09 December 2008

Actual Knitting Content

There is so much knitting content that I'm dreading typing up this entry, believe it or not. First off, my yarn came from the Loopy Ewe. As you might not be aware, the Loopy Ewe promises small gifts with your first five purchases, and then you become a "Loopy Groupie". What came in that first package with my single $11 skein of yarn? Two samples of yarn -- Mountain Colors Bearfoot and Fiesta Boomerang.

Loopy Ewe Swag

I also received some cards for helping me to track my needles. Eh -- I threw them out as I didn't need them since I have Ravelry. I never impulse buy knitting needles of any type. This was still a pretty nice little set of gifts for one skein of Lorna's Laces.

I was extremely happy that I got the yarn, as I managed to finish Helen's Socks (ravel it)!! I met Helen on Saturday, and gifted them to her, and she allowed me to take some quick shots of them.

Spiral Boot Socks

I was so amazed by my ability to do a sock in a pattern that I immediately cast on for a pair of Pomatomus with my Socks that Rock yarn that I bought at Rhinebeck. I have only just finished the ribbing on the first sock, and the pattern is looking a tiny bit wonky now which is making me nervous.


In much, much, much more exciting news, Sophy is visiting Philadelphia this week! We got together, along with Helen, and Sophy's sister Sophea. Sophea was awesome to meet, too, but I wish I knew her Ravelry name.


As you can clearly see, we also took a trip to Loop! I didn't purchase much, just one skein of Malabrigo's Silky Merino and one skein of Koigu Mori.

Koigu Mori Ooo, Silky Merino

After we went shopping, we went to Helen's place to knit, which is where I started my socks and worked a bit on my Slytherin Scarf.

Slytherin Scarf

All in all, it was a great day, but the best part of it was actually getting to meet Sophy! I'm glad that Bryan directed me to her blog while I was sick this year.

This was a photo-intense blog entry, and I'm not even finished. I have so much more to add this week, including some adventures in sewing, and another package I got in the mail!

04 December 2008

Podcasts, Sewing, and Knitting Projects

This is certainly a hodgepodge post coming up. First up, podcasts -- had to give up on Cast On. I had been listening to it and I found it acceptable, if not great. Then, in one of the early episodes, the podcaster starts to rant about someone who gave her podcast a negative review on their blog, stating that that person should do their own podcast and how she, the podcaster, was being brave putting herself out there. Blah. It is tough to put yourself out there. I agree. But, I feel this is the same argument authors make when they get a bad review on Amazon. They feel perfectly justified in arguing that bad review.

Listen, a bad review is not the worst thing in the world to happen to you, folks. If someone hates my blog, they hate my blog. If someone hates me, they hate me. It's an opinion. Listening to another person's opinion does not make it fact. For instance, I'm giving up on Cast On because I feel the podcaster is too thin-skinned and she intersperses too much music with her podcast and her knitting content does not thrill me. Does this make her a bad podcaster? No. Does this mean you shouldn't listen to her podcast? Not unless you dislike thin-skinned podcasters, too much music, and we have the exact same knitting tastes. If this is true, don't listen to her. Otherwise, give her a try. She's popular. I might be wrong.

Next up, knitting. Okay, it's boring. Again, I ordered the third skein, and I await it to complete those socks. Secondly, I'm knitting on my Slytherin Scarf again. I know! I forgot it existed too!

Lastly, the exciting stuff! Around a week before Thanksgiving, Paul said that I should sew some nice napkins for the dinner for six people we were having. Slightly intimidated by the idea, I decided to try it. Looking around, it appeared I would need a rotary cutter, self-healing pad, ruler, a yard and a half of fabric, another yard and a half of fabric, bias tape maker, and two yards of fabric for the tape.

After putting that all, plus some fabric bolts, into my cart at Joann's Fabric, I realized I had roughly one hundred dollars worth of goods for six napkins. That's ridiculous, especially considering the pure number of sales that Joann's has! I put everything back but the fabric bolts and the ruler. I went and got some tailor's chalk. Then, I asked for one and a half yards of two of the fabrics and asked for the third to be taken back. I was sadly surprised to learn that my first print choice (a set of leaves and pumpkins on a neutral background) only had one yard left, so I bought a half of a yard of my third fabric choice. After this, I went to the bias tape section and looked through the paltry selection for some matches to my fabric.

I was right to do all this, because now I have a coupon for 50% off of a single item to Joann's which takes my self-healing mat from $50.00 to $25.00! A $25.00 savings for patience. I like!

Anyway, I got home, and started chalking up some squares and cutting 'em out. This was hard for two of the fabrics which had enough stretch that the squares are more square like than perfectly square. The third, nearly thrown away, fabric had no stretch and was lovely.

The next night, I pinned everything together and started to sew! I'm fairly happy with how things came out, and now I want to do way more of these. I want a Christmas set, a winter set, a birthday set, a Halloween set, and more! I want Easter sets, summery beach sets, spring flower sets. I love them. I also want to make them for everyone I know.

Thanksgiving Napkins

Seriously, I am going to use these until I make more. And now I want all those expensive tools!

Thanksgiving Napkins


02 December 2008

Doing Much of Nothing

I've been very fake busy lately, with the holidays and all sneaking up on me out of nowhere. I've not been crafting a lot. I've done some stuff, which I'll be posting about later, after I've taken pictures, but nothing horribly exciting.

My knitting has been sort of tossed to the wayside. Poor Helen's poor socks. I should have known it would happen. I've... run out of yarn. An inch before the toe. The bad part? I'll have nine/tenths of a skein left after I finish these socks. The good part? This calls for a purchase at ♥the Loopy Ewe♥. I'll be honest and say I was so tempted to buy more lovely sock yarn, but I limited myself to the skein I needed and a gift certificate for someone else. I'll get the sock yarn I want next time when I've worked through the yarn I've currently got stashed. Plus, this way, I can become a loopy groupie faster.

I've been really slow with this second sock. As most sock knitters know, once you know you're going to run out of yarn, you do one of two things. You either knit so quickly that it hurts, hoping that the pure speed of your knitting will prevent you from running out of yarn. Alternatively, you stall. You never knit on the project because you know what's coming.

What have I been doing then, you ask? Caring for a baby and reading blogs mostly. The baby has the sniffles and the blogs have a lot of posts. I've also been up and about, which is better, visiting people, lunching, whatnot. I've done a bit of sewing.

Here's some cute little 0-3 month booties for my eldest cousin's soon-to-be-arriving baby.

Baby Booties in Cotton

As the little girl will be arriving in April, I thought that some nice cool cotton booties might look sharp. My mom has asked for several more sewn items for the baby such as bibs and/or burp cloths.

Anyway, that's it for today. This is just meant to be a quick update. I'll update my next post with more pics of what I've been doing, hopefully, and include some of my future crafting plans!

25 November 2008

RIP Beloved Socks

I finished a pair of socks this year out of Artyarns Ultramerino 4 that I loved. They were finished during my first hospital stay of the year. I LOVED THEM. I can't even describe my love adequately. As soon as those socks came out of the dryer, they were on my feet. I wore them every day in the hospital after my delivery. I wouldn't wear them outside the house because they might get dirty in my shoes. They were basically thin slippers for my house. I wore them too much, washed them too much, and didn't consider that I probably should have reinforced the heels and toes with some nylon thread.

Two nights ago, while wearing them, I noticed that my normally cozy warm feet felt a little draft on my heel. One sock had a hole in the heel. On close inspection, the other sock's heel had gotten dangerously thin. It was with a heavy heart that I threw them into the trash bin last night. I loved you, socks. You did a good job. I'm going to buy more of the Artyarns, and I'm going to reinforce it this time, but it'll never be the same. You were with my during both my hospital stays and you are the first pair of knit socks I wore out.


Most Recent Socks

20 November 2008

Sewing Makes Me Cry

As everyone knows, blogs without pictures blow. Sorry for those bloggers who don't use photos, but this is like a universal truth. It's also why blogs with great photos get large readerships. This is how I know that my photos need work. If I had great photos, I'd have a ton of readers even if I posted once a lifetime.

Anyway, I've been photoless recently, with a ton of podcast reviews, and whatnot, but, if I want people to read, I need to post. I've been sewing more than knitting recently, and after knocking out a few bibs and burpcloths as seen in the past, I decided I was a more confident person who was going to move on to sewing booties. Wow, my first pair sucked.

Fleece Booties

Those booties are coming apart. You can probably see it if you zoom in on the large size. I didn't cry, however, because from doing it that first time, I saw where my mistakes were, and planned a second try. I also decided that it was clear it was time for me to move on to patterns. So, I went to Joanne's and bought five (for five bucks)! There were some cute patterns there such as a baby bunting and a cute dress. The highlight purchase, however, the one I would start with, was Sewing for Dummies pattern 4178 for bags.

On the good side, I don't appear to be a dummy. On the bad side, I appear to be even more stupid than dummies. I opened the pattern hopefully, and started to read. Shortly thereafter, I became all "notches", "Sel?", "WTF!?!"

Sewing for Dummies Too Smart For Me

I would keep flipping to newer and more complicated descriptions of what to do.

Sewing for Dummies Too Smart For Me

I'm not sure if I'm meant to sew, people. This shit looks hard to do. I mean, I see a knitting pattern, and there is no panic (unless it includes putting in a zipper which is a matter of sewing). I open up a simple sewing pattern and I have a breakdown.

I tried to pull myself together, but I think it might actually be time to start buying some of the books I've wanted regarding sewing. Next paycheck, I'm going to plunk down some money on one of the more conversational ones. January, I'm going to get myself the Reader's Digest guide. I'm going to work through their stupid little projects too. I clearly need to.

18 November 2008

Podcast Review Thursday

It's that time again! Review time for crafting podcasts.

Knit Picks Episode 73: Eh, it was a decent episode. At least it wasn't another damned interview! Kelley talked a lot about fair isle projects which doesn't really interest me. She also talked about how she doesn't like to be too organized with a "project interest" notebook because half the fun is in not being too organized, and she lost me with that. I'm the exact opposite of this woman, I think. It got better when she got to book reviews and her personal life knitting. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep with this podcast just due to the pure number of interviews she has and the fact that I don't care for her interviewing style.

Knitter's Wading Pool Episode 15: This was an interview with the author Maggie Sefton. Ms. Sefton writes some mystery books centered around a knitter/yarn store. I started to listen to the interview, but after ten minutes I lost all interest. I'll hope the next episode is more interesting to me.

Never Not Knitting Episode 9: As usual, Alana just discusses her experiences with yarn and has some stories about projects. Loved her discussion of how she shops because this is exactly how I shop. I also tend to pick up a bunch of stuff from the shelves, and then, slowly return them to the shelves after feeling guilty for picking them up, leaving a store empty-handed. I also got overwhelmed when I went to Rhinebeck and then I bought yarn because I felt I had to. I also never know what to do with gift certificates! Still love this podcast.

Manic Purl's Episode 18: BLAH! BLAH! It's all spinning all the time. I still love this podcaster, but I hate that everyone is so focused on spinning.

SockTart Episode 11: Knitting for Victory. This episode spent a lot of time discussing Rock Band and the latest World of Warcraft expansion. This is absolutely fascinating to me, but if she has trouble gathering a knitting audience, I would not be surprised. I'd be sad as well. Oddly, some of her comments about World War II sounded anti-United States, as did some of her comments about recent events. This is kind of disheartening. Can't you all just like us now that we voted Obama into office?

Welp, I'm giving Cast On another try and I plan to start at the beginning, so that'll take a long while. Anyone else have some recommendations for me to try? I'd also gladly welcome any sewing podcast recommendations.

15 November 2008

New Publications

As Sophy already announced, both Twist Collective Winter 2008 dropped, and Interweave Knits announced its preview for the Winter edition.

I always like to pretend I'll actually knit items from knitting publications, so shall we play "Kitten's Knitting Pretenses"?

I'm in love with Victoria's Yoke Pullover and the Dainty Stripes Pullover. I'm also always unable to resist adorable mittens and socks, so there's one of each in Interweave that I adore. As a bonus, the mittens are made of Pastaza, a yarn I already know I adore and want to buy more of. Sure, it sheds like a bitch, but it has such pretty stitch definition and it feels so nice.

For Twist Collective, I'm pretending I'm a girl who's ever knit a hoodie, because I fell in love with Vivian. I'm also in love with Rebecca, but they biased me towards it by showing it knit in a beautiful red. (Secret way to make me love any knit pattern that's halfway decent: show it knit in forest green, gorgeous reds, or a rusty or pumpkiny orange. I will fall in love.)

Now, I must be off. I have sewing patterns to cry over. Sewing -- it's so (HAHA! PUN!) hard. Sigh.

11 November 2008

Podcast Review Tuesday!

It's that time, folks... The time to talk about crafting podcasts. (Notice how I casually have moved from 'knitting' podcasts to 'crafting' podcasts? I am smooooth.)

Well, last time I wrote about podcasts, I said I was going to listen to Knaked Knits and give you my impressions. Well, after six episodes, when I looked at my podcasts and realized I had at least ten more or so, my heart sunk. The next time I went to turn on my podcasts, I just couldn't face it. Any time I avoid listening to a podcast and feel it is my duty to listen to it, I know it's time to remove that podcast from my list. There was nothing bad about it, just nothing I cared much for either. I didn't find it to be too interesting. Your mileage may vary, of course. I found that my knitting habits and personal life didn't overlap very much with the podcaster which probably caused my disinterest.

After that, I started Never Not Knitting. After the first episode, I knew this was one that I would add to my permanent rotation. After the second, I was telling Paul how the podcaster was really good at podcasting: entertaining, lively, funny, and able to use her podcasting equipment smoothly. Furthermore, she works at a yarn store teaching classes and does finishing work for the customers there. She tells stories of her past failures humorously and is able to tell funny stories about her job without being mean. At one point in the second episode, she has a great fake conversation between her conscience and herself. It had me laughing which is very rare. I have already worked through half of her existing episodes (only nine) very quickly, and I hope to be through them by Thursday. Love this podcast! Again, I can't recommend it enough. It might be my new favorite.

I've started listening to a sewing podcast called Sew Forth Now. I haven't listened to it enough to get a serious feel for it, but I'm not in love yet. I'll give it several more episodes and perhaps skip ahead a bit since it started two years ago.

As for other podcasts you know that I listen to, Stash and Burn's Episode 65 is all sweater based and has great info on sweaters you could possibly knit very quickly. I was intrigued but I'm not doing any sweater knitting soon, so it was not the best episode for me. The latest Knit Picks' Podcast was another damned interview, so I gave it a skip. Too many interviews from them recently and I've not listened to a single one. I hate her interviewing style.

This is a picture-less post, but I thought I'd give you all a quick update on my knitting. The Slytherin scarf (ravel it) is at a standstill, but Helen's socks (ravel it) saw some major work done today. I'm working on the ankle pattern now! Sweet!

10 November 2008

Linking to a Giveaway or Etsy Store

I hate to do this because I hate pimping out my blog to attempt to win stuff at other blogs, but I'm going to do it. I hadn't been going to, but when I visited the Etsy store I was going to link to, I fell in love a little. The store is Jojoebi's Etsy Store. If you are interested in sewing yourself, the post for the giveaway is at her blog.

Anyway, the real reason I'm linking to her store is that she has basically let me know through this giveaway that Etsy users sell fabric! This rocked my world. For instance, I could make Nathan the cutest little bib or burp cloth or pak'n'play cover from this awesome fabric. Or maybe I could make MYSELF a pillow case out of this adorable autumnal linen/cotton blend.

Okay, I'd post more, but I have got to go search Etsy for other fabrics now. I want to make, in the next several weeks: Booties for Nathan, a Pak'n'Play cover, and holiday pillowcases. Sewing has opened a whole new crafty world for me. I mean, just look at this bib I sewed for Nathan.

Another Bib Another Bib


09 November 2008

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing!

Everyone in the world is participating in some kind of weird November promise to post every day, or write 50,000 word novels, or knit a sweater, and I've dropped off the face of the Earth. I'm so mysterious.

Perhaps you've wondered if I've dropped dead. Perhaps you simply don't care what I've been up to. I mean, I have about two subscribers, and both of those people I talk to on a regular basis. Hell, I live with one of them. I'm going to soldier on with this blog, regardless. If you wonder what I've been up to, I've been minding this little handful.

Perfect Pumpkin

Love him though I do, some days it is hard to blog or craft or relax too much. (Did you notice my gratuitous use of cute baby photos to entice you all to read my blog?)

Last week, I went nuts, however, and sewed up a storm. Okay, a small storm. A tiny storm. Look at these cute bibs and the burp cloth though!

Bib Set Bib
Burp Cloth

That is some cute cupcake flannel, isn't it? Here's the story behind it all. Two weeks ago, I was bemoaning the fact that I haven't sewn anything with my new machine and that I appear to be terrified of it still when I came across a nice little bib pattern. After a lot of reviewing the pattern, I decided it appeared relatively simple and that I was going to try it. Then, the same night, I found a free pattern for a burp cloth that looked pretty simple. I read those simple patterns about fifteen times each, before making a list of things I needed.

The next day, courage and Nathan in hand, I went to Jo-Ann. A nice employee there asked me if I needed help, and my voice nearly cracking, I told her I had no idea what to do. I showed her my list of things I needed to get based on the size of the finished items, and she took me to the flannel area. I asked her if I was just supposed to bring her the bolts of cloth, and she told me yes. I brought up several of the bolts and told her to cut me a third of a yard each, and I also bought a fat quarter of the cute pink cotton on the one bib. (I had the green cotton from a previous trip, and I had done nothing with it.)

The people at the counter were all very encouraging when I told them this was my first time sewing a pattern. When I got home, and Nathan went to sleep, I started to cut out and piece together the patterns. I messed this up several times before coming up with my patterns. After I finished this, I start the long arduous process of cutting these bibs. I expect that an intermediate sewer could have whipped these bibs out in seconds, but I was so inexperienced with it all, that I would keep wondering if I was screwing up.

I then started to sew. (BTW, in case you think I'm a complete moron, I did pre-wash the fabrics and press them with our suck-ass iron.) Well, my first bib and burp cloth were presentable, but only barely. I took the curves of the bib too fast and they were more pointed then gently curved. The burp cloth I didn't turn fully inside out and it is oddly flappy at the edges due to that. This had taken me roughly eight billion hours, so I put everything away, and decided to continue the next few nights.

The next night, I made Nathan a bib and burp cloth set that are not pictured in this post. The burp cloth was such a monumental failure, though Paul liked the tiny cupcake I had stitched onto it. I ended up with a burp cloth with one wrong side facing out, even though I would have sworn that I had sewn that together with the wrong side facing out prior to turning. Sigh. I was too disheartened to rip the whole thing out. I just finished it up.

On the last night, I finished the green bib above, and that's probably my best bib. It has relatively nice stitching due to my figuring out a good way to round tight corners. I tried to blind stitch the opening together with a bit of success. All in all, I'm happy with my efforts, and I think it's time I moved onto other sewing patterns, though, I'll probably whip out a few more bibs in the future for other babies (and possibly more for Nathan if I have some flannel scraps or if Christmas or other holiday flannels come out).

I'll have pictures of the other set next post (which will be five years from now, roughly).

As for knitting... Well, I guess I got past the top of the leg of Helen's second sock. I just need to buckle down on those socks, but I got so distracted by sewing last week, that I only worked on them one night. Bad me! I'll try to post later this week with some updates on podcasts. I found a new one I love and a new one I didn't like so much. Look for my reviews later.

28 October 2008

No Rhinebeck Stories For You

I know. I know. I was going to post about Rhinebeck. However, I never got the photos from Christy, so I have no photos of Rhinebeck to post with. Sue me! I'll post some stories from Rhinebeck and leave others.

Let's start with an update on my knitting. I finally finished one of Helen's Socks (ravelry). It looks awesome, and I say that with no humility. Why be humble when your work rocks? Check out this sock!

WIP for Socks

I promise, Helen, I'll wash it before it gets to you! I already cast on for the second sock, but I have not knit very far into it. I'm still at the cuff.

Also, thank you to people who gave me their opinion on the toes. I decided that I'd just knit until I ran out of yarn and then buy more yarn if needed. I know I'm going to end up buying a third skein of this yarn for what amounts to an inch of knitting in the round, so if anyone out there wants some sock yarn or would like anklets for small feet, let me know. I know I can get a pair of size six and a half anklets out of a third skein, if I got one.

I also have been knitting on my Slytherin scarf, as Paul and I have driven a fair bit recently and it is ideal for being a passenger, even if it is dark out, because it is all knit, knit, knit. I got past the first stripe sequence, after ripping out my screw up from the Rhinebeck drive.

And that's it for knitting updates, folks! I didn't knit much. I prefer to spend time on the computer reading knitting blogs. I think on my next post when I run out of podcast reviews, I might do some blog reviews. As for podcasts... Well, I finally dumped DoubleKnit from my lineup. I just never got too excited about the show, and I didn't really care for their reviews of books and movies. When I last listened to the show, I literally thought, "Let me get this one out of the way and then enjoy some Manic Purl." After listening, I went to iTunes and removes my subscription.

As for Knitter's Wading Pool, I skipped about six episodes and found the newer ones to be a little more palatable and a little more my own speed rather than being too basic. I'm going to stick out this podcast for another three or four episodes and then rethink my subscription.

I'm currently listening to Knaked Knits, but I've yet to make any conclusions on the show other than I want to listen to several more. I'll update with my decision on it later.

BTW, Helen, tell Bryan that the only two D&D podcasts I listen to and can recommend at this point are not live play podcasts. They are The Tome and Dungeon's and Dragons. The latter one did have several podcasts of Penny Arcade and PvP comic creators playing some D&D.

For those of you interested in spinning, the latest episode of Manic Purl dealt with her new spinning wheel. The latest episode of Stash and Burn was of interest to all sock knitters, I'm sure.

And, now... a quick Rhinebeck story. While wandering the fairgrounds, a lovely woman came up to Christy and asked her if she could photograph her Clapotis. She told us she was trying to photograph all the Clapotis(es?) she saw at Rhinebeck. Christy nodded, but quite nicely pointed out that I also had a Clapotis on. It's not very Clapotis looking as I made a skinny scarf version out of Golden Chai.

Trying To Photograph My Clapotis

See, would say that's very Clapotis looking, would you? Either way, the lady kindly asked me to get photographed as well after she asked me what yarn it was made out of. I nodded and got my photo taken, and she was talking about Ravelry a bit, when I noticed her Ravelry button had the name somebunnyslove on it. I immediately geeked out and told her I was in her ISO and destashing group! We got to chatting about the group and her blog, and I'm now sure she believes she has a stalker. Sorry if I scared you, if you should read this. I swear, I'm not a stalker, I just happen to love your group. It makes me want to buy yarn all the time. It was really awesome recognizing her and talking to her in real life. She showed me a skein of Wollemeise that I had almost attempted to buy from her since the colorway was named Paul and I saw her post one minute after she posted it, which is the only way to get Wollemeise. Unfortunately, I did not buy it, and it was signed by the Yarn Harlot at Rhinebeck. Bah!

Lastly, for the other crafts, I took my "Learn to use your Sewing Machine" class this week. I learned how to do a blind hem, how to make a buttonhole, and how to sew on a button. I'm thinking of taking the beginner's class since they teach zipper installation and gathering. Today, I took the time to repair Paul's pajama pants and my own Banana Republic dress. Both were successfully fixed though my dress was more obviously skillfully fixed. Paul's pants look kind of wonky, but I figure they are only pajama pants and I want to make him some new ones anyway.

That's all from me for today!

20 October 2008

Back from Rhinebeck

So, this is just my initial "Back from Rhinebeck" post, in which I tell you about my new stash, but not my experiences at Rhinebeck. I'll also update you guys on the latest project work.

Well, let's start with my acquired goods.

Rhinebeck Goodies

It is definitely quite clear that I was in love with red yarn. I found this slightly mystifying since I've been in love with buying green yarns for the last few months and I had thought I was entering an orange phase. I picked up and fondled both orange and green sock yarns at Rhinebeck, but all that I purchased were red. As red as my love for them.

So, did I buy a ton of indie yarns? No, sadly. I fell in love with quite a few, but, stupidly, I didn't buy any on Saturday. By the time I came back around on Sunday, most of that which I loved was gone. I did decide that my favorite combination of fibers was wool and silk, though I did find one wool/silk/bamboo that was decidedly delicious. Christy and I stopped at Decadent Fibers fairly early on. The last time I visited one of their booths, I got my mother-in-law a nice felted pumpkin kit. This time, I couldn't be bothered buying anything. I think I'm over the crazy variegated yarns. They still had great prices, but they didn't tempt me at all.

Oh, damn, I'm getting into the experience rather than the stash. Back to the stash! I bought some pretty red wool that is kind of mysterious. It has no name on its label. It's apparently a chunky superwash wool. I got two skeins at a little cash only booth near the back of building 22. If anyone knows what booth I'm talking about, please tell me! They gave me a nice pattern and I promptly lost it and my heart is breaking about that now. Sigh.

Red Mystery Yarn

This yarn's destiny is a hat/scarf combo for my darlingest darling, Nathan. As I told Christy, "I'm looking for the softest, warmest, most beautiful red yarn in existence for him. Also, faeries must have spun the yarn." She mocked me resoundingly for this, but I held firm. Near the end of Sunday, I had mostly given up hope for finding my fantastic yarn. (Indies do beautiful dye jobs, but they mostly fail when it comes to red yarn from my experience at Rhinebeck.) When I came to this booth and saw this yarn, my heart rose in hope. Then... I felt it. It was so soft. So smooooooshy. It was gorgeous. It was one hundred percent wool. It was perfect.

I also bought two skeins of sock yarn that I could probably buy on the internet, but I don't even care. I had never felt them before, nor seen them in person, so I willingly plunked down some cash for them. What do you see down there?

Schaeffer Anne

Schaeffer Anne, in a gorgeous red/brown colorway. I was afraid that the mohair would make this yarn 'icky', but I liked the feel of it better than I liked the feel of Heather (which contains silk instead of mohair). This is why one visits as many yarn stores as possible.

Folks, I also found a place selling Socks that Rock. At first, I was saying to myself, "But I hate photos of their yarn knit up. And I can buy this online." Then I found a Rare Gem colorway that only used one color.

Another Shot of Socks that Rock

Next thing you know, I'm at a counter paying for stuff.

Christy and I had a lovely drive up to New York. The autumnal leaf colors were out in full force. We got to chat. We got to stop at the world's largest rest stop (two floors, FTW!) and get some Starbucks. We listened to my music and I introduced Christy to several singers and bands I loved. We got to sit in traffic at Rhinebeck. I received several messages with photos of Nathan from Paul. I had ordered Paul to do this.

My next post will not come soon, probably. I need to get some photos from Christy as I stupidly forgot my camera. What will that post include? My experience with a snotty bitch of a stall owner, my meeting with Somebunnyslove from Ravelry in which she ended up believing she had a stalker, the approximately eight billion Clapotis (what is the plural of Clapotis?) and Ravelry buttons seen, how I completely fucked up my damned Slytherin Scarf, and, last, but not least, meeting Kate Gilbert! EEEEE! Seriously. I totally met the creator of the Clapotis.

Peace out, my friends. I end with a picture of the ubiquitous Ballband Dishcloth pattern knit out of my Sugar'n'Cream.

Ballband Dishcloth I

12 October 2008

Okami -- Dreams Come True

As some of you who read might know, my ultimate dream in life is for Paul to discover a deep and abiding love for Japanese RPGs such as Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy. Then I shall be able to knit or cross-stitch or whatnot while he plays the game for me. I get the story and the crafting! Sadly, Paul shows little to no interest in spending several weeks leveling up characters so that they can upgrade their cute clothing, pets, or hair to do more massive damage. Oh, Paul... Nowadays, when Paul gets home, however, we often put Nathan down to bed, and then I veg out on the computer.

Paul loves to spend time with me after he gets home, and I've been greedy. He'll ask me if I want to watch old episodes of Friday Night Lights or Buffy, and I'm all, "Nah... I'm just going to read my blogs." Well, this weekend, Paul pulled out all the tricks. He asked, "Do you want to sit and knit and I'll play a Japanese RPG?"

I paused. I tried to be nice and protested, "But you don't like Japanese RPGs." He said, "What is this Okami?"

I had to think about it. Where did I get Okami? I had wanted it. I knew that, but I had not felt justified in purchasing. Then, it hit me. "Bryan let me borrow it when I got the blood clot, only I sucked and never returned it. Oh, well, he's too busy nowadays anyway. No time for him to play video games." (Sorry, Bryan, I'll return it. I promise.) I paused and added, "It's supposed to be a critical favorite."

So, Paul started to play the game for me while I knit next to him. Helen's socks, which had been languishing and never growing, have now been knit to the first of the toes. Only, I'm stuck.

Sad Sock

I ran out of my first ball of yarn at the toe. I had been all prepared to buy a new skein of the sock yarn since I thought I would need a third to complete the sock, but to buy a skein to get two toes basically? That's a bit much. Do I try to find someone else online who has one fourth of a skein of Lorna's Laces in Douglas Fir? Do I simply buy a cheaper Knit Picks yarn in a coordinating color and finish the toes with that yarn? Do I buy another Lorna's Laces in a coordinating color and finish the toes with that yarn and then knit either Nathan or myself some socks with the remainder? Any opinions, guys? I really need to pick one of these options, only I am not sure which to pick. Until I pick one, I'm not making any headway on these socks, either. Sigh. Do you think this yarn would look good with a dark brown, an ecru, a sage green, or a pink? Either way, I've shelved this project until I get that yarn and that might not occur until Rhinebeck or beyond.

I also shelved my Slytherin scarf (ravelry) for now, perhaps. I think I want to work on it in the car on the way to Rhinebeck, if Christy drives.

What am I doing, then? Well, I bought some lovely dishcloth cotton.

Dishcloth Cotton Dishcloth Cotton

I'd like to make some Ballband Dishcloths. (Dishclothes?) I love knit dishcloths, as they do a fantastic job for wiping counters and cleaning floors, but I don't normally have the patience to knit them. I find knitting socks and scarves and tanks more rewarding. However, when I went to Joann's Fabric today, I felt like a total failure due to my fear of sewing. To bolster myself, I bought some yarn which I know I can bend to my will.

Lastly, check out my awesomely awesome (ie, crappy) sewing skills!


It's the headband cover I made for myself. Folks, I'm going to take some sewing classes. I think I might need to.

08 October 2008

Erk. Podcast Good. Casted Bad.

I love listening to all my knitting podcasts, but if I hear or read one more person use 'casted on' or 'casted off', I'm going to throw my iPod or shove my monitor off my desk.

The past tense of cast is cast. In other words, yesterday, I cast on for my Slytherin Scarf. I did not casted on.

(Also annoying, when people switch the words waste and waist in a blog post. It sounds disgusting and wrong when I read, 'Then I casted on yarn for the waste.')

Not that I'm judgmental. So, Podcast update!

I gave Doubleknit a try. I'm keeping it on my list for now, but I'm not too positive it'll stay in my subscribed section. It's a dialogue between two ladies. Both work at a yarn store if I'm listening correctly. They discuss knitting, books, and movies. Unfortunately, I'm not very interested in their book and movie discussions which is souring me on the podcast, as I find their knitting discussion very interesting. I don't get involved with knitting podcasts for movie reviews. If I find my taste overlap with the podcasters', I can forgive this. I do not have overlapping opinions with these podcasters.

Speaking of overlapping hobbies, opinions, and whatnot... SockTart! I spent a lot of time listening to Socks in the City several months ago, and I was loathe to let it go. The combination of that podcaster's overly enthusiastic voice and her very slow output of podcasts recently, however, encouraged me to drop it. I was fairly sad about the whole thing as I love to knit socks. Luckily, SockTart filled it's spot in my heart and then some. Maire plays World of Warcraft, quotes Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (Discworld) on her site, and has a nice calm voice. Win! Best of all, she highlights sock patterns I've never heard of and informs me about Sock Knitting News I'm interested in. Thanks to her, I joined Sock Knitters Anonymous on Ravelry. As I plan to buy massive amounts of sock yarn at Rhinebeck (what I consider massive anyway), I hope to compete in future Sock Knitters Anonymous events. With all that said, I did not like her only dialogue episode, but that was due to how off-track it got and the quality of the sound.

My latest listen is Knitter's Wading Pool. This is a cute podcast, from a single podcaster. Again, I reiterate, it's terribly cute. I'm just not sure it is for me. I feel that the questions she has and answers are fairly basic. I think this is the podcast I should have listened to when I started to knit. Those first few years when I feared knitting, this would have been ideal for me. I'm going to give it several more listens, but if you're a new knitter? Please check it out. This podcast will help explain things to you, and the podcaster has a lovely calm voice.

Lastly, Craft Mentality. I wanted to like this podcast, as I need a good sewing podcast to listen to now. This was not it. I, in fact, got angry while listening to the first podcast. This does not happen that often. It's a dialogue podcast between two individuals. I gave up on it almost immediately, and I don't regret this. This was partially a cooking podcast too, which helped me to drop it more quickly. While I love to bake and would listen to a baking or cupcake podcast, I have no time for cooking, that most hated of activities. To put it bluntly, I'd rather sweep the whole house and do all the laundry and clean the bathroom than make any dinner more complicated than "I followed the two steps on this easy mix meal box. Added water and brought it to a boil. Voila! Instant meal!"

So, what am I still listening to that is not mentioned above? Knit Picks Podcast (though it is on my shit list with all the damnable interviews), Stash and Burn (LOVE!), Knittingatnight, Manic Purl (LOVE ALSO!), and Pixie Purls. You might think to yourself, how can she listen to so many podcasts? I drive a LOT. I also listen to podcasts while I feed my baby. And while I clean. People, I'm listening to podcasts of D&D games that are being played. I listen to podcasts at least three hours a day.

04 October 2008

Lousy Blogger

So, it's been like a week since I last blogged. To be fair, I didn't have much to blog about. I have knit, but barely. I haven't really sewn. I've fake crafted.

What have I done? Well, I finished a pretty nice pair of Koigu anklets.

Socks for Talena

Aren't they cute? All it takes is one skein of Koigu to make anklets like these. Well, that's true if you have six feet anyway. It's not like one of those skeins is going to cover Paul's feet, even in anklet form. I'm ashamed to admit it, but my legs are really that white, by the way. I'm the palest person you know. It's as if the sun has never touched my skin. If you're thinking to yourself, "Go out and tan" right now -- STOP. I could sit out in the midday sun in the middle of July for about four hours without suntan lotion, and the odds of me getting any darker or burnt are very low. I've got really odd skin.

Now, you might think from the fact that I've got my feet into these anklets that I am keeping them. No, I'm not. My cousin Talena is very pregnant and she deserves a nice pair of warm anklets for the hospital or for the house in winter, if she'd like. My own knit anklets were the nicest thing to wear in the hospital after delivery. They were almost like slippers, but I could wear them comfortably in bed as well. I loved them. Plus, I like to knit for others and I do not really love the color of these socks as much as I should. Maybe if they had more green in them...

I've been thinking of making some cards because I've got some fairly pretty paper sitting around in my house from a card making kit.

Pretty Paper

I'm still not on it though. I know I need just one or two more items to make cards, but I don't have the energy right now.

What have I sewn? Sweet Jesus, all! In my efforts to imitate my new hero, Blair Waldorf, I've decided to wear more headbands. At first, I was like, 'This is brilliant', but then I remembered that headbands cost money. Even the cheap-o ones from my local supermarket. However, if I'm buying cloth anyway... I sewed a simple tube of green fabric tonight, turned it inside out and stuck it over the cheap black headband. Now, it is SUPER cute and green. I can do this with any leftover fabric I have too. I'm basically just making headband covers I can change out. Next step: wearing my hair down more. Next next step: losing weight so that I can comfortably wear dresses or skirts all the damned time. Paul would totally get behind this step and change in clothing style, I bet.

Lastly, back to knitting, I'm most of the way down a foot for Helen's socks (ravelry). Whee! They are taking forever, but will probably be one of my all-time best looking projects when completed.

In great news, I discovered my size seven 16-inch Addi Turbo circulars too. That means I can happily cast on my Slytherin scarf whenever I have a free moment (ie, never).

28 September 2008

Ghost of Projects Past, Part I

Oh man, guys. Do you remember when I said I'd try to blog three times a week? I'm a TOTAL liar. My pants? They might possibly be on fire.

For those of you who are curious, Beth, the fashion designer, recommended the book New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader's Digest. Apparently most fashion programs in Philly use this book as a text. That's a good enough rec for me and I plan to buy a copy sometime. I also bought a fat quarters of fabric, but I have no current plans for them. If I manage not to screw up completely, I've got one or two ideas, though.

Now, what is this post all about? I'd thought I'd talk about my knitting history and update you guys on my projects. It turns out that I think I've managed to convert my cousin Talena (the sweetest person on Earth) into a knitter. Since I plan to hang with her once a week now, that means I have a knitting friend! We got together last week and she worked on a really cute scarf made from Lion Brand's Nature's Choice Organic Yarn in a simple two by two rib. I have a feeling that it is going to be her first wearable finished project as she had previously tried to make two stockinette scarves, which you all know just curls and doesn't look nice, out of acrylic yarn. My bad, as I apparently totally did not warn her about that, nor did I teach her to cast off, nor have I explained how to weave in ends. I'm going over next week with tapestry needles and I'm going to show her how to weave in some ends. Luckily, I also got to work on my own anklets a bit since they're simple stockinette and can be chucked to the side every time Nathan decides to put up a major fuss.

I've also been working on Helen's socks quite a bit. Since they're knee high socks, they are slow going, but I'm finally working on the heel flap of the first sock. It's been so long since I've done a heel flap as opposed to a short row heel that I'm kind of intimidated. I've done it before, though, and I can do it again. I did temporarily take them off the needles when I got to the flap to make sure they fit my leg. They looked decent, but my legs are kind of fat (honestly a lot of that is calf muscle) so I'm hoping they look better on Helen. The pattern is gorgeous.

So, what's this about the ghost of projects past?

Oh, lace pattern Saddest Scarf EVER

Basketweave close up

Do you see those? Those are three of my first projects, folks! The bottom one that Nathan is modeling up close and personal is my first ever projects. It's a basketweave scarf done for my mom. As no one warned me, I decided when first knitting to simply forge ahead and do a scarf of ten feet in length. As you can imagine, my knitting tension slowly started to relax from new tight knitter to relaxed looser knitter during the scarf's first three feet. When I examined my scarf, rather than just going with it when I realized this was happening, I tightened my knitting. This means that I made a scarf with a hourglass shape at one part of it. Yeah, that was smooth. Also, the scarf is acrylic and scratchy. Delightful!

The second project is a lacey scarf in blue. Mmm, it was short, it curls, and I knew nothing about the wonders of blocking. It's itchy, too. I hate to look at this scarf though the picture does not make it look as horrible as it really is.

The third is a horrible horrible horrible scarf done with a drop stitch and some fun fur on the ends. Oh man, that is one hideous scarf, and my mom likes it and wears it. I try to pretend she isn't wearing it when I see it on her.

I'm going to leave those projects as my projects past for now. Expect to see some a top and some older socks in the near future, folks!

22 September 2008


As you read in my last post, I got myself a sewing machine. It is pretty. It's shiny. It has lots of different types of stitches or whatnot.

My Precious

I'm frightened of it. I... I just don't know what to do with it. I've gotten some cloth to play with. I've played with stitches. I'm going to take a small class in it at the place where Paul bought it. However, it still scares me. I look at it and feel like I'll never know how to use it well, no matter how much I want to.

I've read some Craftster threads about using sewing machines, but it's not taking the edge off. I want to do stuff now, and it's basically telling me -- wait, look, play with the machine's different functions, and then read about it some more.

I talked to Beth, one of our friends from high school who is also a designer, and she recommended a book to me. I really hope she emails the name of it to Paul like she said she would. She also told me that after I'm done making squares and aprons, I should make a pair of pajama pants as my first real project. Is there anyone out there who sews who can talk me through this terror of my own sewing machine?

On the positive side, I went to my mom's house and started going through my mom-mom's (great grandmom on my dad's father's side) old sewing machine (a Singer) looking for various things I could pilfer from my mom. SCORE! I found an excellent pair of pinking shears that probably just need a bit of WD-40, and I found a lot of bias ribbon, zippers, and a seam ripper. Things I'd like to get after more experience include: rotary blade, self-healing cutting mat, several patterns, see-through ruler, and sewing chalk.

17 September 2008

Perhaps A New Blog Name

I might have to rename my blog very soon! For my birthday, yesterday, I received a new sewing machine! When you combine that with the fact that I want to try my hand at card-making, and the fact that I already cross-stitch, I'm not sure how accurate "Ninja Kitten Knits" is. Perhaps, "Ninja Kitten Has Too Many Crafting Hobbies" would be better.

Anyway, I'm actually going to start this entry with my plans for future entries, which is weird, but helpful to me. One, Kitten, get pictures of your sewing machine, and your card-making supplies, and post them in Flickr, and in here! Two, find out what a Bernette 66 is capable of and figure out what I need to get started with sewing some pillows. Three, find out what I need to get started with my card-making that I do not already have.

Now, on to my knitting content which shall be fairly lengthy. I am *only* covering two things today, podcast reviews will come later this week. Let's start with the most important thing, what I am knitting and how is it coming along...

I'm still working on socks, socks, socks... My latest pair of short row anklets are still coming along. I'm working on the heel of the second anklet now and it is moving fast. This is the pair of socks I drag around with me everywhere in case I have an extra ten minutes to knit somewhere, so they obviously get worked on as time permits. I have to say that I love the Koigu colorway when I see it in the sunlight, but not so much indoors. Koigu KPPPM knits up much nicer than I recall from my previous venture, and I definitely plan to make some more anklet socks out of it for myself. I'd also consider using it for friends or family if I find out if I can wash it in the washer and dryer. For those who are curious, I test this out by simply tossing the pair of handknit socks into my washer and dryer after I wear them. This has led to some heartbreak in the past, but I have no time in my life for handwash socks normally. It's why I refuse to buy many 100% merino sock yarns.

I'm also working on Helen's Knee Socks. Whew. They take a long time to knit, which makes sense since it is the first time I've ever knit patterned socks and the first time I've ever knit knee socks. I'm only on the seventh repeat of the leg spiral pattern. This sock is being knit with Lorna's Laces, and I'm not loving Lorna's sock yarn as much as I have in the past. I think I'm used to softer sock yarn nowadays, but I'm still going to continue to knit with LL. Why? Because I know that softness matters less to me when I'm actually wearing the socks, and because I know they machine wash and dry beautifully.

So, the second thing I'm going to blog about? I'm going to Rhinebeck!! OH EM GEE, folks! I'm so excited. A few weeks ago, slightly depressed due to the fact that I was giving up work to stay at home with Nathan, I asked Christy if she'd want to go. Christy, who is an awesome awesome awesome friend, said, 'Let's do it.' She managed to get us a place to stay, and now we're headed up for the weekend. I'm excited to be spending time with Christy, to be seeing a lot of the yarns I've only heard or read about, and to see what goes on at this huge fiber festival.

I have no idea what vendors will be there, but some things I'd like to purchase include: US #8 straight needles (Montego Bay), US #10 1/2 double points (Feeling Fuzzy), US #11 straight needles (My So Called Scarf), US #1 sock needles (all kinds of socks!), US #7 16-inch circulars (Harry Potter Scarf), Malabrigo worsted weight yarn (My So-Called Scarf), Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk (Montego Bay), Dream in Color Smooshy, Shibui Knits Sock Yarn, Schaefer Yarns Heather, and eight billion other sock yarns! I obviously will not be buying all of this, no matter how tempted I am, but I hope to get at least some of it. I might even have to add more to this list so I don't forget what I want when I get there. The worst part is that I plan to make sure that all new needles I buy are Lantern Moon and any new circulars are Addi Turbos. I know... What is up with that?

27 August 2008

Books, Yarn, and Podcasts

As an advance warning, this post is going to be all over the place.

Let's start with the recent purchases. As some of you might be aware, I'm desperate to make Helen a pair of knee high socks, and I now have the yarn, the pattern, and the needles. I was pretty thrilled when the Interweave Summer 2007 issue got to me, but I can only see about four patterns in it that I'd ever really make. The issue is worth is since I really want to make those patterns and I am terribly grateful for the toe-up sock instruction.

Lorna's Laces Yarn

I did start the socks tonight, but for the first time out of all the socks, mittens, scarves, and hats I've made, I twisted my work when I joined it. I was horribly disappointed and I set the yarn and needles aside to work on my other simple anklets. My anklets are a simple stockinette sock with a short row heel. This is my preferred sock for myself. It normally requires less than 200 yards for me as I have relatively small feet. The Koigu I'm using for my anklets is nice, but I'm tired of blue. How is it that I fall in love with yarns when in skein form, but then hate them when they get knit up?


I also bought Custom Knits recently. I follow Knit and Tonic pretty faithfully simply because I love Wendy's patterns, so I knew the book was coming out. Wendy's patterns are often classically beautiful or truly fashionable. They are the type of sweaters that I'd buy if I were to go to a nice store at the mall. Now, I love to knit, but I'm not one to just knit a sweater to knit a sweater. I need to know that I'm going to at least think I might like the ending result of my knitting prior to starting to knit. (This is why I knit so many damn scarves and socks and hats and mittens. No matter what, I know I'll wear these things. It's also why I knit for other people who are less picky than me such as my mom.) This is why Wendy's patterns are perfect for me. I know that I want to knit them because they look cute or pretty or classic. I've already decided to knit Pink, the Karma Tank, and Tang from the book (eventually). I just need to buy some yarn for this first and then finish all the other projects I have queued up already. I hate to have yarn for more than five or six projects around the house.

I know, I only like to knit on one thing at a time normally, and I hate to stash. I'm an abnormal knitter in the internet blogging world, aren't I?

Let's get to the Podcast Reviews. I'm still working through old Podcasts, but I can tell you that I've decided I kind of like Knitting at Night. Even though I have a hard time identifying with the podcaster, Casey, I find her voice nice and the balance she has between personal stories and knitting information to be quite good. I'm glad that I gave her a try after her first several episodes which had sound problems. Because she has a lengthy backlog of episodes, and because she podcasts pretty much weekly without fail, I have not gotten to any new podcasts this week. I've barely kept up with the ones I love that have come out this week!

YarnCraft came out with episode 23. It was all about yarn based crafts for or with children. Well, that effectively killed me giving YarnCraft another try for a while. I have listened to three episodes and I just have not been impressed. It seems, largely, like an advertisement for Lion Brand Yarn, and I don't knit with their yarn. I don't get much out of the episodes, and I don't have the time to dedicate to them. I might give them a try another half year or year from now. Remind myself -- try Cast On in two months and YarnCraft in a year. I also got the latest episode of Yarn Thing due to her comments on my blog. I'll give her Season Two a try.

Knit Pick's Episode 62 was another interview and I loathe when she interviews, so I just deleted it without thinking about it further. I've got too little time in life for crappy episodes of her podcast. It's a real shame too, because I normally love the Knit Pick's podcast and I want to hear about their yarns and her knitting queue. Bah!

Pixie Purls put out a new podcast, episode 19! Unfortunately, I listened to her episode while extremely tired, but she had a new feature that I loved. She highlighted other people's Finished Objects that she had liked. I couldn't resist looking at the posts she linked. She also discussed whether Ravelry and Flickr have killed knitting blogs. This was an interesting topic, but she's had better.

Manic Purl put out a new episode as well. Her episode 10 was okay, but she too has had better.

I was going to talk about sock yarns I've fallen in love with recently, but this post is already hideously long. It'll wait until next time. As some of you don't know me very well, I'm going to be giving up my job very soon, which is causing me a lot of depression. However, this might mean that I'll have more time for posting. I might try to enforce a twice a week posting schedule if that occurs, to be upgraded to three times a week if twice a week works well.

Talk to you all later!

21 August 2008

More Podcasts Reviewed

So, sometime in July, when I had a lot more free time on my hands, I promised I'd review some more podcasts. Well, I went back to work and my free time went to hell. I could choose to either blog or sleep. I normally choose sleep nowadays. I did, however, have a LOT of time to listen to podcasts over the last month since my commute jumped to two hours each way normally. That left me time to go through podcast after podcast. Since it is still before 23:00 right now, I'm going to review a few of those podcasts.

Yarn Craft is... Well, I'm not really sure what it is. I've only listened to two episodes, and I haven't really got a feel for it yet. This is one of the few I've listened to that I haven't started near the beginning. It's two women who work for Lion Brand Yarns chatting together. I don't know if I have a feel for their personalities yet, but I am going to give it more time to grow on me. Since they always talk about yarns from Lion Brand, I'm often not thrilled since I haven't used Lion Brand yarn in about five years now, but I am still willing to give it a few more listens.

I loved, loved, loved the early episodes of Manic Purl. She speaks about things I find interesting, she loves to review various yarns, or give me knitting news. Thanks to her, I know there is still a chance to join one of those Mystery Shawl things. In the last few episodes, she's gotten a little bit disorganized. While I do appreciate some impulsive moments in podcasts, I really do like highly organized podcasts better mainly because I think that a lot of disorganized podcasters end up 'um'ing a lot and forgetting what they say in the middle of their podcast. She's indicated this change is permanent, but I'm still going to listen to her future episodes.

However, folks, my new favorite podcast might be Stash and Burn. These two friends have a natural flow and ebb to their conversation which is fantastic. Even when they are clearly showing each other things or going to the computer to find information, they are still interesting and on topic. It's both clear that they love knitting and yarn, and that they are friends who discuss it even when not podcasting. I can't recommend them enough to people who like to hear podcasts between duos.

I'm still making up my mind on Knitting at Night, but I should review this podcast soon. I hope to add another two or three podcasts to that review list as well. I expect I'll have a chance to give Doubleknit a listen, so they might be on that list. I also hope to start reviewing individual episodes of each podcast I listen to.

I wanted to add one thing, however. The podcaster for Yarn Thing, a nice woman called Marly, thanked me for my review even though it was not a positive one. I'd like to thank her for commenting, in turn. I would never have assumed any podcaster would see my blog, since it is not highly public and I'm not a well known knitter. Since she commented, I thought I'd explain, in further detail, why I didn't continue to listen to her podcast.

As I said in my last post, her podcast was simply not my thing. I do not crochet. The best way to describe my crochet attempts would be: "Epic Fail!" I have attempted to do blankets, scarves, squares, and every single damn last time, I end up with a slowly widening or shrinking fabric. Thus, listening to podcasts regarding crochet remind me of this failure on my part. Additionally, I would often get angry when Marly described her husband's exasperation about yarn prices. While logically I know that a lot of yarn is super expensive, I'm very defensive for womankind and I'd like females in a relationship to spend as they want to spend and without guilt. (Not that I spend without guilt, but I'd like other women to. Plus, I feel guilt over everything.)

Now, after saying that, I'll admit that Marly's podcast was the only one in recent memory to make me openly weep due to a story told in it. One day, soon after my own son's birth, I was listening to Marly tell a story about her friend Valerie's publishing attempts. Apparently, Valerie had won a Jimmy Beans Wool contest for patterns with her pattern the Presto Chango. The story behind it is at Valerie's site and the summary is that her child had leukemia and she attempted to make a pattern that would have made a baby who had to go through chemotherapy more comfortable. Two things about this made me bawl in bed:

  • I pictured my own baby having anything wrong with him, and I felt so horrible for any mother who had to go through watching her child or baby be in pain. I don't even know if I could be strong enough for my child if something happened to him like that. I admired her for thinking about other mothers and how she could make life easier for them.

  • I remembered how miserable my step-father had been while going through his own chemotherapy. I never appreciated Ed while he was alive, but he was a very good man in his own way. I ended up going to his alma mater, Drexel University, and it was widely acknowledged how thrilled he would have been. My step-father died from his cancer.
  • 18 August 2008

    Some Matching Socks

    Okay, I'm going to start this post with how I made some socks for Nathan, and end with how I'm a giant moron. Follow along.

    First, let's start with the good. After more than a month of knitting, I've completed Nathan's socks. They fit him perfectly, which is worrisome since they are fall/winter socks and it is summer. But, he looks good in them.

    Nathaniel's Socks

    I made Paul go outside with him, in the heat, and made them both wear wool socks so I could get a photo for Ravelry. Since I've been so depressed and exhausted recently, Paul humored me.

    Daddy and Son

    The cat in the background is Jade. She's staring hatefully at Nathan who she considers an interloper. Sometimes, when I cuddle Nathan, she tries to climb into my lap as well.

    I rather like the socks. They are adorable and especially cute for being matchy-matchy with his daddy's socks. I am looking to buy some kind of cashmere sock yarn and make him several larger pairs of socks for the upcoming year. Perhaps I could knit myself some cashmere socks while I'm doing so. I told Paul when I finished making Nathan's socks that I could not picture a situation where I had enough yardage after making another pair of socks where I would not make Nathan socks. Handknit socks for Nathan!

    Now, for the stupidity. Perhaps it is because I'm very tired recently, but I've been looking all over for Interweave Knitting Summer 2007 Issue. See, I really want to make Helen a pair of the boot socks, and I'd like to make myself the Montego Bay Scarf. So, logically for an old magazine, I looked on Ebay for it. And I kept bidding and getting sniped. I was so angry with the last one that I vowed to look around online for other stores that might be selling it and just buy it outright.

    Turns out that Interweave is selling it and for cheaper than it has been on Ebay. Why didn't I check interweave first? What the hell is wrong with me? Either way, it is winging its way towards me as we speak. Now I just need to get gauge with either size 0 or size 2 needles with the proper yarn, and I can knit her socks up! Oh...

    Wait, while I was waiting for the magazine to come on, I cast on for new anklets for myself with some Koigu. Unfortunately, my knitting speed is basically nonexistant now, so Helen might never get these socks.

    21 July 2008

    More Knitting Podcasts

    As you might remember, I've recently become knitting podcast obsessed. Though, honestly, I'm more just podcast obsessed nowadays. I doubt many of you knitters care, but I'm also listening to D&D podcasts like they are going out of style.

    Here's an update to detail what I think of each podcasts. Let's start with what I've already told you.

    My favorite podcast so far is probably Pixie Purls. She likes to knit tank tops, she loves non-variegated yarn for projects, and she is a techie. She's an easy fit into my knitting lifestyle. Additionally, as a new mother, she's fascinating to me, because I love to hear stories from other women with young children. She's also back with her podcast after a year break to my delight! I've listened to all the shows.

    My second favorite podcast is Knit Picks, very oddly. I have nothing in common with Kelley, the host of the podcast. However, she has a good speaking voice, she is calm, and she has a focus and show layout that I understand. She starts with the theme of the show, goes to book reviews, and finishes with her personal knitting life. Love it! I don't understand her lifestyle at all, but I don't give a hoot. I'd listen to her podcast until the end of time. I even find that everything she discusses about Knit Picks is interesting rather than sounding like a constant advertisement. I've listened to almost all but the most recent shows. I skip the interviews now, because I've learned that I don't enjoy them.

    I didn't like Lime & Violet. I found the show very self-indulgent, and I was tired of the oddness. I found their laughter at their own antics annoying, and eventually, I felt like they weren't even talking about knitting so much as just chatting with each other about their lives. I understand that they are popular, but I am not really sure why. I listened to seven shows before giving up.

    Yarn Thing was not my thing, but she wasn't a bad thing. I didn't seem to have much in common with her, and, overall, her show didn't interest me, but I think I can see why others would find it interesting. I listened to several shows before giving up. I might consider sampling her show again in the future.

    I've just gone through a ton of Socks in the City. I like her show, but I don't love it, and I think if I wasn't such an obsessed sock knitter, I'd probably give up on the show. As it is, I think when I finish with her current episodes, I might not have a choice about whether I give it up. There hasn't been a new show since May! I'd recommend this show for the sock obsessed.

    I'll be honest, I listened to only one show of Ready, Set, Knit. I hated it, just hated it. It seemed like a huge advertisement for Webs combined with a boring interview. I normally hate interviews on podcasts, anyway, as most people are interviewing people I'm not interested in. I couldn't bring myself to listen to more when I saw that they have a lot of the talk of yarns they sell and lots of interviews. Where as I felt that Knit Picks' podcast was simply a podcast that mentioned Knit Picks more often than most, I felt that Webs' podcast was one giant advertisement.

    Cast On is an old podcast (several years now) and a steady one, but not one that I particularly liked. I listened to two episodes, then gave it up. I'm not quite sure why I didn't stick with it, and this is another I might give a try in the future, but, for now, I don't want to listen to any more. The host should have been fascinating, but there was just something missing.

    When I next blog about podcasts, I'll attempt to cover Yarn Craft, Knitting at Night, Stash and Burn, Manic Purl, and Doubleknit. I've already given a listen to Yarn Craft and Knitting at Night, but I want to see if my impression on those two sticks before I give my final say.

    In my own knitting news, I managed to finish the ribbing of the first sock of Nathan's Matching Socks. I think that tomorrow, if I have the energy, I will finish one sock, and then cast on for a Slytherin scarf!

    20 July 2008

    Paul's First Socks Done

    After more than a month of knitting, Paul's socks are finally done. Finally.

    Finished Socks

    Since they are wool socks, and my husband is almost always too warm for the weather, he will probably not wear them until the middle of December, at least.

    These socks were made using the Sleeping Dragon yarn in the Mossy Frogs colorway. It was a nice yarn to knit with, but I didn't love it. I found it a tiny bit splitty, and while a nice smooshy yarn, I'm a bit more used to a thinner sock yarn when I knit. I'd buy it again, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to, if you know what I mean.

    The socks are a simple stockinette cuff down sock with two by two ribbing for two inches at the top. I did a short row heel, which is my preference in general for knitted socks. I kitchenered the toe, which is also my preference.

    My husband's feet are a bit wider than normal (maybe a fair amount more than just 'a bit') and he wears size 11 mens shoes, I believe. Out of the 440 yards of yarn that the label states existed, I have a fairly small amount left. To get a feel for his size feet, here is one (with sock) next to my size six and a half foot.

    Feet Size Comparisons

    I plan to use the bitty remainder of the sock yarn to make my son, Nathan, a matching pair. I've already cast on! Either before, or directly after, I finish these baby socks, I plan to cast on for my Slytherin scarf as well.

    08 July 2008

    Babies Are Hardwork

    I started this blog with the best intentions of blogging continuously, but if I had been smart, I would have done this several months prior to having a baby and then my entries would have been a lot more interesting.

    As it is, what I mostly do nowadays is wake up every several hours to feed a baby, fall back asleep, and eat. It's not very exciting. I do listen to several podcasts through the day (something to do at four in the morning while Nathan takes thirty minutes to eat) and they've all been knitting podcasts so far.

    I've really been enjoying the KnitPicks podcast. It's not exciting or something I really relate to, but Kelly's voice is so calm and everything she talks about is relatively interesting. I put her podcasts on when I want to be calm and relaxed, which is normally what I like from roughly one to four in the morning.

    At six or so in the morning, I'm generally falling asleep during the feedings, so I put on something a little more energetic like Socks in the City which I just started. I had been listening to LimenViolet or Yarnthing, but I found LimeNViolet to be a little silly after repeated listens (loved the Yarn Porn segment and tired of everything else, plus it was repetitive), and I didn't identify very much with Yarnthing though her podcast was NOT repetitive and was fairly good, simply not for me.

    I have been knitting a tiny bit. I finished one of my socks for Paul's First Pair of Socks. It took forever once I got to the foot and when he put it on, it was much greener than it looked in the skein or when I first knit up a small swatch. I've decided to make him a second pair of socks out of Blue Moon Fiber's Thraven after a bit so he can have a pair of hand knit socks to wear to work. That'll be a while in the future, however. The first sock that I knit him did fit him beautifully, and I'm already getting to the heel of the second sock, so that's well and good.

    That's all the news for now. I suspect that the next time I blog will be either when this pair of socks is finished and I have pictures, or when I start my Slytherin scarf. I do not know which will come first!

    28 June 2008

    Not My Blanket and Plans

    First, an update on Paul's First Socks -- I have turned the heel once again and am now an inch or two into the foot of the socks. I foresee the first sock being done in the next several days, if I'm lucky and his foot doesn't magically grow in size. I've also decided on the next sock yarn I'd buy for socks for Paul, but that'll be a while.

    As to the blanket which is not mine, Christy, a good friend of mine (and one of my bridesmaids from my wedding), was very kind and she knit Nathan a gorgeous blanket.

    Blanket from Christy

    It's a garter stitch blanket, but done in stripes of two colors held together. I think the blanket is the Blue Lagoon pattern from Lion Brand, but I could be wrong. It's gorgeous and wisely done in blues and yellows. Perhaps Christy knew what gender of baby I was having before I did? I'm so happy that Nathan will have several handknit items such as blankets and socks. I'm also very surprised that Christy did a blanket since normally she knits hats for babies nowadays because blankets are too large a knitting commitment. Thank you, Christy!

    Now, as to my knitting plans, I hope to knit several things in the future. First off, I need to make socks for Helen. The socks are the Spiral Boot Socks from Interweave. You can buy the pattern at Interweave's website, though if I can find the whole magazine, I'll get it. In fact, I've bid on the magazine at Ebay recently because I love two or more of the patterns in it, which makes it a good buy.

    I also have plans to knit a Slytherin scarf for myself, which will be identical to Paul's Gryffindor scarf, but knit in Slytherin colors, because I am evil. Some of the scarves on Ravelry make me want to make this my first project, but I'll most likely make this project one that I work on in conjunction with other projects.

    The last two things I want to knit are a cute little hat from "The Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits" which uses some GGH Soft Kid which I have stashed away in a pretty deep berry red, and a pair of socks for myself made from Koigu.

    After I've knit these four items (or the three non-scarf items), I might allow myself to purchase more yarn. I normally only knit on one project at a time, because I'm exceedingly boring like that, or focused anyway, but I plan to make some exceptions in the future. From now on, if I'm knitting on a boring project like a baby blanket or endless stockinette or garter stitch scarf, I plan to also knit on one other item such as a pair of socks or tank top or hat. I'll be moving from being a one WIP type of girl to a two WIPs type of girl. Hopefully this won't bring me to the end of my knitting dreams and hopes because I become too scattered and disorganized.

    22 June 2008

    Sock Failure

    Again, I hold off on discussing my criteria for picking projects or my plans for future projects. I will simply discuss my current sock-a-licious failure. As you might recall from my last post, I had swatched the Sleeping Dragon sock yarn on size 2 needles and discovered that I had been getting seven stitches to the inch. Using that SPI to calculate how many stitches I needed for Paul's sock, I cast on 18 stitches to each four needles and knit and knit and knit. The picture was taken PRE-heel turn.
    Paul's First socks

    After turning the heel, which took roughly forever, I took them off the needles and made Paul try them on. They were loose. I tried not to cry, and instead tried to figure out how many stitches I would need per needle (16 would be better) and then tried to discover where I went wrong. I re-measured my stitches per inch and found that I was now getting eight stitches per inch.

    Time to rip back. I ripped and ripped and ripped. After ripping out everything, I recast on with my new stitches per needle, and knit two rows. After that, I had to take a break and feed my baby.

    So, I have no progress to speak of, really, but hopefully the next time I blog I will simply discuss my future plans rather than discussing my failed progress.

    17 June 2008

    Baby, Baby, Baby

    It's all baby all the time here at the house. Remember in my last post, I said that if you didn't hear from me for a while, then I was having a baby? Well, I had my baby! Nathan is quite the cutie and is now the biggest part of my life. My family has become my priority and I don't know how to deal with it, to tell you the truth. I had planned to spend this whole post giving details on how I choose to knit projects, but instead I'm already gushing about my son.

    I won't go into how I choose my projects in this post, but I will talk about my knitting in relation to my son. First of all, I finished his little socks prior to his birth, and I had thought them tiny little things, and they were small!

    Baby Socks

    Once I put them on him, however, I realized how gigantic EVERYTHING is in relationship to my son. He was born at only six pounds, so he's not the biggest baby, as you can imagine.

    As for how else knitting relates to my son, on the first night I was in the hospital, I was drugged out from my post c-section drugs. I couldn't sleep, could barely doze, and was almost unable to understand things. I read a little Pride and Prejudice and listened to some knitting Podcasts.

    Here's where I'm going to highlight my favorite podcast -- PixiePurls. She's not podcasting anymore, sadly, but I get the feeling from listening to her podcast, that I would enjoy spending time with her. I agree that I knit to have a nice looking finished product. I agree that I like the look of variegated yarns, but like her, I don't buy variegated sweaters at stores, so it is silly to try to knit them. I also love Rowan yarns and patterns. I hope she starts podcasting again! As a minor aside, she talks about being a lousy secret pal in one podcast, but this is a complete lie. She had me for a secret pal once, and she got me the prettiest yarns. I made a Clapotis from two of the most wonderful skeins of yarn ever that she gave to me.

    I also listened to KnitPicks' podcast, which I like, but do not love. Because it is so relaxing it causes me to drift off into sleep fairly easily. I should have listened to this when I needed to sleep instead of PixiePurls since I find PixiePurls so interesting that I paid attention. Lastly, I listened to LimenViolet. This is a good podcast for me because I am a huge fan of sock yarn, and they appear to be too. Who can resist a good sock yarn?

    Well, the answer is... not me. When in the hospital, waiting to bring Nathan home, we learned the disappointing news -- he had jaundice. This meant that for that full day, all we were allowed to do was visit him once every three hours to feed him. The rest of the time, we were stuck in the hospital waiting to see him while he hung out under some ultraviolet lights. During that time, Paul and I played a bit of Scattegories, and I made him bring me my size 2 needles and the Sleeping Dragon yarn. I merely meant to make a gauge swatch, but I became so enamored of the yarn, that I just kept knitting it up. After a bit, I asked Paul, "Do you think this would be manly enough for socks for you?" He considered them and said, "Yes, it's a nice dark green."

    So, once home, on Father's Day, I took his foot measurements (huge) and cast on while drinking a nice glass of wine.

    Yarn, yarn, yarn

    I'm much further down now, almost to the heel, but I'm a little worried about the amount of yarn I have. I have over 400 yards, but he has size 11 feet that are super wide! Will I make it? Will I be able to make Nathan matching socks as I had hoped?