Archive for June, 2007

Vive le Frog

Frog1

After some hemming, hawing, knitting, figuring, and trying the sleeve
on about a hundred times, I’ve changed my mind about casting on less
than 20% of the key number of stitches for my cuff. What I said
yesterday about my sleeve is true- it’s quite snug- maybe, I’m starting
to feel, a little too snug. If snugness was the only issue, I’d
probably keep going, but there are two other issues that lead to me
decision to start over:

1. Even though I decided to use only 15% of the key number of stitches
for the cuff, instead of the recommended 20%, I had not planned on
altering the number of stitches for the upper arm. My upper arm is
plenty ample, so I’d like to have as little constriction as possible up
there. In order to keep a smaller cuff AND the "normal" number of
stitches at the upper arm, I’d have to significantly speed up the rate
of my increases for the body of the sleeve, or end up with either a
very long sleeve.

2. I’m not totally happy with my ribbing. I really prefer a
2×2 rib, but for whatever reason when I cast on I went with a 1×1. Why
do I do that? I’ve known for
a while now that 2×2 ribbing is really my druthers, but for some reason
I’m always trying to give 1×1 ribbing "just one more chance". It’s not
that there’s anything inherently wrong with the 1×1 rib, and I guess it looks OK. But I just adore sweaters with deep 2×2 ribbing, and it’s my dang sweater so why shouldn’t I have my ribbing exactly as I want it?

I feel like my willingness to frog and start over is one sure sign that
I’ve grown as a knitter since Big Blue. There were so many times during
the knitting of that sweater that I could have stopped myself and said,
"Self, I think this sweater is twice as big as you are! You should
probably quit while you’re ahead!" If I had any intuitive feelings
that something was not going right, I opted to ignore them because I
just couldn’t deal with ripping out all that work. These days, I know
I’ll be much happier if I heed that little voice that warns me when a
project is going awry. (It’s too bad it has to warn me so frequently
sometimes…)

Oh, well. Que sera, sera and all that stuff. It’s just yarn, it’s just
knitting, and if I have to knit something again…. well, I like
knitting, don’t I? Of course I do!

Fred5

Besides the sweater, I’m still plugging away on my Mother Bear
Project teddy bear. Last night I sewed up the head and started knitting
my bear some arms. I’m excited to finish knitting on the little guy so
I can finish putting him together and adding all the special little
finishing touches. I’m thinking he’ll probably be ready for the big
send off early next week.

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Live and Learn

Sleeve1
Sleeve2

While I was trying to figure out how I might "fix" Big Blue, I spent
a lot of time thinking about seamless sweater construction. More
specifically, I spent a lot of time thinking about what went wrong with
my seamless sweater construction. I reached back into 2003, into
my slightly younger and more inexperienced knitter’s brain. I think
analyzing the mistakes I made with Big Blue will help me avoid future
pitfalls with this type of sweater design. (There were rather a lot of
problems, so I promise I won’t be mad if you skip the play-by-play.)

1. What I Did: I was really worried that the sweater was
going to be too small. When it comes to sweater sizing, most books will
tell you that the best thing to do is measure a sweater that fits you
well and use that number for your measurements, instead of using your
actual chest measurement. Most of my sweaters measure about 52 inches
around, but my bust measurement was more like 56. I didn’t understand
the concept of negative ease, so to be safe I added 2 more inches.

What I Will Do Differently: I’m actually going a little bit
smaller than the bust measurement on my sweaters, because after I have
my baby I’m hoping (perhaps with a little too much optimism) to resume
losing weight. I’m hoping that making the sweater a little smaller than
I need it right now will extend the wearing life a little. (Also, if it
really is way  too small it might help motivate me!)

2. What I Did: All the numbers you need for a seamless
sweater are based on your gauge and your chest/bust measurement. I
swatched very carefully, even took the time to wash and dry the swatch
before measuring, and ended up getting 4.5 stitches to the inch using
size 8 needles. Considering that Nature Spun worsted is definitely on
the lighter end of worsteds, I probably would have gotten a more
satisfactory fabric using smaller needles. Since I ended up felting it,
it’s probably a good thing that my fabric was a bit loose, but in
future I know that I’ll be happier getting a tighter gauge, even if it
means casting on more stitches. Also, I seem to remember not going down
two needle sizes for the ribbing on the sleeves, which is critical to
keep the sleeves from really flapping around.

What I will Do Differently: The yarn I’m using is of a similar
weight to Nature Spun worsted, so I decided to use sizes 4 and 6. I’m
getting 5.5 stitches to the inch now, so ironically I’ll be casting on
the exact same number of stitches for the body, even though I’m
making a sweater that’s about 10 inches smaller around. (238, in case
you’re wondering. Then after the ribbing, I’ll be increasing to my key
number, 264.)

3. What I Did:The sleeves are proof that a generic
percentage based system for sweater design isn’t going to be perfect
for every body type. While I am a large person overall, my hands and
wrists are more medium sized. The instructions have you using 20% of
whatever your key number of stitches to cast on for the cuff, and then
increasing to 33.3% for the body of the sleeve. So naturally, using a
number that was 20% of my too-large bust measurement yielded sleeves
that were about twice as large as they needed to be.

What I Will Do Differently: This time for the sleeves, I’m using
my intuition and ignoring the 20% directive. 20% may be the perfect
number to yield proportional sleeves for a normal sized person, but for
my big body/small wrists, I decided to use about 15% of the key number
and try it on frequently as I head up the arm. It seems to fit just a
little snugly, which is perfect as far as I’m concerned.

4 . What I Did: Big Blue fits more like a dress or a tunic
than a sweater, almost coming to my knees. Being tall means that I had
endured many, many sweaters that were too short for me, so I think I
overcompensated more than a bit. Also, the underarm of my sweater hangs
several inches below my actual undersarm, probably because I had to do
many, many decrease rounds to get rid of all the extra stitches around
my bust.

What I Will Do Differently: Measure, measure, measure! I think
it’s hard to get precise underarm placement on a seamless, bottom-up
sweater, but surely I can do better than last time. I still want the
sweater to be long enough, but long enough is probably more like just
below my waist, not around my knees.

Now onto the slightly more fun details:

I cast on for my first sleeve on Sunday, June 22, and as you can see, I
haven’t gotten much done since then. That’s fine, I’m not in a huge
rush to finish, although I do hope to knit on it steadily through to
completion. How long will it take? I have no idea! I expect at least a
month, maybe two or three.

I’m really excited about the yarn I’m using- Araucania Nature Wool in a
deep, rusty orange. It’s certainly not a fancy yarn- no cushy merino or
cashmere here! At 240 yards for about nine dollars, you really
shouldn’t expect luxury! Instead, Nature Wool is just plain old good
wool, dyed beautifully so that there’s just a hint of variegation. For
some reason it seems really appropriate to use a non-luxurious,
hardworking kind of wool with an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern. I think
she would like it!

I know I’m jumping the gun a little, but I’m looking at this sweater as kind of a test for the next  big sweater project I have planned. I’m not ready to say what it is yet, but here’s some clues:

1. Like the EZ sweater, it employs seamless construction.
2. It is knit using this yarn on size 2.5 (US) needles.
3. Gauge- 28 stitches/4 inches.
4. It’s a free pattern, available online.

Any guesses?

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Peace, Love and Teddies

Knittingforpeace_2

Last week I ordered Knitting for Peace from Amazon, mostly because it’s on sale for 3.99 and I needed to add a small purchase to my order for free shipping. It’s probably not a book I would have bought ordinarily, because it focuses on knitting for charity. I’m the kind of knitter that likes the idea of knitting for charity, but has a hard time actually committing to it. I think it’s great that there are people who love to do that kind of knitting, but usually I have to admit that I’d rather just write a check and save the knitting for myself and the people closest to me.

That said, it is a great little book! The book profiles charity knitting groups of all different flavors and gives the patterns and information you need to donate. It would be hard to flip through and not see at least one project that piques your interest, even if you’re like me and don’t care too much for charity knitting.

All of the stories tugged at my heartstrings, but the one that really called out to me was the Mother Bear Project, a group that sends handknit teddy bears to Africa to be given to children whose lives have been ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. Besides being touched by the story, I was intrigued by the pattern. I’ve never made a bear before, so why not?

Here’s my teddy! Isn’t he cute?

Fred1
Fred2

I’ll admit he’s looking a little flat right at the moment, but I assure you that he will be adorable after a little stuffing and love. I’m using scraps of Blue Sky Dyed Cotton, but you can use any kind of machine washable worsted weight yarn. I’m definitely going to be donating this one, but I may make another one for my Mom. As a lover of teddy bears, I’m sure she’d like to add a hand knit teddy to her collection.

Today, I almost gave into temptation and joined a knitalong on Ravely for the ‘Vog On socks that appeared in the most recent Knitty. That’s actually only halfway true- I kind of did join the knitalong, but came to my senses in about an hour and took myself back out. I figure that having the freedom to guiltlessly join whatever knitalong you want to must be a joy that comes only with not having to worry about a bazillion other WIPs. I love the idea of knitting a new-and-cool pattern while it’s still new-and-cool, but I just can’t throw everything else to the side with a clean conscience. I blame pregnancy hormones for this sudden rush of responsible knitting.

In case you’re wondering exactly what’s on my needles right now, here’s a quick run-down:

  • Big Blue- not really on the needles anymore, but still waiting for me to vest-ify it.
  • Mystery Baby Projects- I can’t say too much, but you can assume that Second Booty Syndrome is the problem here, considering that I’ve been "working" on these things since May.
  • Seamless Raglan Sweater for myself- another go at the EZ method of sweater-making. More details to come.
  • Mother Bear Teddy

And on the hook:

  • Ultimate Crocheted Sock. Yup, that’s still just one sock.

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Not So Big Blue

Let me tell you what- there’s nothing more frustrating than having a
week full of knitting excitement and then not being able to find time
to sit down and blog said excitement! The Yarn Harlot says that blogging in
the past tense is weird, and I agree, so let’s get caught up already!

So, the last time I blogged, I expressed my frustration with a certain
Big Blue Sweater. I made elaborate plans for how I was going to make
the sweater wearable. Have you noticed that I like to make elaborate
plans, but usually can’t stick to them? Well, in the case of Big Blue,
I sort of
stuck to the plan. It’s just that I skipped some steps. I started to
rip out and re-knit a sleeve, but I changed my mind mid knit and
decided that I would be better off just throwing it in the washer and
seeing what would happen. Gentle felting is for wusses!

So…. that’s what I did. Armed with a bunch of rubber bouncy
balls to create agitation, I stormed the local laundromat and
surrendered big blue to the Fates of Felting.

(Sorry no pictures… camera is on the fritz, but as soon as I can figure out what’s wrong with it I’ll add them to this post!)

On the one hand, the sweater does fit me perfectly as far as width is
concerned. Unfortunately, I now have what amounts to a short sleeved
felted wool sweater. My options as I see them now are:

1. Knit some sleeve sized stockinette tubes, felt them and sew them onto my sleeves.
2. Sew some other kind fabric sleeve extensions to my sleeves.
3. Cut the sleeves off all together and give sweater new life as a felted vest.
4. Cut the whole thing into pieces and make something else entirely.

I think I really prefer option three. (My preference may or may not
stem from my desire to avoid having to hunt down extra yarn to knit
sleeve extensions.) As a sweater, this thing is going to be incredibly
warm- maybe a little too warm if there are sleeves on it? As a vest, I
could buy a dark blue, light blue and white button down shirt and wear
it all winter long. Yes, I think the sleeves are going to be hacked off
to become scrap fabric and I’ll be able to close the book on Big Blue
(which isn’t all that big now) once and for all. Stay tuned!

Of course the biggest news from last week is… I got my Ravelry invite!!!

If you aren’t already on the waiting list, you really should be. And if
you are already on the waiting list and you are totally losing your
mind waiting for the invite to come, rest assured that it will be worth
the wait. Have you already taken pictures of all the yarn in your
stash, all your WIPs and FOs from your whole knitting life? (The ones
you can find, I mean.) Have you started a Library Thing account and
entered your collection of knitting books? Have you gone through your
collection of hooks and needles and written down what you have? If you
haven’t done it yet, do it now!
Channel all that I-want-my-damn-invite angst into productive
cataloging time! Think of yourself as the curator of your own museum,
a museum dedicated to your life as a knitter.

Even if you don’t think you care about having every little ball of yarn photographed, trust me when I say that you will care
when you see how cool everybody else’s stuff is! I wasn’t quite caught
up when I got my invite, and it’s possible that I never will be.

True, Ravelry is not up to 100% yet. There are still a few bugs to be worked out, but the more I explore the site the more
convinced I am that it is nothing short of genius. It’s the kind of
thing that could change your knitting life in the best way possible. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true! You’ll see when you
get there! And be sure to add me to your Friends list when you do!

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Big Blue and a Knitty mini-review

I finally made time for myself to peruse the Summer ’07 issue of Knitty. Some thoughts:

As a large woman, I appreciate that designers for Knitty frequently
provide their patterns in a wide range of sizes, and this issue was no
exception. All of the tank tops in this issue could be knit to fit even me,
but I’m not sure that backless tank tops are the best choice for women
who need to wear supportive bras. Still, I guess it’s nice to have the
option if you want it.

I liked most of the patterns, but only one made it’s way onto my radar for knitting in the very near future- ‘Vog on.
I have two skeins of Koigu that have been waiting a long, long time for
the right pattern to come along. I think this is the one. I frequently
have sizing issues with socks, but since there’s a toe-up option it
shouldn’t be a problem to customize them for my long, narrow feet and
wide ankles. I’m at least going to make myself finish one of my UCS
first, but after that I’ll probably start on the Vogs.

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m feeling compelled to get my life
in order before I have my baby. Of course I have plenty of other things
besides knitting to work on, but since I don’t think you’re all that
interested in my rearranging furniture and vacuuming, I’ll mostly be
blogging about the knitting part of that compulsion here. I’m really
feeling the need to get my knitting on track. It probably sounds really
psycho to non-knitters, but I feel like when I have a reasonable number
of projects on the needles and my knitting is under control, all the
other issues in my life are positively affected. Things just seem to
fall into place, influenced by the harmony of good knitting mojo.

Right now, I feel a lot of BAD knitting mojo radiating out of my stash.
During the earlier part of my pregnancy, when I was vomiting and
exhausted for the entire month of March, I let a lot of my good
intentions about keeping a reasonable number of projects in rotation
slide. And even before pregnancy threw me off track, there were several old
UFOs hovering around me. Before I have this baby, I think I need to
begin the process of sorting through them and making a plan for their
future, either as FOs or recycled yarn. I figure that blogging about
some of these UFOs might help give me that kick in the pants I need to
get them resolved once and for all, and what better place to start than
with what is probably my oldest UFO- the Blue Sweater.\n\u003cbr\>\nWhen I was still a pretty inexperienced knitter, probably sometime in the fall of 2004, I decided that I wanted to make myself a sweater. (I said I was inexperienced, not unambitious.) I had a hard time finding patterns that I liked that were sized large enough for me, so I bought a book by Jaqueline Fee called *The Sweater Workshop*. It really is a very nice book, packed with good information, so please don't blame the book for the disaster that is this sweater. Basically, Jaqueline walks you through making a sweater step-by-step, using Elizabeth's Percentage System, or EPS method. (If you're not familiar with it, there's a great article *here*. \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.knitty.com/issuewinter04/FEATknitbynumbers.html\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>http://www.knitty.com/issuewint\u003cWBR\>er04/FEATknitbynumbers.html\u003c/a\>)\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nThere are so many reasons why sweaters fail, even in the hands of talented and experienced knitters. Accidents of gauge or pattern misinterpretation are often to blame. Mostly, my problem was that I was too cautious about using my brains and intuition to figure out how to get the sweater I wanted, which is ironic considering this an Elizabeth Zimmerman un-pattern, and she was all about using your brains and intuition to take control of your projects. I was so paranoid about the sweater coming out too small that I maybe actually added an inch or two to my bust measurement, which I had already measured too large. I didn't know that there was such a thing as "negative ease". And I failed to factor in the fact that my wrists are very small compared the rest of my body, so of *course* taking 10% of my bust measurement was going to lead to enormous arm holes. \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nTo make a long story short, the sweater is beyond huge. I stand 6 feet tall and it comes down past my *knees*. It is at *least* twice as large as it needs to be. If I had known anyone who could wear it, I would have happily gifted it, but remember I'm a BIG girl, the largest I know. Do you know any 8 foot tall women with a 64 inch bust measurement? This sweater would probably fit beautifully on them, especially if they find the color blue appealing!”,1]
);
//–>

Sweater1

When I was still a pretty inexperienced knitter, probably sometime in
the fall of 2004, I decided that I wanted to make myself a sweater. (I
said I was inexperienced, not unambitious!) I had a hard time finding
patterns that I liked that were sized large enough for me, so I bought
a book by Jacqueline Fee called The Sweater Workshop. It really is a
very nice book, packed with good information, so please don’t blame the
book for the disaster that is this sweater. Basically, Jacqueline walks
you through making a sweater step-by-step, using Elizabeth’s Percentage
System, or EPS method. (If you’re not familiar with it, there’s a great
article here.

There are so many reasons why sweaters fail, even in the hands of
talented and experienced knitters. Accidents of gauge or pattern
misinterpretation are often to blame. Mostly, my problem was that I was
too cautious about using my brains and intuition to figure out how to
get the sweater I wanted, which is ironic considering this an Elizabeth
Zimmerman
un-pattern, and she was all about using your brains and
intuition to take control of your projects. I was so paranoid about the
sweater coming out too small that I actually added an inch or two
to my bust measurement, which I had already measured far too large. I
didn’t know that there was such a thing as "negative ease". And I
failed to factor in the fact that my wrists are very small compared the
rest of my body, so of *course* taking 10% of my bust measurement was
going to lead to enormous arm holes.

Bigbluewithlouie

To make a long story short, the sweater is beyond huge. (See above photo with cat for scale.) I stand 6 feet
tall and it comes down past my knees. It is at least twice as large
as it needs to be. If I had known anyone who could wear it, I would
have happily gifted it, but remember I’m a BIG girl, the largest I
know. Do you know any 8 foot tall women with a 64 inch bust
measurement? This sweater would probably fit beautifully on them,
especially if they find the color blue appealing!\n\u003cbr\>\nNow, you might be aware that sometimes you can "fix" a supersized sweater by taking out the ribbing and re-ribbing everything with a smaller needle (another Zimmerman trick!), but this sweater is so huge that I dont think it would make a difference. Some time ago, I made a half-hearted attempt at taking out half of one sleeve (so it would, you know, come to my wrist instead of 6 inches past it) but I couldn't bring myself to finish the job.\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nI really have no desire to frog this sweater because honestly, I used the least expensive wool I could find at that time, and it's probably not worth the enormous hassle of ripping out a HUGE sweater's worth of wool. It's been stuffed in a plastic bag in a closet so long that sometimes I forget it exists. I was looking for some blue wool a couple weeks ago, so I pulled the bag out of the bin in the closet. I never put it back (typical) and now my gigantic mistake is staring me in the face. Funny how it didn't bother me all that time, and now all of a sudden I feel like I have to fix it *now*. This sweater is going back on the needles effective immediately. Here's my action plan for making it at least sort of wearable:\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n1. Rip out all of the ribbing at the bottom and the neck edge. Pick up stitches, decrease about 1/4 of them, and knit new ribbing on size 4 needles. I knit the original sweater on size 8s. That was back when I still used my kit of Denise needles all the time. Ah, nostalgia! It's Addi Turbos all the way now, baby!\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n2. Rip out about half of both sleeves and follow step one for ribbing repair. \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n3. Felt it. That's right, this may be the only time in my life that I find a wool sweater large enough to felt down to a size for me. We're not talking about my normal felting process of throwing it in one of the big machines at the laundromat and letting nature take its course, but a slower, more controlled process. I'll need to use a friend's top loading machine, and then I'll probably be finishing it by hand.”,1]
);
//–>

Now, you might be aware that sometimes you can "fix" a super-sized
sweater by taking out the ribbing and re-ribbing everything with a
smaller needle (another Zimmerman trick!), but this sweater is so huge
that I don’t think it would make enough difference. Some time ago, I made a
half-hearted attempt at taking out half of one sleeve (so it would, you
know, come to my wrist instead of 6 inches past it) but I couldn’t
bring myself to finish the job.

I really have no desire to frog this sweater because honestly, I used
the least expensive wool I could find at that time, and it’s probably
not worth the enormous hassle of ripping out a HUGE sweater’s worth of
wool. It’s been stuffed in a plastic bag in a closet so long that
sometimes I forget it exists. I was looking for some blue wool a couple
weeks ago, so I pulled the bag out of the bin in the closet. I never
put it back (typical) and now my gigantic mistake is staring me in the
face. Funny how it didn’t bother me all that time, and now all of a
sudden I feel like I have to fix it now. This sweater is going back
on the needles effective immediately. Here’s my action plan for making
it at least sort of wearable:

1. Rip out all of the ribbing at the bottom and the neck edge. Pick up
stitches, decrease about 1/4 of them, and knit new ribbing on size 4
needles. I knit the original sweater on size 8s. That was back when I
still used my kit of Denise needles all the time. Ah, nostalgia! It’s
Addi Turbos all the way now, baby!

2. Rip out about half of both sleeves and follow step one for ribbing repair.

3. Felt it. That’s right, this may be the only time in my life that I
find a wool sweater large enough to felt down to a size for me. We’re
not talking about my normal felting process of throwing it in one of
the big machines at the laundromat and letting nature take its course,
but a slower, more controlled process. I’ll need to use a friend’s top
loading machine, and then I’ll probably be finishing it by hand. I don’t want it to be felted totally stiff, just fuzzed up a little. \n\u003cbr\>\n4. We'll see what it looks like after coming out of the felting process, but I'm considering cutting it down front to make a \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003c/p\>\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cfont size\u003d\”2\”\>\nThe information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity \nto which it is addressed and may contain CONFIDENTIAL material. If you \nreceive this material/information in error, please contact the sender \nand delete or destroy the material/information.\n\u003c/font\>\n\n”,0]
);
D([“ce”]);
//–>

4. We’ll see what it looks like after coming out of the felting process, but I’m considering cutting it down front to make a cardigan. Even shrunk, it should be large enough for me to use as a jacket to wear over normal sized sweaters in the winter.

Comments (3)

Mother’s Day at Last

First, it’s time for a little Finished Object Celebration:

Afghan3


Pattern
: Diagonal-Striped Throw, aka the Mother’s Day Afghan

Yarn
: Lion Brand Homespun in Spring Green, Lavender Sachet, and Cotton Candy

Hook
: Susan Bates acrylic hook, size K

Start
: 05/04/2007

Finish
: 06/10/2007

Final Thoughts
: I’m so glad to be done with this thing. I hate to say
it, but I’m really disappointed with the way it turned out. It’s only
rectangular if you really stretch your imagination… more of a
trapezoid, really. And it’s much, much smaller than I think it should be. I followed the pattern very closely, but since I’m
not a very experienced crocheter it’s hard to say whether it’s my fault
or the pattern. (*cough*it was the pattern*cough*

On a more positive note, I feel like I’ve worked out the kinks in my
single crochet now, and I learned the correct way to increase and
decrease along the way. Also, regardless of shape, the afghan should
perform its function of keeping my mom warm and cozy. I hope she likes
it! I’d like to make her another afghan, hopefully with better results.

Now that the Mother’s Day Afghan is over, what else is going on around here?

1. Well, I still haven’t gotten my Ravelry invite. Instead of moping
around and twiddling my thumbs, I’ve decided to take a more proactive
approach. (Well, okay, maybe I’m still moping just a tiny bit.) With a
little help and some great ideas from Kate, I’ve begun
photographing my stash. Not just the whole stash in one picture, but individually,
ball by ball and skein by skein. It’s a time consuming process, but
also a lot of fun. Why is it so much more inspiring to see all of it in
individual pictures on the screen than it is to see it sitting on my
shelves? You can check out my Flickr page to see what I’ve got
documented so far. The sad thing is that this is just my Lopi, Lamb’s
Pride and a big chunk of my cotton stash- the tip of a big woolly
iceberg. Maybe tonight I’ll do the sock yarn! \n\u003cbr\>\n(Oh, and can I say how NOT mad I am at the people working behind the scenes to get Ravelry up and running? I think they're just peachy, and it seems crappy that *people have been rude to them*. I know I'm being impatient! It's not their fault we all want everything now now now!)\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n2. I think I've been using stash photography as an excuse to ignore the baby gift projects I'm supposed to be working on. I've had a single bootie on needles for well over a week now, waiting on about 8 rows of ribbing before I can cast it off. Ridiculous! Hopefully I'll find some motivation over the next couple days, finish my baby gifts and get them all wrapped up pretty for the moms-to-be. Then you might actually get to see pictures of what I've been knitting! What a novel idea!\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n3. After a series of marathon Sundays spent working on the afghan, I was feeling all crocheted out for the rest of the week. As a result, my *UCS* has languished. Now that I'm done with the afghan, I don't have any other crochet projects going, so I think it won't be long before the first sock is done. Crocheting a sock goes so fast compared to a knitted sock that it's almost shameful to not have finished the pair at this point. I need to get back to a healthy project Rotation!\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n4. "Alas, poor Sigma! I knew him, Horatio…" Okay, that's a lie. I barely "knew" Sigma at all. After the long casting on (270 stitches- yikes!) and a few rounds, I set Sigma aside to work on more pressing (read: less boring) projects, only to find it a couple weeks later with almost all of the stitches hanging off the needles. So I did what any rational knitter would do- I cursed, flung it across the room, and ripped it out. It's actually a good thing I did, because what I pulled off the needles would have easily wrapped around me twice. Clearly, something was amiss. I'm not ready to write the yarn off as cursed just yet, but it's also no longer really appealing to me to try and make any kind of garment out of it. You remember about a year ago, when the MDK book had just come out and I was contemplating a Blue Sky Cotton log cabin blanket? It's sounding better and better all the time. Sunday is still for afghans, after all.”,1]
);
//–>

2. I think I’ve been using stash photography as an excuse to ignore the
baby gift projects I’m supposed to be working on. I’ve had a single
bootie on needles for well over a week now, waiting on about 8 rows of
ribbing before I can cast it off. Ridiculous! Hopefully I’ll find some
motivation over the next couple days, finish my baby gifts and get them
all wrapped up pretty for the moms-to-be. Then you might actually get
to see pictures of what I’ve been knitting!

3. After a series of marathon Sundays spent working on the afghan, I
was feeling all crocheted out. As a result, my UCS has languished. Now that I’m done with the afghan, I don’t have
any other crochet projects going, so I think it won’t be long before
the first sock is done. Crocheting a sock goes so fast compared to a
knitted sock that it’s almost shameful to not have finished the pair at
this point. I have way too many projects going now.

4. "Alas, poor Sigma! I knew him, Horatio…" Okay, that’s a lie. Besides that I don’t know a single guy named Horatio, I
barely "knew" Sigma at all. After the loooong casting on (270 stitches-
yikes!) and a few rounds, I set Sigma aside to work on more pressing
(read: less boring) projects, only to find it a couple weeks later with
almost all of the stitches hanging off the needles. So I did what any
rational knitter would do- I cursed, flung it across the room, and
ripped it out. It’s actually a good thing I did, because what I pulled
off the needles would have easily wrapped around me twice. Clearly,
something was amiss. I’m not ready to write the yarn off as cursed just
yet, but it’s also no longer really appealing to me to try and make any
kind of garment out of it. You remember about a year ago, when the MDK
book
had just come out and I was contemplating a Blue Sky Cotton log
cabin blanket? It’s sounding better and better all the time. Sunday is
still for afghans, after all.\n\u003cbr\>\n5. In non-knitting related life news: Maybe it's nesting, or maybe it's just the fact that there are still boxes sitting unpacked from when we moved into our apartment over two years ago, but I'm starting to feel this urge to organize my life as much as possible pre-baby. Some of my urges have to do with housecleaning (and if you've seen my house lately, you know that's for the best), some of them have to do with getting crafting projects either finished or started, and some are a little more intangible. I like to make plans for how I will someday achieve inner and outer harmony, but like most people, I'm not so great with the follow through. It should be interesting to see if pregnancy gives me a nudge in the right direction. \u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nThank you,\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nHolly Murphy\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\nMTV Coordination of Benefits\u003cbr\>\nCorrespondence Specialist\u003cbr\>\nPhone: 502-580-4716\u003cbr\>\nFax: 502-508-3117\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003c/p\>\u003c/div\>\n\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cfont size\u003d\”2\”\>\nThe information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity \nto which it is addressed and may contain CONFIDENTIAL material. If you \nreceive this material/information in error, please contact the sender \nand delete or destroy the material/information.\n\u003c/font\>\n\n”,0]
);
D([“ce”]);
//–>

5. In non-knitting related life news: Maybe it’s nesting, or maybe it’s
just the fact that there are still boxes sitting unpacked from when we
moved into our apartment over two years ago, but I’m starting to feel
this urge to organize my life as much as possible pre-baby. Some of my
urges have to do with housecleaning (and if you’ve seen my house
lately, you know that’s for the best), some of them have to do with
getting crafting projects either finished or started, and some are a
little more intangible. I like to make plans for how I will someday improve myself and my surroundings, but like most people, I’m not so great
with the follow through. It should be interesting to see if pregnancy
gives me a nudge in the right direction.

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Saturday Sweater #8 and Nature Babies

Tss3
Today’s sweater is a 100% cashmere, in a lovely shade of peach. I was more than willing to pay full price (5.00 at my thrift shop), but there was a tee-tiny hole in the center back, so they marked it down to a dollar. Score!!

Yesterday, I stopped by my local library and picked up the latest book from Tara Jon Manning, Nature Babies: Natural Knits and Organic Crafts for Moms, Babies, and a Better World. I almost didn’t pick it up on the grounds that it’s not just a knitting pattern book, but I’m so glad I did! Out of 27 projects, a little over a third are for knitting. Believe it or not, I’m almost more excited about the non-knitting projects in the book because a large chunk of them use- get ready- recycled sweaters!!! Squee!!

Naturebabies_3
   

All in all, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The knitting patterns are just the right mix of cute, practical and fun, and even if you’re "just a knitter", I dare you to not get inspired by the non-knitting projects in the book. I’ve been haphazardly trying to figure out how to work the sewing machine that my friend Mery generously loaned me, and I think this book is really going to give me the nudge to learn to use it properly. 

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