Monday, December 18, 2006

A Race To Christmas

Andy's Hat is coming along nicely with only 2-3 more inches to go before I start decreasing. I am super happy with the cables! He's going to love it (or else)...

I also picked up some yarn yesterday to do some last minute Christmas knitting. The extra time on the plane trip home and during vacation should let me finish it in time. What was I thinking starting a project with one week to go?! At least Andy will get his hat on New Year's, so I can put that aside for a few days.

And speaking of buying things at the yarn shop, remember that store credit I got for returning 3 skeins? I definitely bought EZ's The Opinionated Knitter. I am so excited!

I'll be in Ohio & Pennsylvania for 2 weeks celebrating Christmas with the family, so I probably won't post here until after the new year. I am looking forward to the extra knitting time over break. See you in 2007!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


My eyes have been opened!

I have heard many of my fellow knitters rave about the works of Elizabeth Zimmermann, but I have not personally experienced her work until going to an EZ exhibit this afternoon. I am truly inspired by the way she can take garter stitch, which is one of my least favorite stitches, and put together an interesting and creative garment. She masterfully created simple, yet beautiful sweaters. I must learn from this knitting genius.

Next step: Spend Christmas money on EZ books.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It Is Not A Myth...

... You can actually return unused skeins of yarn to the yarn shop. I discovered this fact for myself today, when I returned 3 skeins (wow, did I overestimate). I was hoping to get the money back for some Christmas shopping, but no, I got store credit. I guess that I will just have to put it towards some of that Malibrigo I was drooling over.

Besides returning the skeins, not much exciting stuff is happening in knitting land. Still working on Andy's hat. Probably going to frog it and restart it. Still spinning the Merino. Woohoo.

Next week will be brighter. I have a knitting date with Jane tomorrow, and am going to the Elizabeth Zimmermann exhibit with Karen on Monday. It is wonderful to have knitting friends!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My First Skein

I encourage you all to go over to the Yarn Museum, where you will find a picture of my handspun in the 'First Skein' gallery. There are also some fabulous pictures in the other galleries that are really inspiring me to get spinning!

And since every first skein has a story, I am going to share mine with you.

My first small skein of yarn was several years in the making, starting back during my high school years when my mother bought me a drop spindle and some roving. Being a weaver, she was trying to instill in me her love for fiber--something I didn't truly understand until I picked up knitting in college. This summer, bored between knitting projects, I asked my mother to send me my old drop spindle (which had mysteriously made its way into her stash) so I could learn how to spin again. It took me a week or two to spin through the original roving she had given me, and I was hooked. The picture above highlights a few strands of my first skein, with all of its inconsistences and character. I love the close-up shot of the yarn because you can see the color contrast and clearly tell that I was not a very even spinner when I first picked up the spindle.

Since my first skein a few months ago, I have spindle spun several ounces of wool, from a beautiful blue/green BFL worsted weight to a fingering weight Merino Superwash in browns/pinks/purples that I am currently working on. I now have a few more spindles, on loan from my mother, and a refurbished Louet S10 wheel which I received as an early Christmas present. Once the last part for the wheel comes in, I cannot wait to use it!

I am really looking forward to more spinning in my future, and hopefully, some of my next skeins will be good enough to enter into other galleries of the Yarn Museum. Or at least good enough for some enjoyable knitting.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Finishing Projects

With the boyfriend out of town for the week, I have been able to spend a little more time this week at crafting. As demonstrated in my last post, I have actually been finishing a few projects that have been hanging around for a while. In addition to the scrapbook, I have added an elastic band to some legwarmers (which I haven't taken off since), sewed a lining into a knitted clutch, and sewed another clutch together to be felted.

Of course, not all of my projects this week had to be dusted off. I got into the Christmas spirit and created some popcorn garland for mini trees at home and at work, and even made up some 'stockings' for the tree in the office.

I also started spinning some Superwash Merino I bought from Lisa Souza in the Mardi Gras colorway. It is very different than the BFL I just finished spinning. I tried to use a heavier spindle that my Mom loaned me to make thin singles, but found that my lighter spindle gives me better and more consistant yarn. I must say that I have learned a lot by spinning these two different fibers at two different thicknesses.

Geez, I really need to start working on Andy's hat so I can have it finished for Christmas.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


I finished my DG scrapbook last night! It only took me a year and a half after graduating to complete it. It's fairly simple, but something I will enjoy in years to come. Hooray for finishing a project!

Since the scrapbook is complete, I can now focus on knitting Andy a hat for Christmas. It's going to be out of a fabulous Alpaca Silk from Classic Elite. 4 rows down, lots more to go...

Monday, November 27, 2006

An Early Christmas

I had the fortune to spend Thanksgiving at my parents house this weekend. It was nice to be home, but I don't know if it is worth driving 9 hours (one-way) to see them for 3 days. I'm definitely flying home for Christmas.

Because I had my car with me this trip, my parents decided to give me a few of my larger Christmas gifts to take back to Madison with me. Particularly one large gift:


They bought a used/refurbished wheel off of e-Bay for me. It's a Louet S10, an appears to be over 20 years old. Mom and I tested it out on Saturday and found that it is missing a small piece where the flyer rests on the cross beam. Without it, there is too much friction/tension and it doesn't spin well. Hopefully, I can get ahold of the piece soon and start spinning on my new wheel!

And along with the gift of a spinning wheel came the gift of wool. A whole box of wool.

Mom has won many door prizes over her years in her weaver's guild, combined with some extra roving that she has purchased, and she decided to give most of it to me to spin. Hooray for having lots of stuff to spin!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Darn Sock!

I finished my Jaywalkers last Friday and took them for their first test run on Saturday. They are fabulous. I have never had a pair of socks that are so comfortable (it's the Merino).

I got home Saturday afternoon, took off my shoes and saw this:

Now I have to mend the hole that my big feet put in my beautiful sock. I've been too dissapointed to mend the hole, or even to write this blog about it. The sock is still sitting in my craft basket, waiting to be darned. I'll get there someday.

Now that the Jaywalkers are off the needles, I've been doing a lot of spinning for lack of a better project. My next project will be to make a hat for Andy as a Christmas gift. I am going out to buy the yarn this afternoon with my friend Jane, and will probably spend the next week swatching patterns.

And speaking of shopping with my new knitting friend, my housemate's girlfriend is hosting a knitting night tomorrow night at her apartment. I'm glad to have knitter friends, because I feel like I have been a solitary knitter since moving to Madison. Hooray for knitting circles!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Making Progress

First, I must say that Andy loves his socks! And coming from a boy who hates wearing socks, this makes me very happy. Now, if only he would let me take a picture of them on his feet...

Other news from the world of socks is that I am halfway through my second Jaywalker. I just turned the heel last night, and did a little work on the gusset this morning. I cannot wait to wear these socks!

I also did a little spinning this morning with the BFL from Lisa Souza in the Emerald City colorway.

Another project that saw some attention this week was my scrapbook. I ordered prints last week and have cropped and seperated them by year. If I take this a few small steps at a time, I might have my undergraduate scrapbook complete before I finish graduate school. (Now if only I could say the same for that T-shirt quilt).

I have a big exam next Saturday, so hopefully I will be able to sneak some knitting time in between the studying this week.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I Think That I've Come Down With Something...

The rule in the knitting community is to cast-on the second sock immediately after casting-off the first in order to avoid Second-Sock-Syndrome, thus having some motivation to complete the pair. I have apparently extended this rule to apply to whole pairs of socks, where a new pair must be put on the needles as soon as the previous pair has been finished. Now is about the time that I realize that I have been bitten by the Sock Bug.

It started off as knitting socks for Andy's birthday, and progressed to constantly wearing hand knit socks (only taking them off to shower). Other symptoms include: an obsession with sock yarn, a love of size 2 needles, and the ability to whip up a sock pattern from scratch. Now that I understand how socks 'work', they are all I want to make. I will someday get back to knitting other things, but right now, those 3 extra skeins of sock yarn are calling my name.

The first skein is actually being put to use on a pair of Jaywalkers. This is the hand-dyed Merino seen in a previous post. I must say that I was really excited to see the way the colors looked wrapped up in a ball and I LOVE the feel of knitting with the Merino. I am very happy with the yarn, and sock #1 is almost done!

I am also thinking of bartering hand-knit socks for something woven by my mother. (What do you think Mom ;D ?) I use the blanket she wove for me all the time, and I seem to remember her enjoying the last pair of socks I knit for her. It's great to have another fiber-loving person in the family. It makes me and my yarn stash seem a bit more normal.

That's all for now. Hopefully, the worst of the sock virus will have passed before the next post, or you may be hearing about socks for a long time...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Socks Are Done, What Next?

It has been a busy few weeks here in Madison. School has taken over my life and I have not found enough time to post in this blog for a while. Not that there has been much knitting going on--again, being so busy and all.

However, I did manage to finish Andy's socks last week! His birthday is next week, so they are done just in time. They look really good, but we'll have to see how they fit.

Also, I learned that one of my college friends had a baby recently. I decided to whip up a baby hat to send to her. Now if I could only find her address...

On the spinning front, I purchased some more roving: some Blue-Faced Leichester and some Superwash Merino, both hand-dyed from Lisa Souza. I have spun some of the BFL (the blue/green) and really like it. Before I spin anymore, I have to decide the weight I want the final yarn to be. It might also help to come up with something to make out of all of that yarn, but I'll get there eventually.

I'm in a lull between projects now. I'm thinking about knitting Jaywalkers out of my hand-dyed yarn, or some fair-isle fingerless gloves with some yarn I bought from Knitpicks. I also cracked open the blank DG scrapbook the other day and starting putting down backgrounds. And I have lots of fleece calling my name. I can handle two projects at a time, so I have to decide which ones I want to work on the most. The winners in the next post to be sure.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A First Attempt at Dyeing

Yes, I know that I tried the Kool Aid stuff a while back, but this is the real, multi-colored deal. I used 5 colors in total and dyed the two bare skeins (one fingering weight, one worted weight) that I recently ordered from KnitPicks. It actually was not that challenging and the results are amazing!

The five colors I used were: purple, dark blue, light blue, yellow, and teal.

I poured the dye over wet wool to get the color scheme I wanted.

The sock yarn goes into the oven for 30 minutes at 250 degrees.

The 'cooked' yarn looks similar to before.

The resulting skeins are gorgeous!

We'll see how the two yarns knit up, especially with the repeating colors in the sock yarn (right, above).

And speaking of socks, one of Andy's socks is finished and I am well on my way into the second. I might just have them finished before his birthday!

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Just Finished Some More Yarn!

Normally, I would be in be at this time of the night, but since I have nothing better to do on Sunday at 11pm, I did some more spinning. At the latest count, I am up to three (yes, the number 3) balls of handspun. I don't have a lot of roving at this point in time, so each is only 30-50 yards. I plan to aquire more roving soon, but only after I knit some of this yarn that I have recently purchased.

Anyway, the balls of yarn are shown below. From the left: the two ply shown in a recent post, the single ply blend of magenta and purple (still a little too twisty), and a double ply thick/thin combo with two shades of purple. I'm very happy with each of them and I can't wait to knit with them soon!

I'm still working on Andy's socks, but I broke down and told him what I'm doing. It makes getting his measurements much easier. That, and he finally lets me knit in his presence. Apparently he needs ALL of my attention when we're together, unless I am making him something. Silly boys.

Sock #1 is almost done (except for the heel, of course).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's Finally Fall, Bring On The Knitwear!

Lots of things going on this week in my world of fiber. In conjunction with the room cleaning, I frogged a couple of UFOs (unfinished objects) that were taking up space in my closet. One was a two-side argyle scarf that I was 4" into, and the other was a few panels that were going to be a purse. It was made out of stash yarn and ugly anyway, so I'm glad it's gone. Nothing like a little Spring (I mean Fall) cleaning to remind you about all of the yarn you have!

And speaking of lots of yarn, I recieved all of the sock yarn I ordered by the begining of this week. The three skeins are each absolutely gorgeous! I have already cast-on Andy's socks and am trying to devise sneaky ways to get his foot measurements. BTW, did you know that your forearm is almost the exact same length as your foot? I've decided on a 'waffle' pattern for the socks (k 2 rows, *k2,p2* 2 rows, repeat) which I think will be nice and manly enough for him (although, my grandmother's first knitting project was a pair of argyle socks for my grandfather). As for the other two sock yarns, I was thinking about knitting the green yarn as Jaywalkers and the red yarn as the Snicket Socks. One project at a time Kristin...

Even though I am getting to knitting all of my new yarn, I am still partaking in some stash enhancement, but not in the way you might think. During my parent's visit last weekend, my mother brought me my drop spindle and some roving, which she gave me a few years ago, though it had mysteriously made its way into her stash in the meantime. After remembering how to spin, I was able to whip up some really nice two-ply yarn after only a night's worth of spinning. It's not very even (but heck, 'art yarn' is cool too!), but it will make a nice small project. I'm going to try to spin up the rest of the roving I have, then maybe order a hand-dyed colorway or commercially dyed roving to make a larger project. Again, one project at a time...

And finally, I'm excited to announce that it is cold today. I almost grabbed a scarf on my way out the door. Bring on sweater season!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Less Buying, More Knitting!

First, here are the pictures of my crochet scarf, described in the last post (which I guess was just yesterday, I must be getting blog-happy).

Yay for finished projects!

Second, my credit card is feeling some heat from more yarn purchases. I decided that I never use birthday money on exciting things, so this year, I bought sock yarn! I bought a skein of the Fred Flinstone colorway of Socks That Rock, though I am still debating if I should have bought the Seal Rock colorway. Maybe I'll try to dye my bare Merino in similar colors (if I have time for that).

But Oh! the purchasing does not stop there. I ordered two handpainted skeins from Spunky Eclectic ; a skein of Green Gables for me and a skein of Soylent to make socks for Andy. I hope that the two colorways aren't sold out, so we'll see if I actually get those skeins (crossing my fingers). Sigh. Will someone please hide my credit card, because the birthday money is now gone...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

She's On A Roll...

Yes, more crochet! I knit--I mean crocheted--a quick scarf this weekend out of some cotton yarn frogged from a previous attempt at a scarf. I like how the project turned out, but I learned a valuable lesson from it: My chain stitches need to be looser, especially because my chain edge was the long side of the scarf. It put a slight curl in the scarf, but it's still super cute!

[Pictures here soon!]

I'm trying to determine what to make next, though I'm pretty sure it's about time I got back to knitting. I've been listening to back-episodes of the Lime and Violet podcast, and they're sock obsession is rubbing off on me. I'm now thinking about knitting a pair of socks for Andy out of the Merino fingering wieght yarn I just bought from Knitty (see last post, it's one of the undyed skeins). He doesn't read either of my blogs, so this should be a surprise for him. My birthday is this Friday, so I was also thinking about buying some sock yarn with birthday money. Not that I need more yarn, but I really like to knit socks.

However, not everything I want to make is socks. I came across this amazing pattern for a Coco Channel-type sweater in Greetings from Knit Cafe, which I would really love to make. But first, I have to get through the 'Green Monster'. One big project at a time, otherwise I won't get anything done!

I'd like to cast something on soon, but I'm pretty busy this week. Plus, I've got a pile of library books backed up on the nightstand, so who knows when I'll put something on the needles. Hopefully it won't be too long before I have something new to report here!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I've gone to the dark side...

Here are the words that no true knitter really likes to admit: I enjoy crocheting.

Since my last post about my initial attempt at this needle art, I decided to learn exactly how crochet works and its advantages/disadvantages compared to knitting. So, I went to my local library and took out the new Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet book. Just like her knitting book, Deb Stoller provides clear instructions and interesting patterns. I also discovered that my first crochet project was 'hybrid crochet', and that I did not create any of my stitches in the correct way. I have since learned to do it correctly and have even finished my first project--a bag to use at the farmer's market. As it was my first project, I used a cheap acrylic yarn and a very open mesh stitch just to get the feel of hookin'. The result is a large, over-the-shoulder bag that will definitely come in handy for my frequent trips to the farmer's market. As an added bonus, it only took me about 4 nights to complete!

Even though I crochet now, I am still a knitter, which means I have unfinished knitting projects stuffed in all corners of my room. In fact, I've had one big one on the needles since I started this blog--my knitted wrap. It's made of an olive green alpaca-silk blend from KnitPicks done in a honeycomb stitch, and it will be really nice if I ever finish it. The design is basically a large panel that wraps around my back, crosses in front and has sleeves for the lower part of my arms. I'll have to model it when it's finished so you can see how it works. Here's what it looks like so far:

Anyway, the real reason I am bring this up (besides that fact that I haven't shown pictures of it yet) is that I realized that I do not have enough yarn to finish it. Which naturally leads to every fiber-obsessed person's two favorite words: stash enhancement. Normally, I would just buy the amount of extra yarn I need and not deplete my poor graduate student's budget any more. But I bought this yarn at Knitpicks, which has free shipping on all yarn purchases over $40 (and you can buy A LOT of KnitPicks yarn for $40). With the yarn I needed, I was already half-way to the magic number, so I figured, why waste money on shipping when I can buy more yarn instead? Yes, I will use any excuse to buy more yarn.

The last thing that is happening on the fiber front is that I have recently discovered knitting podcasts! You can find them for free on the iTunes store and subscribe to get semi-weekly updates. I've tried out 'Lime & Violet' and 'CastOn' so far and have been pleasently surprised. These two podcasts are very different, but I really like hearing people talk about knitting, yarn, etc. Plus, is gives me time to relax and knit for a while. This could be addicting...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wait! Those aren't knitting needles...

Well, the finger knitting mentioned in the previous post turned out to be a very cool technique. Cool and quick enough to make a long, thin scarf out of some spare yarn in one sitting. The result is nothing extraordinary, but I bet that I get some use out of the scarf once winter hits Madison.

In addition to using my fingers to create fabric, I have recently learned to, gasp, crochet! I've been knitting for over four years now, so it is about time that I learned a thing or two about crochet. Thus far, I can chain and single crochet, which is enough for me. What really inspired me to learn was a pattern for a cute little round clutch in the book One Skein. So I broke out the only crochet hook I own (the one I use to fix my knitting mistakes), a handful of my Kool Aid-dyed yarn, and flipped to the section on crochet in my Stitch 'n Bitch book. After knitting, it was easy to get the hang of crocheting and I am well on my way to having a little round clutch!

Slowly, but surely, I am attacking my stash. Even if it means resorting to crochet!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vacation = Time To Knit ?

Unfortunately, the above equation did not prove to be very true over my vacation these past two weeks. With my sister's wedding, various sight-seeing excursions, and a long novel, the only knitting I really got done was in San Francisco.

The small amount of vacation knitting was focused on knitting a double-point needle roll. I made it out of this pretty merino-cotton blend that my grandmother gave me. It turned out very nicely, and will be handy once I actually do all of the finishing touches. So, here it is:

I also worked on a variation of this bag before I left for my trip, using up a bunch of blue/green/yellow yarns from my stash. Some of the color combos are a bit weird because I used 3 strands at a time, so we'll see how the bag comes out in the end.

Also still working on the large green wrap. I realized this weekend that I do not have enough yarn to finish it, so sometime I will have to get around to ordering more. Sigh...

In the meantime, I am enjoying the new Knitty that just came out, and contemplating the possible uses for finger-knitting.

PS. Check out the new link for the hilarious crafting blog Threadbared under the Links on the right. Thanks Mom for passing it on!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

From One Quick Project To The Next

Over my mini-vacation at the Kalahari this past weekend, I decided to pack a ball of chenille yarn to start working on a washcloth. I started it on Friday night, and it was finished on Sunday. I love projects like that!

I'm not a fan of chenille, but I think that its use here will be nice. The overall pattern is nice also, though I will make a few modifications if I make another one.

After finishing this project, I started thinking about what to knit next. I have a big project (a green wrap) on the needles right now, and I have a rule against working on two large projects at the same time. So, for a bit of inspiration, I brought out my stash.

And boy, do I have a lot of yarn (I even left some at my parent's house!). There is more yarn in the Target bag in the corner, which contains remnants from past projects which will be used at a future date for wacky scarf/blanket/whatever.

I really like small projects but I've knit so many hats and scarves that I'm not really inspired to make anything at the moment. Of course I have plans and ideas for some of my yarn, but I want to be enthusiastic about the project that I am working on.

So for the moment, I am waiting for the spirit to give me a vision. Hopefully I'll have something fun to work on by the time I leave for my big trip in two weeks. I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

One Sock, Two Socks, Green Sock, Striped Sock

The socks are finally done!

I finished the heels tonight, while most of the cuff was finished last weekend on my trip to Indiana. I am proned to getting carsick, but I found that I can knit in the car without feeling nauseated. I have been knitting for over 4 years now, so I simply rely on knitting by feel instead of looking at the fabric. Combined with a simple pattern, the technique keeps me entertained and feeling alright.

A side view of a sock

Underneath a sock

I really enjoyed making these and I'm happy with the way they turned out. It's a small enough project that I'm thinking about making another pair during my long plane ride later next month.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Yarn Shop Across Town

I was really excited when I moved into my house on Monroe St that I was just down the block from a Yarn Shop, The Knitting Tree. I have been there a few times since moving in, though have bought a significant amount of yarn online in the past year. I was out running errands and shopping this afternoon and I thought that I would stop by a yarn shop on the other side of town, Lakeside Fibers. They have a fairly large store, with a coffee shop in the back and space for workshops. I was impressed by their yarn selection, but I also did not see some yarns, like the Debbie Bliss yarns or lots of LambsPride (though they did have a whole wall of Cascade 220!). However, if I venture out of the house to buy yarn, I think that I will go back to Lakeside Fibers.

And, of course, I cannot leave a yarn shop without something to enhance my stash. Today, it was a baby Alpaca/silk blend. The colors attracted me, but the softness made me buy it. I'm thinking about a hat in the two colors, but I haven't decided yet.

But before I can start that, I need to finish at least one of the two projects I am currently knitting. The faster of the two projects is the pair of socks that I am making toe-up. I'm knitting them both at the same time, starting at the toe, and saving the heal for last. Here is a picture from when I started them last week,

And after a night of knitting and watching movies with friends, I am now here,

The yarn is actually self-striping, so I don't have to worry about working with multiple balls of yarn. I am about ready to do the heal, which will actually be skipped and done at the end. The process should be easier than 'turning the heal', which is the standard way of making the heal. I'll let you know when I get there. Other than that, I really like using this technique to knit socks. It's fun to start from the bottom and knitting two socks at once is doubly nice. Next time I do socks, they will be toe-up.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A New Project

I know that I already have one blog detailing the events my life, but I thought a second blog would be a good idea for my readership interested in my current crafting projects. If you aren't interested in reading about knitting (and other things Martha Stewart), stop here and return to my original blog, which will now be yarn-free. Otherwise, read on!

I currently have two projects on the needles, but I will save those for the next post. They aren't going to be finished anytime in the immediate future. As the title implies, this post will be about a new project, which actually has two meanings. The first reference is to the blog itself, and the second is to a new technique I tried out this weekend with some spare yarn--Kool Aid dying!

Of the different types of dying, using Kool Aid seemed to be a fairly easy way to experiment with coloring yarn. Plus, I frogged ("rip-it") an ugly scarf made out of white wool and wanted to do something with all of the leftover yarn. Kool Aid is actually very concentrated and works well to dye animal fibers (wool, llama, etc.) but not plant fibers (cotton, linen, etc). I got the instructions from an article on the Knitty website:

Start with yarn, a few bowls, and some packets of Kool-Aid

Empty Kool Aid packet into bowl and fill with water

Soak yarn in solution

Microwave for a few minutes. It's so easy!

Rinse and repeat

Hang to dry

It was a fun little project, and it took me only a few hours to dye the six colors shown above. The reds and yellow came out very bright, but the green and blue didn't take as well as I would have liked. Also, you can't make large batches, but I don't mind having bright colored wool to use on a small project or two. I'm already starting to daydream about the things I can make.

I hope you will enjoy my knitting exploits and stay tuned for future posts. For now, I am going to get cozy in my favorite handknit sweater. I wish you a very joyful week and happy knitting!