30 March 2007

Temptation vs. Motivation

Which one will win?

I will finish my poor sleeve-less sweaters. I will finish my poor sleeve-less sweaters. I will finish my poor sleeve-less sweaters. *sigh*

29 March 2007

Scout Rocks!

This is from Beverly. It's Scout's birthday, so post three reasons that Scout rocks and then tell her to visit your blog!

1. Scout rocks because she is one of the most positive people ever! It is impossible to talk to her without getting a smile on your face. Her enthusiasm is infectious.

2. Scout rocks because she is always thinking of her friends, and how she can help them and take them along on her magic carpet ride. She has such a huge heart.

3. Scout rocks because she is amazingly talented in so many things.

Happy birthday Scout! You're the best!

And last but definitely not least...thank you all so much for the kind wishes. You made me feel wonderful! :)


28 March 2007


Recently, I've been going through what my Southern grandmother used to call a "Baptism by Fire." She had a lot of great little anecdotes and homilies that have stuck with me throughout my life. She always made me think, take a little step back and examine my actions.

But I digress.

It's been difficult. Very difficult. But it is, perhaps, one of those clouds with silver linings, of which my grandmother always spoke. Because, you see, I have found out who my friends are. And you are wonderful people. You have stood by me and loved me, and been kind. You and my family have brought joy and caring to me. I cannot express the gratitude and love I have for you all. You brighten my life. Thank you.


27 March 2007

La Beada Loca

Woohoo! I finished Scout's Bauble and I am in love! I may have to make another for myself. But that's ok, (right?) because we probably won't ever run into each other at the grocery store wearing the same thing.

So here's the quick overview of the process. I started out with my "yarn" - a strand of beads:

Robin asked before whether I had any tips to for stringing, because it takes awhile. I just put all my beads in bowls and leave them out so that I can string when I feel like it - very much like my knitting. I rarely ever get any uninterrupted time, so I work on things piecemeal. Sometimes I really get into the Zen of it and then I can bead or knit for hours on end. With so much going on, however, those days are very few! I strung the beads for this Bauble over about 5 days.

After putting bead stop coils (I made my own from copper wire, but you can get them pre-made at a beading store) on both ends of the strand, I cast on. Note: I did *not* cut the elastic at this time, in case I needed to add more beads at the end of the bracelet.

It's a backwards loop cast-on with a little trick thrown in. I put the bead stop coil over the needle when I begin. It holds everything in place so I don't need to tie a knot. Once I get to the end of the second row, I no longer need the coil around the needle, and I just take it off when I come to it and knit on. I knit the 35 rows:

And then it was time to graft the ends together. I first checked to make sure that the bracelet was long enough, and since it was, I cut the elastic. I couldn't find my large eye needle, so I didn't take any pictures of the ensuing mess. *g* I was tired of looking for the needle and I just threaded the bead stop coils through. It worked, but it was ugly. At the end, I had a few beads too many so I just took those off.

Now, several people have asked questions about the crimping portion of the bracelet, so I decided to come up with another option. For this Bauble, I tied a square knot, put a dab of superglue on it and tucked it inside a 6mm bead. You can see the knot here, with the light behind it:

After the glue was perfectly dry, I trimmed the ends of the cord. Et voila!!!

Isn't it purdy? I'm very happy with it. I hope Scout likes it! :)

In other news, I have been cheating on my orange sweater. The siren song of fuzzy soft mohair came to me and I was lost, because if you have a ton of UFOs, everyone knows you should cast on for something else. Right? I decided to give Poppy a try, but in mohair. I am following the true spirit of Yarn Play: experimentation. :) Of course, that means I am only following the pattern peripherally. Heh. But I am loving it! It has turned into more of an empire waist sweater, with a cowl. I haven't knit the sleeves yet, but they will be very similar to the book. I am using black mohair and a variegated mohair. I am really happy with it so far; there's nothing like mohair to make you feel happy!

Next up: sleeves!

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23 March 2007


I've begun stringing and swatching for Scout's Bauble (we have a great trade set up)! She loves purples, grays and blacks, so I made a trip to the bead store (which is right next to the yarn store - what could be better?!) and found some really cool beads. First, I mixed the larger beads in a clear glass bowl (important to see accurate colors), in fairly even quantities. I added and subtracted until I liked the look of the mixture. Then I started stringing with some opalescent purple seed beads, but it was missing something. So I went and found some cool little triangular black matte seed beads that I knew I had in stash. The mix was perfect!

After I had strung about a foot, I did a mini swatch, to see how it was looking. Good. Onward. After stringing almost a yard, I did a larger swatch to get a look at the effect:

I love it! It' s a little difficult to see the proper colors in the above picture, but the real thing is a gorgeous mixture of colors and finishes. I hope she likes it!

One of the things Ive heard from people doing Bauble is that, after stringing, they find that the beads they have used are too large or just don't look like they intended. My advice is to swatch swatch swatch! *g* I have tried many combinations that looked great in my mind's eye and looked horrible in real life. It's fairly easy just to slip your coil bead stops on the strand so the beads don't slip while you knit a little swatch. And it is *so* worth it! After swatching, just unravel the length of beads and keep on stringing. Or try a different combination, as the case may be.

So, what do you think, Scout? :)

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21 March 2007


Isn't it beautiful? I love wisteria! There's a whole giant vine of it in bloom in our backyard. The smell is intoxicating! Happy spring, everyone! :)


18 March 2007


St. Patrick's Day is over, so orange is back in! Here's the neckline:

I love the way it turned out. And here's the progress to date on sleeve(s).

As I had mentioned before, I decided to knit them down from the armscye and unvented Barbara Walker's technique. Heh. But I did end up looking in my "Knitting from the Top" book (awesome!) and got her take on it. I could have saved myself some serious time if I had just looked there first! I think I may have sprained my brain.

Adam asked about how short row shaping works on sleeves.... The short rows shape the sleeve cap much like they would shape the heel on that sock you mentioned! Really, all that is happening here is that, instead of shaping for a heel, you are shaping for the shoulder. On a sweater with drop shoulders, you wouldn't need any shaping because the sleeve is not rounded at all at the top. But if you look at a tech drawing of a shaped sleeve, the top is rounded to fit the shoulder. The short rows accomplish that shaping without me having to pick up a sewing needle to sew in my sleeves. *g*

To start, I picked up stitches all the way around and then knit two thirds of the way around, turned and began my short row shaping using Japanese short rows. Bb has asked me to explain these, so that will be my next post!

I love the way it fits - but I don't like the ridge I get here:

Here it is a little closer:

I'm only getting it on one side, which happens to be the back on this sleeve. However, the other side will have the ridge on the front, which I don't want. I think it will be more pronounced when it is blocked, so I am planning on a slight change on the next sleeve. I want to pick up as I go - knitting short rows around the sleeve (I will mark stitches first) so that the ridge is buried along the armscye. A friend suggested that I just sew up the other sleeve a bit to hide the ridge, and I think I will do that. I can't face ripping it out. Here is the other side of the sleeve and the underarm:

What I'm guessing is that the ridge on the other side is just from the stitches being deformed when they are forced to slant from the short rows. Has anyone else found this to be the case? And have you solved it?


15 March 2007


Julie sent a picture of her newly finished Venezia napkin rings, taken with her camera phone before she wrapped them up to give away! Aren't they pretty? I love them! :)

In other news...guess what this is!

Yes! I blocked the poor, neglected Estonian Garden Shawl! It's not the most perfect blocking job, but it will do very nicely I think. :)

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13 March 2007

Another Bauble is born!

Look! Steph finished her Bauble!

How cool is that? Isn't it gorgeous?!

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07 March 2007

Breaking News!

The spring Knitty is up, and with it, my beaded bracelet pattern, Bauble! Here's the original, in greens and blues:

and here's what it looks like in blacks and grays:

I've set up a knit-along group for anyone who wants to knit Bauble or Venezia (my pattern for knitted wire napkin rings from the last Knitty), and get a bit of technical help or just talk about it! You can join here. Hope to see you there!

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04 March 2007


Whew! What a week! :) I still haven't blocked my shawl, but I am getting my blocking wires out right after I write this.

I've been working on my orange sweater, but not getting much time to do that. Here it is after I did a three needle bind-off on the shoulders:

I decided to knit the mock turtle while thinking about the sleeves. You see, I hate sewing in sleeves. Really, I hate sewing knitted pieces together at all, so I have been knitting it in the round. Here I have marked the neckline off in sections and am picking up stitches:

And here it is ready to knit the collar, using a modified magic loop that I saw over on the Rainey Sisters blog. I love it! You don't have to knit across the cable. :)

I did decide to knit the sleeves from the armhole down. They are shaped, so I have spent a lot of time musing on how best to accomplish this feat. I came up with my plan and was telling my friend Therese, who immediately said, "Oh! I have a bunch of notes on doing that. I'll send them to you." And all I could think was "Duh! Why do I always have to go re-inventing the wheel?!" I then checked my copy of "Knitting from the Top" by the amazing Barbara Walker, and lo and behold, I had "un-vented" her method. Oh, well! Nice to know it works! ;)

Next: short-rowed sleeves for people who hate sewing pieces together.

Now about that shawl....