Saturday, September 25, 2010

There Hasn't Been Much Going On

I just looked at the date of my last post and it's been over a month!  I think that's a reflection of two things.  One is that my knitting hasn't been that interesting, just a progression of stockinette stitch socks.  The other is that the shop is starting to get busier so I have less free time.
I'm still in sock land.  I'm getting ready to mail my cousin's wife a tape measure in hopes that she will finally get back to me with some measurements so I can start his vest.  Meanwhile, I've done my Christmas knitting list.  It's not as extensive as last year's but I still need to hit it hard.  The first things I need to complete are the things for my friends Andrzej and Kathy.  They live in Hong Kong and it's going to take about a month for their presents to get there.  I'm making Andrzej a pair of grey socks (sad face).  Andrzej used to be the guy I could count on to wear any kooky, colorful pair of socks I made him.  Now that he's in Hong Kong, he's teaching at a temple where the guilding teacher wants everyone to dress in monastic clothing.  He's had to put away all his fun socks in favor of white and grey.  So, I'm knitting him a pair he can actually wear.  I had some left over grey alpaca from a scarf I knit for a monk friend of mine last year so I'm going to knit Kathy a lace scarf with that.  That, at least, should be fun and she'll be able to wear it at the temple.  I think I'm going to use the Fiber Trends Estonian Flowers pattern.
In addition to those gifts, I've got another vest, eight pairs of socks, several hats, a neckwarmer, a baby sweater and another sweater for my sister (she promised to pick an actual color this time).  It's a big list but I'm pretty sure I can get it all done, if not by Christmas, at least by mid-January.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Overheard in the Shop

I was in the front room knitting while a couple of women with an infant and three year old were browsing in the other room when I heard, "Mommy, can we move in here?  'Cuz then we wouldn't have to drive all the way here when we wanted yarn."


Sorry for the lapse.  I'm knitting a bunch of shop samples right now.  The vest for my cousin is still on hold until his wife gets me some measurements.  I just finished a baby set out of the Cascade 220 Superwash Paints (photos coming soon) and a hat out of a new super bulky Platino.  I'm knitting a hat out of the Malabrigo Rios even though our supply of that is pretty low.  Hopefully, we'll be getting more soon.  I ordered it.  It's now up to Malabrigo to send it and we all know how that goes.
It's always great fun working with the new yarns!

Thursday, August 05, 2010


The next UFO I've dug up is a vest from handspun that was a victim of the great knitting stoppage of 2009.  This happened last year in October when I irritated a nerve in my shoulder and had to stop knitting for a couple of months.  What I learned from it is that I cannot continue knitting past the point where my shoulder begins to hurt.  I need. to. stop.  If I do that, I can knit again after a break.  If I don't, bad things happen.
Unfortunately, the stoppage came right when I was in the middle of my Christmas knitting.  I've almost caught up from it in time for this Christmas!
This is the yarn I'd spun so far and the remaining fiber.  I also had a couple of bobbins full of singles that just needed to be plied.  I've since plied what I had and spun and plied the last of the fiber.  I've got nine skeins of two ply yarn that are about 4oz each and will probably knit at around a heavy worsted weight.  I might knit them a bit tight since it is for a cousin of mine to wear when he's working outdoors in the winter.  This is my cousin who got pneumonia two winters ago so I'd like to get this done for this winter.  There's one fly in the ointment, though.  I've lost his measurements.  I emailed his wife and she said she'd get them but she's got two children under four so it may take her a while.  I must remember to never write measurements down on little pieces of paper.  I inevitably lose them.  I have a measurement book for a reason.  I've got to always use it!
Meanwhile, I really should wash all this yarn and I can always swatch while I wait for measurements. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Stripey Sweater and Fall Yarn

Boy, the blog got away from me for a bit, but I'm back. 
I had a lovely visit to NYC though it was so hot that if I never have to go back there in July, it will be too soon.  What I mostly did was go out to eat and then hide inside and knit.  We made it to the aquarium and on the Staten Island Ferry but that's as adventurous as we got.  Really, not so bad when you think about it.  I got to spend a lot of quality time with my friends Melissa and Andy
and got a lot of knitting done. 
I finished the sleeves of the stripey sweater on Sunday morning.
You can see at the top where I ran out of the lavender and white but they don't look bad overall.

Then I spent Sunday afternoon putting it together and sewing in the ends while watching the World Cup final with Andy (Melissa took a much deserved nap).  I really like relaxed vacations.  I'm just not much of a tourist.

Here's the finished sweater

and a fairly bad picture of me wearing it.
I really need to block the front a bit.
Meanwhile, this is the time of year when all the new yarn starts arriving in giant boxes that we refer to as "Annie Boxes".  Why Annie Boxes? 
Because, they are so big that Annie could use one for a studio apartment!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Train Knitting

I'm still working on the sleeves of the striped sweater.  I've completely run out of the lavender and will be out of the white shortly so I'll need to start getting creative with the row pattern.  I'm almost to the top so it shouldn't be too noticable.
I don't usually take a sweater project on a trip but I'm so close to being done with this that I'm taking it with me to NYC.  I'll have a total of eight hours on the train and if I can't get it finished in that amount of time, I'm doing something wrong.  I'm bringing everything I need to finish it completely and with any luck, I'll have finished object to bring back with me.  I'm also bringing a pair of socks as a back up.  I feel like I'm show a great deal of self restrain in only bringing on pair of socks with me to work on.  Usually, I'd bring at least three.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Knitting Won

I was over at the zen center yesteray.  I sat morning practice then was hanging out for an hour or so waiting for a going away party to start.  I was sitting on the couch knitting when I started to get super sleepy.  I finally lay down on the couch with the knitting on my stomach and dozed off.  About half an hour later, just as I was waking up, a friend walked past, saw me passed out on the couch with the knitting on top of me and said, "Looks like the knitting won!"

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Vacation, Vacation, Vacation!

I am so happy to be on vacation!  One of the hard things about having the shop open seven days a week is that, even on my days off, I never have my house to myself.  Don't get me wrong, having the shop open every day has been really great and mostly I don't mind.  I'm just really going to enjoy having the place to myself this week.
The only major plans I have for my vacation is a trip to NYC to see Melissa.  I've splurged and bought train tickets.  One of my all time favorite things to do is ride the train and knit.  I would take a train trip to nowhere just to sit, watch the world go by and knit.  I'm hoping to have the striped sweater done by then so I will probably take socks with me.  I'm not quite sure what project I'm going to tackle after the sweater.  I may do the vest for my cousin Whitney.  I meant to get it done for Christmas last year but then my Christmas knitting got completely stalled out when I hurt my shoulder.  My bike is at the shop right now getting new handlebars so as to avoid that issue this year.  The thing about the vest is that I haven't even finished spinning the yarn.  I'm close, though, then I can start knitting it.  Yeah, I think that one may be our winner.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Wonders of Blocking

The gray sweater is happily blocking on towels.  I decided to wet block the whole thing and then use the iron to touch up different spots that needed it.
The collar lay flat just fine but
the pockets needed some extra steaming to not be puckered.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with it.  Now that it is blocking, I can measure the front and order the zipper.  I have forgotten whether my sister wanted a two way zipper or not so I'll have to call her.
Next, we have to long neglected striped sweater.
The more I look at this, the better I like it and the more baffled I am that I ever put it down in the first place.
The back was done and the fronts were done above the armholes.  It took no time at all to finish those up and now I've started the sleeves (sorry about the blurry picture).
I've decided to knit them at the same time because I'm running out of the lavender and white.
This is all I have left of those two colors.  I've decided to just punt on the colors when I run out and get this thing done.
One of the draw backs of doing both sleeves at the same time with this many colors is the big tangly mess that the yarn turns into.
Fortunately, this is mercerized cotton and so mostly just slides right through this tangle.  I can get a surpisingly long way before I have to untangle it.
After the super fiddly finish work on the gray sweater, I'm looking forward to the finish work on this.  There won't be as many ends as you'd think because you carry the yarn up as you go and the edging is just a row of single crochet all around the edges with a couple of crocheted ties.  I'm a little concerned about covering the front edge where I carried the yarn up, but, even if is shows through a bit, it is still worth it not to have to sew in all those ends.
Do you all read Franklin Habit's blog?  If you don't, you should.  His latest post is laugh-out-loud funny. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gray Sweater Closer to Being Done

Really close.  It just needs to be blocked and have a zipper put in.  I can't even order the zipper until I block it so that I know the correct length to order.  I have never made anything, short of lace, that needed to be blocked as badly as this sweater.  The hem rolls up, the collar sits funny, the pockets are bunchy.  I don't think it's anything that wet blocking and possibly a strategically placed steam iron can't fix but we'll see.
Meanwhile, I've resurrected the Two-Tie Striped Cardigan from Interweave Knits, Summer 2005.  I'm not sure if I'll have enough yarn to finish it or even if it will fit if I do finish it.  I'm seriously considering putting short sleeves on it if the yarn doesn't hold up.  Thus is the price of putting something down for five years.  I'll take some pictures soon. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Collar Progress (during which there was swearing)

I've finally got the collar of the Farmer's Market Cardigan knitted.  Let me just say that I am now firmly opposed to collars that are knitted seperately and sewed on and if I never have do another one again, it will be too soon.

Here is the collar and pocket edging finished and pinned on.  I had gotten both sides of the collar knitted and grafted at the back of the neck during knitting group last night.  It was then that I discovered that the right side band was not long enough.  What's more, it was not long enough at the spot where it turns the corner from the pocket to the front of the sweater.  I was faced with unravelling and reknitting it (not going to happen) or sewing it on and hoping it didn't look lopsided.  I chose option 3 which was to cut a strand where I needed the extra length, put it on needles, knit the extra length then graft it back together.  I did this but it wasn't easy and there was a lot of swearing and growling during the process.  I didn't realize how much of this I was doing until the girl sitting next to me quietly slunk off to ask someone else to help her with her knitting rather than bother me.  I apologize to everyone in the group who were very nice and offered help at several points to which my reply was leave. me. alone.  They did and it got fixed.
Now, I get to sew the collar on (yay, my favorite, not).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Storing Woolens

People often ask me how I store my woolens for the summer to avoid the dreaded m*th.  After a lot of years of experimenting, I've come up with a system I like pretty well.
First, wash everything.  People always ask me why the m*th hole is always smack in the middle of the chest on their favorite sweater.  The answer is that they probably spilled something on the front of it and didn't wash it before putting it away for the summer.  Believe me, it doesn't take much.  M*ths love anything that is the least bit dirty.  So, I run all my socks through the wash and hand wash anything else.
Next, I take a box of m*th balls, open the top and put the whole open box in a quart ziplock bag.  This goes in a drawer with all my woolens.  By putting the m*th balls in the ziplock it cuts down the stinkiness while still making it stinky enough to keep away the m*ths.  Your garments will smell slightly of m*th balls for a day or so after you take them out in fall and then they will be fine.  I know a lot of people are against using m*th balls.  They are smelly and toxic but there are times when chemical warfare is called for.  Using the ziplock cuts way down on the stink and also makes a box of m*th balls last for years.  I think mine's been going five years now and isn't done yet.

Friday, June 18, 2010

She Likes Them!

Wren picked up her socks today.
And they even fit!
I never measured her feet, just took a good guess.

Found It!

Just found the leftover yarn from my sister's sweater while cleaning my bedroom.  Now I can finish the darn thing with the right dyelot!
Also, Wren, if you didn't get my phone message, your socks are done.
I may have started four more pairs of socks at group yesterday (I can quit anytime I want. No, really, I can.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sale's Over

Phew!  That was our best sale ever!  Thanks to everyone who stopped by.  Considering how much stuff we sold, I'm amazed at how much is still here.  I've been trying to expand the shop inventory over the years and I guess I succeeded.
The yarn business is very cyclical, this time of year being one of the slowest.  I like it, though.  I'm planning to use this time to catch up on paperwork, do a bunch of knitting and generally relax before all the new yarn starts showing up in mid-late July.  I can't even believe how much new stuff I ordered.  Holy cow!
But, meanwhile, we relax.  The shop will be closed for vacation for the first part of July.  I haven't decided exactly when, but I'll let everyone know as soon as I decide.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hope for the Gray Sweater

I still haven't found the bag of leftover gray yarn but I did find a skein of the right gray on the shelf.  I'm almost certain it is not the right dye lot but definitely not complaining. I'm going to ravel back the collar a few rows and do the alternating row thing to smooth the transition. 
Also, I'm almost ready to turn the heels on Wren's socks.
Oh, just a note on comments.  I'm moderating all the comments because I've been having comment spam.  So, if you post a comment and it doesn't come right up, you didn't do anything wrong.  I just haven't gotten to my email yet.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What a Week and It's Only Thursday

Sorry I haven't posted for a couple of days but I've been have a crazy week.  First, the sale is going very well.  Thanks to everyone who's been in.  If you haven't made it over here, you have until 5pm Sunday.  There's still lots of wonderful yarn left, though the Malabrigo Lace Weight gave us our first empty shelf of the sale.  Don't worry, I order a ton of it for fall.
In other news, we've had truly ghastly plumbing issues yesterday and today.  I nearly asked the plumber to marry me when he told me everything was fixed.  Indoor plumbing is such a wonder and a joy when it is working correctly.  Also, clorox is my new best friend.  'Nuf said.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sometimes You Aren't Knitting For The Person You Think You Are

So, I have these socks I'm knitting.  They are out of some yarn I got from Webs and dyed ages ago.  My idea was to try it out to see if I wanted to add it to my line of hand dyed.  It is a regular wool/nylon sock yarn and I had two skeins to try.  I dyed them both in greens and blues.  My friend Wren fell in love with the color but someone else got the extra skein and I kept this one to try knitting myself. 
First, I cast on the socks for myself.  I got the toes done and they languished.  I then unravelled them a bit and changed the size to be for my cousin's wife and they languished.  Sunday night I picked them up to finish them but they were fighting me.  I pulled off the toes I'd started and cast on again.  This time I got the toes done but slowly realized that these socks are not for my cousin's wife.  These socks are for Wren!  Since I realized this, they've been coming right along and should be done by next week. 
Hi Wren, I'll call you when your socks are ready.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

One More Down, One To Go

I'm home taking an unplanned day off from biking today (yucky tummy all night but better now) and I just finished the third of the four unfinished pairs of socks I had on needles.  One more pair and I can start a new pair!  I am inordinately happy about this (see previous day's start-itis). 
I'm still working on the gray sweater.  I finished one side of the collar and have started the other.  Unfortunately, I'm going to run out of yarn and I can't seem to find the rest of it.  When I started and unravelled this sweater the first time, I saved the unravelled yarn and put it aside to wash before using it again.  The ball I'm using now is from that batch but I can't seem to find the rest.  This is a problem.  I see at whole bunch of tearing apart of my house in my near future.  Aaargh.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Suddenly this morning, I've been struck with a raging case of start-itis.  Everywhere I look, there's yarn I want to knit.  This is a problem when you live in a yarn store.
Must. Resist. Must. Finish. Gray. Sweater.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Blocking or Where the @%&! Are My T-Pins?

I know all the physicists say matter is conserved but I'm not convinced.  I swear matter enters and leaves the universe in the form of stitch markers, double pointed needles, and t-pins.  And I'm also pretty sure tape measures all go to conferences to for a week at a time and then suddenly come back.  I think scissors do the same thing.  How else can you explain it when one day I can't find a tape measure to save my own life knowing full well that I own at least ten and a week later, I find them everywhere.  Something has to be going on here. Anyway, I finished the Annie shawl out of the Noro Sekku.  I couldn't find my t-pins anywhere but I did have a bunch of common pins and they actually worked just fine.

Yes, I pinned in out a little crooked.  It doesn't bother me that much.  Once I took it off the blocking board, it was just fine.  I'm pleased with how it blocked out.  It got just enough bigger to be a nice wearable little shawl.  If I were going to use the Noro again, though, I'd use a pattern that started at the back of the neck and worked down.  That way the pattern and the striping would be going the same way.  It's still pretty this way though I hadn't realized how 70's those colors look together.  Eh, retro is in.
Next up, my sister's gray sweater.  It is the Farmer's Market Cardigan from Interweave Knits last fall. 
It was fun to knit the body but the finish work is getting on my nerves.  The collar is just hard enough that I'm having trouble working on it in the shop.  Unfortunately, that's the time I have to work on it so I'm just muddling though.
Speaking of the shop, the sale starts tomorrow at 10am and goes through June 13.  Be sure to come in and pick up some of your favorite yarn for 25% off.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cleaning Gnomes

People often comment on how nice and organized the shelves in the shop look. Do I suddenly have cleaning gnomes? Nope, I've got Annie.
Here she is doing what she spends a lot of her time doing, pulling yarn off the shelf and completely rearranging it. She is the only reason this place is not a complete disaster area 'cuz we all know how tidy I am.

Friday, May 28, 2010

So Much Fun!

Well, I'm off topic already but I have to write about it.
I went to Little Nephew's spring concert this morning. After the concert, we moved out to the front lawn of the school where the kids taught all the grown-ups how to do all the dances they learn in music class. Absolutely the most fun I've had in ages.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


A few weeks ago, a thought crossed my mind. What if I were to take all my unfinished objects and finish them one at a time until I had none left. And then I went, that's just crazy talk! Crazy!
Then, without really meaning to, I started finishing UFOs. First was a scarf, then a pair of socks, then another pair of socks. I have a sweater for my sister that just needs some finish work, a shawl that's a shop sample that's almost done and a cotton cardigan that I may actually want to wear this summer. Hmmm, I might be onto something. I thought about it a bit more and decided to keep finishing things for as long as I could stand it with the exception that I was allowed to have one pair of socks going at all time. I really can't function without a pair of socks on needles. It's just how I am.
So, here I am finishing UFOs without having really set out to. Let's see how far I get!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thirteenth Anniversary Sale!

Just a reminder that my anniversary sale is coming up June 5-13. There will be the usual 25% off all the yarn and fiber and I'll be doing a great Malabrigo giveaway. So be sure and get there early to get all the best stuff!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

So, I'm back

I've been thinking about this poor neglected blog for a while and wondering how to restart it. I thought maybe it would be good to re-purpose it a little. I'd been using it as the blog for everything but I think it will be better if I narrow the focus to knitting and the shop with possibly a side of sewing. I just started a cycling blog. It is if you are interested.
So that's my plan. Stay tuned!