Saturday, April 30, 2005

They Keep Coming...

This will be, for those of you who are counting, my third FO in the last week! I am a knitting machine! No, this one was a quickie and only took about 5 hours or so. That Joelle is a big liar and said that this scarf should take four hours or less to knit... no, no, just kidding Joelle, not a big deal. I have to say though, I am convinced that this pattern is wrong. I used the correct needles size and the yarn they recommend, Rowan Kidsilk Haze. By the time you get through 10 eyelet repeats, you are supposed to have 32 inches or so (I had 23). Now, that is a big difference! I had to repeat the eyelet pattern four more times to get to the proper length before I did the finishing edge eyelet pattern. The finished dimensions are 35.5 inches long and 5 inches wide.

Due to another dismal, rainy day in Boston, the pictures below came out a shade dark. From the pictures you would assume that I took them at the end of the day... but oh, no, those are from noon my friends (just to show you how dark it really is).

Friday, April 29, 2005


Friday could not have come soon enough this week! I need a drink! My weekend actually started a bit early, achem, and I took a trip out to my two favorite locations: The Big Dipper and my favorite LYS - Black Sheep Knitting Co. My only two purchases today were some Espresso Wow Cow frozen yogurt (with chocolate sprinkles I might add) and some new knitting needles. I was looking for some new yarn for a baby blanket, but left undecided on whether I want to spend the big bucks on some Rowan or go with something simpler. The pattern I want to use calls for Rowan Cotton Glace on size US2 needles. Is there something comparable to this that is cheaper? Someone mentioned Patons Grace on another website, but I want to get more opinions. Ahh, another blanket, like I don't have enough knitting! Too many projects, too little time. That whole thing called a career, really does get in the way :). Dani (the other Dani), we really need to get into the yarn business, don't we! Have a relaxing weekend everyone! Tomorrow I might post some finished pictures of this. Until then, you will have to settle for some flower pictures from my back porch...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The End

These are some pictures I took this morning of the finished bag! I am so happy its done and hope that it grows on me. I know, I know, some of the pictures aren't great, but I couldn't wait to post them and get this out of the way! Both the inside and outside pictures are pretty accurate color-wise. The finished dimension are 11.5 inches by 3.5 inches by 10.5 inches. The strap is 73 inches long. I highly recommend this pattern to anyone; however, I think it would be good to go with the yarn they use. You can find this in Simple Knits for Sophisticated Living by Barbara Albright! Thanks for all your support on getting me through this project! I learned some new techniques and also how to actually suck it up and make something for yourself!

And, to end this project, I must remember one of my favorite meditations:

"We live in a world of machines. Our world moves faster, bigger, and better with every moment. Machines replace humans and often do our jobs better. When you are knitting socks and sweaters and scarves, you aren't just knitting. You are assigning a value to human effort. You are holding back time. You are preserving the simple unchanging art of handwork. I will remember that knitting is more meaningful than it seems." - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

What to do with Dissapointment...

My felted bag is finished drying and I can only say that I am dissapointed with how it turned out. I had these great dreams of this stylish and fabulous handbag that others envied. But now, I look at the original picture of what I was attempting to create and what I have in my hands now and I can only shake my head. My biggest issue is with the fact that the bag isn't as firm and sturdy as I hoped it would be. Most other felted bags I have seen are extremely sturdy and stand up nice and straight. This bag wilts over and becomes deformed once I put it down. I know that I am my harshest critic and there are some of you out there that are going to tell me that I am crazy. It still is a nice bag, and I wouldn't be so upset if I didn't spend so much time and money on making it.

But my question is, what have you done with projects you are not thrilled about? Should I use the bag and just assume it will grow on me? Should I just chalk it up as a loss and throw it in the closet? Should I give it to someone in the family that does love and appreciate it?

I might contemplate the bag for a few days and try it on for size when I head out for work. I will post pictures tomorrow morning... I promise!

If In Doubt, Block

Now I can finally put my mind at rest and call this project 100% complete. The blocking looks fabulous and pictures just don't do justice. I have not been a big blocker in past projects, only when the pattern says so or its absolutely needed. But, now I realize (and kick myself) that so many of my past problems would have been solved by a simple light spritz block! Who knew! I really like how my overnight blocking party evened out the edges and made the yo's more exposed and flatter if that makes sense?! Here are some last pictures of one of my favorite simple projects ever.... Now, its off to work!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Busy Bee, What are You Doing?

The chaos continues tonight as I once again, get absorbed into the wicked ways of an obsessive homemaker. If only you could see me now! In light of Mother's Day, I needed to start present #2 that is being shipped to Colorado. I am making the Airy Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts with Rowan Kidsilk Haze in this navy blue color. This is the third time I am starting this due to #1 having added stitches and #2 being attacked by the kittens (I came home to a ball of expensive Rowan yarn wrapped around and around the legs of the dining room table and the scarf nearby with serious injuries). Anyhow, below are pictures of what I have started. This should only take four hours or so according to the book, but we'll see :).

Like I said, I am a busy bee tonight and am felting, blocking and baking in addition to the above knitting! I have my bag and strap in the wash as we speak (the bag is in for felt round #2), my drop stitch lace scarf on a towel blocking away, a flourless chocolate cake out of the oven and a peanut butter chocolate pie in the making and... I guess thats it if you can imagine that!

A sneak peak at the felted bag!

Felting away after much hesitation. I just sprayed it down with water and threw a few pins in there to even out the sides and the ends

The flourless chocolate cake (that is to die for I might add) out of the oven

Saturday, April 23, 2005

My Journey with Koigu Ends

Despite my felting fiasco with my other almost done project, I managed to finish this drop stitch scarf made with Koigu's Painter's Palette yarn. I think this is one of my favorite yarns ever... it is so easy to work with, is super beautiful, soft and vibrant... you can make socks, a scarf, a shawl and almost anything else with this wonder of wonders!

The finished dimensions are 5.5 inches wide and 52 inches long without blocking. I haven't decided if I want or should block this. Has anyone had experience blocking this yarn and do you think its needed? Either way, I think this is going to be a lovely Mother's Day present. Mom, if you read this sorry to blow it for you!

Also, check out my new lovely herb garden on my front porch! I planted some parsley, basil and tarragon along with a few pansies last weekend and they are sure enjoying the rain today in Boston!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Call Me Crazy

Frustration grows tonight as my felting process is slowly turning into a nightmare. I thought felting was for dummies... who knew! Well, I don't think its the felting, I think its something wrong with my knitting. See, I knit fine on regular ol' straight needles. But if you throw a pair of circulars in my hands, all my knitting ends up slanted (see picture below). Does anyone know why this happens or have a similar problem?! I know I do knit backwards compared to most people. Instead of wrapping the yarn around the needle in a counter-clockwise direction, I do it in a clockwise. There appears to be no difference in the stitch, but maybe it causes a slant?! I think this slant has caused my felting to pull this way and that and now I have a bag with strap slits that don't match up and an, overall, weirdly shaped bag. Oh, poor bag, its been such a long journey and I hate for you to not be perfect... I am sorry! Hopefully I get an A+ for shaping and it turns out fine in the end. I will let you know tomorrow! I also still have (achem) 80 inches (yes I said inches) of the strap left to do (I have only knit 10 so far)so that might hold up the finished product a day or two, but at this point, I am in no rush after a frustrating night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Knitting Frenzy

I have been knitting up a storm the last few days trying to finish a few projects. I put my foot down and set a goal of finishing the felted bag and the lace scarf this weekend. I think I am doing good... The felted bag has about another inch before I start the edge treatment as well as the strap. The lace scarf could be done right now, I just haven't quite decided how long I want it to be.

As for everything else, this week has been extremely stressful between all these family issues and work. Hence, me knitting tons! Here is a cute picture of my kittens that I just love and since I have no good project pictures for now.

The little angels

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

My Yarn and Button Addiction

I wanted to share my new yarn I splurged on last night. On Monday, my new book (Last Minute Knitted Gifts) came in the mail, so of course I had to pick out some future projects. I picked out two easy ones that will be great for Mother's Day presents. I am going to make the Kerchief Scarf with the Tahki Yarns cotton classic color #101 and two Airy Scarves with the Rowan kidsilk haze in shade 581 and 593.

New yarn for new projects!

Ok, so we have had a bit of fun the last few days creating some more buttons. Once again, I can't take all the credit for making these, since my second half Scott helped me out a ton. I promise, no more new ones (at least for now)!

The new wave button

Your typical bar button

Monday, April 18, 2005

My Experiment

Ok-- So, my aunt gave me some extra fabric of hers to make a few needle holders for her, myself and my cousin. I used the pattern in the Stitch N' Bitch book. Problems developed from the start:

1. Didn't measure the fabric as perfectly as I should have. When you are using 4 layers of fabric, make sure its perfect!

2. I need a sewing machine! Too much sewing and it turned out too uneven in the end.

I wasn't crazy with the finished project. I gave it too my cousin but am planning on making a few more once I can use my aunt's sewing machine. Here are a few pictures of my finished product. I am a bit ashamed by it, so I am calling it my experimental version!

The roll-your-own needle case

The inside of the case

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My new button!

Here is the debut of my new button! I am happy with how it came out, I just wish it was a bit more apparent that the sun is composed of knitting needles and a ball of yarn! I have to give credit to Scott for designing this for me :). Feel free to post on your blog or websites!

My fab button!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Will I Ever Finish This Bag!?

I purchased Simple Knits for Sophisticated Living by Barbara Albright in January and totally due to the fact that I loved the pattern for this bag! Since then, I have manged to make a few other things out of it and still have not completed this project. The reasons why are:

1. I loved the colors in the picture, a very pale sky/turquoise blue and black. I could not for the life of me find a similar color with a similar gauge in a yarn store. (What I should have done from the start was just order the 20 bucks a skein yarn that they use in the pattern online (Fiesta Kokopelli in Turquoise Trail and Black Mesa).

2. So, I am not smart and purchased a similar yarn (Green Mountain Worsted which I love), but has a slightly smaller gauge. To my dismay, I had to have 60 stitches on each side of the bag (instead of 40) to get the correct gauge. Hence, the bag taking me a lot longer than it should.

3. I had to order more yarn offline since the store I purchased it at refused to order me more (If you are interested in hearing which store in Boston has peeved me off on numerous occassions, email me!). It is now taking 4 skeins of blue yarn instead of the 2 it should have only required. So, lets do the math... If I had just purchased the original yarn, 3 skeins at 20 each = 60 bucks. The yarn I am using now requires 5 skeins at 12.50 each = MORE MONEY THAN THE ORIGINAL! Not that I am a cheapo yarn user, but it would have saved me so much frustration to use the proper yarn instead of worrying about money.

So, the lesson of the day is, buy awesome yarn and don't worry about the price! No, seriously, I do use good yarn most of the time, and I am still using awesome yarn, but sometimes you should just give in and splurge (especially when its something you are making for yourself!)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Gearing it up

After I finished my first sock, I thought I wasn't going to have a ton of modivation to keep up the hardcore knitting. But, as I have discovered, I am a do or die type of person and I am going crazy trying to finish my other few projects. The reason for my psychotic whirlwind is that I ordered two new knitting books from Amazon and I know that as soon as I get those in the mail, new projects will begin (I refuse to let myself have more than four projects going at the same time)! I also am trying to finish this drop-stitch scarf for Mother's Day. I am just about half way finished and I love how its turning out. I am using Kiogu yarn which is fantastic for this lace scarf. The pattern is super easy:

Knit 6 rows, Next row (row 7) *k1, 2yo* repeat ending with a k1. Next row (row 8) *k1, drop 2yo* repeat ending with a k1. Repeat this 8 row series for as long as you like! I think I cast on 27 stitches to start.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Happy 9 months old!

I just had to post some new pictures of my kitties since today they are 9 months old! These pictures were taken over the course of the last week or so. They have grown so fast, but Kali especially, is still tiny. I don't think she is going to be much bigger than 6 pounds. Soma is about 8 pounds and looks more like a cat at this point.. Oh, my babies, I love you! You are the best kitties ever...

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Solo Sock

My first completed sock... and I am not thrilled with it if you can imagine that! I have really high expectations and I am just dissapointed with the size and the few holes at the heel seam in this bad boy. The sock is just too damn tight around my ankle (on the top of my foot, I have a high arc between my ankle and the top of my foot if you can imagine that). Nevertheless, I had to struggle to put the sock on and ended up stretching out the top half of the sock a decent amount. I casted on with 68 stitches on size 1 needles using the Yankee Classic Sock pattern and fortissima cotton 742. Any suggestions on how to get this right the next time?! I will probably go ahead and make the other one and just hope that they stretch out over time... The sock feels great when its on, I just hate how it looks off the foot.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Gotta Love Ebay!

Man, I love Ebay.... I mean, I am not one of those people that wastes a ton of money on crap I don't need, but tend to find things I would otherwise buy in stores for a lot less money. For example, I bought 2 50g skeins and 2 100g skeins from a great seller for 24 dollars including all the shipping (which I think is great because it would have cost me at least 40 dollars in a store). Now, don't get me wrong, buying yarn on Ebay is hard unless you know exactly what you want. And then there is the stock factor on whether they have that exact yarn or not. Nevertheless, I lucked out and found two of the Regia self-patterning yarns I really love.

I also found that recently I have become overwhelmed with the pleathora of yarn out there in yarn stores these days. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars a month on yarn that I wouldn't use for years! Two years ago, they had a quarter the stock and now.... wow! I find it hard, because I want to make so many things and have such little time with work, family, sports, etc. I picked up a "knitting for babies" book today and was amazed at all the simple, easy and short patterns... I need my friends to start having babies! It just makes me laugh though knowing what little amount of knitting experience I still have at this point (I started knitting a year and a half ago). I see all the knitting blogs with complicated sweaters and I have no clue at how they decipher patterns! I never really had the desire to knit a sweater until recently and need to find something very simple to start with I guess to get my feet wet. Ahh, just a little overwhelmed today... Though my first bike ride of the season occurred this afternoon and was a blast!

Nighty night!

My new sock yarn I ordered from Ebay

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Easter Cookie Bouquet

I love making Easter cookies (even though I am Jewish)! My friends at school last year called me the Jewish Easter Bunny and I guess the title just stuck. I found this great idea to make cookie bouquets and added a few fun other twists plus my favorite soft sugar cookie recipe. This picture is actually from Easter 2004 since I have no pictures from this year's batch yet....

A cookie bouquet I made for Easter!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Sock Progress

My first sock is progressing well. I made it through the heel after a bit of consultation with a woman at my favorite knitting store, Black Sheep Knitting Company in Needham, MA. I love the ladies in there, they are so nice and are always willing to give you advice or help you out. I do have to say, I haven't been in the store for a few weeks and they are definitely improving their selection... I had to resist major temptation and walked out with only a single skein of new yarn (a beautiful hand painted number from Farmhouse Yarns). But wow, I was majorly impressed! Anyways, back to the sock... I am currently working on the gusset decrease and am just about on the foot. Hopefully I will finish within the next week! And then there was one... How the hell do people find modivation to do the other sock?! I need to learn the magic loop method so that I don't become the one sock wonder.

My first sock at the heel

A heel close-up

My new Farmhouse Yarn! (Even though its wool, the colors mean Spring)