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Why I think BSJ pattern-wanters should be forced to spend more money 
12:45pm 04/05/2010
mood: cheerful
Okay, I know, the title of this post makes me sound insensitive and terrible, or maybe even sarcastic, but I swear I am not being sarcastic; I am being 100% serious here.

If you want the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern, I think you should buy one of the Elizabeth Zimmerman books that contains the pattern. There, I said it. I would even go so far as to say I don't think the pattern should be available anywhere as a stand-alone because I think it is far too easy for people to just shrug off the genius of a pattern-writer if they only have one pattern, and I think they need to know the genius of Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Seriously. I don't take this stance often- I generally prescribe to the whole "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" thing, but in this case I think that E.Z. really should be required reading for EVERY person who so much as picks up knitting needles and yarn. She not only subscribed to knitting philosophy I had held for years without even knowing it, but she put it down in writing in the most charming way and then helped me to grow even further. So yes, every person who knits should be forced to learn the wonder of E.Z.

Which means that if you see a baby surprise jacket and you just want the pattern for that adorable jacket, too bad. I think you should have to buy the book. It is more than worth the purchase price- it's worth more than its weight in gold.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

Ravelry, you are my savior (And maybe not for the reason you think) 
02:10pm 17/03/2009
mood: awake
Okay, so we all know that Ravelry is awesome. If you are a knitter and you don't have an account yet, get thee to the site and get on the invite list. Invites are flying quickly, so you won't have long to wait.

Now, I'm knitting some baby stuff for a friend of my aunt's; So far I've done a DIC Tulip Cardigan out of Dream in Color: Classy. I only used 2 colors, but I still have quite a bit leftover. I was thinking maybe a Baby Surprise jacket, but.. no I want something sweeter. I could just do another Tulip Cardigan, I suppose, but we'll see. I remembered seeing the Baby Surplice Jacket in an issue of Vogue Knitting.. but WHICH issue???

Thanks to Ravelry, I was able to find that it was the Vogue Knitting Summer 2007 issue and go to my magazines and pull the right one immediately.

Without Rav.. well, I've done this in the past, and it would have taken me ages just to figure out which issue it was, an then probably I'd have missed the pattern while flipping through to find it anyway so that's twice as long for me to flip through ALL the magazines only to realize I must have missed it..

Thanks, Ravelry.

(1 Stitch | Pick Up a Stitch)

A Knitting P.S.A. In more than one part 
02:00pm 25/02/2009
mood: contemplative
I'm thinking it's time to do a little knitting P.S.A. around here because I've been tooling around and seeing blog comments and questions and frankly, I think it's time.

The one most important thing you can learn in knitting, that will help you in the long run and I think is above and beyond knowing how to make the stitches even... is how to RECOGNIZE your knitting.

How many times have you heard of people making the following mistakes?
1- Accidental yarnovers (adding more stitches!)
2- Purled or Knitted on the wrong row in Stockinette
3- Turned around the work while working in circular knitting and ended up
4- Lost your place in a stitch pattern and didn't know what to do
5- Lost your place when doing short rows and ended up wrapping and turning at the wrong times

The list can go on and on- feel free to leave a comment if you've got something else you add in there. Now, the truth is, everyone makes these mistakes. Some of them more than others- For example, I probably would never make the mistake of purling or knitting at the wrong time in plain old stockinette, and very very rarely do I ever turn my work around in circular knitting. Now I've had accidental yarnovers but I always notice them on the NEXT ROW and I just drop them and usually that doesn't leave any holes. When I lose my place in the stitch pattern, I can find it, and the same with short rows.

Now, why is it that these mistakes are easily avoided or fixed when I make them? It's because I know how to read my knitting, I know how to look at it and understand what is going on. There are tons of other knitters out there who do the same thing- they're the ones who can diagnose your problem with a snap of the fingers and can probably help you fix it.

But you know what? There's no reason YOU can't do the same thing! All you need to do is pay attention to your knitting, learn what the stitches look like, and learn a few really really simple rules about what your knitting is supposed to look like as you're working on it. Trust me- you don't have to finish that row if you don't want to. You can stop in the middle and come back later if you want to. It's not the end of the world if you stop in the middle of a stitch repeat- you can easily find your place if you know what the stitches look like.

I'm going to try to do some picture posts to accompany this, but what I really want to say to you today is just to pay attention to what your knitting looks like. If you're doing, say, 2x2 ribbing- you shouldn't have to keep count. The stitches should be your guide. Just look for a while- you'll see what I mean.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

11:37pm 12/02/2009
mood: anxious
I haven't posted much, I know. I will truly try to get back to posting more. I've been feeling more inspired since I received my absolutely fabulous gift for the Loopy Ewe swap from my SUPER awesome pal. If you're reading this hun, thanks!

I'm thinking I need to finally start something.. big. A big, fun project I can be proud of (not a sweater!) I think I'm going to finally get around to knitting the Feather and Fan shawl from "A Gathering of Lace" that I was ORIGINALLY going to do for the Dream in Color Baby knit-along at The Loopy Ewe. I even bought yarn special for it and just never got around to doing it. I feel kinda bad cuz they offered a knit-along discount and I didn't participate but ah well. The shawl will get made, and it will be lovely.

Anyway.. I think that's about all I can muster to write. I will try to get some things photographed, and DO SOMETHING creative! Maybe do some spinning (the poor Ladybug hasn't gotten any attention since before I went to Montana!!!)... finally block the rainbow shawl I made ages ago. We'll see.

note to self: Put blocking pins on the shopping list.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

Some Knitting 
12:14am 29/10/2008
mood: awake
Well, I'm not doing too great on the updating of the journals front but that's just the way it goes. I've done some knitting.

First, I finished the orange socks for SKA September SockdownCollapse )

Then I used some leftovers from those to make a little hat for my new doll. I will be getting a larger doll in the next couple months so you will likely see a lot more knitting for her.

Then, I started the Druid Mittens by Jared FloodCollapse )

Tonight I'm going to also start on a Christmas Stocking for the October Sockdown, (DEADLINE WTF HELLO) but that probably will get set aside for a bit while I knit the mittens. They're for someone :D I'm feeling pretty good today, so hopefully the mood will stick.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

More Yarnage 
01:25am 13/10/2008
mood: accomplished
I spun some more yarn- another roving from High Bid Farm.

I call this one Flamingos & FirebirdsCollapse )

I'm pretty happy with it, though I wasn't crazy about the colorway as it was spinning up. I've no idea what I'm going to make but this yarn is WAAAAY more even than my first so I'm pretty happy about that. It's so funny to watch Polyglot playing with the wheel- he'll go sit on the treadles and make it spin and then just go nuts, or he'll walk through the spokes, or just in general be cute. I don't bother stopping him unless he's chewing on pieces.

I also got some Creatively Dyed Seawool roving from TLECollapse )
Colors from left to right are: Beautiful, Deep Blue Sea, and All About me!! All came from The Loopy Ewe and are just wonderful. I can't wait to spin them- they are each an 8oz braid though so I need to get all my bobbins emptied for them methinks. I can really only get 4oz per bobbin- maybe a little more. I know that a jumbo flyer is in development for my wheel but that will not be till late next year at the earliest I'm sure, and then there's the issue of being able to actually, you know, afford it.

Oh well.

My next project is non-knitting- I'm going to be paining up this bed I got at target for my AG dolls to look like wrought iron. Right now the lavender color is just TOO girly. I don't think you should make a bed like that and make it so girly and cute- little girls don't mind things that look real, y'know?

(Pick Up a Stitch)

What happened?! 
05:42pm 08/10/2008
mood: blah
I wanna know what happened. I used to be such a prolific knitter. And now I'm not. What's the deal?

I suppose it might have to do with the fact that I have less "downtime" away from my computer these days. Or the fact that I knit mostly socks on very small needles.

Whatever the reason I'm a little depressed about it since I'd really like to knit some christmas gifts and I have 2 almost-nephews that are the perfect kid age for making clothes for... but I just don't know if I could do it. I mean, I've got plenty of time, essentially... but I dunno.

I don't know if it's procrastination, lack of inspiration, or both.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

The big spinning post 
12:00am 04/10/2008
mood: blah
I've done more spinning today; I finished up the 4 oz of roving I had and then I plied it.

Yarn plied in the Navajo fashionCollapse ) Don't ask me if the Navajo actually plied like that, I've no idea the history behind it. Once I get a PVC pipe niddy noddy made and get that wound into a skein (and the twist set, etc) I'll post another pic so you can see the "better" parts of it. The most visible stuff in the photo is obviously what I spun first (and thus plied last) so it's not the "best" part of the yarn. I'm still practicing.

And also, fiber haul from Finger Lakes fiber arts... not many detailsCollapse )

There was also an ounce or so of blue wool I spun up but haven't done anything with (Not much there) so it's just sitting on a bobbin.

I also took photos of a couple other pretty things from my stash. Daffodils Tussah Silk that I got for my birthday from Jeremy; He got it from here. And some merino/tencel in a nice blue color that I got from Woodland Woolworks when I ordered the springs for my Ladybug.

That being said, I still haven't thought of a name. I was thinking Virgo but I don't think it really fits her. Jeremy said I should go with Eglantine (what the kitten would have been named if he were a girl) or Nessie (because both the loch Ness monster and sheep happen to exist in Scotland). He also suggested "Beck" because it has a "turntable" but I thought that was a bit of a stretch.

We're going to the Hilton Apple Festival tom- well, today, actually. I'm going to get some apples and maybe some other stuff depending on what is there. Hopefully it will rock hardcore.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

01:34am 02/10/2008
mood: bouncy
Yeah, I'm posting about spinning but you may recognize the Spinerooni as a wrestling move. Yes, Jeremy introduced me to the WWE and I can certainly see the entertainment value in it even though I think it's largely stupid, it can be interesting as well and there are some pretty decent athletes out there doing it.

The Spinerooni is a wrestling move that I believe is performed by Booker T. but don't quote me.

In other news, I've been spinningCollapse )

I am actually not sure why I even bought this roving, it didn't look that great as a roving (I will attempt to get a picture of what is left before I spin it) but it's actually turning into a fun little yarn. That's not the first thing I've spun on the Ladybug but it's the first thing I've thought to photograph while still on the wheel which I think is a good way to showcase it.

100% Merino Roving bought from the High Bid Farm booth at Finger Lakes Fiber Arts.

And now I'm feeling like my fiber stash is pathetically small because let's face it, spinning 4oz of roving takes waaay less time than knitting 4 oz of yarn.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

Batts of love... 
04:56pm 25/09/2008
mood: blank
So, you guys may already know I'm into spinning; I'm not the best spinner in the world or anything, in fact, I'm still practicing a lot- I've mostly got the twist/feed part of the spinning, but it's the drafting that's getting me.

I get the technical aspect- you use one hand to pinch and keep the twist from running into your "drafting zone" and then you use the other hand to tease out the fibers- the problem is, I feel like I have to tug WAY too hard to get the fibers to separate.

Now, I don't know why this is- this could just be because I should be doing more pre-drafting. I don't really know, but I'm sorta testing it out- I figure I don't plan on doing anything that requires me to have perfect technique so long as what I'm getting is likeable I shouldn't care.

The problem, I'm having, however, isn't with the spinning itself- it's with the materials.

Batts. See, the thing about spinning- is that even with roving, it can be hard to tell what your finished yarn is going to look like if you have anything remotely multicolored. And a lot of that, honestly, has to do with how you spin it. For example, a roving with short little bursts of color- you could spread out those bursts into much longer repeats. Are you going to ply it? That'll change things too.

So what I have a hard time with is the fact that I keep finding these batts that look as yummy as the one I linked up above and I honestly have NO CLUE what it's going to look like spun up.

It's much the same thing with yarn, really. You find a nice, gorgeous yarn like this one, and you think "Wow, that's lovely." But knitted up it's hideous, and loses the charm.

It's rough- it's like artists really spend a lot of time making something that looks good as a product.. but then the actual finished product.. turns out not so great.


(Pick Up a Stitch)

03:17pm 25/09/2008
mood: awake
Okay, so Steampunk isn't entirely my aesthetic but like many "fashions," there are some fun things that I kinda dig.

Like these awesome goggles.

I mean, seriously! how awesome is that- I love that the baseball leather just HAPPENS to be perfectly shaped for it, too. A+++

Also, if you've never seen them... there's this guy who does "steampunk" makeovers on computers- they are incredible. I mean, truly- WOW. I adore it.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

12:52pm 22/09/2008
mood: bored
I think I am pre-disposed to hobbies that require stockpiling materials. I went to the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival this past weekend with my aunt, and I could have bought a lot more than I did, but as it is my spinning container is now completely overfilled with fiber. I also saw some adorable little Shetland Sheepies and I am in love with them. So adorable.

My aunt wants me to make her a pair of thrummed mittens, so I ordered some Cascade 220 from The Loopy Ewe for that, along with a couple Dream In Color Smooshy colors that I wanted, another Orange sock yarn for the Mystery sock at the SKA Ravelry group... And I think that was it, lol.

I'll try to take photos of the fiber. I also posted on my normal journal that I had found a guy who makes spinning wheels at the festival as well- I was absolutely flabbergasted. Someday I'll have one- I didn't even ask the price for the wheels (which were absolutely gorgeous), because the Drop Spindles were so expensive that I didn't even want to know how much the wheels were going for. Someday, though.... They were really lovely (and small!). I really admire someone who can do that sorta stuff. I guess in a way I know I'd be able to do it, but like I said.. I have too many hobbies already. And as indicated by the "Tech" class I took in middleschool (Fancy word for woodworking in NYS schools), I've not got the patience for the finishing. Sanding and all that is just boooooring to me, though I love the result.

Anyway, I want to make a Tee-Shirt quilt with all the tee shirts I have that don't fit me or have stains or that I don't wear... so I looked online for memory quilts and found like all these great ones and suddenly it's like..... CRAP I don't need another hobby! LoL!

I also wish I didn't get sucked into my hobbies so quickly. Like, spinning- I haven't even had my wheel for that long but already I'm salivating over a drum carder. Sigh.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

03:34pm 29/08/2008
mood: amazed
Okay, folks, I had my doubts about Wollmeise. I thought.. maybe it isn't all it is cracked up to be. Maybe everyone's just going crazy and it's not THAT nice. I mean, at least half the people who are buying it are just buying it because it's popular... right?

Then these three skeins came in the mail and I remembered that things do get popular for a reason...Collapse )

Wow. Just wow. At this point, I don't even CARE how the stuff knits up. I just love the colors THAT much. It's completely a different experience from Dream in Color, which I still ADORE of course.

I also got a couple ebay skeinsCollapse )

Today was a good yarn mail day, though my makeup from Everyday Minerals still has not arrived and I'm getting a bit frustrated.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

01:47pm 25/08/2008
mood: accomplished
I just scored 3 skeins of Wollmeise. GO ME.

I'll post more about actual knitting later. Right now I'm going to go, like, do something useful.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

Book Rant 
11:19pm 13/08/2008
mood: angry
I'm totally not into knitting right now- oh, don't get me wrong- I'm still into yarn and I even still want to knit, but it's more like I can't decide what to knit. It's a little insane.

Anyway, today I'm going to blog about something I dislike in books and magazines; POORLY FINISHED SAMPLES. Seriously. I think if you are going to publish something in a knitting book or magazine you NEED NEED NEED to properly finish it. I should not be seeing wavy zippers, ugly seems, or ANYTHING that hasn't been blocked and neatly put together. If you are making something for a publication and you don't know how to finish it properly, for god sakes take it to someone who does and get it finished RIGHT.

What brought this on? Well, two books: Big Girl Knits and More Big Girl Knits. Don't get me wrong- I adore the books. There are designs in there that I love (even if I happen to be on the high end of their size range and am still unable to make all the patterns out of hand), and a LOT of good information about fitting clothing for larger ladies.

But damnit, I just CANNOT condone the poor finishing on some of the items in these books. It seriously drives me batty to see it. No, I'm not going to point fingers at particular members of the author team but let's just say I've seen poor finishing sneak by somewhere else, too. You may be saying that the finishing does not take away from the fabulousness of the finished item but, well, yes it does. And in a book that I'm paying money for it's just disgusting; If I want to see what it looks like with flaws and mistakes and crappy finishing I can log onto ravelry and see what people there have made (Thank god for Rav). In a book, magazine, whathaveyou- especially one that's published by reputable sources- I expect to see FLAWLESS finishing.


(Pick Up a Stitch)

My Baby 
02:23am 12/08/2008
mood: excited
As life goes on, I begin to suspect that I'll never give birth to children; instead, I will have toys that become my children.

like my little ladybugCollapse )

Yes, that's right. I got the spinning wheel (Schacht Ladybug) from The Loopy Ewe and it got here today. No, I haven't spun with it- I'm just taking a little time to analyze the scotch tensioner thingie it came with to make sure I'm using it right.

I really love it. I don't think I could be more happy with it, honestly. It's gorgeous, and it's fun, and cute, and they put a little ladybug on it just for me and I am just IN LOVE. And that's beore I've even spun on her! I need to give her a name- but I'm not sure what I'll be naming her. She's definitely a HER, though.

I'm trying not to feel guilty about this purchase. Truly, it was hard for me and I thought about it for a VERY long time. I got some inheritance money from my grandfather's estate in January and I decided that even though I am trying to make it LAST as long as possible, if I do not buy the spinning wheel NOW, when I can afford it- later on I will always wish I had. I know this because once when I was younger- about 5th or 6th grade- I ended up with about $3,000- a lot of money for a little kid. And I frittered it away, taking out $100 here, $200 there- buying silly things (makeup, clothes, etc). And afterwards I always wished I had bought a sewing machine. So, there you have it. I've made a big purchase, and it's one that I'm going to love for YEARS to come.

In other news, we're going to the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival, and HOPEFULLY to Rhinebeck as well - eee!!!! I'm very excited. And Jeremy's coming at the end of this month and we're going to get to spend our birthdays together and I'm just feeling SOOO good about it.


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Taking the plunge 
08:16pm 05/08/2008
mood: determined
Well, I took the plunge. I haven't tried the wheel I've bought, but I'm enough of a beginner that I'm certain I'll work it out and if I don't, I'll sell it and get another one. I'm trying to take the easy-going route on this. Here's what I bought. The Schacht Ladybug. Not only adorable, but portable, and practical. I have no doubt that I'll love it and that I'll get spinning in a major way. Eventually I'll pick up a kate for it, and stuff.. but for now I'm just gonna fool around and get my spinning under wraps.

Other than that, I've done absolutely NO knitting. There's just too much I want to work on!

I'm doing OK mental health-wise, just a bit stressed. Trying to get everything in order and whatnot, but we'll have to see. My dad's supposed to be bringing some more stuff down to me this week some time but he hasn't called to say when, so I dunno. Meh.

(Pick Up a Stitch)

Miscellaneous stuff 
02:52am 31/07/2008
mood: discontent
Well, I think I'm just going to go ahead and get a Schact Ladybug as my first wheel. I will learn to spin on it and I can get something more comfortable later (once I, I dunno.. sell off some fiber to fund my spinning habit? woe is me) if it isn't the best wheel for me. I've been feeling incredibly bad about spending money lately but I think this is one of those "now or never" situations and I know that if I don't buy the wheel now, then when my money runs out I'm going to wish I had.

In other news, I found this cool project. It's a tutorial on how to make wool dryer balls using leftover feltable yarns- the dryer balls supposedly take away the need for fabric softener or dryer sheets. I've got bits of leftover wool lying around that I'm not able to do anything with so I think that they'll be quite cool- I'll make one or two, maybe. We'll see. But a good idea, I think.

Anyway.. I'm gonna go take a bath and then maybe sleep. Or maybe just stay up until Jeremy gets online again. Maybe start some socks with the pink/brown yarn I have. I'm in such a weird mood- I want to knit like 100 things but I can't seem to get anything started! Insane!

(Pick Up a Stitch)

Sock Blanks & Other stuff 
11:38pm 28/07/2008
mood: cold
Well, it's settled. I'm going to buy a spinning wheel- and I'm probably going to get it from The Loopy Ewe because it just so happens they are going to be carrying the Ladybug and that's the one I've been looking at.

ALSO, I dyed up some more sock blanks the other night:Collapse )

I actually really tired myself out doing all that dyeing and I still need to perfect my techniques so that I don't use quite as much excess dye and when I do light colors I don't want the dark ones bleeding in so much (See Princes Bronnie). I think one of those has to do with the other though, so I'll work on it later. I've got 1 more blank to dye and a whole bunch of natural yarn, so I'm going to try to do that over the next week or so. No use rushing. I'm also going to try to talk my aunt into helping me sew up the 3 dresses and 1 shirt I've got ready to make. They're 1 seam deals- with maybe some straps added just for kicks.

Then I need to order yarn to make a shrug to go with my Old Navy dress and.. well, yeah.

I need to stop spending money :(

(Pick Up a Stitch)

Omfg ADD 
07:59pm 21/07/2008
mood: bored
Okay, I generally hate it when people claim to have ADD when they've never been diagnosed but holy crap do I feel like I've got it now. My attention span right now is down the tubes, let me tell you.

I want to knit a sweater for myself. Something cabled, something pretty- and most of all, something in MY size that I will like. Not like, LOVE. Because, dammit- I feel like I can't ever have exactly what I want so this time, I'm going to knit it and make it JUST how I want it.

So there. Hahaha.

I'm working on a shrug with Malabrigo bulky merino- but I don't know if I'm going to have enough yarn to make it fit me. I may have to make it smaller and let my aunt have it- and then buy some more bulky merino in a different color. I got this dress from Old Navy and I love how it looks (the neckline is just right) but I need to have something to wear over it to cover my arms, so I'm planning on just doing a nipped little raglan shrug. I only wish the dress was all cotton- the modal spandex mix is rather HOT once you move around in it.

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