Friday, August 29

Finished: Button Tab Hat

This was a total instant gratification project. I finished this hat in two days and I just love it.

Button Tab Hat (missing buttons)
still missing buttons!

The yarn is Creatively Dyed’s Soft Merino. It is so soft and the colors are beautiful. I love the little yellow/green flecks that show up every so often. You can find the free pattern here: Button-Tab Hat or on Ravelry. I only used about half the skein of yarn so I am going to make a little neck scarf thing with the leftovers.

Haven't been able to find matching buttons that I really love yet. At least I have a little time before it is cold enough to wear it!

Stranded Knitting at Stitches

I took an hour long market session class on stranded knitting at stitches. It wasn’t quite as good as I had expected, but I guess there is only so much you can do in an hour. That being said, I did learn how to do stranded knitting successfully (and correctly) and picked up a few great tips such as how to weave in ends as you knit. This is the sample I made and essentially my second try at stranded knitting.

stranded knitted practice
it's finished now, I need to update the photo!

You needed chunky yarn for the class, and I used Elsebeth Lavold’s Chunky AL. I love this yarn, but it sheds so much that I looked like a cat had been sitting on my shirt after I knit with it!

I typically knit continental (yarn in my left hand) and have never been successful in my attempts to learn how to knit with my right hand. Somehow, I managed to do most of this swatch using a two-handed method and knit with one color in each of my hands. I’m not sure why this right handed knitting clicked all of the sudden; maybe because my left hand was occupied with yarn of its own and didn’t want to “help”?

I think I am going to try to lightly felt this tube and turn it into a zippered pouch.

Now I want to pick out my first real stranded knitting project. I am thinking of Kate Gilbert's Bird in the Hand Mittens. Any suggestions?

Needle Felting at Stitches

Friday morning at Stitches my mom and I took a needle felting class together with Debbie Radtke. It was a lot of fun, and much easier than I had expected. Here are the little pieces I worked on during class. The first is a piece of a felted wool blanket Debbie gave to us to practice on, and the last two are felted squares I made to turn into a credit card pouch, and camera case. On the wooden skewer are a couple of beads I tried after she explained that it is possible to needle felt bits of fiber into beads.

Needle Felting supplies

This is something I definitely want to do more of in the future. I have a zillion ideas in my head of things I could needle felt! Of course we had to pick up a couple bags of fiber at the market.

The only downsize it my throat was very scratchy and my eyes were burning after working with the fiber for the 3 hours in class. Stupid allergies.

Stitches Midwest '08 Wrap-Up

I spent last Friday and Saturday at Stitched Midwest in Schaumburg, IL. (Yes, I took a day off work to go to Stitches... what a bad girl. I only felt slightly guilty.) Now Schaumburg is just another Chicago suburb really (although there is every store you could possibly need there), but mom and I stayed at the hotel and played tourist for the weekend even though we were both close to home. It was a nice mini-vacation with yarn!

I had a fairly long list of things I wanted to buy in the market and had been saving money for months for the occasion. In fact, some items on my list were things that I saw and Stitched last year and didn't buy. I figured that if I wanted them for over a year I really should just go ahead and treat myself. Here is what I brought home:

Stitches Midwest '08 goodies

WEBS Valley Yarns in Florence for a sweater
Berroco Inca Gold (also from WEBS) for a husband-scarf
2 skeins of Koigu for a Chevron Lace scarf
Cat-face sock blockers
A 9” size zero Hiya Hiya circular
New Pathways for Sock Knitters, by Cat Bordhi
Romantic Style, for the Butterfly dress pattern
A crocheted wire/gemstone necklace kit
Blocking wire set (not pictured)

All that, and I still came home with some cash! I have to say though that by the end of the day on Saturday, everything starts to look the same... especially the hand dyed and variegated yarns!

I did take a few classes, and will write about those separately.

Finished: Broadripple Socks #2

broadripple socks v.2

Ah, the infamous Stitches Midwest ‘07 sock yarn. This is one of two balls mom picked out for me to make her socks. I started the first sock almost immediately, and then put it down for other things. I picked it up again around October, finished the first sock, cast on the second sock, and put it down again to work on Christmas gifts. A few months ago I decided enough was enough and I HAD to finish at least one pair of her socks before Stitches 2008.

The pattern is a fingering weight version of the Broadripple Socks from Knitty. I can’t seem to find the pattern online anymore at Threadbear, but I suppose it wouldn’t be that hard to improvise from the original pattern. This is my second time making these socks and I still love the pattern. It's got enough to do that you don't get bored but easy enough to memorize and it looks great with striping yarns. I carried the leg pattern down the heel flap for this pair, and really love how it turned out:

broadripple socks v.2 heel

Hmm, I should take a photo with the sock on, I think you will be able to see the heel more clearly.

I finished these with about two weeks to spare, and gave them to her at Stitches ‘08. The second pair from the second ball of yarn is halfway done now too. (I was smart enough not to ask her to pick out any new sock yarn this year.)

Lazy Blogger

The further behind I get in the blog posts I would like to write, the less motivation I have to catch up. Also I am being lazy in downloading photos from my camera. So I am going to write up a bunch of things now, post them all at once, and add photos as I get around to it. And try to stay caught up in the future. Although I’m sure I’ve said that before!

Thursday, August 7

Not as fast as I’d hoped.

I cast on for the Perfect Periwinkle Turtleneck Tube Vest from Fitted Knits a week or so ago, thinking it would be a fast project. I suppose it could have been – for someone besides me. First off I decided to use Cascade Sierra, a cotton blend yarn. Even this amount of cotton is making my hands hurt. So that slows me down. But most of the problem is my own impatience. I wanted to shorten the neck because I am too claustrophobic to wear a turtleneck (seriously!) and decided that about an inch was “enough”. Now that I am looking at it, I don't think it's enough.

knit vest

The way this top is constructed, the two sides of the neck form the entire shoulder area. (Does that make sense? Hopefully you can see what I mean in the photo.) I tried it on and it looks sort of funny. I need two or three inches of collar I think. That’s still less than the 5 to make it a turtleneck, so hopefully I won’t die wearing it.

Also, I don’t think I am doing the left lifted increases and right lifted increases correctly. I am getting some funky small holes along the increase lines that I don’t like. Not that they will matter when I rip it back to the collar. I just need to learn how to do them correctly for next time.

I had hoped to be finished with this project by now, not started over. I am still hoping to wear it to Stitches, so that leaves me 15 days to finish. (Stitches is in 15 days!! Hooray!)

Wednesday, August 6

Midwest Fiber Fair Purchases

I wanted to show you the yarn I bought at the Midwest Fiber Fair a few weeks ago. I didn’t have much money to spend, but did get two gorgeous skeins of yarn.

Plain and Fancy Sheep and Wool Co DK

This skein is from Plain and Fancy Sheep and Wool Co. from Henderson, TX. They don’t seem to have a website, but you can see some of their yarns on Ravelry.

It is DK weight, and the colors look pretty true on my monitor. All of their colors were so beautiful. I could have bought the entire stand. I think I am going to make a lacy scarf or shawl from it.

Creatively Dyed

This one is from Creatively Dyed; a merino worsted weight. Sooo soft. It was such a difficult decision picking out one skein from her as well! There are so many types of yarn and color combinations you could look for hours and still not be sure what to get. This is going to be a hat – probably the Banana Republic Knockoff hat (on Ravelry).

Monday, August 4

Birthday Goodies

I thought I’d show off the gifts I received for my birthday last week. These are from my hubby – Notice the heavy inclusion of knitting books? I didn’t specially tell him to get me any of these; he picked them out on his own. He rocks.

birthday gifts

My parents gave me a new digital camera! I am so excited.

new digital camera!

This is an Olympus Stylus, one of the waterproof/shockproof models. My original camera, which is from 2002 I believe, was actually the first model of waterproof cameras that Olympus came out with. It was great to be able to use it in the rain or snow. This one can withstand amazing things such as underwater depths of 10ft, being frozen in and chipped out of a block of ice, and falling 5 feet onto a hard surface. I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about anything happening to it accidentally, but I think I would have a hard time purposely subjecting a piece of electronics to these elements! For example the instruction manual tells you that if the outside of the camera is dirty or muddy, well then just plop it in a bucket of clean water and swish it around! Ummm yeah… I don’t think I am physically able to put something that looks like a normal digital camera in a bucket of water.

I’ve played around with it a little and it does take much better photos than my old camera, especially in low light. Of course it is not where near as good as an SLR would be I’m sure – but one new toy at a time. =)

Saturday, August 2


This Friday, August 1st, was my 28th birthday. I didn't have to work, so I spent the morning lounging around by myself. I did a little knitting, watched some I Love Lucy DVDs, surfed Ravelry, and drank an entire pint of chocolate milk. (I mildly regretted that later...)

I wanted to go for a semi-local mini-vacation for my birthday weekend, but everything we looked at was either booked or outrageously expensive. Oh well. So I decided for a nice dinner out and movie with my husband. Dinner was Tsukasa, a Japanese grill - Benihana type place. Yummy. Except you smell like fried rice for the rest of the night! We stopped for a scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry's and then went to see the X-Files movie. I know it hasn't received very good reviews, but I'm an X-Files fan from way back in the day and I really liked it. I might say more about it later if I remember. I'm waaay behind in posts I want to write.

I received some great gifts from Steve, including some knitting related ones! I'll show you those in the next post. We are going to visit my parents for a birthday BBQ today. They say the have gifts and cake for me. Yay!