Mr. So-So

With two kittens running around, plus a fully grown cat, its hard to get any work done. The two kittens are attacking the needles (one to each needle) then the yarn when the figure out that IT moves too! The fully grown cat doesn't bother much with any of it, except for hissing at the kittens. She lunged at Quita the other day, which was greatly upsetting. I yelled at her for it and she's hardly been inside since. She'll get over it, I hope.

I finished up a modified "Baby's First Tattoo" from Stitch and Bitch Nation. It's now a sleeveless sweater vest. Bright neon pink with black accent work. The collar came out a little wonky. But otherwise it's okay. I fair-isle'd the skull motif instead of duplicate stitch. I hate duplicate stitch. I hate it a lot! So its a fair isle skull, and only on the right side of the outfit. I think it came out pretty darn cute, and I think Brett and Trista will think so, too. At least I hope they do. I just hope it isn't so cute that Trista breaks her water over it (although that's close to the ultimate compliment!) It definately suits their style. Maybe I'll even get a picture of the tyke wearing it, when the time comes.

I'm still working on the darn Wedding Afghan. My other yarn should be in the mail soon, along with a harness for Quita. Her collar is still holding up well, by the way. It's just a simple I-Cord square knotted around her neck. She could easily slip it if she needed to, or even bite through it, but she hasn't.

Sock yarn is coming in from KnitPicks. Their "Palette" line, I believe. Greens, blues, and blacks mostly. I have a lack of reds and oranges, but that's no bother to me.

I've got to do a pair of lace up armwarmers for David, still. Black with red trim. Like the purple ones I did for myself. I'm sure I'll post pictures eventually. I'll save up until I find our camera and do one giant "Finished Object" picture post. How's that for killing bandwith?

I still need to do damn near everyone's christmas gifts. I got a whole slew of vintage patterns in the mail the other day, so I'm sure I'll have no lack of ideas as to what to make people for christmas now. Most of the patterns are from the 80's though, and while some are salvageable, others are just completely hopeless.

That's one of the things I love about this art/craft - you can modify anything you don't enjoy.

I'm off....I'm going to babysit my cousin-in-law Katelyn - She's a cutie, and maybe she'll be a future yarn junkie!

Take care!


Kitties Kitties Everywhere And Not a Drop to Drink

I haven't posted in a while for a few reasons - Travel and cats. What do these things have to do with one another? Absolutely nothing.

We're back in Ohio now. All is well. We're moving back to Philadelphia sometime in early fall/late summer. That decision is settled and I have to start making plans.

We got a kitten! Her name is Muenaquita, meaning "Babydoll", but we call her Quita (which is, oddly enough, French/Old Latin for "Tranquil"...she's anything but!) Our little girl is a tiger trapped in a housecat's body. She's all black, but when she grows it's plainly visible she'll have dark greyish brown tiger stripeys. She sleeps in bed with us, knows where her litter box is, and spends all day playing with my sisters-in-laws new kittens, God and Sammy So-So, who are her siblings.

There's a picture of the happy family, as well as one of just my hunny and Quita.

In knitting news, not much has been going on. I've started a few projects - the nifty headphone cord covers I saw on Craftster (for both my and David's headphones), The "Baby's first tattoo" from Stitch and Bitch Nation for my friends Brett and Trista's upcoming child in Sugar N Creme Cotton and Caron Simply Soft, The halter top from Stitch and Bitch Nation for me, in Plymouth Encore in a color I can't seem to find again so I may need to find something else. Also, the wedding afghan is coming along....slowly but surely. I completed a few Catwarming sets too.

More photos when I can!



So I haven't exactly stuck to my schedule. I didn't pick up the Minty Shawl at all this week. Well, I picked it up to move it. But not to work on it. I found something that needed my attention much more though - A straight needle holder. I needed something to take it on the bus in. All that metal in one place might have been a threat...now it's just a nicely organized threat.

Even if I don't follow schedules, I make them. It's nice and it keeps me sane to know that even the biggest things can be broken down into manageable pieces.

I did start the armwarmers, though. Not in the Plymouth Encore I thought I had though. So I ran out and got some purple Lion Brand Wool Ease in an appropriately SHOCKING PURPLE color. I like them so far. They just dont' stay up worth a damn. I always have that problem with armwarmers though. They need a good ribbing. Or a good ribbon to lace them with.

I've got one and a half armwarmers finished right now.

But without further ado, and there isn't any ado....my NEEDLE HOLDER! TOXICODENDRON!


The Back

And the front.

What the Heck Is It and How do I use it?
It's a straight needle holder - It's got pockets for additional support on the bottom, but the needles are mostly intended to be slid through a slice of the knitted fabric - much like using a safety pin. The pockets support the base of the needles (sometimes unsuccessfully).
This project is NOT felted or fulled.
The Bare Basics:
Needles: US Size 6, fourteen inch straight needles. Susan Bates.
Hook: US Size E. Boye Balene II.
Yarns: Lion Brand Wool-Ease and a mystery yarn from the thrift store. Wool-Ease Worsted being 80% acrylic and 20% wool content.
As usual, I have the pattern available should anyone want to make this. I can post it here, if there are requests, or send it individually. Just ask if you'd like it.
The Short Story Long:
Born out of boredom, a need to store my wildly out of hand needle collection, and a hatred for my dendrology class, this needle holder is quite possibly the happiest creation of my life.Named and inspired by one of the world's least favorite plants, Poison Ivy, it has no ill effects. I swear. I've tried it myself. It's a pattern of my own devising, worked mostly out of a simple half-twisted stockinette base (I tend to only twist my knit stitches - I can never commit to anything wholeheartedly!) that's about 15.5 inches wide.The decorative bands are interspersed about every three inches, give or take. The stitch is a modified version of what I saw deemed a "Pillar Stitch". It's supposed to make very firm fabric, which is what I wanted, but I realized it just had too many holes for needles to slip through. It's about 14.5 inches high - barely large enough to hold my 14 inch long straights. If I were to make another one or revise my pattern notes, I'd compensate for that and work in an extra inch or so.There is a garter stitch border on three sides - the top and both longer sides. It was knit from one skein (exactly, no extra left) of grey Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted. The green yarn which forms the pocket fabric and detail stitching, as well as the binding on the edges, is a mystery yarn that was gotten thrifting. It was in a bag marked 100% Unknown Fiber, but feels like a very soft animal fiber. I'm inclined to say it's an angora or cashmere, with possibly an acrylic mix. The yarn isn't as shown in the pictures - the grey is a much more "bright" grey, being more white based than black based. The green is a darker green with hints of muted rainbow colors that shine only in light - the yarn reminds me of fish scales. As I alluded to - there is a single crochet border (I can't seem to get past it in my designs, I just love it so darn much...) as well as detail stitching. The detail stitching, seen mostly only on the front of the case, is what forms the pockets on the backside. I modeled (or tried to) this piece after Toxicodendron radicans, or, Poison Ivy in vine form. The big fuzzy grayish vines that grow on trees (Not to be confused with Parthenocissus quinquefolia - do you know how long it took me to learn to spell that? Virginia Creeper) is what I worked with for this project. I'm not sure if I succeeded in capturing the look or feel of the plant - you be the judge. I just know I like (mostly) how it looks.


Summer Days Can Lead To the Bad Times...

A couple people who read this (who DOES read this thing anyway? Can I get a headcount?) have figured out that almost all of my post titles come from song lyrics. You're right in that assumption.

But the lyrics do kind of accurately describe what's going on. I'm not sure if its because I've been a shitty friend all of my life, or because I just happen to have a collection of non connected memories of people who have since left my life, but these memories keep popping up. Especially in the summer. Maybe it's because I have nothing to do, or maybe its because I have more than enough to do but my mind farts out on me. But I keep thinking of people who have no reason to still be in my head.

I kind of want the memories gone, but then my life would be all "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" and it would get kind of weird. oh well. And then there are the memories that aren't really memories, they're just dreamt memories...memories that pop up in my dreams that, later in the day or the week I can't remember if I dreamt them or if they actually occured. My mind is tricky. It takes details and synthesizes them and makes things so real I don't know what the hell is going on half the time. The human brain is weird.

Maybe I should go back on my meds. A bipolar girl with two sharp sticks isn't good for anyone. Oh well. When we get back to Ohio, I'll see someone. I swear.

As I've been in a weird, semi-horrible mood lately, I've gone into "Super Boyscout Mood". The mood that screams "BE PREPARED! FOR EVERY POSSIBLE EVEN MINOR OCCURANCE!" So...I'm currently knitting for the place (and I say place because I don't know what it will be - house, apartment, rented room) that David and I will be moving to at the end of the summer (please cross your fingers....I need to get out!). Today has been spent using up some lovely balls of cotton yarn. I'm making washcloths.

Lots of washcloths. A bright green washcloth with a frog on it. David's nickname is Froggy, so I thought he'd like it. He says he'd feel too weird "scrubbing his asscrack" (his words, not mine) with it. So he'll use it as a face cloth I guess.

There's A bright blue one with a bat on it, and a brown one with a skull and crossbones. There's a brown seed stitch washcloth with a crocheted bright blue edging (I love the colors. And damnit, if you've read this blog, you'll know my love of seed stitch).

I've got to use up the rest of the blue, the rest of the green, and a bunch of balls of black. The blue and green will probably only make one more washcloth each, and have some yarn leftover (the brown had some leftover). So I've got to incorporate the useless ends somehow. I'll probably make a bunch of black washcloths with different colored edgings. Unless I can find a cool stripe pattern to use.

I need to make more blankets. We're going to need blankets when we move in. You can never have too many blankets - my family is proof of that. We have a bazillion (yes, that's a valid scientific numerical quantity - stop questioning me!) blankets at my parents house, and we still seem to not have enough somehow.

Then there's the adorable felted wool potholders/hot pads I need to make.

And of course, I've got the mind to make an awesome red acrylic (Caron 1 pounder, baby!) skull lace tablecloth. But I don't know if we'll have a table or how big it will be. So I'll hold off on that. And matching placemats.

More washcloths. And towels, I think. But towels are kind of impractical to knit.

A welcome mat proclaiming "FUCK OFF" would be just subtle enough, I think. I may do it.

I've always wanted a canopy bed....so I'll be knitting the canopy part of that as well...when we find out what kind of bed we'll have. A giant canopy like the one in the summer Interweave Knits. Yeah, that'd be kickass.

Socks. We need socks. We'll need lots of socks. Don't ask me why - we aren't going to be trapped out in the woods with only our socks to keep us warm, but with the amount i want to make, you just might think so!

Then I'd still like to make a whole slew of baby items...not just for that potential future event (that sometimes makes me want to scream and yell and pull at my hair), but because our friends keep procreating.

I've got to make the blanket for David's mother (a thank you gift for letting us stay at the house so long), the Minty Shawl of Goodness for Aunt Lois, the Her's and Her's set for Molly and Amanda, the Wedding Afghan (it's long overdue to be finished). I've also got to frog the sweaters I bought, and make some socks for mom's birthday (august) out of the cashmere/silk salmon colored sweater.

I've got more than enough projects to finish, and I'm sitting here knitting WASHCLOTHS? What's wrong with me? This seems to be a common problem, from what i can gather. It's called "startitis". I may just be suffering from it.

And my nifty armwarmers.

Maybe I should set goals:

This week I will: Finish some Projects.

Monday - has passed. I knit washcloths. I will continue knitting washcloths tonight.

Tuesday - I will pick up the minty Shawl of Goodness. I aim to have it finished soon, if not this week.

Wednesday - Get smaller items done
Thursday - I'll work on the Her's And Her's set. I aim to have all the washcloths done on this day. I will have estimated yardage needed for the towels. I will look up techniques needed for the towels and plan them, and perhaps finish the towels while in Ohio.

Friday - Armwarmers. They will be done within the day. If they are completed, I will start on my socks.

Saturday - Minty Shawl. I will also pack for the trip back to Ohio and sort out what needs to be shipped to me.

Sunday - We leave at night back for Ohio. So I'll figure something to bring on the bus. Much knitting will be done on the bus - so the Minty Shawl might be great. On the other hand, those seats don't have lots of room...so perhaps I'll start my Mother-In-Law Afghan.

If I cannot do what is planned on these days, washcloth knitting is an acceptable substitute. But I WILL be doing what is planned. Because I need to.

Yeah, setting goals has always worked. Procrastinator's of the World Unite!.........Tomorrow.


Oh Miss Danvers!

She's finished! SHE IS FINISHED!


She has the oh-so-subtle waist shaping that I love and was worried would come out looking deformed because its so hard to find things that will fit a TRUE HOURGLASS figure like I'm stuck with. Incidentally - who named that figure, anyway? I don't want my body named after a timepiece. Ick. But it could be worse, I guess.

The point is- my sweater does not look like an amorphous blob of yarn thrown together.

The sweater itself has some bicolor ribbing at the bottom edge, and about a half an inch of bicolor seed stitch above that. It's gorgeous detailing. Too bad the camera will never pick it up.
The waist shaping that I love so much is formed by a "M1" stitch on each side. It was a pain in the ass to keep the sides straight, or even figure out which side was which, or where to stick the dividers for the sides, since the damn thing was knit in the round. On circulars.


Here is me, in all of my bleary-eyed glory enjoying my new sleeveless sweater. There is a black crocheted edging around the neckline and armholes. There is also a fair isle motif of vines on the front (shown here.)

The picture would have excluded my mug, but David was taking the picture with my parents camera and I don't think they would have appreciated just a photo of my chesticles. Doesn't matter if it was for art's sake or not.

The motif was supposed to be a checkerboard design. I thought I charted it out okay. But everyone who sees it thinks its vines or trees. So I'll go with that from now it. It's got a vine motif on the front.

And because I'm a sucker for pain, I ended up knitting a hood for it too. I mean, yes, it was supposed to be a tanktop hoodie, but the hood caused more pain than it was worth. There are no good, clear, tutorials online that I've found that describe how to create a hood. So I knit a rectangle-ish shape on the back by picking up the neck stitches. Knit in a fun vine lace motif on the hood to mirror the one on the chest of the sweater, and then picked up all the stitches around the rectangle to form a hood.
Add a crocheted edge, and viola, the sweater is FINISHED!

I've learned a few things from this project:

1. Plan. Plan what you're going to do beforehand. Otherwise, it might look haphazard. Like this sweater does!
2. Waist shaping is your friend. Don't be afraid to use it, and don't be afraid of starting it early. It looks good. And the math isn't so intimidating if you just WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN IN A CLEAR, STEP BY STEP PROCESS. Like they tried to teach me in math class years ago, but I could never figure out. Until my knitting hung in the balance.
3. Red Heart hurts your fingers. It chafes. Have a lot of bee's wax and lamb's wool oil to remoisturize and make them feel better.
4. A hood is easier than it looks. Once you rip it out five times and figure out how you want it to look, it's not a big deal.
5. Knitting on circulars is not only a test of patience, and math skills, but a test of thumb strength as well. Especially when you don't scoot your stitches as often as you should.
6. Lace is awesome, when it isn't fussy.
Anyway, onto the specs:

This project was made with Red Heart Super Saver in color Royal for the main color. It took almost two full skeins to do this project. I'd imagine if you wanted sleeves, you'd need three skeins, unless they were girlie cap sleeves, in which case you'd probably only need two.
The contrasting color was a find at the thrift store. It was in an Ac Moore bag marked "100% Unknown Fiber". I'm certain, though, that it's cotton. Probably of the sugar n creme variety. What's the difference between Peaches N Creme and Sugar N Creme anyway? I'm curious!
Size US 7 26 inch circulars. I'm not sure of the brand, because they were given to me by my grandmother, and they aren't marked in any way, shape, or form. So I've had to size them myself with my slightly inaccurate Boye Needle Sizer. I'm sure they're closer to a size 8. But that's no matter. They're metal (feels like steel) with a milky-clear plastic cord.
I didn't use a pattern for this. I just flew by the seat of my pants. I make it a nasty habit not to swatch to check gauge. I just eyeball everything, most of the time. I know how tense I knit, so I usually have a good idea of how many stitches I need. I did good for this sweater, I think.
If anyone who reads this (and I'm not sure anybody does) would like to have the pattern for their own, non-commercial use, I'd be more than happy to pass it along or post it here. Just drop me a line and let me know!


Is it the music that connects me to you?

I stayed up last night knitting until about 3 AM trying to finish Ms. Danvers. The main body is finished, all the ends are woven in. I finally decided on a graphic motif of vines for the front, and a square neck. I crocheted the contrasting color (black) around the armholes and neckhole. All seemed to go well. The short row shaping under the arms worked out great - it doesn't look deformed. Contrary, it looks like it was made to fit me. Because, it sort of was. Not totally. I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't swatch (I never do. That's my guilty secret - I never swatch. I eyeball), I didn't take measurements. I just cast on and started going.

I wrote down most of the pattern as I went. A lot of it is, more or less "knit to suit yourself" or "you have to judge". The instruction of "You have to judge" has driven my mother nuts for years. A lot of knitting requires that you judge for yourself, based on your own personal preferences. I knit whatever I please, most of the time. I freestyle, if you will. My mother wants me to teach her to knit before I go back to Ohio. I think this lady will be driven nuts. Sure, there are those knitters who are rigid and follow every pattern down to a T. But I'm not one of those. And because there are as many ways to knit as there are knitters, I think she'll go batty if I try to teach her and my methods end up being different (and I know they are) from every source she tries to find for help. I doubt I'll end up teaching her, it will save lots of stress for all parties.

David's knitting is coming along well. He just made what he calls his first "real" project - an MP3 Player cozy. Being the cutie that he is, he made it from BRIGHT RED fingering weight wool yarn on size 8 needles. It's very lacy sort of and very very stretchy. I should get a pic of it, but he hasn't let it out of his sight since he seamed it. I don't know what he plans to make next.

Back to Ms. Danvers, though. I really just need to add the hood and everything will be finished. Unfortunately, there are no good, clear, tutorials covering how to add a hood. Everything I find is so mucky and murky in detail, I don't even want to try it. And since I spent most of last night trying, I'm super frustrated. I picked up the stitches on the back of the shirt and knit those up with increases in the middle. The picked up stitches are nowhere near large enough to cover a head. The area I knit (complete with a vine lace pattern crawling up the back of the hood to echo the vine intarsia on the front) is big enough for maybe the back of the hood. So I'm thinking I could just pick up the area around the "back part" of the hood I knit last night, plus pick up two stitches on the neckline for each row. (one on each side of the neck) and that might make an awesome hood. I'm not sure, though. I guess I'll give it a try. I don't really want to pull out more of my knitting ( I attempted making sides of the hood last night. It turned out disasterous).

After Ms. Danvers is finished, I'll either start my and David's socks, my armwarmers (PURPLE! YAY!) or finish up the Shawl of Minty Goodness.

I have a pattern for the armwarmers. They'd knit up in a day or two. The socks, I have no clue on yet. The Shawl of Minty Goodness might take a week to finish, at most.

I went to the craft store yesterday (AC Moore) and picked up size 1 and 2 double pointed needles. I also took a needle inventory yesterday. I'm not doing so bad. What I don't have in straights, I have in double points and circs, and vice versa. So I've got all my sizes covered. I'm one of those odd people who refuses to use anything larger than size 15 needle, so I've got all the sizes I'll use covered. Except the elusive 000. I think I'll die and go crazy without the size 000. I want to be one of those brave, courageous, insane knitters that tackles intricate lace bedspreads on size 000. Or just to knit my doll clothes, you know? I have size 0. But not 000. Ooooh, how i want a size 000!

While at AC Moore, I also tried to pick up some sock yarn. The employees were without a clue. Me: "Sock yarn?"
Them: " What's that?"
Me: " Double Knitting weight?"
Them:" WHat's that?"
Me: " Lace weight? Fingering weight?"
Them: " That sounds dirty. Ohhh! You mean baby yarn! Yeah, we have a whole shelf of Red Heart/Caron/Bernat/Lion Brand over here."

Arrghh! No. Sock yarn. Sock yarn that is made into socks. Not the gigantic chunky stuff that looks like braids of rope. Not the acrylic stuff that will make someone's feet sweat horribly and isn't even the right weight anyway. No No No! As much as I love Lion Brand....their magic stripes wasn't even available for sale at this particular Ac Moore. I considered Microspun for about a minute before I realized that I hate working with it. And my only problems with using baby yarn for the socks is that they're ALL pastel, and the acrylic content could lead to some foot fungus.

I don't want to have to resort to buying all my sock yarn online. I really don't. JoAnn's is a little bit better, but I can't seem to get a ride there. Not yet, anyway. Maybe before I leave, I don't know.

Begrudingly, I picked up some Lion Brand Wool Ease for David's socks. I wanted to make him black and red ones. But did the store have any black worsted Wool Ease in stock? No way. That would have made my trip too easy. So I picked up the closest color substitute I can think of for black - dark grey. It wasn't until I got back to the car, yarn purchased, did I realize that dark red and dark grey are David's former high school's colors. Ick. School spirit is not synonymous with either of our names. So I'll use the red for the socks, plus whatever else I can find in my stash thats suitable, and the grey for something else. I have no plans yet.

I did manage to pick up some Sugar N Creme Cotton at Ac Moore though, in colors I really love. There's Hot Blue and Warm Brown, which will look awesome together. Warm Brown is a chocolatey color, and Hot Blue is an almost neon turquoise. I've loved those colors together since last year, when on a craft run outing with an ex, I found a piece of clearance brocade in those colors. Marked down to 4$ from $13. Yeah, I was happy. I had big plans for that fabric. A corset, or needle roll. One of the two. But when I left for college, I left my darling fabric behind by accident, and my father swiped it to re-cover my family's computer chair. I'm still pissed.

In addition to the Warm Brown and Hot Blue, I got a Hot Green as well. A nice, neon green that looks good with the Hot Blue and Warm Brown. Are we seeing a color naming trend, by the way? There was an awesome pine green color at the store, a really vibrant dark green, but I didn't get it. I'm upset. Its name was probably Dark Green, though. So I'm not at a big loss. The cotton will all become washcloths for when David and I move into our new space.

So much to do, so little time. So many size 8 needles to do it on! (after taking inventory, I realized JUST HOW MANY size 8 needles I have. Oy vey!)