Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vacation Knitting

Now that my dear child is out of school for the holidays I am on vacation. Woohoo!  While I like my job at the big Orange Box.  There is a need every so often to not go into work for a week and I am fortunate to work for a company who understands the need for vacation time.   So, I'm hanging with the kidlet for a week +.  It's all good because it's going to be a creative week.  I purchased a couple of tubs about double the size of a shoe box and threw in a bunch of kid crafty stuff.  You know, ribbons, beads, buttons, pipe cleaners, etc.  I can put the tubs out for her and I can do my crafty things at the same time.  To get started we did a combo project.  Created by Em. Arranged by Mommy.

While Em was exploring her new tools for making things Mommy spent time knitting some very girly things for Em's bath time. 

Em, is very fond of pink.  I have heard on more than one occasion that,"I love pink in my heart, Mommy."  To say I am not a girly girl is a massive understatement.  My child is a girly girl.  I will support this girliness even if it is not my style. I am slowly working my way into this.  And so there are the washcloths for the bath.  The patterns are very basic but she is all excited to use them.  I tried to go all pink but I just couldn't do it.  Easing my way into it, remember?  Honestly, she's into the pink and black.  She is my child and has been surrounded by the color black her entire life.

Also, on the needles is a project for Gramma.  It is the KISS Triangle Shawlette.  The pattern calls for a fingering weight yarn.  I'm doing it in Caron Simply Soft in the Soft Blue Colorway.  I want it to be a full out shawl.  Mom has been talking about how her shoulders get cold in the winter.  She said she wanted something basic like the grey one I had worked previously.  Well, I had done that and wanted to do something pretty as well.

This photo is a few days old and it now fills the needles.  It's a fun knit and I can't wait to see it blocked.  

I started this during a lunch break at work the Monday or Tuesday before Xmas.  I had been about a week without a project and was anxious to get going.  I had everything ready in my project bag with one little exception. 

As I reread the pattern I realized that I need stitch markers.  I haven't used them in the past too often because I haven't done a pattern so complicated that I need them.  This pattern is simple enough but keeping track of where I am makes a difference in this one. I'm a lone knitter at lunch and instead of spending 40 minutes bored out of my mind I venture out into the Orange Box to see what kind of substitute I can find.  There were only two departments where I thought I could find something.  Hardware was a bust. The only thing they had were key rings but they were way too big. Then I remembered the o-rings in plumbing. That's it!  They are little black rubber rings that keep water from leaking from faucets.  We have various sizes. I wasn't smart enough to bring the needles with me but I settled on a #7 o-ring from Danco.  I will probably go to a smaller size in the future but for $2.27 I am perfectly happy.

This is also a pattern where I am for the most part following the pattern with the exception  of adding a couple of repeats.  I want this to be big and snuggly.

This is all for now.  Next up, my wishes/resolutions for 2012.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'll Take Knitting Techniques for the Block

I will freely admit that I am a process knitter.  It is a form of meditation that calms my mind and takes me out of myself while at the same time being productive.  Which is why I have this little pile...

One is a basic pink and cream stockinette scarf to go with the hat I made earlier.  The other is my first attempt at a triangle shawl.  I really want to do more shawls and my favorites all tend to be triangle shawls.  I did this in some Simply Soft I had on hand to figure out the structure of the increases and yarn overs.  They really need to be blocked and the way the holidays are keeping me busy it won't be until after Xmas that I'll be able to do it.  Fortunately, it's been surprisingly warm for December in Tulsa.  Em, doesn't need the scarf just yet.

And then there's this...

I have a great idea for a girly little hat for Em made out of this Merino 5 #9816 by Crystal Palace Yarns.  I want to make a bigger floppier hat than what I've made previously.  I have 24" and 32" circular needles and about a hundred stitches to start.  Magic loop doesn't work so well with that many stitches.  I tried.  I tried three times.  The yarn on the needles kept twisting and I just couldn't get it to work.  Apparently, this yarn needs to be knit in a traditional round.  Drat!  I don't have a short enough needle to do this.  I went to Knit Picks to get a shorter needle in size 7.  They are out until I don't know when.  All it says it "Available Soon."  Double Drat!

I don't know what to do now.  I can work in a few minutes here and there to do some knitting especially during lunches.  I keep thinking about this hat and how I might make it be something my daughter would love to wear.  I need something to knit.  My hands are all itchy twitchy now.

See that little ball of yarn above my frustrated ball?  That is exactly how far I got before I hit a knot.   PreDrat!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lunch Time Knitting

I work in one of the few retail companies where you get an hour for lunch.  I have always been one to eat my food in about 20 minutes if I don't go out to get it.  That usually leaves me with about 40 minute with a whole lot of nothing to do.  It took me awhile, after I started knitting, to figure out that I could bring some to work with me and make use of that relatively uninterupted 40 minutes. I really had to smack myself in the forehead pretty hard when I realized that instead of playing games on my itouch I could be productive and knit.  I'm having issues with idle hands.   I now have a pretty good system of projects bags and an carry-all Wonder Woman bag that gets my knitting to work.  I usually have two projects going one for home and one for work. But there are times when I want to work on that work project so I take them back and forth every day.

Retail can also be very stressful. And there are days whenI have no desire to talk to anyone.  I have both my ear buds and am either watching or listening to something very important. Lately, it has been the video podcast, heretofore known as vlog,  Knitting Blooms.  I was introduced to this by my friend Margaret.  She is also a knitter and this is her friend.  She sent me an email about this blog quite awhile ago but I was in the middle of another podcast obsession.  That's another story. 

I started watching this blog on my iPhone propped up against my lunchbox as I ate my lunch and knit.  I was so engrossed with it that I began to watch it at home while getting dinner ready.  I was hoping that it would last me a couple of months of lunches.  No such luck. I became obsessed.  I watched it while cleaning up after dinner. Before I knew it, I was caught up and had to wait a week.  The sad disappointment I felt rivaled my 4yr old when I told her Christmas was a month away.

Fortunately, she has recommended to me some others that I may need to check out.  I think I'll start with Dramatic Knits.  It has a theatrical theme and well, I have the degree. This might be a good thing for me.

Work in progress...

It's the beginning of a triangle shawl.  Again I take the (no) pattern from Knitting Rules.  I think that once I work out the structure of it I can handle making a more complicated one.

Finished Object

My big honking scarf...

It's not a pretty knit.  I still don't get changing colors.  It's not a particular flattering knit and it's an acrylic chenille. But I don't care. It's long, soft and  crazy warm so ... *insert raspberry here*  Sorry, I'm a little sensitive. During the making of this I had some issues with some members on a knitting board regarding the yarns origins. I don't belong to that board anymore.


My little cuff

It's my own little pattern made of Simply Soft. I broke my wrist about a decade ago and when winter comes along it aches. I wear this one to work so I don't have to worry about it getting messed up.   I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier.

Time to put a munchkin to bed. Bye for now!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's Been A Long Hot Summer...

.And not very conducive to knitting.  Summertime is hard for knitting as it is.  There is lot to do on the house and trying to squeeze a few veggies out of my overheated vegetable plants.  I did get to do some as I sat for a few moments to watch tv in the evenings.  That didn't really happen all that often either but I did get a few things worked on.

When it finally cooled off in September I started knitting like crazy.  Below are some pics on what I have been working on.

First off is Tiger's Blanket.  As promised at Tulsa Fiber Fest I made the most loved animal (in the house) a blanket from the chosen yarn.  The pattern is "Little Fountain" lace pattern from The Knitting Directory by Allison Jenkins.  I think there is more life for this lace pattern.

 The yarn is falkland wool from The Alpaca Legacy.  It's a local company.  I really liked knitting with the yarn but I'm not sure it's good for a 4yr olds toy.  I noticed the other day that there a couple of spots on the edge where the yarn broke.  It seems to be holding up though it spends a good portion of the night wrapped around the most loved Tiger.

 The pattern is "The No-Pattern Hat with Rolled Brim" from Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. This book is turning out to be my go to book for basic patterns.  It is dog-eared, highlighted and well loved.  Almost as much as Tiger.  I'm not very good at following patterns.  I easily lose my place.
She gives basic rules for making basic knitted clothing.  I think my next projects from the book will be a triangle shawl.

The yarn is from Bernat. It's from a  discontinued natural blends line.  It is a acrylic, nylon and cashmere blend.  It is very soft but durable enough for a 4yr. old.  I've had it in the stash for a couple of years. It was on sale at Michael's and I couldn't pass it up.

Em loves the hat so much I didn't have a chance to cut the cast on tail.  The next day at school she wore it all day and was more than a little warm.  I'm also making a matching striped scarf. I wish I knew how to do mittens to have a complete matching set. Yet, another thing to add to the Learning List.

This is a really long scarf from the left over yarn that once was a blanket and an abandoned kitty pillow. There was a lot left over and I needed a new scarf. There was enough to do a really long one.  It's all knit stitch.  The edges are a little rough I'm still trying to figure out this stripe thing and the weaving in thing.

I've recently decided that I need to make my household cleaning cloths.  The red ones are for doing the dishes. I made 5.  the Star Trek ones are for bath time. The pattern is Baby Trekkie Washcloth.  The red ones are a simple moss stitch with a border.

This is a little swatch hat made out of Cascade Yarns Cherub DK color #10.  I have an idea  for a project in this yarn. I had to test the yarn to see if I like it. This is my first time with a small gauge acrylic.  Getting started was rough.  It is very stretchy.  I eventually got there with it.  It's a perfect newborn size. A gift is at the ready although it needs some embellishment.

Now that the weather has cooled down I am spending more time indoors with needles in hand. Trying to get the cold weather gear for the family.


Monday, June 13, 2011


I have finally completed my first pair and Em's second pair of sock's. My socks fit ok hers... not so much. I think I'm getting it, but I'm not sure.   Let's look at the evidence.
Exhibit A

They are a general sock shape and fit my feet.

Exhibit B

I managed to turn a short row heel. There is a gaping hole at the corner that I had to fix in post production. Or at least reduce to the point where I don't play with it every time I wear the socks. The goal is to have something to wear at home that keeps the toes warm and comfy.

I have to admit that I love how the sock hugs my foot. At least for now it feels like a little foot massage.

Exhibit C

Apparently, I have no clue how tall an ankle length sock should be.  I thought I had measured to an appropriate point.  I used Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  I really like how it turned out.  This pic is pre-washing.  It pulled in a little to look more normal.

Exhibit D

Again with the heel? Maybe I need to do a couple of extra rows before returning to the cuff.  Hmmmm....

At the moment I'm being a good mommy and trying to complete my daughters request fora blanket for her tiger.  I'm doing a simple lace pattern with a yarn from the fiber fest.  I do like how the color pools.   There is plenty of yarn left I need to figure out what I want.  Maybe a new scarf?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tulsa Spring Fiber Fest

This past Sunday Em and I went to our first fiber festival.  Tulsa Spring Fiber Fest  was at this lovely barn near a pond in the wilds of South Tulsa.  It's a very picturesque spot and it was a sunny, warm and just a perfect day.

The first thing we saw upon arrival were the alpacas.  They came from J R Alpaca's (Just Right) in Jones, OK.  They are just lovely animals.  I was very proud of Em. She walked right up and gave the animal a quick pet.

I tried lead her into the barn to look at the yarn.  Em had then discovered the rosebushes and the lovely flower that were starting to bloom.  She had to run over there and look at the flowers. I finally got her to go into the barn by telling her that I would let her pick out some yarn for the blanket she's been asking me to make for her Tiger. I got a bright "ok mommy!" We walk into the barn and run into a soap maker who is also selling various bath duckies probably from Oriental Trading.  She did a cool thing of embedding them into a bar of soap.  We ended up purchasing a bar with a little yellow frog in the middle.

I finally reach a yarn vendor and Em starts asking to go to the zoo. Sigh...  I told her that it was Mommy's turn to look and she needed to pick out some yarn for the Tiger blanket she asked for.  She immediately turns around and picks up a skein of purple variegated.  "Don't you want to see what all the choices are?" I asked.  She shakes her head "no."  Ok, I look at the yarn and it's a soft Falkland wool from Legacy Yarns. She's been on a purple kick lately. I should be grateful she didn't pick the much more expensive 100% alpaca that was right next to it.

The second vendor I got to look at was Dawning Dream Yarns.  I got some lovely hand painted superwash wool in a ice blue and white colorway.

I think the first one I'll work on is the Tiger Blanket.  She proudly carried the bag with this in it the whole time we were there. Which to be honest wasn't much longer, but it was hers.

I really didn't get the chance to take a good look at all the vendors.  Em was fired up to go to the zoo,wwhich we eventually did. 

I was surprised to see how much alpaca was there.  After doing a little research I discovered that there are quite a few alpaca farms in Oklahoma.  There is a site called Alpaca's of Oklahoma.  They have a site listing about 30 in state.  Most of which are in the general vicinity of Tulsa.  Interesting.

And just because it was cute

Wicca had to check out the addition to the stash

Friday, April 29, 2011


Lately, it feels like I haven't been very productive with my knitting.  I started to count up my recent projects and it's not too bad.  It would have been better if I could have taken some sort of knitting device when I had jury duty for 2 days.  But that's another story.
Ok, here's my round up for the past few months.  Keep in mind most of it was done during my lunch hours.

These are some items for lil miss Amelia Bleck.   They are my first attempts at non-sock knitting in the round.  I found that the hats were really fun to do.  The yarn is Cascade fixation.  I got the basis of the pattern from Stephanie Pearl-Mc Phee's Knitting Rules!

This is the beginning of a sleeping pillow for Wicca.  She getting up there in years, nearly 12, and needs a soft place to sleep that is not my bed behind my legs.  It is all single crochet in the Lion Brand chenille and Suede lines ( now discontinued).   I've finished one side and have begun the other.  I should have just enough left.

The current pair of socks are in Cascade fixation.  They are cotton and lil miss Emma can't say that they are itchy.  Now that it is summer she is in a state of "no socks, mommy!"  When fall hits I think I can get her to wear them at least once.  I just reached the cuff on the second sock. I should be done in a few days.

My last project is finally getting to the weaving in on my pair of Fixation socks.  They are in my lunch project bag and I'm not bringing anything else until they are done.  I hope to have a pic of those on my feet soon.  Very soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Earth Day

This Earth Day weekend I feel pretty good about what I personally have accomplished and what I've seen accomplished.

In general, I see less disdain for things like recycling. Ok, the hubby groans less when I ask him to take a can out to the bin.  The city has finally included steel cans into the pick up recycling options.  The Orange Box has really embraced it this year for a week long sale and celebration.  In the past they gave away stuff like cfl light bulbs and water saving faucet aerators.  This year there are 2 eco gardening workshops and many things in the store reducing water and energy consumption.  And surprisingly enough I'm seeing the transition of gas guzzling vehicles into more streamline, slightly less gas guzzling vehicles.  Now that gas is getting near or past the $4 someone is realizing that alot of people can't afford to fill the tanks of those big cars.

On a personal level it feels like I'm getting there as well.  I remember to take out the recycling. I'm in my second year of having a compost bin.  I have a good start on my herb and vegetable garden.  I have a couple of heirloom tomato plants from work and some mesclun greens in the ground.  I was very please to see my sage survived from last year.  I'm trying really hard not to use the ac in the house.  We'll see how it goes when we start getting into the 90's.  And best of all... yesterday, I made my first ball of tarn.

I have a lot of t-shirts left over from travels and shows that I've done.  When I say I have a lot.  It's relative.  I don't have anywhere near as many as some of my friends who are still in the business.  But they are overflowing my closet and I truly don't wear half of them any more as I can't wear t-shirts to work.  I went through my shirts and took photos of the ones that have memories and I'll put them together in some format of a memory book.  They will be transformed into something that I will use every day and make me happy to reminisce. I really need some dish cloths. 
Here is a link to a tutorial that I used to make the tarn.  It is on the Craft Passion blog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Ever Changing Project

My blanket plan didn't work out.  I'm not ambitious enough to really hunt down the rest of the yarn to complete it.  I did have a bit of inspiration the other day when the cat decided that my Wonder Woman pillow would make a good bed.  Madame Wicca needs her own pillow bed.

 This is the beginning of Madame's pillow bed.  It's black and primary red.  It really seems to glow in this pic.  It's not this harsh in real life and it goes well with the decor in the room.

As for my winter snugly, t.v. watching blanket for the cold months will have to be re-thought. Hmmm time for some Ravelry surfing. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My First Hat

I've been reading "Knitting Rules!" by Stephanie Pearl-Mc Phee and in it she has a chapter on the "No Pattern Hat."  I love it because she gives a basic set of guidelines to make hats, socks, shawls.  She also gives variations on a theme.  I'm not very good at following patterns. I get lost very easily especially if it's a repeat of more the 6 or 7 lines.  When I do try to follow a pattern I have to write it out myself to make sure I understand it. I get lost less frequently.

The yarn is Cascade Fixation, yet again.  This is a challenging yarn for me because of the elastic.  I'm starting to get really good with getting tension right and consistent.  I did the math based on the gauge but it still ended up small.  I compared it to a newborn hat and it was really small.  And so, dolly gets a new hat.  I knew this day would come. I think I need to work my way to knitting Barbie clothes though.  That is becoming my child's new obsession.

The next project is to re-do my black and red afgan. I was not very good at the tension in this crochet project and I got random loops sticking out.  It bothered the crap out of me.  I just finished frogging it and have started with a smaller hook and am using a single crochet instead of a half double.  I want something dense and warm for my lap in winter.  I've also changed the red yarn.  I went from Lion Brand Chenille which has a spicy brown kinda red to the Suede line which has a more primary red. I'm only using it as a small accent as the gauge is very differnet. It should be interesting as both have been discontinued. Time to start scouring the discount bins

Monday, February 28, 2011

Weaving In

If you ask any knitter what the most boring part of a project is. The most common answer you are likely to get it is, "weaving in the ends."  I have a few of those projects.  During our big snow storm this winter I decided it was high time to get on a few of those things.  Having them stare me in the face for 3 straight days while I frantically search for something to keep myself and child entertained was the inspiration.

Item #1  Diagonal lace shawl

It's a larger version of my first lace project. I'm using Caron Simply Soft again in black. This one didn't block quite as large as I hoped.  I still haven't quite figured out blocking yet. The scarf seemed to stretch more than this leaving great open spaces in it. The only difference between the two is that I used a clothing steamer instead of an iron for steam.  I'm going to block it again and try just a wet block.  I've sent and email off to Caron asking them what the recommended blocking technique is for this yarn.

Item #2  Cascade fixation Socks (for me)

This is my first pair of socks for myself and gods help me I love stripes.  It's a ten row stripe which means lots and lots of weaving in. I got some done during the snow storm but the fates and children were against me.  I'm going to get back to it. No, really, I am... I need to wear these socks.  I just have to finish off a slightly secret project.  

Spring is coming and a lot of gardening is looming. Between my lunch breaks and quiet evenings I'm hoping to get quite a bit done this year.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hand Me down knits

A couple of summers ago my sent a bunch of stuff from her house. She was moving out and it was time to clear out my stuff. In the shipment were her dolly clothes from when she and I were little girls. I played with them too. I had forgotten how much crochet wear there was.

I pulled it all out and gently hand washed it in Eucalan wool wash. For the most part everything came out all right. There were a few undyed wool pieces that disintegrated. Sixty plus years can do that.

Here are some shots. I did my best with the styling of the dolls but Em had an opinion too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review--Knitting Rules!

Knitting Rules! is written by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  She is a writer from Toronto who is all about the knitting.  She is also known as the Yarn Harlot and has a blog where she posts about her knittting exploits. She just completed her self-imposed sock club.  Where she combined patterns and yarn to stash bust/christmas present prep.  I only mention this as I really want to do this, but ummm ... well this is another post.

If there is one thing that knitting rules is not, it is a pattern book.  Sure, she give some basic instructions on how to make socks, a hat, a shawl. I'm really not very good at following patterns.  It's not just that I lose my place, and I do, it's that I'm picky. I like lace, but not too frilly. I like cables but not too complicated.  I like stripes but not too many ends to weave in.  I don't really expect that one to keep me from doing stripes. I just had to put it out there.

The book is really about using commonsense when doing these things with a healthy dose of a sense of humor.  Honestly, when trying to learn to knit one really needs a sense of humor.  I know there are moments when I think my head will explode when I just can't figure out the math or I have ripped something back for the tenth time.

My favorite part is the lists. "Ten Times When You Should Worry About Gauge"

1. If you want your work to be exactly the same (or as close as possible, considering you that you changed the neckline, the yarn, and the cable pattern) as the sweater in the picture of your pattern.

2.  If your bust is 36 inches and you'd like the sweater to be related to that fact in any kind of way.

For the rest you need to get the book. :)

In a way she reminds me of Alton Brown on his show "Good Eats."  He breaks cooking down to the basics making sure you understand how food is put together.  And he's a big goof ball to boot which makes it entertaining.  The Yarn Harlot is a writer and doesn't get to use the cool props but her sense of humor and knowledge of knitting really comes through.  Let's have her explain.  Follow the link below--

Yarn Harlot@ Full Thread Ahead