Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tax-Free Yarn Crawl

a.k.a. After Thanksgiving Trip to Portland


The day after Thanksgiving, Raj and I took the Prius out on its first big trip--down the I-5 to the Rose City. I'm happy to say we made it there and back plus around town driving on a wee 3/4 of a tank of gas (around 9 gallons). Woo hoo!


But back to the real reason I'm here tonight...

I took advantage of Oregon's status as a sales tax free zone to expand my stash a bit. We went to 3 or 4 different yarn shops, and they were each great in their own ways. I feel a bit deliquent for not paying attention to their names. One was near Pioneer Courthouse Square and two were out in the NW region somewhere. I guess we only went to 3. :)

My loot:


You might recognize this yarn from my previous post--this is the yarn I used for the fingerless mitts I made for Melisa & Tracie for Christmas. Pink and purple and sparkly--perfect for them!


I'm a sucker for self-striping yarn, what can I say.


I'm attracted to the gradual color change in this yarn. Not sure if I will use it for socks or a shawlette or something else.


The color in the pic is a bit off, the yarn is mostly darn and light gray with a slight red tint in some ares, i.e. relatively manly yarn, destined to become socks for Raj someday.


Some gorgeous Silk Garden Sock yarn.


Last, but not least, some worsted merino destined to become a hat for me!

Holiday Recap 1

Phew! Now that I've managed to come up for air after my frantic holiday crafting, let me catch you up on what I've been working on.

Melisa's b-day mits

Melisa loved her belated birthday mitts. Apparently her knitting colleague was very impressed with the, as well, which is always nice to hear.

Our stockings

My first bit of holiday crafting was stockings for Raj and I. I made these out of felted sweaters and an old pair of red cords, and used a couple old Starbucks Aprons as the base. They helped add a bit of holiday cheer to our apartment. I had big plans to use the rest of the felted sweaters and cords for other holiday crafts, but decided to forego these other crafts in favor of things that needed to be gifted. But I saved all the stuff for next year!

I didn't craft very many gifts this year. Fewer than years past. I gave my mom my ketchup plant socks that I finished in November. I made Raj a vest (this gets its own post) and I made fingerless gloves for my sisters.


The pattern is Susie's Reading Mitts from Dancing Ewe Yarns in Ellensburg (note to self: visit this yarn store the next time you pass through Ellensburg). A fine, simple pattern--adaptable to yarns of variuos weights. The yarn was purchased during my tax-free yarn crawl in Portland the weekend after Thanksgiving. As soon as I saw it in the yarn shop, I knew it was meant to be mitts for my pink-and-purple loving sisters. The knitting was done largely while I was at work. Although I finished up the last one at about 11pm on Christmas Eve. Tracie saw me working on them and asked if I was making a Barbie dress. Hehe.


The pattern calls for aran weight yarn, but I used sock yarn. I wanted tighter fitting mitts than those called for, so I used the medium-sized numbers with my tight gauge to get the small mitts for Tracie, and the large pattern numbers for Melisa's medium sized mitts.

I made some holiday gift tags last week. I know the holiday's over, but perhaps you could use them next year. I had fun doodling them, coloring them in with colored pencils then scanning them into the computer. I'm using SkyDrive to share them, since I'm not too familiar with other hosting services. If anyone has recommendations of good (free) pdf hosting, I'd be most grateful!

In the next Holiday Recap, some little pjs, Raj's vest, and a glimpse at some of my loot. But first, a rundown of my Tax-Free Yarn Crawl.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I have a lot to be thankful for this year. The pleasures of being back among family and friends.


My goofball cat who has adapted quite well to the move and now keeps the howling to a minimum.


My honey, who does the dishes and takes out the trash and rubs my feet when I get home for work and appreciates everything that I cook.


My phone, with its camera and the capacity to upload pictures to the internet.

Collinette fingerless gloves
(Fingerless gloves for Melisa, Collinette Jitterbug)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thank you, sleep deprivation

I burned my hand tonight while making dinner.

I made some supa-tasty roasted salmon with herbs for dinner. When it was time to flip the salmon fillets, I pulled the cast iron skillet out of the oven with an oven mit, flipped one piece, then before I flipped the second piece, I went to move the pan slightly and reached without thinking for the handle (which was just out of a 475 degree oven) with my bare hand. Yowza! There's a nice sized blister where my pointer meets my hand, and my entire thumb is red. It hurt a lot for a couple of hours, but with some lidocaine gel, it's feeling better now. I'm blaming my sleep deficit for this bonehead move.
Aside from the pain, I'm mostly concerned about how this is going to affect my knitting! I started the Hemlock Ring Blanket with the Cascade 220 superwash a couple days ago--and I love knitting it! Initially I started with US10 needles. The pattern calls for 10 1/2, but I didn't feel right about using a needle this big. But even the 10s were too big! The fabric was looking much too loose for my liking.
Hemlock Ring--too loose!
So I frogged after about the first 20 rows and went down to size 9s and I'm liking it much, much more.
Hemlock Ring beginning
This blanket is great because it combines lace knitting with worsted weight yarn--> it goes so fast! And the pattern is so beautiful, it's great to watch it come together. Doesn't the center look like a beautiful sunflower? I'll definitely be making more of these!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Knit Surgery

Remember those vests I made in August? This might jog your memory:

Red vest

The red one for the 2-year-old needed to be lengthened and I thought I would talk a bit about how I did that. I did the bulk of the surgery two months ago late at night, so pardon the crappy late-night photos, thanks.

The vest pre-op:

Knit Surgery, Pre op

I decided that I would add two cable repeats just above the ribbing at the bottum of the vest. To do that, the first step was to use my knitting needle to pick up stitches in the first row above the ribbing.

Knit Surgery, Step 1

Next, I took some contrasting yarn on a tapestry needle and threaded it through the stitches two rows above where I'd picked up stitches with the needle.

Knit Surgery, Step 2

Next, I snipped a stitch in the row between the yarn and the needle and unraveled the stitches all around in this row (what a pain!) so that I had two separate pieces.

Knit Surgery, Step 3

Once I had knit two pattern repeats onto the ribbing section, I used kitchener stitch to graft the new section with the stitches that had previously been on the white tread--by far the most time consuming part of the whole bit.

Knit Surgery, Step 4

Surgery complete!

Knit Surgery, Complete!

I see a bit of bulging, perhaps my knitting was looser on the addition, and despite my best effort, the grafting was a bit wonky in places. But I'm still pleased with the end result. A few washes and I'm hoping the addition won't be noticable at all.

Red Vest, post extension--detail

The red vest made it back to its destinee a few weeks ago, but last I heard, his mom couldn't get him to hold still long enough to try it on. I trust that the 2 inches that I added will be sufficient to get him through at least a couple of season's worth of wear.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


My TTL Mystery Socks, which I have dubbed Ketchup Plant Socks.

TTL Mystery Socks

Because they are just the color of ketchup! (And yes, I know the ketchup plant is really the tomato, but whatever.) The yarn is ShiBuiKnits merino sock yarn, which I have used a couple of other times. I like the softness of it and the vibrant color. It's superwash, but I'm not sure how well it actually holds up because I've never kept a pair of socks made from this yarn.

TTL Mystery Socks

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to keep this pair--my sock collection does need some serious revamping. These were fun to knit, and I'm very happy with the way they turned out. I knit them almost entirely while at work--only the toes were done at home.

TTL Mystery Socks

The only thing that's holding me back from keeping them is the pattern. I think I'm more likely to wear plain ol' handknit socks than socks with a fancy pattern like this. Which brings me to my newest knit-at-work project! Some simple socks made from pretty self-striping Opal I bought last week at Weaving Works. Those machine printed stripes are oddly entrancing. I should be done with these socks in no time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall colors

It's full-on fall here. I think I saw the sun once or twice last week, but we've entered the gray zone--those 8 or so months where it's overcast nearly every day.

Kirkland Pier

Not that it matters for me. With the onset of Standard Time two weeks ago, by the time I wake up, the sun is already on it's way down. Despite the gray skies and early dark, I have had a few lucky moments to take in the fall colors. I thought I would miss the changing of the leaves once I moved back to the Evergreen State, but over here on the East Side of Lake Washington, where rapid sprawl (and its bff clear cutting) has led to the planting of many deciduous trees, I've gotten a few eyefulls of beautifully colored leaves. :)

Fall Colors

And in time for the cooler weather, I've got a progress shot of the Buncha Squares Blanket!

Buncha Squares update
(I swear the pink doesn't look so pukey in real life!)

I've made even more progress since that pic was taken and now have only 6.5 more blocks to put the single-color borders on. Not a small task, considering the solid-color border doubles the weight of the block, but I've started to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this garter stitch slugfest. One thing about this blanket, it has certainly reinforced my love for Cascade 220. To prevent any 220 withdrawal once I finish this blanket, I ordered some Cascade 220 superwash in a lovely stone color to make this blanket for a pregnant friend.

In non-knitting news, let me just say that I LOVE THE KING COUNTY LIBRARY. Since moving to Bellevue, I've joined this library, the 2nd largest library system in the country, and I must say I have been impressed by their music collection. In two weeks, I've checked out 14 CDs that have been on my Listen-To list for quite some time. Yea! I also check out a book, thought I haven't been motivated to read much of it yet. I think I need to start utilizing their audiobook services. We all know it's a challenge to read and knit.

Stay tuned, next on the blog, my TTL Mystery Socks--revealed! And a belated birthday gift for my sister.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We interrupt the silence to bring you...

In lieu of yarn content (I've been too lazy to upload pictures), here, watch this awesome stop motion claymation video for the song "Charlie Darwin" by the Low Anthem. It's a beautiful, meditative song.

The character in the video is wearing a little crocheted sweater. Does that count as yarn content for this blog?

I did order more yarn for the Buncha Squares blanket, so that might be done sometime soon. I took a picture of the progress. Maybe you'll see it soon. :-P

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dispatch from a deliquent blogger

Ack! Life has gotten in the way of my blogging. I've transitioned to working night shift, and I'm having trouble with the whole sleeping during the day aspect of it. Today I got a full 8 hours (thank you ear plugs and eye mask) but most other days I've gotten between 5-6 hours. It's a bit rough. Also, there's the stress of moving the cat into Raj's apartment. He seems to be a bit more at ease today (perhaps due to all the cat pheromones I sprayed around?) and hopefully each day will get better.

Many of the nights at work have been sloooooooow. Slow to the point that there's really nothing left for me to do besides knit. That's right, I get to knit at work! This might be the best. job. ever. Hehe. I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the next clue for the TTL Mystery Socks, and in the mean time I'm working on the 2nd purple blob. I'm not sure how far I am into the 2nd purple blob. I kind of just want to knit until I run out of yarn. We'll see.

I do have a couple of finished things to show. I finished my Autumn Bandit more than a month ago, and captured a picture of it before shipping it off to a dear friend for her birthday.

Autumn Bandit

I didn't have enough Trekking to finish the border chart. And instead of ripping back one pattern repeat, I decided to use some sock yarn remnants in coordinating colors. I like the way it turned out.

I also whipped up a quick brown Porom for a sister's birthday. Turns out that sister isn't too keen on the slouch hat look, but the other sister loved the hat, so it went to her instead.

Brown Porom

First sister will get some knitted fingerless gloves instead...just as soon as I get reunited with my stash. Maybe these, or these.

And still plugging away on the Buncha Squares blanket. I think I have 6 complete blocks now. It looks like I'm going to have to order some more yarn. Hopefully just a couple more skeins. We'll see.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Four Squares

1/4 done with the Buncha Squares Blanket. So far, I've been getting about 1 block per week. If we assume that I continue to knit at this rate, I should finish the blanket right around Christmas time. But this doesn't take into account Christmas knitting. I've been banking little projects (mostly socks) throughout the year that I can give out this year at Christmas, but I do have a few larger knitted Christmas gifts in mind for this year, so I would be surprised if the Buncha Squares Blanket was finished before the New Year.

Corn Maze

Fall is here! Yesterday I pulled out the February Lady Sweater I made last year and took my honey to a pumpkin patch. We went to Carpinito Brothers, down in Kent. It was fun. We did the corn mazes and got a medium-sized pumpkin. Raj has never carved a pumpkin either, so we're going to do that maybe next weekend.

U-Pick Pumpkins

As I type, the Selbu Modern is blocking on a balloon, so I should finally be able to get a good FO picture of that soon. I'm working on a Porom for my sister's birthday, using some brown Rowan Felted Tweed. And I'm about to start the TTL Mystery Sock. Yea for fall knitting!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Some small projects

I have been knitting, I swear I have! I'm half way done with my 3rd square for the Buncha Squares blanket. It's been an adjustment, going to work 5 days a week. And after a day of work, garter stitch is just the thing I need. :) It's also been an adjustment wearing regular clothes to work instead of pajamas scrubs.

Last weekend, I finished my Selbu Modern. It remains unblocked. I think I want to try to block it over a balloon. I'm not so keen on the idea of blocking it on a plate--I want more of a softer slouch shape. Since I'm not sure when I'll get around to block it, here's a horrible unblocked picture to give you the general idea of how it looks.

Selbu Modern, unblocked

Little sis starts college this week at UW. So, in honor of that, and her 19th birthday last week, I whipped up this purple and gray striped hat today. The yarn is Karabella Aurora 8, which is soooooo soft! This hat should keep her warm at all those Huskie football games she has tickets for. The pattern is improvised, the details are on Ravelry.

School Spirit Hat

A few weeks ago, Raj was complaining of having chilly feet, so I decided knitted slippers were called for. I ended up using this free pattern, slightly modified. I used the heel modifications described here, and then picked up stitches around the opening and knit about 1 inch of 2x2 ribbing for a little bit of ankle warming.


The yarn is left over from my first sweater, some scratchy aran weight wool that I ordered from Elann a few years ago. It's Austermann Naturwolle, which is apparently out of production. It made a very warm sweater--too warm for me to wear except for maybe 2 days a year. The color and scratchiness of the yarn remind me of camping, so I called it my cabin sweater. But it made for some cozy slippers!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Pictoral

Purple Unicorn
Purple Unicorn, Puyallup Fair.

Toothpick Ferris Wheele
Toothpick Ferris Wheel, Puyallup Fair Museum.

Cow Wash
Working at the cow wash!

Lego Freighthouse Square
Lego Freighthouse Square, Puyallup Fair Hobby Hall.

Monkey Spectrum
Bubble Monkeys, Puyallup Fair.

Selbu Modern at the Fair
Look! A Selbu Modern at the Fair.

Fire in Downtown Tacoma
Something on fire in downtown Tacoma.

One Square
One square done, 15 to go.