Thursday, January 31, 2008

FO: Yellow Hat

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Well, at least it fits my big fat head.

You've got to love a hat that can be finished in 24 hours. (Well, technically it was more like 30 hours.) I'm a little worried that it's too big. It was hard to tell on the needles. Now that it's off the needles, I'm also worried about it being too short. The thing is that I didn't want the brim to be flipped up, sort of like a beanie.

Technically, this may not be a Christmas gift. It may end up being sold at a craft show, on Etsy or at the next Fiber Friends Festival. Either way, I think it qualifies for the Year Long Gift-A-Long's quarterly challenge, because it still isn't due until December. If all else fails, it fits me. (And big heads run on both sides of my family.)

I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan in 31007 and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky in 16016 and US Size 10 bamboo dpns. It took slightly less than one skein of Superchunky and only about one half of a skein of Astrakhan.

I improvised the design, roughly estimating circumference. I double stranded the Astrakhan and did seed stitch on the first round to prevent it from flipping up. (I think it worked.) The rest is in stockinette. The decreases were also done without much planning. I thought I cast on 68 stitches, but as I decreased the numbers didn't add up. I don't think it matters though.

Hooray for big fat yarn, big fat needles and big fat heads.

February Gift List

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Here is my February gift list for the Year Long Gift-A-Long.

1. Gift Item: A lace shawl. My goal this month is to make decisions. This month I want to settle on a yarn, pattern and needles, then knit a swatch and block it.
Recipient: Grandma
Occasion: Christmas
Deadline: Let's say December 18, 2008 (so I have enough time to get it in the mail.)

2. Gift Item: Scarf (already in progress)
Recipient: Top Secret!
Occasion: Valentine's Day
Deadline: February 10, 2008 (so I can get it in the mail.)

3. Gift Item: Boogie Time (2 of them)
Recipient: Family Friends
Occasion: last Christmas
Deadline: Overdue

4. Gift Item: Socks
Recipient: Mom
Occasion: last Christmas
Deadline: Overdue

5. Gift Item: Socks (I'm not aiming for completion. Just a good start.)
Recipient: Top Secret!
Occasion: birthday
Deadline: March 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

WIP: Yellow Hat

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

Maybe it's crazy to start my January project for the Year Long Gift-A-Long on January 30, but I think I'm going to make it.

As I said before, these two yarns were dying to go together. I double stranded the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan for the edging by using both ends of the ball at the same time. I'm not real fond of knitting with the Astrakhan. I can't quite put my finger on the reason why. It doesn't really split or tangle. It just doesn't feel good on the needles. But I like the way it looks. And as always, Cashmerino Superchunky is awesome.
Tonight at Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe, Katie said it looked like a Winnie the Pooh hat. Then she said "your hat looks like Pooh" before she realized what she was saying. She said I should add little Pooh Bear ears. I think I'll have a plenty leftover to make a baby hat with ears, but for now, I'll stick with the basics.

My only concern is the size. I swatched a little bit, but I wasn't very careful about measuring. I just estimated and cast on. I hope it's not too big. It seemed ok on the Styrofoam head at Bluebonnet.

In other news, I just talked to Jules. It's cold in LA and he is wearing his socks right now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I spun some yarn

I finished a single a day or two ago. Wanna see?

I went to Kid n' Ewe last fall I bought drop spindles and wool for both me and my friend Lyndsey. About a week and a half ago, we got together with Mom for a spinning lesson.

We brought our wool, but the dying process seemed to have made it a tiny bit felted, so we started with this other wool Mom had lying around. (I forgot what type it is.)

Mom showed us how to card rolags, which are basically little wool "cigars" (or "egg rolls" or "taquitos" if you prefer.) Mom learned this was more than a decade ago, but it seems like a nowadays it's hard to find anyone spinning from rolags. (Except for a recent sighting here.) However, Mom thinks it's easier (and more fun) to spin that way, so I decided to give it a try.

We have carding down pretty well. (Lyndsey and I are sharing the hand carders.) Spinning is more difficult, although I think Lyndsey is doing better than I am. Then again, I think Lyndsey tends to be more of a perfectionist than I am. I keep barreling through with the lumps and bumps.

Mom actually showed me how to spin a little bit about a year ago. I hadn't picked it up since, but I thought it was time to really learn.

This is all stuff Mom has spun. Starting with the hat and going clockwise:

1) The Hat - I'm not sure if this was made from her very first yarn, but it was some of the early stuff. She said it turned out well, except it itches. (A lot of my anxiety about "will it itch" comes from this hat.)

2) The Pink Stuff - Dyed with Kool Aid.

3) Black Bart - Mom ordered this wool by mail from a sheep named "Black Bart" a while back.

4) The White Stuff - That's...uhhh...wool.

5) Camel - Mom got a small amount of camel, and blended it with some wool.

Obviously Mom knows more about this stuff than I do.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bonus Photos

I had two random pictures to share:

I saw these Grackles and I had to take a picture for Jules. He was impressed when he saw them while he was visiting. (If you can't tell, I took this in the car, at a stoplight.)

This isn't mine. This is a purse my Mom is knitting. I forgot the name of the pattern, but she is going to felt it. She used stranded Patons Merino Classic.

Edit: 1/29/07 - Mom e-mailed me and told me this is the Coco Bag in the making.

FO: Back to Basics

So, it's only about a month late, but the Back to Basics socks I made my sister for Christmas are finished. I bound off last night.

I went to my parents' house this evening to give them to her. She was cooking with her boyfriend, and she had me put them on her feet because her hands were dirty. She liked them, and she thought they were soft. However, they were a little big, as I had feared.

You can see the bagginess on the right foot. It's even more pronounced in this picture. However, she didn't seem to mind the bagginess too much. (And if I had gone a needle size smaller, they would probably be too small.)

I used South West Trading Company TOFUtsies in "Foot in the Door" 725 and US Size 0 aluminum dpns. I translated the pattern for a set of five dpns. (The pattern shows you how to knit them on two circulars.)

TOFUtsies consists of wool, Soysilk, cotton and Chitin. It doesn't have the elasticity of typical wool yarns. I think my gauge would have been fine in regular wool. The good news is that it seems like nice and breathable. Also, the yardage is excellent. I have enough left to make a sock for Heather Mills. (I'm going to hell for that one.)

They look really weird off the foot because the increases are mostly on top of the foot, not to the sides like regular socks.

Her boyfriend needs a pair too.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Swatching Sunday: Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Volume One

This is one of my New Year's Resolution's (which I will eventually commit to my blog.) I want to swatch on a regular basis, just for the practice. I was listening to Janey Szabo on Stash and Burn talk about the hours she spends swatching for her patterns and stitch dictionaries. She said that's what it takes for her to write her books. I already know from reading No Sheep For You that I should spend more time swatching to get to know yarns and fiber. So I decided I will spend time every Sunday swatching for the sake of learning.

I have a (very overdue) copy of Volume One of the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary that I borrowed from Gauge, and I decided to use it before returning it. (Hopefully sometime this week.)

All of these were made using cheap acrylic yarn I had lying around, along with size 7 aluminum needles from my Boye Needlemaster. All are unblocked.

This first one is the "Simple Slip Stitch (#4)." At least it is on the bottom. I had been reading about how slip stitches work well with variegated yarn, and I wanted something different than the brioche rib that I have used a lot lately.

The top part was where I tried to stagger to slip stitches. It didn't really work. It just made the fabric look wonky.

I tried to use a staggered slip stitch with a variegated yarn to see if it showed up better, It didn't really work.

I edited this photo a bit, but the stitches are still hard to see. I should have made this bigger.

This is "Woven Tile (#174.)" I think this stitch has potential for...something. I would adjust the extra wraps on the purl side rows to make the edges neater. Also, this is a "one-sided" stitch. I wonder if there is a way to make it reversible.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

January Gift List

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long

I just joined the Year Long Gift-A-Long, which I need badly, considering I'm still working on Christmas 2007 gifts.

The idea is you set monthly gift knitting goals all year long. Hopefully I'll be prepared next Christmas.

Since January is almost over, I'm setting a very modest goal. Only one gift.

1. Gift Item: Hat - I have Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky in complimenting shades of yellow. They are begging to be in a hat together.

Recipient - I don't know. (I'm stockpiling.)

Occasion - Christmas

Deadline - December 24, 2008

Fiber Friends Festival 2007: Pictures

Would you believe I'm eating Cake Batter ice cream right now?

Sorry, I'm off topic.

Anyway, I'm trying a different layout for my picture-heavy posts. Bear with me.

The Fiber Friends Festival was all the way back in December. This is the second year Hill Country Weavers has held the festival.

I've been doing craft shows here and there for a while now. The Christmas season is big for shows, but because Jules came, I limited myself to one. Of course, the one was while he was there. He was very patient, helping me re-tag stuff the night before, and working a shift with me at the festival itself.

That's the cool thing about the festival. They ask everyone to contribute a little to put an ad in the paper, and they take 20% off your sales (10% if you agree to work a shift.) And that's it. If you don't sell anything (and everyone sold something), all you lose is the small fee for the ad. Also, you get help with the set up. They ask people to contribute what they can with tables, etc. (Some people bring their own displays.) And except for your shift, everyone else handles the set up and take down each day. They even handle sales tax.

Jules was really sweet and helpful. I hope I didn't order him around too much. See the way some of the scarves are sort of "swagged" along the inside of the tents? That was his idea.

I think the wind had just blown this tablecloth over. It was really windy and cold. I took the money for a while, and it was really cold when I sat still. We spent a lot of time picking up stuff that had blown over. Trust me though, I've had a worse experience.

That's my bunny in a basket of stuff by Angry Olive. The bunny didn't sell this time, but he sold when I put him up for consignment at Gauge. (Someone actually wants me to make two more.) This is the Mr. Bunny pattern from Craftster. I got permission to sell them from the creator.

Awesome hats, by several artists, I think.

Jules and I had to try on the hats Cheva made. (I wish I had a link to her online. I haven't found it yet.)

And I did spectacular. Last year I almost died when I made about $100. This year, I took home $238.40 (and this was after the 10% HCW took, and the advertising fee.) Here's the breakdown:

10 scarves
7 felted coasters
9 felted potholders
12 hacky sacks
4 heart sachets
2 felted bowls
1 knit purse
1 Texas dishcloth
1 stocking

So I need to focus on hacky sacks and felted potholders and coasters. Also, the shorter scarves sold more. (I have a lot of long scarves that don't sell as well.)

Last night, I laid down for just a minute...

...and suddenly it was Saturday afternoon.

Well, at least I'm well rested.

There are two awesome things I must share with you.

First, the Knitty surprise came out this week, along with a hat I must knit. The Bloody Stupid Johnson hat features a cable that looks like it had a seizure halfway around the hat. The cable literally comes un-cabled. This is "a Sally project", and anyone who knows me understands why.

The hat was inspired by Terry Pratchett's works. I know I need to read more of Pratchett's work. I loved Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker Trilogy, (yes, the trilogy has five books) and everyone said I'd enjoy Pratchett too. I did read a few chapters of one of his books a while back, and it was good. I'm just so busy knitting these days, I don't read much. (Lyndsey is still bugging me to read Lamb, and I promise I will.)

The other awesome thing is the best FO post ever from Now Norma Knits. Go check it out.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I've been tagged!

I guess it was a matter of time. Sandra Singh tagged me.

So here we go:

4 Jobs I've Held:

Wind Chimes Manufacturing (aka "Chimster')
Retail Sales Associate
Newspaper Reporter
Inside Sales Telemarketing

4 Movies I Watch Over and Over:
Office Space
Haiku Tunnel
Napoleon Dynamite
Wayne's World

4 Places I've Been:
Miguel Aleman, Mexico
New Orleans
Fort Lauderdale

4 Places I've Lived:
Austin, Texas
Norman, Oklahoma
Lake Panasoffkee, Florida
Avon Park, Florida

4 TV Shows I Watch:
The Office
South Park
The A Daily Show
The Colbert Report

4 People Who E-mail Me Regularly

FlyLady (although I could do without 75% of the e-mails)

4 Favorite Foods:

Ice Cream
Mexican Food

4 Places I Would Rather Be:
With Jules
Canada (with all the other knitters)
New York City
San Francisco

4 Things I'm Looking Forward To:

Seeing Jules back in Austin
Seeing Jules in LA
Yarn Crawl with Meetup
Finally learning to spin (and getting good at it)

4 People To Tag:
(I'm going to tag two non-knitters just to be different.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yarn Pr0n: The Yarn Swap

The Meetup yarn swap was a week and a half ago. Isn't it about time I blogged about it?

I looked forward to it all week. I'm not going to post pictures of all the yarn I brought, but I will link to them. I brought Red Heart Symphony, Paton's Divine, Patons Fresco, Lion Boucle, Caron Jewel Box and Bernat Boa.

Some of my yarn ended up going to charity. I'm glad to contribute, but I felt bad that no one wanted it. However, the Patons Fresco was the very first pick.

This was what I ended up with.

The purple and brown yarns are both Moda Dea Dream, one of my favorite synthetics.

The white and black (or charcoal?) is Jo-Ann Sensations Angel Hair. I may have mentioned before, it's one of my favorite yarns ever. I don't care if it's a craft store yarn.

The brown ball on the bottom right is a "magic ball" from Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe. It consists of several different yarns tied together for a striped effect.

And there were books, of course. I found out later that I could have borrowed Crocheted Socks from my Mom, but now I have my own copy. It's something I'd like to try. New Directions in Knitting has some interesting constructions, although the patterns themselves are a little too 80s for me. (Despite the fact the book is copyrighted 2003.) I'll probably use it for inspiration.

We did things a little differently than last year. Last year we swapped skein by skein. This year, we did it in lots. Lynn organized everything. Here she is assigning numbers.

Overall, I was pretty happy. I downsized, which was a good thing, and I got more of some of my favorite yarns. I really would have liked to snag some of the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, but all is fair in yarn and war.

(I'm so clever.)

Scarves are awesome

I was filling out my questionnaire for round three of the Hand Dyed Yarn Swap, and this question made me think.
If you had to pick only one type of item to knit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Only one thing? Sounds depressing.

I thought about it. Socks? Nah. Hats? Nah. Sweaters? They take too long. I need some instant gratification thrown in there.

Then it came to me. Scarves.

I really love scarves. You don't really need them in Texas, but they're like blank palettes for whatever yarn, stitch, pattern or chart you want to try. I like to design scarves because you can do all sorts of stuff.

Scarves are awesome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Other People's UFOs

I've been corresponding off and on with Jules' Mom for a while now, and she has talked about her attempt to learn how to knit.

Not long after Jules went home, she called me to ask for my address. She was sending me a package. I thanked her, but she said she wasn't sure if I wanted it. It was an abandoned UFO.

We talked a little bit about the UFO she was sending. I asked if she wanted me to show her how to finish it. She cut me off and said no right away. "I'm sick of looking at it," she said. It was obvious that she had "fallen out of love" with the project, and it was time to let it go. This is a lesson a lot of experienced knitters need to learn.

After her description, I wasn't sure what she was sending me. But as I had expected, it was a pretty typical beginner's scarf, consisting of two very different types of yarn, with a snag in it. It was obvious that at one point she knew how to knit, because she had gotten pretty far.

I think David Letterman should do a new segment, called "What's the deal with new knitters and huge scarves." Beginners always knit the biggest scarves. I think beginners feel like making them too small is "cheating," or maybe they don't realize when they cast on just how wide it will be once they start knitting. There is nothing wrong with a big scarf, except that beginner knitters often lose steam and give up. This is a good example of that. This project had been floating around for three or four years before it arrived in my mailbox. This article from Knitty addresses the problems with ginormous scarves and alternatives for first projects.

My first project was the exact opposite. My Mom helped me, but I did a lot of projects from, The Workshop Book of Knitting by Ursula von Wartburg, a book that's been long out of print. The first project was a bookmark. I cast on five or six stitches, knit a few rows and cast off, making a square that was about one inch by one inch. I attached a long tail of yarn. The tail goes in the book, and the actually knitting sticks out.

This example is extreme, but the main idea is to keep it small.

And after I undid the snag, I could see the effects of letting the scarf languish. It looked like at one point she started knitting backwards. I bet she let it sit so long, she forgot her technique and starting going the other way. I could also tell that she had dropped some stitches along the way (probably while it was sitting in her bag), and she continued without picking them up.

Other than that, it looked pretty good. The stitches were twisted, but they were twisted consistently, meaning this would be easy to fix.

It's obvious she had the skills at some point. We need to get her knitting again. (I sent her a Learn to Knit Kit from Peace Fleece.) We need to help her find a technique that she'll be comfortable with. Jules' Mom said she struggled because she is left-handed.

I lurked in some Ravelry forums and found two schools of thought on left handed knitting. On one hand, some people say left handers should just knit like right handers. It involves two hands anyway, and while it might be more awkward for left handers, it's still awkward for everyone when they start.

The other school of thought involves doing everything backwards (or is it a mirror image?) This method involves knitting stitches off the right needle onto the left needle. There is a DVD available on this method at the Left Out Knitter and a video of the technique here.

It seems the main disadvantage of knitting left-handed is that you will have to
"translate" any new technique learn so it can be knit left-handed. As bad as I am with spatial relations, this seems near impossible to me.

I welcome advice from any left handed knitters out there. Should Jules' Mom knit like the right handers, or knit everything backwards? Would knitting continental help?

As for the project itself, at one point this was intended as a blanket for her dear-departed cat. I think I may square this up and donate it to an animal shelter so it can comfort another animal.

Monday, January 21, 2008

FO: Jules' Rasta Beanie

I may have been all excited about the socks, but this was what Jules is really excited about.

When we started talking about things I could make him, Jules came up with all sorts of ideas. First, he wanted a knit headband, then a knit sarong, then a Super Mario Brothers-style mushroom pillow. Then he settled on what he called "the Rasta Beanie."

As soon as he started talking about it, I knew what he was thinking of was crocheted. He wanted a beanie with red, green, yellow and black stripes like he had seen for sale in Santa Monica. And it seemed simple. So simple I started it sans pattern.

And I'm sure I could have finished it sans pattern, but I was in a rush, and kept forging ahead despite the disaster coming off my hook. The result was something that was not going to fit on the average human head, no matter how big I made it. I didn't get the increases right.

I finally wrapped what I had for Jules to open on Christmas, with a note promising a finished beanie later. He was very understanding. Besides, this gave him room for more input. He asked for the hat to be just like the hacky sack I had let him keep while he was helping me prepare for the fiber festival. This was actually easier, because I didn't have to cut the yarn between rounds. This made it easier to go back if I needed to.

I was hoping to finish it before he went back to California, so rather than doing the math myself, I found a pattern on Ravelry. Without checking gauge, I embarked upon A Very Simple Skateboarder Beanie. Fortunately it worked. You can see the difference in shapes of my first attempt and the finished product.

The pattern is good, although I would have staggered the increases. I didn't on this attempt because I was worried it wouldn't work if I messed with the pattern, and I wasn't in the mood to start over.

I didn't get to finish it before he left, but I did enough to confirm that it would actually fit.

Beanies don't leave a lot of room for error, so towards the end I kept asking everyone at knitting group if it was long enough. I finally quit despite the fact I hadn't reached a full color repeat. Only the OCD people will notice.

I finished it up at the Knitting Nest a few days after he left. Of course, I just managed to get it in the mail (along with some things he left behind) this past weekend.

There's always the issue of "the jog" which happens with anything crocheted in the round. I went with the join that was written into the pattern, which theoretically should prevent the color jog, but you can still see the line.

The yarn is Dark Horse Yarns Fantasy, which I've only seen at the Knitting Nest. It's an excellent synthetic. I recommend it for baby, kid and boyfriend items and anything that needs to be machine washed, sturdy, but still nice and soft. It's an acrylic/nylon blend. I used an F hook.

I really hope it fits. And that the line of yarn where the colors change isn't uncomfortable. (It didn't bother me when I tried it on.)

One last shot:

Good News, Bad News

The good news is I didn't have to work today. The bad news is that I didn't have the MLK holiday off. I didn't go in because of stomach problems. (I'll spare you the details.)

Dr. King had a dream about all the children of the world playing together in harmony. Last night, I had a dream that I was trying to open a shop that sold toys, yarn and ginger beer. (It wasn't the best of business models.)

But there is more good news. Contests on other people's blogs. Go visit and follow the posting instructions to win goodies. Be sure to tell them Large Marge Sally Comes Unraveled sent you:

Hurry, Mariknits' contest ends at midnight tonight.

InsanKnitty has some interesting topics for you to comment on.

Finally, Shut Up, I'm Counting wants to know your thoughts on blogging.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Warp and Woof?

I was reading the J-Walk Blog and saw something interesting at the bottom of this entry. Here is an excerpt:

My favorite quote, from a VP at Zondervan:

"A lot of people read the Bible because it's obligatory, something to keep God off their backs. We're looking to turn them into Bible lovers ... so it becomes part of the warp and woof of their being."

Warp and woof? I've never heard that expression. It's actually a weaving term. I need to figure out how to use that in an actual blog post

I know warp, but woof? I've always called it warp and weft.

Anybody care to weigh in?

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I read about the Spindolyn on Shannon Okey's blog.

As someone who intends to learn to spin today (posts to come) this looks like a great idea. But is it somehow cheating? Would a motorized spinning wheel be cheating? Do motorized spinning wheels exist already?

Anyway, I think they need a different approach to the commercial. They need to show people dropping their drop spindles (but not on purpose), standing in odd positions, looking frustrated, with a voice over that says "are you tired of this?" or "has this happened to you?" Then they need to show the product, and throw in a second one for free if you call in the next 15 minutes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

FO: Brink of Disaster Hat and Mittens (and a little about a woven scarf)

Since Ravelry came on the scene, a lot of people talk about the FOs they haven't documented. I know I have a lot more FOs than the 45 listed on Ravelry at this very moment, but I'm not stressing out about getting them all online.

But today was especially cold, and I couldn't find my Knucks for the life of me. Fortunately, this ensemble was sitting where I could reach it. I decided it was a good time to photograph it.

I'm not going to go into the details, but in Spring 2006, I started knitting this hat and mittens set in high hopes of being published in Knitty. But I started having health problems and never made the submission deadline. I pushed myself to finish knitting them, but never wrote up the pattern itself.

I can see now these aren't worthy of Knitty. A rolled brim and novelty yarn trim isn't that impressive. After all, the Knucks pattern was published in the same issue I had knit these for, and I've knit three pairs of Knucks and only one set of these.

I bought the yarn at the Knit 'n Knibble while I still lived in Florida. I used Classic Elite Inca Alpaca, which is soft and warm. At the time I was enamoured with Berroco Lavish. Now I don't see what the big deal was about Lavish. I guess I have the same novelty yarn overload the rest of the knitting world has. However, I still like it in small doses, and I think it works well as an edging.

I still wear these, despite the fact they make me think about when everything fell apart, and how bad I felt when I cast off. By the time I got well, I'd lost my job and was forced to move from Florida back to Texas to live with my parents.

Since then I've gotten a job and moved into my own apartment. I still like the hat and mittens. They remind me in so many ways how far I've come.

A word on the scarf in this picture. I tell a lot of people how, back in the day, Hill Country Weavers had giant floor looms you could "rent." They would warp it for you, and a fee schedule was set up so you could come weave in the store.

Somehow, HCW had less square footage, but more room back then. They still hold weaving classes and rent smaller table looms, but the days of looms and spinning wheels all over the store are over.

My Mom paid for me to make this scarf one summer. I think I was 11 or 12. I picked out the warp and the blue mercerized cotton. I remember how much I loved the cotton yarn. It was so shiny. Now mercerized cotton doesn't impress me much. After I finished, they helped me take it off the loom. I couldn't decide if I should twist or braid the fringe, so I alternated.

This scarf has spent more of it's life as home decor, draped on the edge of my shelf in my bedroom, than as an accessory. I think it's time to bring it into the mix.

FO: Jules's Gentleman Socks

This socks were a long time coming.

Last summer, I went on the yarn crawl with the Meetup group. Sandra Singh allowed us to come into her home to shop for yarn. (She has an online business.) We were all excited because Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock was on sale.

Jules and I had been talking for a couple of months at that point. I decided to get some yarn for socks for Jules. If we made it to Christmas, I would knit him some socks. He would be sockworthy by then.

I went back and forth on which color to get. I normally choose stuff too bright for the average guy. I almost went home with Blackwatch, but then I casually looked at something in a sandier color. I saw the colorway was Seaside, and I knew that was the yarn I had to get. Jules loves the ocean. I bought three skeins just to be sure I had enough. (I only needed two skeins, since I shortened the leg.)

Fast forward to October. We had been "official" for a while, and we were making plans for him to come and visit. I went back and forth on which socks to make. If you can't tell, a name can really sell me sometimes. I considered Boyfriend Socks, but the pattern wasn't right for this type of variegated yarn. I finally settled on Gentleman Socks, because he called his scarf "gentlemanly." Also, the crossed stitches seemed good for the yarn, and the ribbing was forgiving. After all, I couldn't measure his foot for myself.

And trying to get foot measurements was a hassle. He told me his shoe size, I consulted books, consulted the pattern, called him again, asked for measurements, asked other knitters, called and asked to get the picture. I finally settled on a men's medium.

Gauge was another issue. I kept going smaller and smaller, until I got 8.5 stitches per inches on US size 000. Ravelry doesn't even go that low. (In case you're tuning in late, I have very loose gauge. The pattern calls for US size 1.)

I think if there was less of a time crunch with the holidays, I would have enjoyed it more. But I was running out of time. The crossed stitches meant I had 80 stitches on tiny needles. I'd sit down at knitting group to work on it, and when I'd leave I'd look down and think "that's all I got done?"

It was my fault for choosing a pattern with such a small gauge. It wasn't really a difficult pattern, just tedious. Like I said, it wouldn't have been a big deal if there hadn't been a time cruch. I'd knit them again.

The sole was interesting too. There was the weird slip stitch pattern to help the socks fit around the arch better. I was skeptical, but it worked. (I have pretty flat feet, so I don't need design features like that.)

I spent three weeks on these socks. (Imagine if I'd hadn't shortened the leg. The pattern says to make it eight inches long.) It was good to knit socks with a larger gauge after I was done.

You're probably wondering if he liked them...

...I think so.

My boyfriend is sockworthy.

Knitters Scavenger Hunt Questionnaire

I now present my questionnaire for the Knitters Scavenger Hunt. I pick my swaps carefully to avoid getting overwhelmed. I liked the theme for this one. I'll have fun picking out "something local."

As of this writing, there are five spots left. If you want to sign up, you better hurry.

On with the questionnaire:

1) Do you knit, crochet or both? How long have you been doing it?

I learned both around age 9, in the third grade. There was a long break where I didn't do much of either. I crocheted here and there. Then I picked it up seriously again in early 2005.

2) What is on your needles/hook right now?

Back to Basics Socks

3) What is the most frequently used tool in your knitting bag?

besides the knitting itself, probably the row counters I use.

4) What are your 3 favorite yarns (fiber type or brand)? What are your 3 least favorite?

As of now my favorites are:
Berroco Ultra Alpaca
Hill Country Yarns Instant Gratification Sock Yarn
Misti Alpaca Chunky

There's none I really dislike, but some least favorites are:

Yarns with lots of Mohair (I can deal with a little)
Eyelash Yarn (I'm over it for now.)
Boucle Yarn (what do you do with it, other than garter stitch?)

5) What is your favorite color?

blues and purples or Rainbow Colors

6) If you had a 5 minute shopping spree in your LYS, how would you plan your attack?

Depending on which LYS (I frequent four of them), I'd get some lace weight, hand dyed sock yarn, Ultra Alpaca and a sweater's worth of something nice.

7) What is your favorite FO and why? (post a pic if you have it!)

My Cherry Bomb tank. I can actually wear it!

8) What are your favorite things to knit/crochet?

Smaller things and my own designs. (I spend more time on hats, socks, scarves, etc than on entire garments.)

9) Do you collect anything?

Yarn? (Also My Little Ponies)

10) What are your five favorite things (not necessarily knitting related)?

The first that come to mind:

My Boyfriend
Long Baths
The J-Walk Blog
Comedy Central

11) Are you on Ravelry? What is your ID?

I'm sallyunraveled on Ravelry.

12) Do you drink tea/coffee/cocoa?

Tea and cocoa, but never coffee

13) Favorite Sweets?

Umm...all of them? Right now I could go for some ice cream.

14) Any allergies?

None that should affect the swap.

15) Do you have pets? kids?

Just Bunny Foo-Foo

I need to take some more recent pictures of her.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

FO: Dad's Knucks

Several months ago, inspired by an episode of the Stash and Burn podcast, I asked for requests for knitted gifts. After suggesting that I knit him a car cover, he asked for fingerless gloves.

On Christmas, I delivered.

This was my third pair of Knitty's Knucks. This time I used Knit Picks Swish DK in Cinnamon and US size 2 needles. Also, this was my first pair with no embroidery.

This was my first pair of large Knucks. I think I made the distance between the thumb joint and knuckles too long.

However, Dad likes them. He wears them when he goes walking in cold weather. When I was talking about how I did at the Fiber Friends Festival, Dad I said I should sell some of these. I can't sell Knucks because it's not my pattern, but handwarmers in general are a definite possibility.

Mission accomplished.

FO: Improvised Gift Card Holder

I crocheted this in less than an hour.


My friend Ross had his birthday on December 1. All he wanted was Target gift cards. His goal was to get enough gift cards together to buy a Nintendo Wii.

But I had the urge to make something. And I was short on time.

So I pulled some Lion Brand Wool Ease in Denim Twist and some Yarn Bee Gilt Eyelash in blue (the Hobby Lobby brand) out of my stash, grabbed a crochet hook (I'm not sure what size) and went at it.

Basically, I double crocheted a rectangle, slipped stitch up the sides, and single crochet the eyelash yarn around the top. The whole time, I measured against the gift card as I went along. (FYI - The gift card doubled as a flashlight, so it was larger than average.)

I managed to get to dinner on time, and still prove once again that there is a time and place for eyelash yarn.

I need to ask Ross if he got his Wii yet.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Playing Catch Up

Here is my current WIP, Knitty's Back to Basics socks in South West Trading Company's TOFUtsies, color 725, "Foot in the Door."

And yes, these socks are my sister's Christmas gift. And yes, I gave her a partially knitted toe to unwrap. The good news is that she likes the yarn (as I suspected she would.)

I'm still catching up from the holidays and Jules' trip. I had didn't knit or crochet much. I missed having something to work on, and it put me "off my game" for a while. These socks had frustrated me at first. I started with US size 000 dpns (the size I had used for previous socks in a similar weight.) It was actually too tight. So I started again with US size 0. Then I thought it was too loose. Then I couldn't find my US size 00. Then I ran out of time and just wrapped what I had.

(My previous journalism professors would be so proud of those last three sentences.)

But then I realized that US size 00 would probably be too small. However, given the low elasticity of TOFUtsies, I was worried about them being too baggy if I knitted them on size 0. I finally settled for US size 0 and made some real progress.

The basic concept of this pattern is inspired by Cat Bordhi's new New Pathways for Sock Knitters, which I got for Christmas from my parents (as well as a gift certificate for The Knitting Nest.) I'm looking forward to exploring her architectures.

In other news, I have a sweater planned.

The day Jules went back to California, Hill Country Weavers was having their biggest sale of the year. I went to console myself, and I was pretty proud of my selections. Instead of buying a little of this and a little of that like I normally do, I bought a sweater's worth of yarn.

I found the Araucania Atacama (left) over in the "blue house" next door to the shop. They sometimes open the house up for sales and special events. During this sale, the house was where they set up all the clearance yarns, which were marked down more than the the rest of the shop. It was a good deal for 100% alpaca. This is color 503

Berroco Ultra Alpaca (right) is one of my all time favorite yarns now (I need to post a recent FO that I made out of it.) I could only find one skein of this particular colorway, 6259 Beet Root, with no label. Fortunately, the staff was able to match the color with their sample book and get more skeins out of storage for me. It was a good thing, because the other shades of purple didn't quite match the Atacama.

I've decided to knit Candy from Knitty. I fell in love with the pattern after discovering this version while listening to the Stash and Burn "Sweater Love" episode. (There is a better picture of the sweater here.

I think the Austin Meetup is planning a "sweater-along" starting Thursday. (I saw something about it on Ravelry.) I think it's the daytime group that I can't attend, but I'll probably cast on with them anyway.

Speaking of meetup, I'll have more coming up on their recent yarn swap, as well as pictures of the fiber festival, more FOs, my buys for the handmade pledge and my new year's resolutions.

In the meantime, I'm slowly uploading pictures from Jules' trip to Flickr. You can see what I have so far here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

FO: Sam's Scarf

A very tired Jules agreed to model this scarf for me.

It's very similar to his scarf. In fact, I think I cast on the same number of stitches.

Like Jules' Scarf, I used US size 8 needles. Unlike Jules' Scarf, I used two skeins of Knit Picks Cadena in Coal. It was my first experience with the yarn. It seems scratchy. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to wash or block it before I wrapped it. (I left instructions with recipient, Sam, to wash to soften it.

FO: Foliage: Green, Version One

Have I mentioned that I love Foliage from Knitty?

This one is much like the first one. I used US size 10.5 dpns for the hat, except for the ribbing, where I used US size 9 dpns. The yarn was Malabrigo Chunky again, this time in "Emerald."

This is version one, the bigger gauge. It only took me a couple of sittings. I plan to make more (and eventually one in the smaller gauge.)

Lisa (above) got this one, and Dee (below) got the first one.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Where was I?

This morning I got up at 4:30 a.m. to take Jules back to the airport. That officially ends the holidays. Yet, I still haven't gotten around to putting up my Christmas lights.

I'm exhausted, a little sick and disoriented. Where did everything go after all the "cleaning" we did? How do I do my job again? Wait, no one's here to cook for me anymore?

It's time to press the reset button. I have plans for at least one sweater, some new year's resolutions to attend to and a whole lot of pictures to put on Flickr.

But first, sleep.