Saturday, December 28, 2013

3.14159 winding down

I'm coming to the final rows of my Pi.  I had to dig to find another skein of the yarn I'm using, that's it, no more to be found...unless he is hiding real good.  I've had this since maybe 2002 or 2003 when I skeptically placed my very first order with Smileys Yarns.  I had never ordered yarn online and certainly had never heard of Smileys.  I knew Joanns, Woolworths, Franks Nursery&Crafts and small shops around town.  I was so afraid of getting ripped off but my yarn came, quickly, and I've been a fan every since.
Hoping to get out and get some bright sunny pics this weekend.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


For those who don't know, 3.14159 is Pi.  I have made a couple of shawl and find that knitting lace shawls is a lot of fun and produces beautiful pieces. After creating several shawls, following someone else's instructions it was time to do my own thing.
I'm using Elizabeth Zimmermann's pithy instructions for creating a circular shawl based on pi.  I pulled out some of my stitch books to find my own patterns and got to work.  I've found a couple of diamond and leaf patterns that are pretty and pretty easy to follow. It's slow but steady work watching it develop. 
The first pis shows the color the  best but the pattern shows very well.  I'm up to 576 sts now and have started repeating the patterns I chose rather looking for new patterns.  I want the shawl to be bigger than the ship wreck shawl so I'm focused on just clicking away.
I actually started on this shawl December 5th, it sure seems not I have been working on it so much longer.  Hopefully I will finish this up next month.  Blocking is going to be really hard, my apartment does not have the floor space.  I saw a pic where someone had blocked something vertically, I think that's what I'm gonna have to do. 

Keep stitchin'

Homemade Icord needles!

I love gifting me cause nobody else will.  I saw a video on YouTube that shows how to create your own dpn's and straights.  I thought this would be a great way to make some new cable needles since I do NOT like the ones I bought from Knitpicks. I love how pretty they are but working with them sucks.
So after watching this very detailed video I decided to give it a try.
The purpose for these needles is really because I like making Icord drawstrings for skirts, bags and maybe a hoodie one day.  Those 7" dpn's are a nuisance to me, way too long for 3-5 sts.  Now that is no longer a bother for me. 

The first pic shows my finished needles in sizes 3 and 8.  The store didn't have any other sizes to choose from.  For now these sizes will do fine.

The second pic shows the actual size of the needles they fit nicely and will make sliding from one end to the next quick and easy.

The third pic shows the comparison of mine to the purchased needles.  I think I did a great job!  They're smooth with no ridges to catch the yarn.  The only thing I wish I had is a dh, boyfriend or dad who is into woodwork so I could steal a little stain and sealant to coat them and add some color.  You know I'll be surfing around to see if someone has an easy solution for that too.

Finally the last pic show that I am, in fact, able to knit perfect Icords with these guys.  
It's a little rough because I'm not used to working with wood and the size.  The adjustment got easier, on both sizes as I continued to work with the needles.  I don't have any wax paper so mine are not as smooth as they will be after that coating that comes from waxing.  However, I think this is a wonderful idea and I'd like to make some straights just so I can bling them out with some shiny stones or something.  But they'll be for decoration, not to used at all.

Keep stitchin'

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Retro Inspired complete

Just in time for the holidays I have another top done and I love it!  I got a great fit with this one giving me a real understanding of what 'negative ease' really is all about.  It's a word I've heard so many times in the sewing, as well as, the knit/crochet world.  This top is not zero negative, which I don't do much of anyway, it's probably half inch to an inch...breathing room.
I wasn't crazy about the moss stitch because it seems to puff out a bit, it's kind of grown on me now.  I especially like the way it lays on the collar.  I would reconsider using it as a bottom hem because of this tendency to puff or roll, unless I did something wrong.  I think it's great for sleeves if I plan to turn the cuff up, there's a nice crease there. 
I did excellent in the waist shaping and hip proportions, the entire sweater for that matter including the length. This sweater provides ample butt coverage though it would not be considered a dress option.
Even though I stated I did not care for having to start this top with individual pieces that had to be put together, I enjoyed learning a new technique and will most likely use it again.
The only mistake I made is in decreasing at the bust to start waist shaping.  The top was not going to have the fit I wanted so I started decreasing and they were not spaced out enough or maybe I should have started sooner.  I think it's because I was busy trying not to mess up that beautiful stranded work.  Anyway, I have a slight pucker under each underarm.  Hidden away from the world so it's not even a big deal I just want to learn from it so it won't happen again.

Keep stitchin

Monday, November 18, 2013

Retro inspired

I started a new sweater at the beginning of the month after the pattern I bought got a bit boring to me.  I'm started to look forward to doing my own thing rather than depend on someone's instructions to guide me through. It really take the pressure off when I don't feel I have to match what I see in the book or on paper.
What I did this time is use a cardi, Retro Peplum, designed by Ann Budd as inspiration to create a pullover.  

Ann Budd’s directions, just like Doris Chan, can be a real head scratcher until you finally get it.  Then you wonder what all the crying was for, it’s all pretty cool and easy to follow.
While taking a look at the Retro Peplum, I had to read several times to make sure I was clear on the starting point.  Having never created a saddle shoulder top, let alone top-down, I was intrigued.  Ok, create the two saddles (rectangles) cutting yarn and securing with a stitch holder. Got it, set aside and wiggle my toes happily as I move on to the next step.
Hmmm, lets read that again…and again…and one more time for good measure.  Oooooook, now I’m on board!
-  Start at the end where I just finished knitting (live end).  Work to the other end where I began (cast on end) picking up 26 stitches. I only had to find a way to sneak in two extra stitches because I neat edges gave me 24 stitches. I was careful to pay attention as I slipped the first stitch of every row creating my selvage.
- Cast on 42 stitches using the Knitted CO which happens to be my favorite CO. Now started at the opposite end of the second saddle, pick up 26 stitches ending at the live end this time.  There should be 94 stitches.
Whew got through that and it’s time for shoulder shaping. Shoulder shaping is simple k2, p2 until the next row when short-rows start. OMG, why do short-rows make me so nervous! It’s actually not the w&t but the pick up on the return that gives me trouble.
Rows 1 and 2, wrap&turn, no problem.  Remember you are going all the way across to the opposite shoulder (saddle) for the first w&t.  Rows 3 and 4 pick up the w&t and then do ANOTHER W&T.  Rows 5 and 6, pick up the last w&t and knitted in pattern to the end of the row.  Yeah! All w&t’s done.  On the next part of the adventure. Simple 2x2 ribbing until piece measure 4” from pick up stitches at saddle NOT center back.

After I finished all the back ribbing, picking up the stitches and doing the same on the front halves with two skeins of yarn was easy.  I chose to work with dpn's instead of trying to keep the yarn from getting tangle using circulars.  This made life so easy for me and helped me get the fronts done much faster, IMO.
Introducing another color to create my first stranded pattern was fun.  I found a pattern for a pair of mittens that had the look I was trying to achieve.  I used that pattern and added a few extra rows of my own for a different look.  I wish I had repeated the whole series again for a wider band, I really love how it came out.  I fought the urge since I don't have that much white yarn, I have to reserve some for my sleeves where I'll be repeating the pattern transition.

I made sure to take my time and sketch out my grid for the pattern so I can have the exact same pattern on my sleeves.  I thinking of doing an icord neck with ties to finish it up for a causal look.

Keep stitchin'

Shenanigans Sam

Last week I was reading about the Christmas Elf.  I had never heard about this little guy until recently (last year).  I said I was going to make a couple and never got around to it...until this year. So I made one with the intention of gifting it with the cute little story that goes along with it.  Mine came out kinda creepy looking and made me think it would probably scare a child so I'm keeping him for myself!
Making it was quite easy though time consuming with all the little bits. I picked a name for him after he immediately begin to look for things to get into like my penny cup.

There's no telling what he'll get into between now and Christmas.

Keep stitchin'

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Land ho!

My shawl is done!
I made several mistakes along the way, such is life.  Being human I've had my share of crisis and struggles.  So my shawl shows the points during the voyage when I was adrift.  But like any good sailor, I was able to weather the storm, check my navigation and bring her to shore.
The blues remind me of a sunny day and clear waters.  But as evening approaches, you see dusk, with the threat of a storm approaching in the purple skies.  The ship is tossed during that storm with several dropped stitches.  I recover and try to find the my lost stitches though not always successfully.  Once I reach the shore, even in the night, I can see the remnants of sea glass and shells that have washed ashore.  And I smile because I still made it to the end.

This shawl was definitely a whole lot easier than I expected it to be.  I'd say the hardest part was starting the circle.  After deciding to go with Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-on it was easier.  Of course starting anything with so few stitches is going to be bothersome to start so be prepared for some rough waters.  Find a quiet place to start your circle and work the first 4-5 rounds.  After that, you've got something to work with and life gets a little easier.

You can hardly see them but those little glints around the edges are the few beads I scattered.  The things that flicker in the night when the moonlight hits them.
Hopefully the ruffles will lay flat once the shawl is blocked.  The patterned leaves are beautiful and I am able to see some hearts.  I want all of that to show after blocking.  All in all I did enjoy making this and just may make another one next year.

Keep stitchin'

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

We're sailing now!

I totally killed the middle section of this beautiful and now I'm on to the the part that will test my resolve.  Round after round of the same two stitches again and again and again.i believe I've already made a couple of mistakes but can't figure out where.  I think putting the stitch markers back in every 20 to 30 stitches will help me stay on track.   I could definitely see myself making another one of these one day.

I added the extension cables and laid it out on my resistant ball to get a better shot.  I love the colors!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My ship sunk but I had a life preserve

Things did go well with my Shipwreak shawl.  After starting over 2, 3, 4 times I decided to put the yarn in the corner to think about the way she's been acting.  I picked a different color called Blue Dream and so far it has been a dream to work with.  I haven't had to do any ripping and I will get caught up this weekend and be ready to start the netting.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shipwreck fun

This shawl is so much fun! Lace looks so intricate and intimidating but I'm finding that it really isn't at all.  A series of strategic placed yo, ssk and k2tog, for the most part, turns into the most incredible piece of work. As you work through, and I can only speak for myself, I start to notice the pattern.  This makes it easier to catch a mistake when I’m paying attention.  I start to see that on the current row, for instance, the ssk should fall right before the yo of the previous row. Or maybe, that (yo, k1, yo)  be right over a ssk on the previous row.

I don’t necessarily use stitch markers, don’t have enough.  What I do instead is used about 5-6 scraps of yarn, each about 3-4 inches in length.  I rotate these markers as I go along by simply sliding the farthest one out and placing it at the new starting point along the round. So my markers just move with my work. Stop to count in between the sections before moving on.  Often, just like typing, I can tell when my count is off and can easily correct it that way.
One of the biggest things I’ve come to discover about lace or knitting and crocheting a pattern in general is that I need a bit of noise. Even though I’ve read books and blogs that say find a quiet place if it’s too quiet I make more mistakes.  If there is no music or tv, not folk talking incessantly, I start thinking and daydreaming which leads to more mistakes.  However, having other sounds cause me to focus in order to stay on track. My be odd to others but works well for me since I now know that’s what I need.
Is there another Shipwreck in my future...who knows.  My goal is to continue to try creating my lace pieces that are just as gorgeous as this.

Keep stitchin'

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Now why would something so pretty has such a name.
I fell in love with this shawl as soon as I saw, and what a surprise to find out that it's free!  The pattern is on the knitty web site, and on ravelry of course.
This is one of the beautys that made me gasp. Mine is off to a pretty good start though it have made a couple of mistakes.  Hopefully they won't show too much.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

All I need now is a rocking chair

The weather is changing and I need to keep my shoulders room while I work both at work and it home.  I didn't want to follow a pattern, I'm trying to learn to make my own creations as much as possible.
I started a shawl using my stitchionary books to add texture and a few guidelines to help me get started.  I totally love the results I have. I ran out of the gray yarn so I'm finishing up with some burgundy. This is yarn left over from my $5 in Paris top.

I finish up the last rows and bind off tonight. Next, some light blocking since it's acrylic and then it's done.

Keep stitchin'


I created my own, totally original top.  I bought a pattern and it ended up being a waste of my money, the designer was no help in explaining it to me, that will never happen again.  What it done is let a bad taste in my mouth for new designers.  I will be very hesitant about ever buying a pattern from a new designer.  If I've never heard of them, can not google them, and can't find hundreds of patterns made by others, I certainly will not be one of the first.
So this is what I ended up with, my Faux Overlapping top based sort of on a pattern by Kristin Omdahl's book The Finer Edge.

It's reversible!

Keep stitchin'

Monday, August 19, 2013

Persimmon nearly done

Just a bit more to go and it's done.  The only thing I really have left is the buttons and any embellishments I decide to add.  I like the fit and love the color. Simply Soft always has a wonderfully soft feel and is perfect for Fall temperatures.

Keep stitchin'

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Getting back into blogging seems to be a bit difficult for me but I'm trying.
My latest project is a top-down cardi in garter stitch.  I using the seamless method that Britt Schmiesing teaches with her cardi Seelie.   The instructions are very easy to follow and several have been made by ravelry members.  I found Britt when I went on a hunt for a top-down cardi that creates the button band along with the sweater rather than picking up stitches afterwards.  So was born Persimmon which is the name of the colorway of the yarn,  it's Caron Simply Soft.
The knit work was going pretty fast until I got to the sleeves.  I've ripped them several times trying to get the perfect fit.  The real problem came in when I decided that I should be knitting them in the round rather than back and forth like the body.  Mind you, this is after I got about an inch past the elbow!  The first sleeve was almost done. Once I started knitting in the round I noticed the stitches didn't look the same, I hated the look.  I finally realized its because the sleeve must be knit back and forth in order to blend with rest of the sweater.other than that the body is finished.  I remembered to mark the button band side so that I won't end up with buttons and holes that don't line up evenly.
This  is going to be a nice Fall sweater.

Keep stitchin'

Sunday, February 10, 2013

$5 more finally done!

Seems like it took forever to finish this top.  This was my first time knitting a piece that is totally striped. Having to keep changing the yarns and making sure I kept up with the number of rows too kept me on my toes.  I only had to rip maybe three times and only a couple of rows rather than the half my work so it wasn't so bad.  I will definitely make a couple more of these in the fall for winter 2013.  But for now, it's time to start on some spring/summer garments.

Keep stitchin'

Sunday, January 27, 2013

$5 more

All done with one. I had a few challenges but overall I love
I started the second almost immediately using three colors this. The fit will be more relaxed on this one. I wasn't sore about the stripes but now I really like them. Honestly, I could make this top over and over.

Monday, January 14, 2013

$5 in Paris...I wish

Wow! has it really been a nearly two years since my last post?  Really wasn't my fault :) I kinda got lost when google started adding circles and all that stuff that I still haven't figured out yet.  All I know that I couldn't sign into my own blog.  Now that things seem to be back on track I'll try posting some things.
I am still stitching, what else is there to do?
Right now I'm working on a rounded yoke, ribbed, raglan top called $5 in Paris. Some have changed the name based on how much they spent for the yarn.
I'm loosely following the directions so I've had to rip and repeat several times, just can't get the body to way I want. I have learned some things that will help me get the fit right from the start with the next one; there will be a next one. I do think I am on the right track finally, now that I am finishing up the second sleeve tonight.  My goal is to have this top finished, ends weaved in, soaked, dried and ready to wear next week. Of the wearing is based on the weather, don't know what's happening with the weather here but it ain't cold!

Well this went good so I guess I'll be loading some pics soon.

Keep stitchin'