October 25, 2007

If you wanna be my sweater, you gotta get with my gauge

I received the 2nd part of the Knitter's Tea Swap package today from Suzie. I was actually stalking the mail carrier through my bedroom window. It looks out directly towards the mailbox so I just sat on the computer all day watching and waiting to see if the driver had a package. And she did! The moment I saw it I rushed downstairs to meet her. I ripped open the box and ran to the nearest window to take pictures.

Here's what it contained:

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At first I started to carefully unwrap everything... but, my patience didn't last and I end up tearing off the wrapping paper:

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Starting in the back left, there's a pack of chocolate covered honey cakes from Kika's Treats, a cup from Wishbone, a card, a jar of honey from Marshall's Farm, a jar of nectarine conserves from Frog Hollow Farm, a bar of lavender aromatherapy soap from Beeswork, 2 chocolate bars from Charles Chocolates, a bag of sea salt from the Philippines, and a rocky road chocolate from Droga. All of them (minus the salt) were the local items for the swap. She totally spoiled me. ^_^

This was one of the coolest things from the package:

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At first glance it looks like a plastic cup... The cheap ones you buy for parties... but, it's actually ceramic! So cool! =)

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I think these will be the first things I try. Mmmmmmmm.

Thank you Suzie!

In other news, my Grass has been coming along quite... interestingly. I knitted up 3 so far, in Malabrigo. I got a bit impatient so I decided to felt the 3 the same night I finished them. My washer is a front loader so I decided to hand felt them. Didn't take too long and my arms definitely got a good workout.

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The worst part was putting the first Grass together. I ended up buying some embroidery floss in multiple greens and black for the eyes. I started seaming one side of the bright green Grass together when I checked the instructions and learned I was supposed to do the eyes first. I have no embroidery experience whatsoever... it was very experimental. But, I was able to make fairly circle-ish eyes... and then proceeded to messily mattress stitch the edges and stuff with poly-fil.
I thought I had the eyes perfect, but, after stuffing the position of the eyes distorted a bit and now the Grass looks a little odd... but, I learn from my mistakes and I was able to do really nice eyes and mattress stitch a much cleaner edge for the 2nd grass.

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I forgot to take pictures of this with my previous post. I started this a week or so ago... it's a 2nd Anthropologie-inspired Shrug/Capelet. I'm using Rowan Little Big Wool...and... it seems like I didn't purchase enough. So, it's kinda been sitting half-underneath my bed begging for a frog. But, we'll see. Maybe if I can get my hands on more of the Little Big Wool then I will continue.

Last night, after spending the previous night knitting gauge swatches and calculating sizes, I finally Cast On for Beau from Rowan's Vintage Style book.

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I had bought a sweater's worth of Malabrigo in September and I figured that this would be an awesome use for it. Sadly, I couldn't get gauge with my mmmMalabrigo,... and I didn't want to go higher than a US 9 for fear of getting lacey-like holes. So, I calculated that if I Cast On the amount for the XXL, I'll actually end up with a size between a Small and a Medium. I guess we'll have to wait and see how accurate my calculations and gauge measuring skills are.

I almost bought a pair of Lantern Moon needles today for my sweater... but I ran out of time and ended up getting a long pair of bamboo Clovers... I feel a bit unfulfilled because I love Lantern Moon and nothing compares, but, I'll live. =)

Whip out your tape measures and knit hard!

October 22, 2007

Craving some Lantern Moon needles

I don't own too many knitting books. And, surprisingly, most of my books are the non-pattern type books. I guess I really enjoy the knitting stories. One of my more recent purchases was the Rowan Knitting for Him book. I was just browsing Barnes & Noble the other day and saw the book, realized I had never seen it before, so, I went all impulsive and bought it.

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So many beautiful sweater and cardigan patterns. There are at least 3 I'd like to attempt... except... they're all made with Cashsoft and other relatively expensive DK weight yarn. Anyone know of a good workhorse-ish substitute? I'm thinking a DK Malabrigo or Cascade 220. Something of decent quality with good yardage per dollar.
I suppose I could attempt the sweaters with Malabrigo and smaller needles, but, I don't want the fabric to be too dense. Maybe I'll swatch it up.

Stopped by Joann's with Danielle and Kevin the other week. I ran into some of Vanna's yarn. The colors just called out to me, and the yarn was surprisingly soft, so I bought a few skeins. I have no idea what I'll be doing with them... but, the colors go well together and they were on sale.

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Another yarn I purchased recently is the Dream in Color yarn. I had been hearing a lot about it and it's totally distributed from here in Illinois, so, I figured I'd try it. I ended up getting 2 hanks, one for me in the Strange Harvest colorway and one for my swap partner Suzie in a green colorway.

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It's REALLY soft. I'm excited to try it out, but, have to find a good pattern first.

I'm coming VERY close to finishing my Coach knock-off scarf. Danielle and Kevin came to "Jilberr" on Thursday and I spent some time weaving in ends. It was tiring and tedious, but not as tiring and tedious as I imagined it would be. I'm glad it's over though. I plan to do one more block of each color before I finish. There's still a good amount of yarn left over so I was considering making the scarf longer, but, it's tortured me enough. ^_^

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People have been leaving me some great comments. A big thank you for those! Some people have been asking questions about projects and such... I don't actually have the skills needed to reply to these questions. There are a lot of blogs that I comment on and receive a response through e-mail. I don't really know how to go about doing that, so, from this post on, I'll be answering questions from the previous post in the new post. I feel bad for leaving people hanging. =)

Knit hard!

October 20, 2007

I have a lot of green yarn

I received my Knitter's Tea Swap package yesterday! My partner Suzie got her box at the same time. Swaps are so much fun. ^_^ I'll definitely have to find more to join. Here's what I got:

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On the left is a card, there are two cans of loose tea, one green and one white, a pack of tea bags, a box of almond biscotti, two skeins of Noro Kochoran, a bag of Haribo Gold Bears (my absolute favorite gummy bear!), and a bar of Rutger's Chocolate with hazelnuts. There's actually more to come!

I've never tried Kochoran so I'm excited to see it knitted up. It's a blend of Wool, Silk, and Angora--SO soft! I had to keep fighting the urge to eat the chocolate and the bears before the photoshoot. The teas weren't so lucky. I had to bust them open and take a whiff mere seconds after I opened the package.

I've been suffering from a bout of Startitis. After finishing so many objects over the past few weeks I realized that I needed more fun on the needles. Here's what I've been working on:

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Exchequered is from Knitty. It's a double knit scarf and it's really awesome to work. I think I blogged about this earlier. But, basically you're knitting two pieces of fabric at the same time, back to back, with some color work going on--each side is a negative of the other. I've been knitting the scarf with one color in my right hand (English style) and the other color in my left hand (Continental style). I feel so capital K.

I've been using Cascade 220 for it. I only purchased one skein in each color... I hope I have enough to make a decent length.

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This is Danica from Knitty. Yet another scarf. ^_^ It's an Entrelac pattern in Malabrigo. I'm surprised at how cool the resulting fabric looks but how "easy" it is to make it. Easy, however, doesn't include the insane amount of ends I'll have to be weaving in. o_O

I think blocking will definitely help the scarf look its best... hopefully it'll help out the wrong side as well. The back just looks like a mess. =( I'm considering possibly knitting another one and then seaming them together... but, it's been growing a bit slowly, so, ... I think I'll have to rely on a good block.

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These are leftover green-ish yarns that I'll be using for Grass from Mochimochi Land. These will be the first... "useless" items I'll be making, but, they're so cute ... and I have a lot of left over green, feltable yarn.

There are 4 balls of Malabrigo Worsted, some RYC Cashsoft, Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Tweed, this Licorice yarn from Joann's (I'm not sure if this is feltable), and Catalina Alpaca. It'll be a whole family of grass.

That's how it's looking so far.
Knit hard(er)!

October 17, 2007

Click it good!

Haven't had a chance to take good pictures this past week. There have been many cloudy and busy days. Not that I have things to take pictures of... o_O

My October "resolution", I've decided, is to make links in my posts. I always mention patterns and websites and blogs but I never turn the words into links. So, that's what I'll be doing from now on, and, today we'll start with a very link-y post.

My current obsession is the Knitter's Tea Swap. I've watched so many bloggers join swaps, send great gifts, and receive great gifts but for some reason I've always been too self conscious to join. But, after seeing some random blogger post about this Knitter's Tea Swap I decided to bite the bullet and take part.

It's the 4th installment of this swap and my partner is none other than the KTS4 coordinator: Suzie. I've been having the greatest time shopping for her and putting together the package. I'm hoping to send it out tomorrow. ^_^

I'm gonna give you a few of my favorite knitting blogs. Definitely check them out. Not only are they some of my favorites, but, according to my tracker, the following blogs give me the most traffic. =) I thought I'd try to return the favor.

  • Yarn Ball Boogie - he has such cool designs, always uses great colors in his knitting, and takes awesome pictures. He's also been on Knitty Gritty!
  • Númenna - Nan Annûn - he's a traveler who currently blogs from Germany. This guy also takes great pictures and has a great eye for color. He's been spinning a lot recently... and he's also part of the Knitters Uncensored podcast.
  • Earth Chick Knits - she not only knits, but sews, cooks, and does a myriad of other things too. Her blog is not only a knitting blog, it's a personal blog with lots of great stories and pictures.
  • Charles' Life Knitting - he teaches a dyeing class at a yarn store and regularly reviews books and new yarn.

The blogs I have listed on the right side on the page are also many that I enjoy reading.
I recently found out about Bloglines. I wish I knew about it sooner. Now, finally, all my favorite blogs are all organized and easy to scan through to check out new posts. For the past however-long I've just clicked on the links I have on my page, and then I'd leave a comment, press the back button a few times, and then click the next link down the line. I'm happy that I am now more technologically advanced.
I've been on a blog-adding binge lately. It's refreshing to find new knitters. Even more recently I signed up for Google's Reader which is essentially the same thing. I'm not too fond of the layout, but, I figure that since I already have a G-mail account I might as well switch over. I'm still trying to weigh my options. ^_^

I don't think I've blogged about Ravelry yet. If you're not on it, or at least on the waiting list, then it is definitely time to queue yourself up. It is such a well organized and useful website. I no longer have to do crazy tedious searches on Google, or blog hop for hours to find useful pattern notes... now they're all gathered together into an easily navigated collection. I seriously check it out daily... sometimes just to see all my projects lined up so neatly. ^_^
Speaking of Ravelry and new knitters... my knitting student prodigy, Danielle, finally received her invite. You may remember her from previous posts featuring her handmade knitting monkeys:

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She's been uploading her yarny projects onto the site these past few days. Check her out!

That's all I have for now. I'm hoping for a nice sunny day tomorrow so I can snap a few pictures of my recent SEXual encounters and my one or two WIPs.

I'll be sweeping the clouds away.
Knit hard!

October 10, 2007

If only yarn grew on trees

Kevin came over today and helped me out with a yarny photo shoot. He acted as the Art Director. We ended up shooting outside and came up with this 'yarn-grows-on-trees' deal. More on this later.

I finished my Hemlock Ring Blanket last night. The BO edging was pretty complicated at first and moved slowly. I ended up only adding one more pattern repeat than brooklyntweed's version. I might have been able to finish one more, but, I wasn't gonna push it. I ended up with a diameter of a good 54 inches. Blocking this project made me realize that 1) I need a pin cushion and 2) I need to work on my blocking skills 3) Regular measuring is a good thing.


I'll probably end up taking another set of pictures of the blanket because the grass really made the blanket all lumpy. It's really quite a work of art when the Hemlock Ring is at its flattest.
I tried throwing it on the couches throughout the house... sadly it didn't really go with any of the decor. It works well in the color scheme of my bedroom, so, there it will stay.

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Blocked the Branching Out scarf the other day. Maybe I mentioned this? I brought it along so it could have its time in front of the lens. I think I may actually have to re-block this. I didn't stretch it out wide enough. The leaves that are connected to the center column are somewhat smooshed against it. I'd like them to separate more.


The texture of the scarf completely changed after I blocked it. It felt like thin, fragile paper. A really cool transformation. I hope the recipient enjoys the scarf as much as I enjoyed creating it.


I e-mailed briarrosefibers.net last week asking about their Buff Beauty yarn. I had used it previously and did not do the yarn justice so I wanted to get my hands on more. The yarn was never restocked on their website so I asked about it and luckily they had a handful of hanks they were about to sell at a fair. I managed to save two of them:

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Delicious stuff. This batch doesn't seem as plump as the last hank I had, but, it's still super thick and in beautiful colors.
You may have noticed a few more balls of yarn hanging in the tree.

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The turquoise is Cascade 220. It's a replacement for the darker blue I plan to use on my Exchequered scarf.
The grey yarn is Catalina Super Chunky. A soft alpaca (that hopefully doesn't shed) which will soon be transformed into a scarf for a friend.
Ahh, I love that I technically only have 1 real WIP now. Can't wait to start more.

Let's grow some yarn
and knit hard. =)

October 3, 2007


Just a few WIP's to share:

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That's Branching Out. It's still waiting to be blocked. I had planned to do it tonight, but, I'm feeling a bit lethargic, so, I'll save it for tomorrow. The whole time I was knitting it I had been stretching it out to see that the leaves were fully forming and that I wasn't making mistakes. Without being blocked, it looks pretty decent. I can't wait to see the finished-finished piece though.

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Another glimpse of my Coach knock-off. The colors have been growing on me. They remind me of this one ice cream I had. Like... 5 chocolate ice cream or something. It's surprisingly quite long and I'll only need a few more sections in order to complete it. I'm not looking forward to weaving in the ends though. There are a lot of them.

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This is my Hemlock Ring Blanket. I'm on row 70 and it's pretty big. The pattern is easy to follow for the most part, but, the endless rounds of plain stockinette are killing me. I haven't switched to brooklyntweed's chart yet. I understand how it works, but, this line-by-line thing is more comfortable for me. And once you do one repeat in the feather/fan section it's pretty easy to memorize.

I feel like I'm just not knitting fast enough. I've hired two friends "r" & "b" to help me out.

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r & b are two felt monkeys made by my friend (and knitting student prodigy) Danielle. She hand crafted them for my birthday. ^_^

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As you can see, they are quite busy. I have many more rows and endless rounds of stockinette to complete.

I'll leave you with one last image:

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That is the current prototype of my DS Lite case pattern. I'm not too fond of the flap so I may have to rethink it. And, originally I planned to use snaps with a non-functional button on top... but, I feel like the constant snapping may damage the DS. I ended up using EZ's after thought buttonhole. She actually asks you to snip a thread in your knitting and unravel it from the middle. It was a mess. Me + knitted items + scissors = disaster. o_O Hopefully I'll come up with a decent flap soon so I can share my pattern with everyone.

I'll need to hire more monkeys to help me with my Christmas knitting.
Knit hard!