Tag Archives: yarn

My Socks Are Truly Outrageous.

Truly, truly, truly . . .


80s. I’m kind of a sucker for neon; it takes me back to my middle school years.

This self-striping yarn is by String Theory Colorworks. I like it quite well, though some of the black is a bit streaky in areas. I don’t think anybody’s going to notice, though. And I’ve got my eye on a similar colorway that also includes green for a particular sock pattern . . . but I don’t know yet. Want to use up some other yarns first, not to mention get away from socks for a little break.

So that’s it, except for an outtake. Because of course this happened.


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June Socks, Right on Time

Although my knitting has slowed considerably what with the new job and all, I got these done in time to keep up with my one-pair-a-month year of socks.


Looks like I made the foot a touch too long. It can be a bit hard to judge with the afterthought heel, and I always want to err on the side of too long rather than too short.

So what’s next? Well, I brought almost all of my sock skeins to my friend Kristi’s house this week, and between my swift and her ball winder, we got them wound up.


Interesting how different a colorway can look from skein to yarn cake. I actually like some of the ones I didn’t like so much better than the ones I thought I loved. (Of course, I learned a lesson about expectations in the socks above, in which the colors seem a bit muddy and muted now.)

But I did neglect to bring one special skein which I bought online after falling in love (I’m generally not the type to do this.)


This will probably be my next project. It will be both simple and Totally Awesome, in a 1980s kind of way.

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We’re All Anxious Here

This week I’ve been preoccupied with job interviews, business casual shopping, and a new cat situation, so jewelry has been off the table (hmmm, literally) and knitting has been going at a slow pace. I did, however, finally start something I’ve been wanting to do since Stitches Midwest 2013: use my first/favorite sock yarn:


I have to admit I’m a bit “over” this yarn; it’s a lot busier than I thought it would be. That’s why I’m doing the simplest sock possible. I tried something a bit more fancy and it just . . . ugh . . .

froggedI’ll be sure to try this pattern with a mellower yarn, though.

I’m really liking the toe-up socks, mainly because I don’t have to deal with the tubular cast on. And I’ve gotten better at the figure eight cast on. Somehow I need to work TBL on the top row and not the bottom to keep the stitches from getting twisted. Well, whatever, it looks good.

castonThe markers were for the star toe on the pattern I rejected; not my favorite toe, either.

Last weekend I paused this project to whip up a little something for a potential new friend. A kitty friend. It’s been about six months since old man Mongo shuffled off this mortal coil, and I’ve been feeling the need for another cat. So we went down to a local shelter and picked one out, a two-year-old girl kitty with black fur and big round yellow eyes. She was sweet in the kennel and let me pet her and rub her belly, so naturally I fell in love.

And so this.

intarsiaMade with love and catnip. Lots of catnip.

This is my first intarsia project, a technique I’ve been wanting to give a try. It took some fiddling to get going because the written instructions I had were not that helpful. As it turns out, all you really need to know is that when you change yarns, you twist the old with the new. When you first add a color, the end hangs in front, but after that, all the changing action happens in the back. And it can get a bit fussy, like at the top of the heart where it changes from blue to fuscia to blue to fuscia to blue again–all separate strands.

intarsiaprogressBobbins? We don’t need no stinkin bobbins.

Turns out this isn’t my favorite technique in the world, but it’s good to have in my toolbox of skills.

As for the kitty, well, we brought her home a few days ago and she’s too petrified to play with it. Or eat. Or come out of hiding. She was a feral cat who took some time warming up to the volunteers at the shelter (at which point she did become one of the resident cuddle bugs.) I can’t even show you a picture of her because I literally can’t get one. But . . . it takes time, and I’m doing my homework on anxiety in cats. I think I understand. All this interview business has had me crazy stressed because I’m the shy type too (spent a lot of time this week reviewing my old standby, How to Control Your Anxiety Before Your Anxiety Controls You by Dr. Albert Ellis–highly recommended.)

So . . . we’re both going to survive, no matter what. Our systems just don’t believe it yet.

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Half-Finished Projects a-Go-Go

All right. I’m ready to talk about this now.


I finally got that square wire oval to fit neatly around the bezel; now all I had to do was solder it down. No problem, right? Well, I don’t know what’s happened to me, but I seem to have lost the ability to solder because it just wasn’t working. I went in many times–too many, judging by how pitted all the excess solder got–but I could only get a little bit fastened down each time, and the gappy parts were just . . . dirty, actually. In fact, the whole time I was torching, I kept thinking gee, this flux is getting all gray and disgusting–what’s up with that? Did somebody contaminate the flux jar again? I’m embarrassed to say it took probably two hours before I realized the solder pick I’d been using was filthy with oxidized gunk and it kept running onto my piece every time. I’m not positive it was the reason I couldn’t get that join soldered, but I don’t think it helped at all.

So now, because I got angry and stubborn and annoyed, my supposed-to-be-careful project is a mess of solder blorps, a bezel partially soldered to the ring (good luck getting that down on the stone) and a little gap on one side I STILL can’t get down. I let this bother me too much, but it was a lesson learned, and it’s pointing me to a greater truth:  I want my own soldering station at home.  Just for my use, with my own equipment.  I’m going to have to make this happen somehow.

I’ve taken this too hard and gotten too stalled–so I’ve been sitting around knitting and crocheting.  Here’s what I’ve got going on:


Actually, I’ve been sitting on this one because I’m not sure I want to continue.  It’s Sera Lace Top by Doris Chan, a pattern I bought an entire magazine for online (complete with exorbitant S&H charge). This is actually the neck hole you’re looking at (the neckline will be a bit different in the end); the sweater is constructed in the round, top-down.  It’s actually quite clever. My only concern is that I’m using an acrylic yarn that might not have the necessary weight and drape for this to look good, but it’s hard to tell in the beginning.

The other thing I just started–after years of making of fun of the very idea–is a pair of socks.  Socks.  Like I can’t just go to WalMart and buy a pair, as the only remaining non-sock-maker in my knitting group once said. I chose Rye by tincanknits for my starter pattern; it’s a very easy worsted-weight project, which you can find complete with noob-proof tutorials.  Here’s what I’ve got so far:


I’m using some Vickie Howell Sheepish yarn for this. It’s not great, really, but between the two colors I got from my yarn-hoarding* friend last week, I think I have just enough to use it up, and I’m just in it for the learning, anyway.

Not pictured:  I’m also working on a laceweight scarf that’s easy and repetitive enough to do on knit group nights (I tried to photograph it, but it’s just a messy mess unblocked, so I’ll wait.) And, coming soon, I’ll be starting a sweater from the new issue of Interweave Knits that I ordered for download (no exorbitant S&H this time!  HA!) It’s rare for me to find a sweater I like SO much that I’ll buy it, and order yarn, and start it right away, but this is a good one and I look forward to getting going on it.


*Though I must clarify, if you can give it away, you’re not really a hoarder.

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Filed under crochet, metals, pendant, socks, soldering, sweater, yarn

Wool Orgy, with Shawl Pins

One of my knitting group friends had us over for dinner, knitting, and stashbusting yesterday.  She has a . . . . sizeable collection of wool, some of which goes back a few years, and a lot of which she doesn’t really plan on using anymore.  So it was a free-for-all, with about five storage boxes of stuff to paw through.  And paw we did.  Speaking of paws, here’s what happened when I got it home!



He gave up after he realized there was no squishy and delicious small animal inside.

I also chose this night to give away some shawl pins I made this week.  I’d planned to do this quite a while ago, but wasn’t too great at executing wire work at that time.  Well, maybe I’m still not, but I have improved.  So here are a bunch of pins I improvised (except that top one, which was a design from Contemporary Copper Jewelry):

shawlpins1So here I sit now with a few shopping bags full of (mostly) sock yarn . . . after all that stashbusting I did last year . . . and all the Stitches Midwest yarn I haven’t even touched yet . . .

I know, poor me.




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Flash Your Stash 2014

Well, I had a cold on New Year’s Eve, so what better thing to do all afternoon than clean closets?  ANYTHING, as it turned out, would have been better, because cleaning closets kicks up a lot of dust mites, my number one allergen, which only made my nose unhappier than it already was.  But enough complaining–it’s a new year!  And the new year brings new resolutions, or at least some contemplation of how well I kept last year’s.  Last year was all about stashbusting.  Here was my yarn stash last January:

stashflashAnd here it was last night, all taken down from closet shelves and pulled out of storage ottomans:

stash2014It appears I’ve made a dent.  I’ve got three WIPs up top, the stuff I bought at Stitches Midwest just below, some random leftover wool/wool blends under that, and then all my junk acrylic.  I’m thinking I’ll never bother with crochet thread again (lower right); maybe I should donate it somewhere. Then again, the second I get rid of something, I find a project that requires a small amount of it, so I have to buy more (cough) the purple skein top right (cough).

Just for fun, here’s the chaos this photo required.

stash20142And here’s everything neatly organized and stored away for another year.

stash201432014 is going to be less about getting rid of yarn, and more about doing the projects I really want to do, with the yarn I really want to use.  It’ll be more about long, complicated projects than short, random, easy ones.  Mostly, though, it’s going to be making jewelry.  There are at least three books on that shelf above about craft business; it’s time to read and learn.  No, it’s time to make time to read and learn.  And practice.  And keep taking classes.  I am almost–almost–as excited about this as Lao is about wool.


I may have to re-think my intention to make wool socks.

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Another Weekend

Spent the weekend out of town again, so finished up my Hawaiian yarn scarf in the car.  I actually frogged it and started over to make a skinny scarf, as it would have been quite short and cowl-like.  Cowls aren’t bad, but I have enough of them.  So that’s done.

lentescarfToday I started a stashbuster which I think might be a cute scarf for a little girl–say, my niece.  So, maybe this will turn out to be a Christmas present:

xmasrosescarfstartThe motif is Christmas Rose from the Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches. I think I’ll stick to the yellow surrounding various other colors, as I have a lot of it.

In truth I have little interest in making anything today.  I’m home again and it’s a sunny day.  The garden is doing all sorts of interesting things, I’m in the middle of a good book, and something about having had a couple days with family is a bit draining.



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Filed under crochet, presents, scarf, yarn