Saturday, January 31, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
1. In order to reach my goals for the year, I need to knit 2,083 yards of yarn and sew 12.5 yards of fabric each month
2. I am not even CLOSE to that right now.
So....did I work on the quilt today? Nope. Not one stitch. Instead, anyone remember this:In July of 2008 I cut out a dress and a skirt from this wonderful cotton fabric. I finished the skirt sometime after the weather made it totally impractical (I'm thinking November, but that's just a guess). Today I decided to finish the dress.
It's from McCalls 4444:
and I'm making the green option. Now the problem with setting aside a sewing project is that one doesn't really "set it aside." One just doesn't get back to it. If one did "set it aside," one might be able to find the dang second page of instructions....
Out of sheer frustration, I did get much of it figured out--and was quite pleased with myself to figure out that the lined bodice has to be attached to the 3 front skirt pieces before one can attach the back skirt because they line up a bit differently, but I got a little frustrated trying to figure out the strap things. They hook around the neck--which I'm going to assume is where the hook & eye come into the picture--but there are also straps coming up from the back, and I think there are going to have to be some trial runs with pins. I thought that would be best approached on another day, so I went back to the pink blanket,
I might be able to finish up this skein of yarn by Saturday, which is keeping me sort of monogamous. Bored, but monogamous. They're big skeins--471 yards--so that would give me a big boost for the month. (This might sound a bit, oh...crazy.....obsessive....odd, but it does help keep me from buying yarn or fabric, and on the SECOND Year of the Stash, I can use all the help I can get....).
They tried to send pictures home with us of Theo doing his water therapy, but they didn't transfer. I'm hoping they can email them to me. He's no longer willing to walk on the underwater treadmill, but he'll walk around in the tank, so it's still working his leg. In a remarkable show of independence, Theo was down the hall from me today
though he did pitch in to help with dishes tonight.
His leg is getting better every day. Today he was able to spread his toes apart to clean them, which was a first. Today marked the third week since the cast came off, and while he still limps a little, he also runs, pounces, and would be fine if he never got much better than he is now. We're almost positive now that he was hit by a car as they terrify him now--today's walk lasted about 3 minutes before a passing car left him scurrying for the door. Can't say that I blame him--many of the drivers around here scare the daylights out of me, and I'm 10 times his size!
Monday, January 26, 2009
assembled the Christmas quilt topwhich is actually pretty small--30 by 36 inches. I do have strips cut out that could make the quilt larger, but if I use this size I can actually make two quilts instead of one, which would give me two gifts for Christmas instead of one. So, I'm thinking of doing a larger border, maybe a narrow strip of green which I can do some sort of decorative stitching in gold on, then a wider red stripeWhat do you think? If I did about 5 inches on each side, the quilt would be 40 by 46 inches, which is still a small lap quilt, but not AS small. Or should it be bigger?
The moss scarf has also received some attention latelyIt's quite a bit wider than any scarf I've made yet, but I think it will still be a nice scarf. The honeycomb pattern is really working out well, though it will look better after it's blocked.
Theo is at kitty physical therapy today, so Calisto is supervising today.I don't know if Theo enjoys physical therapy or not, but considering what we were doing yesterday,he might be looking forward to a little swimming.....
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Remember step 12.........remember step 12............remember step 12...............remember step 12...
Friday, January 23, 2009
I have enough quilt blocks done to see how the pattern is going to lookand I'd say it's okay. Not my favorite, but I wanted something fast that I could finish early in the year. Originally I was going to use a white solid along with the red and green solids, but once I had all the strips cut and laid outI thought the solid white made it look a little too much like an Italian restaurant. Not that that's a bad look or anything, but I was thinking a little more Santa and a little less Santa Lucia. So, I took out the solid white and substituted the patterned white, and now the color pattern really don't make that much senseOn the one hand, I was really proud of myself for using material from my quilting stash (didn't know that one existed, did you?). On the other hand, it's really frustrating to know that I have a certain yardage of material and there is no way to get any more of any of the prints. I can certainly see why crazy quilts became popular--probably cut down on alcoholism in quilters.
And in other shocking news,22 days after I placed the order, the box from Joanns.com finally arrived. My goodness. I hope all that dizzying speed didn't strain their resources or anything.
And......We tried the front yard on the leash today!
I think Theo found it a bit too embarrassing...so we went back through the house and into the backyard, which was fine by me. I know quite a few of our neighbors and honestly wasn't too excited about being seen walking a cat on a leash. My friends know I have no real dignity of course, but I still have hopes of total strangers.......
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
My little sidekick is getting very bored with the indoor life, so we worked on a Christmas gift quiltwhich seemed to please him immensely
I'm not doing the best job on this quilt, and some of the blocks aren't even lining up, and yet it's really not bothering me much--which is surprising to say the least. Usually I'd have to redo it--especially since it's a gift--but I guess 8 weeks of kitty sitting has taken its toll on me as well.
Theo is back to kitty therapy tomorrow--and they have PROMISED to get pictures this time. He's walking on the leg almost without a limp, and it looks a little less chickeny every day!
And the moss scarf has gotten more attention than it should have, because I'm enjoying how this stitch variation is looking. And of course, you know the fastest way to make a project attractive, don't you?
Have several others that you need to finish!!!!!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Step 1. Admit that you have more yarn than you can knit within the next 6 months, unless you can learn to knit in your sleep.
Step 2. Admit that sheep, llamas, and alpacas have produced fleece for hundreds of years, and they will probably continue to do so
Step 3. Admit that some yarn in your stash you have never truly intended to knit–you just wanted to own it.
Step 4. Admit that just because it’s 50% off, bad yarn is still bad yarn
Step 5. Admit that, try as you might, there will always be a limit to how fast you can knit
Step 6. Admit that other family members have rights to closet space, too.
Step 7. Admit that visiting a LYS daily is probably not a good idea
Step 8. Admit that it’s really okay if someone else has a yarn that you don’t have
Step 9. Admit that yarn’s “calming” effect dwindles when your stash reaches the $1000 mark
Step 10. Admit that all that yarn really won’t keep anyone warm until you knit it into something
Step 11. Admit that variegated and handpainted yarns often look better as yarn skeins.
Step 12. Admit that no matter how fabulous the yarn is, there will always be another fabulous yarn in the future and IT might be on sale.......
Monday, January 19, 2009
in order to finish it? Do you also remember that 10 DAYS after placing the order with Joanns.com, they finally shipped my order (after three separate attempts to contact them on my part), but without the yarn or the fusible thread because it was now out of stock? On the same day--after driving to several different stores looking for the darn stuff--I placed an order with Herrschners. On the following Monday, the 12th, I received an email from Herrschners informing me my order had been shipped, and giving me a tracking number that actually worked. Today, it arrived!!!!
And the order from Joanns.com that I placed on January 1 and was supposedly shipped before I even placed the Herrschners order???? No flipping idea--the tracking information hasn't been updated since it was shipped.
A big kudos to Herrschners, who were quite quick to answer questions and take care of an address issue for me and were generally fabulous to work with, and three big raspberries for Joanns.com!!!!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Knitting has been going on for a very, VERY long time, quite often by people who could neither read nor write. All the techniques we have--lace patterns, turning heels, steeks, buttonholes, spit joins, casting off--all of these were thought out by someone. Probably many someones as communications were rather limited at that time and it's highly doubtful than conches or tribal drums lent themselves to podcasts.
I learned to knit as a young enough child that my Barbie and her friends were the recipients of my earliest knitting endeavors and those "blankets" (term applied loosely as there wasn't a straight side in the lot) had all sorts of funny spots where I tried out different things JUST TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. What does happen when you purl instead of knit? When you mix them up? Knit from the back loop instead of the front? They are supremely ugly blankets, but Barbie and her friends didn't complain--I suppose if you're doomed to go through life on your tip-toes a few odd-looking blankets aren't a real big deal--and I became a knitter who hasn't been afraid of trying any techniques--except steeking, and that's more a horror of cutting knitting than anything else and my first steeks will be later this spring.
Having knit for over 30 years now, I try to scan the "techniques" board on Ravelry and help when I can, but lately it's been driving me crazy. One day someone was nicely explaining that if you're slipping the first stitch on every row it MUST be done knit-wise (not purl-wise), and another day someone was SURE that one couldn't start a row with a yarn over (you can & it's a great technique for lace):What would happen if you slipped a stitch purl-wise at the beginning of a row? The Knitting Police would show up at your door? The Knitting Gods would smite you for your daring? Your sweater would spontaneously fall apart one day leaving you cold & naked on the street? Nope--it would just look a little different. My only suggestion would be to do the same thing on the entire garment, but that's only because it would look consistent. It will not fall apart if you do otherwise. Sure, stabbing yourself in the eye repeatedly with a size one DPN would be wrong (though it's tempting when working fair isle socks, I'll admit), but otherwise there are no real "wrongs" or "rights" in knitting. Sure, three sleeves in a sweater would be wrong for ME, but what about someone who actually HAD three arms? Then it would be right and, in fact, my two-armed sweater would be wrong at that point. A sweater than has shrunk to the size of a tea cozy might not be an actual garment any longer, but hey! It is a tea cozy. Or a dog sweater. Or a really interesting trivet. But it is still SOMETHING.
I will admit--it isn't just Ravelry. I once heard a clerk in a local yarn shop tell a brand-new knitter that the reason her hat didn't felt was because she had knit in in garter stitch instead of stockinette (and without explaining that the names of stitches apply to what they look like rather than how they are actually created, so that even though she thought she was knitting in stockinette by knitting one row then purling the next, because she was knitting in the round she had created garter stitch)! As anyone who has had the misfortune to have a spouse lovingly wash a newly-finished Aran sweater can attest, ANY knitted garment made from a feltable yarn will indeed felt--the stitch pattern won't matter. (I wish it did, to be honest. Then I'd sleep better knowing all those cables and twisted stitches would be safe) I've always been disgusted by that store, but I have kicked myself for years for not pulling the new knitter aside, explaining that she either had used a nonfeltable yarn OR hadn't felted it long enough, and that she should never set foot in that store again. I haven't been back since.
My latest pet peeve are the patterns people are offering for sale that are lifted straight from stitch dictionaries and they are trying to pass off as "copyrighted" designs. I admit, I have fallen for some of these things in the past. I have a scarf book (which I have kept to remind me not to purchase stupid things) which could be summed up in one paragraph:
Pick out a yarn/needle combination that you like, pick out a stitch pattern you like, cast on an appropriate number of stitches for the width of scarf you would like, add a non-rolling border (garter stitch, moss stitch, ribbing) if your pattern is based on stockinette stitch (knitted in some form on one side, purled in some form on the other) to the bottom and sides, knit until you have the length you want, add the top border, and cast off.
There--now I have saved you the $24.95 the silly book cost me and you will have far more possibilities.
So, in an effort to empower other knitters, I'm going to show you my latest experiments. Feel free to copy, change, experiment with these ideas, as ideas are all they are--not designs. If you have picked up knitting needles and yarn, produced a knitted object without impaling yourself, you have enough knitting knowledge to do the exact same thing:
I love variegated lace yarns, but because the color pattern changes are so striking, it usually detracts from any attempts on my part to knit my chosen lace patterns. After making the Pi shawl with my favorite variegated colorway,I noticed that my favorite part of the shawl--and the part that worked best with the color changes--was the most open part, which I had used the most basic of faggoting stitches (YO, Knit 2tog). Aha! Openness and simplicity might be the key! I decided to test my theory. This:was the next project. I used the same stitch, but this time as it was flat knitting rather than circular, I needed to do a purl stitch on the back (YO, P2tog), which is a stockinette-based pattern and would roll, so I added a moss stitch (K1, P1, but on the alternate rows, knitting the stitches you would purl for a rib and purling the stitches you would knit) border to the bottom and edges. I love the result and I love this scarf, but the (YO, P2tog) rows went really slowly, so I wanted to see what would happen if every row was (YO, K2 tog):Since this was a garter-stitch based pattern, I didn't add a border of any kind, and did in fact start every row with a YO. Because on the following row it was knit together with the previous stitch, it didn't form the same sort of loop as on the previous examples, but it did turn out well. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the edge specifically. The scarf did have a surprising tendency to curl into a corkscrew effect, but unlike the rolling straight stockinette does, that was cured by blocking.
This time I wanted to put a border back on, and shift the stitches slightly by one stich on each row, so I cast on an odd number of stitches (53), and I knit one stitch before beginning the (YO, K1) across. What I have so far:I like the more honey-comb effect this is creating, and this might be my favorite version yet--aside from the color, which I'm not overly fond of. If I wanted to make the loops bigger, I could have used a larger needle--I'm using a 5, so I might have jumped to a 7, which would make it a bit more "drapey." Maybe that will be the next experiment.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
2. All those rubber tubs and boxes could be used for something else.
3. It's like living in your own private yarn store where shoplifting is allowed
4. Other knitters will admire and fear you
5. It will shock your spouse
6. You can use all that shopping time as extra knitting time
7. We are no longer artificially inflating the demand in the yarn market. Look what happened to real estate, after all.
8. Think of the liability if your stash fell on someone and smothered her.
9. The longer you put off facing those 80s fluorescent acrylic yarns the worse it will get
10. It's too hard to catalog it all for homeowner's insurance
11. Some people have closets that hold things BESIDES yarn. (I know! Go figure...)
I ordered 3 hanks of Bare laceweight, which is probably about an entire hank more than I need, but I'm so frustrated over running out of yarn and/or fabric that I was being cautious. Then, before I could make it safely off their website, I was blindsided byThis is my favorite colorway, and it's being discontinued. Count 'em. 10 skeins--4,400 yards added to the stash. Oops. Thank heavens it wasn't a two-day window--I'd have been in serious trouble.
A friend is giving us her condo in McCall for a week, and she won't let us pay her anything for it, so I thought a scarf would be nice. I dug through my laceweight--which is really fun to do if you want to know the truth, and came up with Elann's baby lace merino, size 4 needles, and found thisin Barbara Walker's first pattern treasury. I have loved this stitch pattern ever since I first saw it used, but after two hours, I had to admit that my particular combination wasn't working:Since the pattern relies on stitch definition, my needles were way too big for the yarn I chose--not to mention that it was going to be about 13 inches wide with two stitch repeats, so I frogged it and switched to this instead:
It's Knitpicks' Alpaca Cloud--a much heavier laceweight (if there is such a thing) which made the size 4 needles usable. We're using the condo in March so speed takes precidence over pattern.
Now that I have declared that my 2009 New Year's Resolution is to use up 150 balls of yarn, bulky weights and worsted weights would be my friend, wouldn't they? Yup, I keep telling myself that....
I wanted to play with another option for variegated lace yarn. WHAT AM I THINKING?????
I'm going to have to include a yardage goal now OR come to my senses and stay away from the lace yarn, but as we all know how likely that is, I hereby resolve to knit 25,000 yards this year.
Hey, a hobby that involves sharp pointed sticks is NOT for the faint of heart!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
1. Read or listen to 100 books (tally on the main blog)
2. Use up 150 skeins of yarn
3. Use up 150 yards of fabric
4. Complete the 12 "Project of the Month" projects
5. The Year of No Processed Foods (see the main blog for that one)
6. Finish the bridesmaid's quilts (there's a long story)
7. Buy no new yarn or fabric
8. Have Christmas gifts completed by the end of October. (OK, only sort of realistic)
The yarn and fabric goals are significantly higher than I accomplished last year, but since I'm taking some time off, I should be able to do more sewing & knitting--right? Provided full time kitty-tending comes to a stop in the near future. (Incidentally--Theo had his third day of therapy today, and I think they're going to let me take pictures of him doing the water tank on Monday. I have got to see this!)
And yes, I realize that if I truly had any concept of reality in regards to knitting and yarn I wouldn't have 40,000 yards of laceweight yarn......
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I still can't find that darn pajama top!!!!!!!
Oh, and it gets better. I recently bought some brown flannel to make him a coordinating shirt to go with the pants. I've been "cleaning" the sewing room and, you guessed it......I CAN'T FIND THE BROWN FLANNEL NOW, EITHER!!!!
I don't have a sewing room. I have a sewing black hole......
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The additional kitty watching has given me a chance to get a few more rows in on EZ's January aran:and on Ice Queen:
and while Theo took a nap today, I finished the edging on two more blankets for Christmas 09.
I would tell you that I'm astounding myself, but that would be tempting the gods and my sewing machine would probably blow up.
Theo didn't really help much, but......
he's putting weight on the leg, he can bend it, and he has finally been able to scratch his ear!
We have small victories around here lately.....
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I really, REALLY am glad Theo is doing so well, and the vet was worried that the staph infection would come back and said to keep a close watch on Theo in case he was listless and ill. What to do if he was hyper, feeling great, and ready to jump on everything they forgot to cover. Not only is he trying to walk on the leg, he is going to shock them tomorrow with his ability to bend his ankle. Of course, to Theo the big excitement ishe can finally lick his foot! VERY big news in the cat world. When he can scratch his ear with his injured leg, he will be in kitty ecstasy! I'm glad to see him active--from certain angles he's looking a bit pudgyDoesn't he look like he just needs a beer and the remote control?
There hasn't been a lot of knitting as monitoring Theo is now a full time job. I am about to use up one more ball of yarn on the yoke sweaterwhich I am actually tempted to frog and knit in the round as the sweater should have been done in the first place. Maybe I'll just join the pieces at the yoke and knit that in the round. I'm usually not too snarky about following a decent design, but this one is irritating me. Maybe it's because this one would have been faster and easier and made more sense knit in the round. Or maybe it's because Theo doesn't believe in anyone getting more than an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep....
One of us is getting a little cranky and could use a day of kitty daycare, and it wouldn't be a quadruped......
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Except at Michaels. I don't know if Boise has recently experienced a knitting stampede or if Michael's is discontinuing yarn, but they had very little yarn and certainly not the one I was looking for. No problem, I thought, I'll check at Hancock Fabrics just a mile or two away. Nothing--I don't think they even carry Bernat.
Not that I think they deserve my business, but there is a Joann Fabrics next to the Hancock Fabrics store and frustration often overrides peevishness, so I did stop in, but they didn't have any yarn of any sort. All my peevishness was restored and then some.
The point of true desperation had arrived: I went to Walmart.
I loathe everything about Walmart. Trade practices, that cheap Walmart-only brand that breaks in the parking lot, the not-quite-full-time-so-we-don't-have-to-pay-benefits policy, the greeter who no longer hands out carts, and the whole cheaper-is-always-better mentality it inspired, so you can imagine the depth of my desperation if I was willing to try there. And....
Nothing. Sure, they at least had yarn, and even the right brand, but not the right color.
Enough is enough--there's an online store that ALWAYS has any acrylic yarn one could ever need. Sure enough, Herrschners had 14 skeins left, and two are on their way to me at this very moment. I was too frustrated to even browse the needlework on clearance. Not that I do any needlework (working on a cross stitch for a few minutes every year doesn't really count), but their catalogs always make me want to take it up. Obviously it's during those times when I find knitting just a little too speedy.....and then I come to my senses. Sort of.
I made it an entire year without buying new yarn, and at this rate, I'll make it another month before I get the new yarns I allowed myself as a reward. REWARD YARN SHOULD NOT BE THIS HARD TO GET!!!!!!!
Friday, January 9, 2009
1. A reward sweater from me for the whole cat ordeal
2. A birthday sweater for Andy
3. a shawl for my mother as her retirement present
4. yarn to finish a pink blanket for one of my nieces.
That was the plan. To achieve this was going to take 4 different online orders.
1. WEBS. The yarn I wanted was on back order, but I placed the order anyway. I also ordered a #9 circular needle because I really dislike the one I have. The same day, I received a confirmation from them, then the following day I received a personal email from them telling me the yarn was on back order, but they would process the rest of my order ASAP, then I received another email shortly after saying it had shipped, and I am currently in possession of my new circular needle, and looking forward to the yarn whenever it arrives. Great service as usual, but no yarn yet.
2. Elann.com. The yarn I wanted for Andy's sweater is temporarily out of stock (just the one color), but they will email me when there is more. I love these guys--aside from the fact that they have done more to grow my stash than anyone else. So, that order is still to be placed and will arrive at my house about 3 days after I order it. I love these guys! I know there will be good service, but no yarn yet.
3. Knitpicks. The yarn for the shawl (and my unfortunate run-in with a discontinued lace yarn that I loved) were shipped a few days ago and will be arriving whenever SmartPost decides to hand it over. Not quite as fast or as customer-driven as Elann or WEBS, but still a great place to do business and the one ball of yarn I ever had to replace was replaced without question and because it was defective, I think they even paid the shipping. Really a good company, but no yarn yet.
4. Joanns. They are building a Joanns Superstore here, which seems to be replacing 2 smaller stores because they haven't been restocking them, and I needed fusible thread and the yarn, so I placed an online order the same day as all the others, and few in a few extra things that I was out of that are hard to find. As of yesterday, the online status was still "processing" and repeated attempts to reach them for an answer failed. Last night--after sending 3 emails to customer service--the status was finally changed to "shipped." No exceptions--just "shipped." This morning I received an email from them saying the yarn and the fusible thread were out of stock and they had not sent them. On the 9th day. This is after the thread, which was supposed to be 50% off in stores and on line but wasn't, it wouldn't honor any of their coupons because I wanted to use the free shipping promotion and they only allow one promotion no matter how large the order, they hadn't responded to any attempts to reach them, AND they won't allow online orders to be cancelled. Want to place bets on whether or not they honored the free shipping as without the yarn and the thread the order dropped below the dollar amount required? I have rarely been so disgusted with a company, and will never be ordering from them again. Truly lousy service, and no yarn!
So, the long and the short of it is, after one YEAR of not buying yarn, I had my one day to buy yarn and STILL don't have any new yarn!!! ARGGGHHHHHH!!!
I'll be making a trip out to pick up the yarn for the blanket, as her birthday is at the first part of March and time is of the essence. I've used up one skein on it already,and think I'll use two more, which is quite a bit of knitting.
Ice Queen is progressing,
though it's looking very ramen-noodley right now. That's one of the big problems with lace--it looks terrible while you're knitting and you just have to keep faith that it will look like something at the end.
And......the first day of physical therapy was a great success! Theo did the water tank, and actually walked on his bad leg in the tank (the buoyancy makes it far less painful), and he's already regained some range of motion. He spent last night licking himself like crazy, but the difference in him so far is amazing. He's less frightened, less whiny, and he's putting a little more weight on the leg when he stands. They gave me some anti-inflammatory steroids for him as his ankle is a bit swollen after being so inactive for so long, but it has already made a huge difference. The doctor was astounded--usually they don't even turn the treadmill on in the water tank on the first appointment, and cats often won't do it, but he's quite the champ. I think his leg looks a little less "chickeny" already:And Callisto had such high hopes that we had finally given away Theo that she spent the day as sewing kitty:She really isn't a very nice cat most of the time, but she is still pretty cute. We've been taking turns sleeping in the guest room with her since Theo has the master bedroom, which has helped her disposition a great deal. Could it be any more obvious that the felines rule this house?