Sunday, December 30, 2007

Whatever I Did, I'm Sorry

I'm back! Christmas was good this year. I got lots of nice things and it was really nice to hang out with my family. New York was cool too. I like to visit but I was glad that we only went for one day. We saw so much and went to a fab play (go see the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee...hilarious). There were a few drawbacks...which seem to have spilled over into today. First off the Hat From Hell was, well, hellish. I put the thing on for 1 hour while we toured Chinatown. The brim was too big so it didn't sit tight on my head. Then, the scarf part was too heavy and as I walked around the thing began to slip off my head. I put it in my backpack after awhile and accepted defeat.

When I got back I tried to start working on The Boyfriend Hat. I cast on to a pair of circulars. The cast on was way too tight. I like a tight cast on because it makes the edge look clean. However, this was almost unbearable. But I pressed on and kept working. I knit 3 rows and then I looked at what I'd done. Then I started thinking...the circulars were 29" and the hat was only supposed to be 22". Would that not stretch out the final project making it too big? Is this the reason the scarf/hat didn't work? The circulars were too long and therefore the stitches too loose making the brim too big? Is that why the instructions for my current hat called for 40cm long circulars and not 73.5cm ones? So, I decided to try again and use my DPNs. I messed up on the first row and had to re-cast on so this is what I've done so far on The Boyfriend Hat:
Um, yeah. It may still be cold when I finally finish it. Maybe...

In the meantime I started this:

This is the Bernat chunky yarn that I got on sale. I love the color and how it makes a cool pattern. I'm calling it the Zig Zag Scarf. I'm using a double stockinette stitch. I don't know if Oma Englund is the person who came up with this or if she just contributed it but...I'm loving it. In fact I like all her dense stitches that she submitted and plan on using them soon.

And the Autumn scarf is totally finished. I added some fringe to the ends and that totally completes it.
And here it is modeled by the office chair and the cat's head (sorry it's sideways, don't know why Blogspot does that).

Note: I worked some more on The Boyfriend Hat after a glass of wine and some leftovers from Chow Baby (by the way...go is awesome) and got 2 rows done. It's been a little hard to keep all the stitches on the 2nd DPN (which had 40 stitches on it) but it seems to be working out.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

As you may recall from my last post, I was trying to finish the Hat from Hell (HFH). I was working to finish it quickly so that I could use the circular needles to make The Boyfriend a hat (that was the "secret present" I'm using the navy and grey Bernat yarn for). I worked like a fiend for about 3 nights to finish the HFH (and believe me, it wasn't easy). When I finished I checked the size of the needles the Boyfriend Hat called for and the size needles I had (you know, just to be sure). Lo and behold, the HFH needles are 3 sizes larger than the Boyfriend Hat calls for. The moral of the story? Check needle sizes twice, cast on once.

So, no big deal, I'll pick up the right sized needles later. For now I give you

The Hat From Hell in all it's glory (posed here on the Christmas tree to display it's size and bulk).

It's not a bad hat really. Very thick and warm. Here is yours truly trying to model the HFH while not messing up my super styled hair or looking like an idiot (neither really working out for me).

At least I have a hat for New York now. However, there was over 1/2 a pound of both the yarns I used for the HFH left over. And I never want to see them again. I'm thinking about shoving them in the back of the closet and forgetting about them. If you want the pattern go here (Just a side note: When you get down to 30 stitches I would switch to DPNs to finish. Using circulars the whole time is rather difficult but do-able. I used circulars throughout but found the last rows hard to manage.) The Autumn Scarf is almost done.

A newly shaved Persian cat covered in the scarf and the yarn I have left to finish it. I'm like a demon with the needles. I have the energy of 12 knitters. I can see the end of the project and it beacons me. I'm knitting with a new fury. I'm a knitter who isn't going to have time to bake mac and cheese and an appetizer for Christmas Eve dinner tonight if she doesn't get off her bum and go to the store, pronto. Oops.

My next post may be a few days in coming. I received a new digital camera for Christmas (The Boyfriend is in so much trouble) so I need to set that up. Plus the holiday dinners and presents. And then I'll be in New York. Look for me by the end of the weekend.

I wish you all safe travels and a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Free at Last! Free at Last!

Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!

This evening is the first night if the sacred Winter Break. It was all I could do to make it to 4:30 this afternoon. I'll cut out the part of the story where I actually didn't leave until 5:00, got locked out of my room by my co-teacher and then slogged across the parking lot with 3 bags of presents, an overloaded laptop bag, my regular teaching "purse," and a clarinet in leaking shoes. I'm home now and that's all that matters.

Since my regular at-home laptop is on the outs (after the new year there is talk of a Mac book) I brought my work computer home. Thus, the blogging station is born.
I have to get pics from the digital camera onto the old laptop and then transfer them to the work laptop. It's a process but it works. Please note the large bin of yarn on the right. Not pictured is the lovely cup of hot tea that I made as soon as I got home.

I've finally picked back up an old project. I've dubbed it the Hat From Hell. The hat itself is not the issue here. It's actually a quite nice, extra long, scarf/hat thing with these cool, very severe, S-cables.

Sorry the picture is sideways. You still get the idea.

The reason this is the Hat From Hell is this:

This is supposed to be the yarn for the hat. Notice the 2 blobs of boucle. The one on the left is an utterly tangled mess. Notice also that the yellow yarn is also coming unraveled from the middle out. What you can't see is that the string from the middle is so tangled on itself (who knows how that happened) you can't get it pulled out any further.

This is a good time to mention that I absolutely hate tangled yarn. It infuriates me and frustrates me to no end. I had actually abandoned the Hat From Hell because of this stupid yarn. Maybe it should be called the Yarn From Hell.

The other night I fixed the problem. I found the string that went around the outside of the yellow yarn (I don't like to use the outside string. The skein flops all over the place as I unwind it.) and then I cut the horrid mess of orange/red/yellow boucle off the part that was still intact. Thus, the work on the scarf/hat began again. Things are going well. Only about 50 more (decreasing rows) to go!

And I leave you tonight with a picture of my friend Jenn's Christmas gift:

She is, unfortunately, a huge florida gator fan. However, I think this kerchief is about the cutest thing I've made so far. The yarn is Red Heart sport weight is Skipper Blue and then I added some orange 1/4 inch (or there abouts) orange ribbon through the increase holes around the edge. Get the pattern here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why I'm No Longer Allowed in Any Store That Sells Yarn

After I had a massage this morning I went to Wal-Mart for the first time in months (this should tell you something about the local Wal-Mart that I have to be completely and totally relaxed before I even think about entering there). I went to pick up this:

A birthday present for my aunt. What I came out with is this:

So I might have new thing for Bernat chunky yarn.

I have explanations for most of these purchases. The navy and grey are going to be used for a secret present. The size 6 needles, I am convinced, will bring me the utmost happiness and joy when I knit these bad boys

into a fuzzy, lace type scarf. The other Bernat yarn? I have no excuse for it except to say that I loved the color, they were both from the same dye lot, they were the last 2 skeins, and they were less than $2 each. I think they will knit up into a fab scarf.

Work on the preemie-baby-sweater-that-may-never-end continues. Here it hangs out in the specially designated "blocking sink" (isn't it nice that even though I have a tiny apartment I have 2 bathroom sinks so I can devote one solely to soaking my knit projects?!?!).

I started blocking the back and one of the front panels and then I ran out of t-pins (should have picked up that second box today at Wal-Mart).
You can see how the blocking changes the front panel's size. On the left is the right panel and the on the right is the unblocked left panel.

Finally, I owe the faggot stitch scarf, which I've renamed the autumn scarf due to the pretty burnt color, an apology. A few nights ago I cursed at it. I said not nice things to it. And it was all my fault. I was reading blogs while trying to knit. I wasn't paying attention. I may have missed one of the billion K2togs that happens in this scarf. And I lost it. It had nothing, I assure you, to do with the fact that it was almost midnight (ok, it had everything to do with that). After yelling and much sighing I began the process of ripping back to a row where I could actually see where the stitches were all the while praying that I wouldn't have to frog the whole thing (since that has already happened 3 times).

I find a row where I'm able to pick up all the stitches and then feel compelled to knit all the rows I had to pull out (somewhere between 5 and 10). As I start to knit I realize that the yarn overs are twisted in the wrong direction and the other stitches probably are too. But I press on fixing as I go. I do not end up knitting all the rows that I pulled out before shear exhaustion took over. I was a little upset that I could not finish one project perfectly, but then look at this:

Can you find the wonky row? Neither can I. And I've looked closely. Thank you autumn scarf for being so forgiving and hiding all my mistakes deep within your super soft rows. Never again will I be angry with you.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Block Party Weekend

Today, while out furniture shopping (read about it here) I picked up some t-pins. That means that today was the beginning of a blocking extravaganza. Here's a baby blanket that I had finished a few weeks ago (pre-blocking):

I made it from leftover yarn. The red is deep red Red Heart that I used for the Simple Scarf. The blue is a Red Heart sport weight in Skipper Blue (loved the color!). The multicolored yarn is Red Heart super saver in Mexicana. I originally got the pattern from But the pattern is no longer available. I've included it at the bottom of the page if you want to use it.

This is baby blanket during blocking. It's a "preemie" sized blanket at about 15 inches long.

And...I finished all the rectangles for the preemie sweater! I knit the last panel up while waiting for the high school band to perform at a concert on Thursday night.

And here it is pre blocking and before I sewed in the ends but it's set up in the way that it will be pieced together. I like how the purple in the yarn made these interesting tiger stripes in the sleeves. I think I'm going to make a hat and booties to match.

My friend Jenn is already begging for one when she has a baby. I was going to block this tonight too but I decided to wait since I wasn't sure if I had enough t-pins. The sweater should be done by the end of the week me thinks. I can't wait to be done with this cutie!

Raised Garter Stripes blanket:

1 oz. each of 3 colors of yarn
US size 5 needles (the original pattern calls for size 6 needles)

Rows 1 and 2: With color *, K across
Rows 3-6: Work stockinette stitch (K on right side, P on wrong side)
Rows 7 and 8: K across; change to color *
Rows 9 and 10: K across; change to color *
Rows 11-14: Work stockinette stitch
Rows 15 and 16: K across; change to color *
Rows 17 and 18: K across; change to color *
Repeat rows 1-18 continuing to change colors for pattern.
*= colored yarn, you want to continually cycle through the colors. First A then B and then C. This makes the color changes different each time through the pattern.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like...Christmas?

I'm having mixed feelings about the weather here in the South lately. On the one hand I'm very excited that it's so mild and feels like spring is around the corner (I hate cold weather). On the the other hand there are 12 days until Christmas and it is 80 degrees am I supposed to get in the holiday spirit when it feels like I should be at the lake?!?!

In the knitting world I have been working on the final front panel for the preemie sweater. The only difference between this panel and the other one is that the cables go in the opposite direction. I don't have pictures but you can imagine what that looks like. I'm hoping to finish the preemie sweater (well, all the parts at least) today.

I teach a knitting class at the very beginning of the day at the school where I work. Today the little darlings were learning how to bind off so they could take their "finished" projects home over the Christmas break. They were supposed to be using a garter stitch and making a scarf. However, I had several variations on a scarf that look like amorphous blobs, some that looked like Swiss cheese, and one who gave up completely and decided knitting wasn't for him. All in all, out of the 10 kids in the class I would say we got five good scarves. But at least they learned how to knit and I'll be sending them home with instructions for making other things if they like.

My list of knitting projects is growing. And on top of that I have one cross stitch WIP that really needs to be finished just so I can say it's done. Smart one here picked up 3 more very involved cross stitch patterns from a fellow teacher the other day though I have no idea when I will start and/or hope to finish these things. My knitting "To Do" is as follows:

1. Finish preemie sweater, block, and sew.
2. Block multi-colored baby blanket (pictures to follow).
3. Finish faggot stitch scarf.
4. Make a present for The Boyfriend (I know exactly what it's going to be but I want it to be a surprise for him).

Speaking of The Boyfriend... he gets major props from me. He came over to my apartment after our Bible study last night and helped me make muffins. Then he actually acted somewhat interested in my knitting projects. The thing that wins the major points though is that he helped me clean my living room. I despise cleaning in any and all forms and have seriously considered hiring a maid to clean my apartment. He's a sweetheart and I'm not letting him go. Sorry girls.

P.S. I have just discovered an awesome blog written by the Yarn Harlot. I know that some (if not most of you) have already heard of her but I love her blog. And the fact that she has a fluffy cat and, from what she writes, a fairly "lived in" house just like me.

Monday, December 10, 2007


They say that even the best laid plans oft go awry. That was Saturday. I had every intention to get more done than actually did. I went Christmas shopping and spent way too much (already). Thankfully I only spent a little on myself (two big storage containers: one for dishes, the other for yarn!). I spent the rest of the afternoon wrapping presents and picking up a little around the apartment. Then the boyfriend called and we went to dinner. Needless to say, the preemie sweater did not even get touched until today. I was able to finish the front left panel this evening.

It will need some serious blocking to make it the correct width. This was my first time at trying to write and use an original pattern. It only took three times of ripping out the whole thing to finally get what I wanted. I'm still not 100% happy with the cast on edge but I can shape it a little when I block the piece later. When I finish the whole thing I'll post the pattern here. I hadn't planned on starting the right panel tonight because I brought some work home. Then I realized I saved all the things I needed to work on to my profile on the work server. Which I can't access from home. So I may start that right panel tonight and leave the real work for tomorrow.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

To Do List

My cat, Penelope, does not like to sleep in. Not when I'm home. As today is Saturday, I was trying to sleep in for the first time in ages. At 6:30 Penelope climbed onto my stomach and began kneading my belly and swishing her fuzzy tail in my face. Then she feel asleep, which is ok for about 5 minutes then she starts to make my back hurt (she is 10 pounds of pure fuzz). At 8:30 she walked across the pillow and stood on my hair. When I yelled she jumped off and positioned herself so close to me that I couldn't even roll over. By 10:00 she had given up on me and went to sleep on her side of the bed. By then I was ready to get up so she climbed over and took the warm spot where I had been sleeping. So is the life of a cat owner.

Through all of Penelope's escapades this morning something productive did occur. I, in my half awake stupor, was able to work out a plan on how I wanted to attack the cabling of the preemie baby sweater. I plan on finishing both panels today and sewing the thing together. We shall see how that goes.

Over the past week or so while I was at work I made of list if around 110 scarf patterns (give or take 4 or 5) and, coincidentally, one baby sweater from Knitting Pattern Central that I want to use. I have an idea of what I'm going to do with 110 scarves but I will tell you more about that later. I've already started on a faggot stitch one that is looking cool and showing off some textured boucle yarn that I'm trying to use up.

Today's plan is to finish the preemie sweater, do some shopping at Target, read some from my great new book, Girl in a Cage, and clean the apartment (boo).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Baby Sweater

Above is baby sweater that I knit last February. It's worked in 5 large rectangles and then sewed together. I then turned the sweater inside out so that the seams weren't visible but you can certainly leave them as is. The sweater is a great first project for someone who knows little more than how to cast on, knit, and bind off. The original instructions can be found here:,,HGTV_3263_3298694,00.html
I've also listed them below. The great thing about this sweater is that you can embellish it very easily. I'm working on another one in a preemie size that is in stockinette stitch and has some cabling on the front panels. I'm 2 front panels shy of having it finished but I didn't like the cabling I did originally (and it was too long) so I'm planning on ripping it out and redoing it one of these days.

The blue baby sweater was worked with US size 9 needles and Red Heart worsted weight yarn in Ocean.

1. For the back: Cast on 32 sts and knit for 10 inches.

2. For the front panels (make two): Cast on 16 sts. and knit for 10 inches.

3. For the sleeves (make two): Cast on 26 sts. and knit for 6 inches.

4. Sew together as follows: Place the two front panels on top of the back piece, lining up the shoulders and the sides. Place the sleeves on the table top so that the stitches are running horizontally as you knit them. Give each panel a quarter turn and fold it in half lengthwise (horizontally). Position each sleeve so that the folded edge is even with the shoulder (top edge) of the "sweater". This is just to visualize how everything will go together.

5. Remove one of the front panels and the two sleeves. Sew the top edge of the back piece and the top edge of the remaining panel together, starting in the center and sewing to the outside edge. This will be the shoulder seam. The portion of the front panel that was not stitched can later be folded back for a little lapel if you wish.

6. Fold the front panel back so it is flat on the table top.

7. Pick up one of the folded sleeve pieces and place it in position with the folded edge lined up with the shoulder seam. Unfold it so that the entire end of the piece is lined up along the edge of the sweater. Sew the two pieces together.

8. Fold the front panel back into position. This will also fold the sleeve into position. Sew the bottom seam of the sleeve together.

9. Sew the bottom portion of the sweater front and back together, sewing from underneath the arm to the bottom edge.

10. Repeat the above steps on the other side of the sweater.

***You can use other sizes of needles or different weights of yarn. Just make sure that the front and back panels are the same length.***

The website has figures and pictures that may be more helpful in sewing the pieces of the sweater together.

Please feel free to share this pattern and to print it for your personal use. You may not sell this pattern.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Simple Scarves

As are some pictures of some projects I've completed over the past year and half. First up, three simples scarves. These were all knitted using a garter stitch (knit all rows).

Here's a close up of the blue hued scarf. I believe the yarn I used I was Red Heart Multicolor in Ocean (or something very similar). I had this left over from several other projects. I cast on 25 stitches and used US size 13 needles.

This is a close up of the skinny blue scarf. Unfortunately there was no good pictures of the color. The scarf was really shiny and the flash from the camera kept bouncing back. Anyhow...this is a cool scarf. It came in a generic "Learn to Knit" kit I got for my birthday. I would not suggest using this type of yarn to learn to knit. I gave up on it after about an hour. Lion Brand Funky Fur yarn is a type very similar to the one pictured. This scarf is very skinny, about 15 stitches, but long.

This is a close up of the red scarf. It was actually the first thing I ever completed. I'm pretty proud of this because the garter stitch came out really even for someone who had no idea what they were doing. I used Red Heart yarn but I can't remember what the color was. Something dark red and on sale no doubt. I used US size 9 needles and about 20 stitches.

Feel free to mimic any of these designs (they're really tough, I know...). Enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Ok, so I decided to try the blogging thing from a new perspective...that of my obsessive knitting side. Over the next few days I'll be updating and adding pictures of projects I've completed and designs I've used. Visit often, leave feedback, and enjoy!