Monday, May 31, 2010

Blanket Update

90 out of 800 squares complete for 11.25%

This has all the "Mini Mini Skein" swap yarns (minus the repeat, and one I think is alpaca so I didn't want to chance). My favorite was a rainbow-ish color that I used for the base of a large square... at 3 grams, it isn't enough for a big square, but I wanted it to stand out. (I also really like the glitter yarn that someone sent.)

It also has some Lion Brand Magic Stripes I picked up when I first started knitting.

Tonight I'll probably do one more large square in the upper right hand corner- yarn Suzy gave me this weekend. I want to make it a large square because it is from her first pair of socks!

I have two more swaps outstanding, so that will be about 40 more colors (assuming no repeats) but I need to find some more!

Oh and in case you missed it yesterday:

Aren't I awesome?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Daffodil Design- Totally done.

You may remember this post. It was almost a year ago, and I had to use someone else's picture to illustrate what I was going to under take. My sister was pregnant with twins, and I wanted to make something really special for their baptism. We have a heirloom gown that is passed down through the family- but only one. I wanted to do something that would be heirloom quality for the other twin, that could be passed down with the baptismal gown.

Awhile ago, I finished my biggest knitting undertaking ever. I did the crochet bind off and got this. This alone, I think was pretty impressive.
But today, today I took the next step. First, I got 26 pins and pinned out each scallop section.

Then, each of those 26 sections got 10 more pins to complete the scallop, and really stretch the whole blanket.

Isn't it just gorgeous.

I don't think you can even see the mistakes that were completely clear while knitting. (I did find a few of them while blocking. No one will ever see them, I'm sure. And in 100 years a knitting historian should know this is handmade. LOL)

So what's the finished project.

I don't think I will ever top this.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A good day...

Pictures tomorrow, I promise.

This morning I woke up and went to skating. And I skated for 30 minutes without pain. A very exciting thing. My skating journal chronicles that a bit more.

For some reason, waking up at 7:45 to skate leaves me just exhausted (I got to the rink at 8, but on ice at 8:30), but all week I wake up earlier and start work at 7:30. Then again, I guess I'm generally always tired, so maybe it does make sense.

Anyhow, when I got home I cleaned the house the best I could, since Suzy was coming over, then took a quick nap.

Suzy got here and Kevin talked her ear off about cameras. (His camera is really cool. The pictures are pretty amazing) and then we moved onto some knitting. (After a bit of lotion show and tell... she went home with a bar of Yuzu fragranced lotion.) I taught her how to make a mitred square to start her sock blanket. With one square down, we went off to El Dorado... mmmm.

While there I stuffed my face with chips and salsa, and got a "Burrito Dorado" plate. I got some tortillas and ate the lettuce, beans, rice, sour cream, and pico and didn't touch the Burrito. That will be lunch tomorrow!

Then off to the yarn store! We visited Crazy Girl, though not for nearly the amount of time that we did the last visit. I resisted all the yarn- to be honest, I have a lot of yarn already- but bought a booklet "The Great American Aran Afghan". It has some gorgeous cable patterns in it, and I have plans to make at least one of the patterns (the sweater one, if you know the book) into a pillow in the near future.

Then back to the house where Suzy did her second square and I worked on my blanket a bit more (it's grown a lot. Since I got the swap in I've added quite a bit. I need to get another one in though, because the yarn supply is getting low again...) When she finished up, I showed her how to pick up the stitches to join the squares together, and she headed home. Apparently her anniversary can't be spent completely on a knitting day... thanks for spending the day with me Suzy!

Then I spent the evening working on the DNA scarf a bit. I'm almost done- it's about 6 feet long, but Kevin wants it at about 7 ft. It folds over on the 2 stitch stockinette panels between the seed stitch and the mini twist cable. I really hope blocking fixes this, because it's the worst "curling" I've seen in a scarf. Because it's on either side it really does just fold in like shutters on a window. Not good. At the yarn store, I asked for blocking wires, but apparenlty they don't carry them :( has them for not too much, so that will be an order soon. (Speaking of blocking Daffodil Design is on the weekend's docket... we'll see if that happens.)

And now I'm typing this!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

A FULL day

I present to you the DNA scarf! It's 3 feet now, so I'm getting there. (I have plenty of time! It's not even summer yet, much less winter!) This will be Kevin's graduation present, as hopefully he will be getting a job at a DNA company.

I'm really enjoying this pattern, but man do I keep messing it up! Just really stupid mistakes since i'm not really paying attention to the pattern. The picture is courtesy of Kevin. He got a new camera: a Canon Rebel T1i. (He also got an awesome lens for it.) So I'm having him take all my pictures now.
So what else happened today? Well, I went to an ice skating competition at the mall. It was a very small competition- just 2 hours, but I wanted to be around to congratulate all the kids I skate with. While I was there I knitted on my sock yarn blanket. My first swap came back- I have 38 new colors to knit with (there was 1 repeat, and I got one fewer skein then I sent-40. No big deal, though I'm a little annoyed with the "swap Mom" because she had put my name in the thread as an unidentified package, and when I PMed to apologize, I mentioned that my name WAS on the bag (and there it was on the bag when I got it back) PLUS I labeled my skeins with my name, it would not have been difficult to determine who I was... I've hosted swaps before and she was being lazy... sorry, just ranting) Anyhow- the yarns I did get are very nice, and I can't wait to start working with them. One seems to have either angora or alpaca in it, so I'm going to toss it aside. I don't want alpaca in the blanket, and angora doesn't really fit with the whole "sock" theme. Kevin helped me wind the yarn, and this particular skein gave him fits. Poor thing. Guess he won't be helping again.
Then, earlier this morning I made lotion bars. I got this kit from and loved it. It contains enough stuff to make at least 15 lotion bars (about 1 oz each). I made 5- 1 unscented, and 4 with different scents I have. I really like the Energy scent that comes with the kit. (Not completely in love with the Chipotle Caramel I also selected. It smells like a jelly belly- maybe Caramel Corn? Not like actual Caramel, but like scent. Bummer. But I am going to give it a few tries. I need to get more Pineapple Cilantro next order. I love that one so much and use it all the time.) Anyhow- the lotion was super easy to make, and so easy to use. It's a softer lotion than the bar I got from Chagrin Valley- which sometimes doesn't melt easily and you have to press hard. This melts on skin contact and is perfect. It is a little oily feeling compared to commercial lotion, but that's because it IS oil. The skin absorbs it and you don't feel oily after a few minutes. It's so luxorious feeling I've wanted to reapply it so many times today. Which is silly, because it's so moisturizing, there is absolutely no need to reapply. I've got lots of them though, so if you're interested in one, I might be up for a trade... (Remember, they are my first ones, so they aren't perfect)
And then, two more things today. First the super exciting one. I caught a Wollmeise update on Claudia's site for the first time. I have 2 grab bags headed my way; Blacks/Browns and then one that is a total mystery. I just cannot wait.
Lastly, Kevin and I played Killer Bunnies for the first time. Uh- that did not go well. I feel like that even though you CAN play with just two people, it doesn't really work. Lastly, we kept forgetting rules, and killing off bunnies that shouldn't have been killed, etc. So finally, we just gave up.
And now- Spaghetti Frittata is ready! Time for dinner.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is it a blanket yet?

42 small squares, 1 large square- so many more to go.
Also- see the transition strip? The house is getting really really close to being done. Yay Kevin!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I needed new reeds to refill one of my diffuser bottles. It's tough to find the reeds on their own- all the shops just sell them with bottles. But I don't need a new bottle, I found that water and essential oil mixed together is just fine to make a good smelling mixture- but after a few uses the reeds don't diffuse the scent anymore.

I found a store in Cedar Rapids that sells candle and soap supplies- they have reeds! $3 for 10 of them. That doesn't seem too bad.

But then I remembered that Brambleberry(.com) sold them too. So I checked their price- $6 for 100! WOW- that's MUCH better.

So $60 later... I have super cheap reeds.
And a kit to make solid lotion bars, 2 new diffuser bottles (yeah, I said I didn't need a new bottle- but that was for the bathroom- these ones will be for the bedroom and at work...), the proper base for diffuser solution (water isn't exactly the thing you're supposed to use), and an ounce of Chipotle Caramel fragrance. How great does that sound. I'm thinking I'm going to want to eat it.

As much as I'm excited about getting the reeds- I'm really excited about the kit for the lotion bars. I love the lotion bars I've used before, so it will be fun to learn how to customize them.

And while my cheap reeds cost $60 (with shipping)- I used the price lists online at the local stuff, and it would have been at least $50 more to buy it locally (likely more since I gave them the "equal" price if they didn't have it listed.)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Quilt top in a weekend

Here from the Pets on Quilt show? Scroll down to the bottom to see how my dog helps me quilt! She checks that all the blocks are nice and comfortable!

So yesterday I got an invitation to a baby shower for my SIL in the mail. EEK! I better get cracking on that quilt I bought fabric for awhile back. So I got to work- and voila! Quilt top in a weekend. It's 44" square (there abouts). It is actually made up of two base blocks- because I'm an idiot and sewed them wrong without realizing it. Having made 8 of one block and 4 of the other after my inital cutting, I wasn't ripping out and starting again. I just made the other 4 blocks the same as the mistake blocks.

This actually went really quickly, and I think pieced together pretty well for the most part. (There is one green square that is embarrasingly misaligned, but the rest are good enough for me. I am not a perfectionist, and sometimes I think that's good for baby quilts. A "perfect" one might be too perfect to be used. I know the last quilt I made for my SIL got used, and I hope this one will be used too.)

I think the technique I used is called strip piecing. I wanted to start with 6" squares, so I cut a long strip of pink, blue, and green that was 6" wide. Then I cut the green into 6" squares, but sewed the blue and blue together first- after pressing the seams, then I folded it back together and cut them 6" wide.

I did the same thing with the purple and yellow. I cut 3 1/4" strips, sewed them together and then cut the individual pieces. Then I flipped one of them, and sewed them together to form the block.

Once I pieced the small blocks, Kevin and I worked to find the perfect layout- since none of my original ideas would work: I didn't make the right blocks- remember. Then I started assembling the whole top. Elsa helped every step of the way!!! (Thankfully the recipient has dogs, so after washing this shouldn't matter.)

Here's a close up of the patterns: pink butterflys, blue stars, purple polka dots, a kind of floral pattern on the green and the yellow.

Could someone please come over here and do the backing for me? I hate the quilting part- I just fold it up and stuff it through my machine, but there is always the worry that once I'm done it will have a fold or wrinkle quilted in. (The baby quilt I made for my sister was a bit like that.) I'm going to cheat on the binding and just fold it over to the top.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


This weekend I started knitting a DNA scarf for Kevin. Hopefully it will be done before his graduation! (He could have used it today- it's freezing here.)

Anyhow- I'm using Knitpicks Gloss Lace, and the cables are popping great on it. The problem- I keep miss crossing them. Since it's for Kevin and not me, I want it to be perfect. First- I crossed them in the wrong direction- rip out. Then I knit on the backside when I should have purled- so the DNA backbone had purl show up on the rightside... oops- rip.

So I got those mistakes fixed and was about 3 repeats into the scarf. And then I noticed it- another set of purl bumps on the DNA backbone. I just ripped out an entire 40 row repeat to get back to it. That was the entirity of yesterday and todays knitting.

I am so bummed, but I want this scarf to look great. I cannot believe I have to reknit that whole repeat again.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Day 7

What a Yarn

There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar. If it is a yarn you have used you could show the project that you used it for, perhaps writing a mini ‘review’. Perhaps, instead, you pine for the feel of the almost mythical qiviut? You could explore and research the raw material and manufacturing process if you were feeling investigative.

I'm going to cheat a bit on this topic too. I love knitting socks- sock yarn easily costs $20-25 per 100 gram skein if you want it from an "indie dyer" with a great sense of color. Even knitpicks is $10 for a pair of socks! So socks can really add up. After experimenting with quite a few "indie dyers" I kind of realized I couldn't afford to keep that up, and decided I should dye my own yarn instead. (Though I won't give up Wollmeise- such a cool base and such rich colors!)

So where do I get my undyed yarn from? Well knitpicks was where I started, they have multiple bases available and they are fairly inexpensive. But knitpicks isn't the highest quality out there, it's just good, I want great.

Well, I found great! Great undyed yarn is Wool2Dye4.

I have ordered quite a few yarns from Wool2Dye4: Sheila's Sock, Platinum Sock, Socks2Dye4, BFL 4-Socking, Crazy Eights and Cash Sock.

I have not been disappointed by any of them. I'll review each here.
First, I haven't used Crazy Eights or BFL 4-Socking yet, so I won't discuss them.

I think that my favorite of the yarns is Sheila's Sock. It has a really unique twist- I think maybe it is a cabled yarn. When dyed, the plies plump up on each other and this becomes a soft, plush, springy yarn. I used this yarn to make my rainbow socks and they are wearing very well. The yarn doesn't have any nylon in it, and I don't think it needs it. However, I've heard she is releasing a new yarn in this style with the nylon in it. I'm going to have to try that soon!

Next, there is Platinum Sock. This yarn has a much more smooth appearance- it's almost wollmeise like in it's sheen and tight twist (maybe a bit thinner... at least then the 80/20). This yarn also contains some nylon for strength, and I think because of this it takes dye SO well- it just eats it up and makes the most vibrant colors. I haven't used this for socks, but knit my cowl with it. The yarn is just soft enough to wear against my neck, and would probably be even more comfortable in socks.

My next love is Cash Sock. This is an "MCN" blend- merino, nylon, cashmere. It's an 80/10/10 blend of merino/nylon/cashmere (like most of the MCNs, though the mythical "Bugga" is 20%). This also yarn- it costs about $8 per skein. That's unbelievable. I think the majority of MCN yarns start at $28. Well worth the money to dye it yourself!

And last, there is the Socks 2Dye4. I put off ordering this yarn because it is a bit more expensive (I think) than the other options (still really inexpensive as yarn goes) and because the name is kind of boring... However, I'm glad I finally gave it a try. This is a good utlitarian yarn. I dyed it up in mini-skeins and used it for my sock blanket. This is a thinner fingering weight, so I think I'd use it at a tighter gauge for socks, but it does plump up a bit after dyeing.

I'd use ANY of these yarns again. So there's my "one true yarn" of the moment- anything Wool2Dye4 sells.

An Anklet a Day... Keeps the Stash Away

I'm quickly amassing a huge amount of sock yarn- stupid knitpicks with their gorgeous tonals and irresistable new colors of Felici (OMG the Rainbow color!!)

So when my giant box came yesterday, I thought I should immediatly use up some of it. I only got 1 skein of some of the sock colors, and 50 grams isn't enough for full socks, even for me. So anklets are the answer (I love to wear anklets around the house in the summer. Or with tennis shoes if I go to the grocery store and am not in flip flops.)

I've been knitting socks for quite some time now and figured "I can just wing this". Well it worked! And after casting on at about 2:00, knitting, stopping to do laundry, dinner, watch TV and stuff, the sock was done by midnight. What a quickie! (But let me tell you, that sock blanket messed me up- I kept trying to twist the last stitch of the row on the heel flap, don't do that here!)

So here it is:
An Anklet a Day ...

Yarn: Knitpicks Felici Fingering Weight (shown here in Green Veggies)
Needles: US2 (2.75 mm) or size needed to get gauge
Gauge: 8 st/in
(Note: For the gusset and toe, I've divided the stitches between 3 DPNs for easy explanation, since I knit on 4 DPNs. But if you are used to doing your socks another way just ignore that part!)

C0 56 stitches, join being careful not to twist

K2, P2 ribbing for 6 rounds
Stockinette Stitch for 2 rounds.

Heel Flap:
Row 1: (S1, K1) repeat until 28 stitches have been worked, turn work, the remaining 28 stitches will sit on hold for the top of the foot.
Row 2: S1, P27

Repeat these rows 15 times (30 rows total)

Turn Heel:
Row 1: S1, K16 K2tog, K1, turn work
Row 2: S1, P7, P2tog, P1, turn work
Row 3: S1, K8, K2tog, K1, turn work
Row 4: S1, P9, P2tog, P1, turn work

Continue in this manner until all stitches have been worked. 18 stitches remain.

S1, K8, place marker
Needle 1: Knit to end of needle, Pick up 16 stitches- (15 from the slipped heel flap stitches and 1 in between the heel flap and front of foot, I like to twist the stitch after I pick it up to prevent holes)
Needle 2: K28 across front of foot.
Needle 3: Pick up 16 stitches, Knit to marker

Row 1: Needle 1: Knit to 3 stitchs before the end of needle , K2tog, K1
Needle 2: Knit
Needle 3: K1, ssk, Knit to end of needle
Row 2: Knit

Repeat these rows until 56 stitches remaining

Knit until 2 inches before the end of the foot.

Toe: (This makes a pointy toe.) The marker should remain from after the heel flap to tell you where the middle of the bottom of the foot is. Divide as follows, from the marker. (Needle 2 is the front of the foot, Needle 1 a 3 are the back.)
Needle 1: 14 stitches
Needle 2: 28 stitches
Needle 3: 14 stitches

Row 1: Needle 1: Knit to 1 stitch before the needle, K2tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, knit to 1 stitch before the end of the needle, K2tog, K1
Needle 3: K1, ssk, knit to end of needle
Row 2: Knit

Continue until 8 stitches remain. After Needle 3 you'll end up in the middle of the back row, knit 4 more stitches to get to the end of the back row. Graft stitches to finish the toe*

(To graft, or kitchener stitch- another name. Estimate the amount of thread it will take to finish the toe. I like to do about 8 inches, so I have plenty left over. Thread a darning needle. Put the stitches from the back of the sock onto a single needle, hold parallel to the front of foot needle. Insert darning needle into the 1st stitch on the front needle as if to knit, pull the yarn through and remove the stitch from the needle. Insert the darning needle into the 2nd stitch (now the 1st) on the front needle as if to purl, pull the yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle. Insert the darning needle into the 1st stitch on the back needle as if to purl, pull the yarn through and remove the stitch from the needle Insert the darning needle into the 2nd stitch on the back needle as if to knit, pull the yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle. Return to the front needle and repeat the process.

Here's how to remember it: Front: Knit goes off, purl stays on, Back: Purl goes off, knit stays on)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Day 6

Revisit a past F/O

Bring the fortune and life of a past finished project up to the present. Document the current state and use of an object you have knitted or crocheted, whether it is the hat your sister wears to school almost every day, or a pair of socks you wore until they were full of hole. Or maybe that jumper that your did just didn’t like that much…

I'm going to revisit a few different objects.

My first scarf ever: (no picture available. I should take one.)
This scarf is in my closet with all my other winter clothes. In theory, I could wear it whenever I want, but I never grab for it. I won't get rid of it though, it's a great piece of my knitting history. I actually rarely will wear scarves at all, which is sad because they are a great opportunity for knitting.

Charlotte's Web: This was my first real lace project. I remember it being a big challenge because it doesn't have a full chart. You had to extrapolate the pattern. Wow hard. I used to wear it every occasion that I could, now it's been replaced more by a fleece jacket. For the past few months its been sitting in the back of my car bundled up in a pile of junk :( However, it's still my go to "fancy" shawl. I plan to take it on the cruise in January to wear in the dining room.

First socks: Lion Brand makes some good sock yarn. These socks are wearing like iron. They are nothing compared to the socks I knit now, but they are in regular rotation. These socks are plain (something I don't do much), a bit too big, and too short, but I'm still proud that I did them so early in my knitting career.

Bjerk: My first real sweater. This one is now a pile of yarn. I was never happy with the seaming of the shoulders, and the fit wasn't great. Now that I'm much heavier than I was when I knit it, I can't wear it anyway. So I reclaimed the yarn, and I'm sure in this Longhorn family I can find a good use for the burnt orange yarn.

Chullo Hat: Still my absolute favorite hat. And it's been what 2 years? The ends are still not woven in. I do wish the ear flaps would lay a bit flatter though.

I got a big knitpicks order today! And started knitting with my "green veggies" Felici right away. I made up my own anklet pattern, and will share it tomorrow,. (Yep- these are that fast- I started knitting around 2:30 today, and am on the toe now. Plus I had time in between to fold 2 loads of laundry.)