Thursday, September 30, 2004

Block-ing Party!

Hey there.
So this is what i've been doing. A cabled hat, a ruffled hat, a two color hat... and a monster that didn't quite work and looks like a dog toy. Hmmm. But I have to say, two color knitting is adictive. Alot.
I think I know what I was doing on the surger; lower looper needed to be over the upper looper. But it's at the shop, so I don't know when i'm getting it back.
Too much to do, and too little time!

Monday, September 27, 2004


I went yarn shopping. No, I'm still poor, but I budged a bit of money up to buy a present for my secret pal. No, I haven't mailed it yet. So far I've got at least a week's gap between buying and shipping my SP gifts....

What I ended up with (besides the present, which I'm not showing for obvious reasons) was a skein of Filatura Di Crosa 127 Print, in the Lavender Colorway. Lovely stuff, soft to the hand, and knits (when you knit loose and on #8 needles) into a wonderful, drapy fabric. The yarn has 27 feet of solid color, then 8 feet of variegated inter spaced with the main color. So you get 'stripes', depending on where you start it, and how wide your piece is.

So I pulled out the center, and decided not to start with the colored bit. I wound off until I got to a solid section, and broke the yarn. I cast on 56 stitches for a normal hat, and knitted away.

Joy. I really enjoyed knitting with this. So I knit for about 3 hours, while we make characters for a new RPG (shut up. I like gaming.) and then when I got home and watched Return of the King on our new (to us) bigger screen TV. I got tired, and decided the hat was big enough. Decreased and bound off, with about 20% of the yarn to go.

Then I realized the hat was a bit short. Not too bad, and it was fine if I unrolled the rolled hem. Hmmm. I went to bed in a sorta snit; nothing I've done lately has come out perfectly. The stripey purse: strap too wide. The cabled hat: looks a bit... wonky, like it needs blocking, but I did it in acrylic. Can you block acrylic? Off to google that... The monster thing I made (more on that later) came out almost featureless, though a bit cute. And then the purple hat.

I had a mini breakdown (this is what I call any showing of negative emotions. My mate calls it the "Patented Lindsey Robbins Litany of Woe." Bastard.) and was advised that if my crafting wasn't relaxing me like it was supposed to, maybe I should put it aside.

The horror. Put it aside? Is he insane? It's keeping me going. Ok, maybe not, but still... I love my crafting.

I woke up yesterday determined to 'save' the purple hat. So I picked up the stitches on the cast on hem, and knit three rows of "knit front and back of each stitch." Yeah, I ruffled the everloving hell out of that thing.

And then, when I was casting off, I ran out of yarn. So I picked up the colored 8 feet I broke off from the beginning... and that helped for about 3 inches of hat. This thing has like 450 stitches now that it's ruffled... Hmmm. I used every bit of yarn I had broken off, cut off, or used in other spaces. I snipped the long end from the cast on off and used that. I still fell short.

So I used my crochet hook to pull each loop through the one previous, and then lifted the new loop over the old. It worked, and it the hellaruffle you can't tell. I wove in the 15 (yes, 15) ends from all the yarn scrounging, and have a hat. Now, I have a total of about a foot of yarn left over from the ball, in 2 inch pieces. I pop the hat on my head and really love it.

I show it to the mate, and he says ".... You put a ruffle on it."

"Yes." Flounce of the head to show off the ruffle.

"A ruffle."


"A ruffle?"

"What's wrong with a ruffle?"

"... Nothing, honey. It's cute."

"What do you mean by that??"

"I mean it's cute. Yes. Cute." He even patted me on the head.

... I like my ruffled hat. And anyway, it's for the sale...

In completely unrelated news; I know what I did on the shorts, and I didn't do anything wrong, except hold them upside down when the teacher came to look at them. That's why she thought I had done something wrong. So it's back to class tonight to re-resew my shorts. Arg.

Oh, and I'm working on getting my serger working. Took it out of the box and fiddled with it, made sure it was threaded right (no, I didn't unthread it. I'm not insane!), but it's not surging. It's just wrapping the 'tongue' in thread. So it's at the shop, waiting for a free estimate to fix it. I so want to make a shirt before the Ventura Highland Games .... We'll see if it gets out of the shop on time.

Off to rememebr how to block acrylic. How can I block a hat without a hatblock.... Hmmm....

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Frustration... and the cure for it.

In the spirit of bad news first, good news last, I present you with the Story Of Shorts.

In my sewing class last night I began making my shorts. I took the pattern out, and, after measuring myself around and front to back (from what my teacher calls the 'sweet spot' between your legs. Yes, I find that disturbing, if only because she's a conservative, dress wearing home ecc teacher.) I determined that I needed my shorts a bit larger than the pattern. So I traced out the pattern on butcher paper*, and made it an inch bigger all the way around.

*did you know you can draw on top of that pattern-piece-onionskin paper with a permanent marker and it will go through to the butcher paper? O_o On the upside, it is easier than trying to see the lines with the butcher paper on top...

It seemed really big. Like... Butt that ate Manhattan big. Like Buttzilla big. But (hee hee hee) I decided that the pattern itself looked big, even for the smaller sizes. So I lay out my fabric, and cut the pattern. So far, so good.

Teacher shows me how to match one front and one back, and sew up the leg. I do so, using the serger (love love love sergers! I've got to figure out how to use mine!).

Then I take it to the teacher for help with the next step. Because I'm using a McCall's pattern, the illustration doesn't show all the steps, and the text was confusing.

So the teacher shows me how to pin the two sides together, and tells me to sew the center seem. I baste it together, and then serge it up.

At some point, I start to think something is wrong, but I figure the teacher knows what she's talking about. So I sewed the red line to the purple line (below).

So, that's basted and sewn, and I'm thinking that I've done something horribly wrong. I take it to the teacher, and she laughs and says yes, you've sewn it wrong.

Grumble grumble grumble. I did what she told me to... So I sit and rip, rip rip out serger stitching. Teach said she'd show me the 'easy way' to do it, but then didn't. That's ok; I figured it out myself, and was 'unzipping' the surger stitch after trying for more than 15 minutes. So, after more than 45 minutes, I get it back to four pieces.

I plunk the pattern down on the cutting table, lay my pieces out, and look hard at it. I believe I did step one correctly. I'm not sure what else I could DO in step two. I have this horrible feeling that I had done it correctly, and she made me rip it out because she didn't realize that. I left class with nothing but my pattern cut out after 4 hours of sewing class. I am very, very frustrated.

Any seamstress/seamstress out there? What did I do wrong? Should I sew the red line to the purple? Or what? The directions aren't helping me here, and neither is my teacher.

After stomping home (ok, I drove, but I was driving petulantly), I found my secret Pal had sent me a package!

2 skeins of Regina sock yarn, in a super cool black with color pops, a sock booklet, a knit booklet, and CANDY. Oh sweet baby Jesus, candy. Secret pal, you have no idea how welcome those mini mars bars were! Chocolate is the perfect panacea... Thank you!! You saved my night.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Two FOs

That’s right. Two!

First up, my first garment FO. This is the ‘t-shirt’ that I made in beginning sewing class. Yes, I’m pitiful at sewing, so I took a class. This wasn’t so hard, though I don’t like ‘setting in’ sleeves; I’m horrible at it.

The pattern is Stretch and Sew, #310 (or #300, I can’t remember). The school supplied the pattern, and it looks like it is from about 1985. The hairstyles alone are amusing on that package.

I found the fabric at a Jo-Ann’s in Huntington Beach, (I think. Kitten, is that right?) because the local Jo-Ann’s (and other stores) had almost no knits. No, flowers aren’t usually my bag, but I liked this one. Here’s a close up so you can see the color/pattern better.
Here’s next up for class. We had to pick a pattern. Criteria? Easy (or very easy) elastic/drawstring waistband, shorts/pants/skirt. I am doing a pair of shorts, and maybe the tank top. I like the look of this pattern. I bought 2 yards of charcoal grey knit to make sure I had enough.
The other FO I have is the stripy NSB I’ve been working on. Yesterday I would have posted that I was boiling mad because I left the claret skein at Kitten’s house. Good thing I couldn’t get the camera cord working; I found the skein in my car last night. Whoops! But I finished it up last night, and wove in the ends, and here it is!
This one has a very wide strap. I wanted to try one with a wide strap, and then I decided that the strap should be in garter stitch to keep it from rolling. Well, between the garter stitch, the 5 stitch width, and the crocheted border, this thing has a monster strap! We’ll see how it felts up.

What a weekend! Got stuck in traffic going down to Kitten’s (I warned myself. Oh well.) for 2.5 hours. Got there, ate RtW’s wonderful fajitas (he’s a great cook) and played with the kidlets. Then, after they crashed, RtW and I drove around for a while before we picked Kitten up from work. A bit of friend time, and we all crashed. In the morning we had breakfast at an honest to god coffee shop ($2.99 breakfasts that had bacon, eggs, hash browns, toast, and sausage. Yes, I can feel my heart struggling for blood even now…) and went yarn shop hunting.
We found Knitty Gritty, which was alright, but not great. Selection wasn’t the best, but the lady behind the counter was nice; she let Kitten’s daughter RM go to the bathroom, and was very nice when the toddler said she wanted to stay with mommy. RM was a perfect angel, not touching anything or being loud. Well, until the counter lady gave her some candy; then she tried her very best to convince the counter lady that she needed some more. We left.

But Knitty Gritty isn’t what I’m looking for in a LYS. Too quiet. There were a few people around, but they were almost silent, and I didn’t get a really welcome feeling off of them. Like they were upset that some strangers came into their store. Hrumph.

I still bought a bit of yarn; two skeins of Plymouth Sunsette in colors 228 and 240.
Then we jetted over to Stitches in Time (which doesn’t seem to have a website) and I bought Kitten a bit of yarn, and myself four skeins of Patton’s Canadia to make hats for that craft show mid October. I’ll probably do something like the hat I made Kitten, with a cabled band.
Oh, and I grabbed the Fiber Trends "Patrick's Pumpkin" hat pattern; I never did figure out the leaves by myself...
That’s all for now. I’m going to try to whip out hats and such for that show. So far I have one thing done (needs felting still.) We’ll see how fast I can work.

Friday, September 17, 2004


So, Photobucket, where I store my images, is having a outage, so no photos. And all my photos are broken until they fix the problem, which is likely to be tomorrow. Arg! Oh well.

The NSB I thought was "raspberry" and "almond blossom" isn't. I checked my labels. I bought these about a year ago, so they must be an old set of colors. The colors are actually "claret" and "taupe" ... ok, so that's almost the same. The taupe, however, looks mostly grey next to the claret. Which is fine.

Two young people I know suggested I make a bag to sell at belly dancing events. They say that belly dancers will buy anything, as long as it's brightly colored and jingles. I can do that. I hope to make a bag with those little mirrors on it...

Off to Kitten's house for an evening - and morning, as it's a hour(x) drive to get there. Now, I know, lots of you all out there in Blogland drive much more than an hour to either be with your friends, or to get to the LYS. But out here in LA, an hour(x) drive means an hour, times whatever the traffic is. As I have to go on the 405 freeway, which is the freeway that goes by LAX international airport, and as I have to go at around 4 PM, I figure it will take me about 3 hours.

In LA. In LA traffic. Blech.

But Kitten is worth it.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Questions, questions...

I have a few knitting questions for the blog world in general:

First I present to you the case of Donna:

I want this sweater. It was seemingly designed just for me. I fit the measurements perfectly, which I cannot say for 99% of knitwear patterns. I usually fall just beyond the bust measurement; XL measurements hit around 44-46 inches, and I'm squarely in the 48 inch range.

So when I found Donna, I was overjoyed! A sweater that would fit me, and that I'd love to make. And wear, for christsake! (Note to little inner voice: Yes, I know I could buy a sweater like that. Shut up.)

But I have a problem. Donna, wonderful Donna, calls for 12 skeins of Lana Grossa "Point", which, at 121 yards a skein, works out to 1452 yards. Point is 96% cotton, 4% elastic, and knits to 5.5 sts/inch on #7. The cheapest I've seen Point for is $7.95, which would bring the total to a whopping $95.40 for the sweater.

Sweet Baby Cthulhu! I've never in my life owned a sweater worth that much. Not only am I unable to pay for that, I'd be afraid to wear it!

So I looked around for a substitute. Here's what I found: Cascade Fixation.

Fixation knits up at 5 sts/inch on a #7 needle, which is slightly smaller. I might be able to fudge that with my typically loose gauge, though. What worries me more is this: Fixation is 98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic, giving it 3.7% less elastic than the Point. But it's only $4.50 for 100 yards, bringing the total to $67.50 for the sweater, which is still a lot, but a savings of $27.90.

What do I do? I can't really afford either option. I could try to knit it out of something else, but if I'm going to go through the process of sweater knitting (my first one) I should be pretty sure that the end result won't horrify me off knitting forever.

Opinions? Suggestions? Large cash donations? Kidding, kidding...

Second question: I present the case of Klaralund.

This is a lovely sweater as well, by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, in the Collection Book 2. From what I gathered from all the Klaralund-alongers, it's four rectangles; front, back, and each sleeve, with the sleeve edges forming the neckline. Now, I don't have a yarn question, or a errata question (though Wendy has the errata up on her site.)

I have an ethical question.

Is it totally and unequivocal wrong to look at a technique, (or, in this case, read about a design) and say, "hey, that's pretty cool. I bet I could make something like that,"?

I'll never buy Collection Book 2 ( there's only 2 - 3 patterns in it I'd maybe do), so it's not as if I'm going to copy the pattern verbatim and do Hamilton out of any money. My design wouldn't BE Klaralund. I wouldn't call it that. And I wouldn't attempt to make/sell a pattern, or sell the sweater for money. But this isn't about the money. It's only 17$. Even I can afford that. My question goes beyond Klaralund.

Where is the line between inspiration and intellectual property theft? Is it theft to put together a sweater with four rectangles after reading about a sweater made of four rectangles? Is it theft to look at a sweater and make one similar? Not to sound too pandering, but if I did this, would the whole of Blogland look at me and dub me as a "low down dirty copyright infringer"?

Comments are more then welcome; I'm begging you for your opinion.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Wool dreams...

Remember that fleece I bought at the spinning compition at the fair? Well, I washed it with the little vial of Wooly Wash that I got from my Secret Pal (thanks!), and have a suprizing amount remaning. It was a pound going in, and it must be less than that now, but it seems like a bunch of wool!

Here's the washed fleece. Yes, there's bleaching. And it's less black than dark brown. But it has so many colors! I hope to be able to card it all together into a heathered brown mix.

Here's the first tiny bit I spun. It has a tendancy to be a bit nubby, but I can work around it.

Also started another NSB. This one I will pay more attention to the shaping; on the last one I started the decreases too soon, so it was more of a triangle. This one will be more bell shaped, like the yellow/blue one.

Using Lambs Pride Bulky I have, and it seems to be knitting up quick. I'm about two inches up the sides after only an hour of knitting.

Here's the colors this bag is in. Rasberry sides, almond edging. And maybe a pocket.