Of Sweaters and “Stinkerballs” – Among Other Things

Brea is going along nicely. The front and back are done and are the same size (no mean feat, when you consider my issues with gauge). I adore the color so far, and the yarn is marvelous!  While I did the front and back separately, I have cast on both sleeves, and will work them simultaneously. The way I knit, this – or double knitting, which I will not try with cables – is the only way I have ever been able to guarantee that both sleeves will be the same size.

Because Rowan Lima is a chained yarn, rather than a plied yarn, weaving in the ends has been wonderful. It’s much easier to catch the appropriate bits of the back of the piece to weave the ends in, This is an especially good thing, because I do like to take breaks and weave the ends in as I go, so I don’t have a forest of ends to bury after the item is made up. It’s especially good in this case, since each of the two bags of yarn I ordered seems to have what I term a “stinkerball.” This is a ball of yarn that has a ton of loose ends. Sometimes, the ends are left loose, like the ball I am working with on one sleeve. Other times, there are knots – usually needing to be undone because they fall in bad spots and would show on the outside of the garment (like the stinkerball in the first bag of yarn). Stinkerballs are mostly annoying, rather than really problematic, but I dislike them, especially since they seem to occur more in higher end yarns. However, as my mother would have said, this should be my worst problem….

I have a few things waiting for when this project is done. The first is another sweater in Rowan yarn – Crete. It’s a basket stitch sweater, designed for a guy, but I know how to adjust it down to fit me. It’s done in Rowan’s Creative Linen yarn. After that, I have a shawl kit from Craftsy to do. It’s called the Old Toll Road Shawl, and is a rectangular shawl in a lovely lacy stitch. That will be done in Wool Fingering Twist from Cloudborn Fibers. Also down the pike are two crocheted yoga mat bags, to be made out of good, old, reliable Lily Sugar and Cream cotton yarn. One of the yoga mat bags will be for my yoga teacher. More details on these projects will come as I get to work on them.


What’s Your Favorite?

Moat of us have favorites.  This holds true for knitting and crocheting just as much as for authors, foods, or anything else.  So, here are some of mine:

  • Things to Knit:  Socks, Shawls
  • Knitting Needles:  My Size 00 Addi Turbo Laceweights
  • Crochet Hooks:  My old Boye steel hooks
  • Yarn Weights:  Sock, Lace
  • Yarn Colors:  Blue, Purple, Rose, Peach/Coral; Burgundy, Cerise, Variegated
  • Indie Dyers:  Kellee at Ethereal Fibers; Morandia at MIB Fibers; Melissa at Keegan Lane Yarns
  • Designers:  Wendy from Wendy Knits; Annie Kuo Lukito; Elizabeth Zimmermann; Cookie A
  • Times to Knit:  Watching TV; riding in a car
  • Patterns in my Ravelry Queue:  543
  • Types of Knitting:  Fisherman, Lace, Textured, Mitered, Fair Isle, Double-Knitting
  • Type of Crochet:  Filet
  • Favorite Sock Cuff:  Folded Picot
  • Favorite Cast-Off:  Jeny’s Stretchy

Favorite Cast-Ons:  Mock Long-Tail; Queen Kahuna’s

So, those are my favorites.  What are yours?

May has not Been the Kindest Month this Year

Life has been happening this month; nevertheless I have been knitting.

My May YOSS Project was Marilyn Phillippi’s Tilting Tardis Cowl. I used Fleece Artist’s Nyoni, in Melon, and the shawl came out perfectly gorgeous! This was made out of the yarn that was left over after I had completed my Marrowstone Shawl. It just needs the right buttons, and I am planning to get those in the next few days.

Knitting Marcy Vandale’s Marrowstone Shawl was great fun! I forget who on Plurk turned me on to this pattern, but thank you whoever it was! It worked up fairly quickly because the trim of the shawl was knitted sideways, then the stitches for body were picked up along one side of the edging. I chose this to increase my options for Wear A Shawl Day, which is the 11th of each month.

For this month’s charity knitting, I picked a crochet project, Cay Litchfield’s Baby Bobbles Blanket, specifically to use up a donation to my stash of acrylic yarn (National Yarn Crafts’ Natura Deluxe Acrylic) from a friend’s late mother’s stash. The colors so far are medium blue, lavender, light blue, and two different pastel ombre yarns. This is being done as a contribution to Project Linus.

My next stash-breaking project is Martina Kastanek’s Sunday Morning Shawl. I am using up a lot of fingering weight yarn for this project; It’s good to watch the odds and ends become something useful and pretty! It’s also good to reduce the number of small balls of yarn in my project basket! This project is another addition to my Wear a Shawl Day collection.

My last project on the needles is Wendy D. Johnson’s Toe Up Feather and Fan Socks. These have been lying fallow for a while, because I have had Real Life to deal with, but have now been picked up again, and I am about 1-3/4″ away from starting the heel. The yarn is Ethereal Fibers’ Nebula Sock in the “Thump” colorway. Sadly, the light in my room is yellowish,so the picture does not do the colorway justice. The colors in this yarn are truly luminous in daylight.

So, knitting-wise it has been a busy and productive month.

And my next installment should have some exciting news, if all goes well!

Busy, Busy, Busy

I’m currently working on several projects. Got a commission for both a pair of Circle Socks (designed by Anne Campbell) and a pair of fingerless mitts. Doing the socks first, 2 at once, magic loop, on a 32″ long size 00 needle. The yarn for these is ZenString’s Bambewe, in the Tramanto colorway.

They are coming out nicely, and I really hope the client likes them.

I’ve also started my February YOSS project. I didn’t feel like making mittens, and I hate plain vanilla socks, so I’m doing Wendy Johnson’s Generic Toe-Up Feather and Fan Socks, in Ethereal Fibers’ Nebula Sock Yarn, in the “Thump” colorway. Haven’t gotten too far on those, because I also got some paying writing work to do at the same time.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to knitting-wise!

Crochet-wise, I have a student. She is a delightful woman who works at a school in a different part of Brooklyn.

I would like to get a few more students, but things happen when they happen, so I’m not going crazy over it.

I Knew There Was a Reason I Knit

It’s been one of those months already.

My computer crashed out on Friday, and refused to reboot. Fortunately, this was a slow week, writing wise, so I didn’t have to worry too much about getting assignments done.

Like many HP computers, mine came pre-loaded. This meant that I never received an installation disk for Vista. Fortunately, however, I am blessed with a number of friends who are much more computer-savvy than I am. My friend D, a sysadmin, immediately helped me use my roommate’s computer to make an ubuntu boot thumb drive (which is what I am running on at the moment), and two friends that I met through last year’s NaNoWriMo ran various diagnostics with me, and helped me acquire a Vista 32-bit recovery disk. However, because the machine came pre-loaded, Microsoft claims HP has to deal with it. HP says it’s out of warranty and won’t even talk to me about it unless I hand them $60 for a one-shot, or send them the machine and $400, which just isn’t happening. Meanwhile, the main issue was getting to my files, so that I could copy them to a disk and not lose my records from freelancing since January.

As anyone who has dealt with this kind of thing knows, all the copying, testing, waiting on perma-hold, etc. takes lots of time, and almost infinite patience. While the time was not a major issue, infinite patience is not something I have been blessed with. So I dealt with the frustration the only way I knew how. I knit.

For years I have been telling people who ask why I knit that, “It’s cheaper than therapy, and I have {socks/sweaters/shawls/afghans/etc.} when I’m done.” Well, this time, what it got me was most of the first mitten of the pair I’m doing for my YOSS November project. I also got the patience to deal with all the nonsense that the computer issue had brought up.

I have spoken to the store I bought the computer at, and I’m still under the extended warranty I purchased when I bought it. My ex has an old laptop he can loan me for while it’s in the shop. Now, the only thing is to arrange picking up his laptop and bringing mine to the store.

While it’s out, I expect to finish the pair of Magic Mirror Mittens I am working on, and then to crochet a pair of rippled tube socks.

Writing, Knitting, and Crocheting

Over the last few days, one of the article boards I write on has had a spate of assignments regarding knitting and crocheting.  I’ve been grabbing as many of these articles as I’m allowed to claim.

I’m finding I enjoy writing about techniques.  I’ve written articles so far on how to block an Ishbel shawl (for those not on Ravelry, here is a link to Ysolda’s Ishbel pattern, with  a lovely picture of the finished product), how to knit a folded picot edge, and how to do hyperbolic crochet (no links for the last two yet).

It’s not something I’ve ever thought about doing before, but I’m thinking that as long as I enjoy it, and as long as the site is looking for such articles, it’s a great way to hone my skills!

<em>YOSS 20111 Update:</em>  I have now finished the heel on the Spring Forward Socks.  34 rows to beginning the toe decreases; and then 20 rows to completion.  I had to rip out the second Sweet Tomato Heel yesterday, after getting two-thirds of the way through it.  The problem was not the heel, this time, but was that I had not set up the heel well enough to make the four “complete” rounds in it work with the way the pattern lined up.

Anyway, that’s about it for tonight.


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