Sunday, December 16, 2007

Marley was dead...

Before I began this blog, I began planning to knit the Marley's Ghost Scarves from Knitty.com for my fellow Quartet members in A Christmas Carol. As you can see from the photo above, I did knit them! They've been hibernating for months now in my closet, waiting for closing night (our traditional night for gift-giving.)

They were a hit, I think - and when I was having our photo taken (I'm wearing the chain I made for my daughter after she fell in love with the chains I was making,) our actor playing Marley jumped in with us. All those chained actors should stick together, eh?

Today was our closing matinee and here they are in all their glory!



Barbara, our Soprano, chains herself and her little mink "friends" with her soft pink chain.



Me - hot stuff in my hot pink chain.



Our tenor, Tim, struck a pose immediately upon opening his chain.



Robin, my partner and our booming Bass in his gray chain, which fashionably matches his top hat.

Monday, December 10, 2007

FO - Fingerless Lace Gloves



They are finished! I think they turned out pretty well. At first, when I finished the first glove and had our Soprano try it on, I was unhappy because the fingers seemed too long. She was fine with it, but it irked me. So Saturday morning before heading to the final preview matinee & opening night, I ripped all the fingers back by about 3 rows and bound off again.

I'm glad I did it - I think they look much more suited to her hands this way.

Am very happy they are done and that I finished them in time for our final preview and opening night! Our costume manager has offered to pay me something for them - am not sure what to ask. I'll have to find out what my materials cost was and I'll probably just ask him for reimbursement for that and maybe $10 for my labor. It was, after all, not done for the money.

Specs:

Pattern: Vanalinn Lace Gloves by Nancy Bush from the book A Gathering of Lace
Yarn: DMC Cebelia Cotton size 10
Needles: Size 0
Modifications: I added one more stitch per finger, making my palm a little larger. Of course, my gauge was MUCH smaller than the original. But these gloves needed to fit very snugly and stretch. Obviously, I made them fingerless and bound off with a double crochet bind off.

Since finishing, I've been knitting happily away on sleeve #2 for Alice Starmore's Elizabeth I. It feel so incredibly nice to work with soft merino wool again. And my size 3 needles seem so large and friendly!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Christmas Carol and a Nifty Cast On!

I am still plugging away, trying to finish those lace gloves in time for opening night.

Technically - we open on Saturday night. However, we have audiences starting Thursday and will do 4 performances in front of full houses before we are officially open. I'd like her to have the gloves before we have audiences, but that may not happen. She still has her tattered gloves from last year, so her hands won't be naked. *whew* But still -- I really would have liked her to have them before the first dress rehearsal. My bad. I'm a naughty procrastinating knitter!

I've finished both up to the fingers. I've finished 3 fingers on one glove and 1 finger on the other. I did 2 fingers tonight during our tech rehearsal - but I won't have that much down time tomorrow. I shall have to try and squeeze some knitting time in tomorrow during the day. If only my daughter still napped during the day, darn her! What's she thinking... growing up like that? Grf.

One good thing about the gloves is that I've found a nifty new cast-on! The way the gloves are written, you pick up your live stitches for the fingers and then you need to cast on stitches while continuing to knit in the round. This means you can't use any of your traditional cast-ons. Normally one would use the backward-loop cast-on for this purpose. But I hate that cast-on. For one thing it's a b*tch to knit into and for another it leaves you with nothing if you have to pick up stitches from the other side of it -- which you do with fingers. Interested? Check it out here.

On the odd moment when I can't knit on the gloves, I've been plugging away on my sleeves for Elizabeth I. I have the first finished up to the armhole shaping and have started the 2nd. My row gauge is bigger than written, but my stitch gauge is perfect. So I'm going to knit them both to the armhole shaping and then I'll have to do a little math to make the raglan sleeves come out right. I'm a little worried about the front and back because of the design work... but I'll worry about that when I get there. Famous last words, eh?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still here...

... and still knitting. I'm rushing to finish a pair of lace gloves knit in cotton thread for the Soprano who sings with me in A Christmas Carol. I thought I'd have time to knit during rehearsal -- sort of forgetting that I'm on stage most of the time, and we only rehearse for about 9 days. Oops!

I'm doing okay, though - I think. I've got the first glove knit up to the pinky. So I need to do the other 3 fingers and the thumb. The 2nd glove is knit 1/2 way up the thumb gusset. I think I'll make it by our first audience preview. *gulp*

Sadly, it means I had to put aside the red pullover I was knitting for myself (Elizabeth I from Alice Starmore's "Tudor Roses" book,) which I was starting to become obsessed with. So, it looks like I won't be wearing that on Christmas Eve, as I was hoping. Maybe... but I don't see how. That's okay. It will get finish, I have confidence. I think. That is, if I don't get distracted by more socks.

So, there is knitting but life is crazy-making around here just now.

Oh, and I must share my latest thrift-store find!! I felt dizzy when I saw it!

Alice Starmore's out of print book "Aran Knitting." There's a copy on Amazon.com selling for $284. Which is silly, you can snag it on eBay for $175-$204.

Me? $2 at Savers in Daly City.

squee! Happy Christmas 2 me!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

FO - Summer of Love Lace Socks

I've finally knit up the Summer of Love Lace socks from Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Rockin' Sock Club". I seem to have a compulsion to knit them IN ORDER. The patterns, anyway - using the yarn in order doesn't seem to bother me. I still have my skein of Walkin' on the Wild Tide that I've not found the perfect pattern for yet.

I got the October shipment - a gorgeous black and red yarn from the new Raven series. The pattern is amazingly well-written and is by our own beloved Yarn Harlot. Both pattern and yarn are called "Lenore" and the pattern is gothic and beautiful. I could hardly wait to knit it!

It was truly the inspiration for me to just go ahead and knit up the second Solstice Slip sock. Almost as soon as I finished those I grabbed my yarn for the Summer of Love socks and cast on.

I didn't use the Sock Club yarn. I confess to trading it on Ravelry -- I just could not make myself like the colorway. (I did keep my keychain of "emergency yarn" though.) I traded it for a lovely skein of brilliant green and pink and grey yarn from Yarn Pirate. Which I used for these socks -- which is pretty appropriate, dontcha think?

I love the colors and the socks are great! They're the lightest weight socks I've knit. I worry about how well they'll hold up over wear. I tend to like my socks knit at a very tight gauge so they're like iron. But I did these all on size 1.5 needles in order to get gauge. Normally I would have knit this yarn on 0's. But they're nice - they have a nice drape, it feels kind of odd.

I like 'em!

Now I can cast on for Lenore!! The only problem is... after doing 2 pairs of socks in a row... I'm no longer in the mood to knit socks.

So, I picked up an old project that's been hibernating. Elizabeth I from Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses book. I ripped out the entire sleeve I'd knit. It took a year, but I've now accepted that my gauge was too tight and the sleeve was too darn small. So I started again on a size larger needle (size 4) and 1/2 way through that sleeve realized that my gauge was too darn big! Arrgh!

So, I've cast on again with size 3's. My knitting style has loosened up in the past year, so maybe I can get gauge this time. If not... I'll have to recalculate the pattern to fit the gauge that I'm getting.

Erf.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Store closure...

Tuscany Yarn, in my town, finally opened its doors one last time for two days of shopping mayhem. The owner passed away from breast cancer in the Spring, I believe. Since then, her husband closed the shop and it has just sat there. I drove by it on my way to my husband's work and would gaze in at all the yarn and wonder what he was going to do with it all.

He did a really wonderful thing. He opened the doors for two days - advertised only in our tiny, free local newspaper with a lovely ad that showed a picture of his wife and family. He said he wanted to give back to the community with the sale. So, instead of collecting money for himself, we shoppers wrote our checks directly to one of 3 charities.

I went on Saturday morning and there was a small, not overwhelming, line in front of the shop. It got crowded quickly, though! Several friends showed up and I couldn't even chat with them much because of the small space and all the yarn-seekers.

I bought a gorgeous tote bag with lovely pockets all around the inside by Vera Bradley (the owner loved her bags and had her back wall dedicated to these purses and bags,) and an ID case and checkbook cover to match the wallet I bought a couple of years ago. So far I am loving the bag - it's fantastically roomy and lovely.

I bought 2 colors of Anny Blatt fine kid to use for shawls. I picked up some funky Noro Sakura to use for Rosaline's birthday cardigan this year.



I picked up a couple of books - a Debbie Bliss kids' pattern book and Rowan's Yorkshire Fable book.

I wrote my check to the breast cancer charity they had chosen.

Two friends I'd told about the sale were done shopping at this point, too. So we went and got some coffee together. It was lovely to escape the crowds and terrific to catch up with them. One of them is pregnant and is so freakin' beautiful you could just plotz. She truly glows and is more relaxed and content than I have ever known her. She's decided on a homebirth (woot!!) and getting to chat with her made me so happy!

Sunday, Mike and I went to his parents house for his dad's birthday brunch. When we got home, it was after 4:30 and I requested permission to see what was left at the yarn store.

And there was quite a bit left, and best of all -- the crowds were GONE GONE GONE. I decided to go nuts buying some of the books I love that never go on sale and you can't get them at Amazon. I took the time to go through the binders for some single pattern leaflets (like Fiber Trends and the like.) I had a big stack of books that I carried up to the counter for them to hold while I went back to look at the yarn.



I chose some Noro Cash Iroha in a gorgeous deep red color. Enough to make a sweater for myself. I found 2 lovely skeins of Alchemy bamboo hiding under some solid colors and snatched them up. I bought a bag of Southwest Trading Company's Karaoke - bamboo and wool - in a gorgeous heathered burgundy colory. Also enough to make a sweater for myself.

There were some gorgeous Frog Tree Hill alpaca scarves hanging on the wall that weren't there on Saturday. Gorgeous, hand knit, soft -- fantastic. Priced way too high for my blood, even 1/2 price. But I asked the owner and he told me he'd take $10 apiece for them, so I grabbed 3 for Christmas presents. Black, blue, and grey.

Then, as my total was being rung up, I had a lovely chat with the owner. We talked about losing someone you love, and how you always think of them every day. We talked about the shop and how nice it was to shop there, and how much his wife loved it. I told him that my mother had died of cancer, too. And it felt good to be able to indulge a hobby I love so much and know that 100% of the money I'm spending goes to cancer research.

But I knew I was in trouble when they told me the total! I'd have to do some fancy footwork to make sure my checking account (I keep a separate account that I fund with my eBay sales so that I can spend on things like this without pulling from Mike's income,) would cover both checks! Then I was told that -- oops! -- they had forgotten about the books!

I think I was turning green just as the owner told them to just give me the books. Which was pretty fantastic - I had an alarming stack of books, including a bunch of dog-eared copies of older Vogue Knitting magazines. And I really was financially maxed out... I don't know what I was thinking.





He locked the door behind me as I left and that is the end of Tuscany Yarn. I will really miss it.

And I am on a knitting diet now until Stitches West.

Monday, November 5, 2007

PodCast cleanup

I've been exploring new Knitting podcasts and discarding others. Shall we chat Podcasts? If you have suggestions on casts I may have overlooked -- please comment & let me know!

These are listed in the order in which I started listening to them.

Cast-On: Always and forever my hands-down favorite.
KnitCast: I'm still subbed. Why not? But she never makes episodes anymore. :(
Sticks & String: The accent was charming, but frankly? I got bored with it. When I found I was letting the episodes pile up and always choosing to listen to something else, I unsubscribed.
Lime & Violet: Okay, this one may get me in some trouble. I listened to L&V for quite a long time and just recently unsubscribed. I enjoy them and their banter. I don't mind the wandering off-topic or the off-color humor. Even the dog farts don't offend me. But they crossed the line for me when they started ripping apart an ex-boyfriend of Lime's. When they started making jokes about the size of his... how do I put this delicately?... manhood. That was too much for me. I mean sure -- they podcast to a niche market. But still... mutual friends probably listen. The ex-boyfriend may have friends who listen. They have a HUGE following in the knitting community and there are thousands and thousands of people across the country... nay, the world... who listen. That crossed a line for me. You just don't do that to someone. That is Not Cool. So, I unsubbed.
Stash & Burn: I tore through all their old episodes. This one is what I wish L&V could have become. They have their banter and their in-jokes and their friendship which it's fun to horn in on for a little while. But they do stick closer to knitting and I've never heard them say something unkind about someone else. They're entertaining and they live just down the freeway from me. So I know the places they talk about! Sweet! I'm there. When's the next yarn crawl?
Knit Picks' Podcast: This one gets boring for me sometimes. But I keep subbed. I keep it around for knitting emergencies.
Let's Knit2gether: At first I thought this was a little cheesy. But she grew on me and now I completely adore her. Who couldn't after her Christmas gifting episode last year? Her nervousness when her hubby opened the knit hat she made him? She's darling. I love taking my iPod to a coffee shop and knit while watching her knit on the tiny screen.
The Knitting Cook: I just discovered this one and I LOVE it. I even made the Spaghetti sauce from episode 1 (I've actually made it twice now,) and it's my new PodCast baby.
Math for Knitters: I like this one, but I always feel like I need to concentrate to listen to it. I need to give it a more regular listen. I think this is a useful cast, but I tend to like some bubblegum in my podcasts, kwim? This feels a bit like class. Which is good!! But...

I have Christa Knits, faerieknits, and WeaveCast downloaded and am waiting to give them a try.

Non -knit podcasts, you ask?

This American Life
Mark Gunn's Pub Songs Podcast
NPR: Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
LearnItalianPod.com
Renaissance Festival Podcast (another by Mark Gunn.)

I'm also listening to Anne of Green Gables which is available as a podcast, chapter by chapter. It's nice to knit to.

What do you listen to?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Solstice Slip - a FO at last!




I've been working on these for what seems like forever. I wasn't very happy with the pattern stitch or the way the color worked out with them.

My mistake, really -- I did the first sock working from both ends of the skein because I wanted to minimize pooling. It was a huge pain largely because of the way the yarn twists while I knit. I hated it! My daughter got very sick while I worked on sock #1 and so it was a consolation to knit on it, but it wasn't a consolation to knit on something I wasn't loving.

But I finished the sock finally. And decided to go ahead and start on sock #2. I just couldn't bear to rip it out and the socks were comfortable enough. And I still do love the "Lucy" colorway.

Anyway, blah blah blah -- I finished the 2nd. They don't match. I even accidentally did the tubular bind off preparation rows differently and so the cuffs don't look the same. And I don't care. They're done. And I am moving on to new patterns and new yarn.

Huzzah.

*******Epilogue -- Yorick's fate**********

After Hallowe'en, Yorick (my crocheted & felted skull,) was mysteriously restored to us. He was left perched in a tree branch outside our back gate. So, though we didn't get to play with him on The Evening as we would have wished -- he has come home to us and will be washed and put away for next year. Hopefully next year, my daughter can be persuaded to let him stay and not fling him over the fence again.

I wish he could talk -- it would be fun to hear about his Hallowe'en adventure!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

8 hour Tinkerbell Costume

DH was supposed to be making a Butterfly costume for my daughter this year, so I was resting easy thinking I was off the hook for Hallowe'en! Woo hoo!

But things kept getting put off. Which worried me. 2 days before Hallowe'en, I brought home a pair of white wings I'd found at the thrift store for $2 -- thinking DH could use them to build the costume instead of starting from scratch with the straight wires he bought. Just to save time, since it was getting so close. But he rejected this idea, (with no little scorn,) and DD saw the wings and declared them fairy wings and started wearing them.

1 day before Hallowe'en, DH started work on the costume and it became clear after hours of his labor that it wasn't going to work out the way he had intended. The wire turned the fabric into a tangled mess and trying to repair it became hopeless.

Luckily, we still had the fairy wings and DD was content to be a fairy. But she wanted to be Tinkerbell. What to do??

Last month, she and I had Kool-Aid dyed some Aran weight merino green so that I could knit a mermaid tail for her. This was no longer necessary because a friend of ours has offered to sew her a tail (for Christmas,) and we accepted.

So I grabbed the green yarn and started knitting.

The first pass of points I knit 4 of and didn't like them. They were beaded and they had yarnovers in them and they were far too fussy. So I ripped them out and started over with plain stockinette points with no beads.

I worked until 2AM and got up to where I thought the waist should be. I started doing ribbing in the back because I was hoping it could be strapless just like Tinkerbell's.

The next day I was still struggling to get the dress to stay up on its own (which, had I only known, was pointless,) and I went down 3 needle sizes in the back with the ribbing. I did some short rows in the back to compensate for the change of height in the fabric (which was silly of me.) Did a few little short rows at the bust to give it a little sweetheart shape, which I liked.

Between the ribbing and my struggling with changing needle sizes and increasing and decreasing the # of stitches trying to find a way to get it to stay up... and of course feeding and entertaining my daughter all day... it took the whole day to finish the dress! But I did an i-cord bind off all the way around and then went off to find little bells to sew onto the bottom of the dress.

As I should have realized, the dress would not stay up. I forgot to factor in 3 year old wiggling!! So, I crocheted a cord to fasten it up around the neck, halter-style. Which made me regret that I didn't just do the whole thing in stockinette. It would have been much faster and the ribbing is bulky.

But she can't see the ribbing and she doesn't care and she LOVED wearing the dress on Hallowe'en! She shook her bottom so the bells would jingle and told us that "that is how Tinkerbell says 'trick or treat.' " She'd march up to people at their door and stand there and shake her booty. It was pretty cute (and often scored her gales of laughter and an extra piece of chocolate goodness!)

Specs:

Pattern -- totally improvised. Basically 8 triangles all joined together and knit stockinette in a tube, decreasing as necessary up to the bustline. (There was ribbing, but it shouldn't have been done so why talk about it?) Short rows at the bust to make a small heart. Crocheted thread around the neck. Bells on the bottom points. C'est la!

Needles -- Sizes 9, 8, 7, 6. Next time I'd do it all on size 9s.

Yarn -- Recycled (reclaimed, really) 100% Aran weight Merino. Dyed green with Kool Aid.

Alas, Poor Yorick

R.I.P. Yorick...

So, I found this kicky pattern for a felted crochet skull (a free pattern from Lion brand yarns,) and made it for Mike to take to our friends' Hallowe'en party last week. He wore his Renaissance Faire costume and went as "Hamlet" holding the felted skull. It was a big hit.

Well, as Mike was getting ready to go to the Hallowe'en party for his work o
n Wednesday morning, we went to find poor Yorick and he was nowhere to be found. We searched high and low. Finally, we asked Rosaline and she confessed to disliking him.

She told us that she threw him over the back fence and onto the sidewalk yesterday. I don't know for sure that she really did it, but it wouldn't surprise me. I turned the house upside down after Mike left hoping to drive it over to him before his party if we could find it.

No such luck. Alas, poor Yorick -- I hope those that passed on the street and adopted you give you a good home.

Stats: Pattern: free Lion Brand Yarns pattern for felted skull
Needle: Crochet hook size P
Yarn: Recycled Aran weight merino


Friday, October 26, 2007

FO - Ariel Seashells

My daughter is obsessed with Ariel and the Little Mermaid. A friend is sewing her a green mermaid tail, and I found this great pattern for scallop shells from a 1983 pamphlet called "Crochet by the Sea" by Annie's Attic.

At my knitting group on Wednesday, I crocheted the shells and then yesterday my daughter and I sat on the floor and I improvised and crocheted the ties and straps to fit her 3 year old body.

I think it came out quite well!

I've always wanted to be a mermaid, too -- I guess having a mermaid for a daughter is the next best thing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FO - Huckleberry Ascot from Interweave Holiday 2007

First off -- all of my yarn has been baked and sealed into its own private little zip-lock freezer bag. It took two and a half days. I shudder to see my gas bill for this month. But I saw NO more evidence of moth infestation in anything and it should all be well protected now. Zowie, what a nightmare.

On to more fun things! I got my Interweave Knits Holiday issue at the bookstore last week and fell in love with the Huckleberry Scarf. I fell more in love when I realized that I needed 2 skeins of worsted weight Alpaca and that I actually HAD that in my stash -- a gift from juliepersons. So I happily cast on and knit on it. 2 days later -- ta da!



I had to go up a needle size to get gauge -- but if I could do it over again, I would knit with the smaller needles and be slightly under gauge. The problem is that the weight of the heavier ends with the bobbles stretch things out quite a bit - much more so than your gauge swatch will do! So, this is - I think - a bit bigger than the pattern intends. At least from looking at the photograph of the pattern. (Yes, I could take mine out and measure it against the measurements -- but it's knit and I'm done and I'm too lazy to pull it out and see if it's "right" or "wrong". It's what it is and it's lovely.)



Nice to have a Finished Object when I have so many unfinished ones on my needles at present.

I did finally bind off on my Solstice Slip sock! A decision has been made. I will carry on and knit sock #2.

I was deeply conflicted about this sock -- I liked the pattern, I loved the yarn (Socks that Rock Lightweight in the "Lucy" colorway.) However, together they just didn't sing. But, I knit on that sock while my daughter was sick and I couldn't bring myself to tear it out. But I couldn't bring myself to cast it off. Even though the heel cup is a leetle too big.

Finally, I decided that I would learn the tubular bind off technique. That way, when I looked at the socks I would think "What a lovely bind off!!" And it is a beautiful bind off. I really, really like it and think it will become my standard for toe-up socks. It's stretchy, it's pretty, it's simple. Especially if you've ever done the sewn bind-off. It's a snap. And ain't it purty? Even unblocked - as this sock is -- it's pretty.

Now I begin on #2.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What's Cookin'?

In which I come clean about what I found in my stash...


hint: flutter flutter flutter.

OH yes. *shiver* Moths. Happily, I found the source right away and was able to discard it and clean up the area really well. But I still had exposed yarn that needed to be saved.

After scouring the internet for advice (much of which is conflicting.) I discovered the following things:
  1. Cedar: Don't bother. It has to be refreshed every year to be any kind of deterrent. How many of us do that or even know how to do that? And it's just that -- a deterrent. And just like any deterrent, when the little critters are hungry enough they cannot BE deterred. This goes for bay leaves, citronella, lemongrass and all other sachet-like methods of moth-repelling.
  2. Freezing: Well... there are moths in Antarctica, did you know? First of all, you have to have a DEEP freeze. Like none of us have in our kitchens. And it has to be set lower than you would use a deep freeze for if you were using it for, as most deep freeze owners are, meat. And you would have to freeze it for over 2 weeks. And even then... the eggs could still thaw and hatch.
  3. Microwave: The Internet advice I read said "Microwave on high for 20-30 seconds." So I tried that. On a little moth caterpillar I found on some yarn I immediately threw away. He was still wiggling.
Finally, the advice I settled on was to keep the yarn at a temperature of at least 120 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.

So, I have been baking my yarn. At 160 degrees F for 40 minutes. ALL of my yarn. Even things that I think are pretty safe. Including all sweaters I've not unraveled yet and all other sweaters in that room.

And when they've been baked, I bought an Industrial size box of 2 gallon zip-lock bags at Smart & Final and am placing each yarn in quarantine in its own bag.

It's actually helped me organize a good deal more than I was doing even through the entering-stash-in-Ravelry exercise.



Henceforth, I will immediately quarantine any yarn that comes into my house - even if it comes from a shop (did I ever mention that I saw a little moth fly out of the sock yarn at Dharma Trading Company this summer?) I am determined NEVER to have this happen again.

My oven's been running all weekend and will probably still be going at least until tomorrow night. OK, probably the night after that.

And then -- I'm cleaning the oven.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ain't they purdy?



My package from Knit Picks came the other day. My full set of Harmony needles, plus some fixed circulars in small sizes. Aren't they gorgeous?? The colors in photos and the catalogue make them look a little garish - like the colors are flat. But they aren't -- they have depth and a little bit of opalescence that is just stunning! And because they're lacquered wood, they're much slicker than other wood or bamboo needles I've used. So, I won't be getting rid of my Addi Naturas - but I am thrilled!!

Oh, and anyone looking for good, strong wooden dpns -- look no farther! One of the reasons Knit Picks went with the lacquered wood (and it's lacquered in layers because of the different colors,) is for strengh in the sharp tips they wanted to use.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The World's Ugliest Scarf?



No, just the world's ugliest swatch. After entering all my yarn in the Ravelry database, I decided that I really needed to know which of my recycled yarns are feltable. Hence, the Ugly Swatch.

Let's see shall we?



The dark black didn't really felt well. It has a high twist to it and is kind of sproingy, so I'm not too surprised. The pinks were identical sweaters other than color, and they felted pretty much the same, though the lighter color didn't lose stitch definition as well. The red and the blue felted very well - the blue is quite furry. The gray and white felted similarly.

But what amazes me is the different in the width of the ones that had almost identical widths in the first swatch. The pinks really pulled in horizontally. The red and the blue didn't change much in width. The gray more than the white, but less than the pink.

Fascinting. So, most of them felt -- but I must use extreme caution in mixing them up in any project. Which is kind of limiting.

Hmmmmmm...... I think I shall swatch the blue and the gray together and see what happens. I have my eye on a felted double knit bag. So I NEED 2 colors (and we all know that I am NOT buying yarn,) and I can't dye something because I don't think I have enough of any one yarn to knit the entire double-knit beast.

Of course, casting on for another project is not exactly what I need to do right now. But I am in that annoying project-limbo that happens to me when none of the things on my needles are working right.

The lace gloves I started are going to be too small. I tried to move up to size 0 needles, but I LOST one of my 16" circs (grrrrrrrrrrr.)

My lace cape is languishing -- I'm just not up to tackling the edging right now.

I knit 2 rows of tubular knitting on the top of my "Solstice Slip" sock but still can't bring myself to bind it off... I don't think I want to rip it out, though. When I bind it off, I know I'll jump into sock #2 -- I don't seem to suffer from Second Sock Syndrome. At least not so far.

I'm toying with a vintage 1860 pattern.

I'm secretly fighting the desire to knit an Actual Sweater for Myself. (GASP!)

Twiddle, twiddle, twiddle...

Victorian Bell Gauge

I have entered every single speck of my stash into Ravelry. It hurt, but I did it. And I have 2 big bags of yarn to give away, and a bunch of yarns in my "to sell or trade" section in Ravelry.

And my craft room is a little more organized as well! (And no, you can't see a picture of it.)

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a very small bidding war (I think I was working against one other knitter,) to get a vintage Bell Gauge. I've wanted one of these puppies for a long time, because vintage patterns (1920 and earlier,) have a very different needle sizing system and I kept seeing conflicting information about it on the 'net.

When I started a knitting pattern from 1848 that specifically mentioned a needle size "in Bell gauge," I went eBay hunting and found this adorable little thing from a seller in Australia!

Made in England, the gauge fits easily in the palm of my hand and I completely adore it for its history, its usefulness (I now know that a modern size 0 needle is a size 24 using the Bell Gauge,) and its beauty.

I'm wanting to make a little beaded necklace for it to hang on - maybe I can incorporate a couple of row counters as well! ;)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Coming to terms with my Stash

Ah, Ravelry. How I love the...
And yet...
You've forced my stash out of the closet.

I am being faced with the fact that I now have more stashed yarns on Ravelry than I have finished projects.

This is not good, folks!! Granted, a portion of it is recycled yarn that I've harvested from thrift store sweaters. A portion of it.

But I have been amazed by how much commercial yarn I have. Some of it, again - bought at thrift stores. But not all. OH no. Much of it isn't.

So... I am going on a yarn diet.

Truly, I have enough yarn and projects planned to get me through a year and that's what I'm going to try to do.

I realize that there was a huge knit-from-your-stash movement this year, but I didn't really participate. So, I'm missing the boat here a bit. But I think it will help me stay focused if it's just something I am doing for me, because I need to.

So. No more yarn buying for me unless (yes, there are always exceptions:

1. Stitches West. If I go to Stitches West, I get to buy yarn. I won't go nuts, I promise. But c'mon -- it's Stitches West! That would just be cruel.

2. If I truly cannot shop from my stash for a particular project that cannot be substituted. That Must Happen.

That's it. Unlike the 2007 Knit-from-Stash -- sock yarn COUNTS. I have enough sock yarn to get me through the next year easily.

So there ya go. If you visit me on Ravelry, please drop me a note.

And be kind about the stash. I'm trying to at least be honest about it. (It's not ALL there yet. But I am working on it.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Toying with a Knit Blog

I've had a combined life/knit blog for awhile now. And I'm finally tired of combining them and decided to set forth alone into the wilds of knit-blogdom and confess that I really do have enough content for a knitting blog.

Albeit a somewhat reserved one.

Maybe.

After all, I just found out (thanks to Ravelry,) that I have more stash than I have completed projects.

And that's NOT including all my recycled yarn.

Eeek!

(I'm Beanmama on Ravelry. Come say hi!)