Friday, April 30, 2010

Location, Location, Location

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you liek to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

This one isn't going to be too interesting: my favorite place to knit is sitting in the middle of our love seat couch.

I also like to knit in the car during long drives, making sure not to put my DPN in my mouth between needles like I do when I knit on the couch.

I have no issues knitting in public, but I don't go out of my way to do it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Day 4

A New Skill

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

Right now I would like to learn the Knit One Below technique for 2 color knitting with vertical stripes. My yarn store is teaching a class on it starting this weekend, but I have conflicts. I'm guessing going to youtube would be enough for me to figure it out, but I've been too lazy to try.

I'd like to learn 2 socks on 2 circs, but honestly, I love DPNs, so I've been too lazy to put effort into that either.

I've never had a need for entralac or intarsia- but I feel those are gaps in my knitting skills.

Short and sweet- unlike yesterday where I rambled for pages.

I'm not really in the mood to type. PT today was really painful. In an effort to help my hips she worked on muscles in my back, and now my back hurts so much if I touch it even lightly. Every muscle that is connected to my hips are apparently too tight- she's worked on my legs, my abs, my butt, and now my back. And every single one of them feels like she is stabbing me with a kitchen knife when she touches them. It sucks, and honestly hurts worse than my hip usually does, except when the hip is really flared up and I can't walk on it. I hate my hip.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Day 3

One Great Knitter

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

When I was thinking about to write I was thinking of three knitters: The Yarn Harlot- who I think may be the best humor writer ever, if she ever branched away from knitting she could easily become the next Erma Bombeck. She makes knitting so interesting and accessible that sometimes my husband doesn't complain when I make him read her entries (though he usually does). I can't imagine the knitting world without the Yarn Harlot, so I was quite shocked when I looked back and found out her blog didn't even exist when I started knitting.

The next was my favorite designer: Cookie A. She takes the simple sock and makes it COMPLEX, and then she writes the pattern so that it's not complex at all.

Finally, I thought of Wendy Johnson- author of the blog
As well as I can remember, Wendy Johnson was the first "blogger" I was exposed to. Rather than being part of the blog-o-sphere during my early knitting time, I was part of the livejournal community of knitters, as I ventured out into blogs Wendy was one of the best ones there was. If I remember correctly, when I started knitting Wendy was in her stranded colorwork phase (she tends to knit in phases...) and man was it inspirational- because the colorwork it flew off her needles (as everything else she knits seems to). Every week it seems a new, AMAZING sweater was being made- not little baby sweaters but adult size ones- and gorgeous designs by Starmore or Dale of Norway- complicated stuff. It was increibdly inspirational, and because of it, my first real sweater was actually a Dale of Norway (the now reclaimed for yarn Bjerk). (Also note, my first garment was actually a turtleneck tank out of Lion Brand Glitterspun). I think it speaks miles to her ability to make this sort of colorwork look manageable that a relative beginner took on a Dale of Norway after seeing her do so many. I think I may have even ordered from Allegro Yarns- who she often sited as a source.

The next phase of Wendy's that I remember is socks. Wendy knit socks like some people eat chips. She started and I'm guessing she didn't finish until all the chips in the bag were gone. I have never seen one person knit so many socks. Wendy favors toe up socks, which I do not. She has published two books on them, both that I own. I'm still not sold on the method. Her first book is kind of the opposite of Cookie A's style- they are all very simple designs. The socks are utilitarian, but pretty. It wasn't my favorite book, but I wanted to buy it to support someone who has spent so much time blogging. So then she released a second book. I was going to skip it. Wendy's sock style is not mine. But man, I'm glad I didn't skip it. It turns out Wendy can design complex patterns too. The newer book is filled with complex cables, involved lacework, and colorwork designs. I want to knit EVERYTHING in that book.

The last phase Wendy has gone through (is it waning?) is lace. She's done lacework since I read her blog, interspersed with other projects, but the last year or so (from sock burnout?) it seems a new lace shawl is cranked out every week. Remember how Daffodil Design took me over half a year? She'd probably do it in a week. (Actually Cookie A did "Rose of England"- Daffodil Design's sister pattern as an Olympic project- which is a 2 week task, if you recall. It probably didn't even take her the whole time. While I'm interjecting Olympic achievements, Yarn Harlot did Hardangervidda- the design that I worked on for Kevin that made me so mad when it didn't fit that I gave up knitting for almost 2 years in 2 weeks also). So I'm not exagerating when I give the estimate as a week. Her lace patterns are inspiring- they make me want to knit lace. Is it any wonder that I've done multiple laceweight shawls this year? And that my lace stash has grown?

So, there is my "One Great Knitter". I'm kind of surprised that she's who I chose, I'm such a Yarn Harlot fan girl. But really- Wendy has been an inspiration to me from the beginning.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Day 2

An Inspirational Pattern

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

Honestly, I don't think I have a pattern which I aspire to complete. I kind of feel like I can take on anything I try, and having just completed Daffodil Design, I actually of believe that. Knitting is all just one stitch at a time. I can do one stitch, so I can do them all.

But at the same time, I've had huge failures: like Hardangervidda. Man, knitting a sweater that fit Kevin would be a huge accomplishment. On the Dale of Norway train, what about my recently frogged Bjerk. That was my first sweater- an amazing feet since it involved colorwork, but the construction was poor. Still- construction is sewing, not knitting. I don't care that my sewing sucks.

Then there are things I've never tried- intarsia, entrelac. I'd love to learn to do these, and I have no doubt that I can. I just haven't gotten around to it. (Entrelac should be a breeze now that I've taught myself to knit and purl backwards...)

I'd like to be able to knit Kevin a DNA scarf. Last time I didn't manage it because the selected yarn wasn't suitable, but I have no doubt that I can do it. It's not the knitting skill, it's the patience. Cabling drives me batty. (Back to Dale of Norway- i'd like to reknit "Ask"- it grew in the wash and didn't fit.)

So I admit I have much to learn, and tons to practice- especially for patterns that require fit. But there is no specific pattern I aspire to complete.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 1

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

Well, I started knitting right before it really became very cool on the internet- I think I was already in the livejournal knitting community before it doubled in size, and was there WELL before Ravelry existed. I was even a member of a "super secret" knitting cabal on livejournal. But rather than recap the story of how it started, i'm going to let my livejournal (I refused to "blog" back then) tell the story.
Here is my very first ever about knitting entry.
July 29, 2003
so earlier today I was going to HEB to get some groceries. I passed by hobby lobby and thought, hey maybe I could learn to cross stitch well (I have the basic idea.) I went inside, looked at cross stitch patterns, realized it required way to much detailed work and looked around. I picked up a knitting kit that had horrible instructions. So I went online and I learned how to knit today. I started by casting on backwards, but I can do it now, and I have about seven rows done and they don't look to bad. I'm so proud of myself.

The knitting kit was awful. It was for a cutesy little purse. It had teeny tiny needles and yucky blue worsted acrylic yarn. Once I figured out the basic stitch, I went back to Hobby Lobby and picked up size 13 needles (the only straights I still have besides my turkey basters) and "good" fancy yarn: Lion Brand Homespun.

Then I posted this entry:
August 4th, 2003 Interested in keeping up with my knitting? My scarf, which is now nine inches long, will be detailed in [info]jessimary

Honestly, I don't remember even creating that journal. There are some entries in it. Certainly more than I expected from a journal I don't remember. I might need to go and catalog them now, and relearn my early knitting progress. And my regular livejournal is FULL of knitting entries too.

So there you have it- I didn't start knitting because it was trendy, I didn't start knitting because of a relative passing down an american tradition. I started knitting because I thought cross stitch looked too hard.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two posts in one day :)

Here's the blanket so far. Um- you can see this blanket as a LONG way to go. The side of each square is about 2 inches. I'm thinking I'll probably do 20 squares across for the base row, this only has 6 so far. Every 20 or so squares I'm going to do a "double" (which has the area of 4 squares) like the rainbow one in this picture.

And a sneak peak of the front entry way- Kevin is in the process of grouting it.
Do you like the diamond tile? Kevin thought to add that detail and I think it looks nice- and his cuts are SO good.
I finished my Tiger Socks quite awhile ago, but never took pictures (so they sat in the living room waiting for me to take one...). I finally asked Kevin today to take them for me (so that I could put the socks away!) and he took a few- with Elsa's help :)

I am really loving these socks. They practically knit themselves, besides the fact that it took me quite a few tries to get the right gauge. They aren't as thick as I thought they would be -the yarn is at least sportweight, and possibly DK- but they are really warm and cozy. The calf increases went well, but I probably should have decreased more at the top, and yet they stay up. (A constant problem with my handknit socks is that they fall down and bunch.) The pattern breaks up once the calf shaping starts, but I still think they look really good. One of the two socks has a gigantic pool of black on the back, but honestly, no one will ever see these- they are just for me. People might see the feet of them, if I wear them with pants, but I'm not a knee-high with a skirt kind of person. I wish I was. I love knee highs.

I've made the best progress on my sock yarn blanket as I could have. You'd think the huge amount of socks I've made I'd have lots and lots of leftovers, but without duplicating them (because I don't want to so early in the blanket) 15 or so squares is nothing in the grand scheme. I took a yarn blank and made it into mini skeins and dyed it up all different ways so I could do more knitting while I'm waiting for swaps. So far I've finished knitting 22 small squares and 1 large square (that takes up the space of 4 squares). I'm estimating the need for 800 (small) squares to make it large lap blanket size.
I went to Yoga yesterday, so won't be going today. It was a different instructor this time- the owner of the studio. She teaches a good class. I felt really badly because through her talking through the class she suggested I sink lower in ackward pose, and well I was already fighting the knee pain so I shook my head "no" and she kind of added "and she says no" and kept moving with the class. As I left class she asked if I had injuries (which I detailed to the other instructor) and I told her I felt so badly and had meant to say something to her (which I was planning on doing before she started the conversation) I felt SO bad ignoring a sugestion in the first class I've taken from her. I appreciate critiques and don't want instructors to be hands off - because I want to do this well, but I can't squat as low as most of the people my age do in ackward pose, and I can't even do camel pose. I'm really enjoying the classes at this studio. My 7-day pass is over and I went ... twice. (And wouldn't have except I replaced my Sunday class with Saturday because it was "free") I just can't go all the way across town on weeknights- I'm too tired. I think what I'm going to do is get a 10-class card to this studio and the one I like less here in Coralville, then I'll do one during the week in town and one during the weekend in Iowa City.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mini Yarn Skeins!

What's in the picture? Teeny tiny skeins of yarn. Aren't they cute?

And why are there so many of them?

Well I've taken on a new "lifetime achievement project" now that Daffodil Design is done. I'm going to work on a sock yarn blanket made up of mitred squares approxmately 2 inches each. These mini skeins are for a swap- where other people will send me their sock yarn, so that I won't have so many repeats in the blanket. It will take almost 1,000 squares I think to make this blanket a blanket size, so I can't do that on my own.

The assorted skeins are just 2.5 grams- teeny tiny, but a square only takes around 2 grams. The larger skeins are 5 grams, they can be used by people making bigger squares, or make 2 squares. They are part of a dye your own swap. I cannot wait to see what I get back! I love hand dyed yarn.

Do you have leftover sock yarn you'd like to get rid of? I'll be happy to take it off your hands! I'm going to need all I can get, and I'd be glad to send you some assorted skeins back as a trade if you are doing the same project.

This is all because my sock drawer is filled, so I need a break from socks for awhile. I'm also thinking about starting Kevin a DNA scarf (again... the last one did not work) and taking a "Knit One Below" class at the yarn store. The classes are all done in 3 sessions, and I don't need that long to learn a technique (just show it to me in 10 minutes) but it's not too expensive, and it will be nice to socialize with other knitters.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Scarf in a Day

And not even a long day! I think this took me about 6 hours. (I posted about warping on facebook 9 hours ago, and took a yoga break, lunch break and a dinner break.)

A 10-in wide 6.5 ft scarf. It's not that soft though, so I might make it a table runner.

I used 1 skein of Red Heart "Soft" (yeah- I bought it to practice weaving, it was actually soft to the fingers- very splitty, which is WEIRD for weaving. I wouldn't knit with it) and Universal Yarns "Moods". Moods was on MAJOR sale at WEBS ( and the color change from black to color and back again was very cool. (So that's why the "Soft" is black- I thought it would go well.

I'm very happy with the actual weaving, my selvedges are pretty even, warping only took an hour- and I used just about ever inch of both skeins. The scarf is slightly longer than I had hoped (was shooting for 6 ft) I can never calculate the shrinking/loom waste well. Oh well.

If I do wear this as a scarf it's designed to be the fold in half and slip loop through itself variety. Otherwise it pretty much eats me alive, since I'm small and it's big.

I love my Ashford Rigid Heddle. Now I need to get a reed for thinner yarns.

Now Presenting....

Daffodil Design!

It still needs to be blocked, but it will be awhile until I get to that. I hate blocking. The baptism is going to be around August, so I've got time.

I also finished my Tiger knee highs (love them- pictures soon) and one Glynis sock (hate it, not sure if I will make the other.)

Today I'm weaving.

Perhaps a better post later, I'm not sure.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baby Legs part 2

I made legwarmers for my nephews a few weekends ago. Since they aren't my babies, I can't post pictures of them on the blog, but hopefully it's okay to post their legs to show off the warmers!

Even my 4-year old nephew loved them. He's wearing knee socks, the gray/black ones are the cuffs of two different women's socks, and the knit ones are about 8" long.

I found knee socks on sale at Target for $2, so when they are ready for longer ones, i'll be ready to make more.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I tried a class at a different hot yoga studio today. This time I went to Zenergi in Iowa City. Now, all my friends who live in actual cities are going to think I'm crazy, but the major downside to Zenergi is that it is like 15 minutes away. For this area- that is a really long drive, it's about as far away from my house as it can still be in and stay in the C/IC area.

Anyhow, that's the major downside. But the upsides- the studio is much less expensive than the one over near me, and even better they also give a discount for my workplace. The other nice thing- they have 60 minute classes that I can make. The studio near my house only does 60 minute classes during the workday. The normal 90 minute class is just too much for me right now, 60 minutes is perfect.

So I tried the 60 minute class and it was really nice. The heat was lower (or felt it...) and there was a lot less humidity, though still a good amount. Towards the very end of the class, I could feel the heat on my shoulders and I felt actually hot (usually I don't feel hot, just exhausted), but most of the class was just a comfortable with a lot of sweating.

So while the last class I took at the other studio I thought I was going to pass out midway through the standing poses, this class I made it through everything without any heat related problems (had some yoga related ones... I am not good at yoga). We didn't do any downward dog which always makes me feel lightheaded, so I was happy about that. At the end of the class the teacher sung the mantra (is that the right word?) and she had the most beautiful voice I've ever heard live. It was gorgeous.

I'm definetly going to give this studio a try again. They have a 60 minute class at 6:00 am, if I shower really fast I could still probably get to work at 7:30- work is just a few minutes away. It would be a tight stretch though...

For the most part, my knees didn't give me any problems. By the end when we got to camel pose I didn't do the 2nd set- sitting on my knees didn't hurt, but I can feel them getting tired and I didn't want to hurt them. My left hip is hurting pretty badly in the poses where I pull my knee to my chest (wind removing, laying spine twist), and I think I hurt my shoulders during reclining hero pose- so we'll see how that feels tomorrow...

But overall- this yoga class went very very well.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Knitting Round Up

Flat Stanley came to visit me. He picked some yarn out of the stash and made a scarf!

Pictures of projects I've talked about but never posted. Ravelry can be viewed by the public now! Hopefully these links work.

Seascape Shawl (the Olympic project)
Where's Daffodil Design? Yeah... it's going to be awhile. The crochet edge is horribly hard. It might take me as long as the shawl did. I have to do 23 repeats of the crochet pattern, I did 2 yesterday and wanted to drive the #5 steel crochet hook through my skull. I'm going to try to do 2 more today.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I'm in no way affiliated- but this seemed like a good deal.

Free Quench lotion:

Well, about 75 cents after tax and a stamp to mail in the rebate.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Aww spring!

Look what is growing in our yard now!

Special thanks to the previous owners for planting all this stuff!

Living room pictures coming soon. We are still missing transitions strips, but it's pretty much a room again :)

And as an added bonus: Adorable Dog Pictures!

On a side note, the adorable dog's barking interrupted the blog posting!