A group knitting blog.

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?