Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Knit List

I borrowed this from Jessie's blog...

*Mark with bold the things you have done, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest plain*

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
CardiganToy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies...)
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone elses handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Sunday, June 29, 2008

yarn diet & fitness

Yep, I'm officially on a yarn diet. As far as knitting goes, I've decided there is too much fiber in this house. I took a look at my stash in ravelry and thought, good grief, what was I thinking when I bought that? I could trade that easily with no regrets. How on earth did that creep into my stash? Ye gods, the bad yarns are taking over! De-stash! De-stash!!!

So I moved a bunch of stuff from "stash" to the "trade or sell" category. The rest of it remaining are things I think I might actually use someday, or can't bear to part with. Actually, the cotton crochet thread is more nostalgia than anything else, I keep thinking, of course I'll finish the other three Winnie the Pooh characters someday, I'll need that thread! Do you have any idea how hard it was to find Eeyore's colors? This was long before my discovery of LYS's or even online ordering. Nobody had the right periwinkle or lavender. I HUNTED those colors, and they're MINE dammit.

Ahem. I haven't really been knitting much lately. It seems like all of my weekends are taken up by social engagements, which are quite enjoyable but not very conducive to knitting. I was so desperate for knitting time that yesterday, in the 90+ degree 100% humidity end of June weather, I pulled out my traveling (wool) sock and knit a few rounds while the sweat dripped down from everywhere while attending the outdoor wedding of a good friend and co-worker. Of course in doing so I discovered a fellow knitter at the same dinner table *lol*

My sister's friend (hi Jess) Chris P., who is engaged to be married in 41 days (as of today) to Meg, has inevitably stumbled upon a knitter. She does scarves almost exclusively, and started doing them to donate to homeless shelters. However, she is drawn to excessively bright colors and doesn't think her creations are appropriate for most homeless men so... they remain in the house. Chris had a look on his face like he wanted to fall at my feet and kiss my hand when I suggested to Meg that she treat her unworn and undonated scarves like unworn clothes. Put them in a closet somewhere and if after a year she still hasn't worn them, give them away. I think Meg might be considering this. And she has NOT been on ravelry yet. I am amazed at the number of knitters I've come across that are technically saavy that have not experienced ravelry. ...and maybe I need to find a better way to describe it, telling someone "it's addicting!! you should try it..." probably isn't the best way to sell them on it.

On to fitness! The non-yarn portion of my bloggish tendencies today.

I've been on a steady strength training and cardio plan for 8 weeks now. My arms looked toned, my calves are looking good, my overall physique is changing in a way I love. And I've lost all of *drumroll please*...

3 pounds.

Yes, 3 pounds. In 8 weeks. I've gone from a solid 151 (with my shoes on) to 148 (again with my shoes on). I'm torn between laughing at that measly little number and wondering just how much muscle weight I've gained versus fat weight I've lost.

And you know what, it's taken me 8 weeks to formulate into words what my strength training and cardio plan is supposed to get me. You're always supposed to have a goal to work towards when you're changing something in your life, but until now I couldn't say it in less than a few hundred words. I don't have any specific numbers I'm going for, I don't really care what the scale says, which makes setting a goal pretty hard. So here it is, my exercise goal is:

I want to LOVE the way I look and feel.

To expand upon that notion, I've crossed paths with a lot of people that seem very insistent that I "don't need to exercise", as if having an average sized figure means that I've achieved some sort of success in life. Yes, I'm probably thinner than a lot of people out there, but that doesn't help me when I look in the mirror and see extra padding where there never used to be any. It doesn't help me when I have to buy a larger size in pants so that I can sit comfortably without my waistband biting into my stomach. And it surely doesn't help when it comes down to my doctor appointments and hearing for the first time ever "and you could stand to lose a few pounds".

So overall, I was "okay" with the way I looked, and unhappy with my lack of energy. I have a lot more energy now, more motivation to get things done, and I'm moving towards "liking" the way I look. I'll let you know when I love it. It's coming, don't worry.

Back to yarn.

I think I'm going to stick to socks this summer. I have quite a few projects in various stages of completion, but I really don't want to sit down with a pattern, or have big pieces on my lap. I want something small and portable that I can work on piecemeal. Socks are perfect.

Okay, done blogging now. Must clean up the mess I've made of this house in the past week and take care of some laundry. Toodles!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Long Time No Postie

Yes yes, long time no postie, I know, I've been busy.

Here are the last five or so weeks of my life in a nutshell:

didn't feel like blogging, babysat a 7 y/o girl for 3 days and 3 nights with BF (never again), started working out 6 times a week, went to MD S&W, bought yarn, promised two girls whom I don't know from Jane a pair of socks each, got sick, got better (mostly) and started going to the gym again.

Oh yeah, and I've only finished one full pair, and one half of the second pair of those socks for the little girls. I've hardly knit at all in the past few weeks. So sad.

Fun recent news, sister gifted me with THREE SETS of Knit Picks sock needles; the smaller 1, and both size 2's. They're nice and pointy. So pointy in fact, that I've poked holes in my little sock knitting callus (sp?) in two places. Yep, split the skin right open like a papercut, right on the groove of my finger prints. It's wild.

It's almost 10pm now and nearly an hour past my new bed time. Bed by 9pm (ha, ha ha ha), and up by 4:45am so I can hit the gym with BF and other friends before work and daily life. It's much better than coffee, by the time I get to the office and actually start working I've been fully conscious for over 3.5 hours.

Time to turn into a pumpkin. Ta ta

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Socks and Monkeys

Monkeys first.

My drive home from work today was awesome. Traffic was great, but even better than that, I had entertainment for several miles of it. I'm one of those weird drivers that will follow a slower larger vehicle at a nice distance just so they don't have an as$ tailgating them.

So I was following this school bus. No big deal, it's far past the hour of the day when there would actually be kids riding the bus home from school. But there WERE kids on this bus. How do I know this? Because even through the tinted bus windows I could see them waving at me. And they were determined to get me to wave back.

But I remained stoic. Oh okay, I did smile a bit, and I certainly laughed at them a few times, but I was just as determined not to wave, it was too fun watching them try to make me wave. I relented when it became obvious that they weren't taking the same exit I was taking, so I rolled down my window and waved as I rode by them on the ramp. They loved it. I laughed all the way home.

Onto the socks!

I'm re-working my "sea and sand" socks. Again. For the fourth time. But this time it might stick! I'm using a sock recipe from the May '08 issue of Creative Knitting, an issue my sister gave me. And with excellent timing, I started using that pattern within hours of the gifting. I am liking it very much.

Chief differences are:
  • DPN's instead of magic loop
  • cuff-to-toe instead of toe-up
  • size 2 instead of 0 needles
  • short cuff instead of calf-high (of course, that was just a concept on the toe-ups since I never even turned the heels!)

All of these things combined are making me very happy with this yarn again. That, and I tried it on last night for new pictures and wow... now I'm hooked, I must have a pair, and more pairs, I need many many more handknit socks!! =D

04202008_ribbed anklet #1 3-1rav

Okay, it's off to be healthy and run or something.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Knitting Software

Yes, you read correctly, I'm looking into knitting software. There's a really neat graphing program offered by www.KnitFoundry.com called Knit Visualizer. I downloaded the demo and am trying it out to see how I like it. My "simple" attempt at graphing is the diamond brocade pattern I decided to use on my "brown socks" (now my "brown purl-brocade socks").

Diamond Brocade Graph

Between the two dark horizontal bars is stitch pattern #28 from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary #1, Knit & Purl. I've been looking through my stitchionaries and patters for a simple pattern repeat that I could use on my brown socks to add some visual (and knitterly) interest to the top of the feet without detracting from the color, which is my main attraction to this yarn along with the soft feel.
I decided this one would do well. It's a 12 + 5 stitch repeat, so I have enough stitches on my 35 stitch top for two repeats.

Back to the software. I came across this Knit Visualizer software by doing a search on the Ravelry groups for one on cables, celtic cables, braids, etc. The sticker price of the program...is a bit prohibitive. I added the windows version on CD to my TheThingsIWant wish list but.... I get the feeling that I'll be buying it for myself eventually, I doubt anyone else would want to spend that much money on me for a single item for no special occassion.

So far I like it, I would like it more if I had a desk set up for my computer where I could hook my mouse up but I'm okay with it just on my touchpad.

I've been trying all last week and the majority of this weekend to reverse-engineer the main celtic cable from the St. Brigid sweater. I LOVE that cable pattern. But I have almost zero chance of getting my hands on the Aran Knits book by Alice Starmore.

From what I've read she seems to be a bit of a snob about her patterns. She must know that the knitting world WILL substitute other yarns instead of her proprietary expensive collection, so she will not republish the pattern books. She's not even including a copy of the pattern with the yarn kit, just says on the website that you must have a copy of the book in order to make the sweater. Well I guess there will always be other snobs out there that will pay the outrageous amounts she asking for her scratchy yarn and out-of-print book. I am not one of them. Hence my attempt to reverse-engineer the cable pattern.

I think I'm close, but, I've never charted an unknown cable pattern before. I have no experience to draw on to tell me that when you decrease from 5 stitches down to 1 how you mark that down and when the "no stitch" section should come to an end. I'm stuck at the top and bottom points of the swirl.

St Brigid Celtic Swirl Cable chart2

So... if anyone can help me finish mapping out this cable chart, help would be appreciated!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Yarn Harlot Ho!

That is to say... onward towards the Yarn Harlot's speech and book signing! I'm sitting up at 10:15 wondering, what should I wear tomorrow? Sadly, the only things that I've knitted and are wearable at the moment are a "Jesse's Flames" sweater I made that ended up fitting me instead of my ex-boyfriend (not the best look for me) and one slipper sock that is waiting for its mate to be knit up. Maybe I'll just wear my work clothes and bring some small knitting projects.

Of course, with most of my clothes being freshly washed this weekend, the choices of store-bought clothing combinations is simply staggering. I own... well, a LOT of clothes. And somehow it's never enough. I'm thinking the brown and medium blue plaid pants with plain brown sweater and brown suede boots (with the really cool brown and cream wooly stripey socks that nobody will be able to see beneath the boots). Or maybe go with the indigo jeans, burnt orange collared tee and olive sweater over top with the brown suede boots... Or maybe go for total comfort and wear my dark grey fleecy lounge pants with a light grey tee and medium grey sweater along with a pair of crocs. OR perhaps I'll be SO freaking excited that I'll forget to change out of my work clothes before I leave and I'll end up going to Borders dressed in "business casual". Hmm.

And why am I so worried about what to wear anyway? I should be spending this nervous energy on preparing my knitting bag. In fact, I think I'll go do that now. Good night everybody!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I just got a brilliant idea!

I'm doing a pair of toe-up socks. I've noticed that most toe-up sock patterns don't make any effort to increase around the arch of your foot before the heel and leg, making it very snug for that couple of inches on your foot.

I came across a pattern for a toe-up sock that includes increases and a heel-flap, I like the increasing idea but I don't like heel flaps much. I've also been eyeing my expensive store-bought exercise socks with a "Y" short-row heel. This morning it came to me, this brilliant idea... I can increase along the gusset, do a Y short-row heel, decrease up to the ankle, move on up the leg as usual. HAHA!! I'm freaking brilliant!!

...ok, now that I've sucked up all of my leisure time for the day on ravelry, time to get that shopping done. ciao

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Enjoy It

**note!** I'm tired, I feel like typing, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So if you're in the mood to listen to my eyes-closed-because-I-can-type-that-way rambling, read on.

That's right, I enjoy it, I love knitting and all its quirks, and I think my friends are starting to understand just how much enjoyment I get out of everything knit related.

I have a group of friends that gets together most Friday nights to play a game of poker together, just to hang out and have fun, and do it relatively cheaply. I mean, think about it, I buy into our cash game for $15 (we have a $50 buy in limit but nobody ever goes more than $30), and generally leave with at least some of my money, sometimes more than I came with. So for an average of $8 every week, I spend hours of fun with my friends. Can you even get into a movie for $8 now? I don't think so. Oh, and I knit while I play until it's my turn to be the dealer. So double-enjoyment for me, yay.

We normally play texas hold-em, it's pretty easy as poker games go so anybody can join in. But playing hold-em with four or fewer is.... ugly. Five to eight is optimum for a table. If we have four people we'll play other cash games, like 7 card stud, or draw, or something that requires and ante instead of blinds. When there are less than four people it's not worth playing, so you wait for other players.

I digress.

Two of my friends were there waiting for more players when I showed up, so I thought I'd knit a bit. I've been getting pretty excited about the chance to go to the Annapolis Borders store to listen to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee speak, and then maybe get her autograph. I must have started waxing passionate because they started making comments about excited knitters. So to demonstrate how amusing, how true to life I find her writing to be, and how other knitters share my enjoyment of the craft, I asked and received permission to read out the 4-page chapter from "Secret Life of a Knitter", page 60-63, "Nothing in my Stash". I am greatly amused by this chapter, it's so true, no matter how much yarn you have, there's nothing to knit. Harry commented that I must really identify with this woman based on the amusement and emotion I put into the reciting, and Kim loved how much I enjoyed sharing the chapter with them and the subject matter.

That's right, I enjoy it. I love doing it, talking about it, reading about it, hearing about it, I love knitting. There are worse hobbies I could have.

That being said, I am REALLY looking forward to this Annapolis appearance. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is one of the bonuses of my sister learning to knit; I'd been knitting for years and never bothered to check out books about knitting, just patterns, and the occasional online magazine. But my sister, ever curious, is far more adventurous in both the internet and real life and managed to find this treasure of an author who also happens to be an avid knitter like us, and my sister shared this treasure with me. And now she's coming to Annapolis. For the first time ever.

It's just like Christmas, but without all the last minute shopping and knitting involved, wooo!

Okay, now before my heart starts beating faster (that would be the opposite of winding down for sleep...) I'm going to start talking about my projects.

I just finished my fluffy-elegance lap blanket this morning. It took just short of four balls of Caron Bliss, in a lovely lime green. I photographed it with my new digital camera. I just couldn't resist, sometimes having plastic money is dangerous, especially when woot.com has something I want.

I knit a round on my hemlock ring blanket before finding an error in a round knit in a previous session, a missed yarn-over. Grrrr. So I ripped back to fix it (it was only two and half rounds back... no big deal close to the center of this blanket in the round) and knit enough to make up for my ripping and make actual progress. I also to pictures of the ring blanket with my new camera. And the single pre-felted clog that is awaiting its mate before being felted.

And remembering that I want to wear my first pair of socks to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival in the beginning of May, I knit a few rounds on my magic loop toe-up socks.

I think this concludes my rambling post. And yes, I did open my eyes so I could go back through and link things. I dare you to find a typo. G'nite.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Too Froggy?

I think my mom's new-used sweater started a mental trend with me, and maybe I'm being a little too froggy lately. I'm trying to stick to a yarn fast, I have so many things in mind to make and for the most part, I have the yarn to make it. So... perhaps I'm compensating for the lack of new yarn by frogging projects I'm less than pleased with? I'm actually considering frogging a 90% completed (yes, I said 90%) shrug because I don't like the way it folds in the back. And it's $9 a ball merino in gorgeous multiple browns and coppers. *sigh*

So what should I do with all my new used yarn?

I still have lap-blanket plans for the lime green caron bliss, but I keep changing my mind about the pattern to use. I came across this one, Elegant Lap Rug, that I like the look of. The pattern notes mention that it's simple, and from the stitch pattern it looks like it won't shrink widthwise as much as the dimple stitch I was thinking about using. I'll have to swatch though (ugh) to make sure my all acrylic fuzzy yarn looks okay with this sort of "traditional" or "simple" look.

As for the mohair scarf... I have no idea. I'm not crazy about the colors, maybe I'll just put it away and let my mind marinate on it.

The beach colored online supersocke is, of course, going into a fresh pair of socks. I'm about an inch past the toe section, so from toe tip to needles it's something over 2 inches. I might rip back, just a teensy little bit... I keep changing my mind, again, about what do do across the top of the sock for visual (and knitterly) interest. I'm only a couple rounds into the current pattern so no big deal there. Maybe a purl brocade? I'll check my stitch dictionary again. I'm still determined to have this pair finished so I can wear them to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival the first weekend in May.

And finally, the shrug. 100% Australian merino, Filtes King Extra Stampato in color 8016 "earth tones", each strand a different color in a long color change, revolving around browns and coppers. So soft, so pretty. But not as the shrug. I'm not sure what to make out of it, but I don't think I can leave it as a shrug. I might try the Provincial Waistcoat, I'm not so busty so I think it would look like this on me, this project in particular is one of my faves. I have a bunch of 3/4 and full length sleeve collared shirts I wear to work, the colors would like nice on a few of them, and they're the same sort of shape that the waistcoat calls for.

So which one should I work on today? ;-)

Too Froggy?

I think my mom's new-used sweater started a mental trend with me, and maybe I'm being a little too froggy lately. I'm trying to stick to a yarn fast, I have so many things in mind to make and for the most part, I have the yarn to make it. So... perhaps I'm compensating for the lack of new yarn by frogging projects I'm less than pleased with? I'm actually considering frogging a 90% completed (yes, I said 90%) shrug because I don't like the way it folds in the back. And it's $9 a ball merino in gorgeous multiple browns and coppers. *sigh*

So what should I do with all my new used yarn?

I still have lap-blanket plans for the lime green caron bliss, but I keep changing my mind about the pattern to use. I came across this on, Elegant Lap Rug, that I like the look of. The pattern notes mention that it's simple, and from the stitch pattern it looks like it won't shrink widthwise as much as the dimple stitch I was thinking about using. I'll have to swatch though (ugh) to make sure my all acrylic fuzzy yarn looks okay with this sort of "traditional" or "simple" look.

As for the mohair scarf... I have no idea. I'm not crazy about the colors, maybe I'll just put it away and let my mind marinate on it.

The beach colored online supersocke is, of course, going into a fresh pair of socks. I'm about an inch past the toe section, so from toe tip to needles it's something over 2 inches. I might rip back, just a teensy little bit... I keep changing my mind, again, about what do do across the top of the sock for visual (and knitterly) interest. I'm only a couple rounds into the current pattern so no big deal there. Maybe a purl brocade? I'll check my stitch dictionary again. I'm still determined to have this pair finished so I can wear them to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival the first weekend in May.

And finally, the shrug. 100% Australian merino, Filtes King Extra Stampato in color 8016 "earth tones", each strand a different color in a long color change, revolving around browns and coppers. So soft, so pretty. But not as the shrug. I'm not sure what to make out of it, but I don't think I can leave it as a shrug. I might try a cabled vest out of it, I have a bunch of 3/4 and full length sleeve collared shirts I wear to work, the colors would like nice on a few of them.

So which one should I work on today? ;-)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Brief yarn thoughts, and more frogging

So, is it wrong to look at yarn just for the color? I love the colors of this Rowan Cocoon yarn, all natural tones, not completely uniform, gorgeous.

In other news, most of my progress with projects lately seems to be negative progress, in that I'm frogging projects instead of continuing to knit on them. The mohair scarf, braided-cable lap blanket, and XoXo socks are all frogged or waiting to be frogged so I can re-work them differently. The mohair scarf I've never been crazy about, the feather-fan pattern has been bothering me. The lap blanket... eh, it's easy, and boring, I want to do the dimple stitch to liven up the finished look and working up (k1 sl1 across, sl1 p1 across, k across, p across, sl1 k1 across, p1 sl1 across, k across, p across) so it will still move quickly but have infinitely more visual appeal all over.

As for the XoXo socks... well, they haven't been XoXo for about a month now, I was just working them up plain when it occurred to me that the toe increases were ugly, and since I'm working them toe-up I have to stare at the toe for the longest time, and got increasingly dissatisfied with it. I ripped them back tonight and am re-working them, still toe-up, but from toe joint to toe end, back around the bottom, and only then joining in the round. The tutorial by CosmicPluto was an imense help in doing my short-rows without any annoying holey areas. I feel silly now that I didn't think of an extra wrap and turn myself, but that's what other knitters are for, to learn from their experiences. I am loving the look.

The recent frogging of the XoXo socks was the direct result of my musing about the upcoming Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I thought, wouldn't it be nice to wear my first pair of FINISHED socks there? I could finish the XoXo socks (henceforth entitled "Sea & Sand Socks") by then no problem. But I don't know about those toes... let's frog them! Woohoo!

And so I did. And so far they're just lovely. Except for the one little spot where I forgot to pick up on of the wraps, but I'm ignoring that for now and will fit it from the inside later on.

I am sock happy. What is up with this spring knitting fever on my part, I just can't get enough of little projects and will work on multiples in a single day. I have knitting A.D.D.!

I'm also working on a case of sleep deprivation if I don't get to bed within 10 minutes so ciao gang, and a Happy St. Patrick's Day to all! ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Some Project Ideas

Have you ever spent hours at a time just searching through Ravelry? Hopping from posts to patterns to projects to people and around again? I need to write some of this down so I don't forget my ideas.

lap blanket for work: dimple pattern, plain square
webkinz blankets: thread crocheted granny square blankets

...shoot, I've already forgotten most of my ideas!! *sigh* So much for writing them down.

Lucky Clover Pattern

After reading through a couple free patterns for clovers / shamrocks to make some thread crochet pins for this coming Monday, I improvised this pattern. Nothing out there was quite what I was looking for, and I had a very specific idea of what it was I wanted. So after a couple abortive attempts, I came up with this. =)

-03/20/2009- :::Edited from "Shamrock Pattern" to "Lucky Clover Pattern" after a tip that shamrocks actually only have 3 leaves. In order to make this into a shamrock, leave out one of the pattern repeats from each round:::

-11/12/2009- :::Edited to add different stem option:::

Irish For A Day Shamrock Pin (thread crochet)

green crochet thread, size 10 bedspread weight
thread crochet hook, size 8-1.5mm (I used a size 9 or 10 because I have a squishy comfort thing
on it)
safety pin

st = stitch
ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
sc = singe crochet

hdc = half-double crochet
dc = double crochet
tc = triple crochet
dec = decrease: pull up a loop in each of the next two stitches, pull a loop through all three loops on crochet hook

Pattern Notes: This patten is worked in a spiral by rounds, do not join to the previous round at the end of the currently completed round. I know most crochet patterns have you join with a slip stitch to finish a round but this one works out best if you don't. You will be looking at the "right side" (RS) of the work until the Stem and Finishing stage.

On round 2 you'll be working the top-side of your initial ch-4's as regular stitches and then around the other side where you sc'd in the back loop.

Sorry for the case of the blurries on the progress photos, it's just me and my two hands taking shots!

Also, I've seen many comments that this bit of crochet is "fiddly", so if you lose your patience or have trouble with small gauge yarns, you may want to try this in some worsted weight leftover first to see if you like how it progresses.


Foundation Round: leaving a 3-4" tail for working with later, chain 4, slip stitch in first stitch to join in a ring.

Round 1: (ch 4, 2 sc in back loop of 2nd chain from hook, sc in back loop of next 2 ch, sc in foundation ring), repeat 3x, do not join.

Round 2: (sc in next 2 st, 2 dc in next st, 4 dc in next st, 2 dc in next st, sc in next 2 st, sl st in next st) repeat 3x, do not join.

Round 3: (sc in next 2 st, hdc, 2 dc in next st [3 dc, 1 tc, 1 dc] in next st, dec, [1 dc, 1 tc, 3 dc] in next st, 2 dc in next st, hdc, sc in next 2 st, sl st in next sl st), repeat 3x, do not join.

Stem and Finishing: turn the clover over so you're looking at the "wrong side" (WS), slide your hook beneath any back loop between your last completed round and the tail of your foundation round, do a sl st in this loop. Ch 13, sc in back loop of 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 11 back loops. Break string leaving a 3-4" tail, ch 1 and pull loop through to tie off. Make a knot with the tail from the cast-on foundation row and your finished stem, cut excess string, pin safety-pin on.

Once I figured out how it would turn out best (and how to write out this pattern so someone other than me could follow it) it took between 15-20 minutes to finish one shamrock.

So now everyone else can celebrate the teensiest bit of Irish heritage in their blood like me (1 great-great grandparent straight off the boat). Enjoy! =)

Alternate Stem: After publishing my pattern on Ravelry people actually MADE it! There are quite a few lovely examples, and one caught my eye because of a great modification on the stem. It wasn't my idea, so I won't post it here, but be sure to check out the notes on laurazlsk's lucky clover pin.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Birthday Presents!

I got some AWESOME birthday presents! I couldn't think of anything I would want outside of the giftcard arena except for a confetti / cross-cut paper shredder. My parents got me that (yay mom and dad), and my sister and nephews got me a gift certificate for the www.KnitPicks.com website! YAY!

I spent time sporadically on KnitPicks.com today to figure out what I want to buy, and found out that they sell the book "No Sheep For You!" by Amy R. Singer that I have checked out of the library. There are several patterns in it that I really like, including the Morrigan Sweater, so I'm buying that with my gift certificate. I'm also getting the "options" set (yes, I know, I said I didn't really like them that much, but they're so convenient!) and a classic 16" circular in size 0 for casting on my socks.

Not to be counted least, my Aunt Karen sent me a gift certificate to Pampered Chef! I was so tickled when I opened the envelope and realized what it was. There were so many people in on it too, it was comical. My friend Kim threw a party that I attended, and invited my cousin Lisa to attend. Unfortunatley, Lisa couldn't make it, but she'll be invited to the party that I'll be throwing in a few months.

I guess Lisa's mother--my Aunt Karen, my mom's older sister--got some birthday ideas from my mom, and then got my friend Kim's information from my cousin Lisa. Aunt Karen asked about what I didn't buy at the party that I might like to receive as a gift. Well Kim didn't know, she was busy being hostess and helpful hand at her cooking show, so Kim referred Aunt Karen to our Pampered Chef consultant, Andrea Mullin (hooray for Andrea!). Andrea didn't know either, because she was giving us all information and helping with orders, so she suggested that a gift certificate would be an excellent idea. And the Friday before my birthday, it arrived in the mail.

That conspiracy included, but may not have been limited to: my friend Kim, my mom, my Aunt Karen, my cousin Lisa, and my pampered chef consultant Andrea Mullin. *lol*

I also received some chocolate, a knitting bumper sticker, some "knitting girl" mints, an adorable sock-blocker keychain, and a check from my grandparents that went straight into my retirement savings account. I swear my grandparents are funding my retirement right now, their birthday checks and savings bonds are pretty much the only savings that I never touch, it's my "core savings".

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

An en-GAUGE-ing Sweater, and socks!

Alright, I finally finished the gauge swatch for my mom's new-used sweater, it's been blocked and everything. I felt all virtuous and crap until I realized that I needed to do another gauge swatch with smaller needles to make the fabric pretty. *sigh* It's not like there's not plenty of yarn to make the thing, but I sort of wanted to start on it NOW instead of messing with gauge again. That and I had (ha, "had") to buy a needle in the size I think is correct for said sweater.

I also bought more circs in sock sizes so I can have more than one magic loop pair going at the same time... So much for my vow to finish most of the standing projects until starting something new. Now I have FOUR pair of socks in progress; my warring colors socks in lion brand wool (for which I can't locate my DPN's now that I need them), the just begun thick slipper socks on DPN's, my 2 pair at a time magic loop ONline beach socks in blues sand and greys, and my to be begun pair of 2 pair at a time magic loop trekking XXL in delicious browns. I also bought another ball of trekking this afternoon along with the needles, in a creamy tweed, which I *think* will be suitable to the "business casual" dress code at my office.

I'm in a sock mood. Must be a spring thing. Socks are such a great portable project, and pretty mindless if you're doing plain stockinette.

But the sock mood will not help my mom's new-used sweater grow, so I'm off to do that gauge swatch. Again. Ciao.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Noro gets ugly

Boy, Noro sure can get ugly sometimes... I'm working with some noro silk garden, I have two skeins of it and I keep changing my mind about what to make with it because I keep coming across ugly sections of color. I've ripped off a good10-15 yards so far because the color was just... hideous. It was absolutely hideous. A dirty grey with pink ribboned in... ugh! I'm thinking of throwing this thrice ripped-back ball away and giving the second one to someone else, untouched.

In other news, I finished Joey's Flames!! =D Joe tried it on and it fits perfectly, exactly to my specs. I've been saying that I'm not sure who's happier about it, him or me, but I've settled on me. I put in the time, and the extra time to go back and make it better, decided on all the modifications, I feel like a knitting momma with a brand new baby sweater to love on. ;)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Noro gets ugly

You know, sometimes Noro just gets ugly. I like the changing colors, sure, but some of the color changes are just... hideous. *shudder* I started on a project yesterday (as if I need another WIP), a sideways seed stitch scarf, which I thought would show off my Noro Silk Garden's colors quite nicely.

Pulled out three armlengths of cast-on yarn, started casting on, and what do you know, I have the very pretty lavender cast-on yarn mixed with a sort of muddy brown. Looked at the ball, saw that the brown gives way to a gorgeous bright teal color, figured I'd stick it out. Two rows and 288 stitches later after the brown had morphed into a dirty pink (I despise pink) I decided enough is enough! This is a yarn abortion, I'm getting rid of that crappy junk that should never have existed.

I yanked the aborted project off the needles, yanked all the dirty pink to mauve to blackish out of the ball and *snip!* made myself happy, no more nasty unwanted yarn.

Noro sure does get ugly sometimes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Silly Sarah, Don't Knit When You're Tired

Silly Sarah, don't knit when you're tired. I was working on the duplicate stitching on the flames of Joey's Flames last night before bed. This morning when I went to finish the second sleeve...I noticed I'd done it backwards. Each sleeve's flame is a mirror image, and I had done the first sleeve correctly, yellow duplicate stitch on the left side of everything. And on the second sleeve, I repeated that, yellow duplicate stitch on the left side of everything, except it should have been the right instead.


So the duplicates are done now, and I need to figure out how many stitches I should pick up for the neck since I widened it a little bit per Joe's request. I'm thinking between 90-100 stitches, and I'd like to decrease a bit as I work it around so the collar doesn't stick up like it does on the first one I made years ago. For the life of me I can't remember how to do a double centered decrease on the knit side of things, I'll have to look it up again.

I also discovered that there are yarns in my stash that I haven't listed in my Ravelry stash. Ugh. I went to look in my Ravstash to find out if I have enough yardage of this one yarn to do a pattern and...hmm, look at that, it's not listed. D'oh! I'll be visiting my rubbermaid yarn tubs in a few minutes.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back on the Flames

Boy I tell you, I think that subconsciously I do not want to work on my brother's sweater. I've been trying since Monday to work on it on my lunch break at my office, but was at the point where I needed to consult the instructions...

Monday, forgot my spiral notebook. D'oh!

Tuesday, remembered the spiral notebook, realized I only had two more rows I could do without also consulting the Stitch and Bitch Nation book. D'oh! So I did two lines.

Wednesday, remembered the spiral notebook, but forgot the Stitch book. D'oh! I did two more rows.

Today, remembered the Stitch book! ...but forgot my tape measure. *sigh* Fortunately, for some strange reason my office has yard sticks. Measured, ripped back the two rows I did yesterday just to be knitting, and started on the decreasing part of the raglan sleeve. Yay! Now as long as I remember how to count I won't need my notebook or the Stitch book until I'm done the sleeve. I'll tuck an extra measuring tape into my knitting bag.

I wonder what happened to my formerly-spare measuring tape that was in my knitting bag... hmm.

Monday, February 11, 2008

On the way to Felting

I bought some really nice real fleecy sheepskin slippers last year. They have delighted by feet for an entire year. But my wonderfully warm and fluffy fleecy sheepskin slippers aren't enough all of a sudden... I want some felted clogs!

And so on 2/11/08 I cast on! I really only intended to do a couple rows, seeing as how it was bedtime... but somehow 90 minutes later I was ready to start row 34 and it was WAAAAAY past my bedtime. It took an act of will to put down the clog, clean up my bit of mess, and go to sleep. Now that clog is sitting in the corner in its little plastic bag with the partial and fully skeins of its ilk, whispering to me. ~~~Saaaaaraaaaaaaah... bring me out to play! You know you love seeing me grow up so fast... Psssssst, Saaaraaaaaaaah!~~~

Look, you can hear it too! I'm going to go do some comfort knitting to fend off the bad news blues. Maybe by bedtime tonight I'll have both clogs ready for felting.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Feeling like some felting

I am getting closer by the day to finishing this sweater for my brother. I'm past the flame pattern on the second sleeve and am onto the plain stockinette section with the rest of the increases. I am determined to finish this thing before spring hits us.

Of course, now that I'm closing in on "done", I have the itch to start something new, and am actually planning to buy yarn for this something new. Actually two somethings new, felted clogs for myself and my boyfriend. I've pulled out my pattern, decided on colors, written a shopping list for yarn, and now just reminded myself by typing here that I need to buy the needles too, I don't have any size 13's. His will be charcoal (or something close to it) on the foot and black on the sole and cuff. Mine will be "green bean" green on the foot and medium brown on the sole and cuff.

Time for bed!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

No New Mohair

No new mohair for me, I spent my money on something else... I bought a new phone, and accessories. *sheepish grin*

I've been almost drooling over the LG enV flip phone with full qwerty keyboard for about 6 months, and now that it comes in a pretty green color and is only $29.99 on the VerizonWireless.com website if I were to buy it there... I don't want it. I bought its glorified newer sibling, the LG Voyager instead. It's just, better. And my boyfriend bought one so I got to play with the real live version of it and like it much better than the enV.

Okay! Back to yarn. My feather-fan mohair scarf has been my project of choice for my work lunch hour. So portable, so small, so easy to work on without having to think or consult directions, so soothing. However I think I need to ignore it for a while until I can get back in the swing of things on my brother's sweater. As I knew would happen, I stalled on that while starting a new project. I'm past the flames on the first sleeve, now I need to work through the raglan shaping and start on sleeve #2.

In other news, I finally posted some of my past crochet projects, which are all done in thread. A 6" tall (sitting) Winnie the Pooh, an almost completed "hunny" pot to sit with pooh, parts of a Tigger character, a Christmas tree angel, and a snowflake tree ornament.

If I can dig it up, I'll have to stretch out and photograph this lacey tablecloth I started when I was 19 and haven't touched in 3+ years. It's a daisy pattern in size 30 crochet cotton, made one 4" square at a time and connected to the rest of the tablecloth on the last round. It takes me about 2.5 hours per square, and I can tell which squares I did first; they're smaller/tighter and ugly. If I ever get really bored and pick it up again, I'm redoing all of the ugly squares with newer looser pretty ones.
However, that's a big IF since it takes so long to do. I think the only reason I've gotten as far as I have is because, being a thread project, it's so portable.

I'm beginning to think that I should base my knitterly career on small, easily memorized, portable projects if I'm to finish anything.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mohair Mania

Last weekend I was gifted with some mohair yarn. I've never worked with mohair before so I was a little leary of trying anything. I tend to rip back on anything I'm working on several times... the prospect of not being able to rip back... *shudder*

But I braved it! I cast on with a wrap from knitty.com called "wisp". I was shocked at how much warmth and wind-blockage even the fishnet portions of the knitting, barely anything between skin and outside air, actually provided. This stuff is warm...

I wasn't happy with wisp though, don't like the look of it enough to finish anything, and fishnet (YO k2tog) all the way across the width of the project is just too slow. I ripped back (HA!) and started a new wrap with a diagonal YO k2tog k1 across.

I'm not so crazy about the color of this mohair, only because it includes pink. I hate pink. I'm seriously considering visiting my LYS in Columbia to pick up some solid colored mohair to make something to keep for myself ;)

Monday, January 14, 2008

surfs up

I work with this lady who has an opinion, and a story, about everything. EV-REE-thing.

I ran across this blog post while surfing the net, and thought of her. Though I hope I never see her in flipflops.

Florida Giggles

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Gauge Matters

I gave in, I bought yarn. But I needed it!

I stopped by Knitters Nest and picked up three more balls of that Queensland Rustic Wool I used on the helmet liner, so nice and soft...I'll use to make a few more, and maybe make myself a neckwarmer.

AND! I made a decision about that Joey's Flames sweater. I hate the orange acrylic. That's it, I hate it, I can't work with it. Not only does it feel horrible to work with, but it's a different gauge than the woolease. It's bigger. And worse, it's noticeable. This squeaky orange plastic yarn look like a lumpy bumpy mess that somehow attached itself to my lovely even stockinette heather greyness that is the sleeve.

So what have I done with this decision? I bought more yarn. Lion Brand Vanna's Choice stuff, a burnt orange. It's still 100% acrylic, but it's must softer, and it feels like the same gauge as the woolease. If I'd been a smarter knitter when I started this sweater, I would have looked at gauge and laughed at the orange acrylic.

So now I've got this nicer orange acrylic to work with, and I have two and half pieces of the sweater completed. Fortunately on the front and back of the sweater, the orange is only a stripe that begins at the raglan shaping, chest high. I think I can re-work those rows without unraveling to that point, but if it comes to that then I'm okay with it. The sleeve though, that will be completely unraveled and reworked.

I figure, my brother has been waiting for a long time for this sweater. Everybody in the family who knows about it, knows he's been waiting, and they're all waiting to see the finished product. Now that I'm working on it again, I'd rather work on a product that I'm proud to finish and see in use, so I'm making it better than I knew how to then. This way, when I see Joe wearing that sweater, and see my family sees Joe wearing that sweater and comments on it. I'll be able to smile, and know I did a good job, instead of cringing at all the remembered errors and quick fixes.

Time to get on that. =)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Budding Yarn Snob

I blame it on the abundance of nice local yarn shops providing quality yarns at affordable prices. I think I'm becoming a yarn snob.

Maybe not a true blue yarn snob, but definitely a yarn snob. Lately I've been working with some really soft sirdar snuggly acrylic for little girls' sweaters, and fine superwash merino for a friend's helmet liner, and now I've started back on a sweater I started years ago for my brother... with some heather grey woolease. It feels... plasticy, and rough compared to the other yarns. And worse yet, the bright orange contrast color is cheap red heart acrylic that practically squeaks across my needles. I'm not sure I can put this project aside until I'm completely finished or I won't want to pick it back up again.

So that being said, I'm working on my brother's sweater again. I'm discovering that over the past year I've become much better about making notes on my projects, keeping a notebook, writing down alterations, etc. I wasn't so good at that when I started this sweater so I've been backtracking through the construction to figure out how I should make the back of the sweater match the front. Ugh.

I am so tempted to start another helmet liner, or neck warmer, or something other than this sweater.