Category Archives: sweater

Come On, Kayleen

Well, five months, three audio books, who knows how many movies and t.v. shows and . . . it’s done. I am done with the Kayleen Pullover.

kayleen7Whew! There are a few areas around the seams and such I wish could have been smoother (literally smoother–worsted weight cotton shows up lumps and bumps like nobody’s business) but overall I think it went well and looks fine. (Blocking might help, too.) It was harder than I thought this “simple” pattern would be, but challenge is good.

Just for a laugh, look how much yarn I have left. Boy, did I cut it close!


I understand it’s good to keep a bit of leftover in case of repairs in future. Maybe even wash some of it every time you wash the sweater, so it ages at the same rate. Not a bad idea.

Before I move on, I just want to share a picture of me knitting with my old kitty, Mongo. He hadn’t been in great health for a while, and his time to pass on came this week. As difficult as it could be to knit with a cat in your lap, I often made an effort to let him do it because I’m sure the warmth was good for his old bones.

meandmongomcgeeHe’s been a part of my life for ten years and I miss him. Maybe I’ll make a piece of tribute jewelry for him soon, I don’t know.



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Bars and Vs, Smiles and Frowns

If you have any idea what that title means, you have obviously seamed a sweater before.

It’s not hard to do, but there are things to learn, and so I’ve procrastinated a bit on getting down to the set-in sleeves of my Kayleen pullover. Seriously, I had to search around the web and learn horizontal-to-horizontal seaming, horizontal-to-vertical, vertical-to-vertical (oh wait, that’s just good ol’ mattress stitch!) and all THAT was just for the stockinette side. The front of this sweater is reverse stockinette, so . . . ? Turns out it’s not hard to seam, but you have to pay attention to which stitches you’re picking up (and how cute: those that curve up are smiles, and those that curve down are frowns.)

So, here’s where I am today.

kayleen6All those ends . . . all those ends to weave in . . .

I’m not 100% sold on how those seams look, but I do appear to be doing them very neatly and in accordance with the pictures in the pattern (note: pattern is no help in matters of seaming.)  I’m a bit afraid that (1) left will not match right and (2) I’m going to run out of yarn before I can do the applied I-cord around the neck and sleeves.

Still, there’s a certain meditative concentration to this that I like, constantly focused on just where to put the needle next. I . . . think I enjoy it!

kayleen5My idea of fun these days.

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Well, I’ve completed the Kayleen Pullover’s front and back. Last night I pinned the shoulders together and tried it on. I’m ridiculously pleased and relieved to report that it fits, is not a shapeless sack, and is in fact flattering.

marilynsweaterBut not that flattering.

All I have left to do is make the little sleeves and knit an I cord directly around the neckline. I say this like it’s no big deal, but I know the I cord will be annoying and take forever. Let’s not think about it too hard.

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Christmas in September

Every year, a hospital in my town has a Christmas event in which decorated wreaths, trees, and even “rooms” of Christmasy things are viewed and auctioned off for charity. My knitting group has been toying with the idea of making a wreath for a couple of years now, but we always seem to just miss the deadline. This time I pushed a bit to get us to do it. We’ve even gotten the o.k. to use hand knitted/crocheted ornaments, so we’re going to have some of those as well as traditional things like big ribbons and shiny ball ornaments. I’ll talk about it more as the season progresses, but for now we’re just trying to get a few things started to make sure everything each of us is working on will coordinate in terms of colors and size (it so, so, helps that one of us is a graphic designer!)

I’ve been assigned to do a string of crochet Christmas lights. Found a few patterns on Ravelry, but none small enough, so I improvised. The plan is to make a bunch of them separately and then chain them up together later when I have a better idea of how many I’ll need and how they should be spaced.



If our plan works out, the wreath should be really cute. It’s going to feature a knitted monster, on a ladder, hanging the lights–so stay tuned.

In other news, I haven’t given up on Kayleen yet, but she is slow. This is why I can’t do knit-a-longs.


Now I need to get in gear, because I start having studio time again Monday. I spent some money at the local bead shop last week, and now I have lots of nice beads for riveted rings (if only my silver tubing would finally arrive in the mail!) I also picked out some pretty glass beads in even numbers so I can make some earrings to sell locally . . . maybe . . . hopefully . . . yeah, I really need more confidence on the business end of things.

I might do a post-a-day challenge again soon. That was a ridiculously productive time for me, and formed good habits which I immediately lost when it was over. Ha!


Filed under charity, crochet, knitting, sweater

Complainypants Averted

I seem to be having trouble with every single thing I’m working on lately, so I’ve been kind of avoiding this blog because I didn’t want to be a downer. However, things have picked up and I’ve pushed through most of my problems, although I wasted a lot of time playing video games instead of working, because I have a very avoidant personality. Anyway, here’s what’s been happening.

Finally got to the interesting cable detail part of the Kayleen Pullover. That’s the good news. The bad news is, I screwed it up at one point and couldn’t really tell until about eight rows later. Fortunately, I was with my knitting group at the time, and our cable guru was able to fix it . . . or maybe not fortunately, because she fixed my mistake but left one of her own. It was the kind of thing that didn’t really show on the right side, but I knew it was there, and maybe it would be more obvious after washing and blocking, so after a couple days of angst, I decided to go in and fix it myself. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but cables are kind of my nemesis and I don’t understand what I’m looking at well enough to make repairs. Or so I thought. And now here’s a picture of the scariest thing I’ve ever done in knitting:


It took two tries, a crochet hook, a cable needle, and four episodes of Futurama to get this small bit knitted up properly, but I did it! So that was a confidence booster, and now maybe I “get” cables a little better than I did before.


In other news, my commission-friendly friend asked me if I could fix a brooch she bought online somewhere for . . . well . . . probably too much money. It features a bunch of glass flowers glued onto a base metal backing, which was glued onto a pin finding (it took me a while to realize that there were sharp edges on one of the points because the person who made this probably snipped off the ring that originally made this piece a pendant finding.) Not surprisingly, two of the flowers broke off when she tried to put it on. There wasn’t much I could do except try to glue them back on, which didn’t quite work (glass can be notoriously difficult to glue with any security.) So, with a bit of nail polish remover and a heap of patience, I popped off all the other flowers (not difficult, alas) and tried to remove as much glue as possible. I didn’t quite succeed in that.

brooch1Yeah, that glue’s not coming off.

After it dried, I scuffed up the remaining glue as well as possible with a needle file, as rough surfaces hold glue/cement better than smooth ones. Then I replaced all the flowers–which, at least, I was able to clean off, because the original maker had slopped some glue on them–and hypo cemented the crap out of the base and put the flowers back. I don’t know if that was the proper thing to do, but it seems to have worked.


The only problem is that from some angles you can see the shiny surface of the hypo cement under the flowers, and I feel bad about that. (On the other hand, at least you don’t see strange red fibers stuck in the glue anymore, because yes, that’s how it was before.)

I’ve decided not charge my friend for this job, and I’ve also decided that my jewelry teacher was right when she advised us to avoid accepting repair jobs on costume jewelry. So: lesson learned. Let’s move on.

Remember this unfinished thing I’ve been sitting on?


Time has come today. Let’s re-do that wrap and get this pretty stone set!


It’s a relief that this is working out. It’s a very basic wrap, but I guess that’s what this stone needed. I’m considering ordering some gold-filled round wire to put a basket weave on the bail, but don’t know yet. As I keep saying, this wire has a brass core that makes it very hard and a pain to work with. Plus, if I can figure out a subtle way to finish the ends, I think that’ll look best. I’ll think about it. Just getting this far has boosted my spirits.

Oh, and one last thing: before tackling the above project, I decided to fix and finish this abandoned wrap of a repro Roman coin just to get a little fresh practice in:


reprodoneNothing special, but I got it done.

And that’s all for now. Here’s hoping my next projects go smoothly . . . and if they don’t, here’s hoping I can deal with it!


Filed under pendant, stones/gems, sweater, wire, yak yak yak

I Hate You, Sweater

Still making slow progress on the Kayleen Pullover, though I’ve grown to hate the thing. It’s tedious and boring and the worsted weight cotton moves so sluggishly on size 6 needles (last time I made a sweater with this yarn, I used 10s and it was no problem.) Here’s how it looks now, though I still have an inch to go before the interesting detail stuff starts to happen.


(Little thing learned the hard way: don’t join a new yarn on the reverse stockinette side; it’ll make a lump.)

I didn’t want to get distracted by other patterns while I was working on this one, but I need a break desperately. By happy coincidence, a certain crochet pattern appeared on the front page of Ravelry, and I knew what my next stashbust had to be. It’s unusual in that it involves breaking the yarn to make fringe after every row; this is nice because (1) no ends to weave in, yay! and (2) it’ll be great for all the scraps and mini-balls I have left in Naturally Country, which was one of my favorite yarns a few years ago.


Here’s what I have so far. The Vs are going to be diamonds as I progress. I like it so much I might just have to buy more yarn (a hazard of making stashbusters out of regular, non-random color patterns.)

Here’s the free pattern.


Filed under afghan, crochet, knitting, sweater

Day 10, 11, 12: And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

All right, I’ve had basement work done and now I’m back online. Like a lot of home repair work, the real devil was the setup beforehand and the cleaning afterward.

sumpBut now I have a new and improved sump pit, a pressure relief system, and a big old patched crack.  Yay, homeownership!

So, during all the jackhammering (oh my God, the jackhammering!) I put on my ear protection, sat upstairs, and worked on my Kayleen Pullover. It’s going a bit better now,and I can tell it hasn’t grown too large, as I’d feared. I’m finding the sides a bit . . . odd, as the pattern calls for putting one knit stitch on either side of the purl front (and one purl stitch on either side of the knit back), thus creating this little ridge along the sides:


It feels like my stitches on the ridge are too large and sloppy, but either I’m getting used to looking at it, or it’s becoming less of a problem as I continue on. I suppose the pattern calls for this for a good reason, so I’ll just go with it.

Wish I could say I had some jewelry to show, but I didn’t realize how much I depend on my anvil until it was tucked away in a corner behind plastic sheeting. Perhaps I ought to invest in a little steel bench block for future use, when I need my projects to be more portable.

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