If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

My Photo
Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Friday, February 28, 2014

FO: Bumpy Scarf

And the thick and thin textured scarf is complete! It's a very bumpy, unconventional-looking scarf. But it's very interesting-looking. And it's very soft.

Even if you looked at it closely, you'd probably not be sure it was garter stitch. I think that's because the yarn does so many different things, depending on where the thick or the thin part falls on the stitch. For example, you can see some stitches that are thick, some are thin, some are half thick, some are only a little thick... It's a very textured material.

I thought about putting some fring on the ends, but I'm not sure I'm going to do that. One, I don't really like fringe on my scarves; and two, I don't think this scarf needs any other design elements. It's very simple and yet, very complex-looking. It's the kind of scarf that non-knitters are always curious about.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Just Knitting

As long as these #10 needles (or possibly one 10 and one 10 1/2) were handy--meaning I hadn't put them up yet--I decided to knit something mindless.

I grabbed this Bernat Max, which is discontinued now. I had bought a couple of these on clearance a few years ago because that thick/thin texture was really cool-looking. But I found that I wasn't really happy with most of the things I tried to do with that yarn.

I think the thick/thin texture--even though it's cool--does not freely lend itself to many patterns. In fact, I tried Ysolda Teague's Urchin pattern, which is designed for thick/thin yarn, but I just didn't like the way it looked. The hat is supposed to have an organic look to it, like the shell of a sea urchin. But (and maybe it's because this Max yarn is not the same thick/thin yarn the designer used) this looked a little too organic to me.

Anyway, I cast on for this scarf using the 10-10 1/2s, but the stitches were way too tight. Like bulletproof tight. So I tried some 13s. But they didn't work very well, either. So I cast onto some 15s and they were just right!

This is plain ol' garter stitch, but the thick/thin texture really adds interest. I don't know why this yarn never worked for anything else. I think it must be simply that I was trying to make the yarn do something it didn't want to do. And the difference is guage.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

FO: Another Ruffled Scarf!

I had to take a little break from knitting leaves and I remembered I still had some of this Starbella Arctic Yarn that R and Bre picked up for me.

Well, I didn't so much remember, as it was still sitting on the table beside the couch.

This color is Vineyard. (The picture on the right is actually closer to true color.) As luck would have it, the needles I used for the white scarf were also still on the table, so I decided to use them on this one, too. In case you are wondering, my glasses are not on this table, so I'm still not sure that both these needles are the same size.

Doesn't matter, really. This yarn does all the work anyway.

I had wondered if this scarf would actually be warm, since most of the fabric is this lace mesh. But I put it around my neck when I finished and watched a little tv. And I was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was. M will like this one.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Basic Leaves Are Done!

And not a moment too soon.

Not only am I out of this Vanna's Choice Kelly Green, but I am done knitting leaves. It looks good and I'm very happy with the finished garland of leaves.

However, I can not bring myself to sew it onto the wreath just yet. That is a project for another day.

Monday, February 24, 2014

What If I Were A Television Character?

We've done this before, I know. But I love these little quizzes. This one was about one of my favorite shows so I couldn't resist. Which Modern Family Character Are You?

It's not a surprise. I'm Mitchell Pritchett.

You can be a little fidgety and eccentric, but there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re open-minded and willing to do anything for the people you care about.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Woodland Wreath - More Leaves

Yeah. This is gonna take a lot of leaves.

Here is about half of the basic garland of leaves. This is taking a long time to do--not because it's hard, or even that there are so many of them--because I was somehow unable to wrap my mind around the joining of the leaves. I'm not kidding. I must have read the joining instructions about a million times and then joined them wrong.

I finally just broke down and asked T... How do I sew these together to make mine look like this picture? He's so much better at that kind of visualization, really. He was able to show me right away.

So, then, it went a lot faster. So, lesson learned: it goes faster when you do it right.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Woodland Wreath - Basic Leaves

This Woodland Wreath is going to be a work of art. It's got a little bit of everything on it. The first layer is just basic leaves. These are like Elm leaves or Beech leaves, really. Except they're smooth on the edges. But you know. They're yarn. So that's gonna happen.

Anyway, the pattern calls for two different sizes of leaves. Now here's where careful reading of a pattern would pay off: I thought I was supposed to make some of each size (since at one point the pattern says alternate the leaves as you sew them together). Turns out, the two different sizes were for the two different size wreaths. And that alternating bit was alternating the sides of the stem you sewed them to.

But, as it turns out, later in the pattern it says you could also do both sizes for the same wreath if you wanted to. So, I'm just going to pretend that's what I'm doing on purpose. (And not that I'm knitting without my glasses on.)

This is going to take a lot of leaves, btw.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Woodland Wreath Covered!

I've finished covering the foam for the Woodland Wreath. This took about 1/2 of a skein of Bernat Satin in Forest Mist Heather. I think this color gives it a nice, mossy look that will work well for my Woodland Wreath.

Now, on to all the woodland stuff that goes on it!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Phone!

I've got a new Cherry 2000! (It always amazes me how they can take the soul and intellect of my old phone and put it into a new and improved version.)

I wasn't in any big hurry to replace my old phone, though it was a 3GS, which almost makes me a Luddite in this day and age. But it was still doing the job and doing it pretty well, so I wasn't really worried about getting a new one.

Until T broke his.

Well, then, it was just a matter of how I wanted to spend my time. Did I want to go and spend an hour at Best Buy replacing his phone now and then another hour sometime down the road replacing mine? Or did I want to just spend one hour and get them both replaced at once?

It was pretty easy math, really.

Anyway, so now I'm up to date on my iPhone and I'm cool again. (Oh, and T and I both got Otter Boxes. Just in case.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Woodland Weath - Part 2 (Mostly)

This is all K1, P1 ribbing to cover my foam wreath form. It's done in pieces and then mattress stitched together. I don't know why it's done in pieces. I'm guessing it's so you don't end up with a stretched out bit on the outer ring and a bunched up part on the inner ring. Separate pieces keep it relatively even.

Anyway, I began my ribbing. It goes pretty quickly, really.

But, as it turns out, it does get tiring. I will finish this tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Woodland Wreath - Part 1

Part One is always the assessing and acquiring of supplies. I'm planning to do a lot of this wreath using scraps, so I did make a check with all my partial skeins and (of course) I am more than adequately supplied with scraps of green and brown to do this wreath.

I've downloaded all the patterns. And today, I went to Michael's and got a foam wreath form. I got green instead of white, because I thought if anything showed through all that knitting, I wouldn't want it to be white styrofoam. And I got the round one, instead of the flat-backed one because 1) They didn't have a flat-backed wreath in green, 2) This one was $1 cheaper than the flat, white, 1" smaller wreath, and 3) I really don't think it's going to make much of a difference.

This will be a fun project for me. I love Frankie Brown's patterns. And I love all the things that are going on in this wreath. I will leave off the owls though--bad medicine, that. I was thinking of possibly adding some other bird... maybe a blue bird or a cardinal. I wonder if Frankie has any bird patterns?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Quick Scarf

I was sitting at home today, working away, when I got a text from R. Apparently, he and Bre were at Michael's and found some clearance deals on yarn. Am I interested?

Well, let's see. I've got about a million UFOs I'm sitting on and more yarn than I could possibly knit in a lifetime. So... Yes. Yes, I am interested!

They snagged me 4 skeins of Starbella Arctic Yarn in White Sand(2), Vineyard, and Sea Storm for $1.75 each.

The great thing about this yarn, besides the clearance price, is that it knits so quickly. Like, instantly. I grabbed some #10.5s (Or possibly one 10.5 and one 10. I was nowhere near my glasses at the time, so I was kind of going by feel.) and cast on 2 stitches.

On a side note, I think it's funny when you cast on a ridiculous number of stitches for a scarf. Cast on 2 stitches. That's almost like not casting on at all.

Anyway, I cast on 2 stitches and got started. In less than half an hour, I had a scarf. This one is going to Bre, as a finder's fee. I did peruse the Premier Yarns website a bit to get ideas of how to use the others and there were some interesting projects.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Not Knitting

I don't think I've actually done any other crafts except knitting this year. Hm. That's weird, because I do enjoy other things.

So, in order to remedy that situation, I whipped out a box of beads and decided to make something. This particular box of beads was all blacks and whites. However, I had very little imagination today, so that was pretty appropriate.

I started with some tiger tail, large seed beeds, and some bugle beads.

One loop.

Two loops.

Three loops.

And put them all together on the earring wires. Viola!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Another Join

So, as I was thinking about that Russian Join we talked about the other day, I remembered that there is another join that I use. It's a little trickier, and I'm not sure how well it would work with a thick yarn, but it's almost invisible.

In fact, it's called Invisible Knot Join. You can watch a really good YouTube here.

Basically, you are creating two sliding knots (I think this is a nautical knot of some kind, but it's been so long since I captained a ship I can't remember).

Then, you tighten them and slide them together. Pulling them only makes them tighter. And smaller. (I left mine a little larger here so you could see them.)

Then, you clip the extra yarn and you have a basically invisible knot that nobody but the Knitting Police is going to see.

I wish I'd known about this back when I started this Magic Ball 6 or 7 years ago. I would have joined all these strands this way. Next time. And this Magic Ball? It will become a fantastic Throw of Many Colors. And those extra tags of yarn where I tied the strands together?

They just add character.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you did something fun with your sweetie. I hope you were able to create lovely gifts for him/her.

I did not buy or make anything for T. And not because I don't burn with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns any more. Just... It's enough to be together.

Of course, we were together at work all day. But, you know. Still together.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Russian Join

I tried something new that I wanted to share with you. It's always kind of a pain in the ass to weave in the ends of bulky yarn because they just create a huge, noticeable bump, don't they?

Usually, when I'm knitting and have to join in yarn, I will just join in without knotting or anything. So I'm knitting with the end of the first ball and the beginning of the second ball for about 5 stitches. Yeah, that creates a little bit of a lump, but it's usually not that noticeable. Especially if you are working with worsted weight or smaller yarn.

But bulky... That's a horse of a different color. Now, in the past I've just tried to make the best of it with my method. I usually try to change skeins at the beginning of the row to lessen the effect of that. But this time, I decided to try the Russian Join Method.

I learned to do this from this YouTube video. And honestly, I cannot imagine how anyone ever learned to do anything before YouTube was invented.

This is a solid join, very strong, and easy to do. I makes the yarn slightly thicker, but much less thick than my method or by weaving in the ends. The only downside to this method is that, since you are weaving the yarn into itself, if you have a multicolor yarn like mine, that might stand out.

But, since I am working with a pattern designed to diffuse the color changes, it works out fine.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Frogged Finally

Well, I've given up on the third skein of Softee. I guess I only got two after all. So I decided to go ahead and frog the mitten I had started in order to free up the needles and avoid confusion later when I wonder why I never finished these mittens.

Sad panda.

So this ball of yarn will await a project with all the other bulky weight yarn scraps. And there will be something for this ball of yarn, I promise you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And Here's The Other One

I posted the pattern for the Seed Stitch Cowl yesterday. Today, I'm posting the Moss Stitch Cowl. Make both of these and you'll be able to see the difference in two stitches that are, essentially the same stitch.



2 skeins Bulky weight yarn (I used Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist)
#10.5 circular needles (or a size that gives you a guage of 2.5 stitches = 1")

Cast On 68 stitches.

Row 1 & 2: K2, P2 (Repeat across round)
Row 3 & 4: P2, K2 (Repeat across round)

Continue in this pattern until piece measures 8 inches or desired length. Bind off.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Free Pattern!

Here's the pattern for the Seed Stitch Cowl.


2 skeins Bulky weight yarn (I used Bernat Softee Chunky)
#10.5 circular needles (or whatever gives you a guage of 2.5 st = 1"

Cast On 68 stitches and join in the round.
Work 4 rows of 2 X 2 ribbing. (K2,P2)

Now begin Seed Stitch.
Row 1: K1, P1 (Repeat for entire round)
Row 2: P1, K1 (Repeat for entire round)

Work in Seed Stitch until piece is 8 inches long. (or until desired length.)

Work 4 rows of 2 X 2 ribbing.

Bind off in pattern.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

FO: Cowl

Another cowl finished!

This is the one I was working on earlier. It's kind of the cousin to the Seed Stitch Cowl. It's the Moss Stitch Cowl. Moss stitch is similar to seed stitch, but it has its own look.

This is a bulky knit, so it goes quickly on bigger needles. (I used 10.5, but you might use a 9 to get the same guage.) The yarn is Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist in Terra Rosa. Mosaic Twist has been discontinued, but Loops & Threads Charisma or Bernat Softee Chunky or Wool-Ease Thick & Quick are all good substitutes.

I've got a little bit of this yarn left, not enough to make mittens or anything. (Fool me once...) I'm thinking I'm going to save this half skein and maybe use it to add some stipes to something later.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

On Fake Food

I was reading the other day about this scientific team that had created a hamburger in the lab, and then invited some food critics to come and taste it and tell what they thought about it. For the most part, the critics said, "Yeah. It's pretty good. Not quite the same as real meat, but close."

That's pretty cool, I think. Of course, right now, the process is not cost-effective to do on a large scale. But think about it down the road... This meat is nutritionally equivalent to real meat and tastes pretty good. Yet it did not come from any animal. So there are no moral qualms about killing. Because it didn't come from an animal, there are no diseases (mad cow, ecoli, etc) associated with it. Because it's created in a lab and not bred, raised, slaughtered, prepared, and shipped, it will be cheaper than animal meat.

So, this protein-intensive food could be used not only in place of animal meat (for a variety of reasons) but could also be used to bring nutrition into famine-stricken areas or sub-poverty level areas of the world. Win, right?

But there's apparently a lot of controversy around this kind of created food. There are some that say that by ingesting this lab-meat, we run the risk of causing other problems (like the way added growth hormones in meats may have caused early sexual development in children who eat it). And that may be. We'll have to see the data on it.

But for the most part, the objection to lab-grown meat mostly seems to be that it's lab-grown. It's not real meat. It's fake.

Listen, I'm going to tell you a story. Like a lot of women, when I see some actress on a made for SyFy movie, with boobs bigger than my head bulding unnaturally out of her cami (And why do all the women in these movies--regardless of whether they are soldiers, scientists, politicians, journalists, or whatever--wear the same camisole top?), I am guilty of pointing out (or at least thinking) "Yeah, but they're fake."

But, a while back, someone let me know a guy's viewpoint on this. "Cool Whip's fake, too." He said. "It's still good."

So, I guess that's my attitude about fake food. (Yeah, I know. I laid a lot of pipe getting to this point.) So what if it's fake? It's still good.

Friday, February 07, 2014


I've been cleaning out my closet, trying to get rid of some things that I don't wear and that are just taking up room. I reaized, I have a lot of old t-shirts.

Some of them are too small and I've kept them with the hope that I would someday be 115 pounds again. But, you know... Anyway, those shirts are just a painful reminder that I am not young any more. So, let's get rid of them. And what better way to get rid of them than to recycle them?

Oh yes! Let's make some tarn--t-shirt yarn. Tarn that we can use to make other things. Things that we will actually use.

This kind of reminds me of the way the old grannies used to make those rag balls out of old shirts and stuff. And then, when they would get enough rags, they would make a rug. (That, of course, is called "rarn.")

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Knitter ADD

...sometimes we knitters call that "Startitis." It's when you just jump from starting one project to another to another. Like I'm doing this week.

Frustrated with the missing skein of yarn. Frustrated with Provisional Cast On. Frustrated with working on those teeny tiny needles. Frustrated in general. I just want to knit. That's all.

This is some yarn I've had for a while. It's Yarn Bee Mosaic Twist. It's a really pretty yarn. I used to have a bunch of different colors of it. It's bulky weight, variegated, with a single-color silky wrap around the strand. I think this yarn is actually discontinued, which is a shame. I kind of wish I had more. It's great for scarves.

Anyway, I cast on for another cowl. Because I am all about cowls these days. As cold as it's been, cowls have been very, very good to me by keeping my neck warm. Much warmer than a scarf, because a cowl doesn't come undone.

This is off to a good start. As you can see, Gabgab likes it just fine.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Agony Of Provisional Cast On

I have still not given up on the missing skein of yarn to match the Seed Stitch Cowl. But I really want to knit something. And I bought this Lion Brand Vanna's Glamour yarn on sale. I think I will do a shawl for myself.
How novel! Something for me?

Ugh. The only thing, I'm having trouble getting started. First of all, this pattern calls for a provisional cast on. Now, I know how to do a provisional cast on. I'm okay with doing it. It's just that I can never remember how to do it until I YouTube it. Like a million times in a row.

It's the same with kitchener stitch. I can never remember how to do that until I look it up.

But somehow, having to YouTube the cast on is so much worse than the bind off. It just sets the tone for the rest of the project: The "I don't know what I'm doing" tone. And that's so wrong. Because I do. I do know what I'm doing.

I just can't remember how to get started doing it.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Color Me Bad

...Or not. Depends on your tastes, I guess.

So, I really only had 2 red tablets and two blue tablets. I had some green and yellow, but I had more of the red and blue, so I decided to go with that.

Unfortunately, I must have had more yarn than these instructions called for, because, even though I doubled the amount of dye I used, it didn't seem to get onto all the yarn. And I soaked this puppy. For a long time before I cooked it. (Mainly because I was working in my office and forgot that I'd done it.)

As you can see, the red and blue merged to form a purple, which is nice. But the blue is gone completely and the red is more pink. Plus there are some blank spaces there. T says he likes it, but I'm not so sure. I think I might get some more blue dye and then just overdye the whole thing. I've never overdyed before, but I'm hoping that will give me blue, purple, and deep violet.

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 03, 2014

A Frog Of A Different Type

All this talk of frogging or not frogging has got me thinking about unravelling sweaters for reclaimed yarn. I had so much fun doing that last time--and so much success!--that I wanted to try it again. And, I still have a whole sleeve left over of that wool/angora sweater that I used last time.

Unravelling goes pretty quickly across a narrow piece like a sleeve. I probably took longer trying to find something to wind it on than I did during the actual unravelling. I have used the elbow/wrist method in the past and somehow I end up with something a lot smaller than I'd planned. (Although I believe my forearm is a normal size.) I ended up using a lap desk, which is about 18" wide. That seemed to work really well.

And here is the unravelled yarn, ready to be dyed. I'm not sure what color I will use. We will have to see what speaks to me. And, by that, I mean we will have to see what kind of Easter Egg dyes I have left.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

To Frog... Or Not To Frog

Well, here's the dilemma: I am so sure I bought 3 skeins of that yarn, that I am not willing to be so quick on the frog hands, if you know what I mean. I think I will wait a day or two and see if I find the third skein.

No, the house is not that messy. But I've been moving stuff around like it was cool these days. We are very close to everything being complete to purchase our new house (with a big kitchen, finally!) that I have begun to organize things.

By "organize," of course, I mean throw away a lot of stuff and move everything else around. I'm still working in that area, so we'll see if the third skein turns up.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Aaaargh! Don't You Hate That?!

I can't find the third skein of Softee Chunky! I know I bought three skeins. Why wouldn't I have bought three? I bought three of the Charismas, which I bought at the same time. That doesn't make sense. (Unless there were only two and it was on closeout. That might have happened.)

So, now what? I can't use just 3/4 of a mitten.

Sigh. I guess I will frogging this mitten. Too bad, because it was quite lovely. Oh well. I will go to Plan B, which is to make a headband. I think there is enough yarn here to make a headband.

Free Counter