Category Archives: Yarn

Pushed to the edge…

Warning: Major knitting self-thrashing ahead.

WTF do I be doing when I’m supposed to be LEARNING stuff?! No really. It finally slapped me in the face like a 7th-grade lunchroom fight: My handspuns are coming out thicker than they LOOK. Whodathunk?!

Case in point:
About-to-be-frogged BBB

That’s where BBB was before I surrendered and took it off the needles. Now before you berate me for it, let me explain the truth: It had been KILLING my hands. It was being worked on 9s. Isn’t that big enough for doubled sportweight? Why, yes, it is. But. I finally learned that although it LOOKS sportweight, it’s not. Aha! Apparently I couldn’t get out of caring about TPI and WPI. Those are the things that give a ‘weight’ to a yarn. NOW I get why in articles and magazines about spinning, they tell you to make a singles with “## TPI” or a plied yarn with “##WPI”. They’re the standards of ‘categorizing’ a yarn, instead of going by ‘weight’, like in commercial yarn.

How does this affect my handspun disasters? Well think about it. Fiber prep really DOES make a difference in the final yarn. The yarn used in BBB was some Finn roving I got last year at Rhinebeck and spun on the Joy Val lent me. As a carded roving, it’s going to spin up fluffier than a combed top. So, even though it doesn’t LOOK worsted weight it will knit like one. Even after the bloom that occurs with setting the twist. So, I didn’t need to double the yarn like I thought I would. And then I probably wouldn’t have needed to use 9s either. I needed them for somthing else I’ll get to later in the post.

So, to make a long story short, I’m ripping the BBB (and loard help me I don’t know HOW I’m going to rewind it when it’s doubled– in some areas it’s actually knit from two ends of the same ball!) and will reknit with the yarn single. Then I won’t run OUT like I was before. Yes, this will result in a slightly smaller BBB but SugarBoogers won’t know the difference.

So I’ve washed my hands of that failure… On to the next:

disgusting wips 001

WTF possessed me to care enough about the points on the previous Icarus to think it would be a snap to repeat it, is beyond me. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my foggy brain I figured Icarus II would be simple and quick with all the plain sections. Well, it got boring FAST. But I trudged on, ever the valiant knitter, to meet my goal: an Icarus with pretty points. I also threw a wrench in the works for deciding to knit the whole thing as written. And I thought I was doing that, but it had plans for my ass. After several weeks of trying to figure out where the hell I went wrong I finally took that joint off the needles too. Good riddance. What possesed me to think I wanted to knit miles of sock yarn into a shawl, I’ll never know. How many rows of stockinette DOES it take to say ” &^%$# it!” to a pattern? The world may never know.* And I’m not counting either, shit…

So that’s what I did the last few days. Cry my tears and rip away. It’s over. Now on to some knitting that I’m much more confident about:
CPH ribbing back

Ladies and Gentlemen, the back ribbing of Central Park Hoodie, hereafter known as CPH. I’m working the largest size on this, and after careful swatching and taking into consideration that the cables will suck the fabric in a bit, I’ve settled on the size 9 needle tips. (which were stuck in that ever crazy-making BBB, but I won’t hold it against them).

There we have it. I’ve bared my knitting soul to all who’ll read.

Also, if you plan to click through to my podcast from this blog, no, you are NOT in the wrong place, I’ve moved cast hosting service.. 🙂 YAY! Thankx to Shannon of SSK for putting me on to Podshow.

*paraphrase of that world-famous Tootsie Roll Pop Question: “How many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? The world may never know.” 🙂

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New Lessons…

Warning: Long, almost pictureless post ahead. Proceed with caution. Mucho cussin, too.

You think you know knitting. You think you know how things are usually going to work. You can accept defeat but only so much. And so it was with this sock yarn…

I bought 4 skeins of Artyarns Ultramerino4 in the hopes of making some knee-high jaywalkers. The plan was to start at the toe and keep knitting, and increasing as it goes up my calf. I cast on 68 stitches because experience has taught me(there I go knowing shit again…) that 76 stitches for a stockinette(or in this case, mostly stockinette) sock is too many and the sock will be too big on my foot. So, after careful calculations I started with 68 stitches. And all hell broke loose.

The pattern just wasn’t knitting up the way I’d liked. I knew this wasn’t a true striping yarn, but I figured that Jays were the perfect sock to break up the pooling associated with this type of variegated yarn. It works on lots of other yarns, and even some other knitter’s FO made WITH the same brand of yarn. But the ‘striping’ just didn’t look right.

See?
Jay Kneehigh

So I ripped and restarted on 76 stitches and damn. The ‘striping’ seemed more tolerable, but, as I figured it was just too damn big. So. I gave that up.

I then tried to use that yarn in another stitch pattern and it just wasn’t coming out right either. And then it hit me. The twist. It’s the freaking twist(or ply). Because of the way the yarn is made it’s very sproingy. Sproingy as if there was elastic in it, but not stretchy, if you know what I mean. It is, after all, Merino yarn. So, I’ve decided that this yarn will not work for anything other than a plain stockinette sock. Fuqq-0-rama. Well, it’s a good thing I really like the colorway. That’ll teach my ass to buy things just because I like the colors!

Moral of the story: Leave the damn yarn. You SPIN now..

Then, speaking of spinning, last week I went to hang with Karen and spin. I took the bus there and back. When I got home I was tired and didn’t want to fuss with dragging my wheel back into my room, which requires negotiation of a narrow space between a bookshelf and a wall. So, I left it in the living room for two days. Of course, when I went to get the wheel and bring it in I noticed the thumbscrew for the flyer was missing. I cussed about how SugarBoogers probably was playing with my flyer and the screw fell out. I looked all over the living room and didn’t find it. Then I figured I’d lost it on the bus. I would notice that sometimes the flyer shaft would just spin around while the bus was moving. The last time I took the bus with Dutchie, I took the flyer off and kept it in my bag. But this time I figured I’d leave it on so the flyer shaft didn’t poke anyone. and what happens? I lose the damn screw..

So, after a week of not being able to spin I set out to Home Depot to get some replacements. Stood at the wall of screws and bolts for 30 minutes! with SugarBoogers in tow(Thank you, Monster-in-law, for not taking ALL 3 kids for the week. I ‘pree-shate’ that.). Came back with a little 5 pack of 8-32 3/4″ screws after looking like a common loon, trying to stuff the screws into the flyer hole(yes I took it with me) through the little plastic bag. –Only after doing all that did I see a peg board type thing with all the various screw sizes sticking out that I could have tried to put through the hole. —

Get home with the loot(after mopping up a SugarBoogers melt-down because I took the big-ass bag with the little-ass bag of screws in it from her—fuckin idjit cashier!! WhyTF would you give that to the child like that? You think I came all that way for SCREWS for her to LOSE THEM? You must not have any fuckin brains.–scuse me, getting carried away), and the screw is a perfect fit! Much better than the original, but, it’s a regular round head screw because they didn’t have thumbscrews in the size I needed. All I need is a nail file to tighten.. yehoo!!

And then after the two older kids come home and do a re-cleaning, what does middle child plop on my desk? You guessed it. The MF-ing thumbscrew.

The moral of the story: Put your shit away when you get home or parts will go missing.

(I can only guess at how many hits this post alone will generate because of the word ‘screw’. I also stood at the wall for 30 minutes because I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask ANY HD employees(especially the ugly ones) for a ‘screw’ LMAO. You see the danger in that.

But things aren’t too bad in the fiber world right now. I’ve accepted my defeats with the yarn and the *ahem*, and I’ve got a new shawl on the needles.. Yeah, you know it! I’m almost through with repeat 4 of rows 19-42 of Chart 1 on Icarus. I needed something where most of the shawl was mindless, so I decided to redo Iccy. The shawl is really beautiful and I’d like another color. I’m using tan/gray sock yarn for this one, but when overdyed it will be a deeper jewel-tone type color. I’m feeling this already. It is Aug 26. Think I’ll finished by Sept 1? 😉

So that’s it for this entry. Take it easy crafters. Don’t go crazy like me. 😉

Shiny, shiny, pretty pretty…

I’m still out here. Making progress on one thing or another, casting on for new stuff ;), and doing a different craft: Beadwork. I’m not sure if row markers and stitch markers qualify as beadwork, but since they have beads on them, that’s what I’m calling it.

New row markers

I got a bunch of beads from Fire Mountain Gems a few years ago, to make my own beaded markers. I keep losing the things so I figured I might as well have a ready supply of fixings for the task. Shiny, Shiny. I believe these are called “Cat’s Eye” beads? Correct me if I’m wrong. I have fun making these. And I’ve come a long way. My first markers weren’t so pretty and would snag on stuff. But I’ve learned to get headpins or eyepins to make these things.. I also made some non-dangly stitch markers but they got glue all over and are not as pretty so no pics.

On the WIP progress tip, here’s a shot of the VLT #1 scarf, about 1/4 through the 6th repeat. I’m aiming for 7 repeats total before doing the second border. It’s coming out pretty, very little hassles(though I’ve tinked a time or two since the last post), and it’ll block out big. I’m thinking of doing a gradient immersion dyeing technique with this scarf.. what do you think? 🙂 Oh, and don’t worry about that yarn mess on the side there; got that covered.

VLT#1prog

And you know it: I’ve cast on for another scarf, this time a thicker one for the cold weather. It’s really a bit of an experiment. I was chatting with someone on Skype and she mentioned a scarf where you start out alternating a descending number of stockinette rows with an ascending number of reverse stockinette rows until eventually you wind up with nothing but reverse stockinette. I think that’s what she said :)) Welsh Millie if you’re out there, Thank you!!

I kinda didn’t remember everything she said and took off with it. After I ran out of stockinette I just did garter stitch for a while. Now I’m on my way back down to the nothing but stockinette. I’d do this again in a heart beat and I’ll have had a chance to see where I farked up so I can do it better next time. Also I wasn’t sure what she did with any of the edgings so I have stockinette curling up on me and the sides are all wonky.

" progress

And a close up: "PurlBump" Closeup

That’s part of the rest of the Brown Sheep mill ends I got last year from SheepShed Studio. This will get dyed too. I think when it’s all said and done it’ll go to middle child. I’ll probably fashion a hat and mittens to match.

That’s pretty much it for now.
Catch ya later, gaters!

Enter the Mind of BeanKnit…(Part two of the series)

This is the second of a ‘series of posts where I reveal things about my knitting and spinning that you never knew were on my mind.

There’s been a lot on my mind lately when it comes to knitting and spinning. Such as, What to knit/spin next!? There are so many patterns and so many to make up as you go. So many fibers to try and I’ve got a bunch already that I love. It can make a girl go CRAZY(..er than she already is).

Who knew that after a simple pair of socks I’d go on to make so many? And there’s so much more to learn when it comes to them. I’ve knit toe up and cuff down. I’ve used various cast-ons and bind-offs, all of them having a specific purpose and making the knitting work better. It’s amazing watching a new technique unfold right before your eyes. I get a chill thinking about all the ‘A-ha!’ moments I’ve had. My most recent bind-off method learned was the Russian Bind-off. I used it on a swatch I’d been playing with. For some reason I could never seem to get my head around it and then blam! it all made sense. I definitely plan to use this more as I do more toe-up socks and (whisper) lace shawls.

Yeah dammit I said lace shawls. Shoot. I can’t shake the urge to knit lace. It’s so pretty it’s not funny. And it’s not easy either. My best experiences with it were the Charlotte’s Web and Icarus shawls. Now I look back I should have kept on trying that Russian bind off because that’s pretty much what was used in Icarus. I didn’t and the bottom of the shawl won’t make points no matter how much I pull and tug at it. Got dammit. But yeah, lace. I’ve knit socks with lace in them and I’m currently working on a shell/tank with a lace panel in it and it’s not too bad. Then I went fool and joined the Mystery Stole #3 and decided that maybe lace knitting isn’t so bad(til I fuck it up again, at least). So we’ll see how that goes. (I have since dropped out of MS3. I’ve seen what it looks like so far and I no longer find it appealing).

Then there’s sweaters/tops. I’ve made a few, ripped a few and had one felted(I still love you, Frank). The big thing with these is finding(or better still, designing) the right fit/size. That way lies madness, but I’m used to that by now. 😉 I hope to get better at making up my own tops because while I see a lot of stuff out there that I like to LOOK at, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for me. Hell I have enough trouble getting commerically made clothing to fit right. I’m so glad I like to read because in knitting books like Big Girl Knits and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, I can find inspiration and insight into this thing called Knitting For Me.

Let me stop and harrass you for a minute. Did you know one of the first things I ever knit was NOT a scarf or dishcloth? Hee. I jumped in ass first and tried to knit Sonnet. That thing was insanity. It’s a nice concept but GEEZ it took me forever. And my dumb ass was using Lion Brand Jiffy Thick n’ Quick. Don’t ask. Please. And it was this wild teal blue. That’s a color I can mess with, but not in a bulky yarn. Then there were the Magic Loop socks. I wasn’t content with garter stitch and had to go for stockinette.. in the ROUND. I told you I was crazy. But I’m so glad I didn’t shy away because look where I am today: Drowning in yarn! Hee.

The challenge now is not only to work magic and breathe freshness into my knitting by designing my own pieces, but also to step up the color selection as well. I like bright, loud colors, though I know I shouldn’t always wear them. Not that you can STOP me *evil grin*. The thing is.. My stash is so full of one-ball-of-this and two-balls-of-that, it is a challenge to knit anything interesting without it being the 400th hat or 12,000th pair of socks. Don’t get me wrong, I like knitting those things but there has to be… more. I see people knitting fantastic sweaters and bags out of ‘scraps’ and it always amazes me how they manage to make it all fall into place. (I don’t doubt they STILL have some scraps of the scraps left!). So that’s another task set out for me: whitling down my stash…

Speaking of stash I’ll end this here. It’s calling me and I want to rummage through it.

Next up: Spinning, and how it makes my stash(and possibilities) endless.

“Spin me in the morning…

..and just walk away…” (to fix my cup of tea!)

Back! with a cup of Celestial Seasons’ Chocolate Caramel Enchantment chai tea. Mmmmm.

Just so you don’t think I’ve gone the way of zany blabber-blogger, here’s a pic of what’s on the bobbins right now:

Early Morning glint

That’s Sarabella, from Spunky Eclectic. She’s part of 4oz. of 100% handpainted Merino. She’s sooo pretty!
I’m spinning her up fine, for a Navajo ply, and then I’ll make her into some comfy socks. I have some peachy-orange sock yarn with nylon to make the heels and toes. Hmm. I’m already thinking of some patterns I might want to use the yarn for.

I’ve all but finished the Phineas socks. It’s a cool pattern. I knit the first sock on 0s with 72 stitches, per the pattern but it’s a tad big on my leg. And you know how big my legs are, so that’s saying alot. 😉 The foot fits well though, so I decided to keep on. The cuff ribbing holds it in a bit.
But I’m knitting the mate on 64sts. It’s very easy to manipulate the pattern to use a different stitch count but if you want to try it on 64 sts just comment and leave an email address and I’ll send off the chart I made up. For the actual pattern, check out Quietish.

I haven’t made much progress on Stripedy, if any. The needle is getting to short and the stitches are crammed on there to where it hurts to knit after a few minutes. And I’m on 7s. I’m holding out for a particular needle so I’ll have to wait til I get it. Shell/Tank only sees progress at home. But none significant enough to warrant a new picture. I need to bang out another foot of SYES(see sidebar) and that’s coming off the needles. I will block it to within an inch of its life, and it should be the size of a toddler bed. 🙂 The mate to bmp is being done on a larger needle so I don’t need to wait for Phineas to come off the 0s before casting on, now that I have some good black yarn.

With that, I’m off! TTFN

Solid… as a sock!

(as per Ashford & Simpson, not that pick-up truck commercial).

First off I want to say a big THANK YOU!! to everyone who commented and sent me their thoughts concerning the last post. That $hit just didn’t make any sense. And now, with the RagShop stores closing..I’ll have to find a new hangout for sewing stuff! *muttercussgrumble*
Anyway….

Poke these socks with a fork, they’re done!
fallingsocksfront

And the back of the leg:
fallsocksback

This was a runaway knit, for sure. I couldn’t seem to put it down half the time. It was almost as if Startitis doesn’t exist with these. By the second sock, I pretty much had the stitch pattern memorized and it flew off the needles. If the socks look a little, um, fuzzy, it’s because I’ve already worn and washed them once. Hee.

Stats:
Falling In Love socks(from Feb. 2007 Magknits)
Yarn: ZwergerGarn Opal in Turquoise(Thank you Susann!)
Needle: Addi Turbo 2.5mm circ–gotta love that Magic Loop!
Started June 4,2007–Finished June 12, 2007
Thoughts: With all the hoopla that was Opal yarns I’m a little disappointed with how they fuzzed up after one wear. Granted I’m a figety sleeper and I wore them to bed. Washing them just made them fuzz even more. But overall the pattern held up good. At least it’s superwash and doesn’t felt. As for the pattern, as previously stated I wouldn’t add the cables in again. It was hella fun(most of the time) making them without the cable needle, and I’d like to try that technique again soon. But getting these into a pair of shoes/sneakers? Though I have rather wide feet, I don’t really need wide shoes.. I sure don’t want to buy a pair just for these!

Right after I knocked those out I started the Phineas socks:
phineasheelprog

I have a confession to make: I lied when I said I didn’t have solid sock yarns. Ok, I didn’t REALLY lie, but rather my stash is so big I’d forgotten about them! So, expect to see more of those nice lace patterns where solids really shine. Like these. Yes. I know it’s in Spanish. I can understand it, so it’s all good. Just follow the chart, right? 🙂

So yeah, Phineas. Been bopping around Ravelry and found that. I’m not brave(read:crazy) enough to try real argyle socks, so these ‘fake’ ones will have to do. they’re knit on 0s–Yes, I said 0s– so these’ll take me a little time. I’ve got other projects I’d like to work on.. I’ve never been comfortable as a one-project person, you know.

Which brings me to:
foolproofsofar

The Simple, Yet Effective Shawl, from CosmicPluto. Also found this on Ravelry. I saw it and said, “Yessssssssssssssss finally a shawl I can’t screw up!!”, and dubbed it thus. (To be fair I kinda forgot a few YOs but made them up on the return rows. You won’t tell anybody, will you? *pokes lip out sadly*) Hee.
But seriously. This shawl is so damn easy I could cry. I’m already about done with the first of four balls of Jaeger Luxury Tweed I got as a b-day present last year. I intend to keep knitting til it’s all gone. Gotta whittle down that stash. So I can make room for more of these:
Handspun Stash

I’m basically half way through that pile, counting approximate yardage and labeling them. Then I’ll know how much of something I have when I need a yarn. My goal is to be at a point where 90% of my stash is handspun instead of commercial. Hopefully by 2010. Click the picture to see what’s what.

And with that, I’m off. Happy Crafting!

No pics, just blather

scrapsonbaby

Ok I lied. Here’s a picture. The finished Scrap Socks for eldest child. Modeled on youngest child,
’cause she’s available. It’s hard to get models around these parts 🙂

Stats: ScrapSocks(my own concoction) on 48 stitches with ankle shaping(more on that later)
Yarn: Leftovers of Koigu PPPM and overdyed Kroy sock yarns
Needle: Addi Turbo 40″ US1(2.5mm) w/ Magic Loop technique
Started: 4/23 Finished 4/26

So, I tried ankle shaping and realized that was a bad idea when kiddo had a hard time getting her foot past it. Yeah. On the second sock I still did decreases, but not as many. The yarn is sort of stretchy so she can wear them anyway, with no real problems. It’s starting to warm up good here, so I don’t know how much use she’ll get out of them before her foot grows again in time for the fall.. well, I can always save them and pass them down to lil’ sis, right?

Then, for me:
Sockotta socks done

Stats: Plain Old Socks(again, my own ‘design’) on 56 stitches.
Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta colorway 6673
Needle: Addi Turbo 40″ US1(2.5mm) w/ Magic Loop technique
Started: 4/18 Finished 4/21

Nothing much to say about these. They fit ok, but the cotton/wool blend doesn’t impress me. I understand these can be worn all year long because of the content, but apparently the nylon in it isn’t enough to take away from the tacky, non-stretchy feel of cotton. Everyone talks about the softness of some cottons; it would appear the cotton used in these is the same as that rough dishcloth cotton instead of a more premium fiber. Oh well.

It’s official: I’m a fabric addict.

Fat Quarter O Rama

The yellow fixings are for a DPN case. I have to get a few more yards of this and that for this project. The lavendar stuff is for, you guessed it, another tote bag. I need some notions for this as well, before I can start. The little bundle wrapped in gold ribbon is some other fat quarters I will strip up for headbands and kerchiefs. I love wearing those. I love knitting, but knitting these two items seems so… I don’t know. I just am not fond of it. The strip of elastic is for the quilted knee socks that won’t stay up. I got a good deal on all these goodies..

I was at RagShop the other day, with a 40%-off-one-item jobbie and ready to rumble. There was another fat quarter bundle and a few patterns in the basket as well, but… Got to the register and learned I’d misread the date(or lost track of my days) because the coupon had expired! Dammit! So some things had to go back. After I’d paid the cashier handed me a future coupon for 30% off your entire purchase of non-sale items. And the damn thing was for THAT DAY! Yes, I did. Made her undo everything so I could get the discount. I still didn’t take what I’d decided to leave behind. I can always go back and get some more later, right? What would have cost me $25 came down to less than $18. DEAL!

Also, you may have noticed I had the Spiral Socks from “Socks Socks Socks” on the needles. I was originally using that Plymouth yarn and it just wasn’t working. So I went to the plain sock you see above. I didn’t even bother to update the listing; just removed it totally. I’ve learned to just leave the fancy patterning to plain colors or lightly variegated yarns.. them self-stripe-jacquarding joints don’t work. Rarely, if at all. So that’s that.

Anything else in the list is coming along slowly but surely, thanx for asking! 🙂

As an addendum: I am anticipating major surgery next Friday. I will need to take it easy but I will still be around. No. I’m not crazy. Really. 🙂 Since all I can do is sit, I may even holler at you on the BeanCast. So look out for that.

Happy Weekend!