Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recycled Yarn Ball

Recycled Yarn Ball

Have I ever talked about my recycled yarn ball on this blog?

I started making these at some point in middle school when I was crocheting. I saved all the leftover pieces of yarn and tied them together until I had a decent size ball. Once I crocheted a snake with it. (Back then the pieces of yarn were longer.) I remember mentioning that I recycled yarn in a class project in the sixth grade. (Looking back, "reuse" was probably a better term.)

I started saving pieces of yarn and tying them together when I started knitting again around 2004 or 2005. In January of 2007 I made a scarf for the Etsy Upcycle Contest. I got so attached to it, I priced it at $50 in hopes that it wouldn't sell. (It didn't.)

As I knit that scarf, I relived all my previous projects. I enjoyed it so much, I've made a point of saving a little bit of yarn from each project I make for the ball. Really, it's more of a scrapbook. (Scrapball?)

So now that it's getting bigger, I'm wondering what to knit (or crochet) with it. I think a garment is out. I'm thinking about knitting a wider rectangle and just making a wall hanging. Or maybe I'll crochet a bowl for my coffee table. I've thought about a pillow or a purse, but I need something that will take less of a beating. I usually use one set of needles for the entire projects, so the gauge tends to be loose. It works better than knitting the thicker yarns too tight or changing needles frequently.

Or should I wait until it gets even bigger?

Any thoughts? I'll have to get all the little bits of yarn at the bottom of my knitting bags before I actually do anything.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Few More Odds and Ends

Gauge Yarn Sale

I didn't get to post this picture from Gauge on Saturday before, and I wanted to share it. They had a bunch of marked down yarns set up back there. I want my apartment to look like this. (Yarn included.)

I also forgot to mention that I officially found out that I didn't get the Ravelry job. Considering that 1,500 people applied, I'm not letting myself get down over it.

P Mates

Finally, I had to show everyone my P-Mates that I won from Norma. I haven't used them yet, since I'm saving them for swimming or some other activity where they'll came in handy. It turns out I had it wrong before. I didn't win three P-Mates, I won one package of five P-Mates. (Three people won.)

(You can buy P-Mates here.)

Thanks Norma!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swatching Decimal

Decimal Swatch

I started swatching Decimal this evening with KnitPicks Gloss and US Size 2 needles. So far, so good, although I haven't really measured the swatch yet.

I think I'm going to stick with Gloss for this sweater. I like Shine Sport, but I know it will take US Size 1 needles, and I really don't want to knit an entire sweater with such tiny needles. I have to draw the line somewhere. It just doesn't feel good with the yarn.

I'm not positive I'm going to stick with this color, "Cosmos." If I was really brave I'd use "Parsley." I think it would bring out my eyes, although I normally don't gravitate to those muted colors. It'd be a brave move to order so much yarn in that color.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yarn Pr0n: Hill Country Weavers' Off Site Sale

Saturday was the second day of the Hill Country Weavers off site sale.

Off Site Sale for Hill Country Weavers

If there was this much on day two, I can't imagine what day one was like.

While there was plenty of fuzzy stuff and ribbon yarn, there was also a good selection of non-novelty yarns.

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Here are some tempting baskets of Colinette yarn. I came home with a skein of Iona. They also had Noro, a bit of Claudia's Hand Painted and Debbie Bliss, not to mention books, patterns and weaving equipment.

Off Site Sale for Hill Country Weavers

There was yarn in every nook and cranny, just like the store.

Needful Yarns Ceramic

This was one of the big winners for me. It's Needful Yarns Ceramic, and it's supposed to actually lower your body temperature. As the name implies, the key is ceramic. (Most of the yarn is rayon.) If it's true, I want ceramic underwear.

I bought 8 skeins of red ceramic so I can make a tank top, and one skein in lavender so I can make a little scarf to cool my neck.

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Speaking of unusual fibers, I also bought Dale of Norway Hauk. It's treated with Teflon to repel water. I think I'm going to try some colorwork mittens or a hat.

Suzanne's Spinning Wheel

Besides seeing the amazing stash of yarn, we got to see Suzanne's House when we checked out. She even invited us to check out her office. It was impressive, filled with all sorts of treasures, like this antique (I assume) spinning wheel.

"Yarn Sale"

I couldn't end this entry without posting a picture of this sign. This would look great in my living room.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swatching Sunday: It looks like Gloss is the winner

It's been a while since I talked about my plans for Decimal. But now I've swatched all the yarns I bought and blocked them. So now it's time to review the yarn.

KnitPicks Gloss

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Fingering Weight, 70% Merino Wool, 30% Silk, Color: Cosmos

Gloss is the most likely candidate for Decimal at this point, mostly because I hit gauge on the dot with a needles size that feels good. It has a bit of "fuzziness" with the underlying smoothness of the silk. It's not itchy at all. It's not too drapey, and not too stiff. It seems like a good choice overall. It will make for a good cool weather sweater.

Gauge: 2 inches=
US 3 - 10.5 stitches and 18 rows
US 2 - 12 stitches and 18 rows
US 1 - 13 stitches and 19.5 rows

KnitPicks Shine Sport

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Sport Weight, 60% Pima Cotton, 40% Modal, Color: Grass

Shine Sport is one of the yarns used in the original Decimal Cardigans. It's buttery soft and very drapey, yet it's not very "heavy." It seems to be holding the blocking pretty well. The only problem is that I'm having trouble making gauge with it. I may try the pattern stitches with US size 1 needles and see what happens.

Gauge: 2 inches=
US 2 - 11 stitches and 16.5 rows
US 1 - 12.25 stitches and 18 rows

KnitPicks Merino Style

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DK Weight, 100% Merino Wool, Color: Hollyberry

Merino Style is definitely out for this particular project. The gauge isn't even close. It's very "fuzzy," but not in a fun fur type of way. I think it "bloomed" quite a bit when I washed it.

Gauge: 2 inches=
US 5 - 10 stitches and 14 rows
US 4 - 10.5 stitches and 15 rows
US 3 - 10.75 stitches and 15.5 rows

KnitPicks Merino Style

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DK Weight, 70% Cotton, 30% Linen, Color: Key Lime

Linen has a tendency to be pretty stiff and crisp, but mixed with cotton you get some softness. CotLin is a good happy medium. It's crisp, yet soft with a hint of "fuzziness." Also, the linen prevents sagging with the cotton. (And both fibers are nice and cool.) Too bad I can't make gauge for this project. It's so soft. I'd love to make something else with this yarn, like a nice summery top.

Gauge: 2 inches=
US 4 - 10 stitches and 13 rows
US 3 - 10.75 stitches and 15.5 rows
US 2 - 11 stitches and 16.5 rows
US 1 - 11.5 stitches and 19 rows

Saturday, April 25, 2009

In lieu of an actual blog entry...

...please enjoy some classic Sesame Street. I'm more tired than a fat cat that sat on a mat. I'll be back with cool yarnie stuff tomorrow or Monday.

Muppets - Fat Cat Scat

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Bits and Pieces - Catching Up

Here are some bits and pieces that didn't quite fit anywhere else.

Katie made Mom brownies for her birthday

Tuesday was Mom's birthday, and we celebrated on Wednesday. I already posted the tawashi I made for her. Jules made a pineapple upside down cake. Katie gave Mom brownies, a special double-walled cup and Aqua Globes.

After cutting my hair

Last Saturday Before Jules arrived, I had Katie trim my hair. This is the after picture. The before picture is here. (Obviously, she didn't cut very much.)


I'm leaning towards these glasses. Everyone except Jules likes them. I'm thinking about going to Lenscrafters this weekend to see my other options. I'm probably going to get something similar if I don't get these.

I'm starting to adjust to my CPAP. I can sleep for most of the night with it, although I seem to drool some while I'm wearing it.

Hill Country Weavers is having its Second Annual Warehouse Blowout. I didn't go to the first one, but I plan to drop by tomorrow. Even if I don't find anything, it blows my mind that Suzanne has enough stock to fill an entire house, and hold a sale in a warehouse.

Gauge is having a sale too. I'll see you there.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FO: Not-So-Blue Snowflakes

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and hot pads! and potholders - the swap.

My potholders are finished, and tomorrow they're going for a ride to Hello Yarn via the US Post Office.

Once again, this is the "Blue Snowflakes" pattern from Woman's Day Prizewinning Granny Squares. I used a G Crochet Hook.

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The pattern is for an afghan, but I just used the large square pattern and added a Biscuit Edging. I gave them all a light blocking so they would lie flat.

The yarn is Patons Classic Merino Wool Yarn in the following color combinations:

"That's Pink" and "Too Teal"
"Too Teal" and Red (exact name unknown)
"Leaf" and "Harvest"
"Old Gold" and "Rich Red"
"Leaf" and "That's Pink"
"Harvest" and Purple (exact name unknown)

I'm keeping the purple and Harvest one for myself.

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Tomorrow the rest begin their journey.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FO: Mom's Birthday Tawashi

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Yesterday was my Mom's birthday and tonight we celebrated it. I got her a plastic tub, since she is trying to replace all the cardboard boxes in storage with something sturdier.

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A Rubbermaid tub is hard to wrap. So I had the idea to put it in a trash bag and cinch the end with a pretty tawashi. The wrapping didn't go as planned, but the tawashi was a success.

This is one of the Tawashi Blossoms by Rhonda White. I'm pretty sure both skeins are of yarn are Red Heart Super Saver. I know for sure the multicolor one is the "Starbrights" colorway. I've knit tawashi with cotton in the past, but this time I decided to see how acrylic holds up. I also used US size 5 aluminum needles.

I paid for this pattern because I see myself making it again and again. These would be great for decorating Christmas gifts.

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They make good hair decorations too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boys don't make passes at knitters with glasses


Jules says these glasses make me look like a liberal arts major. I told him I was a liberal arts major. (Journalism counts as liberal arts, right? That would explain why I'm shopping for glasses at Walmart.)

Jules and I differed on which glasses looked the best. I'm fond of the Lisa Loeb/Tina Fey/Janeane Garofalo glasses above. Jules kept choosing glasses that were from the Sophia Loren collection. (Literally.)

At least he was willing to take pictures of me in seven different pairs of glasses in the middle of the Walmart optometry center.

I'm considering these glasses and the six pairs below. You can get a closer look at the individual glasses here. I haven't decided whether to go with one of these, or shop around more.

I didn't make a decision tonight because I want to get some opinions. Let me know what you think. I want your (constructive) feedback.

My creation

Monday, April 20, 2009

Block Party

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and hot pads! and potholders - the swap.

With my bathroom sink recently cleaned, and some spare room on my bedroom floor, this evening was a good time to do some blocking. I blocked my swatches for Decimal (I tried several different KnitPicks yarns) along with the potholders.

The Decimal swatches took a nice long soak in Grapefruit Eucalan. I have all the info on the yarn and the needle sizes here.

I was concerned about the small amount of lanolin in the Eucalan, however. I don't know if it will make a difference as far as flammability. But everyone in the swap is being extra careful about the materials they use, so I just dipped the potholders in plain, lukewarm water. After a few seconds I gently squeezed out the excess and pinned them to the towel.

I imagine most people won't need to block their potholders. But after I added the edging, these got a little curly. Hopefully this will flatten them a bit.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

He's Here

Me and Jules at Mount <span class=

Unlike last time, Jules flight arrived at 10:40 p.m. on the dot last night. Of course, I was running late because I had taken a wrong turn into long term parking. I spent about 15 or 20 minutes making a giant loop back to short term parking. The important thing is that he's here to stay.

Then we went in around in circles trying to find the northwest location of Kerbey Lane Cafe. Apparently they moved, and we couldn't find it in the dark. (Although we managed to find the sign. You had to be there.) We went to IHOP instead.

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Today we spent a little time at Mount Bonnell. Jules wanted to see it, and he loved it. We took tons of pictures.

Bill Miller

After we left Mount Bonnell, we ate at Bill Miller.

So far, it's been a pretty good day.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hibbert Moneymaking Organization

After some surfing, I finally found it. Here's a clip from an episode of "The Simpsons" that reminds me of the last few months of doctor appointments. Except in my world, no one is ever under the same roof.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tapestry Cowl - The Halfway Point

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Today I hit the halfway point in the Tapestry Cowl. I was on my break at work, on hold with my health insurance company, when I finished the round. (I spent half an hour on the phone, and I didn't get my issue resolved.)

Today after work my company celebrated its anniversary by gathering at Dave and Busters. Now that I'm home, I need to be cleaning. Jules will be here in a little more than 24 hours, and I want things to be a little nicer for him.

I may actually clean tonight, or I may stay here and sit on my butt.

Either way, I'm excited, and I'm too tired too blog anything more significant.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've had my CPAP for a week now, and I have yet to actually fall asleep with it.

The doctor warned me about the transition period. I think I had a false sense of security after the CPAP titration. I figured it was because they gave me Ambien.

I took Ambien on a regular basis for a couple of years when I was in college. Taking Ambien is like being hit in the head with a mallet. Once you swallow that pill, the clock starts ticking, and you have 20-30 minutes to get to bed before you fall over.

And I didn't sleep right away during the sleep study. And last night I was awake for nearly two hours with the CPAP on before I took it off and actually fell asleep.

I'm a stomach sleeper, and that's a big part of the problem. I'm considering buying a great big body pillow to help me sleep on my side.

So I need some encouragement right now. I know I've gotten a couple o comments from people with CPAPs. If you had trouble with yours, but you got used to it, let me know.

As for my glasses, I've decided to wait until Jules arrives here this weekend to pick out frames. My insurance will get me a discount on glasses by anyone covered by Davis Vision. My HR director said I could try Goggles 4 U. And the same day I went to the optometrist, Amy Singer wrote about Glassy Eyes on the Knitty Blog. Would I be a total stalker if I ordered the exact same glasses she ordered in the exact same color (black and turquoise)?

I think I'm going to at least try on some frames in person before making a decision.

I need some awesome glasses that are just like Lisa Loeb and Tina Fey's glasses, but are also uniquely mine. Oh, and they also have to be light, durable, comfortable and not too expensive.

That's going to be a tough order to fill.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

yarn pr0n: Picks from the Knitting Nest

Last Saturday they had a sale at The Knitting Nest, and I forgot my camera.


Fortunately, I didn't forget to buy yarn.

Cascade Alpaca Lace

This is Cascade Alpaca Lace in Garnet.

If you're really on the ball, you may have noticed that I bought almost 3,500 yards of lace weight, enough for 2 or 3 shawls. That's a lot of yarn, especially for someone who usually dabbles in single skeins.

I took a big risk here. I was flipping through Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English this evening, and I happened to turn to the page where she recommends buying a single skein before investing in a sweater's worth of anything. It was almost as if she knew. But she didn't say anything about Easter Eggs promising big savings. (My Easter Egg gave me 15% off.)

I have big audacious plans for this yarn. Big, audacious, secret plans. But perhaps I've already said too much...

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I also came home with our good friend Malabrigo. The top skein is "Cuarenta" and the bottom skein is "Strawberry Fields." I like these colors because they go together without being too "matchy matchy."

I have design plans for the Malabrigo as well, but they are not-so-secret and not-so-audacious.

I also hung out with Emily, Ana, Ceci and Gigi while I was there. Emily said someone saw the picture of her combs that I had posted online, and purchased them from her. Whoever you are, mystery purchaser, I'm glad I could help.

I also talked about formats for patterns. I realized publishing patterns on Ravelry was a lot easier than I was making it seem. So thanks to them, I posted this on my blog and on Ravelry this week. The pattern brought record traffic to my blog from the Ravelry page.

Yay for Ravelry!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You wouldn't hit a knitter with glasses, would you?

Today I found out that I need glasses. And I'm kind of excited.

I actually went to see the family optometrist check on a condition I have called Pseudotumor Cerebri (aka Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.) I was diagnosed back in 2000. The very same optometrist saw that my optic nerve was swollen, and got me in to see a specialist the same day. I'm very thankful that they caught it early. Some people go blind. Fortunately, I had only lost a very small amount of my vision field, and it came back once my pressure was under control.

I had a spinal tap and took medication for a while. Eventually I tapered off and stopped the medication, and haven't had any symptoms since.

Except in the last few months, when in the midst of all my other medical crap, I started having headaches. They were mild, but they were almost everyday.

So I added the optometrist to my list of doctor appointments. I've seen other specialists, but today was my first visit with the optometrist since that scary day in 2000.

It turns out my optic nerve is just fine. They took a digital retinal photo and did a visual field test to prove it.

But my vision is somewhere between 20/40 and 20/50, enough to require a corrective lens restriction when I get my driver's license renewed. Apparently my astigmatism went from 0.75 in 2000, mild enough that we forgot about glasses after I was rushed to the specialist, to 2.0 today, bad enough to cause the headaches I keep having.

I'm just excited that there is a solution to the headaches that doesn't involve medication.

Granted, I am experiencing a little bit of medical device fatigue. I just got the CPAP last week, and I'm having trouble adjusting to it. Now all I need are orthopedic shoes and a back brace. Then all the kids at school will beat me up.

(No disrespect to anyone who actually wears orthopedic shoes and/or back braces.)

Seriously, I don't think there's much stigma connected with glasses these days. But there's another adjustment period I have to go through. Apparently with an astigmatism like mine, things are going to look kind of weird and "swimmy" for the first few days.

It'll probably be a few days before I pick the frames and order the glasses. I think I want Lisa Loeb glasses.

Monday, April 13, 2009

FO and Pattern: Broken Scarf

Remember the Broken Scarf? I actually finished it last summer, and I've been wearing it this winter. But I never did an official FO post because I wanted to write up a pattern. I finally realized that:

1) The scarf doesn't need a new name.
2) Writing up the pattern (especially a one-row pattern like this one) isn't as hard as it seems.

So I now present to you, the official pattern and FO entry for the Broken Scarf:

FO: Broken Scarf

I was so excited that I managed to snag the last two skeins of this particular colorway of Malabrigo Silky Merino. I knew I had to do something special that would allow the colors to shine.

Broken Garter Stitch is a great way to show of variegated yarn. It adds some depth without getting in the way of the colors. And it’s super simple. This scarf uses the same pattern row knit over and over again. It makes for great knitting while watching television, and it’s a good choice for beginning knitters.

Many hand dyed and hand painted yarns, such as the Malabrigo used here, will vary a lot from skein to skein, even within the same dye lot. I alternated two skeins every two rows to hide inconsistencies in the two skeins. It’s also a good way to avoid pooling.

If you alternate skeins, you will be switching on the same side of the scarf. Be sure to not to pull too tightly when you switch yarns. This will help keep the sides even.

Yarn: 2 skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino (shown in Bahia) – 300 yards/274.3 meters

Needles: US Size 5/3.75 mm
(Always use the needle size that will give you proper gauge. My gauge tends to be looser than most, so most knitters will need larger needles.)

Notions: Tapestry Needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge: 20 stitches/32 rows per 4 inches/10 cm

Cast on 23 stitches.

Row 1: Knit 3, Purl 2 across, ending with Knit 3

Repeat this Row until the scarf reaches the desired length. Mine is a little over five feet long (or about 1.5 meters.)

Alternate yarn every two rows if you wish.

Bind Off. Weave in the ends with a tapestry needle.

Creative Commons License
Broken Scarf by Sally Villarreal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Special thanks to The Knitting Nest in Austin, Texas for letting me take pictures at the shop.

Ravelry Link

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter - Have some pie!

Peeps Pie

I had a pretty low key Easter. I went to church, performed with the bell choir, took a nap and had dinner with my family. And I made this pie. The recipe was weird enough that I had to try it.

This is a Peeps Pie, with pink Peeps for garnish...

Peeps in the <span class=

...and lavender Peeps in the pie itself.

Partially Melted Peeps

The crockpot makes a good substitute for a double boiler. Here are the Peeps partially melted.

Melted Peeps

Here the Peeps are completely melted. I ended up with more pie filling than would fit in the pie crust. (I bought a graham crust instead of making one.) So I finished it off myself, along with the toffee bits that settled on the bottom. (I used toffee instead of chocolate because Dad doesn't eat chocolate.)

I'm not sure if the toffee was supposed to melt or not. We didn't find any chunks in the pie, but it did have a subtle toffee taste.

Serving Peeps Pie

The toffee was subtle, but the rest of the pie wasn't. It's very rich and sweet. I think I've had my fill of Peeps this year.

Happy Easter!