Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grumpy/Schizophrenic Knitter

As you can see, I finished the second Dipped Infinity Scarf.   I really love the way it turned out.  That much, at least, I am sure of.    I have, however, run into angst regarding my next project.   My fingers itch to make another Dipped, but I live in FL and, really, how many scarves do I need (maybe just one more?).   Ysolda’s Leisl is high on my want list.   So high, in fact, that I started it twice; once with Sierra Quatro (ridiculously loose once I actually got gauge), and once with Rowan Summer Tweed (too draggy.  I might shoot myself before I finish.).   Oh, did I mention that my Options 10.5 splintered (Fortunately, KnitPicks is wonderful about these things).

Okay, put the sweater on hold while I wait for my KnitPicks order to come (which I can not even place until Friday).    I am counting on a new needle and some Comfy Bulky (yes, I know it has a bit of man- made in it but friendly consensus states that a bit of acrylic keeps the cotton from growing) for  a killer, Sea Foam, Liesl of my very own (I especially like Amy Singer’s).

What to knit until then?  Socks!  Socks are good.   Out comes the beloved Koigu, I cast on both socks, knit a bit on each and start wondering if, perhaps, I might want to start over with a smaller needle (US0).  All of my Koigu socks are knit on US1’s but after knitting the Jitterbug on 1’s, and getting that nice firm fabric, maybe I want to drop down a size for Koigu.   Am I going to do this?  Only time and my mood will tell.

Obviously, I need a comfort project to get me over the hump.   After all, I am still getting over the mother of all sinus infections (can illness and yucky anti-biotics turn one into a grumpy knitter?).   My plan, of the moment, is to knit another Shawl That Jazz (The first one went to an admiring friend).  I cast on with the Summer Tweed (already wound).   Hopefully, it will prove less draggy with in a simple garter stitch.    If not, out will come the Sierra Quatro (also, already wound).   Both the lighter softer Quatro and the more textural Summer Tweed appeal to me (at least until I snarl and change my mind).


Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's in your wallet....?

Did I say wallet?   I meant knitting bag....

Inspired by episode 124 (Essential Knitting Tools) of the KnitPicks (KP) Podcast, I set about creating four identical notions bags.   The idea being, it will not matter which knitting bag I have with me (there are only two going at the moment).  I will always have my favorite notions right at hand.   Moving clockwise, beginning at the top right hand corner, these are my must-have knitting tools:

  1. Bent Tip Needles (KP) -  for weaving in those pesky ends.
  2. Locking Stitch Markers (KP) – Probably my most used item
  3. Point Protectors – I rarely use these but I know that if I leave them out, they will suddenly become absolutely necessary.  
  4. Split Ring Stitch Markers (KP) – I use these when I am casting on a lot of stitches.   Placing them every 50 sts makes the whole counting thing much easier.
  5. Gingher Snippers – Of all the scissors/snippers I have tried, these are my favorite.   They are a bit pricey but last forever.
  6. Lace Marker Tin – I used to use small Altoid tins but then I found these Sunshine State, Lisa tins at the airport and just had to have them.   In it I keep:  1) Those uber-cheap white plastic ones from Walmart and/or Hobby Lobby (Ideal for lace knitting);  2) Beaded stitch markers that I make myself and use to mark the beginning of the row when knitting in the round.  3) KnitPicks Key for attaching cable to the needle when using KnitPicks Options (which I do, almost exclusively).  4)  A rubber needle gripper.  These small rubber discs make it easy  to securely tighten Option's join.  Plus, sticking the key through it makes finding it much easier if it falls to the bottom of my bag.
  7. Tape Measure – For accuracy I prefer metal tape measures, but these are lighter and fit better.
  8. Needle Gauge (Addi) – There are others but I vastly prefer this one.
  9. Stitch Holders (Clover) – These come in different sizes/colors but I find the blue ones to be most useful.
  10. Double Ended Crochet Hook Set (KP) – Four crochet hooks give you Eight sizes.   The smallest ones are good for picking up dropped stitches while the others are handy to have around if, like me, you often crochet your edgings.
  11. Notions Bag – I searched high and low before finding something that I really liked.   This is a 8” x 5” cosmetic bag.   It fits all of the above plus a small pad and pencil (added these after I took the picture).   I like that it fits flat against the side of my bag and I love the kiss-lock closure.
All of these tools are available, in some form, at your local big box crafts store.   Unless otherwise noted, I buy mine from KnitPicks. They are less expensive and I am partial to their signature colors (purples).   I am considering adding a 30” US1 circ to each bag for picking up stitches and knitting socks magic loop style (I am a 5 dpn girl but sometimes it is more practical to switch to a long circ).

Further inspired, I put together two mini notions bags with an assortment of stitch markers, KP key with needle gripper, a bent tip yarn needle and a yarn cutter disk.    I keep one in my purse (where I always have a sock progress) and one in the small bag I carry at Disney (where the other sock lives).

So that's it for me.   What's in your wallet tool bag?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

You gotta be kidding me....

When coming to the end of a long detailed post, my computer hiccuped and said post disappeared.   I am tired, frustrated and I have a headache.   I am going to bed and will try again tomorrow.  POOP!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To whom much is given....

I tried to find a photo of post-earthquake Haiti that was evocative but not too gritty. This was the best I could do. The situation in Haiti, right now, is pretty darn gritty. These people need our help and, despite what you may think, the vast majority of us are in a position to provide that help.

This past year was tough on so many of us. Lots of people lost their jobs and even more, like my hubby, took drastic pay cuts and felt lucky to do so (the alternative being so much worse). Still, if you are healthy, well fed, and not living in a box, you do have something to spare.

I am asking you to look at the situation in Haiti and express your gratitude, that you do not live there, by making a donation to one of the relief funds (check to see if you employer will match your contribution). Choose a reputable organization (the Red Cross is always a safe bet) and give what you can.

We made our contribution through MSF/Doctors Without Borders, a Nobel Peace Prize winning, relief organization, whose mission it is to help those in great need, regardless of race, religion, politics or gender. They already had a presence in Haiti.  So, despite their loses (lives & equipment), they were already on the ground and helping from the moment it was possible to do so.

You can find out more about them at the above link (TSF/Knitters Without Borders is a fundraising site for MSF/DWB) or you can go directly to  to make a donation.

Remember, the ocean was filled on drop at a time. Together, we can make a difference (cliche but true).


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dipped Infinity Scarf....

Have you ever knit a pattern that you enjoyed so much that you cast on for another immediately upon casting off the original? That is what I did with the Dipped Infinity Scarf.

As you may recall, I knit the first one with varying shades of Koigu. As you can see, it came out really well. I did wish, however, that the color shifts were more dramatic and that it was a little longer. With that in mind, I cast on another using one strand of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (Turquoise) and one stand of a vibrant Koigu KPPM (#P160A), using a US 9 needle (The first one was done on a US 8). I love, love, love this combination (check out the top photo). My original thought had been to keep the turquoise consistent through out changing changing only the Koigu every four rows, but I am rethinking that. I am seriously thinking of driving an hour south to get two more hanks of this Koigu and just knitting the whole thing in this combination. The only problem with this plan is that I recieved an email from the designer yesterday (via Ravelry) saying that the pattern, as I downloaded it, had an error in the yardage. So now, instead of having just enough Supersock to make another scarf, I have just a bit too little. I bought the Cherry Tree Hill locally but I am almost certain that I got the last one in that color. On yet another hand, I do live in FL and may not need quiet as wide a scarf as this is meant to be. Still thinking....

NOTE: My apologies for the formatting. Blogger seems to be having issues.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Started the year by finishing the knitting...

Check out my new socks! I actually finished three things on New Years Day but because my mind is a sieve, I can only remember two of them. Not only that, but I took pictures of all, and then left my camera at home without loading them onto my computer. I took the photo, above, sitting here at Panera's (What do you think non-knitters think when they see someone taking pictures of their own feet?). Anyway, this is what I remember.

  • Colenette Jitterbug Socks - These are my first pair of socks using this yarn. I think I have finally found a sock yarn I like better than Koigu (not that I don't still love my Koigu). They knitted up like a dream, the colorways are very nice, and I love the way they feel on my feet. Knitted up, they are both soft and firm. I may need to buy more of this on my way home.
  • Reader's Wrap - I started this project for a Sheila's Shawls way back when I worked at Michaels in NJ. Recently unearthed, I decided to finish it and send it out. Unfortunately, there is always a need.
  • Sea Silk Scarf - Actually, I finished this on Christmas morning. Just in time to wear to my brother's holiday celebration (I still don't remember what the New Year's Day thing was. I just remember being proud of myself for finishing three things in one day). This is another forgotten project, recently come to light. The yarn (Handmaiden Sea Silk) was an absolute joy to work with. It has a definite unfinished feel to it but I liked that. After trying a few different needles, I found that it moved best on Lantern Moon straights and Knit Picks Harmonies. It was more than half way done when I re-discovered it. Since it was knit in a simple feather and fan, it was easy to pick up and go.

Recently cast-on, was the Dipped Infinity Scarf. I LOVE this pattern. It is easy to remember and looks really nice. It is meant to be knit with two fingering wt yarns held together, using different colors, with the yarn changes staggered, so that the colors run from dark to light. I am using five different colors of Koigu. I love the way it looks and will finish it but I wish I had gotten more disparate colors. So far, it hardly looks like I am changing colors at all (thank goodness the stitch pattern is so pretty). I am seriously considering sending this one to my sister and making another one for me.

Also cast-on after my finishing frenzy, was the Swirl Shawl (JoJoland). Rather than the called for yarn, I am using Colinette's Jitterbug. I find that, although, I have no trouble keeping track of this pattern at home, it really is not a good choice for social knitting. Consequently, it is coming along slowly. Still, I really love the look (even unblocked) and am looking forward to wearing it.

Thats' it for now. Stay warm.


P.S. Finally added photos on 13Jan09. Still don't remember what the third New Years thing was :-(