Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good Knitter, No Yarn

*As a warning, I'm writing this while severely sleep deprived and there are no pictures. A better, more coherent, yarn-pr0n-filled entry will be forthcoming in the next week.*

So...since I left you, loyal readers [seriously, I just write that because it amuses me...I know no one is reading this], I have almost been good. The Cascade 220 that I bought was swatched for an idea I had, but it didn't work out, so the three skeins are now languishing on my coffee table. Meanwhile, I went out and bought four skeins of Lion Brand Microfiber in whatever the periwinkle color is called and am now 4 feet into a mind-numbingly dull moss-stitch scarf of my own invention.

In other words, after I vowed both not to buy any more yarn and not to start anything new, I both bought four skeins of yarn and started a new project.

In my defense, both of these actions were undertaken before I was reunited with my stash and unfinished projects.

So why, you ask [no, seriously, it just cracks me up, pretending there's a "you" to ask me], does the title of this post refer to a "Good Knitter"?

Because today, my friend Jimmy (most recently featured in the Yarn Harlot's blog sporting a binary scarf [follow the link because I don't have permission to steal the Harlot's bandwidth. Also, you should be reading her blog anyway]) told me he needed yarn for his next third project. And he wanted me to help him figure out what he needed for it, and help him get it.

Now, we're both working stiffs, so by the time we were ready to go yarn shopping, all the Yarn Shops had closed. I'm a big believer in working with good quality yarn if you can afford it, though, and being working stiffs for a really well-paying company meant going to one of the local craft mega-marts was right out. (Yes, there would have been Microspun, which some of you might have noted, I am currently using [who am I kidding - there's no one there to "note" anything!]. Microspun is just about the only yarn worth buying in the mega-mart craft stores around here, and in my opinion for most cases it's only borderline acceptable. My buying it was an act of desperation. On the other hand, I do happen to be a bit of a yarn snob....

Anyway, just about our only chance at decent yarn in the area tonight was at Ben Franklin (kind of an old-school mega-mart craft store). I hadn't been there in a while, so I was pleasantly surprised by the selection. It wouldn't rival a real Yarn Store, but for desperate situations...well, they've got a great selection of Cascade, some Berrocco, some Trekking, some Fortissima...actually quite a few brand name yarns, and a many times a few lines from each. There was plenty there that a Yarn Snob like me could love...and plenty that I did.

I refuse to divulge the number of times I picked up a skein, petted it for a while, and murmured to it what I would make out of it. Refuse.

Jimmy walked away with several skeins of a really, really, really soft alpaca for a scarf and a couple skeins of Cascade for a hat, plus needles to match. He is definitely a knitting prodigy - as soon as he'd been knitting for an hour, he started planning Christmas presents he could knit. And folks, I hate to break it to you, but that was in May - he might actually be able to make it, with time to knit himself a few things while he's at it.

To get back to the original idea behind this post, though, I walked out of Ben Franklin with a $5 bottle of Euclan wool wash (I think it was Euclan...lavendar-something, whatever it was) and nothing else. Not even a skein of Trekking, and I do love my Trekking...

I think I deserve a cookie.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Of Course

Those of you who have been following closely might have noticed that in my last post, I swore off buying any new yarn or starting any new projects until a reasonable dent had been put into my unfinished projects and my stash in general.

This week, I bought three skeins of Cascade 220. And promptly started planning a new project with them.

"Why?" I hear you asking. No, really, I do hear it - I'm hiding in that closet behind you as you read this.

Okay, that was a fib.

Anyway, the reason behind the complete disregard for my latest yarn fast vow is that, a week and a half later, I'm only halfway through moving. All of my stuff is out of my old apartment...but nothing is in my new apartment. In fact, my new apartment has the old tenants still living in it.

That turn of events was highly unexpected, by the way. It all boils down to a big snafu on the part of the leasing office, but what it means is that I packed everything I owned (and I do mean everything) with the intention of unpacking it the next day, or at the very least with the knowledge that if I wanted to unpack it, I could do so the next day.

Instead, my stuff is in storage. For two more weeks.

This includes not only all my clothes, my books, and my linens, it includes my yarn and projects. For two more weeks.

Now do you have some sympathy for my plight? Can you forgive me for breaking my yarn fast vow before even a week had passed?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bad Blogger, No Cookie

So...hi there. Well, I haven't been around lately, you know? I got a little caught up in the graduating and the traveling and the continued traveling and the finding of a new apartment and before I knew it, months had passed.


How embarrassing.

Now, however, I'm in the middle of packing (I move tomorrow, so you'd think I'd be near the end of packing, but unfortunately I'm actually closer to the beginning of should be noted that blogging is apparently not conducive to packing).

In all the time I've been away, I've been knitting, of course. I've finished a couple things, I've started more than a couple things, I've spun some yarn...speaking of, let's have some yarn pr0n, shall we?

This is the first thing I spun on my wheel, and I'm calling it cotton candy, although to be honest I don't think I've ever seen cotton candy in either green or yellow. Still...I mixed the colors, I get to call it whatever I want, right?

Of course, being a bad blogger I completely forgot to take pictures of the roving, the plies, or the process, nor have I yet photographed the hat that I made out of this yarn. Let me simply say that I'm trying, I'll get better...someday.

Also, I've been relatively good about only spinning fiber I already had, such as this soy silk that was just sitting around minding its own business.

Oh, who am I kidding? I totally bought more fiber to play with - over a pound just a month ago, even though I still had plenty of fiber stashed away. Once again, though - bad blogger, no pictures, and now that fiber, at least, is packed, and there's no way on this Earth that I'm going to start unpacking just so I can take a picture to further procrastinate on the packing front. No siree bobby. You're just going to have to wait until I unpack it on the other end.

In other news, packing up my knitting has been a bit of a humbling experience. The yarn is once again taking up a significant percentage of the total volume of my possessions, and as for works-in-progress...well, let's just say I have more than two boxes worth of those.'s my new resolution: I will finish things. I will not start new things until I've finished at least three things per new thing I want to knit. I will not buy knitting supplies unless they are necessary to finish something. I will not buy new yarn or new fiber until the hundred-something gallon tub I use to contain my stash actually has air space in it.

Any takers on whether I'll actually be able to stick to this? No? Smart readers. Still, it should help to at least think I have a plan.

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Look

Or, muchos kudos to my sister, who is awesome in so many ways. She drew this icon for me when I was having a bad day and told her I wanted something for my blog:

That was several months ago. It is a testament to how wonderful she is that, in the past several months, she has only said once, "So, I thought you were going to put that picture up on your blog...?" And she used the gentlest voice when she asked, too.

Sister, this one's for you!

A European Contest

I'm going to Europe this summer.


And, of course, my first concern was what I would knit while I was there. It has to be small, because I have to fit everything into a large backpack for the month I'll be there. It has to be difficult, because it has to keep me occupied for the month (month!) I'll be there. On the other hand, it can't be too difficult because I might not always have the best light or attention when I'm knitting.

My first idea was a sweater made out of sock yarn with a crazy cable pattern.

I still haven't completely abandoned that idea.

My next idea was a black cardigan (again out of sock yarn) with a bunch of cabling and cute little silver buttons on the front.

I haven't completely abandoned that idea either.

Here's the deal (and where your ears should perk up, because it involves yarn): whoever suggests the thing closest to what I actually end up knitting in Europe gets a prize.

Remember this yarn?

It just happens to be from Italy (where I'm going to go!). I can't figure out what I want to do with it, and I need a project for Europe, so...whoever wins the contest gets the yarn. Fair enough?

I'll even accept entries that tell me to go for one of my original ideas, so long as you include a little more direction (like a stitch pattern, a picture of an example, etc) than I already have.

Ready? Set? Go!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 embarassing

Hello everybody. Remember me? The girl who keeps promising she's going to update this thing, and then keeps forgetting to?

Yeah. Hi. How's it going?

Things have been a bit crazy lately (not, mind you, that they ever aren't), which in turn lead to not posting. I'm not going to bore you with the details...let me just say it was not all horrible, and in fact at one point included a full body massage by a cute guy named James.

But you didn't come here to read about that. You came here to read about knitting. And look at pr0n, of course.

First off, we have a picture of a good friend of mine. He's wearing a sweater I made out of random scraps of yarn I had in my stash. The sweater was his Christmas present (delivered late, of course).

How the sweater came to be his Christmas present, though...well. When I made the sweater, I was also in the process of evicting the acrylic from my stash. Somehow (okay, it was because it was the right color, but still...), some of the acrylic made its way into this sweater and,'s not something I can fix without frogging the entire thing, which I wasn't prepared to do. Plus, there are a couple things I would do differently if I made it again (such as an industrial metal zipper instead of the dinky black plastic).

Anyway, after I was done with and wearing the sweater, I started complaining about all the things that I didn't like about it, and Chris (the friend pictured here) said he loved it. He, meanwhile, had bought some curtains for his bed that didn't quite work out, while I was desperately looking for curtains for my bed. We decided to switch, and I think we're both better off.

Plus, I get to make a new one now. With good yarn.

In other news, a few months ago, this:

became this (for transportation purposes):

which in turn became these:

that later metamorphosed into these:

with this much left over:

By the way, did I mention that I got a new spinning wheel? And that I'm loving it?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Better Late Than Never

So, having read about this on Wendy's blog, and having bought a pair of absolutely fabulous but slightly-too-expensive-for-a-college-student boots, I'm going to participate in my own little "Knit From Your Stash"-athon.
The rules (modified to fit my particular situation, of course) are as follows:

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start immeadiately and run through 30 May 2007 (ending on my birthday, but with the option of extending).

2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following provisions:

  • Sock yarn does count. The vast majority of the yarn I've bought in the last year has been sock yarn - this whole thing would be meaningless if it didn't apply to sock yarn.
  • If someone deserves a specific knitted gift that I somehow do not have the yarn for, I may buy yarn to knit that gift.
  • If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project.
  • For major deals (and only seriously good deals, not just so-so) I can make an exception if I still think it's a good idea after 10 minutes of solid contemplation.

3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn. Of course.

4. Trading stash is allowed. But, given how atattched to it I am, unlikely.

5. Spinning fiber of any sort is not exempt. I started stashing fiber almost the second I started spinning, and the volume has grown exponentially. I'm going to attempt to use up what I have before getting more.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Blocking Goodness

I am forever surprised by how much difference a bit of water and a few pins make on knitted objects. I just finished blocking a sweater made of Brown Sheep Company Cotton Fleece, which is a mixture of cotton and wool. While knitting the pieces, they curled horribly, and I worried that the cotton content of the yarn might make them immune to blocking. A tub of water, hundreds of pins, and two days later, the pieces not only took the blocking beautifully, they have actually been sewn together, and are simply waiting for the almost-finished cable trim to be completely ready for wear.

The Empress, two days later, is still trying to dry out her hair. Here's hoping that when she's all dry, she'll be even more lovely.

Of course, being the bad blogger I am, I completely forgot to take pictures of any of this. Seriously, I'm starting to think that the greats (Yarn Harlot, Kristi and Cookie) have someone following them around at all times taking pictures of their knitting. I'm especially impressed whenever I see pictures of swatching in progress - I'm usually so caught up in it that it's not until after the five [frogged] swatches and an inch of the real product that I think to myself, "Huh, I bet that process would have been great documented for the blog..."

To make up for the complete lack of presence or pictures on this blog, I give you a picture of the hat I made for my friend:

She commissioned it from me by saying, "Elisabeth, I want a hat. It has to have a large pom-pom, and I want it in these colors [pointing to her store-bought faux fair isle pink, orange, and red socks]"

This is what I came up with. Completely my own design (although I'm sure it's been done before, knitting having the history it does...). If there's enough interest, I'll write up a pattern and post it.

Ciao, darlings!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Walk Before You Run

Okay, first of all, I'm not posting pictures today. I know, I know, yarn/knitting porn is the only reason any of us really reads a knitting blog, but...well, the hassle involved in me getting pictures onto the net to post them here is just more trouble than its worth to me right now. On the other hand, if I don't feel as much pressure to include pictures in every single post, I'm much more likely to post more.

So here's the deal: I'm going to post more often. Really. But I very likely will not have much posted porn while doing so.

That said, I've realized lately that, aside from raglans, I have virtually no idea how to do shoulder shaping. I taught myself to knit, and have rarely followed a pattern in my life, so my first instinct wasn't to find a pattern to knit. No, my first instinct was to just start a sweater that would require set-in shoulders and see what happened.

It didn't go well. In construction, I had to frog the shoulder area four times, because I had this crazy idea that I would knit the sleeves in with the shoulders and therefore not seam anything. The first four attempts created something that either did not actually enable me to put the sweater on, or were so hideous that no amount of justification could make it look right.

After the fourth attempt, though, I had something that was close. In fact, it looked pretty much perfect...if I gave the sleeves a pretty good yank down and then didn't raise my shoulders or move my arms or, you know, breathe. If I did any of those things, the point at the top of the shoulder would not fall back down again, and I was left with these pointy, horn-like objects on the backs of my shoulders.

No, unfortunately, I do not have pictures. In complete denial that there was anything wrong with the sweater, I wore it to class one day. It took almost the entire day before I admitted defeat, but once I got home, I ripped off the sweater and frogged the shoulders completely. There wasn't time for pictures...if I'd stopped to take one, I might have lost momentum and allowed myself to believe that it still looked okay.

It didn't. It really didn't. And now I'm going to do it right.

To that end, I'm trying to knit a sweater from a pattern first. Something to give me an idea of how to, well, do it right. Of course, the pattern I picked was written for machine knitting, but the important parts are there and I can figure out the rest.

Also, I need to name the damn thing. I think it would be much more cooperative if I addressed it by name rather than "that sweater I keep &%^*ing up on".