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Butterfly wings

April 18, 2014

I’ve been knitting this – gosh it’s such a fun, easy knit for such a beautiful result. I was adamantly opposed to knitting shawly things for a long time but here’s the thing – they’re more fun for summer knitting, and there are a lot of easy patterns out there. Good for knit nights (because frankly, i enjoy the girly chatter ABOUT knitting and yarn and needles and blah blah blah, but not if i’m trying to count). Plus, these little angular scarves give just the right amount of “not a straight rectangle” to hold my interest. Now that i’m a mom and a business owner and i’m lucky to knit a row or two every couple of nights, projects that fit these criteria are what it’s about for me. There will be time enough again, some day, but in the meantime this keeps me connected.

The yarn is fun too – Cascade 220 Superwash sport, and Crystal Palace Sausalito, though i still can’t decide whether i am going to be happy with the chosen color combination, and i’m not sure about the feel of

I also realize how much all of this is a load of consumerist, first world problem. I love admiring Peruvian highland knitting – those dudes are knitting intricate masterpieces with bicycle spokes, and i’m all fussy about whether the join on my latest interchangeables is good enough for me. Perspective.

So much for my loyalty…

March 31, 2014

I am that girl who doesn’t swatch, generally. So basically my first attempt at Nymphalidea was a swatch by accident. I’d been planning on using two chosen yarns for ages, and was excited to cast on and start plowing through it but very quickly realized a few things…

A lace weight solid alpaca was not going to look right with a sport weight two-ply/two-color wool.

Lace weight alpaca is no fun to knit with (for me, anyway) – and especially not on metal needles.

I used to love and swear by my Hiya Hiyas. They were all I wanted to use. But the cables seem to be degrading – or the join, anyway – there’s a catch happening on the cable itself right where it joins the needle connector, and with lace weight alpaca, it is beyond dangerous. And also, I cannot for the life of me get this thin 32″ cable to stop its crazy looping (yes, hot water, all that) and it is going to be a long, long time before I have enough project on it to weigh it down (and my 24″ is already working elsewhere).

I switched to some bamboo tips, and switched the solid yarn to a stashed skein of some luxury sport weight silkiness I scored at the local Humane Society thrift shop months ago when a volunteer there was bagging up her divine discards, seemingly just for me.

The bamboo needles are helping me deal with the loopy nuttiness of knitting finer yarn on needles a a few sizes larger than standardly used for sport weight yarn, but I am a little sad about my needles (or their cables, anyway).

Recently I discovered Symfonie Cubix, and along with the square shape I am addicted to, after a bit of use what I first thought was too hard of a big plasticy cable is actually strong and sweet, holds a nice straight shape without looping everywhere, and square needles make my stitches much more uniform. These are wood, but so smooth.

So, that settled the use of my accumulated eBay bucks – I ordered some size six Cubix tips. And instead of casting on AGAIN tonight, I will just call it a evening – at least I have a better yarn match lined up and I’ve learned a bit about selvedge tricks for stripes. For the rest of the evening I will be viewing pattern modifications on Ravelry and making a few of my own (if I can get out of a “yo” I’ll do it, lol).

I am so glad I “swatched”.

Ten washcloth patterns for five bucks on Ravelry NOW!

March 24, 2014

So my dog went to the vet today to get two angry lumps looked at.- I left her there along with four hundred dollars so that they could be removed RIGHT AWAY.

That’s not good.

So in attempt at a little fundraising I am offering all ten of my not-free washcloth patterns for five bucks on Ravelry. That is fifteen dollars off for the whole paid collection (that means not including the two you can simply download for free).

You can use this link to have them all added to your Ravelry cart automatically, with discount in action (otherwise use the coupon code tenforfive). This will go on until the day end of March 31st, 2014.

This promotion works for those of you who have also bought a pattern or two at random already – now you can get the rest of them too.

rainy days mean lots of knitting…

February 12, 2014

note: majority of links in this post lead to pages on Ravelry.com:

my daughter’s still a little too young, but we have a skein of chunky purple roving yarn we’ve been fingerknitting a little with here and there… Lion Brand and Martha Stewart these days, apparently. Yarn is HIP.

mostly Paloma’s been playing with blocks a lot while i knit tho – she doesn’t last long with fingerknitting, as at this point it’s me knitting and her holding her hands out. She’s only three though, so the attention span for fiber arts isn’t entirely there yet – she does, however, repeatedly ask me to teach her to knit, which makes my knittin’ mama heart sing.

it’s been raining like crazy here in Mount Shasta, which is funny because Portland, Oregon, where I onced lived, is actually covered in snow.

The lack of snow is definitely hurting my business (i own a kids’ consignment shop – snow gear is what we generally sell a lot of this time a year, but not this year). So I am knitting a lot. I am doing paperwork, I am updating old knitting patterns, and basically ignoring the giant heap of clothes sitting behind me that need to be tagged and put on the racks. Yeah I am blogging this from my shop.

Anyway… Lately I knit a fuzzy little heart, then i knit a Quaker yarn stretcher that needs to be blocked – that was a good “knit night” pattern, because it was actually pretty boring after a second, but it turned out beautifully and i look forward to gifting it.

As much as I’d love to focus on creating some of my own knitwear designs again, I am actually enjoying being a “lazy knitter” – meaning, just knitting from someone else’s patterns, these days – picking the yarn and perhaps making a minor modification here and there and otherwise just doing what i’m told, pretty much. And i’m leaning, heavily, toward projects that don’t require a lot of thinking (this also makes them good for our knit night, which is comprised of five or six forty-something kinda-hippie chicks who chatter a lot – so knitting requiring thinking or excessive counting or concentration is out).

Most recently, I started another “thinking-free” pattern – it’s a beautiful throw, and a free pattern from Red Heart called the Squared Shades Throw (yep, you heard correctly, I said Red Heart). While I am not using Red Heart yarn to knit this throw, I actually DID buy a couple of skeins of their suggested yarn for this recently. It’s called Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable, and it’s a long-pattern, self-striping acrylic that’s spun to look like single-ply wool – and it might just be the prettiest, coolest yarn Red Heart has dealt with. 

Yeah, acrylic makes me cringe a bit strictly for the fact that it’s a petroleum product and we’re pretty much killing ourselves off in the name of petroleum projects, but seriously, this is a cool yarn. I wish it could be made from recycled plastics or something.

I’m not using it for this throw tho, I’m using another cheapie available at Walmart.com called Elegant Yarns Kaleidoscope (though I got mine on Ebay). The ill on this one? It’s actually WOOL and would probably be really fun to felt as it’s a nice splitty single-ply, but my beef with this one (other than the fact that I have to buy it at Walmart now since i bought up the last of the ebay seller’s stock) is that it’s made in China. No telling what kind of animal cruelty went with that one. China is horrific in its commercial treatment of animals. I could go on for days.

All this is to say that as much fun as I’m having knitting, I’m really also starting to focus more on how my favorite hobby can contribute to some bad things in this world, and how things like the concept of S.A.B.L.E. (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) really kind of gross me out. It’s easy to get caught up in fondling yarn, saying silly “eee” words like “yummy, cardi, squishy” etc., and forgetting that there are often environmental and ethical costs to our luscious habit – not to mention the fact that stocking an ENTIRE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE full of yarn is really kind of… well honestly? sure, nothing can be more fun to me than opening up my overstuffed plastic bin full of yarn and fondling the crap out of the alpaca, but still… 

In the meantime, I’m going to knit up this 8 skein pile (oh, the biggest single-purchase project for me ever – until this blanket I haven’t EVER knit something that required 8 skeins!) of probably-unethical yarn into this beautiful throw. Here’s what it looks like so far, in the “Confetti” colorway:

Image

 

Can you blame me?

I’m also using Knitter’s Pride Cubix birchwood needles for this project. I had NO size 9 needles in my needle stash, so I used a Jimmy Beans Wool gift certificate I had to buy a set of interchangeable size 9 along with cables in all sizes. The cables are only $2.30 apiece, but the needles range anywhere from eight to fifteen bucks a pair. But I do love me some square needles, and I really, really love these, so I will probably start filling in as needed (i would LOVE to get rid of my scattered collection of fixed circulars in larger sizes, since they just take up so much space and are mostly Clover bamboos). They are, especially for wood, deliciously pointy – just perfect enough, especially for a splitty, single-ply yarn. And the cables, while they are pretty stiff and plasticy for a second, soften up nicely with a little hot water treatment and some use. I really like them. 

And so that’s that. I’m off to edit Japanese Garden and reupload it in a few places, and perhaps do some actual work here at my shop. Perhaps. 

New Errata for Japanese Garden pattern

February 11, 2014

How this has gone for four years without mention is beyond me, but I will be updating this pattern as soon as I have the chance.

For now, please check the errata page for info. Row 3 has been addressed, as well as a new link provided for how to perform the C2F and C2B stitches via a YouTube video that will hopefully have more longevity than the original link I provided (a yarn shop site that disappeared).

Now on Etsy: Instant pattern downloads!

February 5, 2014

I have so much more to blog about here when it comes to yarny things, but for now, just a note – I don’t honestly spend a lot of time on Etsy most of the time anymore, so I had no idea until I was viewing another seller’s shop that you could offer instant digital downloads these days – so i have updated my shop there!

Now you can instant-download my patterns on Ravelry, Etsy, AND Craftsy. No more of me having to ship them off my phone!

Knitting Frenzy

December 8, 2013

So yeah it has been in the single digits here in Shasta, so needless to say it has been fun knitting lots of things (you can just assume from here on out that all links in this post will lead to Ravelry). Celestine proved itself to be a little difficult to take to knitting night so in search of an “easier” pattern I picked out Starghan, using Cascade’s Pacifica – a superwash wool/acrylic blend that I LERVE – except that this pattern and I seem to be a bad mix. Mostly I spend nights knitting a few rows, and then unknitting them. I have put it aside, and am actually thinking perhaps to frog what little has been solidified, and reknit it using some chunkier needles.

What sparked that? I knit a star-crossed slouchy beret for my cousin with some good ole Cascade 220 and I decided using size 11 needles and watching a hat appear in a couple of hours with some awesome softness to the fabric was a place I enjoyed being… And perhaps I could watch this blanket expand at a faster pace…

My wrists are killing me tho – the cold, the repetitive motion… And repetitive it is, because I have just worked up a Pekin Watch Hat for a friend. I keep finding myself frustrated that I paid for this pattern when it is so basic – but I did learn something when doing the tiny chunk of short rows that I can utilize in a hat of my own design later on (and what, exactly, is a “Pekin Watch Cap”? I am very curious – google provided nothing except a link to a small town in the Midwest – is that it?)

And because I am not entirely sure how I feel about this hat and whether it’s prospective wearer will actually like it, I am following this with a Twigs earflap hat – I’ll decide when they’re both finished which one he gets, or I’ll then move on to designing my own using elements of both, because neither of these are exactly what I am looking for but there are elements in each that could be put together once I know some basic structure. And I have to do that by knitting it…

So there may be a plethora of hats around here, and maybe eventually a new pattern here to share too. Who knows.

In other news, I finally blocked the little triangular scarf I knit a while back and once it’s dry I will block the simple lace scarf I knit my dad’s wife last winter. I mention these things because they have been hanging out in my Ravelry projects as 95% complete and there is that feeling of well, completion, that comes from actually COMPLETING SOMETHING and marking it as such, moving it away from those “works in progress”. That and I wanted to point out that one of the encouraging factors that lead to getting around to blocking this stuff was finding some foam blocking king squares from an Ebay vendor that were like, eight bucks for a set of ten. Well, thirteen after shipping. Still cheaper than many other options. No grids or anything like that, but fine for simple wet/mist blocking needs.

Yeah they come from China and good god the smell is bizarre when you first open them – sort of minty, sort of disinfectanty, lol… But I didn’t feel like spending three times that much to buy them from Knitpicks. But you can buy all sorts of different configurations of “floor mat puzzles” here and use them as blocking mats that you can shape to your needs. I am happy. They will get a lot of use between me and my daughter :)

And now, back to it. Once my daughter goes to sleep I will clean up the magic wand making materials, take Strawberry Shortcake out of the DVD player and head back into Breaking Bad. waldorf family we are not, despite our wholesome eating habits, magickal crafts and nature altars. Sometimes we need cartoons. Her imagination is still just awesome, thanks very much. Oh, and today she asked me if I was going to teach her to knit. Awesome.

(Speaking of knitting and Waldorf, that’s a connection i super enjoy – I’ll be looking to Waldorf handwork teaching techniques to begin teaching my daughter when the time is right – so if you are reading this and you’ve got some inside on this, get to me – and no, sending her to a waldorf school is out of the question. There isn’t one here.

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