaving time this weekend, hooray! Despite some troubleshooting that I was eventually able to figure out, I have been zoom zoom on the loom. Yah, there are some mistakes, but I am still in that blissful stage of learning something new. Everything looks so cool despite uneven warp tension and a warp end that didn't make it through the correct dent. My weaving can only get better, right?

Yes, weaving is technical and takes work. But I really don't think it is that different from knitting. With knitting, it's one stitch at a time. That can be tedious. Stitches per inch, needle size, stockinette, lace... There are knitting projects that you can socialize with and watch TV. Heck, even have a cocktail or 2 or 3. And then there are projects that need your undivided attention and include charts and notes and a sign that says "Silence!"

Weaving is similar. When I'm measuring the warp, I need the cats to be in a food coma in a different room, no tv, no phone, no humans. I need to be able to count and concentrate and swear freely. This part gets better with practice, or so I have been told. Winding the warp onto the loom, music is good, cats should still be in a food coma and I need a couple hours to finish, and maybe one very quiet human. Swearing is possible so I may be a bit snippy. However, if all goes well, it's cool. Threading the heddles and sleying the reed, back to quiet time. Music is okay, but I really need to be able to focus. Do you get in the 'alpha zone'? Yes! It's guaranteed alone time. I have carried on long conversations with myself working out all sorts of issues. (Should I be admitting that?) And progress shows with each set of threadings. It's very satisfying. Kind of like a sock, it's complicated, but it's broken into parts, and getting through each part is satisfying. Once the warp is on the loom, you get to start weaving. And weaving is actually very fast.

I guess in that way it is more like sewing. There is a lot of work to get the garment/project set up. Measuring, cutting, marking, etc. But the actual sewing is fast because of all the work done beforehand.

So y'all should take up weaving. Yah. Totally.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Get Ready, Get Set, THREAD!

I wound the warp on the back beam last week, but haven't had a chance to thread the heddles and sley the reed. (So, yes, I am avoiding the second Padded Footlet.) My loom is a four shaft loom, and on those four shafts are those little metal stick thingys called heddles. Using a mapped out order, I have to take each 'end' (that's each individual warp yarn) and thread it through the eye on each heddle.

It's tedious, but everything is so organized that as long as you pay attention to what your doing it's satisfying. Once I get all the heddles threaded, I have to sley the reed. Basically, more threading.

Eventually I'll get to the weaving part. I have been knitting, though not the footlet. I can't show anything because one of the projects is for Project Knitaway and the reveal isn't for a couple of weeks. The other project is for my Secret Pal and I'm just not taking any chances. Green Gable yarn arrived and I need to test one more swatch (I get such wonky gauge with Cotton Fleece). I still want to cast on this weekend but I need to finish one of my other projects first. None of these projects look close to being finished. *sigh*

To be continued...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Doing the Monday Dance

Ah ha! Another project DONE. I feel my focus coming back. These are simple socks made in Lorna's Lace's (Purl's custom colors - brick and cream). I love the yarn, love the color, the stripes are psychotic. The pattern was based on the guidelines from Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I made them shorter on the leg, and they are quite comfortable and cute, despite the wack striping. I think the stripes would look better with a lower cast on number, so maybe I'll try a Nano sock or something, along the lines of what my pal has made here.

I have not cast on anything new! Just been swatching for Green Gable, and trying to finish up these old projects. Ok so I am really avoiding starting over the Padded Footlet, but since I have finished 2 projects in less than a week, my confidence is coming back. I will do my best to finish up that (damn) footlet this week, and hopefully plant my terrace garden AND start a new project by next weekend. Woo hoo hooey!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Put a Fork in Me, I am DONE.

After speaking with my pal over at HPNY Knits today, I have decided to partake in the Petals Collection. She said if she goes down, I go with her, or something like that. (The rose in the picture is from the Rodin Sculpture Garden in Paris)

What can I say? I followed the link from aquaknits. Cotton Fleece is yummy. I'm either going to make it in a light sage green or a deep dusty plumish color. I'll be swatching soon. I think.

As for progress, I just may finish these simple socks this weekend. Look at that little tart of a cat, stalking my fish-mouth socks.

My methods are somewhat unconventional, but my warp is almost on. Threading the heddles and sleying the reed next...

Hi Mary! We are ready to pledge.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Done! Child's Placket-Neck Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. Size 6-12 months using Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria in color 203.

I have made this sweater before and it is quite an easy knit. I have not used this yarn before, and though it makes a really pretty, soft fabric, it has absolutely no give (it is cotton, after all) and being Manos, there are no dye lots. So even though I bought enough to finish my project, the top half is different than the bottom half. Of course, I have used Manos before, I know to alternate the skeins every 2 rows. I must have had a brain fart, and with such a tiny project, I was not about to juggle yarn cakes anyway. But another thing I didn't care for with this yarn - my gauge differences showed. I have never run into this problem before, much less did I know that it could happen in this project. I have read that knitting in the round is a tad tighter than knitting back and forth. Well, it's true. I could have gone down in needle size once I got to the placket bit. Ah well. The piece washed well, and 20 minutes in the dryer and it evened out.

I have this sickening feeling that I am getting sloppy with my knitting. Too many projects, deadlines, unfocused knitting time. I need to get it together.

Speaking of which, the gauntlet is thrown. I haven't sat at my loom in weeks and I am itching to get going on my gamp. It's a huge sampler made out of simple carpet warp. The purpose is to learn just about every weaving pattern I can do on my 4 harness loom. Now the question is, do I remember how to wind on a warp?

doesn't tell me to join these things, but I blame her entirely.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Secret Pal Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Oh, I like a lot of stuff. Wool, cashmere, blends (wool/cotton, wool/silk, cotton/silk, etc) alpaca... Only thing I really don't like is pure acrylic, chenille and eyelash...or any novelty yarns really. What a yarn snob!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Straights and DPN's are kept in a pottery jar, circs are kept in this book like thing with plastic sleeves. I don't have many crochet hooks so those are kept in my WIP bag by the knitting chair.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I have been knitting for about 20 years. I would say I am an adv/intermediate. I think I could be more advanced if I wasn't kinda lazy.

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


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

I have sensitive skin so unfortunately, bath products are out for me. Candles, I would say I am of the woodsy/vanilla/but not too musky world. Definitely not fruity stuff. Gosh I sound high maintenance. Maybe I am.

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

Nope. Weird, eh?

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I do a bit of crochet, I am a beginner weaver. (LeClerc 4 harness floor loom & Rigid Heddle loom are currently taking up more room than my stash) I dabble with felting (as in machine washing) and a little kool-aid dyeing. I would love to learn how to spin though I have no tools and no knowledge.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Kind of all over the place. Have a thing for 80's music (Devo, Pat Benatar, Irene Cara, hell, everything) - reliving my youth, I guess. My ipod currently has White Stripes, Strokes, Death Cab for Cutie, Joggers, Killers, Bravery, Cat Power, Ruth Brown, and Patsy Cline always has a place in my heart. I do not have a stereo, but my computer plays CD's.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

My one true thing would have to be the color green. I tend towards earthy colors - but like them to be vibrant, too. I refer to them as "dirty" colors. Dirty orange, coral, teal, rust...yum. Vibrant, but dirty.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my boyfriend and our 3 crazy cats.

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

Love scarves and hats. Don't wear mittens all that much, but love them just the same. Don't wear ponchos as much anymore.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I tend to do small things (I'm a public knitter - subways, parks, cafe's, can't be poking people and must be easy to transport) plus I think I have a bit of knitting ADD so I go for small and quick. Lots of hats, fingerless gloves, baby clothes, socks, etc. I am actually trying to change this small project habit.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Padded Footlets, plain socks, socks of my own design, child's placket-neck sweater, small bag, fleurette lace coasters...will soon cast on Sunrise Circle Jacket and perhaps Somewhat Cowel...must...knit...faster...

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


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

Circular. (See public knitter above) I am an Addi-Turbo girl, but I do appreciate a set of nice, wooden needles. Would eventually like to own some Lantern Moon needles, but I rarely work on straights. Only if they are on the shorter side.

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

Yes. One of the better sets of tools I ever purchased. Hooray for yarn cakes!

17. How did you learn to knit?

My Grandma taught me.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

Uh, 2-3 years I think. I have no intention of finishing. It's just sitting there.

19. What is your favorite holiday?

Hmmm. I guess Christmas.

20. Is there anything that you collect?

Besides sock yarn? I am always on the look out for children's books about knitting. So far I have two. I think they capture the meaning of a handknit gift (and the act of knitting) beautifully.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Yarns - what is this Socks That Rock stuff? And I ordered some Bearfoot stuff. I am always looking for cool sock patterns. I get Interweave Knits and Handwoven magazines.

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

I'd like to work on my fair-isle, and would like to try some entrelac and mitered squares. I plan on doing the CYCA correspondence teacher certification program this summer, so hopefully I will get to try some new things.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes! Hooray for socks! I wear a size 6.5 shoe. Circ under calf is 10.5", circ of foot at widest part is 9.5". Length of foot is 9 1/4".

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


I am looking forward to a summer of secret pal-ing! WOO HOO!

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Bonjour! Voulez vous coucher avec moi? Croissant! Oui oui. Parlez vous en francais? Me neither. But I speak yarn, and I found some at La Droguerie which is a crafty girl's (or boy's) paradise. (Thanks, Hila!) See that little sign on the left side of the picture? Yah, it says "no pictures". Woops. Blame it on the Freedom Fries.

Feeling much love for my new yarn, I took it out for lunch in hopes of getting to know it better.

It was doing much better when I took it to the park.

Heh. The "yarn on tour" jokes never get old, do they? So the bottom yarn is 100% wool in a light, dirty teal, somewhat similar to my yarn that I will be using for my SCJ. It works up at a fairly fine gauge, size us6, so I am thinking of making the Somewhat Cowel, or something like that. The black yarn is bamboo. It is super silky and delicious so that will morph into a scarf for the hunky boyfriend. The lavender is alpaca that I hope to turn into Branching Out or something like that. There was som great yarn in the shop, I was really taken with the cotton, but I couldn't think of anything that I would make for myself. I kept trying to find a color for Green Gable, but it just wasn't happening. Anyhoo, I found some stuff, and it's not sock yarn! They don't seem to be obsessed with socks in this shop, though the beads and jewelry making items seem to be selling like hot cakes.

It's time for another cafe au lait, so I must bid y'all adieu. To my Secret Pal, I will be back on the 15th, and will post the answers to the questionaire asap. Ta ta!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hot Commodity

Now these are a hot commodity. I have a hard time finding Kool-Aid packets. I found these in limited supply at a small grocery store. They only had these flavors and grape. I forgot to buy grape.

I am not usually a fan of bright colors, but I read that if you dye gray wool you get nice earthy tones. I want to try that. So I guess I'll have to get some gray wool, sock yarn perhaps? And since I have recently been inspired to make my own self striping from Aquaknits and Eunny, I just might have to give that a try. Woo hoo!

Yes my friends, more sock yarn. Thank you for your comments yesterday. I am perhaps embarrassed, perhaps proud, that is only half my sock stash. That was the new stuff. Knit Picks Dancing should be arriving today, some Bearfoot will arrive in 4-6 weeks (so much for the website saying it was in stock, harumph). I told Hila I was only going to knit from my soon as I built it.

What is it with the sock yarn? Well, I was always a 2 skein buyer. I tend to go for smaller projects. The Sunrise Circle Jacket will be a new thing for me. I haven't been buying much yarn in the last couple of months, but then the sock bug hit me. I had recently cleaned out my stash, assessed the space and justified my budget by reminding myself that despite the fact that I pay NYC rent, I don't own a car or maintain a yard. All I have is my stash.

Ok. Obvious deletion of my wardrobe, but just go with me here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I Just Had to Have It

Need I say more? I was thinking of making a Clapotis, but obviously the gauge would be off, and yardage would be off...and then Yarn Harlot said this was the stuff dreamy socks were made of...and I saw that Ms. Mintyfresh made a lovely pair of Pomatomus socks out of the same yarn. Could Pomatomus be in my future?

Koigu - ooooh! These are skeins that I just HAD to have. The celery color is Koigu KPM 4001, dye lot 13. The variegated is Koigu KPPPM 304, dye lot 56. I am not sure what I am going to make with them yet, but I do believe the KPPPM will turn into a pair of socks to match the boyfriend socks below.

Koigu for the hunky boyfriend. *sigh* Dreamy man, dreamy yarn. Koigu KPM 2410, dye lot 126.

Lorna's Lace's - never really saw her variegated stuff and this is quite lovely. It is called Sand Ridge, color 6717. Hunky boyfriend and I plan on returning to Bermuda this summer so I plan on making some Bermuda socks with this lovely yarn. (Bermuda socks, get it?!)

At last, I have Trekking in my stash! Thanks to Hila, I am now the proud owner of 2 skeins of this stuff. Bottom color is 101, top is color 105. I also ordered another skein which has more teal in it. I think we need to bump our sock club to a pair a week as opposed to a pair a month!

And to prove that I don't just stare at sock yarn, here is one completed Padded Footlet - unblocked, and too big for me. (They aren't for me so that is ok.)

Pattern is from Interweave Knits Summer 2005. I have really enjoyed making them for the most part, but honestly, next time I make a pair, I may skip the whole double stranded sole. It's a pain in the ass. Then again, I could change my mind tomorrow.

Woo hoo! My Lorna's Lace's self striping is finally making it's way into socks. I am whipping out these simple socks for my knitting group's sock event tonight. This yarn is so dreamy to work with. I am using size us1 which seems to be working well, I probably should have cast on a couple extra stitches. 64 stitches seems a tad tight, butwho knows, could be just right in the end.

And finally, the end of this long post, I show you my yarn horror. It didn't look like this on the computer screen when I ordered it. The colors looked soft and lovely. In fact, this picture doesn't really do justice to the vibrance of the purple. Yikes.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Not Socks

Slow progress on the baby sweater. Those darn socks. They keep taking my attention away from other projects. I currently have 4 socks on the needles, and only 2 of them are an actual pair. I'm buying sock yarn like candy. But this post isn't supposed to be about socks. It's about this sweater.

So uh...


I guess I'll go.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

If My Life Was a Self-Striping Sock...

I sure would get a heck of a lot more done. I have no idea where this sock came from. Have any of you seen me work on it? No. It flew off my needles in 4 days. It started with a bad weaving day. I tried to make placemats and they just looked awful. I mean *really bad*. I tried to sew hems, I tried looking at it from different angles, huffing and puffing. Finally, I followed my teacher's advice. I just rolled the pitiful project up and shoved it in the back of a storage bin. My bruised ego needed a project to make me feel smart so I pulled out the self striping sock yarn. I figured some mindless knitting would do the trick.

Holy crap.

I have a sock. A completed sock. One more row. Just til I get to the speckly thingys. Get past the speckly thingys and then I'm back to purple again...

4 days.

And that got me thinking. If only my life were a self-striping sock! One more bag of garbage. One more bill. One more push-up. I'd have more time to knit, a cleaner house, a kick ass butt that could stop traffic.

One more row and I'll get right on it...