A group knitting blog.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

We are not alone

I was perusing the iTunes store in search of Vicki Howell's new podcast. I was completely distracted by the New and Notable section because there I saw Kintterati by Nina Casey. It seemed almost like fate, so I had to download it. It is a videocast about knitting and I think it has a lot of potential. During this twenty minute cast I heard a fantastic story about the Yarn Harlot Represent Event, I learned about naalbinding, I gathered all sorts of travel knitting tidbits, and learned how a caliper might help me out in my knitting future. Kintterati has, without a doubt, the best sound quality I have encountered in a first cast. Since it is a vidocast, as opposed to a audio only podcast, the files are larger and it takes a long time for my lagging internet to get it all to me. I think it was worth the wait and I'm looking forward to the next episode. Maybe if I find myself addicted, I try to persuade her to release an audio version.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yarn Rave

I would like to take this moment to rave about Malabrigo worsted weight yarn. I started Foliage from the Fall Knitty with a skein that I had received in a yarn swap--a beautiful skein dyed lovely shades of red ("Amoroso" was the color).

I have to say that I'm in love with this yarn. It's kettle-dyed pure merino wool from Uruguay, and it is so soft. Normally, wool makes me itchy, but this yarn is squishy and soft and wonderful. I want to knit a whole sweater out of it. I want to buy lots of it for presents. It's such a great yarn, and I'm going to adore my hat when it's done.

Yay for awesome yarn!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Ooh, ooh, it's the Fall Knitty! I know I'm planning to make this hat out of some red Malabrigo that's been taunting me from my stash, and maybe this sweater...such great patterns!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I want Ravelry!

Found you!
  • You signed up on August 1, 2007
  • You are #22332 on the list.
  • 6805 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 12223 people are behind you in line.
  • 44% of the list has been invited so far

Will it ever arrive? *sigh*

Saturday, September 8, 2007

FO: A Dishcloth!

It's my very first dishcloth, knit for the Dishrag Tag! I completed it in less than 24 hours (I'm not sure how much actual time was spent knitting, but I started at 7pm on Friday, and finished at 7am on Saturday.)

The dishrag tag was fun, and even though I knew our team didn't stand a chance against much speedier knitting teams, I still wanted to be fast. It was a fun dishcloth to knit (I don't know how to link to the pattern, but it's on the Dishcloth Boutique in the sidebar), and I really liked how the yarn made pretty stripes, which were much richer than they appear in the photos. I was almost sad to send it off, it was so nice, but luckily I didn't spend enough time with it to get too attached. :)

I see why knitters like dishcloths--(almost) instant gratification, and you get to knit up nifty looking things! I think I'll try my hand at a few more in the future. Plus, they make nice gifts.

I'm now gearing up for ISE5...and so is Secret Knitter. Better sign up quick if you want to get in on the action!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Triplets!

My friends have triplets that will be turning 5 on Monday. In celebration of their birth and my new knitting skillz I made them birthday gifts. (Ok, so maybe I'm not good enough to merit the z yet, but I'm trying.) All three of these patterns came from New Knits on the Block, and all three of them were pretty easy.

Sorry about the blurry picture, trust me it looks pretty much the same when it is not blurry.

The fireman's hat didn't felt quite right so it kinda has a animated Dr. Seuss shape, but if the Cat in the Hat wanted to fight fire, this is what he'd be wearing.

This one was the hardest. Not because it was really hard , but because the pattern in the book was wrong. I didn't have any trouble finding the corrections, but I did have to frog from about the shoulders back to the beginning.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ravelry, here I come!

Found you!
  • You signed up on June 8, 2007
  • You are #7748 on the list.
  • 300 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 14196 people are behind you in line.
  • 33% of the list has been invited so far

If you've put your name in the hopper for an invite to Ravelry, the stash-, project-, and knit-crochet-life-organizing website that all the knitters are raving about, check out the new little widget they have put up to show you where you are in line.

Lookee me! I'll be in there before you know it. There are 14,000 people behind me. Just what I need right before the semester starts -- a new website to fuss over. Since fussing over cool new free web applications is What I Like Best, I cannot wait. But my classes may suffer. Do you think a Ravelry disclaimer on my syllabi is in order?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kniterati--Going Virtual

The upcoming semester promises to keep me extremely busy. I have class on the night that we will ordinarily meet, and it appears that other nights are busy as well (I have class two nights a week, and other members have things on other nights that keep them busy).

So, Kniterati will be meeting virtually until the dust settles from the Fall. Please post! And recruit more friends to the knitting cause. I promise to finally finish that top that I've been working on--it's so close right now.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Catching Up

First: The Hat With a Story

In a far away city not so long a go, a young woman was inspired by the culture. So inspired that she designed a scarf. She shared her scarf with the world and it in turn inspired many. Soon her scarf was being made in all sorts of sizes and colors. Then, it inspired another knitter to design a hat. That hat inspired me to knit for my yarn swap pal. It was difficult at first, I knit and knit and knit, and I just couldn't see how it was going to work my hat looked flat and not like what I was trying to make. I told myself it was time to just trust the pattern, and pushed on. Eventually, it all made sense and what I was looking for started to appear. By the time I bound off the side piece, I had made exactly what I was looking for. I finished my very first hat, and it almost kind of matched the scarf I bought her in Paris.

I also think I understand why people love making this scarf so much. Quite simply, it is because you get to drop stitches on purpose. It was truly empowering to have one of my most dreaded mistakes become a design element.

Next: A Little Something For Me

The person in my yarn swap that is sending packages to me, made my vow to use my yarn on something for myself. So I started right away on a Sophie using my beautiful Wool of the Andes. No matter how much I photograph this wool, the picture never turns how how I see it. I think it is purple, the pictures always look really blue. Here is the best picture I could get of the color. Sophie was a fun quick knit and my first time to felt. I actually think I felted it a bit too much. My purse doesn't hold quite all of the things that I think I would want it to, but being so little made it absolutely adorable. It still holds all of the things that I would like it to; keys, wallet, phone, comb, chap stick. I just normally like my purse to be big enough for a paperback and that certainly won't fit in there.

Finally: The Huggable Hedgehog

A friend of mine is pregnant, and I'm making her a baby blanket. It has been tons of fun, she helped me pick out the pattern and the yarn. I decided that I wanted to make something else for her that was a surprise. Something that she isn't expecting and wouldn't know exactly what it is going to look like before I give it to her. So, don't ruin the surprise! (Donna, I'm talking to you :P) I've made one Huggable Hedgehog, and since she is having twins another is on the way. This is the first pattern I've paid for but it was too cute to resist.

These:became this:
which I felted into this:

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Holy moly

Those of you who aren't comic-strips-about-old-people obsessives like myself probably missed Pickles' week of knitting-related strips recently. Here's my favorite:

I have never knitted a mitten, let alone this fast. Now that I know how to do heels and short rows, I like to think I could do a thumb gusset. And my kids could totally use mittens. What about you -- what's your experience with mitten knitting? What's the best way to learn?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Knitting--en espanol

Some of you know that I speak Spanish. Well, I was delighted to run across this website, the first of it's kind, that's a free pattern site (like Knitty). If you don't speak Spanish, you'd still like the pretty patterns that they put up (click on patrones to see the patterns).

For me, it might be a way to brush up on some Spanish (and learn some Spanish knitting terms) so that I can talk about knitting when I go to Spain this winter. Anyway, I thought it was neat, and that you all would enjoy it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sock knit-along update

How goes the sock knitting for the knit-along?

I have one sock down and am cranking away at another. Don't worry if you aren't that far along. I had a head start. Now my desire to finish a pair is pushing me to zip through this second one.

I began sock knitting as a doubter. It seemed awfully difficult. Although some people swear by it, I wasn't so sure that it would hold much interest for me, especially since the knitted socks I was seeing on blogs were all sorts of crazy colors or had frou-frou accoutrements that I would never make or wear.

By no means have I become a member of the sock knitting cult, but I can say that I like making them, just not as a primary knitting project. Socks have provided a good challenge for me, and I'm pleasantly surprised that I've been able to meet it.

I had no preconceptions of what I could or couldn't do when I started knitting, but if pressed for an answer, I probably would have limited my abilities to basic squares or long rectangles--scarves and dishcloths, in other words. I'm still pretty green when it comes to knitting, but one of the most satisfying things is discovering that I can do things like socks that would have seemed impossible to me a month or two ago.

If you're working on yours, hang in there. If you haven't tried, why not give it a shot?

Addendum: My progress just took a major hit.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Secret Summer Swap

I mentioned earlier that I was participating in a Yarn Swap this summer with the wonderful people at the KnittingHelp Forums. Here is the stash that my secret pal spoiled me with:

My camera did not at all do justice to the amazing colors of these yarns. The Wool of the Andes is an incredibly deep purple (Hyacinth). It is very regal. I love it! The Shadow is a fantastic burnt orange (Campfire) that is going to be a beautiful accent that pulls out the red in my strawberry hair. (I'm thinking in maybe a shawl). And the Andean Treasure is a strong earthy green (Moss). Not only do red heads love green, but this is so soft that the best idea that I've got for it right now is to knit a swatch to lay on my pillow and rub my cheek on every night before bed. I really would like to make something with it that I can wear near my head. I know that sounds a little weird but it would really bring out my eyes. Do you guys have any pattern ideas that only take 110yrds of sport weight? I haven't found anything yet. I may end up doing a pattern with two or more colors and buying some more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Knitter Coffee Swap

The Secret Knitter convinced me to participate in a color swap ages ago. That inducted me into the world of knitting swaps, and one of the most recent ones that I joined/completed was the Knitter Coffee Swap. I had a great pal, and she sent me a wonderful package!

It was all somehow crammed into a shoebox (albeit, a big shoe box). Here's it all laid out on the kitchen table:

Yarn, yarn, coffee, the project bag in the upper right hand corner is awesome (I think it's handmade), books, sock knitting pattern--everything she got me was wonderful. So if you're looking for something new and fun for knitting, try swaps. I've just finished up the scarf exchange swap, which was also tons of fun--I'm still waiting for my scarf from my pal, but she's been in touch, so I'll see it soon!

Monday, June 18, 2007


So...I've been knitting and purling wrong this whole time. You know, since I started knitting several years ago. I know it's not technically wrong since it worked and the things I made looked nice, but...I had some misunderstandings.

First I learned the way I was knitting was actually incorrect--I was knitting to back of loops (ktbl) instead of inserting my needle from front to back (left to right). Whoops.

Then this weekend, I figured out that I was wrapping the yarn wrong when I was purling--instead of wrapping it counterclockwise (over and around) I was wrapping it clockwise (under and around). Whoops.

The result was that my stitches were slightly twisted and not laying as flat as they are supposed to. Now that I've figured out the proper technique, they lay much better. Yay!

It's a humbling experience, really, to realize the errors you've been making (and teaching to others) while all right, are not the proper method.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Impromptu Scarf

I've been itching to knit ever since we got back from Europe, so I ordered some Vacation and Get Away from KnitPicks to make a couple toddler ponchos. When I knit up the Get Away, I didn't like it as much. The colors didn't seem to pop and it just looked kinda muddy so I decided to scrap that project and use both the yarns to make Dawn's Scarf. I couldn't figure out the Twisted Drop Stitch so I just ended up doing 2 YO, because I knew they would give me what I was looking for. Here is my finished scarf:

I can't yet decide if it is absolutely adorable, or absolutely hideous. I just can't decide how I feel about the colors.

Is there something that I should do to keep the tassels from fraying?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Insider sock tips

I know, the gall of me--ME!--providing tips on knitting socks, but what is the point of doing the sock knit-along without sharing the knowledge we glean in the process? It's more valuable if we're all making the exact same thing, I suppose, but I've made a few observations that will be helpful if you're new to this as I am. So, three tips:

1. Make a baby-sized practice sock.

With it you can get all of your mistakes out of the way as you figure out what the devil you're supposed to do. My first wasn't fantastic, but it primed my skills for a better, albeit still flawed, second baby sock. Don't knit a second if you don't want to. It was necessary for me to do. That's when the techniques clicked in my brain.

2. Picking up stitches is easier with an empty needle than a working needle.

The instructions I've seen have recommended picking up the first set of the stitches from the heel flap with the working needle. I've found that to add an extra degree of difficulty. Instead I use a spare needle and then slide the stitches onto the other needle.

3. For ssk, slip stitches knitwise.

Perhaps you already know this. I didn't until I saw directions in a sock pattern that specified how to slip in ssk. (I'd been slipping purlwise, which left an unsightly little pattern.)

My sock is coming along nicely. Don't worry, I'm not that fast. I had a head start.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Summer Knitty!

The new summer Knitty is here!

Kathy and I were thinking of using this sock pattern for the Sock KAL.

Great stuff!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kathryn's new project

New shawl project

Starting a new project....a beautiful shawl that I'm knitting from a kit from kpixie (adding a link to the blog for anyone interested).


Tried to find a picture of the pattern (I bought a whole kit so the pattern & yarn came with it...because I'm too lazy to actually pick out yarn colors for myself) but it looks like it's sold out so it's not on the website anymore. Oh well....I suppose I shall just have to post a picture once I make some progress.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in the "oyster" color. Should be really pretty if I ever finish.

Lighted needles?!?

Kpixie.com also sells lighted knitting needles. It looks like they're clear hollow knitting needles with led lights in them. Sweet! I can't really think of a reason to buy them....but they're so cool that I find myself wanting a pair just to have them. But....then I look at the price (around $40) and think of better ways to spend my money.

But....aren't they cool!?!

Sock Knit-Along!

I've been fumbling my way through the sock knitting process, and I could use some company as I attempt to make adult-sized socks. Jenn suggested a knit-along, so what better people to do that than with you all? (Can I get away using that colloquialism as someone north of the Mason-Dixon line?)

I don't really know how KALs work. I assume that individuals agree to knit something at the same time and share their progress, questions, and results. Sounds easy enough.

Jenn has provided some helpful links in the sidebar if sock knitting is new to you too. I used a baby sock pattern to make practice socks. Although my first had some issues, it had a definite sock-ness. The second practice sock came much more easily to me. (From casting on to sewing in the ends, I completed it in about three and a half hours.)

I struggled to understand how to pick up stitches until I went here. The page also links to a video that cleared up my questions and should be beneficial for other new sock knitters.

I'm using this pattern for the socks I'm making myself. Unless you're already well stocked with needles and know the gauge of your yarn, I recommend picking your pattern first. Trust me, it's easier matching the materials to the pattern than vice versa.

I'll be posting updates here and at my blog. If I can do it, so can you. Are you ready to join in the fun?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

How to Block

How Jenn blocked her Branching Out scarf (see previous post):

Step One--start out with wrinkled mess
Step Two--dunk in water (not hot)
Step Three--stretch out on flat surface (I used a big towel--something to soak up the water
Step Four--pin, stretching out to appropriate width, etc.
Step Five--Let dry and unpin.

(close up detail)

Enjoy scarf.

I've had lots of people ask me how I could bear to give away my lovely new scarf. I guess since I set out to knit this for someone else, I never got too attached to it. Okay, I lie--but then I figure I can knit myself one too. It may be a scarf I knit again for gifts (plus I want to try my hand at the pattern with different yarn). It was lovely and soft.

The blocking wasn't that hard for the scarf. I've seen on Knit Picks some things called "blocking wires" (for lace), but I think the easy method of blocking (items in stockinette, for example) is just to pin it down damp, or mist it with a water bottle after pinning. Obviously if the lace is more complex or has fancy edges, the blocking process won't be quite so simple. Here's a lace blocking tutorial that I found on Knit Picks (Warning: PDF file).

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Hey Look...an FO!

I finally finished that scarf. The one I've been whining about for several posts...well, it's finished. And I just want to post pictures of it now.

And just so you know it's me...
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Knitting Rage

So that pattern that I've been working on. It's been giving me some troubles. Lately, not so much (I've been knitting along just fine with few problems), but on Saturday as we were driving along to a going away/graduation party, I hit a patch of problems. And I had a little knitting rage.

Looking back, it was pretty funny, but at the time, I was really mad. I would count a row and come up with the wrong number of stitches. So I'd undo the row, which normally fixes the problem, and still have the wrong number. Then I'd yell and curse at the needles, all the while Lance looking on in alarm. I finally found that I'd dropped a stitch, so I transferred some stitches over to one needle and picked that stitch back up, but then had problems transferring the stitches back. (I blame the yarn on this one--I'm convinced that it's the source of much of the trouble). At one point, as I was counting the stitches, I kept thinking that if they didn't come out right, I would roll down the window and toss the whole mess out. Luckily they came out right, so I was not tempted. After some more cursing on my part, Lance recommended I help myself to one of the drinks we were taking to the party. I calmed down and quit knitting.

Knitting is usually a relaxing hobby for me, but this scarf has been a whole new experience. I think that it's partly because it is humbling: knitting has usually come so easily to me that finding myself struggling and making mistakes is frustrating. It really is a simple lace pattern (I've since figured out that they could be a lot more complex), but since I keep making so many mistakes, it makes me feel like a beginner.

Overall, though, it's not a bad thing. Feeling like a beginner helps me connect to my friends that are just starting to learn, and it helps me to be a better teacher to them. And I have struggled and persevered through the mistakes, and my scarf is turning out beautifully. I'm almost done with it, so soon I'll be able to move on to new challenges. I just hope that knitting rage doesn't strike again...

Thursday, May 24, 2007


So...it's a weekday night...the shower drain's clogged...the boyfriend is away...there are no "real" plumbing tools in sight....and, well, lets face it -- a girl's got to shave her legs. What to do? Get out the size 11 knitting needles of course!

I like unclogging drains. And as a girl that's always had long hair, I have plenty of experience with getting creative about unclogging shower and bathtub drains. Why go through all the trouble of getting out the appropriate plumbing tools when you can unclog a drain with a few readily available household items?

Items Required:
1. Rainbow Vacuum Cleaner: Sure, these vacuums are pricey, but they're the best around. They're like miniature shop vacs. And the best part here is that they can be used to vacuum liquids. Oh....they also come with tons of attachments. (If you don't have a Rainbow Vacuum, you could also use a small shop vac...or another vacuum that can suck up water).
2. Towel
3. Flashlight: To get a good glimpse of what you're pulling out of the drain.
4. Size 11 metal knitting needles

1. Place long wand extension of vacuum in shower drain.
2. Wrap towel around the extension at the drain opening to help in creating additional suction.
3. Turn on vacuum and witness the awesome power of the Rainbow Vacuum.
4. Repeat until "clog" emerges at bottom of drain. You may have to add additional water to drain to aid in moving the clog along.
5. Once clog is in sight, hold flashlight in mouth (because you will be needing both hands....unless extremely skilled in the art of holding two knitting needles in one hand).
6. Use non-pointy end of needles to grab onto clog and slowly pull out of drain.

NOTE: This procedure probably only works with shower drains. Bathtub drains are a little bit different. The problem with our shower drain is that it dropped about a foot before it bent at a right angle. So, even though I was able to use the Rainbow to pull the clog into view, I had to use something long to stick down into the drain. My long metal knitting needles were perfect!

Um, there is a picture of the clog. It's massive. The most impressive clog I have ever seen. However, it is a tad bit unsightly and, well, lets face it, some things are just better left unseen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Some knittin'

I'm working on my scarf for the ISE exchange, and while it's been a pain, knitting lace is actually pretty fun, once you get the pattern down.

I'm using the Branching Out pattern from The Knitty. It's a good beginner lace pattern, and I really like how it's turning out using a mohair/silk blend yarn. It's soft, drapes nicely, and makes me want to rub it on my face instead of knitting.

I have it over halfway done, so I need to get cracking to finish it up by June 7th. I had some issues when I started--I frogged it three times before finally getting a good enough start--and occasionally I still have some issues. It has been a fun challenge though because I can't just let mistakes go, since it'd obviously disrupt the pattern.

Here's another shot of the way the pattern is turning out (Lance thinks it looks like wings, but I think it's leafy):

It also looks really fuzzy against the white. That's part of its charm, the fuzziness. I hope my swap pal will like it!

For those of you looking for a good, easy lace pattern, I'd actually recommend this pattern, but not in the silk/mohair yarn. Use a heavier weighted yarn because this stuff has the tendency to snag and do all sorts of unpredictable things... With a different yarn, I'm sure I would not have had quite the troubles!

Monday, May 21, 2007

One For the Road

I don't imagine I will always be so productive in my knitting, but this project became a little addictive with an exciting deadline. I managed to finish my travel pillow. Don't look at the time stamp on this post. I finished my pillow around 5:00 this evening. It is the packing that I neglected in order to get it done that I just finished now. Either way, everything is done and I am ready for my trip to Europe tomorrow. I even managed to make room for some knitting to do on the plane (assuming they don't decided my wooden needles are weapons). I hope you all have a great time knitting, I'll see you in a few weeks.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Yarn Question

Okay....so I'm still not finished with the handbag that I've been knitting for, like, two months. But I think I've picked out my next big project. I want to do the knitted dress/shirt in the latest edition of the 'knit.1' magazine. It's the picture in the middle by the way...and it comes down to about mid thigh. I think it's really cute....and the patten didn't look like it was too terribly difficult. I figure Jenn can help me get started. :)

Anyhow, with regard to my question, the pattern suggests 13 balls in #8 Brown of Bali by Tahki Yarns (1.75oz/50g balls, each approx 81yd/75m(bamboo)).

I looked online and found the yarn. It's apparently a lightweight bamboo knitted tape yarn. The cheapest I've found online is $6.99 on the yarnware.com website. So...that would be about $90.00. I don't think this is too terribly expensive. I consider it to cover the cost of my knitting entertainment for the next couple of months...so that's not too bad :)

Does anyone have any other suggestions for yarn that could substitute and would be cheaper? I know nothing about yarn but am interested in using the tape yarn. Sounds like fun.

Friday, May 18, 2007


The baby blanket was a fantastic first project, because it taught me so much. Prior to this blanket gage an yarn weight meant nothing to me. Now, they are my new religion. My blanket was suppose to be 36"x36" but since I bought the wrong weight yarn and never even considered making a gauge swatch, it turned out to be about 18"x30". Oh well, instead of a baby blanket for Iona, it has become a stuffed animal/doll blanket for my friend's triplets. There was a slew of other mistakes that I made through out the process, but with the exception of the size issue I think it turned out pretty good.

Next I'm working on a travel pillow. It was a very tempting project for the girl who learned to knit so she could keep herself occupied on road trips. Here is a picture of the top half (without the clouds). If I have room to take some knitting stuff on the plane to Europe with me next week I plan on working on these ponchos for the triplet's birthday.

I've also joined my first knitting swap. It is just a summer swap with no theme. It is being organized by one of the members on a forum that I have been reading. I made our little graphic. Don't tell my currently unassigned secret pal, but I'm hoping to pick them up some lace work from Brussels while I'm there.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!!!!

My mom started taking ashtanga yoga classes a few weeks ago. Now she's totally hooked! I practice ashtanga myself and am thrilled that she has started practicing as well. So....what do you get for a new yogi? A yoga mat of course!

Jenn taught me how to crochet so I made my mom a yoga mat bag. Yeah, I know, it's not the best example of crochet....but I think my mom will like it. So...here are some pictures.

This is the mat...notice sweet Murbella...she can't wait to get her claws into it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Coffee and Knitting

As my participation in the Knitter's Coffee Swap proves, I love to knit while drinking coffee. And as several of the Kniterati also enjoy imbibing caffeine and knitting, we trekked over to our nearest local coffee shop to hold our meeting.

It was a lot of fun. We welcomed one new knitter (finally!), and she did very well with her first swatch. I also taught Kathy to crochet--the OTHER needle art--and she took to it rather quickly. (She wants to make her mom a yoga mat holder). I'm sure we'll be seeing it posted here soon.

I worked a little on my ISE scarf, which is coming along nicely. Soon--when my camera arrives from Mr. Postman--I'll post some pictures of it. I finally got over messing up on every repeat. I've only messed up twice in the last 10 or so repeats, so that was a relief. I need to get this scarf done so I can concentrate on my other projects (like socks!)

[Random interjection: I just went to the LYS, Hand Held, and bought some cool yarn. All of it will be destined for someone else, but it's still fun to buy yarn.]

I think we'll have to meet at the coffee shop again, when I'm not feeling like hosting the Kniterati at my apartment (it's dirty, etc). It was fun, we got to drink coffee, and we drove a girl from a table next to us so we could take it over (hahaha). I'm really enjoying this knitting group.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Practice Piece and the First Project

Hello Everyone! Thank you for inviting me to be another long distance member of your group. I'm excited about transitioning from Fangirl to full fledged Knitter.

I started knitting last Wednesday as a treat to myself for finishing all of my finals papers midweek. I'd like to say I taught myself, but it just isn't true. Amy Finlay taught me and she has been wonderful. With the patience of a saint she has been willing to show me all of the basics over and over and over again. Here is my practice piece. The yarn is Real Teal and from bottom to top it goes: Knitting, Purling, K2P2 Ribbing, Stockinette, and practice for Project #1.

I picked the teal color thinking that working with something pretty would help keep me from getting frustrated. What I didn't think about was how much easier a light color would be for seeing what I was doing and seeing my mistakes. If I had to make a practice color suggestion knowing what I now do, I would suggest one of the multicolor skeins in a variety of bright colors. That is what I'm using for my first project and having the yarn I'm pulling through a different color from the yarn currently on the needle has been a lot of help for seeing where I am pulling at the yarn and getting the needles stuck.

I don't know what the knitting culture norm is for saving the practice piece, but I had every intention of throwing it away. It was a plan inspired by my anti frustration mood. You see, if I plan on throwing it away, I don't have to worry about making mistakes. Despite my intentions, it is still around. Mike, my husband, is so in awe of the fact that I created it, that he can't imagine it not being something. He doesn't seem to care what it is. He calls it a wash cloth one minute and a pot holder the next; he is even ok with it being a Barbie quilt though neither of us have Barbies. So, now it is his. He can do whatever he'd like with it, and he can call it what ever he wants. He's proud of me for making it, and that's cute so it has become too hard to throw it away.

I've moved on from my practice piece, and I've started my first project. Picking a first project was hard for me. I felt almost an ominous expectation to make a scarf. However, in this muggy, unbearable, Arkansas weather I don't even want to think about scarves. Fortunately, I have some friends who are expecting so I've decided to start with a baby blanket. When I went to pick out the yarn I was still thinking about the fact that it is spring and I don't want a wintery scarf so I picked out the most spring-esque yarn I could find. Since I didn't get the pastels, it looks a bit more like Easter and less like baby, but it is brighting my mood so I don't mind. I'm already about half way done with it. If you have compared my picture to the picture on the link, you may be able to tell that the bottom five inches aren't quite right. I was doing something fundamentally wrong with my knit stiches, but I think I've fixed it now. My new plan is to 'mess up' the top five inches too, because if it is symmetrical, it can't be wrong. Hopefully Iona (the baby) won't mind. If she complains, I suppose I'll just have to make her another one.

Welcome, Amanda!

We have a new blogger amongst us. She's a brand spanking new knitter, and I look forward to seeing her post all about her projects and other assorted knitting-related things. You can visit her blogspot site here: ADAllen.

Welcome, Amanda!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Field Trip!

The Kniterati took a little field trip last night. I discovered that our town does, in fact, have a LYS (Local Yarn Store). Hand Held is located just a short walk away from my current abode, and it is all one could ask for in a LYS. It's in a charming old house and is filled to the brim with varied yarns with knitted projects suggesting how you might like to use those yarns.

I'd actually only been in one other LYS--lately, I've been going online to find my quality yarns or relying on whatever Hobby Lobby might have on hand. This yarn store was stocked with all the yarns you could possibly desire--100% bamboo, organic wool and cotton, Malabrigo, Kaigu, Lorna's Laces, etc...the lists went on. It was a nice store, and a fun place to go into. The aisles were narrow in order to fit all of the yarn. And they offer classes, which is great. When we went there were a group of knitters all in a circle, chatting and clicking away.

Overall the field trip was successful, but perhaps a little overwhelming. I think someone said something about how it showed them all the possibilities of projects they could do. For me, it was a realization of how much cool stuff there is out there to knit with--and how I want to try it all. Any other LYS experiences out there?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Knitterly Update

I joined a new swap, barely squeaking in before the door slammed shut (whew!). It looks to be a fun swap--The Knitter's Coffee Swap, which combines two of my favorite things. If you're interested in finding swaps, check out the 2007 KALs link in the sidebar--that's how I found this one, which I'm really excited about.

After getting frustrated with my ISE scarf (I know I need to post a picture), I picked it back up again last night and had some more success (I still had to frog two rows, though). I'll probably be working on it tonight.

Oh, and I also started a sock. Donna made me jealous with her sock knitting (and I'm a much older knitter!), so it spurred me into starting. I have a feeling that I'm going to be addicted, and lots of people will be getting hand-knit socks for Christmas...

Anyway, we cancelled Kniterati last week, but this week we're back full force. I'll post about the meeting tomorrow!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Kathryn's Project - Handbag

I started my new project last week!!! It's a handbag made from 100% recycled silk yarn. I ordered the yarn and the pattern from the Woolpeddler website. I believe Jenn has a link to the site in the links section of the blog. So...apparently I have to make four identical panels for the bag. And, um, I'm still on the first panel. But I think I'm more than halfway done with it. Jenn would be so proud of me. After increasing stitches I figured out what "K2tog" means (knit two together) and I figured out how to do the stitch all by myself. I think I have to repeat the K2tog sequence for about 5 more inches and then I'll be done with the panel. I'm a little unsure about something though. At the end of the pattern it says "BO all but last 5 sts. Transfer these sts to a stitch holder." I'm guessing this has something to do with attaching the bag to the strap...yeah, I'm sure it does. But....what's a "stitch holder"?? I guess I'm going to have to go buy one.

Oh...there was a 20% off sale on knitting stuff at Hancock Fabrics this weekend. David had to go buy some felt to put on a poker table he's milling on the CNC machine. So I went and bought some size 8 bamboo needles. I've been too lazy to transfer my work from the metal needles to the bamboo ones. Anyway, that's my progress this week. I think my project is coming along pretty well.

And I've even included a picture so everyone can see my progress.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kniterati Meeting: April 9th

Knitting group is always so much fun. Everyone trails in, we eat some dinner, and we all sit and knit. Lance made us curry last night, which was delicious. Janie brought some salad, and Kathy made a yummy fruit, whipped cream, and granola dessert.

I'll have to let everyone post about their own projects (if I can pester them into it), but I'll give a brief overview: Janie is making good progress on her scarf--she'll probably have it done very soon. Sarah got the hang of the knitting thing and knitted several lovely rows--really, they looked beautiful and her tension was even. I was proud. Lance is debating on frogging his scarf to make something else (he doesn't want to buy more yarn). Kathy started her really awesome bag using recycled silk from The Wool Peddler (it's nifty!).

And me? I tried working on my scarf for the ISE and got through one pattern repeat. Starting on the next, I messed it up (somehow) and had to frog it back almost to the beginning of the repeat. I hate that, and I hate having to frog. And on this scarf, I've been doing a lot of it (at least one frogging per repeat). It's frustrating because I usually don't have a problem following a pattern and not messing up, but this lace pattern combined with the silk/mohair blend that I'm using is apparently a tricky combination. I'll keep working, though, because the parts I have done look beautiful.

So that was our meeting for this week. Stay tuned for more delights to come!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Road Tripping and Knitting

I'll be headed out of town this weekend for the Easter Holiday, so I'll be on the road a total of about 6 hours. Which means--unless I try to read homework--I'll have 6 hours to knit! Maybe I'll get the back of that shirt done and cast on for the front. I really want to get it done soon! Maybe it'll mean that I'll finish a scarf for a friend.

Why am I looking forward to a trip where I can knit a lot? Because I have the following projects on my needles:
  • a scarf for a friend to give as a gift
  • my scarf for the International Scarf Exchange
  • my knit tank-top
  • knitting needle holder (that may stay a UFO until the end of time)
Then I have several projects lined up that I want to do (in no particular order):
  • Socks--my very first pair!
  • something cool with some linen yarn I bought
  • a hat out of my malabrigo merino wool
  • an iPod cozy for Secret Knitter
  • Socks for Lance (maybe)
  • a felted bag (because I haven't felted anything yet)
Busy times in the knitting world--and if I'm knitting Christmas gifts, I need to start planning them out (it's early...but it takes a while to knit sometimes. Better early than never).

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Kathy's First Project -- Legwarmers

Jenn has been pestering me to post about my legwarmer project. So here goes...

I finished my first project (legwarmers) yesterday. I'm supposed to post a picture as well but I'm too lazy. Maybe I'll edit the post later once I get my camera out. Technically, the legwarmer project is finished. Technically they're um, wearable. But I don't know how pretty they look. You can definitely tell which was the first one (i.e. the one that looks all ratty and full of holes). And I'm not too sure if I like the design of them. They're tight on top (which is okay) but then they flare out a lot at the bottom. They look a little dorky....like bell bottoms. I thought they looked cute in the picture....but I'm not so sure I like them much in person. I think I might wear them around the house a bit. If I don't start to like them then I'll just hand them over to my two kitties. I'm sure they'll have a blast rolling around on them and chewing up the yarn. Kitties are so easily entertained.

I'm glad I picked the legwarmers as my first project. I actually made something and learned a little bit about knitting as well. I learned how knit, purl, the difference between wrong/right sides, the importance of counting stitches and rows, how to increase stitches, and how to make an i-cord. I also learned that I really like using the bamboo needles. They're much lighter than the metal ones.

So....project #2? I'm making a handbag from a pattern that Jenn and I saw online (it's the "unbiased" pattern from the link). I ordered some of the recycled silk yarn recommended by the pattern. It came in the mail the other day and I'm looking forward to using it. The picture on the website shows a pinkish yarn with lots of other colors mixed in. The yarn that came in the mail is more maroon with other colors. I actually like the darker color better.

I can't believe I'm actually writing a whole post about knitting. Now I feel like a knitting nerd.

Pictures of the legwarmers will be posted soon....

Kniterati Meeting: April 2nd

Our ranks swelled by two knitters: we welcomed Janie and Angie to our midst. After enjoying some deliciously spicy stir-fry (thanks, Lance), we sat down to knit. I worked on my tank-top and my scarf for the International Scarf Exchange--I'm knitting a lace scarf in red mohair/silk blend. It's turning out lovely, but it's been a pain to manage the yarn and all of the complicated lace knitting techniques. I'll post a pic when it gets more along. I think my pal will like it!

Kathy learned how to make an I-cord (which is so incredibly easy and awesome), and is assembling her leg warmers. She'll have to post some pictures soon and tell us about them--but they are looking fantastic!

Janie has a knitting mom. She knew the basics, so all I had to do was teach her how to cast on and remind her how to do the knit stitch, and she was off making a wonderful fuzzy black scarf. She too will have to share about her progress.

Angie is a brand new knitter. I had Lance teach her some of the basics, then I had to intervene--but she's quickly picking up the skills. She will be working on her practice piece, and then starting a scarf in a wonderful mocha chenille.

And Lance started his scarf that he plans to felt. He was prevented from knitting very much from a hammer injury to his left hand, but his project is coming along wonderfully--he's a consistent knitter so his stitches are even and great.

I think next week we may pick up another knitter--I certainly hope so. It's been a lot of fun so far, and everyone seems to enjoy having a place to knit and chat and eat good food.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So you want to be a knitter

Then pick up the needles, and join the fun!

There’s no need to be afraid. Trust me, I worried about if I could learn, if I’d like it, and what other people would think about *gasp* a guy knitting. I’ve worked through my knitting neuroses (mostly), and I can tell you that you have nothing to fear.

Easy for the person posting under a pseudonym to say, right? To explain in brief, I wanted to keep my knitting blog separate from my film blog. When I started I was very uncomfortable with how I thought my new hobby might be perceived by friends, family, and everyone else. Writing as “the secret knitter” allowed me to talk about my experiences without worrying that people I knew would stumble upon the blog.

I continue to use an assumed name because I feel I can be more open than if my name were plastered on the sidebar. It’s not a well-kept secret—go here if you must know who I am—but one that gives me an illusion of privacy to permit me to do more personal writing than I might otherwise.

OK, now that that bit of business is out of the way, on to more relevant matters…

I’m in my sixth month as a knitter, so I am certainly no expert. That said, I’ve picked up some knowledge that is worth passing along to those of you beginning now. Since numbers make for easy organization, here are six tips that will make knitting more pleasurable for you:

1. Find a knitting friend.

If you’re here, chances are you already have that covered. I started knitting because my friend Kristin convinced me to give it a shot. I’ve been lucky to have her around to answer questions, fix mistakes, and knit with from time to time. Sure, a teacher could serve the same purpose, but for me it’s been more comfortable and more fun to have a friend to share the interest with. One of the things I’ve come to love about knitting is how it brings people together. You’re lucky to have this group. (I’m up in Ohio, so it’s unlikely I’ll be popping in on Monday nights.)

2. Go at your own pace.

My first fourteen projects were scarves, thirteen of which were in garter stitch. That’s going overboard, although in my defense most of them were being knitted with a Christmas deadline in mind. You can mix it up faster than that. My point, though, is that you should stay as safe or get as adventurous as feels right. Find what works for you.

3. Allow yourself to make mistakes.

I had low expectations for what I thought I could do, so I knew mistakes were inevitable. Still, with a perfectionist streak, that’s not always easy to accept. Nevertheless, as clich├ęd as it sounds, that’s how you learn. Look at a dropped stitch as the chance to learn how to pick it up or to undo stitches, not a cursed error that’s going to ruin your hard work.

4. Knit regularly.

When I started I had an ambitious goal and exceeded it, largely due to a commitment to knit a little every day. Granted, that’s not always possible, but I think it helps in your first days and weeks to plug away until knitting becomes a habit. When it becomes a natural activity and not something you have to think about, you know you’re well on your way.

5. Document your progress.

Whether it’s making a list of what you’ve done, taking photos of your FOS, or blogging, keep track of your growth as a knitter. When I looked at my first bunch of FOs that I gave as Christmas gifts, I was astonished by the progress I made. The first scarf I knitted was embarrassing when I compared it to what I had done two months later, but it gave me a boost of confidence that I was improving. Plus, I think it’s nice to have reminders of what I’ve made, especially for those items I’ve given away.

6. Have fun.

I’ve mentioned on my blog that learning to knit is one of the smartest things I chose to do in the past year. It might not be a stretch to say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. No joke. I can’t believe how much it has helped me relax, give me confidence, provide a sense of accomplishment, and make new friends. Ultimately you’re knitting because you enjoy doing it. Be proud of your work. Share it. Show it off.

Welcome to our knitting community.It’s nice to have you join the club.

Knitterly Letter Swap

I've become a big fan of swaps. Mostly because I keep finding cool blogs and reading them, and also finding inspiration/ideas for projects.

Domesticat is running a Knitterly Letter Swap, if you'd care to participate. I just ran across her blog from a friend's, and it's fun and full of cool projects that she's done. She's interesting to read!

That's the thing with this whole online knitting world. There really are a lot of interesting folks out there, knitting, offering to share with readers. I like that. I'm glad we get to be a part of that. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more I find to read...

Anyone out there have any cool knitting blogs/sites they've discovered? Share! Share!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In Lieu of Knitting Group..

I was very, very ill last night. So knitting group was cancelled. Thus, I decided to post some helpful tips for beginners.

Choosing a project
You've mastered the garter stitch, so now what? It's not enough to launch into knitting with a set of needles and a ball of thread--you've got to have a project in mind. It should be what you want. And as Donna commented in a previous post, it doesn't have to be the "first scarf" that everyone deems you must do. Kathryn chose to make leg warmers because those sounded fun to her, and she's well on her way to being finished. My first project was a scarf--but only because I wanted to give a friend a scarf for Christmas.

In other words, choose a project that you desperately want. It should still be fairly simple, but it can be a scarf, a bag, a set of leg warmers--just because you're learning doesn't mean you have to be stuck on never-ending rows of the garter stitch. Again, Donna's post (as referred to above) offers some helpful insight. Choose something you actually want to make!

Of course, that being said, you should still find something manageable. Don't jump in for that massive afghan--you'll lose interest before you've finished. (That's why a scarf is usually a good choice because it is a fairly quick project). I recently advised one of this group's fledgling knitters to attempt a purse. Simple, small, easily made, and it incorporates all sorts of useful skills without being too boring (or taking too long) or being too complicated. Even I, as a more experienced knitter, get bored on projects that take too long--I had a rug that took me a while to finally accomplish (sheer desire carried me through that one--that rug is so freaking cool), and I have yet to finish a knitting needle holder because I was bored to tears of doing straight stockinette stitch for thirty inches. I think I'm at about twenty-six, so I really should just finish it...

Choosing a yarn
Pick a color you'll like. Pick something that feels nice. But DO NOT pick anything that looks like it'll separate or snag. You'll regret it. You may want to avoid "novelty yarns" at this juncture, unless it's ribbon yarn. That stuff is pretty nifty (I've never knitted with it, but it looks really cool). Until you have some experience wielding a set of needles, snaggy yarn only causes tears. In fact, my current project is with a fine cotton (nice feel, nice color) that drove me nuts at first because the strands like to separate. If you're not cautious, you'll end up piercing the strands and knitting extra stitches or knitting stitches that do not look very neat.

Once you get a feel for types of yarns (I will do a more detailed post on this later), you can find all sorts of nifty yarn peddlers online--just click on any in the sidebar! (I really should get a cut for advertising for them, right? right??) I like Knit Picks for their value and quality--they offer some nice yarn for an inexpensive price.

For the veteran knitters among us, what was your first project?

Friday, March 23, 2007

what to eat at a knitting party...

Jenn & I did some knitting this afternoon since we didn't have work today. Yay! I learned how to increase stitches on a row and also tips on what to do when my ball of yarn gets tangled up in knots.

We talked about what kinds of food to bring to our knitting group next Monday. Last week was not healthy I suppose. We had oreos and doritos. Jenn did make some healthy fruit salad and soda bread. And we had some carrots....but the cookies and chips left me feeling sort of gross. We thought about maybe bringing some edamame. It's super-easy to cook...and still counts as finger food. Fruit is always a good standby as well. But, since the food we eat on Monday night knitting group will be counting as "dinner" for some of us, we were thinking of making something a bit more substantial. It would be super-easy to bring vegetables and stir-fry them. I also thought about making a salad. Of course, these would require plates and forks....but, well, darn it, I get hungry and want some real food.

Just thought I'd post about the food and see if anyone else had suggestions on what kinds of things to bring to eat. Obviously I'm food-obsessed.


turn, turn, turn

The best -- but most frustrating -- knitting lessons come through mistakes. Through a mistake yesterday, I think I've come to understand something I didn't know was possible in knitting.

It was such a beautiful day yesterday at Kniterati Headquarters (central division) that I took my knitting outdoors for a quick twenty-minute session. I had stopped the night before in the middle of a row. (Knitting a scarf the long way -- 360 stitches -- means I sometimes stop in the middle of a row.) I picked it back up and knit my stockingette stitch happily by the fountain. When the twenty minutes were up, I was surprised to find out that I was not yet at the end of the row. But I packed it back up and went on with my day.

Later that night I picked it back up, finished that row, and then went on to the next row. 360 knit stitches later, as I reached the end of the row, I realized something was wrong. The band of stockingette stitch was much narrower at this end than when I had started at the other end. In fact, when I counted rows, there were only 4 at this end -- but 6 at the other end!

I looked over the whole long scarf and there -- in the middle of the row, but closer to the end I had just completed -- was the place where 6 rows suddenly narrowed to 4. I couldn't figure it out. I knew you could add and subtract stitches. I didn't know you could add and subtract rows.

I unknit back to the transition point and stared at my needles. 6 rows on the left needle, now 3 rows (after unknitting) on the right. And then I realized what must have happened.

When I started knitting by the fountain that afternoon, I must have turned the work. The needle that was supposed to be in my left hand was in my right hand, and vice versa. Instead of continuing to knit onward on the row I was in the middle of (row 4), I knit back across the stitches I had just finished, back to the beginning of the row (adding row 5). Then I knit across the whole piece (adding row 6 to the first part, then merely finishing row 4 after getting to the point where I had turned it).

Earlier that evening, before I discovered my mistake, I was looking at a pattern that featured mini-bobbles. The instructions for the bobbles said "Turn." I know what turn means in tatting, but I couldn't picture it in knitting. Turn what?

Now I know. Put the needles in the opposite hands, thus turning the work over back to front, and thus working back across the stitches you just finished adding. Ta-da! I learned something, and it only took me 100 unknit stitches to do it.

Or more ... I still have to figure out how to proceed. I think I have to keep unknitting ... but I'm not sure I'll know where to stop.

Has anyone out there made this mistake before? I haven't seen it described in any of the "common mistake" tutorials I've perused (not that I've perused many, because I'm overconfident in my abilities and assume I'll never make a mistake). Or is this a novice rite of initiation I should have been expecting?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yarn Purchase!

I bought some lovely yarn today for my ISE swap. I think I'm going to make a lace scarf for my pal out of Madil Kid Seta yarn in red:

I think it'll make a lovely scarf. It's mohair and silk, so it'll work really well for a lace scarf. And the color is also nice. I'll post pictures as I begin crafting it...hopefully my pal likes it!!

I also bought some linen yarn for Lance, since he's obsessed with linen. I'm curious to see how it feels and how it knits--I've only used wool, cotton, or acrylic and have just begun experimenting with different fibers and materials. And believe me, there's a lot out there. If you mosey on over to Yarn Country, for example (they have a large selection of yarns), you can see that they have ribbon yarns, yarns made from wools, cashmere, bamboo, cotton, silk, angora, mohair, linen and many blends of fibers. It's amazing just how much is out there to use in creating projects.

I may have some experience, but there is so much to learn about knitting that makes me want to keep learning. (Just like literature, I suppose...oops, wrong blog!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kniterati Kick-Off Meeting

Last night was our first meeting and a successful one at that! It was only four (six if you count the two cats who were trying hard to get at the yarn), but everyone had a good time and learned some knitting.

I had to quickly learn to knit continental style (i.e. left-handed) in order to teach the two lefties. Both of them picked it up quickly, though, and they were off! It was a great feeling to see them knitting so quickly.

Look at them go! Sarah is practicing casting on and knitting her swatch (she doesn't have a first project yet) and Kathryn is making these legwarmers. She's pretty far in on the first one!

There's Lance and I. Lance's yarn order hadn't come in yet, so he spent the evening learning increases and decreases.

And I'm working on this project. My very first wearable thing! (i.e. not a scarf or hat). It should be exciting.

And here's some other pictures:

Tiny cat wants to learn to knit!


Monday, March 19, 2007

Novice knitters unite!

You have nothing to lose but your ... dropped stitches!

I don't feel much like an -ati of anything, and certainly not of knitting. But my dear friends and living inspirations Jenn and the Secret Knitter were kind enough to invite me along. I'll try to pop up every once in a while to speak on behalf of the ambitious yet inexperienced knitter, bewildered by options and cowed by stitch patterns, timidly approaching non-scarf and non-hat items (keep that sock where I can see it, sir!).

I have big plans to design my own this and adapt a classic that, but being a busy professional mom, I have little knitting time. (Maybe I'll write mostly about that.) Avoiding schoolwork and fighting exhaustion, I completed two rows of my longways scarf last night. And that's where I'm at. My blog, over there on the left menu, is Union, Trueheart, and Courtesy. Sometimes there is a post about knitting.

Here's my current thinking: Once I get this scarf done (and a longways hat to go with it), I'm ready to start my first real circular project (that is -- knitting a tube, rather than just knitting straight on circs). Most people would do a hat. But hat weather is almost behind us. I'm tempted by the contention in this Knitty article that socks are not as hard as people think they are. I have not yet ventured double-pointed needles, but I have some that I will be using for the endstage of the longways hat, so I won't be a dpn novice. What do the Kniterati think? Would a sock be an empowering or demoralizing affair?

(One non-knitting-related point in favor of a sock: My husband thinks knee socks are sexy. On the other hand: Knowing that in his eyes they can't be too long might cause me to delay doing the hard parts (heel turn and toe) indefinitely.)

Friday, March 16, 2007


I puzzled over this abbreviation for a little while--what the heck is a KAL? Well, I finally figured it out: It's a Knit-Along! KALs provide opportunities for knitters to knit a project with other knitters across the nation. They have a website where various knitters can post pictures of their projects: what yarn they chose, their progress, and finally their finished project. It's really pretty nifty.

If you want to participate in a KAL, here is a good website to find one. KALs are good ideas because they give you a support group to try something new (like socks, or perhaps some nifty scarf pattern). You can ask for advice from the other knitters or share ideas. It's another way of being in the knitting community!

Another neat thing that the Knit-Along website I linked provides are things called swaps. I recently participated in my first swap, and found it to be a satisfying experience. You sign up and receive the name of someone to make a package for--the one I did focused on favorite colors--and send it off to them, revealing your identity within the package. You in turn receive a package from someone else. It's a pretty fantastic way to meet new knitters (I now have two new knitting friends) and get some cool stuff in return.

I recently signed up for an International Scarf Exchange, where I will make a scarf for someone, perhaps overseas. International knitting buddies--how nifty is that?

As you can see, the online knitting community is strong and active. However, knitting with a group of people is also just as satisfying--which is why I wanted to form a knitting group in my area. Though, this blog is a meshing of both the online and the real-life knitting communities, something that's just really cool.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Buying Knitting Needles: Straights

They say that the tools make the woman (or do they? Maybe I made that up...), but in knitting it is important to have the right tools, starting with knitting needles.

Knitting needles come in all shapes and lengths and varieties, and made from all sorts of materials. For a beginning knitter, the types of needles you'll be using at first will be straight needles, or the single-pointed set of two needles you typically think of when you think of knitting. Here's one example from Knit Picks:

These are made of plastic. However, needles also come in bamboo, rosewood, various types of plastic and aluminum. The options are endless! Which is why SpiffyEnigmaticStyle asked about what you should look for in buying knitting needles.

I'll give some recommendations, but honestly it comes down to personal taste. I adore bamboo needles--and loathe to work with anything else--but when I was in a knitting store this past weekend, a lady pointed out some metal ones with fine tips that won't pierce the strands of yarn. Some knitters use plastic needles and prefer them to all other options.

For a beginner, plastic is often a good choice. For one thing, they are cheap and you don't have the "cold-feel" problem that you do with aluminum (also highly cost-effective). That's the problem with bamboo--they can run up to $10 a set. (I usually wait until all knitting supplies are 50% off at Hobby Lobby).

Knitting needles become a case of stick with what you like--I like bamboo, so I knit with bamboo. If you find a type you like, stick with it. If you don't like it, then try something else. If you have a knitting friend, then borrow a set of his or her needles. (Though, don't borrow them too long--I'm possessive of my needles, so I imagine others are too). And at first I would buy on a project-to-project basis--it hasn't been until recently that I've been building up my collection. Unless, of course, you find a great deal on a set or a pile of needles at a yard sale--then just get them.

Incidentally, Hobby Lobby has all of their knitting implements on sale for 40% off this week.

I hope this answers your question on how to buy straights! Look forward to a post on types of needles, coming soon!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We are the Kniterati

The Kniterati: A group of excited knitters of all levels and abilities coming together to knit. And have fun. Because knitting should be fun!

What to expect: Postings from members of the Kniterati showing off completed projects, sharing patterns and helpful tips, etc. Jenn (Kniterati guru and founder) plans to post a semi-regular newsletter of sorts. We'll see how it manifests itself.

Why "The Kniterati"?: Jenn (Lame Name Creator) was stuck on what to call this site. She wanted a place for everyone to come and ask questions and show off their knitting (and also to involve knitters who aren't in the area), but first she had to have a name. So she turned to her pal, Secret Knitter, and he came up with Kniterati. Get it? We're like the literati, but for knitting! (Nerdy, but charming).

Anyway, Jenn (Knitting Nerd) loves the blogosphere, so thus emerged The Knitterati Blogger site. Excellent, she said. Now to get people a'posting!