Saturday, December 18, 2004

inspiration needed

Awhile ago, wanting a warm yarn to knit with, I ordered two skeins of Reynolds Andean Alpaca 4-ply:

I thought it wanted to be arm warmers, but turns out, it doesn't, at least not on size 8 needles in 2x2 rib. Does anyone else have an idea for what it wants to be? I have 220 yards, and it knits 4.5 st/in on 8s.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Production Knitting

I don't think I'm meant to accept custom orders, as I'm not very good at finishing them in a timely manner. I've had a bag sitting here for three weeks, completed save for sewing the strap on, and I still have two scarves that I'm supposed to finish before xmas, not to mention all of my gift knitting.

I picked up my order of 8 oz of baby Romney roving from Solitude Farms at Dupont Farmer's Market today. It's soft and white, and supposedly won't felt too badly when I dye it. I'm going to bring it home to Chicago this winter break (ah, the joys of my academic schedule) for my sister and I to work on dyeing and spinning. No room in the Forester for the wheel, with two dogs and gifts and everything else one needs for a 2 1/2 week trip, but it'll be nice to get back to my spindle again, anyway.

Also, I once again won't make it to knitting meetup this month. Tim defends his dissertation proposal on Wednesday, which means we'll either be celebrating or drowning or collective sorrows. In either case, we're likely here for at least another year and a half, thanks to his advisor, so I'll have plenty more chances to make it back to one of my favorite social knitting venues.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I made this:

(it's thick and thin on purpose)

and I'm knitting a lot

and I wish I had time to write

but I have to meet with 300 students over the course of three weeks so I'm a little swamped.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Whole Bunch of Bag

It is sad to me that this will felt down to just about 14" tall, but it was still a pretty quick knit. Just the strap left to go!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Knitting Machine

No, I don't own a knitting machine, but I feel like one when I'm getting ready for craft fairs. This weekend, I finished five hats:

All of them are wool-blends and chunky: Paton's Shetland Chunky, Plymouth Encore Chunky, or two strands of Wool-Ease knitted together. I knitted while hanging out at Paula's, and while watching movies. The hat in the middle of the bottom row was finished during Finding Nemo, and the blue/natural striped during Ocean's Eleven. Maybe I'll start naming my finished products after the movies that I watch while completing them.

Friday, October 22, 2004

...Corrientes, Nueve de Julio...

So I went to the Folk Art Studio in Bowie last night with Paula and picked up a bunch of Rio de La Plata yarn. First of all, I think it's cool that the random link above that I found via google lists the yarn's wool content (Material: 100% Uruguayan Wool. Composition: 27 1/2 microns corriedale and 19 1/2 microns merino). Second, it's great to knit with! It's very soft, especially after working almost exclusively with LP Bulky. The colors are nice -- I'm using a variegated, and it created an interesting stripe pattern on the hat that I just finished. Kathy at Folk Art Studio likens it to Manos, but I've never knitted with Manos, so I can't provide reference there, but I do recommend it, for those of you who can get to Bowie or otherwise find it. One skein was 140 yards and $13, which seemed reasonable for a soft, hand-spun, variegated-dye wool.

Oh yeah, and it makes me sing the song "Buenos Aires" from Evita. Hence the title of the post.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

time to kill

I'm at work, waiting for an email merge to finish (Word has merged 1099 records so far!) and hoping that typing up an entry doesn't crash the whole system. I've been getting the Blue Screen of Death a lot lately at work, and I don't even have that much of interest on this computer, since it belongs to the school and all.

I missed the knitting meetup last night because a) I'm getting over a cold; b) it was rainy and nasty outside; and c) the West Wing premiere was on. Happily, the show wasn't awful -- I have high hopes that it'll get better before it's taken off the air (which I imagine will be soon) -- season five just wasn't very good, overall, but I will remain optimistic for six.

I am knitting for another craft fair. Sigh. My poor, neglected Top Secret sweater. I've also been doing a little bit of the holiday knitting, but not at the rate that I should. I had a little misadventure in felting the other night. I finished three projects, a hat, a small bag, and a wine tote, all ready for felting. Threw 'em in the washer, and didn't pay enough attention to them, apparently. The hat was supposed to be grown-up sized, and instead may fit a 6 year old, and the wine tote will only hold a bottle of Reisling. I knitted the bag with DK weight and novely yarn held together, and it didn't felt as tightly as I was expecting, so it's a little bigger and floppier than planned. Hm. Hopefully, prospective buyers will like these qualities in my slightly dysfunctional felted items.

I am the only person on livejournal who lists felted knits as an interest.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

an update and a quiz

Looks like I'm craft fair knitting again -- I've finished two bags and a hat this week, all of them inspired by tweaking patterns from Felted Knits. A couple more wine cozies and I'll at least feel like I have a bit of inventory. I'm also going to knit and felt a bag to hold my Scrabble tiles for an upcoming Scrabble tournament. I've been longing for a bag with a flat bottom, and it shouldn't take too long. I may even do the drawstring rows in a non-felting wool, so that the bag will close snugly, but we'll see if I get that motivated.

Knitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can't imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


I had a lot of fun at the craft fair, and lots of positive reinforcement for my knitting. I really love it, and definitely knit too much to just gift all of my friends, so making a bit of cash on the side is a welcome opportunity. I think the wheel even managed to pay for itself a bit. We were invited to a gala event in a month or so, and are considering doing it, although I'm not sure how well that'll mesh with holiday knitting. Lots of fast and fluffy scarves in my future, I think, and I want to do some stocking caps.

It's nice to be back on my sweater again. I finished the body while sitting and knitting at the fair, and am working my way up one sleeve, in the round. I cast on 54 stitches, and will decrease down to the called-for 48, because I decided that I wanted bell sleeves. These things are huge. Fun, though, I hope, once they're done.

Off to a conference in Cincinnati tomorrow, which means lots of time to knit in the airport!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Things I have left to do for the craft fair (off the top of my head):
-come up with a design concept for the booth
-make some bag/hat racks
-label and price painted yarns and knitted items
-stuff and sew mice
-make an inventory of what I'm selling, so I can track what sells
-finish a few hats and bags
-write up small bag pattern
-put together and write up 100 yd hat pattern (kid size of some variety)
-xerox patterns
-figure out how much to charge for handspun
-make labels for handspun
-get a bunch of small bills and change
-make signs or other eye catching display items for the booth

What I've made:
-4 wine totes
-5 or so felted bags
-3 dozen hand-dyed 100 yard skeins
-6 or so hats
-20 catnip mice
-a dozen or so dishcloths
-3 scarves

What else I'd like to make (in the next week - ha):
-small felted bags
-skeins of handspun

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Nothing like getting to work at 7:30 to give you time to update and surf the Internet. My brain isn't awake enough to do much else quite yet.

Went to The Folk Art Studio in Bowie last night (and look! it has a webpage now!) for bulky Lamp's Pride and a kiwi bubble milk tea, complete with whipped cream and green bubbles. Mmm, my favorite variety of "green tea." I purchased a skein each of dark green and pink LP to go with my various purples and a pair of size 11 16" circulars. I am 16" into my third wine cozy, and I think I'll try my hand at Nalgene holders next. I also did a thorough search of my house and have found seven ready-to-felt mice. I almost put them back in their hiding places to see if they would multiply more extensively -- I could've sworn I'd only knitted three or so.

I'm in the process of designing labels for my yarn skeins. A rough picture:

Modeled after business cards I ordered:

Thoughts? Comments?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Craft Fair Countdown

First, big thanks to Paula for my fabulous birthday present! It's featured here and is so wonderful!

I'm knitting like a crazy person for the craft fair:

Saturday, October 2, 2004, 10 A.M.–5 P.M.
Columbia Heights Market Place at 14th & Irving Streets.

I've done a bunch of mice recently, and two felted wine totes. I have to pick up more bulky feltable yarns, since everything I have left at this point is purple, and none of the purples really go together as well as they could.

I have also been dyeing. An insane amount of dyeing. I now have 3 dozen brightly colored (and fruity smelling) 100-yard-ish skeins of wool. Half of them have been bundled up and are ready to go, and the rest I'm probably going to have to rinse again, to try to at least mellow out the kool aid scentedness.

How much would you pay for 100-ish yards of one-of-a-kind, feltable yarn, which will come with a free pattern that I made up?

Tonight is the meetup, but I don't know if I'll make it. I may go out to Bowie's Folk Art Studio and grab some more Lamb's Pride, and a kiwi bubble tea.

I'm still daydreaming about the post-fair knitting. I now have 7 balls of Aurora 8 - two lime green, one forest green, and four eggplant. I don't know what they'll be, but they're so pretty and soft...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

the perfect work bag

Just one of the many projects that's on hold until after the craft fair (the afghan is the other big one that I can't wait to start). I've been conceptualizing a work bag in my head for a couple of months now. It all began when I realized that my current bag is a) too heavy; b) boring and black; c) dressed with too many pockets that aren't suiting my needs.

My perfect work bag will be a felted bag, probably striped, but possibly just with different blocks of colors. It will not be variegated, I don't think. It will probably at least complement my lunch bag (which is also the Fiona bag), which is burgundy with a black trim.

It will need to hold the following: altoids, keys, planner, clipboard, wallet, mp3 player, glasses/sunglasses, a knitting project, with room for other incidental things.

It will probably have a specially-sized mp3 player pocket, plus a front pouch pocket, and a big middle compartment.

It will probably not be knitted in Lamb's Pride, since it's got the mohair halo thing going. It will probably be worsted weight. Maybe I'll try Cascade, since I've still never knitted in it.

Someday, I will knit for myself again, and not for the craft fair.

In other news, the knitting circle that I'm starting up at my campus (UMBC) begins next Friday. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

hat madness

I have a big head, as heads go, and I think that it makes me automatically knit big hats. I just finished a hat with Takhi Baby that's even too big for me, which means I know it won't fit most of the populace. I'm hoping to felt it just a little bit, and call it normally-sized.

I have also done quite a lot of Kool-Aid dyeing recently:

All of the skeins are right around 100 yards, and will go into felted bag kits for the craft fair. Me, my giant bottle of vinegar, and my packs of Kool Aid have been banished to the basement and an extra microwave, as the smell gets a little overwhelming.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Sweater Progress

With the help of a gathering, and a Knitting-N-the-City yarn swap night, I've made a little progress on the Knitty Top Secret Sweater:

I guess it's striping a little, but I don't really notice it while knitting or looking at the actual sweater as much as I do looking at those pictures. I should really be doing more craft fair stuff than sweater stuff right now, though...

Thursday, August 19, 2004

tank girl

I had a lovely time at the knitting night last night at Mayorga, and again suffered the guilt of ignoring my little blog. Big projects right now are gearing up for a potential craft fair in DC, and the continued card-spin-knit sort of yarn. I have a huge bag of fleece hanging out in the living room, and I am fascinated by the metamorphosis that the wool takes. So far, the yarn has been full of burrs, because I'm lazy and don't work that hard to get them out of the fluff, but the colors are lovely, and I like the feel of the natural sheepy oils on my hands.

In the world of knitting, the Berella sweater is coming along, as are a multitude of scarves and other smaller projects. Here's the finished tank, now that I remembered to take a picture of it:

I'm pretty pleased with it, especially since I was making up my pattern as I went along once I hit the neck.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

new york bound

Life is busy. I have been away from home for the past two weekends (moving someone to NYC, tanning in Ocean City), and will be away again this weekend, moving another someone around in NYC. To this end, I have started a car-worthy knitting project. I'm knitting a variation on Knitty's Top Secret (the link's in the sidebar - I'm too lazy to html it again), with Berella Polar in Aqua/Sage/Denim. I've knit up hats in the yarn before, and it's quick, springily-textured, washable, and not too itchy. I swatched the thing on 10 1/2s straight, and the gauge was around 2.75 st/in, so I revised the pattern around that gauge and cast on 114 stitches, which would've been equivalent to the diameter of the pattern at a 36" bust. After a couple of inches on knitting in the round, I checked the gauge and it magically changed to 3 st/in, so rather than rip it and restart, I re-engineered it again to be a straight body rather than a-line. It'll still be lovely. I'm especially pleased to have a sweater with bell sleeves.

Am also knitting for a craft fair, and am back to working up some felted catnip mice. I inherited two fleeces from a friend of mine, and have also borrowed her combs and cards, so I can experiment with carding and spinning, and then working up mice, which are felted and don't have to be soft, so it's a nice combination. There are still 2 pounds of Finn to dye in my living room. If I'm ever around for a weekend, I'll get to that as well.

I miss knitting with people. I will have to make it to a local group some time soon.

Monday, July 26, 2004

I've been so busy knitting and spinning

...that I have neglected my blog. I have also been out of my office for much of the past two weeks, so I haven't been sitting at a computer where posting was easy. But, I finished a scarf and a tank top, plus the edging on Charlotte (she just needs blocking now). I've spun about 500 yards since my last post, and did a bunch of dyeing this weekend, so I'm good for roving for awhile.

While dyeing my merino, I think I lightly felted it. I spun a bit this morning, and it's harder to pull off the roving than it usually is. In some ways, this is nice -- I'm less likely to let it get pulled out of my hands and break. This also makes it easier to overspin, though, as I never stop moving my foot as I pull at the roving. I'm learning to compensate for it, however, so things are getting smoother now that I'm halfway through an ounce or so. I also spun up some sport weight last night. I usually spin at a heavy worsted weight once the singles are plied, so it was exciting to find out that I can, in fact, spin more thinly when I choose to. Oh, it's also official now -- I wrote a check, and the wheel is mine!

Here's the scarf that I just finished. I bought two skeins of green that I thought would be a matching dyelot, but they were not, so I had to switch back and forth between skeins every two rows to even it out. It's a little too scratchy for me to wear, but it was fun to knit on someone else's handspun. I bought the yarn right before I got the wheel.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

still not quite fixed

So, I was trying to use blogger's comment engine rather than haloscan's, and that's where my problems with html kicked in. I still don't have everything back the way I wanted it, but I prefer this comment program thingie. I do have all of your comments over at Haloscan, too, but from now on, Blogger (when it's working) will email me any new comments, and that makes me happy.

Enough of that boring stuff. Today was a good day for fiber fun down in Alexandria. Paula and I made the pilgrimage to VA today, equipped with her birthday money, and cash that I procured from a recent book selling. We started at Springwater Fiber Workshop, and I think we'll be taking a class down there at some point as well. We both picked up roving, generally enjoyed fondling things, and got intimidated by the idea of real (chemical) dyes. I bought 8 oz. of natural colored merino, which I will dye eventually, plus a couple of ounces each of navy Corriedale and purple merino/tencel. I've been wanting to try tencel for awhile, since I really enjoy wearing it. Of course, I don't have enough to make anything wearable with whatever I spin; I'll consider that commitment down the road. Less than $20 for 12 ounces of wool, which will make a sweater's worth of yarn. I love spinning.

After a lunch break to refresh and re-energize, we headed over to Knit Happens, which is spacious and bright and full of fabulous people. I appreciate the amount of space they have, for sitting, for looking around, and for displaying the yarns. The book selection was good, as was the yarn selection, and we quite enjoyed the armchairs. I only wish it were a little closer.

Came back to my house and did some easter egg dye coloring (over-dyeing some very kool-aid red roving, and some white), wound up a bunch of mohair/nylon/wool boucle (I think it'll be a shawl someday), and watched Paula spin for a bit. I'm not sure what I think about easter egg dyes. I'm guessing my dye-vinegar-water ratios were off, because the dye wasn't sticking very well. I think I microwaved 4 oz of Border Leicester for about half an hour (in 2 minute increments) before it was even starting to take the dye. We'll see how it spins up. I do like the colors a lot better than kool-aid, though.

I'm in the home stretch on my socks, and 8" into my tank sweater. We rented LOTR: Return of the King, which should give me a few good hours of knittable television time.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


I think I broke my code.
Easter Egg Yarn!

I just found out tht you can dye wool with easter egg dye! I'm not sure why this didn't dawn on me earlier, but it didn't. I have lots of leftover dyes that I bought on sale this year, so after going to VA for a wool shopping trip, I will be lining my kitchen with paper towels and playing with some new colors!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

i made this

As promised, I have knitted things from my handspun yarn before deciding to buy the spinning wheel. I am now more confident that it would be a sound investment. The scarf and mittens are made solely of yarn that I've spun in the past couple of months, some of which I also dyed:

The scarf is knitted horizontally on a size 11 circular (without joining the ends). I casted on 150 stitches, and the finished scarf is about 60", unblocked. I may block it later if I get inspired. It's mostly garter stitch, with a few rows of stockinette thrown in here and there when I got bored with the knit stitch and felt like purling for awhile.

The mittens are actually convertible, although you can't tell from this picture. They were knit on size 6 dpns, and then lightly fulled to give them a little more structure (and shrink them a bit, 'cause they were huge). I adapted the pattern from the gauntlets in Sally Melville's Purl Stitch book, but mostly I made it up as I went along. I started the mittens on Saturday and finished on Monday. My hands were a little numb from working that continuously.

I'm currently coveting Paradise Fibers' rhapsodies. They will definitely be on my holiday shopping list.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

So Much to Do, So Little Time

At work, I'm second-in-charge of getting all the med school candidates' application information together. The in-charge person is home in a cast, on bed rest, so work has suddenly gotten more stressful. I'm still finding a little time to knit and spin, but I'm just a little overworked, so I don't get around to writing about it. Until today, when it's rainy out, and I'm more than a little unmotivated.

I'm crocheting an edge on Charlotte. It's the most excruciating part of this process, because my crochet skills are practically non-existent, and also not very consistent, so I have to rip back simple chains more than I'd like. I'm 1/4 of the way through the final row that I plan to do, and also mostly out of yarn.

I restarted the Ritratto shawl. It's going better now that I'm anticipating the trouble that the multi-strand yarn will give me. I've also got 6" on the Sigma tank.

I finished a number of skeins of spun yarn this weekend, and will put the pics up soon. The wheel is starting to make more sense, and I'm getting better at intuitively fixing my tension, although my singles are still woefully overspun.

A yarn swift will be arriving at my house from Sweden some time soon. Woo!

Thursday, June 17, 2004


Erg. I can't believe it's been over a week since I updated. I think finishing Charlotte (mostly - she still has no edging) got me burned out on knitting for a bit, and I also got extra busy with work. I've gotten more used to the wheel, and finished a huge skein:

I don't think the wheel liked holding all that yarn on one bobbin.

I've skeined it into two half-skeins. Now, what should I make with it?

Monday, June 07, 2004

A Weekend in Fiber

Friday: worked from home, and spent some of my time blocking Charlotte. The pattern called for edging, then blocking, but my crochet is less-than-stellar, and I think it'll be easier to crochet now that everything's stretched, and then reblock after edging. I'm amazed at how much she stretches when wet. I decided to wet-block, because it's the easiest for me. I dunked her in a (really) big bowl, let some of the water run out, squeezed gently, then laid her on the floor over a bunch of towels. I pinned her directly into the carpeting under the towels, first lengthwise, then along her wingspan, and then back to touching up the length and trying to get things reasonably even. Here's the final result:

Saturday: went to the Textile Museum Celebration of Fiber. It's too bad it was raining, since that meant the sheep shearing was canceled, and everything was stuck under tents. It's a cute little museum, with much of the focus on weaving, which is still relatively foreign to me. Someone was spinning on an Ashford Traveler, and it was nice to watch someone using the wheel that I'm trying to learn. I also got a better idea what the material on the drive band and brake band should be. I was most enthralled by the drum carder. How fun to be able to mix your own colors with such a toy! Much easier and more effective than my current method of ripping rovings apart and mashing them back together by hand. That's one that I'll have to save up for -- I don't think I can build my own reasonable alternative like I have a Lazy Kate.

I also finished the cotton Bucket hat, tried it on, found it was way too big, tried shrinking it to no avail, and ripped it back to the brim. Boo.

Sunday: Did some kool-aid dyeing in the morning. 2 parts Pink Lemonade and 3 parts Ice Blue Raspberry make a much nicer purple than Grape does.

Hung out at Paula's for much of the afternoon, knitting and spindling. Ellen came over with 1250 yards of luxurious alpaca yarn, all in one giant skein. In hindsight, we probably should have taken it to a yarn store and asked them to wind it on a swift and ballwinder. Instead, we decided to try to tackle it by hand, and ended up with a large, tangley mess. We made it through maybe 200 yards of untangling in two hours. Ugh. At least it gives her enough to start knitting, and taking breaks to continue untangling.

Stopped at Home Depot on the way home and bought some picture-hanging wire to serve as a brake band, and nylon cord to use for a drive band for the wheel. This seemed to appease it a bit, and I managed to make my first solid amount of yarn:

It's all kool-aid dyed roving. I don't think that I rinsed it enough, because it left my fingers a little sticky after doing a couple of ounces. The wheel's current owner is coming over Tuesday, and then I'll get a real idea of what I'm doing well and not so well. I'm starting to fall in love with the wheel already. Maybe if I make enough money at the yard sale this weekend...

I also worked on the hat while watching the Tony Awards (hooray for Avenue Q!). I stayed on size 6 needles, went down to 100 stitches on the body, and have made it to the middle of the top of the hat. And it fits this time.

Friday, June 04, 2004

So here's what I did

I decided to try continuing in my last color. I threaded dental floss through the row I had just completed, to make picking up the stitches easier if I had to rip back. I made it through the two rows with about 1/2 yard to spare, and bound off in the light color, which I'm also going to use for the crocheted edge. I went to a size 8 needle to make sure my bind off was loose. Phew.

Finished, pre-edging and blocking.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

What's a Girl to Do?

I have two rows and the bind off left to knit on Charlotte. I probably have 1 1/2 rows' worth of yarn left on the color that I'm currently working. Herein lies the dilemma. I can:

a) Switch back to either the light blue/green/purple or the purple/grey/black yarn to finish the last two rows and bind off;
b) Rip back a couple of rows and shade in some of either of the above colors;
c) Add a completely new, but complementary color (specifically, colorway 317, which is dark blues, dark greys, and maybe a hint of purple and a hint of black);
d) Bind off now and skip the last two rows.

Anyone have suggestions? I will sleep on it, since my hands are about done for the night.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Charlotte, Continued

My camera work doesn't really do her justice, but here she is, in the middle of the fourth color:

And a more true-to-life sampling of the first four yarns:

I am now on row 144 -- in the home stretch! Being home sick from work helped my progress a bit. I also finished watching season 3 of The West Wing for the second time. I'm missing three or four episodes from the middle of the season. It's driving me crazy.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

NYC Yarning

I spent the long weekend in NYC with my sister, a fellow knitaholic, and there was much enabling on each of our parts. We visited three yarn shops - Stitches East, gotta knit, and Knit NYC (and went by Downtown Yarns, but alas, it was closed for Memorial Day). I purchased enough Ritratto (I think it's colorway 70) to make a lace shawl for someone's Christmas gift at Stitches, and some Classic Elite Provence in a green color to do a summer hat at gotta knit. I also found the circulars that I needed. I know it's cheaper to buy online most of the time, but there's something about the instant gratification that I can't pass up once in awhile.

I didn't do a lot of knitting or spinning this weekend. I started the christmas shawl, made it about 30 rows in, and ripped it all out because of a mistake three rows in that I thought I could ignore, but turns out I couldn't. Ritratto, with its 3 strands (one of which is mohair) wasn't thrilled about being ripped, and I don't know if it'll be salvageable. I will restart with one of the other balls, and let this one stretch out on my niddy noddy, and maybe use it later, if I end up needing it for length.

I was afraid to pick Charlotte up, because she never would have had my full attention, and that can only end badly.

I wish I had a fast Internet connection from home -- most of my pictures are on that computer, but then, I always want to post them here at work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

charlotte chart

Oh, I should also mention that I put together a chart, based on the charts from Jenny and Uli, pulling together elements of both that have facilitated my Charlotte progress. The chart lists row numbers, colors, pattern rows, how many stitches you have to knit before starting the lace repeats, the number of lace repeats on each side, total stitches within the repeats, and total stitches overall. It also has the lace repeats along the bottom.

I added the number of stitches within the lace repeats column because I found that rather than count all stitches at the ends of rows, I was counting the ones before, after, and in between the lace repeats, and then making sure that everything added up. I added the stitches to knit before the repeats because that's one of the main pieces I was using Jenny's chart to double-check. And, I'm less inclined to learn the symbols on the chart, so it was easier to just write out in abbreviations each lace repeat pattern (there are only three, after all), and to write out both sides, mirrored, rather than try to transpose in my head. Of course, at this point, I have most of the thing memorized anyway.

The thing is made in Word and fits on a legal-sized sheet of paper (that's the big size, right)? If anyone wants a copy to complement the Koigu original, let me know. I don't think I have much of a readership on this thing :) but there's the offer, anyway.

Charlotte's Web Progress

My final skein of Koigu arrived yesterday, and it inspired me to work on Charlotte's Web for a little over two hours.

First of all, color 436 is gorgeous -- much better than it is in any of the pictures that I've found online. The Monet-like blues, greens and purples are lovely. Mmm.

I'm on row 103 of the pattern -- 211 stitches on the needles. It took me a little over 2 hours to knit from 91-103. That's 2,575 stitches, which means I'm knitting an average of about 21 stitches per minute. Woohoo. I have nothing to compare that to, so I'm not sure what it means, but it makes me happy to compute it. Obviously, that doesn't take into account the counting and the color changing and the weaving in ends, and the occasional frogging. I haven't had to rip back in awhile (knocking on desk). I've mostly realized that my mistakes, when I make them, are forgetting to yarn over after doing a SKP or S-k2tog-P. I've been counting each lace repeat as I purl back, so if I end up with 7 instead of 8 stitches, I can usually pick up the yarn where the yarn over should've been, and it's working itself out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Cameratic Success

I finally remembered to bring the Olympus home from work, but then I didn't have time to take pics until this morning before work, so I apologize for my semi-conscious shots. Anyway, this is visiting my house right now:

A friend of mine is thinking of selling it, and I'm thinking of buying it, although from what I've read, a lot of people grow out of the Traveller quickly, and recommend it as a second wheel, for its portability, but not as your primary wheel. I'm just excited to get to spin on a wheel for the first time. Said friend also provided some roving to practice with.

Monday, May 24, 2004

81 rows and a finished Fiona

I'm now waiting for my last color of Koigu to arrive. I decided that it was too dark, after all, and ordered a skein of color 436 (lighter purple with some greens) for some contrast. I have used 3 colors so far, then this light one, and my fifth colorway will likely combine two or three different yarns. My other big projects (a shawl and an afghan) are also purple colorways. I think I may actually get tired of working in purples soon.

Finished Fiona this weekend, and even managed to sew up an inner lining. She is currently holding my lunch:

As one project finishes, another restarts. I was halfway through the Lace Lopi scarf from Weekend Knits, and started my second skein. The skeins were purchased at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market, with the same dye lot number, but also handspun and hand dyed, and apparently the dye wasn't so uniform. The second skein was noticeably greener than the first, to the degree that I couldn't justify finishing it up and having a two-tone scarf. So, I ripped out the first half (I don't think I even took a picture to chronicle the original progress), and am now reknitting it in mistake rib (CO an odd number, then every row: k2, p1 to last st, k1), alternating each color every two rows. Bah. I definitely want to knit up the lace lopi though -- I really liked the way it looked.

Final project of the weekend: Circular Needle Holder. Sewed up with the help of a friend, and now hanging happily in my craft/guest room. Hooray!

Friday, May 21, 2004


Went out to dinner, then to the theater. Dinner didn't like me, so we left at intermission, and stopped for bubble tea, which soothes my stomach, or at least makes me forget that it hurts for awhile. Unfortunately, I chose a coffee/black tea combo bubble tea, so now I'm sleepy and caffeinated, which means just a little too much awakeness to get to bed. I am resisting all urges to pick Charlotte up and work on her, because I know I'm not alert enough for that right now.

Really, though, the shawl is coming along very nicely. I'm in the 60s, which means about half the stitches are now on the needles. Many thanks go out to Jenny and Uli, whose charts have helped me stay on track. Uli also notes that, "By the time you are done with Charlotte you will have knitted 24,486 stitches. (obviously not counting and frogging, ripping, knitting backwards or re-knitting)." Whee! In terms of percentages, I'm barely at 15, if that. I am marking on my chart how far I knit each day, to keep a running log, of sorts.

I also just found the pant-along -- this blogging world is dangerous. I'm holding off on my pants since I won't want to wear them until the weather cools down anyway, but looking at everyone else's makes me want to pick them back up again (I've done all of 2" of legs so far, knitting both legs at once to try to keep them an equal length).

Camera still stranded at work. Feeling the need to post pictures, here is a composite of my latest Kool-Aid Dyeing:

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Mayorga Madness

I had fun at the knitting meetup last night, even if Tim did order me the wrong Italian soda (when I said green, I meant lime or kiwi, not mouthwashesque mint. Oh well. Got a coconut milk bubble tea on the way home to make up for it). There were 10-ish people, many of whom had been there last month, and it's a good little group. Very friendly and talkative, and my general age group. Chatted about projects, patterns, Interweave knits, changing style preferences, cicadas, Mormons, and the like. Makes me happy. Now if only the knit n' wine group would pick up a bit, I'd have plenty of social knitting outlets.

I took Charlotte along to the meetup, largely because I had been knitting more mindless projects (socks and lace lopi scarf) all day at jury duty. I also brought along Fiona, who just needs her i-cords applied, and a lining added. I also have my sewing-friendly friend coming over on Saturday to help put together a circular holder. Time for another run to Joann's, which is just a few blocks away, happily. Charlotte is coming along a lot better this time -- I ripped her all the way back to nothing at row 33ish, after being two stitches short, not really understanding the pattern, and deciding that starting over may be the easiest way to get more acquainted with the mechanics. This time around, I'm up to 90something stitches, and have done some error correction without going insane, so this seems promising. I don't think I'm going to stick with the color directives, though.

I also have a new houseguest accomplice to my fibery exploits, but that will be better described with pictures, and my digital camera was at work while I was at home yesterday, so that will have to wait.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


I've never worked in lace, but Koigu was on such a sale at MS&W, and Charlotte is so beautiful, that I'm embarking on the challenge. All of my yarns are very purpley -- we'll see how they all work together. I also don't have five full skeins, but rather six or seven part-skeins, so my colorway will definitely be unique! Here are some of the colors that'll be involved:

I went through the pattern last night and rewrote it into a word doc table, so that I could visualize how everything worked out (it's written all squished together, and I wanted everything on separate lines, centered around the center stitch). Once I did that, it made pretty decent sense, so I casted on and have done all of 20 rows. Quite a ways to go, but it's fun so far, and I love watching the colors change!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Almost glad the weekend is over

I had a not good Scrabble tournament (yes, I play competitive Scrabble), and a rather unfocused choir concert (I sing second soprano in a community choir), all in the space of 24 hours. I'm glad that choir is on summer break, and I'm not playing in another tourney til October or so. I think it was a little too much to do in not enough time.

I did a little bit of knitting and spinning to distract myself:

The Fiona Knit-Along bag is coming along. I substituted the yarn, and some of the stitches, and added this little pocket on the side opposite the tall pocket.

I made this little skein of yarn, only about 25 yards. I think it looks like an inchworm in this picture. Much cuter insect imagery than the cicadas that abound in my neighborhood.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

My Second Yarn

It's about 50 yards' worth, and around worsted weight.

Clockwise from top left: my dog, Cassie, checking out one of my singles; plying the yarn on the contraption that Tim built me out of scrap wood, dowels, and PVC pipe; close-up of yarn drying in the shower; washing/finishing the yarn; me with yarn.

That's what $1.45 bought me at Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Monday, May 10, 2004

Addi Admiration

Ahhh... day off. How I needed thee, and am enjoying thee while sitting about in a t-shirt, in my always-cool basement at my sad computer with only dial-up service. Hence, no pictures in my update today, but plenty of time to write.

Last Friday, I convinced my friend Heather to leave work early and accompany me to Cloverhill - I had never been there, and it's only a 5 minute drive from work, so I thought I should check it out. Plus, I was still having a fiber hangover from Sheep and Wool, and figured I'd be safe from buying anything. Silly me.

Turns out, Tim was supposed to pick me up there and drive me home around 4:15 or 4:30 (we arrived at Cloverhill at 4ish). A call to my cell phone told me he wouldn't be in Catonsville until closer to 5 (which actually turned out to be 6, thanks to Beltway and airport traffic -- he had to drop someone off at BWI). Of course, it was the one day thta I had no knitting projects in my work bag. I did, however, have the Fiona pattern in my bag, which I printed off, thinking I might knit-along if I had yarn at home that I could use. His running late plus my lack of projects plus Cotton Fleece at 20% off told me that I was meant to knit Fiona, with the lovely Rug Red, which is a darker, almost maroon red. I also had no needles, so I picked up my first set of Addi turbo circulars.

And how I'm enjoying the Addis! I love the resilience and flexibility of the cable that joins the needles! It's the only one that doesn't get annoyed at the ways that I try to make it flex. Working with cotton-blend yarn is new and not-too-fun so far, but the Addis are making it a little easier. I'm about 6" into the bag, and, aside from the mini-cables at the edges, it's going pretty well. I think I'm knitting a little too undergauge, since the thing has no structure, but I can always sew in a lining to make it stand up a little better.

Much other knitting and spinning went on this weekend -- I finished up the sweater-in-the-round sleeves and everything is blocking on my new blocking boards; yarns were sorted into the correct bins; 50 yards of variegated blue-green-purple has been plied and is drying happily. It'll be much more interesting once I'm back at work and can post pictures from my ethernet-enabled connection!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Why Spinning?

Okay, so I’ve been knitting for a few years, and have only been spinning for three weeks. Here’s why I’m already enjoying it so much.

  1. It’s economical. Spinning my own yarn will stretch my fiber budget, as well as the amount of time that I can enjoy any given fiber that I have., since I spend the time spinning it as well as knitting it. For $20 on eBay, I bought a spindle, Lee Raven’s wonderful Spin It! book, and enough roving to create a hat’s worth of yarn, if not more. At the MD Sheep and Wool Fest, I spent about $15 on over a pound of roving - how else can you get a pound of wonderful, wooly, hand-painted, handspun yarn for only $15?

  2. It’s portable. Portability is one of my favorite things about knitting, and while spinning isn’t quite as handy, it’s easy to carry along a spindle and some wool.

  3. It increases my appreciation for the diversity of yarn. If you’re like me, you get annoyed when people ask you why you don’t just buy a sweater instead of “wasting” the time and effort to knit your own. There’s so much design and individuality and creative energy that goes into producing your own piece. There are so many choices to be made, just in the yarn: color, fiber, weight, not to mention stitch patterns and construction… spinning wool into yarn myself has made me more aware of further dimensions involved in the process of creating a finished product.

  4. It’s relaxing. Not that knitting isn’t relaxing, but there’s something even more zen about spinning - the concentration it requires, the attention that you to your hands, the repetitive motion. When I get frustrated with my life, I recenter by knitting, and when I get frustrated with my knitting, I can recenter by spinning.

  5. It’s gratifying. After three weeks and a little frustration, I can create yarn without too much trouble, and I can pick it up and have enough yarn to wind some onto the spindle in just a few minutes. I’ve spun over 100 yards, which is enough for a hat, in the space of a few hours, and now I have all that knitting to look forward to!

Here's the yarn I'm currently spinning, from some fleece bought at MD Sheep and Wool. I'm mixing the colors by hand, mostly by taking pieces of a bunch of different colors, separating them, and mixing them back together. I'm sure this would be easier with some sort of tools, but I've really just learned, and figure I should do some trial and error experimentation before spending more money on toys (although a friend of mine is selling her wheel, and it's very tempting).


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Bowie Folk Art Studio: A Mini-Review
On Wednesday nights from 6-9, the former Year of the Rabbit Cafe, now Folk Art Studio addition (6700 Race Track Rd in Bowie, MD), stays open from 6-9pm for free knitting lessons. Since it's only about 20 minutes from home, and an opportunity to knit with other knitters, Tim drove me out to check out the environment.

The Folk Art Studio was the pottery place next to YOTR, and now encompasses both spaces, for a lovely, large creative space, wtih built-in coffeebar/deli setup. Creativity oozes out of every space, with most surfaces either hand painted, decoupaged, or both. The furniture is partly leftovers from the cafe (small tables, boring restaurant-type chair) and partly flea market makeovers. Lots of goddesses and earth tones abound, showing off the creativity of those involved with the store -- I'm pretty sure that most of the artwork was done by owners/stakeholders in the cafe, who also do commissioned pieces.

I had run into owner (?) Kathy at MD Sheep and Wool Fest, as she chatted with the Koigu distributors at their booth. I recognized her Folk Art Studio shirt and introduced myself. When I arrived yesterday, she recognized me and remembered my name. Very impressive, considering the craziness of the fest. She exudes a friendly business owner aura, and was patiently teaching a couple of new knitters how to start their first projects, while also answering questions of her staff (mostly enthusiastic young adult types, who are likely working in exchange for food and fiber), warning teenaged boys that the bathrooms were for paying customers only, chatting with everyone who came in, and otherwise multitasking in the way that I'm sure any new business owner has to. She mentioned that they were working on getting a webpage up, as well as getting wireless internet, and booking bands to play on weekends. Ambitious stuff.

The yarns are all pretty high end, and largely novelty type stuff -- lots of Colinette, Fiesta, and more eyelash yarns, handpaints, chenilles, etc. Standby Lamb's Pride Bulky was displayed in lots of colors, at $7/skein. The yarn selection is small, but displayed fancifully in cupboards and other household-seeming spaces. I wouldn't be surprised if I returned someday to find a decoupaged claw foot bathtub full of yarns (one of my favorite displays in the Knitter's Stash book). There were a few patterns, a few finished pieces for sale, some needles (mostly Brittany, and Susan Bates, I think). I didn't get too close of a look, since I'm on a yarn diet after last weekend, but it's very pretty and inspiring. The beverages were lovely - I had a bubble tea and Tim had a chai. No complaints there. We'll see how their mochas stack up some time later. Desserts looked good, but I'm also on a food diet of sorts after the two huge orders of fries and bag of kettle corn, also courtesy of Sheep and Wool.

Overall, I think it may be trying to be too many things at once and that makes me nervous for it, but it's a nice place to hang out, and I'll probably keep visiting. I think the posted hours were Monday-Friday 10-8, and Saturday/Sunday 10-6. They're planning to host a grand opening of sorts and do more advertising by Memorial Day weekend, but they're there already, so check it out!

(Incidentally, this was also the most recent post in my livejournal knitspace. I'm still deciding whether I'd rather post here or there or both, so bear with me).
I give in. I want my own, non-livejournal knitwebspace.