I hereby declare this weekend

to be finishing weekend. I’ve been in the midst of several crafting projects and need to get them completed both for the sake of completing them so I don’t spend any more energy thinking about them and because the projects need to go live with someone else. I’ve finished another bear, that makes three and by tomorrow the placemats I’ve been avoiding will be tied.

A sweater for me update #3

Last night I thought I had used up all my skeins of yarn with 1.5 sleeves finished and was saddened to have to spin more. I now know that my yarn is quite overspun and have no desire to sit down and purposefully do that again. I like the feel of properly spin yarn and this not so much. While looking for my pattern for my SSSSP (super secret santa sewing project), I found my swatch for my sweater, now I have a smallish ball of yarn to work my sleeve with, I’m optimistic.

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My new favorite thing of the day

A few years ago I purchased 2 sets of Boye Needlemaster interchangeable needles. I was able to find them on sale at a closeout store and love that I have two of every size from 2 to 15. One major drawback is the cable, all the Boye cables are a bit inflexible and have a weird join that adds to the length of the needle at a weird angle. On regular circular needles, it doesn’t bother me because they are glued together. On my interchangeables, I’m constantly grabbing the key and grip to tighten the join up because my pinky grabs at it and untwists it while I knit. A week or so ago I read a tutorial for making a flexible cable from weed eater cord and a few other parts. I love that Sarah decided it could be done and knew what materials to try. Her post makes it sound as if she tried a lot of things that didn’t work before she settled on what did work. I’m so excited about these new cables. I made a rather long one tonight so that I could try it out on my sweater. If you own a set of Boye Needlemaster interchangeables, I strongly recommend heading over to her site and making some new cables for yourself.

I’m currently working on the sleeves a la magic loop because I didn’t want to make a short cable tonight and a longer one in a few days when I was back to the body of the sweater. It’s been a bit since my last sweater update, I’ve got a lot of length on the sweater. I used up the second ball of yarn left it at an edge and decided it would make more sense to leave the stitches live and head up to finish the neck and sleeves. I followed the pattern for the neck and didn’t like how short/small it looked so I added a few more rows in pattern. Then I started on a sleeve with the plan to finish the other sleeve and try on the sweater while looking at the ball of yarn I have remaining. I should have enough yarn already spun so as long as I plan to leave enough for the bottom edge and bind off. I’m using approximately 8 yards per row so I should be able to accurately plan to make it as long as I want it or use up all the yarn, whichever comes first. I had hoped to finish by Nov. 26th so that I would have make a sweater in 30 days, unofficial NaKniSweMo and all, but I don’t think I can finish my current sleeve, make a second, finish the body and make the ties in 3 days. I knew it would be close and I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made. My new target is Nov. 30th so that my final NaBloPoMo entry will show a finished sweater. I’ll plan my sweater making project in 2011 so that it is completed in the month.

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A sweater for me

Threaden (a.) Made of thread; as, threaden sails; a threaden fillet.
Yarn (n.) Spun wool; woolen thread; also, thread of other material, as of cotton, flax, hemp, or silk; material spun and prepared for use in weaving, knitting, manufacturing sewing thread, or the like.

In 14 days I will quietly celebrate my one year anniversary with my spinning wheel. I bought 2 pounds of inexpensive Shetland sheep fiber with the wheel so I could practice on something that I was not emotionally or financially attached to. The lovely woman who sold all of it to me informed me that 2 pounds was enough for a sweater. I quietly giggled and said, “Oh no, no sweater for me, too much work. I’m just going to make little things here and there-mittens, hat scarf and what-nots.” Then I sat at the wheel, 10 minutes a day for several months. I had enough yarn to make a hedgehog for Boo with a bit left over in yarn form and over 1.5 pounds in fiber form. A sweater was suddenly a real possibility because I didn’t want to try to come up with many uses for all that fiber. I took much of late winter/early spring off from spinning and picked it up again in the late spring. I made it a goal to finish spinning my yarn by mid-July and did. I also bought a little bit more fiber as a cushion in case I need more than I thought I needed. Good plan as the lovely woman who sold me that fiber out of a huge bag of it is finally out of it.
My poor yarn is quite over spun. I was so fearful that it would pull apart that I treadled like mad. I feel confident that my sweater will long out last me and I don’t plan on going away in the near future. I washed and whacked and swatched. I picked a needle size, tried it out and tried out two smaller sizes then tried the other two again. I went with my original size and started last weekend.
During the month of November every year there seem to be many -alongs to encourage people to push and accomplish goals. I participate in NaBloPoMo because I like to push myself to post interesting things every day for a month. Some people attempt to write a 175-page novel during the month, NaNoWriMo. Some try to knit an entire sweater in 30 days, NaKniSweMo. While I cast on in the last parts of October, after I started blogging for November, I set another unofficial goal of knitting my Shetland sweater in a month and reporting here at least once a week, Thursdays.

The pattern:
I am knitting # 263 Wrap Cardigan Top Down from Knitting Pure and Simple. As of the writing of this post, my sweater is the last sweater in the third row.

The yarn:

The progress:
I have 5.5 inches, almost to the row to divide out stitches for the sleeves.

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Podfade

When a podcaster stops realeasing new episodes without much warning, it is said the podcast has experienced podfade. I’m caught up on most of my podcasts, other than CraftLit because it takes a while to listen to an entire episode. Since I have very little else to listen to other than CraftLit, I went looking for new-to-me podcasts on knitting and in the process I’ve decided to clean out those that appear to have podfaded.

Here’s my list:

There are a few more that haven’t released a new episode since Nov., but I’m going to wait a few more months before removing them.

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Tension in knitting

I have been working on my super secret Christmas Elf project, knitted of course, and am discovering interesting things about my knitting. My gauge(yarn tension) is not as consistent as I would like, but I did know that already. What I didn’t realize was what I did at the end of rows while knitting flat. Most of my projects of late have been in the round, hats & socks, so it doesn’t come up often. I tug a bit too much on the stitch I am knitting into with my right needle. By the time I get to the end of the row, I have large stitches on the left needle waiting to be knit off, so I have to tug back the extra yarn through the row I just knit. A bit of a waste of time in my opinion, so I started watching what I was doing. I am still knitting too tight, who knew. In order to retrain my brain to stop tugging on the stitches, I rip out the row if I get to the end and have too much yarn tugged out of the row. Extreme, yes, but something must be done. I am committed to knitting correctly so that my projects don’t have extra holes or uneven stitches. I am constantly holding up my little knitting to the lamp so I can see if I’ve created silly holes. So far, it’s working well. The other benefit to knitting with care is that I put myself closer to doing the Master Knitter classes.

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I’m not a yarn snob

really, I’m not! I never would have considered myself a yarn snob. I’ve been using up stash yarn and some of it is Red Heart or Caron One Pounders. I had no problem knitting projects out of this the first time, but my hands do not like it lately. I had no problem knitting with the Caron Simply Soft yarns, but my problem arises when I look at the large bag of Red Heart that I purchased this weekend to make my super secret Christmas Elf present. I dreaded touching it, what little I did knit from my stash this time stuck to my hands, dried them out and made me miserable. I argued with myself for days about replacing it.

I made an unscheduled trip to GR yesterday and threw the Red Heart in my car. I decided to check out the local craft stores. Simply Soft was on sale, making it very attractive, I want my gift to be washable. So I began to hunt colors. I wasn’t able to find all the replacement colors that I originally found with Red Heart, but I think I found enough to make it worth the exchange of yarns. The photo on the left is the set I returned, the other two are the new colors. According to Caron’s website, I think there may be two or three more colors I can get. I may hunt the stashes the “interwebs” discontinued colors. I debated trying to find Lion’s Wool-Ease, but I’d have to order it all online because the stores don’t carry a wide variety. It would be difficult to coordinate colors from online, so I settled on Simply Softs.

Christmas Knitting


I am knitting a blanket for Christmas Elf prezzie. The pattern is called, “A Recipe for Fish,” but I am using this redesign because the fish are supposed to lay flat. I made a mistake in my first few fish, so they don’t lay as flat as I’d like, but I’m going to try to knit it correctly with a brown one and see if it lays flatter. The design I am going for at this point is a square color wheel. Think about opening your favorite graphics program. When you open the color picker tool, you see an image like the one in the middle and that is how I plan on laying out the fish at this point.

Here are the search terms you can search to see completed fish blankets shown on Flickr:

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when public add tags: tessellate, fish, blanket

Another FO

You have heard of UFO, the flying kind. The knitting world has grabbed its own version of UFO to mean an unfinished object. Logically, an FO would become a finished object. I have finished the R2D2 beanie hat for a certain family member. I am debating whether to place pictures up here or let the recipient see it first, then post pictures. I even hesitated to post about finishing it, since technically, I have not even told the requestor of the hat that it is finished. I did taunt the person a bit with an email along the lines of, you are going to have to come and visit me to see what I have for you. I have now let the proverbial cat out of the bag or maybe robot out of the knitting bag?

I must admit to being a rather monogamous, but slow knitter of late. I have a pair of slipper socks finished, a beanie hat, two reusable cotton grocery/shopping bags and a handful of dishcloths. In my defense, I had to make up the slipper socks as I went along, using a worn-out slipper as a guide. The beanie was a blast to knit, but I had never done intarsia colorwork until this project. The general idea of intarsia is to thread bobbins for each color change. (As opposed to stranded knitting where you carry the colors behind the work, simple but can cause puckering and often become too tight of a finished object.)

An example of an intarsia color change would be as follows: let’s say I want to make 5 blue blocks 15 stitches wide with a gray column between each one that will be 3 stitches wide. Starting with a gray bobbin, I would knit 3 stitches, then add a blue bobbin knitting for 15 stitches, add a second gray bobbin for 3 more stitches, add another blue for 15, another gray for 3, blue for 15, gray for 3, blue for 15, gray for 3, add one last blue for 15 and a gray to round out the evenness of it all. That is a total of 10 bobbins hanging around. At each color change, I bring the new color under the old color so that the new color has wrapped around the old, this prevents holes in between the color changes.

beanie hat bobbins

Let’s add another complication. Did I mention this was my first intarsia project? Most intarsia is knit flat because of the bobbins, if I tried to knit in a circle, I would get back to the beginning and find my bobbin to be on the far side of the color block where I left it, instead of the beginning. I did some reading and discovered that if I knit one row, I can twist the yarn at the end and purl back to the beginning and then twist the yarn and knit forward again, rinse, lather, repeat until desired length is completed. I don’t like seaming, so I knit the hat in the round with intarsia.

I will admit to ripping out the hat not less than 3 times but not more than 7 or 8. The first time I tried stranded knitting, it was too tight. The second time I knit it, I knit it flat with bobbins but the hat didn’t seem large enough. I then checked a knitting site, I can look at this project to see what others had to say about it when they made it. So glad that site exists for this pattern. The pattern as written was a child sized hat, so small it didn’t fit my head. Before I ripped it out, I took measurements as to my gauge, how many stitches per inch I was getting So I ripped it out again and waited until I saw the intended recipient in person again. I took some measurements and did some math. I had to add 40 stitches to the width, which meant I needed to redo the color work. I printed off knitter’s graph paper (the width of a stitch is wider than the height), got some scratch paper and increased all the blocks proportionally. If the old pattern called for 1 I drew 2, if the old called for 8 I drew 12, and so on. It seemed to work well for me. I used about 30 bobbins which meant over 30 ends to weave in when I was finished. Some of the bobbins were used multiple times, hence the over 30.

I wrote down my directions word for word, step-by-step, kept the charts and am filing it away for the day I am asked to make another rather large adult sized hat.

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