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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yay! Two done!

I am a little annoyed with my sewing machine again. I can't seem to get the tension right again. It happens every time I switch thread. I feel as though I am tensionally challenged. So the potholders are on hold until I can figure it out. Dammit.

I just finished the second dishcloth. Again, I took my idea from Tricotine, since she has been doing so many dishcloths lately and I thought the wave pattern on this one would be perfect with the blues in the yarn. The original pattern was created by Leanne.

Yarn: Lily Sugar N Cream, Color 00133

Source: AC Moore

Needle: Size 7 Bamboo Straights

I would like to do one more, but honestly, I need to use my time to study spanish, work out, and get caught up on my socks and other projects! I also need to buy other presents. The weather is so nice here, all the northerners are going to be jealous!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One down, one to go

I have set a goal to knit at least two dishcloths this week for my MIL's birthday. So I have completed the Swish with a Twist pattern that I started yesterday. It is not blocked yet.

Swish with a Twist
Yarn: Peaches N Cream White
Source: My mom
Needle: Size 8 Bamboo Straights

Then I also realized it is my best friend's birthday in mid-March as well. She is another quilter and a new mother, so I figure I can buy her something crafty and she can use it herself in lieu of me rushing a project and aggravating the ole carpal tunnel. Hey, I need to preserve my sanity somehow. Also, I will probably do some home made bath salts and other things for presents as well.

It does not look good for me to complete my pair of socks for this month, with all of my quilting going on. Oh well. I will just have to butch up and try to complete one and a half pairs next month!

It is time to scoot along and try to work on the potholders too. I bought the additional fabric that I needed at Hancock Fabrics last night before my knitting group.

Monday, February 26, 2007

It sure has been awhile...

I had my applique class on Thursday, and spent Friday getting ready to go out of town for the weekend for a seminar. Sunday I spent time recovering my sore muscles. So now I am finally back! I honestly was going to try to make it to the one knitting store in Charleston, but that did not happen. My seminar ran past the time the store closed. Boohoo!

My MIL's birthday is this Friday. So it is time to get off my butt and do something for a present. I am working on some heart block potholders, but just realized that I need to go buy more fabric since the fat quarters will not cut it. I need more fabric for backings and bias strip borders. At the same time, I am working on some dishcloths. The first one I have chosen I picked up from Tricotine. It is called Swish with a Twist. The white Peaches N Cream yarn may not show the detail to well in the picture yet.
I am going to try to get more done at my knitting meet up tonight with Needleworkers Anonymous.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Viewer mail

I decided to jump into the mosh pit long enough to answer some viewer mail:

YarnThrower said...
I really like the pattern on those socks! Just curious -- regarding lizard ridge - did you have to learn how to "knit backwards"? Your blanket square looks great so far, and I totally agree with not wanting to change balls of yarn every few rows! Awesome that it is softer with your yarn substitution, too! And, your heart quilt looks great!

No, I have not bothered to learn to knit backwards because I just wanted to get started on it. I am weeks behind the other KALers, but that is alright. I have many irons in the fire (as usual for me). I figure I am going to learn to knit backwards eventually, but me and the other KALers don't find it that much of a chore to turn the work. Especially in my case, since I am not dangling two balls of yarn at once since I am not changing colors. Therefore, I don't have the tangling problems one would normally have with turning the work so much.

Maybe I will post a picture of my applique square tomorrow. The applique squares we are doing are from Baltimore Basics, and are quite involved. So this square is going to take me awhile but maybe I will have enough done to show 1/4 of the square tomorrow. I am looking forward to learning how to do 3-dimensional flowers in this class.

I am off to clean my house. I am going to try to set a timer and split up my time between cleaning and applique today.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Halfway done on Cedar Creek...yay!

I do not like to get into political opinions or commentary on my blog, because it tends to be too divisive. Many people cannot have a friendly debate in which they keep political beliefs separate from judgements about personal character. Or personal attacks. I do not judge people as being worthy of my kindness and friendship based on their political opinions; my friends are from all points in the spectrum. That may have something to do with growing up in Alaska where people are BIG individualists and love to have friendly debates. But on my blog I will occasionally delve into social commentary. I think we all do; we voice our frustrations in our blogs. Enough of Anna Nicole Smith already! This ongoing 24-7 coverage of her tragic life and death is too much! There are people dying all over the world from genocide, starvation and disease, and this is what our media chooses to feed us. To keep us as ignorant and stupid about the world as we want to be. Argh! This is why I like to look at foreign media sometimes. And exactly why I spend more of my time watching the financial news than regular news.

Enough said for today. Just please, I hope that you all make it a point in your life to branch out and seek knowledge from other sources of your own choosing. Whatever they may be.

I finished the first of the pair of Cedar Creek socks yesterday. I have already casted on the second sock, and it is too funny. The picot edge on the SS took me maybe a few minutes, when the first time I did it it must have taken 2o minutes to half an hour? Granted, I was really exhausted the first time I did it because I felt under the weather. That is the great thing about sock knitting, getting better and faster on the SS.

I also showed off my Sockentine Swap socks at my Monday Needleworkers Anonymous meeting. Everyone loved them. My pal did a great job!

I am totally inspired yet again by Knitosaurus to try to do the Rogue pattern (sometime this year). (An aside: the Knitosaurus knitters do some of the cutest knits and I love their beautiful pictures modeling their knits against SE Alaska backdrops. They are too cute.) I know some of my NwAnon friends want to do it someday too. Torn between Jamieson's Aran and Green Mountain Spinnery's Mountain Mohair since I have heard both of these work well for the pattern. Jamieson's would be cheaper. I don't really want to substitute a yarn cheaper than Jamieson's, unless I hear of one that absolutely holds up and retains beautiful cable work. I figure if I am going to do that much work on a sweater, it is worth investing in a gorgeous yarn so that it will last a long time and I will want to wear it more. Let me know if you all have any opinions out there in blogland.

I may have to disappear for a few days, as I need to clean my house and try to accomplish as much work on an applique square as humanly possible before my class on Thursday. I have not started AT ALL. Oh well. I just take too many classes at once to get everything done.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday update

Sorry I have not posted in a few days. I was feeling a bit rundown. And I didn't want to tortue y'all with my babblings when they are less energetic and coherent. I did manage to butch up and make it to Aikido yesterday. But I could not have done it without my DH's surprise emergency caffeine-infusion via a serving of a Starbucks nonfat sugar-free dolce latte. Bless his heart.
The great news is that I received my Sockentine Pal's socks in a carepackage yesterday. I managed to drive by the post office on my way home from Aikido in my exhausted state, and I was sure glad I did. Here is what she sent to me:

Aren't they beeeyuuuteeful? Such gorgeous lacework. Earthchick, you totally rock! And of course, they are purple because she is a Furman Grad from lovely Greenville SC. How perfect? I am wearing them around the house today. Even my DH says they are wonderful and amazing. She also sent Lindor truffles which I absolutely adore and am actively hiding from certain houseguests who love to eat them too. At least until I get to savor a few with my morning coffee, then I can share the rest. :) And I love the pastel pink mug.

I am nearing the end of my first Cedar Creek Sock. I will show it when I get if finished. I also managed to finally finish the Jan 2007 Thimbleberries heart block, now that my sewing machine tension is perfect. Yes, this is still primarily a knitting blog, but I thought it would be nice to show it since I have been stressing about it the last few posts.

For our free pattern for February, we were given a smaller heart potholder design to make with this same block. I am going to make some as gifts for my mom and MIL. How awesome! Especially with the red and white fabric my MIL just gave to me. :)

Here is a quote I think you all will enjoy. I know it applies to my DH, and I hope you are lifted by it as well.
"Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood."- H.L. Mencken

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I spent two hours yesterday trying to get the thread tension balanced on my sewing machine. I still don't feel it is right. So I don't have a completed quilt block to show you all. I did change the thread, change the needle, restring the thread, restring the bobbin, adjust top and bottom tensions, yada yada yada. I am going to try to get help on it tomorrow. It is funny, because when I ask for help on it, the instructor gets it right immediately. Nothing like feeling stoopid. :) I have had problems the last few times. I didn't always have such trouble.

But my club coordinator did agree that one of my fabrics was cut very askew, and gave me a new piece off of the bolt. It is only 1/4 yard wide, so it would really affect my cutting otherwise.

I don't have any significant knitting progress, although I have been working on my Cedar Creek socks. I have to keep hiding them from my fellow knitters, as they are in love with the Lucy colorway. If I go to Maryland Sheep and Wool, I may have to stalk the Blue Moon Fiber Artists booth for them. Or maybe we can just organize a large order for our SnB group, and make it easier as it can get rough in the mosh pit that the BMFA booth turns into at every show. :)

Anyone else going to Maryland Sheep and Wool? I really need to start saving up for that trip. Like in the worst way. I hear that it is a huge yarn budget blower. I was able to maintain control at Stitches East, but I hear MSW is WAAAAY bigger. Does anyone out there have any advice for the newbie?

More viewer mail from Kat:

kat said...
thanks for the answer...lucky me i already have a sewing machine (also a $100 model) because i've sewn some of my own clothes, i also have two containers of fabric to play with so we'll see. there is also a place here called Stitch Lounge that does basic quilting classes that I might try, the have machines & give you the fabric.

You are so lucky! That Stitch Lounge place sounds so cool! Just remember (but you probably already know) to stick to 100% cotton fabrics and thread from your stash for your quilting. I have tried doing some basic clothes sewing, but somehow I was much better at it when I was 13 than I am work ends up being cursed even though I do things correctly...too long of a story to explain. But I can manage quilting.

I have decided that I need to start building a stash of bunny and bear fabrics. You may have noticed that I have alot of bears on my blog. Bear is one of my many nicknames. And my husband and his family are partial to bunnies. I would like to do a themed quilt with the two someday.

If I think of some more knitting stuff, I will post again later today. But I have to get on with studying Spanish for my spanish class, and baking peanut butter bars for the Thimbleberries Club.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. I received a Valentine's theme quilt gift from my MIL. I will try to take a pic and post it later. For now, I just wanted to answer some comment questions before I have to run off to my Local Quilt Shop for cutting help.

Here is the pic:
It is a heart-shaped mug with red and white fat quarters in it.

kat said...
i'm really tossing around taking a stab at quilting (because i need more craft projects) i love the math part of knitting so perhaps it would be right for me

The only thing about quilting is that it is even more capital intensive (especially fixed costs) than knitting. So, depending on how much you want to get into buying your tools and sewing machine and really high quality fabric, it ends up being more expensive than knitting. But like knitting, you can reuse most of that stuff. My advice is to see if you can find a Local Quilt Store where they can let you use a machine or buy an inexpensive machine and take a few beginning quilting classes to see if you like it. My first machine only cost around $100, and it was a general sewing machine, not one made specifically for quilting.

Lily said...
I was thinking of the World Market down the street from me. They have such nifty stuff. I can't believe I didn't get goodie there for my sock swap pal....

You are so right! I usually go there for make your own gift baskety stuff. But somehow I only think of that stuff for my inlaws.

I made some progress on my Cedar Creek Socks. I am almost done doing the gusset decreases.

I promise to really try to make it to the post office today, dear swap pals. I forgot yesterday, and then the weather became really stormy and nasty. I will run by before I go to the quilt store.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lizard Ridge Progress

I am going to start off today by answering another question in my comments:

YarnThrower said...
Hey, I'm a quilter, too! Gotta love hobbies that require measuring and some number crunching! How are you coming on your lizard blanket? I'd love to see pics of that! Thanks for the tip about the yarn you're using. I did some research, and there is a local yarn store (which I didn't even know about - shame on me - in a neighboring town) which carries it, so a new place for me to check out. So fun! Thanks again!

Yes, quilting is number crunching. Quite a few of my instructors at my Local Quilt Store are former engineers (even an EE like you) or draftswomen. So I feel right at home there. The one thing that I don't like about quilting is that it is not as forgiving or reversible as knitting. One mistake in cutting, and you are screwed! I say this because I joined the Thimbleberries 2007 Club, and there is no extra allowance in the fabric. So I have to wait until tomorrow to go and cut some of my pieces, when the Club Coordinator is there and she can advise me...because I swear my pieces are 2 inches off the straight of grain. And I am afraid to mess up right now. :)

And because of your post, I felt that I had to show some progress on my Lizard Ridge square, so I worked on it last night. One without flash, and one with flash.

The thing that is nice about the Universal Yarn is that the color sequence changes much more frequently than Noro Kureyon. So, I am not having to stop and change the yarn every 6 rows as the pattern calls for. Yay! So it is having a little bit of a different color effect. Usually all of the bobbles are different colors/shades, where as if you used Kureyon you would mostly have the same color across all the bobbles in a row. I don't have a direct comparison to show you, so try comparing my pic to those on the original pattern on Knitty. Also, I think some others are wishing that they had selected this yarn instead of Noro because it IS softer. But because I am a slow knitter, and have so many other projects, I wonder if I will be working on this project until I am 80. :)

I have joined the Sock A Month 3 KAL, to further reinforce my sock a month resolution and the Lime N Violet Sock Marathon. But since I have so many projects going on, I am going to have to really work on meeting my goal.

I want to really thank you all who have posted comments on my blog. It is like Christmas morning every day. You are the wind beneath my wings...yes, I am a cheeseball. :) But you probably figured that out by now.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Calling all Alaskan Knitters!

I have met or stumbled across a few Alaskan Knitters out there. And I feel the need to be connected to a place that has very much shaped who I am. So I decided to create our very own RingSurf for Alaskan Knitters. So now I am a proud Ring Momma. If you have lived in Alaska or currently live in Alaska, feel free to join! We would love to have you.

I also wanted to answer some questions posted in the comments of my last post.

Beverly said...
What's the Lisa Souza sock yarn like?

Well, it is quite nice and soft, but I found it to be not very elastic. I tend to knit tightly, especially on socks. So it was a little harder for me to work with than I would have liked because I suffer from carpal tunnel. It is also more loosely plied, so take care not to split your yarn. I think it washes up to be very soft, as mentioned in the post below. I suspect that some of these less favorable attributes were a result of the red dye (Lisa Souza and I had a nice email discussion about this; she is so wonderfully helpful.). The GingerPeach colorway she sent to me appears to be much softer, so I hope that it will be more elastic and easier on my hands. Alot of other sock knitters really love her sock yarn, so I think you should try it and see for yourself. She is not very expensive for hand dyed yarn, and she ships very quickly.

Wendie said...
oooooh loverly!Just wanted to stop by and thank you oh so very much for the most beautimous socks and all those goodies!!!! The socks fit perfectly and they're so soft (did the vinegar bath do that? I have some of the Sock! and it's not nearly that soft). I love it all and I seriously can't wait to dig into the yummies. Sugar overload, here I come! thank you thank you thank you!-your sockatine swap pal

Other than sharing the majority of Wendie's post as an attempt at shameless self-promotion of my gift giving abilities, I want to answer her question.

Here are the steps I took in trying to make your socks stop bleeding:

  1. Soaked in a vinegar and water solution for a few hours (probably too long, but I wanted to be sure as it was my first try at this).
  2. Soaked and washed in Lavander Eucalan soap for 15 minutes. To my horror the yarn was still bleeding. Promptly sent email to Lisa Souza for advice and left socks soaking overnight in the soapy water.
  3. Simmered socks in vinegar and water solution for 45 minutes (again on the conservative side :) ).
  4. Soaked and washed in Lavander Eucalan soap for 15 minutes.
  5. Air dry.

I wanted to be ultra geeky and share all of the steps so that you could see, I don't know exactly what caused the yarn to become so soft. I suspect maybe the simmering for 45 minutes? You could try doing that with yours, and the side benefit would be that you would just be making sure that the dye stays fixed. I am glad you love them. I was afraid all of the processing made them too fuzzy.

I am going to apologize in advance for lack of knitting progress. Being a ring momma takes some time, and I am WAY behind in my quilting. I have to start and finish piecing two blocks today. Not a biggie, but I have not pieced for months, and I can't waste my fabric with any mistakes today. So keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Yarn P0rn Friday and Loppyness

See Yarngineer's hand.

See Lisa Souza Sock! Merino.
See Yarngineer's hand pet the pretty Sock! Merino.
Isn't it just lovely? The color is GingerPeach. This is the yarn that Lisa Souza comp'd me since I had problems with the burgandy Sock! yarn bleeding onto my hands and needles. I have been hauling this skein around like a tribble, taking it out for my friends to pet it like yarn p0rn.

I believe I have made a mistake in my Clapotis. Not a major one....I just must have been hallucinating due to improper caffeination of my cardiovascular system, thinking that I had place in stitch markers in my last Second Section repeat. Alas, no. The total number of stitches is correct, but maybe lopsided in distribution between the two ends of the piece. So, I will frog back a few rows and try to handle by business better.

I have also completed the heel flap for my first Cedar Creek. Isn't it beautiful? I love how the color has a sort of checker effect, due to alternating slips, knits and purls between the two sides of the work. I had started the heel, but frogie-olahed back again, because I was lopsided on the two sides as to the # of unworked stitches.

Wait, I see a trend of lopsidedness here. The need to drink more coffee and be more strict about my counting of the pattern! Well, I better skeedaddle if I am going to make it to the Lizard Ridge KAL.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Blowing up stereotypes...

For those of you who really delve into the depths of knittings possibilities, you know that it is actually quite a mathematical hobby. It is also really cool when you make garments or items with structure...this appeals to the engineering side of my brain. The creativity appeals to my artistic side. I recommend it as a good hobby for creative engineering or science types. Most of my engineering friends out there violate the engineer-stereotype of having zero creativity or personality. Instead, they are clever, talented with the arts, and have wonderfully hilarious senses of humor. (An aside: So why did I leave engineering? Because I wasn't getting paid!! But money <> happiness. Maybe more on that later.) We all fall prey to stereotypes; Lord knows I try not to. I try not to pass judgement until I really get to know someone. So please, the next time you meet an engineer, don't assume they are no-joke joes. Get to know them; give them a chance. You might make a great friend. :) Actually, after working in Finance for a few years, I decided that engineers are alot more fun to work with. Finance types do not seem to take time to keep up with pop culture or joke around.

I will now take a moment to apologize for slaughtering grammar on a daily basis on my blog. After working so many years with numbers, my writing suffers. As an engineer I used to write alot of reports, but as a Financial Analyst, I hardly wrote at all. Except for emails. If you cannot accept my apology and really freak out about it, relax and just see here. I do have to say that DH and I mourn America's loss of the adverb. Especially in annoying TV commercials. Would it kill someone to add -ly onto the end of a verb?

Meanwhile, I struggle to figure out what the heck it is I want to do for a career next. I need to do some soul searching. Several people have suggested that I need to bottle my homemade salad dressings. It is an idea but I don't know how to start in this town. In Austin, I would know exactly where to go, as the town has set up facilities for gourmet entrepreneurs to educate themselves and process their foods in a facility until they can launch their own full-scale business. I would want to perfect more dressings first.

Here are some pics of the other things I bought during the Knit In.

Interlacements kit:

Sorry, I did not want to take the beads out of their bags yet, but they are shiny purple ones, with gold, silver and different shiny colored-sheens on them. I hope my MIL likes it.

Lamby sock kit:

Won this during the Stash Auction for $13. Even though it is worsted weight and does not make a practical sock, I thought it would be great fair isle practice. And who can resist little lambies?

If you haven't already listened to the pointy sticks podcast, you should check it out. I love listening to her because I used to live in Houston (and Austin), and her accent reminds me of Texas. And I am entering her contest.

  1. Why you love to knit socks, why you hate to knit socks? I love to knit socks because they are fast, portable, allow you to experiment on a small project, and are 3 dimensional garments with structure.

  2. What sock patterns that you love? Anything beyond basic rib!

  3. My latest sock find. I love Socks That Rock. But that is not earth shattering.

  4. Your favorite sock method. I still love rickety old bamboo dpns, but I also enjoy the magic loop.

  5. A neat sock trick that you have learned. To prevent getting toe ears on top down socks, slip the last stitches over the next stitch on the ends before your Kitchener.

I have also just joined project spectrum. When I figure out how to do buttons better on my blog, I will start linking buttons.

What a great weekend....

The SC Knitting Guild's Knit In was a success. It seems the classes were well run (I missed mine..boohoo), and people had a great time. It is nice to see things return to normal. I got to meet great people, including Fiberitis and her mom. I also got to meet another civil engineer attending grad school at Clemson who knits. It is fun to meet people from other towns who come all the way to Greenville to join in the fun....and who aren't scared away by the wacky antics of some of our guildmembers (you special people know who you are).

I made further progress on my Clapotis. I am still on the second section, but only have two more rows until I am in the third section. Sorry, I can't get my circ to not bend.

I completed one of my knitting resolutions! Well, it is not completed, but an ongoing process. I started to learn to crochet, thanks to a good friend who travelled back to SC from FL just to see her friends at the Knit In. We miss you Sandy! It is the head for a little amigurumi birdie.
Yeah, it is a little mishapen, but I can fix that with stuffing. I am already pretty fast at single chain crochet.

My Sockentine Pal's socks are finally done blocking. I will try to mail out the box tomorrow. I need to at least post this on LnV sock marathon site before I forget.

What is wrong with me? I have no will power to resist sock yarn and such. Here is what I bought this weekend.

The Universal Yarns Poems is exactly like Noro Kureyon, only softer and it comes in pastel colors. This will be used for my Lizard Ridge throw KAL and I bought it at Yarns Forever. The Lang Jawoll Sock Yarn is in University of Texas Burnt Orange, khaki, red and black and white. So it combines all of my school colors for Cornell and UT Austin. Yay! Guessin' them socks are for me. I also bought a Interlacements beaded scarf kit to make for my MIL's birthday. I will try to post a picture later, because for now I am worn out running around taking pictures of everything!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Busy little bear....

While stuck at home due to inclement weather yesterday...well, inclement by SC standards, not inclement by Alaskan standards, I was able to get alot done.

I made Monkey Pickle Soup (Swap Pal Vinegar Simmering Solution) to try to get the red dye to fix to the Lisa Souza Sock! yarn. I am waiting till the socks dry before I post a final pic.

I wound several balls of yarn.
Brooks Farm Four Play in #202 (red/green/brown)
Socks That Rock Lightweight in Metamorphic (green/blue/pink)
Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock in Navy

Knitted a few rows on my Cedar Creek Socks.

Started on a Clapotis! Yes, I know I am late to the party...I put it off because there was so much discussion about the pattern way back when and I was working a hellish job. So knitting was put on hold for me.

Yarn: Brooks Farm Four Play in #202

Source: Brooks Farm

Needle: Size 9 Clover Bamboo 36" Circs

I have to say, the Clapotis pattern is addicting. I was thinking about it as I fell asleep.

Well, I have to run to my Lizard Ridge KAL today, and to my guild's Knit In, so I have to go! Ciao!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snow in South Carolina!

I wanted to post this before the power goes out. Well, it probably will go out later today. I was being pelted with slushy, freezing rain while taking this picture of my neighborhood. Knowing our power lines and Duke Power, some of the lines will probably freeze when the temperature dips down tonight and cause some outages, like last winter. I went ahead and caught up on all of my laundry again yesterday afternoon in preparation for that. :)

Also, the new Magknits is out! The Falling in Love Socks and Santa Cruz beanie are cute. I may have to do those.

Well, see you sooner if the power stays on! I will be making more progress on my Cedar Creek sock, when I am not doing my Spanish Homework. I wish the college would just go ahead and cancel the night classes like mine. Keep your fingers crossed for me.