Tuesday, December 29, 2009


When I hear the name "Bella" I think of "The Magic School Bus" and one of the girls, Wanda, has a frog who makes the sound "Bella" when it croaks. However, the 'current' media-focused association is with the "Twilight" books/movies. Apparently, there is a character named Bella and in a movie she wears some pretty groovy mittens. Knitters everywhere were smitten with these mittens, and one designer created a free pattern. Not knowing anything about Twilight, I acknowledged these mittens strictly for their mitteness charm. I do know some people that read the books and thought the mitts might be good for a family Christmas gift exchange game.

However, I was using stash yarn, and had a hard time. They seemed really long; I thought I was going to run out of yarn; I frogged, cast on at a different point; knit for a while and found more of the yarn. I was using two different yarns, held doubled--one black, one charcoal. Once the mitts were finished though, it looked like half-way up the thumb and hand I changed yarns--there was more depth, more black. Despite nothing changing. It didn't show up too well in the picture, but you can see it on the left thumb (which is actually the mitten for the right hand, LOL). The mitts turned out to fit me quite nice, but I was afraid they would be too small on one of the hopeful recipients.

Christmas plans were very sketchy this year and the annual party never happened (although it might in January). I decided to give them to the hopeful recipient for her birthday instead, after several attempts to knit a larger pair failed miserably. The original pair fit her perfectly after all.
The backside is plain.
They should have been a quick knit, but once again, I had to make them more of a challenge then they should have been! LOL.

Friday, December 11, 2009

So Cute!!

There are some great things about a knitting machine. Number one, it knits quickly. Well, IT doesn't knit quickly, I still have to do it, and sometimes it can take me a long time still. LOL. But it's fabulous for quick gifts, such as those slippers. However, the selection of patterns is not as great as for handknitting. And, some knitting machines are very fancy and can do things mine can't. So, often, I have to create my own pattern. Sometimes I'm fine with that, other times, I just want to knit!
There are a lot of little (and not so little now) girls in my family, and some of them have fall/winter birthdays. I love it when I can make something that will work for all of them. The following poncho is one such thing.

Awhile ago (Aug 2008 or 2007), I bought a large cone of Patons Lancette during their tent sale. I liked the colour, but once I knit up some, I decided it wasn't really my cup of tea. But perfect for little girls--it's pink, shiny, and slightly hairy. I knit up some swatches, although the yarn is enough on it's own that plain stockinette would have been fine too.

This is the first of the ponchos, for my niece Abby's 7th birthday. It's two rectangles, and bordered with some single crochet and then a ruffle (3 dc in one sc, 5 dc in the next sc). This is a close up of the tuck st pattern (from a MK stitch dictionary). I have to put the appropriate needles into position myself, but it's still quick, and easy on the LK150.

So easy, I did the math for a smaller one, and knit the two panels in under an hour. The crochet takes longer than the knitting. The next one is for my cousin's 1 year old. It's so tiny!

And the cone is still HUGE!!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Last winter I was on the quest to figure out how to knit mittens on the knitting machine, and produce them quickly while maintaining the qualities of a mitten I like best. I also dabbled into hats, especially earflap hats. It was an interesting venture, and I still have an idea or two to try for mittens! This winter, my quest is slippers. I go through slippers quickly--I joke that Christmas and Mother's Day should be 6 months apart, not 5/7 because those are the only times I get new slippers. I love the handknit felted clog pattern from FiberTrends, but they aren't the quickest thing to make. I have been working on a pair of the 'ballet' slipper style from FiberTrends, for ....a long time; I thought they might be quicker, but I'm not as familiar with the pattern so I keep ignoring them.

The clogs pattern is not well suited to adjusting for machine knitting. In the internet world of free machine knit slipper patterns, there are 4 common ones. The first is just a rectangle, stitched up the back heel and top of the toe and I think felted. The second pattern is "7 Minute Slippers" and the third is "14 minute Slippers". I had put off making these two because I couldn't find pictures. Once some got posted in the Yahoo groups and on Ravelry, I decided to go for it. After finding out the 14 minute slippers are just the 7 minute slippers with lining knit as you go, I figured I'll give them a try first. My feet get cold!

The pattern was easy to follow, and very quick, although not 14 minutes. And there was insufficient gauge info. Most people finish the top with a pompom or something to hide the hole, but I thought it was kinda cute. I ended up ripping out the beige one as it was way too small. The yellow ones I gave to my SIL who was having knee surgery. Lucy also got a yellow pair. Despite being cute, in an almost "a face only a mother could love" sort of way, these slippers use a lot of yarn and are not very form fitting. Given my track record with slipping on the stairs, I needed a more secure slipper.

The fourth most common machine knit slipper pattern is the "Double Thick" slippers, aka "Romeo" slippers or pixie slippers. A little more involved, these ones still have the lining knit in as you go, but they also get put together with "seam as you go", a technique pretty much unique to machine knitting.

This picture shows the first pair; the pink part is the inner slipper which gets knit first.

The pattern did not give info about where to change colours, so I did some experimenting after the first pair. There are more options for colour placement with this pattern. This isn't a great picture, but the red, white, and blue slippers are the sparkly Christmas yarns. I didn't want that on the inside of the foot. The pink pair on the right have some size/gauge issues and I think I will have to re-knit the outer slipper. Then I made the pair on the left, in rose/beige/brown. You can see in the side view that just the sole is brown. The slipper has a flap at the front and back ankle, which is what gives them the "pixie" label, I think. They stay on pretty good, even though they are low cut at the sides of the heel. The red and white one shows what it looks like after grafting the back bottom heel to the back top heel...there's a lot of short rows there at the heel and flappy bits.
I timed the last slipper, and it took 45 minutes from start to finish, for one slipper. I went to a craft sale on Saturday, and people were selling mittens and slippers and socks (cheap acrylic yarns) for $3.50-$4.50 a pair. To make a pair of these for lady's size 9, took a little over one ball of Patons Decor, which can be bought for about $5 (true, these slippers are two layers though). I'm planning to write a post about the issues related to craft sale pricing. Even if you don't sell at sales, it still affects you, especially if you give knitted gifts.
These slippers (and the move back to an area with a Michaels' store) has caused a sudden increase in my yarn stash! Ooops! Better go knit and try to pare it down again!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Check the Other Blog

I just wrote a post over on my other blog about plus size sewing patterns. It belongs here too, but just linking to it will have to do for now. It's not so much about sewing, but just the images used.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


To try to hide the fact I have been afflicted with a bad case of startitis, I'm going to write about the joys of a public library. I finally dropped in last week and got my card. Now, some of you know that I grew up here; however I did not keep my library card valid while we were gone for 12 years, LOL. But the big thing is, 'my' old library was demolished and a new, modern one built. Something more suited for the size of this 'town'.

However, the old library had once been the town offices, and as a result, had a huge parking lot. The new library for some odd reason, has about 20 parking spots. The library was set back from the main road with a big patio area (I'm guessing that would allow for future expansion). While that space is nice for 3 months of the year, right now, it is grey, hard, featureless. Kind of like a parking lot, but without the benefit of being able to park there. There is a municipal lot next door, but it's 50 cents/hour. There is an empty grocery store and plaza a block or two away; guess where I'll be parking.

While I've always been adequately pleased with Orangeville's library, the knitting section is below waist height, down to the floor. Not great for us old bitties that knit. The Whitby's library's knitting section is up high, right down to about knee height. Loads of new books I've wanted to skim through but probably never buy. Some classics. But yesterday, I got positively giddy when I found Cookie A.'s "Sock Innovations" and Interweave Press "Scarf Style". I had already seen "Knitting on the Road" last week. I'm not checking out the sock books because of that startitis affliction right now. I did get a book on machine knitting last week, and this week, "Scarf Style" and a couple books on shawls/ponchos/wraps for inspiration.

While my book budget is now going down, my yarn spending is going up. I've made a few trips to Michaels' to add to my Classic Wool collection, but I'm proud to say, LOL, that I have NOT been to the yarn store in town yet!! I have absolutely NO need to buy new yarn (oh, yeah, I picked up 3 balls of sock yarn and one skein of lace yarn at the Creative Festival....). I will remain strong. Remember when I was in Shelburne weekly for Lucy's speech therapy and I did not go to the wool shop there even once? LOL. I can do this; I did really well the rest of the year in not buying yarn!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


That last post was post #350! What I forgot to mention--and the reason for the title--was that I was also wearing wool socks, my fuzzy poop jacket, scarf, and gloves that match the hat, while walking to school. Perhaps a little TOO much knitting at once?

Anyway. I'm forever on the quest for the perfect hat. Or, at the least, a wearable hat. I still have hope that I will find a hat that doesn't make me feel/look dorky, keeps my ears warm, and goes with EVERY coat. LOL.

It's not very cold yet, and I thought I'd knit up another little lace cap, similiar to the pink one, from www.knitpicks.com. This one, I got gauge, knit the recommended amount, and it was pretty much perfect. Except that it's a little itchy and I'm not sure about the long hair with these caps.

Last year I started noticing patterns for berets and slouchy hats. I can't say that I saw many in real life though. But this fall, I'm seeing them on the young high school girls in the neighbourhood. I thought I should at least try one. I found a popular free pattern on Ravelry.com (Meret). I couldn't decide on the yarn. It called for standard worsted weight, and suggested 100% wool so it could be blocked. Well, I didn't want to use my Classic Merino on a pattern I wasn't sure I would like. I had a ball of an unknown white yarn (feels like LionBrand Jiffy, I think), and it seemed acrylic, but I went ahead anyway. I'm not sure why.
There were instructions to make a regular beret, a slouchy one, or an extra slouchy. I started with the regular beret because I thought the picture was the 'extra slouchy' model and I wasn't sure of my yarn amount. Ripped back and added another pattern repeat so it's now slouchy. Except that it's not really slouchy.
I did 'block' it to dry, but it wasn't really stretched at all. When I put it on, I suddenly felt like the Sweedish Chef (Muppets) or the pizza guy from Curious George books. I DON'T think it's supposed to be pouffy like that! LOL. I can push it around, and make it droop to the side, or the back, but I'm so unfamiliar with this style that I just don't know how to wear it.

However, I popped it on Meg's head, and she looks totally darling. Figures. My hats always look better on her than on me. Do I give the pattern another try in a better yarn? Another pattern?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Walking Advertisement for Wool

Last fall I made the pink tipless gloves, and have been wanting a cool weather hat to go with them. I really wanted to make a Koolhaas but I didn't think I'd have enough yarn; I wanted it to be for cool weather, not cold weather; and I didn't want to buy a pattern. Recently I was looking for a free pattern on Knitpicks.com that I had seen in an older catalogue (however, that pattern was no longer a free pattern!) and came across a couple lacey hats that I thought would be fun to quickly knit up. Haa Haa.

I started this October 5 and knit it 3 1/2 times before being done finally on October 12. I didn't do a gauge swatch, LOL. It still felt a little tight and short--and kept riding up, so I've wetted it, and am now wet blocking it on my head. LOL. The wool instantly relaxed and I could pull it down a bit more. We'll see if it sproings back up.
The gloves faded a bit, and pilled a bit after being washed a few times last winter, but I guess that's the sacrifice for super soft wool!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


On October 27, 2006, "Danis" (www.danis.org; he has since died and I'm not sure about his website) posted a pattern in the Yahoo Knitting Machines group, for a "Basic Triangle Shawl" made by making 4 triangles. I wasn't sure how 4 triangles could turn into one, LOL, but I've wanted to try it ever since.
Another technique I've wanted to try is Debbie New's "Scribble Lace". Basically, you knit with large needles (6mm or bigger), and a very fine yarn and a very thick or textured yarn (choose the needle size to suit the larger yarn). You knit a few rows in the fine yarn, then one row with the thick yarn. On circular needles, you'd then slide the sts back to the other end of the needle so you can pick up the fine yarn again. On the knitting machine, you take the carriage off and put it back at the other end.
I've been wanting a blue shawl for a long time, but have no blue laceweight yarn (well, I do, but it's been designated for a sheer sweater). What I do have is a large cone of a very fine navy, and a bag full of Patons Divine. The perfect combo for scribble lace!
This thing came out huge! Although I thought I understood how to figure the size, it was still rather abstract, and hard to guess while on the machine.
Having to move the carriage from end to end is easy on the machine, however, combined with this shawl pattern, took a little bit of brain power. Till I realized that I was actually doing a 4 row pattern and it shouldn't be too complicated to combine a 4 row pattern and a 2 row pattern. Even so, the middle of the shawl didn't turn out quite as nice as it could have.

Here it is, spread out on my 2 seater, Ektorp Loveseat. The shawl is huge. I took just over 1 skein of the Divine, and I don't know how much of the fine yarn. A surprising amount actually. But to use up left over cones, this would be a great project! I used KP 45 on the KnitSmart machine, and increased out to about 68 sts. I should be able to make another, much smaller one, using the rest of the second ball of Divine. I think this large one is going in the Christmas gift box!
Verdict: Shawl Pattern--great!
Scribble Lace on the Machine--doable! Use lots of weight, particularly on the first fine row after the thick row, or the sts of the thick yarn will twist around the needles. My thick yarn was very lightweight; this might not be such an issue with a heavier yarn.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Why I Can't Get Ahead

I get one pair of socks finished, and another pair becomes finished. These are the first socks I ever knit. I started them in March 1999. They were the first thing I knit with dpn, and the first things I knit with 'real' yarn. It was Schoeller-Esslinger "Fortissima" 6ply (a little thick for my tastes now); I chose the colours because they reminded me of the cedar trees we could see out the window of the Dufferin Country Museum where I took the sock knitting class. It's surprising that these are my oldest--and I assume most worn--socks, and are only now getting a hole. There is actually a fine nylon thread holding the stitches together. I don't know if I have more of the green; I'm not even sure I want to darn them. If I darn them, they won't then be my 'first' socks anymore.
And these below are my new socks. Used www.elann.com Esprit. Started them in the spring, for my mindless travelling project for during swim lessons and house hunting. Did them two at a time, magic loop, toe up. Increased a few on the way up the foot, then a short row heel. I don't like short row heels, but I used it because I thought the stretch in the yarn would give a better fit, and I also added short rows at the TOP of the heel wedge; I think it's a total of 6 extra rows across the upper heel back. Maybe not that many actually. Oh, I think I did a couple in the bottom of the leg ribbing too, at the back.
I look at my socks alot, especially the ones that have leg slouch issues. There are lots of remedies out there--decrease sts, use ribbing, carry ribbing down the foot. But when I look, I see that the front of the ankle crease bulges--because of too many rows there. Maybe this happens only with heel flap socks (I like long flaps). A few extra short rows on the back side and a bit shorter heel flap is my next experiment.

They are cushy! Much longer than I expected; but I found the Zaftig cups I had knit and never had the courage to finish, and I didn't want any left over yarn. I had originally planned for anklets like the blueish ones I made, LOL. Not warm like my wool socks, but a good summer sock (which is why I wanted them short). But I might just have to make more with this yarn now. I've got a few plans!

The Pattern

Jennifer asked for the source of the round lace blanket, but I can't access her profile to email her directly. So I hope you've come back! I found the original webpage for the blanket. She has a great site. My other tip for it is if you use a non-blocking yarn, don't knit it too tight. I made one version and it was very ruffly in the middle.
The "Rotten Blankie" is now donut shaped, LOL, and the new one has opened up in the center circle, even though I was sure I had pulled it tight!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fuzzy Poop

I love Patons Divine yarn. It's fuzzy, soft, squishy, not solid coloured, but a gently tone on tone. For the two years prior to this year's Spinrite Tent Sale, I stocked up on Divine--it's sold by the bagful, I think 8 balls. I had visions of afghans, soft cozy sweaters, scarves...In 2008 I also got a free booklet "Brilliantly Divine" which has some beautiful sweaters in it, some paired with Patons Brilliant.
Christmas 2009, I couldn't find my favourite brown fair isle zip up cardigan. I decided this would be a perfect time to make the simple cardigan in the booklet "Creme Caramel Cardigan".
It was nice to work a pattern with the recommended yarn, and I even did a gauge swatch :) I changed it up a little by using two sets of circulars, and doing the two fronts on one and the back on another. I didn't want to do it seamless because I thought it might benefit from the support and structure of side seams. It's a short sweater on the models, and I'm not short, but I definately wanted it longer, so I added two rows. Not sure why only two rows--3 rows is one inch. It went along quick, but then got set down for awhile for some reason.
I grafted the shoulders, and for the sleeves, I decided to pick up the sts and work the sleeve downwards, following the instructions backwards. The sleeve cap got a bit puckered, and I had a terrible time figuring out how much to knit straight after the bottom of the arm hole and had to rip back several times to get the sleeves long enough without getting too tight.
For the 'buttonband' I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted a cozy sweater and the V neck seemed 'not cozy'. I had major indecision as to what size to make--my bust has increased, and I didn't want the back of the sweater to be all baggy. I also didn't want to sew the band on like the instructions said. So I picked up the sts and worked it around, and make it wider to give me a bit more front width. I also short rowed the V neck a bit. But for some reason I didn't do buttonholes. I think once I remembered I needed them, I had the width I wanted and didn't want to rip back. I thought briefly about a zipper, but didn't want to sew one in and thought it might be too heavy for the fabric. I could sew on some large snaps. I thought about putting a ribbon at the bottom of the V neck--that look with buttons only on the chest portion is popular.

But I think the real reason I haven't done anything permanent is that I'm just not happy with it. I don't usually cut my head off in blog pictures, but my 3 year old took the picture, so the angle is just not flattering! I just feel so wide in the upper arms/chest when I wear this. I'd also like it longer. It's cozy, and not as warm inside the house as I thought it'd be. But I feel so frumpy and fuzzy and boring...a big fuzzy blah blob. I did pull it tighter later on, double breasted like, and felt better, but that doesn't change the overall width of my upper. It is a stretchy, fluid fabric, but I didn't think negative ease would be the way to go.

Any suggestions? I'm really tempted now to sew in snaps and ribbon to make it double breasted. I'd still love to have more of these sweaters, in the Divine, but what do I do differently to be happier? It seems it needs to either be snug or greatly oversized to be flattering. I don't often wear sweaters anymore (hard to wear a coat over and often too warm in my house), but I love cardigans. I just don't know!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I'm still dealing with the swollen jaw issue. The facial swelling is much better, I can open my mouth again, but there is still a lot of swelling inside. I had an ultrasound done this morning, on my salviary glands, but after looking at pictures on the internet last week, I don't think that's the problem. Unless I'm a freak and my submandibular salviary gland is not where it should be. The ultrasound was interesting; I wish the tech was more chatty. I hadn't thought about getting the goop on my face! He didn't actually do much right over the sore spot, but did have to press down on my windpipe! I'm seeing my dentist this afternoon.
Meg started junior kindergarten on Monday afternoon, and I'm not getting as much done around the house as I should, LOL, but I feel I earned a bit of a break! I'm having a terrible pain in my shoulder and can barely turn my neck. So even though I stopped taking the Naproxen for my jaw, I'm taking it for my shoulder. I seem to be immune to ibuprophen. Is that possible.

I am doing some knitting though, on the Moonlight Sonata shawl.

It was a toss up between this one, the Gold Nugget Shawl, and the Forget Me Not shawl. Even after the first repeat, I still wasn't quite sure about this one. I ripped back to the garter stitch band and tried smaller needles, and I like it much better. It's moving along nicely, and while I do not find the pattern intuitive, it's not hard to memorize. It is hard, however, to remember if I'm doing row 7 or row 9 because they are very similiar. The return rows are not plain purl, and a few return rows even have some action on them. So, it's not a mindless knit, and I have to keep the chart handy, but it's not too terribly bad either. I am, however, itching to start something else! I have quite a few things hibernating or just on pause....you know, I have to try one thing on, I have to block that thing....
So, there probably won't be any finished objects for a while! LOL!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Thing After Another

Just when I thought I was going to get into a routine, get the rest of the unpacking done, etc, I woke up with this: I had a lot of dental issues for the first 5 months this year, with no definitive cause...TMJ caused by clenching, caused a tooth to change position, exacerbating jaw pain and numbness....a big circle of pain and possibilities. Then, I discovered a lump inside, where the lower jaw meets the cheek--couldn't tell if it was on the jaw, or on the cheek. An x-ray showed some imflammation, but the pain went away before I scheduled an appointment with an endodentist...with Rob changing jobs, it was too much hassle and possible expense. I took my chances that it would be fine for awhile, but I guess not. I went to a walk-in clinic and got amoxicillin and naproxen with hopes that I can get some pain relief--Tylenol #3 did nothing but upset my stomach.

Anyway, I said I'd write today, so I am!
This is what Meg's blankie looked like when we moved in. It looks even worse now, the holes are so big, adults can put their heads through. And due to the structure of it, it's just not simple to fix.

The yarn is very thin in many places, and breaks easily. Not to mention it is a hideous grey colour now, instead of snow white.
I was able to get the KnitSmart machine unpacked quickly, and set up on the bar in the basement rec room. I could get the same yarn at Zellers, and got going on it. Keyplate 30, I used a pattern posted by an incredible member of the Yahoo IncredibleSweaterMachine group. The blankie is so thick, and white, and clean! Meg calls the old one "The rotten blankie" but still loves it. It's about the same size as the old one too.

That's all folks, I need to go lay down and 'enjoy' the quiet as I try to figure out what I can eat!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nice To See You Again

Today, my 'baby' started Junior Kindergarten. She goes this afternoon, and Thursday afternoon, and then starting next week, she will go every afternoon! I first created a blog shortly after she was born (end of 2005) but couldn't remember the password, so I created a new one just before middle girl, Lucy, started JK, August 2006. So, it's been just over three years of sporadic posting, especially once I split the blog into two separate blogs, and also when Megan stopped napping. But I'm back!!

So...This is the SweetSheep superwash BFL I bought at the K-W Knitter's Fair, 2008 (didn't get to go this year, only the 2nd time I've missed in all the years I've been going, and I started going their 3rd or 4th year!). If you scroll back to last September, you can see what it looked like before I wound it. Totally different!!
It looked so bright and contrasty in the skein. The above picture is with flash, the below picture is without flash. There was a very obvious knot 1/2 way through the 800 yds, so I have two balls. I knew I needed a pattern that either had a very simple repeating design, to blend the colours, or large patches of no design, to show the colours. I was intrigued by the "Sweet Lily" shawl in Interweave Knits awhile ago. It's a half circle, made with short row wedges. Something that's very popular with machine knitting. I knew the short row section would be fine for this yarn as it would blend the colours nicely.

However, the two edgings at the outer bottom....Not so great. The lace design was quite hidden. I also found that the lace didn't need much stretching open, and doing so tended to make the solid bits open up too much. I was using 5mm or maybe 5.5mm.

So I ripped! Then I lost one of the balls. Got sidetracked with moving. Blah, blah, blah. Then I found the second ball and started a different shawl. Moonlight Sonata from www.elann.com. That's going pretty good....now. Rough start. But let's save that for another day, because I can blog on a regular basis now!!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Annual Pilgrimmage

Every year I try to go to the Spinrite Factory Outlet tent sale, in Listowel. It's just under an hour from Orangeville, but a very boring drive. This year, I took my niece Allie who was staying with us while we got ready to move. Heading out from Orangeville, she saw the LONG, straight road ahead and asked if we have to go all the way to the end. "Further" I replied. Everyone groaned. LOL. We've been going to Listowel every summer (almost), since Huey was a wee infant, so small he got weighed in the old-fashioned scale they use in the store for the mill ends that are sold by the ounce. There is a really nice park/playground/wading pool, and we had a great time this year. I don't know how I'm going to get there next year :(

Since I've been going for so many years (gasp), I've gotten very picky on what I buy. My stash has reached the point that I don't need to buy yarn 'just because' it's a good deal. I passed by all the bagged yarns and headed straight for the 'tangled skeins' bins at the back. They are $5 each, and buy 3, get one free. I didn't really see 3 or 4 that I wanted desperately...some were okay but I wasn't excited about the colours, or they wouldn't work on the knitting machine.

These skeins are great for the knitting machine because I can wind HUGE balls and have very few ends to weave in. Also, with having huge balls (LOL!!!!!) I don't want to carry them around with me when I take my knitting places. The three skeins going counter clockwise from the top left are worsted weight yarns, not cotton, probably Bernat Satin or other. I didn't recognize the colours of the two on the left. There were also many skeins of Handicrafter Cotton, which I can use for making dishcloths on the machine, but I didn't want 500 dishcloths of one colour, LOL. The cone in the middle is possibly a wool or wool blend. Spinrite also spins yarns for the garment industry, and these are great for the standard gauge machine.
The pink/yellow skein is poorly dyed, so it will be interesting to see how it works up. The green/blue/purplish one also had some dye issues.
I almost missed this skein. It was hanging between the bins, and was the only one like it. It's huge! There is some colouring on it, like it was set against a wet skein, or maybe it's dirt. Won't know till it's washed. Wonder if I can wash it gently like it is? What worries me about it though, is that it appears to be 'over energized single' ply yarn. The yarn curls back on itself and kinks. This usually causes the knitting to bias. I wonder if I knit it with two strands...one going in each direction...if that would cancel out any biasing?
I got to work winding the first skein. It wasn't nearly as tangled as some in the past. In fact, it was a piece of cake, although I got a little dizzy going round and round the two chairs I used to stretch/hold the skein.

But then. Disaster. "Someone" wanted one of the chairs. Without warning, I was left with this:

Yup. Uh huh.

At first, it still wasn't too bad. It wasn't knotted, I just had to keep flipping it over and over.

But gradually it got worse and worse. I started winding from the other end as the kids needed a ball of yarn for a craft and all my yarn was packed. I hoped it would take some of the tightness off, but I hadn't gotten enough wound from that end to do so. I cut that ball off, and shortly after the main ball came to a break in the yarn where it looked like the yarn had gotten caught in a greasy machine. So I had to start a new ball, which is fine, because it's easier to pull through the tangles. Eventually though, the ball got too big, and the tangles too tight to allow the ball to pass through, so I had to cut it. Then it was smooth sailing. I ended up with 5 balls, including the small one I cut off for the kids, that they ended up not using. I still need to weigh it, but no matter, for $5 (or less, taking into account the free skein), it's still a great deal!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Remember this, from two years ago? Go back and read the full story please. I really like the design of this tank, although I still question the use of a bulky yarn (wool). Bulky, textured yarn, and garter stitch all add up to unflattering addition to my girth, LOL. I don't think I ever wore it in public. I kept saying I'll get around to dyeing it again. I really wanted it to be shades of brown like I had intended. I got some brown dye, but it really didn't make a difference (think I had too little dye for the amount of fabric; I was also dyeing pants).

So I bit the bullet and tried some green dye.
The feel of the yarn is a little funny now (wasn't great to begin with). It's better, for sure, but I don't have anything to wear it with, and a heavy, knitted top doesn't seem right in the summer, even if it is part rayon and a tank top. And I don't care for it over a shirt (did that 25 years ago, don't need to do it again). So, it's still sitting in my closet, LOL. I did get some info on how to re-work the pattern with lighter yarn though!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Idle Hands...

I feel like I've had a good run of matching patterns to the yarn lately. Even when I worked on something that DIDN'T work out, I could accept it, rip it, and move on. So, once I finished Gail, I wanted to start another shawl. There are a few patterns that I've wanted to make for awhile, and always new patterns showing up. Trying to match up patterns with a suitable yarn (and my lace yarn stash is not very abundant) has been a challenge. What a yarn looks like when you knit it, is sometimes nothing like what you imagine from the ball!

To start the process, I laid out all the lace yarns and took a picture.

Clockwise rom top left--Wellington Fibers, SweetSheep BFL, Merino Lace, GrandRiverYarns, Elann Baby Merino Lace (?), SeaSilk (that I used for Gail), Headwaters Wool, KnitPicks Shadow (?).
For some reason, the SweetSheep BFL won. I bought this at the K-W Knitter's Fair last September, for $20, because it had some dark purple dye spots that shouldn't have been there. As I wound it up, I also found some flubs, some tiny knots, and then the yarn broke. There might have been a loose knot that came apart as the swift spun and I pulled. After winding the second half, I decided that the two balls were small enough for my electric ball winder.

Well, the first one was a little too big :(

Without flash, above, and with flash, below. There was still a lot of the yarn to handwind onto the ball, spoiling the pretty ballwinder look.

This yarn looks SO different wound up then in the skein!! Much more subtle! I have started a swatch, and even blocked it, sort of, LOL. I'm looking forward to the shawl, although I'm still not sure what I'll do when I get to the purple bits. I'm not sure they'll even show up!
For more pictures of this yarn, go back to last September when I posted about it. I don't seem to have those pictures anymore.