Thursday, December 4, 2008

3-D Paper Snowflakes

I've seen these snowflakes hanging around the library for a couple of years, during the appropriate season, and I really like the way they look! I have finally tracked down the person who's making them and asked for the directions. I thought I should share them here, since I know how much you both enjoy the paper arts!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dog Sweater season + I love Etsy

Ok, I have to admit that I am a little bit obsessed about my dog, and making her sweaters. But--what is the point of having a little purebred dog if you can't dress her up? And she needs sweaters when it is cold out--she's a Boston Terrier.

I also love Etsy, and try to buy from there as often as possible. Because of my book addiction problem/issue, I am trying to buy less books and use free patterns. Where is this going? Well, now I have found some patterns I HAVE to buy......come on--this Obama sweater would be kick-a*s at the dog park!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No Money for Yarn? Try paper.....

Evidently, you can spin newspaper into a useable fiber.
Instructions available here.

That's waaaaay more work than I'd ever do, but it is a cool idea.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Farewell Sherman

After only 10 years, our much-loved dog Sherman has departed. I was working on a sweater for him, but I think I will just throw the entire project & yarn out. I don't have the heart to either rip it out OR reuse the yarn.

I have spent most of the summer working on dishcloths. Of course, I haven't remembered to take any pictures of them, but I did get about 8 done.

I went on a Malabrigo buying spree a few months ago, and I have been saving some of the balls for a "special" project. I think I found it. I will make this felted bag.

The last felted bag I made (a huge tote) went to Lisa, who re-gifted it to her mother. Lisa doesn't "do crafts" and I don't think she had any idea how long it took to knit the bag. Fortunately--her mother is crafty and likes it a lot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Checking In

OK, I have been absolutely awful at keeping up with putting on new posts here. I keep getting derailed by the "sudden" need to knit baby gifts. I have several projects (and photos) to add, but I have to get everything together first. Since I last posted, I knit a lace scarf, a hat for TL, several baby gifts, and most of a cardigan for myself. I am actually working on the sleeves, so I should be done before I take a trip in June. That's my current goal.

So, I'll do my absolute best to get more posts here, including photos of "old" projects by the weekend. Probably I'll have time on Saturday while TL plays a video game with his best buddy.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Knitspeak: an A to Z Guide... - review

First of all, I just want to say that I hate titles which combine two distinct words into one. The title of this book should be Knit Speak not Knitspeak!

This book is a complete waste of time & money. Everything in this book is very basic, and most of the content can be found in any basic knitting magazine, book, or Knitty.

The other serious problem with this book is the format:
small size
should be spiral bound, so you could leave it open to refer to it
booooooring, black, white and blue colors inside

Don't even bother looking at this one.

Vogue Knitting - The Ultimate Sock Book - review

Ok, I know it is sort of hilarious for me to be reviewing a sock book, when I have never a) knit a sock b)even tried c)learned to use DPNs. This book has the feel of many other Vogue knitting books--beautiful illustrations--high price tag--lots of ideas, but it's a little bit weird. I like lists, so here goes:
1. The techniques illustrations are useless. The attempt to make small, artistic little drawings fails.
2. Gorgeous photography makes you want to try everything.
3. Brief history of knitting socks is interesting. I am not generally a big fan of history, so that's saying something.
4. Uses a variety of yarns--always a plus in my book.
5. There is a fairly nice sock yarn chart by weight, but of course it covers the high-end brands only.
6. Many techniques are covered: toe up, cabled top, ribbed, lace, argyles, etc.

Recommended for the advanced knitter, or sock lover. Check it out at the library first--$29.95 is a lot for a book unless you really love it!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Knit by Janine Flew (Handmade Style series)

I recommend this book for new knitters. There is a brief history of knitting, but the best part are the instructions. For example--there are clear written instructions on how to pick up stitches, but also color pictures, with a different color of yarn to highlight. Most of the patterns (27) are rather basic, but the yarn combinations can be interesting (or ugly, depending on your point of view). Specified yarns can be expensive, but this book uses multiple brands of yarn. My only criticism is that I would have liked yarn substitution tips.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Works in progress, sort of

Here are some of the things I have been working on lately. The green bag was an experiment that failed. I like the shape of it (Cascade Luna yarn-fast!) but the handle doesn't work at all. The original pattern had 2 handles but I thought this would look better. It looks nice but is totally non-functional.
Home Ec Workshop sells the plastic daisy Crystal Palace needles. They are cheap, light, and fabulous. I almost like them as much as addi turbos. I bought 6 more pairs yesterday.
The orange sweater is an unfelted dog sweater. The yarn is kettle dyed--my favorite. It's too big unfelted, but I am afraid it will shrink a lot in the washer. I tend to NEVER want to make swatches.
The pink and brown sweater is for Sissy--also to be felted. It is made from Paton's Soy--which is a horrible yarn I can't recommend. The colors are beautiful, but the entire time I worked on this, my hands felt greasy. I talked to someone else who used this yarn, and she was of the same opinion--beautiful colors but feels terrible when you work with it. It also feels a little bit itchy to me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Provisional Cast on instructions

Ok WK--I found some decent instructions for provisional cast ons, and lots of tips for lace in general here.
I LOVE Claire Crompton's books. This is the 3rd one I have purchased. While I don't think I will make all of the bags, there are some very nice ones. It's the little things that I like about her books: the back edge has a ruler and and an abbreviations guide, and and even though they are hardcover, there is a flap to hold your page. Best part for me: her directions are line-by-line, no "repeat row 2" stuff, and large.

The first bag I will make is from the cover. It's a stash busting bag that is simply woven strips of stockinette stitch--looks like patchwork, but easier!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Creative Knitting Magazine

I usually purchase 2-3 knitting books per month. The goal is 1, but if there is something good at the UIHC bookstore, I have to get it. Fortunately, they don't sell this magazine. I purchased 2 issues of it, and then for some reason I got a $10/year subscription offer. Well, that's the magic price for Sari--subscription ordered. I like this magazine, because it has a variety of patterns--many of which are sized to at least 2x. I'm not sure I'll ever knit a sweater, but it's nice to know that I could.

Last week, I took a lace knitting class. It was pretty much a waste of time for me--I didn't get much out of it. I don't know why I think that I can take creative arts classes when I need to pay attention--I always get overstimulated and can't think straight. I do however, think that maybe I can do some easy lace knitting like this now.

Felted Bag for Sandy

This bag was sort of an experiment, but I like the way it turned out. I will be sending it to Sandy for her birthday (which was yesterday). It is made from Malabrigo yarn (the bright blue) and Noro kureyon. It felted beautifully in about 1 cycle. The pattern was adapted from an online pattern for a Celtic bag, but with different handles. The handles are knitted diamonds that go into a small strap with an i-cord middle. Initially, I wanted to make the handles from Noro, but I ran out of yarn 2/3 of the way through handle #2! To dry the bag, I stuffed it with plastic bags, and then sewed the top shut and handles together. I have never done that before, but it did make the top edge even. The Kureyon felts a little bit fuzzy, but it looks good.
This was knit on #9 circular needle with 1 strand. It took way to long to make!

My next project is a satchel made from Knit Picks yarn. The yarn is a nice color, but feels terrible. It is going fast though.

I like working with Malabrigo. I ordered 4 skeins from Ebay last month--everyone else was sold out of the colors I wanted.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Interweave Knits Spring 2008 -- Parte Deux

I think this is a great idea. Thanks WK!

You, of course, are right, I do have this issue, but I have not taken the time to actually read through very much of it. I was supposed to last evening, but it suddenly became very lovely out after days of much needed rain. So, instead of having a quiet evening on the couch, MM and I spent the evening on the deck, drinking a couple of beers and relaxing in the sudden evening sunshine. This time we were glad the weather man was wrong. I was knitting while we chatted, but forgot to get out the IK.

I reread your post this morning and clicked on all the links, etc. I really like many of the sweaters you already mentioned, but now that I've seen the Knitting Daily blog (yes, I'd never seen it before), I'm not so sure I could make the adjustments necessary to get any of them to look good on me. I guess I should try before giving up! I think it's really great to see the same sweater on the different body types, and I suppose I could try to learn something about shaping ...

The one I really like, although the color is wrong for me, is the Holly Jacket. I am not sure about it for me, but I have a colleague who would look great in it, unfortunately I haven't convinced her (yet) that she needs to learn to knit. She did like it in the magazine (she was on "vacation" with us, WK). For myself, I can't see knitting sweaters that will end up highlighting the fact that I should do a lot more exercising of my abdomen. I need to look at the lace patterns again, there are a couple that look interesting, especially the Cobweb Lace Stole.

CARDIGAN UPDATE: I have completed 3 parts of the cardigan! I got the entire back finished except for binding off on the way back from Atlanta. And I have finished off the two front parts since then. Woo Hoo!! I'll have to devote a few blog posts to what I've been working on since December ... and take photos.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Knitting Pattern-A Day-Calendar

So, I got this calendar for Christmas. I like it, even though some of the patterns are definitely not for me. I have been flagging the ones I might like, and it turns out that I have about 10 flagged so far and that's pretty good for 7 weeks worth of patterns. I found the calendar site through which a designer can submit patterns for the next calendar. It includes a TOC for this year's calendar.

The reason for mentioning the calendar, in truth, is because twofold. I decided I could rate it like WK does for books and I LOVE today's pattern.

I am trying to not read ahead, but the pattern directions seem to be clear (good since this is an edited work of patterns from many designers), the yarns are ones I can imagine using, no polyester, man-made yuck so far, and the photos are helpful. There isn't a stitch dictionary, as there is in many books, but I think they'd have to have an appendix for that. Difficult in a calendar page-a-day format. Also, there is a good mix of types of projects, hats, socks, washcloths, etc. One caveat is that several patterns, including today's take up more than one day (page), so you really don't get 365 patterns. Not a huge problem since there's no way I could knit them all in one year. Unless I decided to become a stay-at-home person, which would put a crimp in my knitting budget!

So today's pattern is called "Tortuga Hat Pattern" and was submitted by Lynn Bartsch. I searched for an image online, but couldn't find one, so you'll have to wait until I make TL one or buy the calendar. This pattern takes 3 days worth of calendar, so it might be a while. I feel I have to make it pretty soon, though, or TL will hate me for making it for him, although Lynn seems to have made one for herself as well as her kid.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Preemie Cupcake Hat

I have made 3 hats for the preemie project so far. I haven't been following the guidelines very well--they mostly want pastels, which I find boooooring!

This is my favorite so far, and it is mostly complete. Even better--I wrote the pattern myself, which will be posted eventually.

I think this will look better with a small flower on top, but I don't have the right colors of scraps. It is made with cheap acrylic washable baby yarns, and I can probably make about 5-10 with 2 skeins of yarn.
Preemie Baby Cupcake Hat Pattern
1 skein Caron Simply Soft, color bone for base
1 skein Bernat Baby Bouchle white for frosting (makes multiple preemie hats)
Size 5 needles

This pattern can be worked in the round with DPNS or on regular needles and seamed up the back.

Cast on 48 stitches
Rows 1-10 K2, P2 ribbing
Rows 11, 12, 13 Purl all stitches
Row 14 Knit all
Row 15 Purl all
Row 16 K2, k2 Together until end of row
Row 17 Purl all
Row 18 K2, k2 together until end of row
Row 19 Purl all
Row 20 K2 together until end of row
Row 21 Purl all
Row 22 Bind off the remaining stitches or pull the yarn through them all at once.

Sew seam if necessary. Add optional trim or appliques to the top of the cupcake.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

JQ's First Cabled Project

So, it's been a while since I've done more on the blog than to make the occasional comment. I have very few legitimate excuses. I had a brief bout with pneumonia in late November/early December, which is why this hat took me longer than planned if you count the 2 weeks I didn't do much of anything except cough.

I did do some knitting since my last, long-ago post, but not all that much. I finished off a little sweater for Blaze, but I haven't sewed it together yet. I made the hat in this post over a month ago! I guess the holidays did happen in there which sort of distracted me from doing any craft-related tasks.

The recipient seems to really like it, which is very good. This is the first time I've done anything with the cable class I took in the fall. It was a lot of fun and very rewarding, and I learned how to un-knit cables, too. I probably did not get all the incorrectly crossed ones out, so if you see any in the photo, it's too late! The hat is in use and as far as I know, my colleague hasn’t found any boo-boos.

Pattern: Shedir by Jenna Wilson, available for free from
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Garnet (#492)
Needles: US size 3 (dpn and 16" circular)
Began: November 5, 2007
Finished: December 10, 2007

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ravelry scares me

No, I am not on Ravelry. This is my current world:
  • I have 2 year old pictures on my camera that I can't seem to get on Flickr.
  • I desperately need to update my regular blog.
  • I get updates on MySpace from people I knew in high school or college. I can barely keep up.
  • Facebook is out of control--and I am supposed to be keeping up a Facebook page for my real job.
  • My stash is now condensed to a huge ziplock bag, and my needles are all in one place (mostly) for the first time ever. I have discovered that I have 2 addi turbos exactly the same size, and lots of sets of bamboo the same size. I fear I am falling into my old pattern (like I did with cross stitch) of just buying whatever is necessary for the current project. Improvement on old pattern: I am not chucking the remainders when finished (mostly).
From what I can tell, Ravelry seems too much like cataloging to me. I don't feel the need to keep track of my former projects to quite that level. I obviously can't keep track of my needles and I just don't care about my stash that much--probably because I just buy new stuff when I see it!

Warning--whining coming.....
My new year's resolution was to have more balance and fun this year. I don't think I am making it. Summary of last week (first week of classes)
Monday, MLK holiday: worked 6 hours in office, 3 hours at home
Tuesday worked from 7:20am - 8:10pm
Wednesday worked from 7:10am-7ish pm
Thursday worked from 7:25am-5pm
Friday worked from 7:10-6:05pm
Saturday worked from 9:40-3:30 training new students
And, I am not counting the phone calls, or reading/responding to emails at night here.......or the fact that I had only one real lunch break, and I don't take other breaks during the day.
I really do LOVE my job most of the time--except when I am this tired.
And....the name of this blog is: don't talk about work!

Friday, January 18, 2008


I actually can be quite competitive and ambitious, believe it or not.
Now I have a new goal: preemie project crafty contest. I'm going to Des Moines tomorrow, and if I can find some organic cotton, I will try to make something for it. The advantage of preemies--they are even smaller than dogs!