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.


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.


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