Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shut Down!

I'm on a forced knitting hiatus right now, and I'm not happy about it one bit!

Ok, so that's a little dramatic, but I've been having a major flare up of my tendinitis and going to physical therapy, where they are telling me that if I want it to heal, I need to relax it as much as possible. Since I can't avoid signing or typing at work and something's gotta give, the answer to that is "no knitting." Which naturally I take as, "Do some knitting, but be sure to take an anti-inflammatory before, only knit for a measly 1/2 hour per day, and then afterward ice it and put on the splint."

Sigh. I try to be a good patient.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ugly Hats for a Good Cause

Every year my work is a partial sponsor/coordinator for an all day holiday celebration, called Silent Sleigh, for the local Deaf kids. A lot of hands go into the preparation for this day in which countless kids get to socialize with their Deaf peers from all of the local school districts, watch performances all in sign, and best of all, tell a signing Santa in their own langauge what they want for Christmas without the use of an interpreter (and actually have him understand!).

Last week at my works community center there was a group of 5 Deaf/hard of hearing women hard at work at their sewing machines. When I inquired further, I discovered that they were making a slew of hats, so that every kid in attendance at the Silent Sleigh would be able to wear and take home their own holiday hat.

Since one of the virtues that I want to instill in my daughter is that of volunteerism and the best way to teach this is by example, when I saw this group of ladies sewing away at 100 plus hats, I knew that I had to lend a hand. I mentioned that I had a sewing machine at home and the ability to sew a (sorta straight) seam and they were more than happy to have my assistance.

I was sent home with a stack of neon green felt, thread, and some quick instructions how to sew it up. I was surprised that even with my novice abilities I was about to whip out 10 hats in only about 2 weekend nap times (so like a total of 2.5 hours).

Here's the final product:

Sure, they're an ugly color, but I'm certain that in the spirit of the holidays these kids will wear their hats with Joy as they carol in sign language and anxiously tell St. Nick their christmas wishes.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It Is What It Is, Flaws and All

As I had previously me
ntioned, I finished up the lovely Summit Shawl, only to discover a major flaw about halfway back. I contemplated for mere seconds whether I should rip it all the way back to the error, but seeing as that would have meant undoing nearly 500 yards of work I just couldn’t make myself do it.

Here’s the blocked picture of it... can you find the error?

How about now?

At some point in the middle of knitting I accidentally switched the direction I was going, creating a larger hole and two branches out of one. You’ll also note the circle on the bottom left – that’s where for some reason I decided to simply go back the other direction, rather than making the outer loop.

The thing of the matter is, I can’t help but still love the final product. Sure, I can see (and unabashedly point out) its flaws, but its overall beauty shines through regardless. I know that the recipient of this shawl won’t be sitting down to analyze my work and will admire it for what it is, not for what it isn’t.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Civetta Legwarmers - FREE PATTERN

I’m not the kind of girl who wears legwarmers, so it had never occurred to me to make some, until a friend asked specifically for a pair. As often happens, I couldn’t find a pattern that I particularly liked for this recipient, so I went to the drawing board. I hope you have as much fun knitting these little owls as I did! These were originally designed as legwarmers, however they can also be worn as gauntlets.

Click here for Free Ravelry Download: Civetta Pattern

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Knit Know How = Fast Gifts

One of the good things about being a knitter (with a sizable stash) is that when you look at the calendar and see that you have a baby shower to go to and no moolah to spare for a gift, it's not to hard to whip up something quick and cute.

Skylar graciously modeled this boy version of the Cadence Baby Hat which took me only two lazy nights of knitting to bang out.

And by graciously, I mean she let me snap photos for all of 30 seconds before deciding that it was way to hot to keep wearing this beanie.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Knitters Pop Up in the Funniest Places

One of the little joys of knitting in public is that every now and then other knitters and crocheters will approach and break the monotony of the "wow, I've always wanted to learn to knit but..." conversations, and actually engage you in a real knitting conversation.

I was at an interpreting workshop yesterday (which was phenomenal - if you're a sign language interpreter and ever have an opportunity to go to an Austin Andrews workshop, DO NOT pass on it!). While I love the learning I get while I go to these professional trainings, I also can't bear the idea of sitting for 6 hours without a pair of needles clicking away in my hands so, as always, I was knitting to my hearts content. During a break, one of the other attendees approached me and not only was she a knitter, she was also on Ravelry, had the exact pattern I was working on in her queue, and her current WIP hidden away in her bag. The cherry on top? We also had the exact same glasses. Neat!

In the too-short break we got to admire each other WIPs and engage in a discussion of how I could have improved upon the decrease of the Coffee Tunic that I had started back in January (and have just now picked up again after I don't know how many months). And then of course that evening I logged into Ravelry to get a glimpse of her other works. Gotta love that!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Oh blog, how I have mistreated you...

...but I swear the neglect has its reasons! I've been working on two original patterns, the first drafts of which are knitted up and awaiting revisions. I also manage to finish up the awesome (and sometimes tedious) Summit Shawl. Unfortunately, as I was binding off I discovered a major mistake at about the mid section of the shawl. Did I frog it back? You better believe your britches I didn't! Ha, if you think I'm going to watch as I unravel countless hours of knitting, you gotta be out of your freakin' mind!

Coming soon...
  • pictures and discussion of the summit shawl
  • patterns for leg warmers and (yes, my new favorite) mitts
  • a quick peak at the adorable LYS I visited while in Vermont last week
happy knitting!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


These mitts developed out of my husband’s request for a crocheted hacky sack. I don’t crochet very well at all, so I turned to my knitting group where a barter was arranged: two hacky sacks for a pair of mitts.
At the same time I found myself obsessed with diagonal stripes - Hats, scarves, you name it, any time I picked up a pair of knitting needles I was yielding similar results, diagonal stripes. It was really no surprise that when I went to knit some mitts this pattern developed out of my diagonal obsession.
Baratto is a fast knit and makes a great last-minute gift project, especially for those knitters (like myself) who like instant gratification projects.

Pattern available through a Free Ravelry Download: Baratto

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Say it Loud, Say it Proud!

A friend of my is recently out and when I say out I mean VERY out. So when I stumbled across this vibrant yarn from Moonlight and Laughter I knew that I had to get it and make something for her to show off her pride.

Over the past few weeks I've been playing around with making a pair of mitts with this awesome rainbow yarn so that she can say it loud, say it proud. I've definitely found a good stitch pattern to show off the colors but I've had a few false starts with my gauge being off. Now I'm back on a roll again and moving along although since it's an original pattern it's slower going than normal. As always, depending on the results I may share it with the world.

I've also decided to self-publish the other mitts pattern of mine that was rejected by Knitty. I've just got a few more edits to do and am hoping to be able to post it by next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010


One of my off-and-on-again projects this year has been the Sipalu Bag by Knit Picks. I got the kit a while back and was somewhat daunted to see just how many different balls of yarn the project contained.

Once I dove into it, however, I quickly found my fair isle rhythm and started moving along on it - perhaps a bit to fast. One of my biggest knitting rules is that I regularly need to stop and admire my work, for two reasons. One, sometimes I just need to take a moment to sit back and admire my handiwork. Two, in the course of admiring you also have the opportunity to check for mistakes. and naturally, in the course of doing so, I discovered this:

Yup, rookie mistake - I twisted my stitches when joining in the round and didn't even notice. so I naturally did what any knitter in the same situation would do. I yelled, "Ahhhhh!" in exasperation, then threw it back into my knitting bag to be ignored for about a month.

Once I was done sulking and glaring at my project bag I was able to make it to the somewhat cathartic stage of acceptance and began frogging. Riiiipppitt...Riiiipppitt!

Now I'm back on track and have finished half of the bag. For a brief moment I entertained the idea of just doing a single color on the backside instead of the full colorwork again, but then my vanity and love of fair isle won out. Don't get me wrong, it's still my favorite fair weather project and may take me the better part of the year to finish, but I figure that it's reasonable to expect that (barring no further mistakes) I can gradually finish it by the end of the year.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It Itches

I picked up a late birthday present for myself last weekend:

Knitters, if you’re not familiar with the Panopticon, go visit Franklin and Dolores for a while, I’m sure you’ll fall in love like I did!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

No So Much Success...

Yesterday I received a very nice rejection letter for my submission to Knitty. I am okay with it. For me it was a good practice in going through the steps toward submission and just another experience under my belt - that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Now I'm trying to decide whether I want to just self publish here or take the time to reformat and submit to Knit Picks Independent Partnership Design Program. we'll see...

Also, I totally missed out on the June Phat Fiber Box. For some reason I didn't get the notification email, so I need to check in with Phat Fiber and see what happened. I'm actually more excited for the July theme any way: Seaweed, Ships and Scallywags. That seems up my alley!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Phat Fiber

I've just stumble upon a neat fiber site: Phat Fiber. It's self described as "a mystery box of awesome samples for the yarn and fiber enthusiast in us all. With a focus on the independent artisan, this box is a super grass-roots treat for the senses."

The more I search around and learned about the Phat Fiber box, the more I want one - Apparently it's a total competition every month to even purchase one of these mystery boxes, so much so that the Sheepshape Spinning blog made a tutorial complete with screen shots.

Oh it's on. I'm going to aim for one of the June boxes, as soon as they notify me that they are available. What's that? You say that it's silly because I wouldn't actually need all that unspun fiber since I lack any sort of spinning skills? Ah, well, if I
am one of the luck ducks who actually gets a June box then I am taking that as a sign that it's time to figure out how to use that cute little drop spindle my mom brought back from Alaska last year (spinners, don't worry, I'm not planning on starting with the raw fleece that is pictured - that'll just have to keep sitting patiently!).

The other neat thing that Phat Fiber does is regular giveaways on their blog. Seriously, all I have to do is look at the items you're promoting and make a comment about them to be entered to win. Hell, that seems too easy!

Monday, June 14, 2010


I'm feeling totally uninspired by my knitting right now. Sure, I keep working on the projects I have laying around, but they are all bigger or more intricate projects - Coffee Tunic, Summit Shawl, and Sipalu Bag - and are taking me foooorrrreeeevvveeerrrr to complete. Normally at this point I'd be distracted by a cute hat or pair of mitts, but even that's not happening. I gotta face it, 90 degree heat is not conducive to knitting. Period.

The heat is, however, inspiring me to small fits of green-thumbery in our little container garden out back (because there's no way I'm planting edibles in the same ground where my dog pees).

Well...okay... I'm more of a black thumb who like planting stuff who's married to a green thumb who remembers to water stuff, but mainly because he's out back every hour smoking a cigarette anyway. Either way, it's a good deal, really, and is yielding some delicious herbs (basil, sage, rosemary), yellow tomatoes, cute little strawberries, jalapenos that are too hot for whities like us to eat, garlic that's nearly ready for harvesting, some squash plants which I'm hoping will someday do more than sprawl, and finally some hearty flowers.

And I was even inspired by the suggestion in Martha F-ing Stewart's magazine (don't judge, you wouldn't be able to turn down a year's free subscription either!) of a succulent planter for arid regions and made this little cutie to sit out front of our home.

Thank goodness it will only need water every month or so, because I know (from experience) that I won't remember to bring a watering can out front regularly.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Checkerboard Slipper Tutorial

A while ago a buddy gave me a holey pair of slippers that his grandma had made for him in hopes that I could reproduce them. Flash forward a year, during which time I still hadn’t gotten around to making them, when one of the Knit knack girls started talking about these checkerboard slippers they wanted to make. I didn’t really pay attention to it until I saw the picture - it was the exact pattern that he had asked me to make! Naturally, when something like that falls into your lap, you know you can’t put it off any more, so I quickly made them up for him.

(those are his hairy legs, not mine)

Recently I was messaged by a couple of knitters for advice on making these rad slippers, so I thought that I’d go ahead and make a photo tutorial of the major features of the pattern. The original pattern is written well enough, but simply lacks pictures of any kind.

The first thing that you need to understand about this pattern is that its structure is based on the biggest NO-NO of colorwork: carrying your unused color tightly. 99.9% of the time when you are working with multiple colors you want to carry the yarn loosely on the backside of your work, however with this pattern, you actually need to pull the non-working yarn tight. That’s what makes these neat bumps all over the slippers.

If you do it correctly, the backside will feel more smooth and flat, looking something like this:

You’ll also notice that the edge has a rippled effect. That’s okay! This will become the heel portion which will be stitched together.

The pattern tells you to anchor the contrasting color at beginning of each row, which just means that you need to twist the contrast color around the working color before the first stitch. In the picture below, white is the working color which twists around the green, kinda like this:

This anchoring of the yarn at the edge, along with pulling the stitches tight, will eventually make for a very nice turned edge, which should look like this:

When you’re working on the wrong side you have to switch your yarn colors between the needles to change color, much like when you are switching from knit to purl if you were ribbing. As shown in the picture below green has just been worked so I move that between my needles to the front (wrong side), and move the white between the needles to the back (right side) to begin knitting with the white.

The rest of the pattern should be fairly simple – just garter stitch knitting, simple decreases for the toe and then sewing seams.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Alot of Winners

And the Alot competition winner is...


Maiya! She sho' knitting Alot of Fun fur!

You also gotta love her creative use of photoshop to mimic the original illustrations from Hyperbole and a Half:

Maiya's acceptance speech:
Oh my god! First, I’d like to thank the academy. I’d also like to thank my husband. He’s put up with yarn all over the place, needles strewn hazardously and patiently listens to me mumbling craziness about short rows or yo’s or bitch about fun fur. I’d like to thank Allie for the idea. Without her sassy, smart-ass mouth, we might not ever care for alot. And finally, I’d like to thank my fellow knit knackers. You guys are such an inspiration. It is an honor to be nominated among such amazing talent.
cue music- cut to commercial

And of course her Alot Pattern can be found HERE

Some honorable mentions include Monte, with Alot of crochet

As well as Mary, who pointed out that Chickens eat Alot

thank you to all who participated, cheered on, and voted on ravelry!! I love you, Knit Knackers!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Today is picture posting day for the I Knitted Alot Competition. I can't believe how much fun I had making this creature and I am so looking forward to seeing what all the other Knit Knackers came up with. I went for a felted Alot.

What the...??

Mom! Make it stop looking at me!

the unfelted and lumpy looking Alot

I hung uside down Alot!

Seriously, I'm utterly amazed at how much I learned with making this mythical monstrosity. Anyone who may be reading this but doesn't know how to knit, feel free to gloss over the next few paragraphs, as they really won't make sense to you. I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures in the process, since now I have to try to use my words to explain.

To start with, I knew I wanted to felt it and I also didn't want to have to worry about a ton of seaming, so it posed a bit of a challenge for me. The solution was to make the leg holes by putting a number of the stitches on the underside onto a holder, using a provisional cast on on a separate needle to continue knitting Alot in the round, then knitting up the rest of the body and head. After that was done I went back to do the legs, picking up the provisional and held stitches. Instead of closing up the legs, I made a flap for the bottom of the foot which was left open for the felting process then sewn after stuffing.

For the head, again, I didn't want to sew it on afterward (are you seeing a pattern of motivation here?) so I made a chin coming out of the body in the same way. at first I played around with making a gusset like you would for a thumb on a pair of mittens, but I realized that would take too long and would make too many rows on the top of the head. Instead, I went with a series of short rows, working back and forth adding a stitch at each short row until I had a substantial chin. At the same time, I decreased the stitches on the top side of the body.

For the bulgy eyes I basically made a button hole, then came back to pick up stitches in the hole after the head was completed. right off the bat I doubled the stitches that were picked up by knitting in front and back of every stitch. The before casting off I switched to the black. The white center was embroidered on later. Again, for the horns I just made a button hole and picked up stitches in the void.

The tooth and claws were made by picking up stitches. I'd rather pick up stitches than sew a seam any day!

Voting will take place over the next two days, then on Wednesday I will post the winner, as well as the full parade of Alot contestants. It's gonna be awesome!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Going, Going, Back, Back

I've just learned how to knit back backwards and I'm totally stoked about it. This technique is totally easy and fast that I can't believe that I didn't think of it myself! Basically, instead of turning your work to do a purl row, you keep the right side of your work facing you and you backwards knit from the right needle to the left. Here's what it looks like:

Ingenious, isn't it? Knitty has a great tutorial for knitting back backwards here: Put It In Reverse

The Summit Shawl I've been working on suggests using this technique, which makes sense because it has a bajillion small sections over which you use stockinette stitch. When I started the shawl I gave it a quick try, but I couldn't get my fingers to work it right and was getting frustrated. So I waited until had the pattern memorized and was completely comfortable with it, then gave it another shot. Success!

I think I'm giving up purling from here on out.


Just a few more days left on the I Knitted Alot competition. My Alot is felted and drying as I type, and I cannot wait to post his picture here, along with a parade of other Alots.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Alot of Great Knitters

Oh boy, I did not expect that so many of the knit knackers would get as excited about the I knitted Alot competition as I am! This is a good thing, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone has dreamed up. Already I can tell that we're going to have some hilarious results! Stay tuned, as I think I'll be posting alot of photos!

Meanwhile, I've been shirking most of my other knitted projects. Remember that Knit-along I started in January? Yeah, neither did I. I've only had a bit of progress on my Coffee tunic.

It's good mindless knitting for the most part, but that's part of the problem - it's a little too mindless. I think the end result (whenever that may be) will be lovely despite the not so attractive decreases. I take issue with the fact that the side decreases force the knitter to stop cabling at a certain point along the sides, so for several inches where were once cables there are just lines of stockingnette ribbing. There are much more attractive ways to shape a piece. And yeah, I am complaining without doing anything about it because I've hit the point of no return with this tunic and I just can't bear to frog it back to the first decrease, sit down with pencil and paper to figure out a better way to do it, and start over. Forget it! Honestly, it's the kind of detail that only a knitter would notice, so as long as I don't gift this to a fellow knitter I'll be in the clear. With that said, right here and now I vow to finish this before Christmas - mainly because I want to give it away, and what better time than christmas for giving?

I've also been working pretty steadily on the Summit Shawl, since the day that knitty posted their Spring + Summer issue.

I love this shawl! It's one of those addicting patterns where I find myself saying "just one more row, then I'll put it down" about 500 times before I actually do set it aside. It also helps that I found the reasonably priced yet divine to the touch Serenity Garden yarn at JoAnn's. I've been using the Grass colorway. I love the color, especially how it has fallen in color chunks. Unfortunately, this picture doesn't give it justice, largely due to me snapping the photos in low light.

And in case you were wondering, still no word back from Knitty as to whether or not they have accepted my mitts pattern for the First Fall issue. From what I gather around the Ravelry forums the longer it takes them to get back to you, the better your chances are that they will accept it. so nearly 2 months now and no news...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Knitted Alot - Competition

I’m kicking off the Alot knitting/crochet competition starting…right…NOW!

First go read Alot is Better Than You at Everything

The Competition: Who can knit or crochet the best Alot.

The Rules: You can get as creative as you want but you must use 90% fiber/yarn in the process and your results should be reproducible. Pictures need to be posted in the Ravelry Knit Knack group I Knitted Alot Competition thread on the Deadline date.

The Deadline: 2 weeks from now (so uhm…that would be May 16).

The Voting: will begin on Monday May 17 and end on Wednesday May 19 and will be held in the Knit Knack Group. I’ll deal with the HOW of voting later.

The Prize: Major bragging rights, and I’ll post your pattern (if you have one) on my blog! (I know, total motivation!)

Friday, April 30, 2010

No Cents Spring Cleaning Swap

Hands down, one of the best things about my knitting group are the swaps. Several times a year we do a secret swap in which we are assigned a secret buddy for whom we knit a specific kind of something (like a purse) or something within a certain theme (like naughty knits). This time our theme was particularly awesome: No Cents Spring Cleaning Swap. Basically we had to put together a package for our buddy with no less than 4 no more than 8 items that we already have or could make with resources we had so that the only money spent would be on postage.

Naturally, I had a blast putting together my No Cents care package for my buddy, and I knitted up a Tuesday's Miracle in red for her.

Of course I was in such a rush to make sure I mailed it by the deadline I forgot to get pictures of anything else, but I'm hoping she'll take a snapshot or two of what she received.

Lucky me, yesterday when I was having a bad day (for no particular reason) I came home to a nice care package from Knit Knacker Jeanne (lilpixiestix). Yay! What a way to end a crappy day! She knit me this gorgeous Red scarf (the color is a little off because of the lighting) out of Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton silk:

You better believe I wore that bad boy all day today, even when my office mate insisted on setting the heater to "sauna."

Jeanne was also nice enough to include two hanks of the Misti in a pretty pink shade:

And the rest of the loot:

In addition to the two hanks, I got a great magnetic notepad with an "S" on it (I'm wondering why that was laying around her place, since there isn't an S in her name), two sets of light up needles, and two wonderful smelling lotions. I'm particularly stoked about the light up needles. That's something that I have thought about buying countless times for night knitting on long car rides, but could never really justify. Now I don't have to. Thanks Jeanne!