Frog, frog, frog, dammit

Started a baby blanket (a first for me) last night, and cast on 126 stitches after getting my circular extensions all arranged (I use a set of Boye interchangeables). Then with dark yarn (variegated soysilk again, but it was the dark blue at first) I started to knit in a seed stitch--hah, no it was K1P1 rib really, and several rows in I see that I now have 129 stitches and am in the wrong pattern. Really, Stacie, how long should it take??

But being a big girl, I looked at it and said, "If I can see it, the recipient will be able to also. I don't want to give a gift that is made wrong!" So--rip it, rip it, rip it. It would have felt more therapeutic except that this yarn tends to stick to itself and needed more than a gentle tug at various points. But I guess untangling and rolling it was therapeutic. Plus, being a former born again, I have retained the ability to get a LOT of satisfaction from knowing I did the right thing. :^) What if God knitted? What would Jesus knit?

OK that is too pithy for even me. Have a great day knitting! ~Stacie

Percy adorns my new skeins

Percy, one of my four cats, has carefully tested out the texture and softness of my new Pastaza yarn (Cascade). He seems to like it.

Here is the scarf I've been working on, almost done, and I love the pattern!

Next up--well, I don't know. Maybe I will do the poncho/baby blanket that I got from SWTC.

June 10 Worldwide Knit in Public day

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, the South Bay setting for the WWKIP is Los Altos at the plaza located where State and Main intersect. It's June 10, 12-2 p.m. and we will knit in that plaza or anywhere else people want to sit down on a bench and work on their project. If you would like more info about the WWKIP project, check here:

Twin Rib Scarf As a Gift

Here it is, my latest project! I'm making a twin rib scarf for someone at my school who is moving on this summer to a different job (in a cold climate!). Every project has to be a new challenge, so I'm trying out the two-row requirements of the twin rib pattern. (Width is multiples of 6 [24 for me], Row 1 is K3 P3 and Row 2 is K1 P1 and repeat; I'm using #10 needles.). It's not hard, but I am using my row counter to keep on top of the rows I'm doing so I know where I'm at. The yarn--Pastaza from Cascade Yarns in a burgundy color (048). It's more than worsted but not quite bulky, and the texture of this scarf is spongey! This yarn is great because it's soft, woolly, and NOT itchy. (It's llama and wool, 50/50.)

On another topic, Flavio is a great, creative knitter. Visit his blog and give him some positive feedback!

Keep on knitting! It's meditation! ~Stacie

Striped hat in soy silk--done!

I finished the "Alison's Playful Karaoke Hat" that I was writing about yesterday, the one made with soy silk (50% soy fiber and 50% wool). It's knitted in the round (as you can probably tell) and though I still struggle with the DPN rows at the end, and the switching from K2P2 ribbing to stockinette, I think I did OK! :^) I have a few young relatives who are into the skateboarding scene, which is what this hat puts me in mind of. (Do I smell a giftie??) I will knit some sort of I-cord thingamajig when I get better at I-cord. For now, I find it's true what several knitters have said recently, I am addicted to casting off! It's so gratifying.

The yarn is wonderful. I can't say enough about the softness and nonitchiness of it. It did split a bit easily, like bulky wool can, but I used my aluminum circulars for the majority of it, and they have a nice rounded tip. I did attempt the kabob "skewer" DPN (waxing them with some waxed paper first) but it was not that successful. Aside from the terribly sharp points, one end was blunt, and that didn't work well. Now that I have a set of gorgeous rosewood straights and the Boye set of circulars, I guess it's time to bust out the credit card and fill in the DPN supplies. Maybe I will even get better at using them if I own some!

Particulars about this hat and yarn: 

Another gray cat--Pippi!

I loved Goldendomer's baby blanket on her blog, and it was "adorned" with her charming gray kitty. I esp. love it because I have two of those at my house (gray cats, not baby blankets--though somewhere in the dark recesses of my girls' closets are several lovely baby blankets knit or crocheted way back when by their grammy). Goldendomer's cat looks so much like my Pippi.

Check out Goldendomer's blog--it's great!

Finished the baby poncho and hat

I have made a baby poncho and hat this week from two patterns mentioned on Knitting Novices. I am pretty proud of them but have a ways to go on sewing things well. Good practice for the next projects. Here are links to the hat--
and poncho--
I used two strands, Caron's Simply Soft in Plum Wine, and Lion Brand Wool-Ease in
Dark Rose Heather.
These baby things are for my niece, Leone, who was born 11/30 last year and will receive them on her first birthday (shhhhh! if you know her!). I think I will attempt a knitted rosette later (also something that was mentioned on Knitting Novices this week), and I AM going to learn enough crochet to put a soft, fuzzy edging on the bottom of the poncho, but I already have another project underway. :^)

Next up: Karaoke variegated soy silk cap, already a challenge just on the first five rows (note to self: don't watch movies while casting on large numbers of stitches and establishing a pattern).

Happy Knitting!

Mother's Day honorees

Here's to two of the greatest knitters in my life, Mom and Grandma Monaghan. From Grandma, I learned that knitting no matter the complexity of the pattern is just something you do, and she sure did it well.

From Mom, I have learned that she can do anything her mother did, apparently. I remember that she knitted me a red dress when I was about six and then embroidered, in fuzzy white mohair, some cute flowers on the top front. What a dress that must have been to wear to church the first time!

If I keep knitting, perhaps one day someone will say of me that I knitted as well as my mother.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and thanks for modeling the knitting of innumerable thick, lovely sweaters, mittens, hats, scarves, and more.

What's on my needles?

Here is a small section of the rectangular piece that I am planning to finish and felt this weekend so that I can make a needle case. I am in love with the yarn (Lion Landscapes) and the texture of the stitches. Think it will make a great felted piece.

a little (too much) about me

Participating in the One Skein project has given me a lot of questions to ask my secret pal, and to answer for someone else out there. If any of these musings are of interest in general, all the better (but I don't expect that to turn out to be true!)

1. Yarn most like my personality: bulky variegated wool
2. Favorite color yarn to work with: any shade of blue
3. Have you ever used variegated or magic yarn? See #1. Frequently!
4. Do you favor certain fibers when choosing yarns? Yes, non-itchy ones! But I truly like all natural fibers (banana fiber was heavy and kind of stiff though), and have never tried bamboo, but will someday. I also liked mulberry and made one of my best scarves ever from a hank of that.
5. Center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn? No preference.
6. Every worked with organic yarns? No, I don't think I have, but yes, I would be interested.
7. Projects in the last year: innumerable scarves to learn different patterns, with innumerable types of yarn. I have also begun to make hats and a few other things that are slightly more challenging. See this blog for entries on my projects and photos.
8. Going to knit any gifts this year? Well, is the Pope Catholic?
9. What is your favorite one-skein project? I don't know, but am game to try something new!
10. How much yarn do you have in your stash and how do you store it? Good question, as two weekends ago, I totally organized it and put it into one of those rolling sets of drawers from Costco. Two deep drawers for bulky and heavier yarns, four smaller drawers for the small skeins and some partials. Top drawer for doodads. I have two skeins of several things, since when I see yarn I like, I don't have to have a project in mind. I'll have Sophi take a picture of this embarrassment of riches and I will add it to this post.
11. Do you have a yarn in your stash that you love so much you an never use it or part with it? Nah. Everything turns into something even better, and I love gifting my knitting to people. Seeing someone wearing something I knitted is better than any drug.
12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer? Never did knit in the summer before, but the bug got me this year, and I intend to find air-conditioned rooms and even use a fan if necessary so I can keep knitting. I could guess I'll try to use cotton or acrylic yarns, less fuzzy stuff, but realistically I know I will want to use other things too. So turn down the thermostat. I'll be having foot surgery in July that will lay me up for four weeks, and it will be knitting heaven in the cool cool living room.
13. Belong to any knitting groups? Yes online I regularly read and participate in Knitting Novices, because that's me. :^) I hope to become an intermediate knitter in the next year, with more courageous efforts.
14. Other things that I thought of to say about myself as a knitter: I love my continental knitting style, but am realizing that sometimes it makes a stitch or technique baffling to learn. For ex., how will I learn to do YOs when I don't throw???
15. I learned to knit in the round a month or so ago and it is awesome. I intend to do a top-down child's sweater this way soon.
16. I am saving fur from my four shedding cats (combined color is deep gray) to have spun into a hank of mohair sort of yarn. All my daughters think this is soooooo weird, but my husband is totally for it and combs the cats vigorously every day. So it's a win-win situation anyway since if someone didn't comb them they'd be hawkin' up hairballs even more than they already do!
17. I used to knit little troll people from a Waldorf school brochure, and they are quick and fun, and seeing the girls playing with them was gratifying. Now that a few friends have little ones, this would also be a fun thing to revisit.
18. As for other crafts, well nothing in the fiber arts but I make earrings sometimes, and I have done various paper crafts in the past. Mainly I like to read and that keeps me from crafty things.
19. Favorite scent: One of my daughters' just washed hair! They always use such fragrant shampoo. I guess I don't have a favorite. I hate the scent of perfume that has vanilla notes in it. Blech. I don't care for lemon verbena type scents either I guess.
20. I store my straight needles in a flower vase, my new set of rosewood straights in a needle case my beloved sister gave me for Christmas, and my circulars in a section of that. I just got the Boye circular set too, so I have that. I'm presently knitting something that I will felt to make a case that I can use for various things. I don't prefer one type of needle over another, but different yarns "want" different needles, and some patterns are better done with circular needles, obviously. I do love the points on my rosewood straights, since they make it so easy to pick up the next stitch and knit it.
21. Started knitting as a kid (see first blog entry) but have really not been brave this go-round about trying more than scarves and hats. I am taking my time.
22. I don't have UFOs, since I just feel so compelled to finish things in order to give them to the recipient. It's a selfish thing, wanting to give them a gift, but it works for me.
23. I have to wear reading glasses these days to do anything. So I like knitting in good light with my "crutches" on so that it is all very clear. Never wore glasses until last year, and am still belly-aching about it. :^/
24. I love where I live, Northern California. I like visiting the rest of the world but can always want to get back home soon. We have a bit of heaven right here.
25. Life is good. :^)

Knitting for felting

Knitting all week on a piece that I'm going to felt for the needle case that we've all been salivating over on Knitting Novices. I'm using bulky yarn (Landscapes summer evening or some such) instead of the worsted it calls for, but I love the yarn so much and am just considering it a grand experiment. I think when I felt it it will come out thicker because it's bulky but that doesn't seem like a bad thing for a needle case.

I'm using my new Boye needles from the set I bought, and so far they are working wonderfully. The debate goes on on the knitting boards about Denise vs. Boye, but I like mine and have no complaints.

Finished that last hat, with the groovy stripes and the mangled crown. Poor finish on the dpn's that caused it to be sort of squarey. I never did a satisfactory I-cord either. I think I'll put this away for the winter and work on the doodley things then.

Brown scarf

Here's the brown scarf I knitted for Sophi. She won't want to wear it until late October (here in sunny California) but I'm proud of it NOW :^). Time to bust out of mistaken rib and stockinette though, and do some other more challenging stitches.

I've been home sick--sleeping, reading, sleeping, and knitting. I have just about finished the second hat done in the round, and did all the finish work on the loose threads. Stripes aren't any harder, and the knitting info websites showed me to twist the two colors around each other before weaving in, so that there's no hole where the colors met up. I'm just struggling to make an I-cord doodly thing to stitch on top of it (yes, I found out what I-cord is, and being almost an idiot--the "I" is for "idiot"--have been struggling with it, but I keep trying). Hope to post those pix tomorrow or Thursday.

Next, I think I will knit the womb that Kim and others have been talking about. My friend Lorna the sex ed teacher will find it a kick. Her nephew, who died a few years ago, was a crazy free-style knitter, whose blog is still on the Net. Perhaps the knitted womb will remind her of him.

Happy knitting, all!

A first--stripes!!

Not nearly enough time for knitting this weekend, but I did do something I have been afraid to try, almost by tricking myself into it, and that is stripes. Switching yarn colors! How could I be scared of that? But I was, and then I realized that I just had to pick up a different strand and wrap it around my hand as I do for any knitting, and proceed with that color.

I haven't gotten to the point where the piece is finished, so I don't quite know yet what I will do with the wrong side, where the colors meet up. But I have faith--I'll find out what I need to know. Knitting Novices, a website, or even my dear old mom, all are out there to make it clearer.

So what am I knitting in stripes, you ask? Another hat, same style, some of the same colors, but with an added pale blue component, and I'll post it when I'm done.

Now that the warm weather has FINALLY hit Northern California, I realize that my expectation that I would not want to knit in the heat is dead wrong. I will want to find air conditioning when I knit, but I don't see myself taking a hiatus any time soon.

I am wondering, what is I-cord??? I think it might be something I could use instead of a tassel for this hat (I hate tassels)