Monday, January 30, 2006

Two Words on Felting: No Superwash

I've had success felting two Kitty Pi beds for my cats. I'm into this whole felting craze. My cats are into this whole felting craze.

I love the excitement of putting this humongo knitted thing in the washer and taking it out in a completely different, yet usable, form. Call me crazy. I love it.

So when my friend Marissa found this adorable felted purse pattern and made herself this purse, I wanted in, as well.

I had just purchased some beautiful black superwash wool and had a ton of black eyelash yarn from an abandoned project. Why make another hat? I would make a fuzzy black purse instead.

It knit up in hours. I was ready to felt. But not before Acacia could examine the fluffiness of my knitted item.

Here's what it looked like pre-felted:

And here's what it looked like post-felted:

Funny. They look exactly the same.

And that's when I learned this important point: Superwash is secret knitting code for "doesn't felt."

Not with one run in the hot cycle. Not with two. Not even with THREE and an overnight soak in hot water.

Superwash. Washable yarn. Go figure. It's treated so it doesn't felt. Yet I missed this concept entirely.

The black, fluffy, stretched out non-felted purse is now in the trash. I couldn't even bother ripping it out.

Now I've got the right wool and I'm starting again...

Cascade 220 felts nicely. I know. It's what Marissa used...

Friday, January 27, 2006

You Can Take the Girl Out of New York...

This summer will be 13 years since I moved from New York to San Francisco. While I much prefer the weather and my lifestyle on this coast, I guess I'm still a New Yorker at heart...

You Belong in New York City

You're an energetic, ambitious woman.
And only NYC is fast enough for you.
Maybe you'll set yourself up with a killer career
Or simply take in all the city has to offer.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Birthday. Hope You Like Your Present. Now Give it Back.

That's pretty much what I told my friend Terry when we had dinner for her birthday.

Terry had always commented on how much she liked the first poncho I knitted. So I knew that I would make her one, it was just a matter of when -- because there are two kinds of knitters: those who knit for others and those who knit for themselves. And since I fall into the second bucket of knitters (aka: the selfish bitches) finding the time to knit said poncho for Terry would prove to be difficult.

Almost a year passed before I finally took the plunge and purchased the yarn. Because her birthday is in December my procrastinating was justified. (See how naturally I justifed that??)

Once the yarn arrived I began the project. Also on deck was a matching hat. This is a really easy pattern and you can make it with Lion Brand yarn. (ewe. I know. But it works for this pattern, I swear.)

Before the poncho was finished, and before the hat was even started, I called Terry to schedule a birthday dinner where I would present her present. Dinner was approaching fast, and I just ran out of time. Not to mention, it was January. So I was late on many fronts.

What do I do?

Bring it with me anyway. Unfinished. But nicely wrapped!

Happy Birthday.

I promised the matching hat and weaved-in ends hanging everywhere would be done soon -- after she gave me back the present I just gave her. And now, almost two weeks after our dinner, Terry's birthday gift is finally complete!



Up close view. I used a Berrocco eyelash yarn for the trim.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Is Ugly the New Pretty?

This is my completed Zephyr poncho from the Rowan Plaid book. I finished it over a month ago but didn't have the heart to post anything about it.

Rowan Plaid "Zephyr" Poncho


Because I hate it.

Is it possible that ugly is the new pretty? If so, then I'm in luck. But since it's not, I'm SOL.

All that time. All that yarn. All that money. And now I get to rip. Again.

I hate the ripping. But I hate the ugly, so I guess I'll have to rip.

My friend Marissa says to take off the fringe and maybe that will help. My husband says to post the completed disaster on ebay and hope to get 20 bucks for it. I say I'll just rip and make something else out of the yarn. One day. Like 2025.

I already have the yarn to make the Rowan "Thunder" poncho.

But I'm afraid. Very afraid...What if that one is ugly too?

What do you think?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Kntting Books, Worm Farms and Horrified Friends

My sister and I decided that we would tell each other what we wanted for Christmas this year since we are both convinced that the other is the hardest person in the world to shop for.

I asked for this:

Barbara Walker's classic Treasury of Knitting book

My sister gave me a hard time.

Suzie: "A stupid knitting book?? That's what you want for Christmas? Is that the best you can come up with?"

Me: "She who asks for a Worm Farm can't really be scoffing at my request for a Knitting Book, can she??"

Side Note: Yes. My sister really wanted a Worm Farm for Christmas.

I think her friend David, who she has been friends with since junior high, had the best comment:

David: "What the hell has gotten into you both? You scare me! One is asking Santa for a Knitting Book and the other wants a worm farm? Are you mad? Have you both lost your minds? A knitting book! A worm farm? You want a worm farm? Please... I'm going to have to order a second bottle of wine with breakfast if you keep this nonsense up any longer..."

Well, Santa did OK. I got my knitting book and Suzie got her worm farm.

Start of a scarf
- the first project combining two patterns from the book

No news yet on the worm farm is coming along...or if David opened that second bottle of wine...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to New York

I saw a "feather and fan" sample scarf in my LYS that I just had to make.

It was made with Bouton d'Or Melody, which is a mohair yarn. The only other time I knitted with mohair I mixed it with a straight wool yarn and it was really easy to knit. I was soon to discover knitting solo with mohair was a big pain in the ass.

The needles were small, the yarn was both lumpy and hairy. This pattern has a lot of K2tog's -- and the lumpy-ness and hairiness of the yarn made really difficult to see what the hell I was doing.

I started the scarf and loved the way it looked, but absolutely hated knitting it. Using my F-Factor rating system, I gave it an F-5.

Pretty. But so hard to knit...

I was leaving on a 10 day trip to NY and decided that the only knitting project I would bring with me was the Scarf of Hate. I had a 5-6 hour plane ride each way and the assumed down time during the trip. My reasoning was that if this was the only project with me, I would be forced to knit it.

And while I easily could have bailed on the project (given the trazillion others patiently waiting to be started), I didn't because I knew what the completed scarf looked like and I really wanted it.

So off to NY I went, me and my Scarf of Hate.

I knitted on the plane. Knitted and knitted. I knitted occasionally at my hotel when I had a free moment. And somewhere about day 5 of my trip, I got used to the hairy, lumpy yarn. My scarf was moving along nicely and I no longer felt the same level of hated for my yarn. You could even go so far as to say that I started to enjoy this project.

Even with a NY yarn store visit and purchase (ie: new project!) -- I continued knitting the scarf formerly known as the Scarf of Hate.

A Blurry Image of Completed Scarf of Hate No More

Close up of Feather and Fan pattern

Feather & Fan is easy. I'd like to try it next with a less fluffy yarn because I'm thinking the pattern would be even more visable. Here's the pattern if you'd like to do it yourself:

CO mult of 18 + 2 (the scarf I made was 38 on size 8 US needles)
Row 1: K
Row 2: P
Row 3: K1, *(K2 TOG) 3x, (YO, K1) 6x, (K2 TOG) 3x; REP from * to last
stitch;end K1.
Row 4: K
REP these 4 rows.

It helps to place a marker after 1st stitch and before the last stitch. This way, you can easily keep track of the 18 stitches of pattern repeat.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Kitty Pi a Little Late for Christmas

Yeah, I know. Cats don't know it's Christmas. They might be intrigued by all the wrapping and ornaments and the smells of the stuff we drag out of the attic every December -- but they have no concept of the gift giving season.

That's why I wasn't too concerned that I didn't complete my Kitty Pi in time for Christmas morning. But I did, however, finish it. While my husband likes to think it was to give our cats a belated Christmas gift, I'll let you in on a little secret: it was to get rid of the bulky yarn taking up valuable space in my yarn drawer.

I got the pattern from Wendy Knits. I bought the yarn several months ago but never had dpns in size 15. I hadn't knitted successfully on dpns before -- I normally work with two pairs of circulars, but I could just not figure out how to cast on 9 stitches and then increase in every stitch with the two circulars. I was a frenzy of wires and needles so I worked in dpns. I guess you could say I'm no longer a dpn virgin. Imagine that.

Anyway, on to the Pi. I used Paton's Up Country wool (Crazy Aunt Purl swears by the stuff and I am as bummed as she is that's it's been discontinued...)

Here's the Kitty Pi all knitted up but not felted yet.

Pre-felted with an inspection by Chance

Further inspection by Chance

Kitty Pi is now felted but not yet blocked

I only had to wash it once in the hot/cold cycle. I think next time I may try the warm/cold cycle instead because I feel like it shrunk up a bit much. (Next time? Yes, I bought enough wool for two kitty pi beds...)

Again, the inspection team at work

After blocking and drying, Moneypenny loves her Kitty Pi

She refuses to share

Beat it, Missy. This Pi is all mine. Wait for the next one to be knitted...