Monday, February 06, 2012

I Own a Lot of Yarn

It's no secret. I like to buy yarn. I try to limit myself to yarns that have a specific project associated with them, but sometimes I break that rule. Or I decide I hate the project after I've purchased the yarn. What looked like the "Best Sweater Ever" one week turned into the "What Was I Thinking Sweater" the next.

Alas, my stash is rather large. Which is fine except it was becoming unruly. I was storing it everywhere and was beginning to lose track of what was where.

The final straw broke when I stored skeins in the living room media cabinet.

Husbands don't understand the concept of yarn stored in living rooms. It made perfect sense to me, but not to him. Ultimately, it worke
d out to my advantage because he built me a great Ikea wall unit for all of my stuff -- yarn included.

I gathered yarn from all over the house and organized it by color.


Then stored it neatly into its new home.


Upon further look, I'm not the only one who likes the new storage solution.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Classic Elite Newsletter

I subscribe to the Classic Elite email newsletter. Often it's got good stuff in it. But this? Really?

This will get filed in the "Just Because You Can Knit It..." category.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Travel Knitting

I have about 7 WIP and about 900 new projects to begin, and I've got a round trip to Europe and 7 hours on a train worth of time to fill.

But what projects to bring?

I have one seamless sweater that's almost complete on the body -- just the sleeves need to be worked. But I'm not sure I want to lug a whole sweater around Europe with me. That's the one downside of seamless sweaters. They're not great travel projects once you join under the arms and really get moving!

I've got the Dollar and a Half cardigan that's been sitting in a bag for over a year now because I once again screwed it up and have to frog a fair amount. Ugh. Do I want to be frustrated as I fly over the Atlantic? Maybe being captive in a flying tube for so long will actually make me finish this section so I can continue on.

Then there are hats. Hats for me, hats for friends. Hats that have been in the queue to match with scarves and hats that just want to be made. I might have to bring a hat or two with me because they're quick and I'll feel accomplished. And since where I'm going is cold -- I'll get to wear it right away!

I also have scarves in progress. Easy scarves are great knitting companions because you can knit them while watching movies. Or listening to podcasts. I'll certainly have a scarf or two with me as well.

I can say this: I will travel with than one project. I just don't know exactly which ones!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My First Sewing Project is Complete!

My husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I loved the idea of it.

Learning how to use it proved to be a little more difficult.

So I signed up for a 4-week class at the local high school's "continuing education" program to get me farther than reading the instruction booklet did.

The class was great. We had to bring with us our sewing machines (duh), a beginner pattern, fabric and the sewing essentials (scissors, seam ripper, measuring tape, etc.) and for three hours over the course of four Monday nights, Alicia, from Sew-It-All, spent time with each student walking us through the often confusing process of sewing our projects.

When someone in the class got to a point where others could learn, Alicia would say: "If anyone would like to learn how to make a button hole (zipper, dart, etc.), gather 'round." (OK. She doesn't really say "gather 'round like Tim Gunn...")

I signed up for the next session of sewing classes because I haven't scratched the surface of what's to know about this craft. But just as knitting was overwhelming when I first started, I'm hopeful that I'll
eventually turn a corner. I have to -- I've already bought a few more patterns and some really fun fabric.

Here's my first project, finished last night at class. (Thanks to Terry for the perfectly matching monkey sock slippers!)

Sock Monkeys on Pogo Sticks PJs

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blue Sweater is Officially a FO

I loved this yarn when I saw it at the Knit and Crochet Show in Northern California a few years ago: Lisa Souza's Sock Merino and Kid Mohair. Lisa suggested that I knit the two yarns together for a sweater, which was a great idea. My friend Marissa bought the same yarn combo in a beautiful green. After the fact, we both wish we swapped colors, but now that I'm finished, I'm happy with the blue.

The pattern is the T Shirt Sweater from Ella Rae Book One:

T Shirt Pattern

Pattern Book

The pattern was easy. The front was fast to knit, but I made some adjustments. Of course, I never wrote the adjustments down, so when it came to knitting the back, I stopped at where I knew the adjustments began and stuffed the whole thing in a bag for "later."

Well, "later" turned out to be almost two years. I finally picked this back up again a few months ago and was determined to figure out what adjustments I made and to repeat them on the back.

This was the first sweater I had to seem together. (The two previous completed sweaters were top downs with no seems.)

Damp sweater waiting for blocking helped a bunch with their articles on mattress stitch and shoulder seeming.

I also used blocking wires for the first time. While a total PITA to put the wires through the knitted fabric, the edges dried nice and straight, vs. the scalloped way they normally dry when just using pins.

Drying on the blocking board

Overall, I'm pleased with the results. The waist shaping is a little too high on my body vs. where my waist really starts to shape, but a little steaming might fix that.

Blue Sweater completed

Since I've started knitting, I've been on the lookout for the "perfect simple sweater" pattern that I would make a few times in different colors with various changes to neckline and sleeve and bottom stitches. This pattern is a good base for my perfect sweater. With a little reworking of the waist shaping, I'd definitely refer to it the next time I start a sweater.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seamless Sweater Redux

I finished this sweater three and a half years ago. It never saw the outside world.

Since then has been sitting in a drawer in my closet. In the back of the drawer, I might add, squished behind other stuff so I could forget about it.


Because I hated it.

I didn't want to admit it that I hated it. What would it say for my love of the craft if I acknowledged that after spending so much time and money on this sweater I couldn't stand it?? What would it say about the zillion skeins of yarn that lay un-knit in my various yarn compartments and drawers?

I often thought about ripping it out completely. But then I'd have to face the curly, trying-to-look-normal, rewound yarn every time I opened my stash. It was all to much to fathom. So in the drawer the hated sweater stayed.

Until it hit me:

Re-engineer it! Figure out what I hated so much and make it better.

So, what didn't I like?

Other than the fact it was too big under the arms (something I knew could not be fixed), I really didn't like the button-less cardigan style that just flapped open. It reminded me of my friend's mom's famous line:

"Touches you everywhere, flatters you no where."

I didn't like the tassel-y thing that tied the top of the cardigan together.

And I didn't like that the sweater hung oddly on the body when worn. It just wasn't shaped properly.

Thankfully, the tie-thing was the last part of the sweater to be knitted, so it was a cinch to make it disappear. That and and the two or three rows of the neckline it was attached to.

To fix the hanging open problem, after re-knitting a new neckline, I seamed the front of the cardigan closed and turned it into a pullover. Because the left and right fronts on the cardigan were done in seed stitch, the seam is virtually invisible.

Then, since I was not aware of the concept of blocking when I first made this sweater, I blocked the sucker, in hopes of having it lay evenly and take the shape of an actual sweater.

Cardigan-turned-Pullover re-inventing itself

I am very happy with my re-engineered results and can admit this sweater has seen the light of day on more than one occasion. It's still a little big, but I look at that as experience in knowing how to size seamless sweaters better in the future.

In fact, I "tested" it by wearing it to work the day after it finished drying on the blocking board. No kidding, three people commented to me at different times before the clock struck Noon.

"Wow," they said.

"That's a really nice sweater. Is it new?"

Felted Winter Tote

A few years ago I bought 10 skeins of orange Jaegar Como online for a pretty sweet deal. I planned on using it for a sweater in the Jaegar book. But once the yarn arrived, I wasn’t sure I liked it for a sweater. It felt kind of acrylic, even though it’s 90% merino.

(Note to self: buying yarn cheap online is only good if I'm familiar with the yarn...)

I'm lukewarm on the sweater now, too. Not sure if that cable on the neckline would look nice or ridiculous.

Since the yarn has a high wool content, I felted a small swatch of it to see if it would (despite its 10% nylon) and it did. I decided to save it for something felted. My friend copied a pattern for me (I know, not Kosher...but we all do it) from the Holiday Knits book, and I planned to use the yarn for that project. I even (because I'm sick) ordered more of the yarn in pink, so I could make the bag with an accent color. This was after I knew I didn't even like the yarn much...

Fast forward three or four years, enter my obsession with either getting rid of yarn I know I'm never going to use, or starting the projects that have been waiting for me for so long. I cast on for the Felted Winter Tote.

I believe that the authors of this book from where the pattern comes own the store Noe Knits in San Francisco. I was there a few years ago, and remember they had the book on display in the store with an errata note that the yarn should be doubled for this pattern.

I'm only a few rows into it at this point but will make a swatch of doubled yarn and re-felt -- just to make sure it doesn't turn out too thick. Because knitting the whole thing and discovering that after the fact would truly be a drag.

I'll order the suede handles and bottom online and see where this project goes...wish me luck. At the very least, I'll clean out some of my stash.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009, What Were You Thinking?

A recent email from included three special patterns. The third they described as:
"...a little something to amuse you...and perhaps inspire you to give your heart away this Valentine's Day!"
I thought they meant something like this:

But no. They were talking about a knitted heart, heart:

Um. Why??