Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Gift Revealed!

I couldn't blog about this because Tiny is just too darn smart. She may not read this blog often, but she would if I posted her gift. From the TV series, Firefly, comes this Jayne hat. Tiny admired mine, and kept walking away with it, so I knew just what to make for her Christmas gift. She and I both discovered the show this year, and we've reached fangirl status, I think. And yes, the hat looks kind of unfashionable and goofy. Now picture it on the toughest tough you can imagine. After receiving it in a box from his mother, he wears it through much of the series. You gotta love a man who appreciates his mama. Quotable line: "A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything."

and in other news...
Dr. Gemma, host of the Cogknitive Podcast, has started a KAL (that's Knit-A-Long, and yes, there's also a crochet version). It's about the Mother Bear Project. To quote their site:
The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children
affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the
form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear. The simple gift of a hand-knit bear
with a tag signed by the knitter has touched children with the message that they
are unconditionally loved.
So, the goal is to knit one or more of these bears for this terrif charity. Each bear made and sent gets you an entry in a drawing. Cool, huh? If you'd like to join, here's the Ravelry link.

I finished this little girl at Panera this morning. I'm calling her Caprica Bear because she's kind of a tribute to an iconic sci-fi character.

We're having our annual New Year's Eve Game Night. I've got to get cooking and cleaning. Stop by if you're in the area!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

I dunno if I told you that I was involved in a speed knitting game about a month ago. I was waiting with bated breath when the pattern was released, yarn in hand. I knitted like a demon until I...
  1. ran out of yarn
  2. got beat out by my competitor.

So I put it aside until I had time to find more yarn (hence the black thumbs) and knit on it. Time was found to finish 'em today. I think that puts me dead last in the whole speed knitting thing. Meh.

and thanks to Katie, my very willing hand model today at SD Central Knitters. What delicate little hands, huh?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Color Your Mother Warned You About

The color red is dangerous. We all know this. That's why they make stoplights red: "Whoa! Hold on, there, pardner!" And stop signs: "This is a dangerous place; pay attention." And a gal in a red dress--we know she's out to get our man. (Not me, though. When I'm wearing red, it just means I'm a very nice person who happens to be wearing red today and that has no bearing on the fact that I wore a short red dress when I was playing a hot chica in a murder mystery. None whatsoever.) But the point I was trying to make before I ran off to tangent-ville is that red is trouble. And the trouble with fiber is, it bleeds. I know other colors bleed, too, but red is too often the culprit. So we wash our red fabrics before we put 'em into a quilt. We stabilize the color in embroidery floss as best we can. We even avoid it in our dishes because there's some kind of radioactive chemical in it that will turn us all into intelligent cockroaches or something, according to the Man of the Place. (Hmmm, maybe I wasn't really paying attention. Ya think?)
So I was a understandably concerned about this red cotton stria. I decided to knit up the sweater first and face that problem later, but before I attached the WHITE flower. So, here's what I did: I put it in a bath of cool water and Orvus Quilt Soap. Soaked it for a few minutes and, get this: the water didn't even turn light pink! Shock the monkey, was I surprised!

Then I attached the flower, the bobble buttons, and the stem for a big hooray!And here's the payoff:No,wait Sweetie, hold still for the camera:Good enough! That's about as still as a healthy sixteen-month old can get. She's so worth the knitting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The green fairy is giving away a pound cake, jelly roll, and pattern. It's happening on Tuesday, so hurry up and go get 'em!
Oh. You thought I meant a cake cake and a jelly roll with real jelly, huh? Nope. It's a quilting term. They cut and stack a variety of fabrics in a certain way (i.e. a cake or a roll) and give 'em tempting names. Trust me, it works.

Now, let me see, preheat the oven to 350 degrees...

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Every week the Man of the Place gets up early and heads out to the organic farmer's market and picks up fresh produce. I'm not so much into cooking these days, so I love it when I don't have to do much to make it a yummy dish. For example, these green beans just needed to be trimmed and boiled for five minutes. The guacamole just needed to be mooshed up and left alone--my specialty! (not guacamole, leaving the food alone) And the tamales were frozen: all I had to do was put 'em on the steam flower with boiling water and leave 'em alone (see above about my specialty.)
This means I had more time to work on my little Pretty Cylon Baby sweater. Read that as more time to ignore the problem. See how it looked at 1:30 today? Notice anything strange? How 'bout now? Yeah. The sleeves are two different lengths. (sigh) Now I have to find someone with a hump to give it to.
Or I could, you know, fix it.

Snagafrabadeekalabafooey. (This is the sound of me grumbling, in case you were going for the urban dictionary.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

No! Not More Booties?!

Yup. Sophie posted a comment last time asking where to get the pattern for the Hartfield Gloves. It's a Knitty online pattern called Verdigris, by Rosemary Hill who, by the bye, is very nice.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Early this year, I heard the phrase, The Year of No-Fear Knitting. I liked it. I thought to myself, "Why not? What's the worst thing that could happen? I try something way beyond my ability and tangle up some yarn to the point it has to be thrown away? Big deal." So I went for it and the proof is in the pudding. Well, the knitting anyway.
This time last year, this was a challenging project. I didn't want to try anything harder. In fact, I made three pairs of these pretty mitts. I might make more.But now, this is my level. I'm not afraid to read charts. To work with thinner yarns. Complicated? Maybe. But it's like when I was learning to drive. I was taught that, when you're driving in the rain, a ball bounces in front of you, and another car is headed toward you, SLOW down. When you slow down, many problems sort themselves out before they even get to you. I think life is like that, too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Under the Weather

You know how they teach you in geology that there is magma deep under the earth's crust? That's about as far under the weather I am. Deep. The Man of the Place said I'd be feeling better today, but I sure showed him! Ha! I win. (But the prize really stinks.)
Today, Tiny had soccer practice near where we meet for knit group so I figured I'd join 'em--from another table to avoid infecting anyone--while I waited for her. It was so nice being around the girls, even when under the weather. I worked on this little red sweater: it's mostly stockinette so I prefer to knit this when I'm otherwise distracted. TV, conversation, reading... it's all good for this project. It's a Christmas giftie so I should get it done ASAP.
However, I have to have a little fun. I've been just speeding along on a project with no deadline. Another pair of what? Socks. Of course. You know I've got to make socks. It's turned into a compulsion. This one takes some attention, but I'm okay with that. These are called Dippers. The author says that the pattern looks like honey dippers. Really? If you say so.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Coming!

Yes, Christmas is on its way! In our household, we have a special type of advent calendar. On either side of our dining room hangs a strand of twelve tiny stockings. I made these stockings a few years ago and Tiny has loved 'em ever since. They're big enough to hold a few pieces of candy, a lip balm, a gift card, or any number of tiny things from a Korean gift shop that Tiny is partial to.
Every morning when she gets up she empties one with a secretive little grin on her face. I thought she might have outgrown them, but she has requested that they be sent to her when she goes off to college...! (I'm sure she wants them full!)Why bother growing up when the toys are still good?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lining a Knitted Pouch or Pocket.

As I've finished my New Earth Bag, I thought I'd go over my instructions for making the lining my way. I like to make the lining stitches invisible and this is how I do it.
  1. Make a lining pocket just slightly smaller than the inside measurements of your pouch. Clip corners and iron seams open. Fold top edge out 1/2" and iron down. Make sure to keep right side of fabric on inside.
  2. Insert lining into bag and pin generously. Those yellow things are my pins.
  3. With needle and thread, come in from wrong side of lining (between lining fabric and knitted fabric) and secure the knot.
  4. Begin stitching, coming up through the top edge of the lining fabric and going out through your knitting. Go under a stitch (here a purl bump) and through another before you go back into the lining. Wiggle the thread as neccessary to hide it. Remove the pins as you get to them.
  5. Continue in this manner all the way around. Knot your stitching in your favorite way and hide the knot. Cut thread and put away the needle before somebody steps on it and blames you for their bad luck.
  6. Admire your handiwork.

If this process doesn't appeal to you, I've decided to offer my services to do it for you. That's right. I can be bought. Well, rented, anyway. Just contact me here on my blog and we'll have a chat.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stick a Fork in It!

Good news! I'm stuck in the house. The rain is coming down like reporters on a celebrity just out of rehab. And it's cold. Okay, cold for Southern California. Might be 55 degrees. Brrr, better blanket down the horses, Lizzie! Why is this good news, you might ask?
  1. I'm drinking up our too full tea stash in an effort to warm my insides.
  2. I can wear all the wool socks my little heart--or my little feet--desire.
  3. I'm catching up on my reading. Not of great literature or health updates, but I'm way behind on my blogs.
  4. I now have a chance to finish Chocolate Kisses by my deadline of this Sunday. And it's Saturday.
Chocolate Kisses--the Original--was done to pattern until it disappointed me by ending too soon. I had to finish the ball of the foot and the toe in my standard sock style. I even had to frog (rip-it) back over the toe a second time because it was still too short. But I finally got it done.
Chocolate Kisses--the Second Sock--is being created in a way that mimics the Original but is not "refootable." I decided to use a super-stretchy cast-on. It resisted and resisted, but I finally beat it into submission. That mostly called for, um, paying attention to the instructions. Who would have guessed?And... my goal of reading all six of Jane Austen's published novels this year is completed! Now, that's a good feeling. The funny thing is that if you asked me which one was my favorite, I'd have to say, almost without exception, whichever one I was reading at the time. The last one I read was Northanger Abbey: I think it was the best one for me. But it couldn't make a good teleplay or movie without a narrator. Jane was really quite present in the story: she had a wry wit about her own stories and the popularity of "horrid novels." So there was a regular interruption in the tale, explaining why the main character wouldn't be a good heroine or that nothing intervened to stop her from meeting someone important. This was certainly the funniest. And therefore the best.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Sock With an Agenda

This sock has it in for me. After all the attention and almost monogamous knitting I've given to it, you'd think it would be grateful. Loving. Appreciative. But no. It hates me. How do I know it hates me? Let me enumerate.
  1. No matter how I twist the stitches, I still wind up with holes where I picked up the instep.
  2. The first time I finished it, including grafting the end, it was too short. The above picture is at the point in the pattern where I am supposed to decrease for the toe. Really?
  3. The second time I finished it, it was still too short.
  4. It makes my hands hurt. Normal yarn doesn't do that so easily.
  5. I set a goal of finishing the PAIR by November 29. It's trying to drag me down.
I think it knows I put brown in contention, along with orange, for my least favorite colors. I thought I had disguised my, at best, ambiguity towards that color by giving it a sweet name: Chocolate Kisses. Clearly, it's on to me. I think it's time I take it out into the woods and have a little "hunting accident," never mind that I don't hunt. Maybe a "hiking accident."
Speaking of hiking, I'm up to 97 geocaches found--almost to my first milestone of 100. One of the most recent was amazing: Pirate Landing. The cacher went over the top on this one: burlap and leaves were glued to the top of the container and the whole thing had a serious pirate theme. Very cool!
And then there are hiking socks: these are the ones I knitted from Wick: 49% soy yarn. I must be wearing them a lot because I'm washing 'em every week. They're comfortable inside my hiking boots and my walking shoes. And Tiny said, "Those look like real socks." That's success.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Look at all these little parts. What could these bits and bobs be when assembled? Here's a hint:The answer will be revealed at the bottom of this post.
I've gotten more work done on Chocolate Kisses Socks. They're close to brainless, which makes them a perfect TV watching project. Speaking of TV, I just got the news that Dollhouse has been cancelled. It's one of my current faves and I'll be sad to see it go.

And more brainless knitting (until I get to the hard parts): I'm calling this Pretty Cylon Baby because I started it for the Battlestar Galactica Fleet Power Battle on Ravelry. It's for an adorable baby, but aren't they all?! Are you ready? Do you have your guess?

And the answer is: a hippity hoppity bunny rattle! It's from the same book as the above sweater, Itty-Bitty Nursery, but understandably much faster.
Did you guess it? If you did, you may be smarter than a fifth grader. And probably me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sock World

This yarn is too bright. Too too bright. I knitted up a whole half-a-sock before I saw that. But I couldn't ignore it. So I pulled it out. Completely back in the ball. I think it will be stunning with black. But all by itself: no. Not on my watch.
And I started working with this yarn: Rowan Calmer. This stuff feels sooooo good. Must be the microfiber. I'm making socks with it. Ooh, surprise, socks, I hear you saying. The color is dark chocolate, so I'm calling this project Chocolate Kisses. Yummy!
Dinner out with the fam tonight. So nice, we went to a pan-Asian restaurant on the beach. We had pineapple curry, Chinese fried rice, and mysterious skinny noodles with tofu. The decor was Thai/New Orleans. Sounds weird, but it was great.
Brain tired. Must sleep now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beading on Knits Tutorial

What you'll need:

  1. A finished piece of knitting or crochet--why, I just happen to have one here! (Yes, I finished knitting the New Earth Bag for Pretties and sewed up the sides.)

  2. Beads of appropriate size and color--it's okay to audition various types. I find that just laying them on top of the fabric will tell me if I want 'em.

  3. A needle that will go through the beads with room to spare for the thread

  4. Thread. I got mine in a very special way: I happen to be working with a yarn that is really eight strands twisted together. I untwisted the end and pulled out a strand at a time. I threaded my needle with two strands and that worked just fine. You could also use sewing thread or beading thread, depending on how much wear your finished piece will be getting. Mine will get very little so I can go easy.

Now to the work: This is for a piece that will be lined, with fabric covering the inside. For this reason, I will leave knots and not bother with burying the ends.

  1. Tie a knot in the end of your thread, leaving a tail of about 1". Anchor your thread in the back of your work.
  2. Come up through the fabric where you want your beads to start.
  3. Thread your beads onto your needle. Here I used four.
  4. Here's a tricky part: slide the beads down to your fabric and lay them down as you want them to be sewn. Take the needle under the knitted stitch at the end of the bead row. Go under more stitches until you get to about the center of the bead row. (For this project it was 3 purl bumps and 2 beads.) You may notice that I moved the unanchored beads away so we can see where the needle is going.
  5. Draw up the slack in the thread, gently! Don't tighten it. Now you can see the thread coming out about halfway on the bead row.
  6. Take the needle back through the first half of the bead row. This will keep the beads from flipping around.
  7. Go down through the fabric and back to step #2.

Continue like this until you can say, "Aw done!" If you're lining the piece, as I am, you don't have to weave in the ends. Don't cut 'em too close, though. Leave tails on the back for extra security.Jasmin suggested I add beads to the front, so I did. Just a little, under each bobble. The center one doesn't get a bead because it acts as the toggle in the loop closure. As a very obvious person, sometimes I like a little subtlety.And here it is! Ready for lining. I may just do a photo tutorial on that later.