Thursday, December 20, 2007


After three weeks of tearing my hair out, finals are over. I celebrated last night with coconut rum mixed with pineapple juice, and a night of guilt-free TV with my boyfriend. Now I have over a month with minimal responsibility. I always have big plans for vacation that never come to fruition. This time around, my plans are:
*Get a puppy! (And train said puppy.)
*Read some books that have nothing to do with politics, economics, or political theory.
*Get my exercise routine back. Work on 5K running.
*Knit excuses.
*See all the cool DC stuff that I haven't seen yet, especially art museums.
*Fix my espresso machine.

Usually my big plans for vacation just fall through, but at Pitt I only got a week and a half. Now I get over a month. Hopefully these plans aren't too ambitious for the time that I have.

Right now I'm knitting baby socks for Afghans for Afghans. Pictures soon, I'm feeling lazy now. Ever since I got a ravelry membership it seems redundant to post my knitting in both places and I'm not so motivated to do it. However, I still feel that knitting blogs are absolutely worthless without pictures. Looking at the pretty things is so much more fun than reading about it.

I'm having second thoughts about the latest tea cozy design. It's tempting to frog it and make a basic felted one, but after all of the design-thought I've put into it already, I want something original. Isn't that what fiber art is all about? After all, it is both cheaper and quicker to buy stuff than make it. Knitters often ask themselves if the value of knitting is in the process or the result. For me, it's a little of both. The result portion takes its value from having an original piece that is untouched by the fashion industry. Store-bought stuff may be convenient, but hand-made items have a story and a soul.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Not knitting-related

The following things can kiss my ass:
1. Rachel Ray
2. Diamond commercials
3. Ads that ruin good Christmas songs
4. Finals

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tea Cozy Revolt

I've decided that I don't like the brioche stitch, and I do like making up my own patterns. So I'm frogging the brioche tea cozy and inventing my own. It is a coil of green I-cord, crocheted together in yellow.

Right now it just looks like a hat for a tea pot, but it's going to get bigger and cover the whole thing.

While I was dreaming up this idea, I made a cozy for a cup. I know it looks silly, but it's really quite functional. The cup doesn't insulate very well on it's own, so it's hard to hold with hot tea inside and the tea doesn't stay hot for very long. But it's a pretty cup, a gift from an old roommate, so I like to use it as much as I can.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ravelry, Tea Cozy Troubles

My ravelry membership came through! So far all I've done is add a couple of projects and browse to see what other patterns are out there. I think it's awesome- so organized, so many members, so very detailed. My one problem is that for photos it interfaces with Flickr. I HATE Flickr and love Picasa. It's no wonder that Picasa is awesome, since everything Google touches turns to gold, but I wonder why other software never approaches Google's level of innovation. I use Picasa for this site, and for picture organization in general, so it just bothers me that I have to load my pictures to yet another piece of software in order to use them on Ravelry.

My primary project right now brioche stitch tea cozy. I'm really having trouble with it. This is my first attempt at knitting in the brioche style and multi-color projects generally don't work out well for me. Perhaps I should have taken some time to get the technique down before jumping right into the tea cozy. It also doesn't help that the pattern is written by a New Zealand knitter who uses different terms and abbreviations. For example, I think "yarn round needle" is the same as a yarn over, but I'm not really sure. After much yarn-wrestling I think I have the pattern down, but I neglected to contour the shape to fit my tea cozy. It fits a little too snugly around the spout.

I also knit a hat for Ben! It was much easier than the tea cozy. Here it is on a pumpkin.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I'm back!

School has been busy, but now that midterms are over I can return to the blag. I have quite a few finished objects. First, Tetris is finally done!

The pillows are really comfy, too. I'd say it is a success. Thanks to Steve for the idea.

I also knit a hat!

It was supposed to be for Ben. I bought the yarn because it's his favorite color- the color of the Baltimore Orioles and his high school football team. When the hat was finished, I realized that it was too feminine for him to wear but too cute to frog. So, it's mine.

Now I'm working on socks to give to Dad for Christmas.

The Dad socks are HUGE. The pattern calls for 44 stitches around, I used 60. The picture shows me wearing them over a normal-sized pair that I made for myself.

Coming up next will be a hat for Ben (for real this time) and a tea cozy. I'm thinking of using this tea cozy pattern, probably with yarn left over from Tetris.

Finally, here's a picture of the mini-rose plant in my kitchen. For a while I thought it was dead, but it came back!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Vest is Finished

Too bad it's not cold enough to wear it yet. Back in New England it would be, but DC is a different story.

I think it turned out well, especially considering that I made up the pattern as I went along. Now I just wish I had written it down! The cable snaking around the neckline is what makes my pattern unique. I was worried that it would affect the shaping of the top of the vest, but I think it looks good. I like how it sits on the shoulder.

Armhole finishing was another snag that I hit. The holes are tighter than intended, and every time I tried to do a ribbed finishing all the way around the armhole it didn't look right. So, I left the bottom of the armhole alone and just did edging around the top and sides. You can't tell that I did it that way, and the result is that it sits very naturally on the shoulder.

Here's a close-up of the top:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tetris Returns!

I finally ordered new yarn to finish Tetris with. Now three squares are done, two of which have been made into a pillow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Making Progress

The vest is coming along. I'm at the neckline, which I've decided is the hardest part when you are making up a pattern as you go along.

I took a break from the vest to knit a pair of little socks for Afghans for Afghans. I wanted to try out the set of teeny tiny sock needles that a bought- sets of five in size 1, 0, 00, and 000! I didn't even know they made triple-0. These are knit on double-0.

I finally decided to finish the tetris project. I'm going to go all the way, as planned, even though it means buying new yarn. I had to guess on some of the colors when I ordered the yarn, so hopefully it turns out OK. Tetris will be finished yet!

Ben and I celebrated our four year anniversary this weekend. We went hiking (12 miles total!) on the C&O Canal Towpath starting in Georgetown.

I love how you can see the waterfall through the spider web in this picture.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The camera is back!

It turns out that the problem wasn't with the camera at all, but just its USB cable. Now I can finally display all of the recent happenings with my yarn and knitting.

My grandmother used to be quite a skilled and prolific knitter. She used to make sweaters for me, my brother, and each of my five cousins every year. Unfortunately her health is declining and she can't see well enough to knit anymore. I inherited her needle supply and most of her yarn a couple of years ago, but she has been holding on to the remainder of her stash. When I visited in August, she decided to give me the rest.
This is a huge quantity of very soft wool that Grandma bought on a trip to France many years ago.
She mentioned that you can prewash wool yourself to prevent it from felting. I've never heard of this process and would like to learn more about it.

There's also some wool made on a sheep farm in Maine. It might be older than I am. It is much rougher than the French yarn, and very thick. I think it might be good for winter hats and such.

What am I going to make with all of this beautiful yarn? Well I've already started a vest!

It's my own design. I'm making it up as I go along. So far I've had to start over a couple of times, but I'm pleased with how its turning out now. The big question is what to do with the cables when I get to the neck line. I would like to make the two outer cables snake around the neck hole, but I don't really know how to do that.

In my long absence from posting pictures, I also made socks. They're the "Coupling" pattern from the latest issue of Knitty.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Still no camera.

I need an SM card reader for the camera. Its USB port is broken.
There's been a lot of knitting going on though.
I'm beyond fed up with the tetris project. I should have known better than to attempt something so big. I'm mostly through the third square. At this point, I don't think there's any way I'll have enough yarn to do all four squares. So, the options are to order more yarn, or revise the project. Seven balls of cascade 220 will be pricey. I'm not even sure I can find all the colors I used. If I revise it, I would end with three panels in the tetris pattern and make three pillows instead of two, with the backs of the pillows either black or grey. If I do that, I won't be as happy with the finished product and it will mean much more knitting on a project I'm already sick of. Poop. When I eventually resume the project, and start working so that I can afford it, I will probably search the internet for more colors and finish it as I had originally planned.

I'm also knitting socks. They're from the latest issue of knitting, the pattern is called Coupling. I've never knit toe-up socks before and I can't decide if I like it or not. the pattern seems to create a better finished project, but it is more challenging.

Ben and I ended up with a lot of tee shirts that we don't want after college. I've started cutting them into strips to be used as knitting materials. So far I've made a dish cloth. The shirt-cutting tecnique is definetly still being perfected. The dishcloth was knit on size 13 needles and was still rather tight, so I need to cut the strips much more finely. I think the old tee shirts could end up being a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get some cotton knitting material.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Well, my computer isn't recognizing the digital camera right now, and I just can't get excited about blogging without posting pictures.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I saw a pretty vest in a store the other day.

It was $80. Totally not worth the price, but it looked comfy and easy to make. Perhaps it will be my next project after tetris. I don't like the way the model is wearing it, though. I would make it longer and with a more relaxed fit.

Tetris is expanding!

I know it's been a while. Since I last posted, I went from the Pittsburgh apartment to Silver Spring, where until recently we had no cable or internet. Then I flew home to lovely Cape Cod, where I don't have much access to the family computer. In the next couple of weeks I'll be around Cape Cod, with a trip to Maine for my Grampy's 90th birthday in the middle. So there hasn't been much opportunity for blogging, but I've been getting a good bit of knitting done. The first square of Tetris is complete, but it's back in Silver Spring and I don't have a picture. The second square of tetris is well under way.

On the long drive to Maine I should be able to finish it and get going on the third square. I was initially worried about having enough yarn for all four squares, but it looks like I'll make it. If anything I might need some more black, but I'm just using the Lion wool for that so it's easy to come by.

In other news, there's going to be a knitting store right here in North Falmouth! It's called the Knitting Garden. I have no idea when it will be open, but I'm sure I'll be gone by then. Maybe I can check it out when I'm home this winter.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


The first square is almost done!

And I've even added more blocks since this picture was taken!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

OMG I'm moving tomorrow! Eeeeep!
I won't have internet for a while, but I'll be back to yarn talk soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Camping Trip

Ben and I had to go to Silver Spring last Friday to sign the lease for our new apartment. Afterwards, we went camping at Point Lookout State Park. It's located at the mouth of the Potomac, where it meets the Chesapeake Bay. We did some swimming, saw some wildlife, all in all it was a good time. I didn't manage to get pictures of most of the animals I saw, but there were ospreys, great blue herons, really huge skates, crabs, fish, a muskrat, a tree frog, and about a zillion mosquitos. Those little fuckers ate me alive.
Here's an osprey nest in the marsh.

I didn't want to bring the tetris project on the trip- I didn't want the wool yarn to get dirty. So, I brought some cotton and made some dishcloths for our new apartment. The first one I made was dolphin cloth and the second was an experiment with crocheting patterns on top of a knitted base. Normally I hate crocheting, but this technique was pretty cool.

So this Saturday we move. I really like our apartment in Silver Spring, too. Although it's small, it's pretty and right near the metro.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I've started the tetris project! In the end, it's going to be two pillows. Right now it's a bunch of cool-looking blocks. Each side of the pillow will have 100 blocks, so this may take a while. In the coming weeks, this blog will probably focus on the progress of the tetris project. I know it's boring, but at least it's colorful.

Yesterday I went to visit my friend Lizza in Edinboro, PA. There was an alpaca farm half a mile from her house! I want to raise alpacas and make yarn when I'm old.

Look at the cute little wool machines!
The alpacas made friends with Lizza's dogs, Jake and Parker.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summer-ey Things

I just finished a couple of small projects: a pair of ankle socks and a cute little lacey hat.

Later today I'm going to finally start the tetris project! I decided on doing two pillows instead of a bag. It will be a nice accent to our new apartment. Last night I wound the Cascade 220 into balls and planned out the tetris pattern on graph paper. Today I'm going to the craft store to get some pillows to cover, then I'll decide what size I need to make the squares, and I can get going!

In non-knitting news, my porch garden is looking great. Considering that we're in the middle of a city, we did a great job greening-up the house.

My cucumber even has a flower!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Blanket and more socks

Growing up on Cape Cod spoiled me. The summers are more mild than anywhere else on the east coast- 80 degrees is considered "wicked hot" and even in the most extreme heat waves the temperature rarely exceeds 85. Now Cape Cod, with its readily accessible beaches and idyllic weather, seems like a distant fairyland as I feel myself melting in Pittsburgh's 95-degree heat.

So, I've put off working on the blanket. It's just too hot. Now I'm working on another pair of socks instead. They're cute and summery, as well as easily portable. I can work on them outside or take them to an air-conditioned coffee shop.

The blanket has expanded since I last posted a photo of it, though. Here's what it looks like:

I'm guessing when it's finished it will be about as long as it is wide, but that really depends on how much yarn and patience I have. Right now I'm using the leftover yarn from Ben's green socks.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dishcloths and some new yarn

While I was at Ben's parents house about a week ago, I was sitting in the living room with Ben and his parents and working on my blanket. Ben's Mom mentioned that his recently deceased grandmother used to make the best dischcloths that anyone in their family had ever used. I had here lend me one of each pattern so that I could duplicate it. Here are the results:
These are the originals. One is seed stitched and the other is in garter stitch with a simple lace edge.

Here are my attempts.

The look looser because they have not been through numerous cycles of machine washing and drying like the originals. Still, I think I could've used a smaller needle on the seed stitch cloth. My lace edging is not as pronounced on the garter stitch cloth- maybe I should have used a bigger needle there. Also, one of the edges on the garter stitch cloth looks kind of smooshed.

Here are some close-ups of mine next to Ben's grandma's.

Today was having a huge yarn sale. I took advantage of the opportunity to buy some wool yarn for my upcoming tetris project. I also couldn't resist picking up a couple balls of sock yarn, some orange wool/alpaca to make Ben a new winter hat, and a cotton/synthetic blend that I'll probably use to make a warmer weather hat for myself.

Friday, June 8, 2007


I decided to undo the socks I was making for Ben and start from scratch. The original yarn was truly hideous. I actually managed to get him to come to the yarn store with me and select a nicer yarn. We settled on Lion Wool Ease in Forest Green Heather.

My socks, which I made a few months ago, are made out of the same yarn in Camel.

Both pairs are made on size 3 needles. Although Ben and I have the same length feet (we can actually share sneakers) his are substantially wider so I had to alter the pattern a little bit to make the socks bigger.

The pattern, called Thuja, came from Knitty.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Now I can post pictures! Woo!

Steve got a new, very awesome, digital camera and I bought his old cheap one.
Here's some pictures of my blanket. It's the only thing I've been working on.

Really, it's such a big project that I never thought I'd knit a blanket. It's still kind of daunting- I like instant gratification like socks and hats- but I like it.

It's really coming along nicely. I'm doing rows of eight squares each and I'm currently on row 5. It might come out ugly and that makes me sad. I was hoping that somehow all of that ugly yarn together would make something nice. Maybe it will and maybe it won't, but I still want to make this blanket to use up that yarn.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I think I've grown out of livejournal...

...and none of my LJ friends want to read about knitting anyway. This blog will be boring without pictures, but hopefully I can get a digital camera soon. Maybe for my birthday. Until then, descriptions will have to suffice.

Right now I have two things on the needles. One is a pair of socks for my boyfriend, Ben. The pattern, called Thuja, can be found here. I let him pick a yarn for it out of my stash, provided that he didn't choose all wool. There is no way he could be convinced to handwash socks and I didn't want my hard work felted away. He picked this blue acrylic stuff that my grandmother gave me when I was learning to knit. I think it's ugly and scratchy, but he seems to like it.
I just knit this same pattern not too long ago in a tan superwash wool. Ben and I have roughly the same size feet (I'm 5" taller) and I was torn over whether to give the socks to him or keep them myself. They turned out a little too narrow for his feet so I ended up keeping them. I absolutely love the pattern though.

My other project is a mitered squares blanket (I don't like the word afghan- it sounds so old-ladyish) to get rid of some of my stash. I'm using up the crappy acrylic stuff. The more I can get rid of the better, since I'm moving to Washington, DC for graduate school in a few months. This is my first experiment with mitered knitting and I LOVE it! I've even dreamed up some projects to use this technique, which will be much more interesting than a blanket.

The first thing I thought of when I started knitting the mitered squares was to invent a mitered lace pattern and design a skirt around it. Something flowey, above the knee, perfect for summer. I would need to figure out how to create an A-line shape with the squares first. I'm kind of pear shaped, so a pencil skirt wouldn't work.

The second Idea I had for mitered knitting emerged when my roommate Steve saw me doing the blanket squares. He remarked that I group of four squares I had knitted looked like a tetris piece. That's when the lightbulb went off in my head- I want to do a felted messenger bag with a tetris theme! I'd get a bunch of wool, maybe Cascade 220, in all the colors of the tetris pieces and design a tetris game for mitered squares! Knit it in the shape of a bag, felt it, and it will be the most wicked awesome bag you've ever seen. First I just need the money for all of that yarn!