crafts · decorating · knitting

I’m on a podcast!

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for the Inspirational Wednesday podcast, and now my interview is up! You can download it from the website I linked to, or through Itunes. Thanks so much to Toya – she was so easy to talk to that I didn’t have a chance to be nervous! So if you’ve always wondered how I sound… wonder no more! It’s funny, because I’m used to hearing my singing voice recorded, but it’s been forever since I heard my speaking voice… and now I understand why I am constantly being asked if I am from Minnesota or Canada or something. That’s what happens when you work so hard to get the southern out I suppose!

Kim Hargreaves’ new book, which I mention in the podcast, has been released on her website.  I have, of course, ordered it.  I love Faith, Emily, Gem, Amory, Dusk, and Elizabeth, and I may even like some of the others one I see them larger!  So yeah, it’s expensive, but I figure I can economize on some of the yarns, right?  It’s a lovely collection, although I do find the black items hard to make out.

I’m still sick, and I’m still knitting, but nothing is finished yet – I hope soon for Clapotis, or at least a finished sock! I have finished the first sleeve of Thermal, meaning I’m halfway there! So I’ve got nothing… but I will show you this print that I bought off of Etsy. I give you… Catzilla!

Purchased from Cranky Cats on Etsy, if you love cats as much as I do I recommend her shop… some of her prints are just adorable!

crafts · knitting · Life · yarn

Still sick but…

I have no voice today – I took the weekend off from church, and I may be off from work tomorrow if I don’t at least regain my speaking voice.  But even so – today is an exciting day!  Since I couldn’t work, I visited one of my favorite thrifts and found a lovely black cashmere coat from some indeterminate era (the label makes me think 1950s.) I tried to take a photo, but black is so difficult!  It has a lovely rhinestone detail around the collar.  We also visited a new (to us) coffee shop, and saw a house.

The house was very nice, and we are considering it, but honestly it is a bit further north than I would prefer.  I am somewhat nervous about crime, and I want to make sure that we buy a house somewhere where I will not have to be nervous about my safety.  I know I’m paranoid, but it’s with reason… I have been mugged more often than the average person I know, and I’m not looking to continue the trend.  If we have to wait, we have to wait… I don’t want to move twice!  The house was so perfect for us otherwise, but I feel uneasy, and I want to follow my instincts here… I was really enthusiastic about it, but then I kept having this nagging bad feeling.

Last night, since I was feeling totally lousy and was totally unable to sleep, I rewarded myself with some swatching.  I got to try out some new and exciting yarns, which always makes me feel better on a lousy day!

Reynolds Whiskey – swatched for the Tangled Yoke Cardigan.  Some people say this yarn is scratchy, but I don’t see it, and how great are the colors?  This swatched at barely over 6 st/in on size 3s for me… slightly smaller than the pattern calls for, but that might be a good thing… I will have to do math and see how it would work out!

Valley Yarns’ Williamstown – swatched for the Drops Swing Jacket.  This is a very soft yarn.  I hate to call it a tweed, because I don’t think it is exactly… more like a really nice wool/acrylic blend with some random colored bits thrown in.  It’s really nice to work with, and I have no complaints other than a desire for the tweedy bits to be a bit more color coordinated with the yarn.  I swatched at 5 st/in on size 6 needles here – I will either go up to a size 7 or knit a size up on the jacket.

Valley Yarns’ Sheffield- Lake – This yarn feels luxurious.  The yarn is super soft and knits up very evenly.  This swatch is on size 6 needles and shows 4.75 st/in. The angora gives loft to the yarn, but it isn’t overly fuzzy.  I did see a few tiny pieces floating in the air, but it did not get on my sweater while I knit with it.  I remain a huge fan of the whole Valley Yarns line… if you haven’t tried them I really recommend it – they’re a great value, especially with the discount, and I find the quality to be higher than many discount lines

Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool – I’m testing this yarn out as another sub for Felted tweed.  I was able to get 5.75 st/in easily using size 3 needles.  I like that it’s nice and lightweight like felted tweed, and that it looks vaguely tweedy.  I think this is a winner!

Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino – All the sweaters I’m planning lately seem to call for sportweight yarn.  This swatch is for a Phildar Sweater, one with eyelets (thus the holes… although I’ve messed up here!)   I’ve used Cashmerino aran before and been unimpressed, but Baby Cashmerino is a totally different feeling yarn.   I’ve heard that it does not share the pilling problem that it’s larger cousins have, and I hope that’s true!


These swatches are both attempts at stash busting.  The yarn on the left is Valley Yarns Colrain (still lovely!) for this lovely Drops Cardigan, and on the right is Cascade 220 heather in Cordovan heather, for the minimalist cardigan.  I just can’t seem to decide on a yarn for this jacket, but this one may be the closest so far!  I bought it to make the nantucket jacket, but alas it did not work out, so now I need to use it up!

crafts · knitting · yarn

Autumn is here!

Yes… I know that fall is here to stay, because I have been struck down with my annual “change of the weather” illness. More than likely I caught it from a student. I’m frantically trying to find someone to cover for me at church tomorrow, because I sound like a man, and there will be no singing in these parts for at least a week. I’m already not going in tonight. All Saints day is this week too, so I have to try hard to get better for that mass!

I am a terrible sick person to be around, although to be fair I think most people would be this bad if they were unable to function at all in either of their jobs whenever they have a head cold… and I do fear the possibility of vocal damage very much, so I will not sing over swollen vocal cords… I have seen too many good singers lose their voices forever after ignoring sickness.

I have made knitting progress, although at times it doesn’t feel like it.

The back of thermal is complete, and I have begun the first sleeve. It isn’t fast knitting, although it could be faster if I were only knitting on Thermal, but it isn’t too terribly slow either. I still love the stitch pattern, and quite frankly I just find this sweater fun to knit! I blocked that piece, and it is coming out the size that I wanted. It should have negative ease in the bust, and be a bit more fitted than some of the Thermals I have seen. I have completed 9 out of 12 straight section repeats on my clapotis, so it’s really almost there. Last night I wore my other Clapotis out, and it looks so sad and worn! It’s pilling very badly, and one of my joins tried to come loose as well (although I fixed that!) I’ve really worn the heck out of that thing, and I need a new one! Last night I turned the heel on my socks. I haven’t really worked on them much, since I’m focusing on the other projects (and Marc’s scarf is on hold until I finish Clapotis, since they use the same needles.) The Lozenge pattern is easy, but I do find it difficult to read on the needles, especially now that the beginning of the round has changed.

Since I mentioned Marc’s scarf, and since I have mentioned my jealousy of the lovely, soft malabrigo, I thought I would show you the yarn I’m planning to use for my own One row scarf.

It’s Malabrigo in Sunset, which is just the most beautiful, cheery color. I hope that it will make the darkest days of winter seem a little brighter!

I have had to hold myself back from another major round of swatching… I do love swatching, but my priority has to be completing the projects I have already begun! But as soon as one is finished (probably Clapotis) I will reward myself with swatching and watching of cheezy sci-fi tv.

Have you heard about the Handmade Pledge? I love the idea of buying handmade for Christmas, and I am going to attempt to buy handmade for most everyone on my list.  Well, except for Marc, who always gets new clothes from me for Christmas, since he won’t buy them himself.

I will state for the record that I am not going to be knitting any Christmas gifts this year.  Last year I knit a total of 2 washcloths, and even that was stressful when combined with my job (I do, after all, work Christmas eve and Christmas day.)  But I will be happy to buy someone else’s handmade stuff for presents!  It’s like the best of both worlds…

crafts · knitting

UFO Resurrection!

I am not one to have a bunch of UFOs.  If I stop working on something, it’s generally because the project wasn’t working for me in some way, and it is ripped in pretty short order.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I only have one real UFO…

Remember this?  Started on November 28th last year, it is my second Clapotis.  I love my original Clapotis, and have worn it nearly to death, but at the time I think I was feeling discouraged about my ability to make successful large projects.  Last night I was thinking about how a cozy stole would be nice for this time of year, and I realized I had a half completed one waiting in the wings.  So I took it out (so that’s where all my stitch markers went!), reattached the needles, figured out where I was in the pattern, and added another repeat.  It’s at 5 repeats of the straight section out of 12, and I think I’m going to go ahead and finish it.  I adore the colors, and it will be nice not to have it hanging over my head anymore.  This puts me in the crazy position of having 4 WIPs, which is just unheard of for me, but I will concentrate on Thermal and Clapotis right now.

crafts · knitting · patterns · yarn

Obsessed with waffling!

I have been knitting on Thermal like a woman possessed.

I love the waffle stitch. It goes quickly, and I don’t have to pay too much attention! Another plus of knitting the pattern flat – absolutely no rows that are all purl stitches! I’ve added 3 more pattern repeats since this photo (most of my students were sick and didn’t come tonight!) I’m knitting mine smaller than the pattern calls for, because my swatch grew substantially. I’m also planning on 3/4 length sleeves, because I have loved the Thermals I’ve seen with that mod!

Every time I consider making a sweater with skinny yarn I get freaked out, but once I get past the first two inches it always seems to fly.

I got a WEBs order today that contained their new fall yarns, Williamstown and Sheffield.

Both yarns are very soft, and I will swatch them soon to let you all know how they feel! I’m planning on using the Williamstown to make the Drops swing jacket, and the Sheffield for the Sweaterbabe cardigan I’ve mentioned several times. For a yarn with angora in it, it isn’t too hairy feeling in the skein.

I typed in a URL for the IK Winter preview, and to my surprise the new preview came up – I didn’t know we were only a few weeks away from the magazine coming out! Go here for the preview, but keep in mind they may still be working on it… it isn’t linked from the front page yet.

At first glance I am likely to make two projects – Ann Budd’s Refined Aran Jacket (although the small is probably too big for me so I don’t know), and Miriam Felton’s Logan River wrap, which has an interesting drop stitch/cable combo, and is knit in Kathmandu Aran – how I would love to have a snuggley tweedy wrap for winter! There are others that look interesting, but I will need to see them up close.

It was cold and rainy today, so I got to wear my Tree Jacket out of the house for the first time. I still just adore that sweater, which does not make me feel in the least self conscious that I’m wearing a handknit sweater! I think I have more knits in this category, but I still have a few that make me self conscious. For instance, I wore my Jess Jacket last Wednesday, but it just reminded me that I need to fix the crazy wonky collar, and that I had no clue what I was doing with seaming when I made it. Still, those sweaters are in the minority.

It’s also handknit sock season at last. My feet are always so cold, I really do appreciate them! I find that I have a hard time getting my socks small enough – 60 stitches seem small enough at first, but they always stretch so much when I wear them. And I don’t have terribly narrow feet, just super skinny ankles and calves, so anything smaller is hard to get on. I also get a fair amount of heel felting in most socks, but I figure that is inevitable – I treat them pretty well (no machine washing) but they get a lot of wear!

crafts · knitting · patterns · yarn

New sweater? Maybe…

Last night I made several attempts to cast on for Thermal. My first try was twisted, and then I messed up the stitch pattern, and then I actually pulled the cable out of my needle. But I still love Thermal! And Gloss is so wonderful to work with.  So here’s what I’m doing…

Yes indeed… I am knitting Thermal flat, to be seamed up at the end. Yes, I know you all think I’m crazy, but having over 200 stitches on the needle at a time just does not work well for me! Besides, knitting flat gives more variation to the pattern, and hopefully my hands won’t get as upset. I think the reason I like knitting in pieces is that it gives me nice goals. I can’t stand how long it takes to complete a body in the round, at least not at this gauge.

The other sweater I’m having issues with is the Tangled Yoke cardigan, for the same basic reasons. But since that sweater involves shaping, I will probably knit it in one piece. At least it isn’t in the round. And… it won’t be in felted tweed. Why? Because I am allergic to felted tweed. Yup. I was going to start Salina, but I immediately started getting the sniffles after casting on. I soldiered on, but it turns out it wasn’t my imagination. Apparently even 25% alpaca is too much for me.

*sniff* goodbye, felted tweed! At some point soon, I will have to sell mine. I have sweater amounts of rage, watery and sigh, and a few balls of herb as well. I’m going to make Salina out of Silky Wool instead, and the Tangled Yoke cardi in Reynolds Whiskey. Does anyone have any other nice felted tweed subs?
I completed a few more repeats of the lozenge socks. I highly recommend this pattern so far – it’s easily memorized, and the effect is really nice.

I’m going to go to 6 repeats, I think, and then start the heel. These are going pretty quickly!

In even more exciting news, I went to Kim Hargreaves’ website today, to look at the kits, and on the front page it says she will have a book coming out soon. I’m so excited – I have really been turned off by the kit thing, but her designs are so pretty!

crafts · knitting · yarn

More socks, and thermal

Last night, bored with my scarf and without yarn for a new sweater, I started a new pair of socks.

They are going to be the “Gentleman’s fancy sock with lozenge pattern” from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks.  This will be my first real pair of socks from the book, which my MIL gave me for Christmas last year.  The yarn is from SeeJayneKnit on Etsy in the colorway Green tea… 414 glorious squishy yards of  superwash merino, dyed as a semi-solid.  And it’s not splitty!  Such a relief after the last socks.  I rarely buy solid sock yarn, and I’ve been wanting to make this pattern for ages.  I’ve downsized to 60 sts, from the 80 called for in the pattern, and I’m knitting far less ribbing on the leg.

So far so good, but my right index finger is a little bit sore today, so I’m not knitting.  More than likely I knit a little too much on Marc’s scarf last night – those repetitive patterns really get to me!  I tend to baby my hands – without them I would have a very hard time doing my job (ie playing the piano.)  At one point, long before I started knitting, too many hours in the practice rooms at college gave me something very much like tendinitis.  I fixed some of the bad technique that was giving me trouble, and I haven’t had serious issues in quite awhile.  I was afraid knitting would cause it to act up, but it hasn’t really.  For awhile I was concerned about wrist strain, but I’ve been sleeping with a brace on my right wrist, which keeps me from sleeping with it bent, and I have had no trouble since then.  But I still am always careful to watch for any pains!

And speaking of Marc’s scarf… I am still jealous of it, and I just love the pattern for the yarn. I’ve decided to make one for myself after his is finished, out of Malabrigo in “Sunset,” which is a nice cheery orangey yellow.  Not my usual color, but I’m trying to step out of my color box a bit.

Speaking of stepping out of that box, I got my yarn for Thermal today!  That was the quickest knitpicks shipment ever… maybe they aren’t using Smartpost anymore?  Anyway, I love the color.  It’s exactly what I hoped, and I can’t wait to cast on!

My picture is a bit too orange – this color is hard to photograph.  Thanks again for everyone’s advice!

In the same shipment I got the Palette yarn I’ve ordered to make the Endpaper mitts.  Teal and gray.  I had to force myself away from the brown, but I’m really happy with the colors, which feel very modern to me.  Now I just have to get over my fear of color work!

Tonight I’m going to try to seek out the Interweave Holiday issue.  I already looked at Vogue’s holiday issue, but I left it on the shelf.  I’ve been very disappointed in Vogue lately – I loved last year’s holiday issue, but this one just doesn’t appeal to me at all.  Too many oversized, weirdly deconstructed pieces.  Not my style.  But ah well… the queue is quite long enough as it is!

I’m also going to go searching for a new dress.  My 10 year high school reunion is in two weeks, and I would like to buy a new dress for the occasion… but so far I have been totally unsuccessful.  I am very picky, and I have a hard time finding things designed for my body type.

crafts · finished objects · knitting

FO: Step Socks

Pattern: Plain stockinette socks, with welsh heel and star toe (from Knitting Vintage Socks.)

Yarn: Austermann Step, about 3/4 of a skein

Needles: US 0, Knitpicks Harmony DPNs for the one on my left foot, metal knitpicks dpns for the right foot.

Notes: I love the colors of this yarn, but I hated the actual yarn, which was splitty and thin.  I’m not a big fan of either the heel or toe I tried here, but it’s always good to try new things!  I like kitchenering my toes – it feels too fiddly to decrease down and then pull the yarn through.  My biggest discovery here?  That I have radically differing gauges in wooden vs metal dpns.  My gauge is much tighter with the metal dpns, as you can see in the photo.  The other sock will no doubt end up being a bit too big, since socks stretch, but the one knitted on metal needles is just right.  I enjoyed knitting with both needles, which were nicer than my usual dpn experience (crystal palace dpns usually.)

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

Sweater? What sweater?

In this entry I will attempt to distract you from my lack of a finished Georgina with pictures of a sock.

Yes… I am turning the heel on the second step sock, and soon it will be finished!  This is fortunate, because it’s possible (though I’m not saying for sure) that I’ve been sucked into the black hole that is buying sock yarn on Etsy.

Thanks for all the help with my Knitpicks order – I have ordered the Pumpkin color to make Thermal, and I can’t wait for it to arrive!  I also ordered Palette to try Eunny Jang’s Endpaper Mitts.  I’ve decided that it is time for me to break down and figure out fair isle knitting.   Mine will be dark gray and aqua… sort of similar to the middle sock yarn above, but with darker gray.

I ordered from WEBs too… it’s just crazy yarn buying week around here!  I ordered the new Valley Yarns Williamstown to make the Garnstudio swing cardi that is so trendy at the moment!  Someone pointed out to me awhile ago that there is a version of this sweater written for worsted weight yarn, so I’m going to do that one (I have gone way, way off of bulky yarn this week…)  I’m also trying Sheffield, their new Angora blend, to make Sweaterbabe’s Lush cardigan.  I was going with the idea that I’m not allergic to angora, since I’ve owned many angora sweaters in my day… I only hope that assumption holds up – I am very paranoid after the alpaca debacle.  I got yarn as well for the icelandic turtleneck from Crochetme (4-ply soft in navy) and for a phildar sweater I’m planning (baby cashmerino in light gray.)

All this talk of sweaters brings me to Georgina, which currently sits in time out.  I sewed the sweater together, and the fit is ok.  The sleeves are ginormous, but I wasn’t expecting them to be fitted.  The body fits (as I said) ok.  I cannot figure out how to attach the collar and not have it look awful.  Plus… I’m really not happy with how the yarn looks.  Even after blocking it remains very uneven.  I sewed on a few buttons, but I was unhappy with how it looked on me.  So… I’m giving it a little time.  I may, after a bit of time, decide to go on and finish it, or I may place it in the drawer of unhappy knits, which is where most of the “What was I thinking with a fitted bulky sweater” knits go.

And in the meantime… I will finish my sock, and then I think it’s time to start something with some of the felted tweed I have stashed.  I actually cast on for the tangled yoke cardi, but made a mistake an inch in and frogged… I’m not sure I like knitting cardigans in one piece like that.  Those rows go on forever!  But perhaps I will try again.  I love the finished tangled yokes I’m seeing.  Otherwise I can start Salina, which has been queued forever!

crafts · knitting · yarn


Last night I finished the sleeve I was working on for Georgina as well as the other front.  I still have to sew up the other half and make the collar, but the finish line is near!  I’m really pushing myself to finish this one, because the yarn is making me a bit batty.

But no pictures of that for now.  Last night I wound up a skein of Knitpicks Gloss in Concord and swatched for Thermal.  I wanted to see if I liked the waffle stitch enough to do it for an entire sweater.  I suspected that I would… and I was right!

The swatch above uses 2.75 mm needles, and I think I will need 2.5s for the actual sweater.  That’s ok… I will order them when I order the yarn for Thermal.  Gloss is a lovely yarn.  I’m still not sure on color, but I need to decide today so that I can order!  I really want the pumpkin, but I need someone to tell me if it’s a bright orange (which I can’t wear) or a rusty/terracotta orange, which I can wear.  I’ve tried looking for photos, but I can’t tell which it is!  Is this a redhead friendly orange?

Small needles are such a relief after the size 10 logs I’ve been knitting Georgina on.

I got pretty yarn from a trade today too… Sweet Georgia superwash sock in Fondant.  Pretty, no?