Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pinwheel Sweater -- my first knit!

I finished my first real knit, a pinwheel sweater for my niece! I'm pretty happy with how it came out:

If I do it again (and I think I probably will, for my daughter), I'd change two things -- do the afterthought heel for the armholes (as they suggest on Ravelry) instead of the extremely confusing provisional cast-on, and make the loops on my crocheted edge (a change already from the suggested I-cord) a little bigger. But overall, very happy with the project!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Yet another plea for help!  I bought on ebay, this gorgeous vintage black cashmere beaded sweater.  It is beautiful, BUT it is about four inches too short!  I have seen frankensweaters on Knitty and other places, where people take one part from one sweater and graft or sew it to another, but I have no idea how to do this.  Does anyone know, please?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Help! Silk ribbon yarns!

Hi everyone, Someone gave me this gorgeous cache of silk ribbon yarn.  It's exquisite and since I have never knit with silk ribbon, I couldn't wait.  But I find that although it is soft to the touch, when knit, it is rough and scratchy and starchy.  So, my question is (ok, two questios),

1 What DOES one do with ribbon yarn?
2. Will it get soft again if I wash it after I knit it?

Thanks, thanks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Easy Cowl with Button (in round??)

I’d like to make something special for my sister’s upcoming birthday – I bought some very expensive and lovely Artyarn, beaded rhapsody (a mix of mohair, silk, and little crystal beads). I was hoping I could make it into a cowl, but am having trouble finding a pattern that will be easy enough for me to do and still suited to the yarn.

I can just do it all in stockinette, which does look nice with this yarn, but is kind of dull. Plus, lots of purling, which I do not love. (I could avoid the purling by doing it on circular needles, but she doesn’t like pulling things over her head, so I was hoping to do the kind of cowl you button instead – which I think means I have to use straight needles?).

So that’s my question – what would you suggest to make a buttoned cowl, in a very fancy yarn, that doesn’t involve a ton of purling, and which is simple enough for a relative beginner?

Help? (With crochet, I’d just make up a pattern, but I still don’t really know how to do that in knit.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Last chance for special contest!

Remember a couple of months ago I mentioned that I had a new website and was going to send out a special newsletter announcing a special contest? Well, life (along with the holidays) got in the way so I didn't do it. Now I'm really going to. The newsletter is finished, and all I have to do is upload any new subscribers to my super secret, never-shared-with-anyone-else database and hit "send".

So I wanted to give all the Yarnies one last chance to sign up for the newsletter. You can do this by the simple expedient of going to my author website, clicking on the "Contest" menu item and entering. You get a double bonus: you're now eligible to win the regular contest prize, as well as having joined the newsletter mailing list.

Those who've already subscribed may have noticed that I don't send many newsletters out (like maybe one a year) so you won't be innundated with spam from me, I swear.

As for the special prize for newsletter subscribers only? Well, I'll give you a hint: it involves lots of books, AUTOGRAPHED books!

So click on over in the next 48 hours so you don't miss your chance to win!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Get Paid for This?

Okay, so it finally feels real. I got the contract in the mail, and the check payable to me upon signing with Avon for the three book deal.

I had NO idea how gratifying it would be to get real money for writing, not just the two-copy payment we all cut our teeth on. Paid? Really? Where's the hidden camera? Come on.

I've been calling myself a writer for so long, even though the first question I always seem to get is, "Really? You get paid to do that?" Then I have to shake my head and say firmly, "Not really, but it's what I do."

Now? Getting a payment in the mail is a validation I never knew I craved. Sure, most of it is going to taxes and bills and fixing the water heater. But I did something really smart. I was talking to Lala in the kitchen, right after I opened the FedEx envelope. I said, "Maybe now, just maybe, I'll get those shoes I've been wanting for so long. But maybe not...."

Then I decided, hey. I'm GETTING the shoes. I stood up, went in my office, opened and ordered my Dansko Sally 39s.

I first saw those shoes on Too Much Wool Cassie, when I met her for the first time in New York five years ago. I remember we were standing in front of Purl Soho, and I said, "THOSE ARE THE BEST SHOES I'VE EVER SEEN." I've wanted them since then. Cassie, we are twinners now.

And it is possible that later today I will go buy a celebratory skein or two of yarn. In the past I've celebrated things (like the completion of the Nanowrimo that led to this book) with really nice yarn made into socks -- memory socks. I think I might do that again.

Hooray! (AND OMG I have an ISBN! Actually, I have three of them reserved! Hoo boy.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ready to Cry with Pinwheel Sleeve Frustration

Okay, so I think this was maybe an overly ambitious project for a beginner knitter, even if I have been crocheting for a while. I thought I was doing so well. I got someone at a yarn store to talk me through the whole provisional cast-on / waste yarn sleeve thing, and I think we did it right, although she looked sort of confused by the pattern.

But now that I’ve finished the rest of the sweater (it looks so pretty) and am ready to do the sleeves, I’m totally confused. I’ve knit three rows so far, and have two problems:

a) I seem to be getting purl bumps on the outside. Does that mean I’m knitting in the wrong direction or something? Should I just rip out those three rows?

b) But more seriously, I have NO IDEA how to get ride of the waste yarn. If I just pick it out, won’t that leave a bunch of live loops underneath? How do I connect that to the body of the sweater? WHERE do I connect it? So very very very confused. :-(

Here is the pattern.

And here are photos of my pitiful sleeves:


I missed it by thi-i-i-s much!

I finished Darling Daughter's scarf only a week after her birthday which isn't bad considering I had to order another ball of yarn to complete it. I adore this yarn. Look at the texture and colors below. It's Dune by Trendsetter Yarns and is made in Italy (which explains a lot since I adore all things Italian) in Color 111. Her college color is purple but I wanted a subtle purple and this fit the bill. Can you see the hint of sparkle in it too?

Barbara, now I understand why you consider seed stitch your "comfort stitch". This scarf is straight seed stitch and I just loved knitting it. The only tricky part is that the Dune yarn is really two strands loosely twisted together, a mohair strand and an acrylic/viscose/nylon/polyester strand, and the two don't always stay connected. You have to pay a little attention to keeping the tension on both the same so you don't end up with extra mohair (which I occasionally did) or split stitches. You can see the makeup of the yarn a bit better below in the fringe.
Here's the full FO:
I started this project on a whim when I walked into my LYS to get something else (I can't remember what) and saw a scarf they'd knitted out of the Dune in another color. As you know, I have felt color deprived with the endless white lace scarf so this yarn sang a siren song to me. I'm psyched to make another scarf in another fabulous color--it's so quick and easy and satisfying (great for watching hockey games).
The pattern is very simple:
4 skeins of Dune Color 111
Cast on 23 stitches on Size 9 needles (an odd number of stitches means you don't have to remember which way you're going with the seed stitch)
Knit in seed stitch (k1,p1) until the scarf is as long as you want it to be. (Mine was six feet.)
Fringe (I barely had enough yarn to do a semi-decent fringe so you might want to make your scarf a little under six feet to make the fringe more luxurious.).
Has anyone else discovered a great new yarn or pattern recently?

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sweater Hesitation

I'm encountering a weird knitting/crocheting issue. Here's the thing. I've made a bunch of gifts for other people so far: potholders, market bag, socks, amigurumi, scarves, skirt, and am now most of the way through a knitted sweater for my niece. I haven't actually made anything for myself, and now that the holidays are over, I think it's time. What I'd really like to make is a cardigan, something that fits me well and is flattering in shape. I found a pattern I like (the February Lady Sweater), and I even have some lovely yarn all ready to go (Rowan Kid Classic, which I think is the right weight for it).

But here's the thing -- making a sweater is going to be time-intensive -- it's many hours of work. And I find myself reluctant to put in that much labor on a nicely fitted sweater for myself when deep in my heart, I really think I should be at least a size smaller. I'm still carrying twenty pounds of baby weight, which have stayed stable for several months now, and there's no real reason to expect that to change. Sure, I plan to exercise more, but a) I haven't started yet, and b) that's not going to have an effect big enough to matter for a sweater this winter/spring, certainly. It's just dumb not to go ahead and make that sweater for myself, I'm pretty sure.

And still, I can't seem to start it. :-( Am I just nuts here? Is this a common knitting/crocheting problem?

(Also, if that sweater is way too hard a pattern for a beginner, please let me know. I'm doing fine making the kid's pinwheel sweater so far, although I haven't gotten to the sleeves yet.)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Problem? Me?

My dear friend Elsie sent a great cartoon to me for Christmas. Unfortuantely, I can't upload it to the blog because it's copyrighted. However, I can describe it for you:

A husband and wife are having dinner at an Italian restaurant. They both have plates piled with spaghetti in front of them and are eating with a knife and fork. The husband is glaring at his wife who is indignantly exclaiming, "A knitting problem? Who's got a knitting problem?"

It takes a moment to figure out why this issue has come up at the dinner table, but when you look closely you realize that the wife is using her utensils to knit the spaghetti into the beginning of a scarf.

If you want to see the visual, here's a link to it on-line:

Happy New Year!

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Jed's Manta Ray

This is Jed's manta ray, an eleventh anniversary present. It's really been eleven years since I first hit on him across a crowded room at one of Thida's parties? Wacky.

I made it in a cashmere merino silk, for a particularly lush feel, 'cause Jed likes soft things. Also, likes mantas. You should see him at the manta petting pool at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; he's just so darn cute. And so is this little guy:

Pattern available for free, courtesy Roman Sock. I skipped the whole mouth bit, because I like it better without, and used different eyes than she did, but basically, followed pattern. Actual crocheting, very little time -- two hours or so. Fiddly sewing of pipe cleaners and such took a bit longer.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Felting question

Wait!  So when you felt, you put the yarn in the washer in hot water, but do you also pop it in the dryer? I don't want to screw up the yarn!

Thank you all so very, very much!

x Caroline

Storms and Projects of 2008

Here's a look back at the month of December here in New Hampshire. First, this lovely ice storm that, as you can see, brought some trees down on our roof. Fortunately, since the trees are so close to the house, they couldn't build up much momentum before they hit and thus only took out a few shingles. However, DH did have to climb up there in all that ice to get them off the roof, as they were blocking the chimney!

The photo of the ice across the street gave me a chance to model my entrelac shawl. It was cozy enough for exactly two and a half minutes outside, no more. ;-) As you can see if you squint, trees across the way are drooping and even fallen. There were fallen trees everywhere, on roads, houses, cars and power lines. Over half the state was without power. We had two days of no power. Luckily, we have a woodburning stove, so we pretty much camped out night and day in the living room till the power came back. Others weren't so lucky...some people were without power for more than two weeks!

The strangest part of the whole experience was how, on the day after the storm, you could only hear two things outdoors. First, frequent shotgun-like blasts as tree limbs snapped off and fell. And second, the sound of chainsaws everywhere as people began the cleanup! Weird.

Then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, along came two storms in three days that each dumped a foot of snow. Here's that lovely image, post-shoveling thanks again to DH. He was starting to sing the "Why did we ever move to New Hampshire?" song. :-) And I don't blame him.

As you can imagine, all that enforced indoor time meant more knitting. Yay! So I finished all my Christmas knitting for perhaps the first year in a long time. If not ever. I also squeaked in under the 2008 wire on my "Eastlake" sweater by Norah Gaughan. Here it is, modeled by my bed. ;-) I don't have a picture of me in it yet. It came out wonderfully and I absolutely love it. Now I just have to decide what to knit next. And that's always a delightful dilemma, when there are so many tantalizing possibilities!

Did you finish all your Christmas knitting? If not, how will that affect your Christmas knitting plans for next year? Are you going to make a resolution to start knitting earlier, or just give storebought gifts to more people and handknits to fewer?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Touch me by Meunch

So---someone is gifting me with some skeins of Touch Me~  I'm really excited because I have been wanting to try this yarn, but I'm a little anxious about it, too.  I remember there was a post about it here.  What should I be careful of? what can I do so it doesn't worm? Does it get felted when it is finished?  Will two skeins make a narrow long scarf?

Thanks, and HAPPY NEW YEARS!


Dry Feet

I hope the New Year brings you dry feet and warm socks. Because as long as you have those, things can't be too bad.

I picked this yarn because the colors reminded me of Kevin -- the blue of his eyes, the light golden-brown of his hair. I didn't notice all the lavender in it too, which makes the final effect a bit girly, but Kev claims he doesn't mind.

They were striping nicely the first time I attempted them, but about twenty rows in, I realized they were going to be too big, so I ripped it all out and started over -- to find that at the correct size for Kevin's feet, this yarn pools (makes pools of color) instead of stripes. A bit annoying, but oh well. As long as he likes them, we're good.

I was going to make a matching pair of baby socks for Kavi, which would have been so cute on Christmas morning, but I totally ran out of time. Sigh. I did manage to surprise Kevin because while he knew he was getting hand-made socks, he thought he was just getting the pair I'd made earlier. He didn't know that was just a practice pair! I love holiday surprises. He surprised me good last year, so this was particularly satisfying.

The socks I made for his dad were much more successful, but almost didn't get finished in time. I had gotten as far as 1.25 socks by the time I went to bed on Christmas Eve, and had resigned myself to giving Ron one sock with a promise for the second to be completed post-Xmas. But then, the Christmas spirit woke me up at 2:30 a.m., and finding myself wide-awake, I proceeded to get up and finish the second sock. Finished around 6:30 a.m., triumphantly, and even had time to wrap them before Ron woke up. Unfortunately, I had tried to make the tops a little tighter, so they would stay up better, and found that made them so tight that he couldn't get them on over his heel! So a bit of Xmas Day was spent unravelling and fixing the problem. But all was well in the end.

Next year, no holiday knitting/crocheting in the week before Christmas. If it's not done by a week before, it's not happening. Just too stressful! But it was awfully nice to give so many handmade gifts this year; very satisfying. And so lovely seeing both Kevin and Ron wearing their socks a few days later. Yay! I just need to start holiday gifts earlier next time around. September should be about right.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Knitting Resolution

It's that time of year when we all swear we'll lose ten pounds, finish putting the last decade's photos in the album, and cut 100 pages from our current manuscript. Okay, so maybe those are just MY resolutions for 2009. However, I've made a knitting resolution too:
Resolved: that I will knit the Vintage Velvet Scarf because that way I will learn to knit a cable. That's what's been stopping me from trying the scarf (my favorite project) Barbara always raves about and that looks so gorgeous in her photos. I have the pattern, I have the yarn, and I've just been a big chicken about the cable since I've never done one before.
So what knitting (or other) resolutions have you all made for 2009?

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