Adventures and exploits with yarn, knits, crochet and other crafts.

Monday, October 19, 2009


What are your thoughts on a yarn swap/project swap next month?

Okay, okay I'm back.

So sorry for my absence the past few weeks. I just started a second job and I am just beat most days. My knitting is suffering too, which, needless to say, upsets me. I have about five projects on needles at the moment.

But before I get into them, I just wanted to respond to your posts that I hadn't gotten a chance to comment on yet.

RE: Progress

I like that cowl a lot. I prefer looser ones, which is why I'd probably block it. But if you like how snug it is, leave it be!

I'm glad you're enjoying student teaching. If you didn't, I'd be worried, since you're training to be a teacher and all, haha.

And how is your mom doing? All better I hope?

RE: Couple of tips
I had never heard of the"split-splice" method, but it sounds very useful and I will definitely try it out the next opportunity I have.

I must say, your method for estimating how many rows you can do with the yarn you have left is much more productive and efficient than my just going for the gold and hoping I have enough, just to discover I've come up short.

As for tips that I've planned on using...One of the projects I currently have on needles is a hat that I'm going to attempt to use the "magic circle" on when I have to few stitches to continue knitting in the round.

RE: Silk Therapy.

I'm sorry about your worst day ever. I don't know what I'd do in a situation like the one at the bus stop. I'm glad you had a long weekend to recover. That pattern is gorgeous. You better finish it quickly and blog about it soon after.

Next time you have the worst day ever, feel free to call me if you need to vent.

So since I don't have any completed recent projects, I'll post some old ones.

Here's a neck warmer I made for a friend of mine, who's going to grad school in England.

The stitch pattern came from a post I found on Rather than take the time to redesine the pattern so I could knit button holes, I finished it then crocheted some.

As per usual, I ignored the gauge of the pattern and ended up with something entirely too long. So instead of starting over again, I just folded the non-button hole side over until it was the length I wanted it to be. Since I used left over cotton yarn from the summer, I figure the extra layer would add to its warmth. The used embroidery thread to sew the folded edge and to add some embellishments around the button holes.

And if you can't tell from the pictures, the buttons have eagles on them. I included them so my friend can literally wear his Amurican pride, hehe.

Last is the fidget, which I actually made over the summer for myself, though I did make one last winter for a friend. I believe the only changes I made to the pattern was to have 21 stitches instead over 17 to make it a thicker and warmer.

That's all I have for now. If I ever go a week without blogging, feel free to send me angry texts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Silk therapy...warning: major splurge ahead

Yesterday I had what can only be referred to as the worst day ever. After feeling frustrated with student teaching when I had no idea what to do during a fight, I left to go downtown and transfer buses to go to class. I stopped at the public library where I knew that Boutique Knits, the knitting book I've been waiting for for over a month was finally on hold for me. I went in, paid my fines, and even bought myself a cheer-up coffee and then went to the bus stop. I just missed the bus I usually take to class and sat down to wait for the next one, thinking that it wasn't too cold and besides, I had lots of wool on (ha!).

I wasn't waiting five minutes before a woman started abusing her daughter for horsing around at the bus stop. I'm talking grabbing her, shaking her, screaming about what "mother fucking stupid kid" she was and slapping her, all the while yelling about how people would tell her to stop abusing her kid but she didn't care. A few minutes later she yells at me for "looking at her." Then she threatens the guy next to me with the knife she supposedly had in her pocket saying that when that comes out "she won't stop." Christ. I had no idea what to do and just froze like a useless idiot, feeling incredibly depressed when my bus drove away and I made eye contact with that little girl, still waiting and crying, thinking about how I was just another adult who failed her that day.

I went to class and was bored and shaken up only to find out afterward that my health insurance coverage is ending starting next year because my birthday is coming up. Fan-damn-tastic.

Clearly: Worst day ever. I resolved to haul ass down to my favorite LYS. I was going to feel better, and in perfect American fashion, chose to cheer myself up through consumerism. Here is my therapy:

Tilli Tomas Pure and Simple 100% spun silk, in American Beauty. I already have a pattern in mind: the Vines and Leaves Scarf.

Unfortunately, silk highs only last so long and this morning I woke up nauseous and feeling sick all day, probably psychosomatic considering I'm an anxious person, but feeling terrible nonetheless. I missed student teaching, but luckily they have off school tomorrow and Friday, so I have a long weekend to feel better, collect my bearings, and well, knit.

Finally, an update on my Meret:
It looks like something that fell off a sheep in a dirty, mangy, clump (Do sheep get mangy?). I'm using a yarn I got at an open air market in Ohio, close to my hometown. It's *clearly* handspun in that sometimes the thickness of the yarn goes from "Bulky?" to "basically sewing thread" which annoys the cats out of me, but is a characteristic I've seen in some commercial yarns as well. I got it in a gigantic hank hanging off a wall, and you know, call it the novelty of the whole situation of being surrounded by miles and miles of people's junk and finding yarn, but I got it for cheap too! In any case, as you can see, it looks terrible. That being said, I'm allowing the blocking process to redeem it. It is a lace pattern which makes blocking inevitable, but I'm hoping it will smooth out the gauge madness issues as well.

Speaking of blocking, I have surrendered the cowl to the blocking process, where she lies now in wait. It was just too scrunched up and uneven on the edges.

Well, here's to better days and much more silk, I'm off to take an exam!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Couple of tips

I think Sunday is going to become knitting blog day. Twice in one day? Scandalous! In any case I just started casting on for the Meret that I've been ogling for awhile and didn't realize I had some yarn that should be great for it (I'll photograph once it's done). Anyway, I realized I've been using a couple tips a lot recently, and thought I'd let you know about them in case you hadn't heard.

1. The "spit-splice" method. If you've never heard of this, you must. It works with (supposedly) only 100% wool yarns, though I'd say anything with a significant wool content, maybe with the exception of superwash and synthetics would work. Anyway, it's a method for joining to yarn ends seamlessly (i.e. no knot). Take the two yarn ends you want to join and fray the ends. Then, (only for those truly dedicated to yarn arts, as you will be tasting wool, and get little fibers in your mouth) lightly suck on the frayed ends to get them nice and spitty. Then, join the two frayed ends by laying them overlapping on each other. Lay them on your jeans or pants or whatever and roll the newly joined yarn back and forth by rubbing the yarn vigorously to create friction and take advantage of wool's natural tendancy to felt. Voila! One uninterrupted strand of yarn. I didn't believe it until I tried it so...try it.

2. The how-much-yarn-do-I-need trick. I used this for my cowl, because the pattern called for "less than 150 yards" and well, I had 82 to work with which, shall we say is significantly less than 150 yds. So, I had to figure out, as my yarn was winding down, how many rows I could do without getting stuck in the middle with no yarn left. Solution, if knitting in the round, wrap your yarn around the length of the knitting 4x. If straight, just lay it across the needles. Again, four times is about the magic number. So, for me, I was able to wrap my yarn around my cowl about 20 times, so I knew I could do about 5 more rows (using the 4 times the length equals 1 row theory). Consequently, I knit four more rows and bound off on the fifth. The result? About 2 1/2 feet of extra yarn--not bad I'd say.

3. Safety pins instead of straight pins for blocking. Seriously, if you don't have some sort of blocking surface (and I don't) I don't get how people get anything done with straight pins. Just make sure it doesn't pull the fabric in weird ways making the fabric pointy where the pins were...but you have to think about that with straight pins anyway.

Well that's that for now. Anything you've learned?


After my last wah wah post, I felt unusually inspired to stop being so goddam mopey and feeling sorry for myself. So, I hustled around on Ravelry, dug through the stash and emerged determined to make the Candle Flame Cowl out of some (formerly mystery) baby llama yarn that I had bought way back in March.

I was visiting Minnesota and knew it would be risky to bring knitting needles on the plane, but hadn't heard of anyone saying that they'd had crochet hooks taken away. So I stopped over on the way and visited my friend Jenn, who knew how to crochet, and asked her to teach me. She did (though I remembered her instructions wrong, and crocheted incorrectly for awhile) and I bought some yarn with her, losing the label. Thanks to Ravelry's genius though, turns out the yarn is Mirasol Miski, which is only 82 yards per skein. It didn't work out with me crocheting it because, admittedly, baby llama is way too slippery for a metal hook, and plus I didn't know what I was doing, so it sat around until this cowl pattern/the desire to stop pitying myself came around.
Results, modified because I couldn't do the rib border the second time around:

Can't decide if I want to block it or not. I think the pattern will be a lot clearer, but I wore it last night and it's so warm I don't know if I want it out of commission for two days, especially since it'

Also, I started student teaching this past week and I really, really like it. My coordinating teacher is awesome, to say the least. Despite how crazy busy I am, she made me realize that my classes are probably not that important, and definitely not something to get stressed out about. It was very refreshing, and ask you can see, allowed me to realize some very therapeutic processes.

By the way, my mom actually has swine flu. I'm going to finish her scarf soon!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Well, well, well

I am very sad to report the incredible lack of knitting that's been going on round these parts. The worst part is that, despite the fact that I have a pretty heavy courseload, my student teaching hasn't even started yet (I stop in tomorrow and Friday for observation and officially start Monday), I haven't been knitting like I used to. I think it's due to some sort of weird latent depressive feelings, and knitting is something I can only attack with the utmost vigor.

I cast on for the stole 2 weeks ago and haven't touched it since. I did manage to finish the back of my tunic, which isn't particularly interesting since it's only a back. I cast on and knit about a foot of a scarf for my mother, who was supposed to visit this weekend. I'd planned on going on a knitting frenzy and knitting her second handwarmer and hooded scarf. Unfortunately she's been diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis and can't come. That, coupled with me being convinced that teacher education the country over is a miserable shithole of courses that dumb down basic enough material for "those who can't do, who teach" and that student teaching schedules designed to drill it into our heads that "this is hard, you know!" without providing any kind of mental stimulation, guaranteeing that even those of us who are the most passionate will be pacified into not thinking for one half of a split fucking second about what we do. It's all very depressing, and naturally those aren't even the only things going on in my personal life leading me to not even be able to enjoy my favorite thing in the world (wine is second). I don't know where I'd be without Andrew, Emma, and Jess.

Wah wah; oooh look here's a pretty beret!
It's a little big on me, but I'm pretty sure Jenn doesn't have the freakishly tiny head that I have, so I hope she enjoys it. It's a raspberry beret (finished a while ago just haven't posted it) in honor of my new home.

Hope all is better with you, and here's hoping the sudden influx of too-much-to-do with student teaching will make me revert to my usual obsessive knitting to deal with stress. Though is that much better? A la prochaine...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Some more embroidery

Here's a new one that incorporates a two herringbone stitch along the top and bottom and some asterisks along the side. Trying to get all fancy on you.