Sunday, May 27, 2007

Camera cases

one for me,

one for my mum.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reason or insanity?

I know I said I wouldn't be posting pictures of the fateful multicolored project. Then again, Mrs. Ulysses should have taken lessons from me, I am now convinced of the fact.

Because once all pieces were sewn together, I took a good look at the whole thing and was very unhappy with it.

Yes, too bloody long...

So, I did what any reasonable (see post title) girl would do: go with the (original) blanket purpose of the Lizard Ridge, and learn not to be too innovative all the time. Sigh!

Fortunately, it will make a fine t.v. blanket with just two more blocks. And even more fortunately, I have plenty of yarn now, so I picked the two that seem like they will fit the blank spaces without necessarily having to undo and reorder all the blocks.

Of course, as the myth would have it, undo-and-reorder WILL prove necessary once they are done, but we 're not telling this to the suitors yet, are we?

However, the Beachcomber Tunic has precedence at the moment, so updates on this will have to wait for a while. Go get some ice cream, dear suitors, it 'll be a while.

In more productive news: I have been wanting to finish a book that I borrowed from a co-worker, but it has been ages since I touched it. Most of my reading time is in the subway, and this means keeping the book in my bag, with lots of other relevant (and not always) stuff. This results in a lot of wear & tear for books, and I don't want to damage a borrowed book. So I made a book cover, like the ones I have seen and admired in this blog.

Of course my sewing skills are rather elementary, but it will do the job, and I had fun making it. In fact, I had so much fun, that I think I 'll make more. Hopefully fixing the problems I created for myself on this one will mean that the next ones are more presentable, so I can inflict them on some of my victims... ehm... friends.

Hooks and needles

The blanket (aka Penelope's wrap) is in good progress. I have sewn together all pieces (using a crochet single chain stitching method I kind of read about and kind of made up. I hope it works), and only the border remains to be done. No pictures yet, I 'll wait til it's all done, washed and blocked, as seams look bumpy now anyway.

Last night, however, I had a revelation. Since I saw the Beachcomber Tunic, I looked through my needles and realised I didn 't have a size 4 (3.5 mm) circular needle. Or so I thought at the time. I had already swatched the yarn (Rowan wool cotton), and knew that I would have exactly the right gauge if I used this size needle. So, I was trying to find time to go buy a pair and lamenting the time lost after inspiration stroke.

Then I remembered that I have a bunch of straight needles, that I didn't even look at. The pattern does not specify a circular needle, it's just that I prefer using them - to the point of not even thinking of straights. I looked through, and here 's what I saw...

LOTS of size 4 straight, bamboo needles!

I had bought two sets of 4 dpn's, in case I needed 5, or lost one, or whatever. Note the holes on the third from the right - Sunny likes to steal them, run away and chew on them. Although it is annoying, and sometimes the yarn snags on the holes, she 's so cute when she runs away! This needle has a whole row of bite marks! Thanks Sunny!

So, next thing I did was to cast on and knit for 2 hours, while watching Lara Croft (I 'd watch this movie any time, just for that scene with the ceiling gliding thing..). At the end of the film, I had about 1.5 inch - about 1/4 of step one. Yippee!

I still need the right size crochet hook, but I have some time until I need to use one. Unlike most other projects, I am kind of in a hurry with this one. I think it would be perfect for evil air conditioned rooms. And as temperatures have soared recently, I anticipate being subjected to evil air conditioned rooms all the time for the next four months.

Air condition opposers, Unite!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Penelope's wrap

Poor Penelope would have been better off making this wrap, instead of weaving and unweaving the same thing, and therefore being rather obvious to her intentions. In my case, every step feels like taking one forward, and three back.

After the decision to make two more blocks, which are now blocking happily next to each other,

... I laid out all the rest of the blocks, and pulled out all the colours in my stash that could work for the border. I was looking for the yarn that would be compatible with the majority of the colours in the blocks.

"What a great way to use some of my lingering leftovers", I thought foolishly.

Of course, the winner would have to be the lovely green (Patons Classic Merino in Leaf Green), of which I only had this much:

So off I went, through an Odyssey of weekend bus and train schedules, buying two more skeins of the same colour. Fortunately, the different dyelots aren't that different, so I can use the old and new together. And, although I anticipate leftovers, I really like this yarn, so I don't mind. It felts like a dream, and gets softer by use.

The good news is that I am now ready for the finishing stages: sewing together and crocheting the border. I 'm ready to end this project, which has taken a long, long time and has tested my patience (but never my perseverance) many times. And, as evil air-conditioning season has just began, I 'd better hurry up! I have a feeling I 'll make the best use of it during the summer, the most unlikely time of the year for an all-wool wrap!

Friday, May 18, 2007

To-do List

Another thing has just been added to my to-do list:
the Beachcomber Tunic from Interweave Crochet Spring 2007.
And I have just the right yarn for it!

.... and a bonus kitty picture:

Sunny with her beloved catnip mouse

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A typical weekend excursion

O.K., so in New York we don't get to enjoy much nature. Still, the parks are lovely, and today I spent a fun 20 min. chatting with interesting and friendly strangers and taking in the festivities around. Since spring came, I always stop at the park on my way to the healthy food store.

Quite typical for spring and summer weekends are also the street fairs. There, like in the bazaars of old times, one can see and buy lots of interesting things:

colourful things

... and more colourful things (they are fridge magnets!)

yummy things (didn't have any)

funny things

scary/sad things

and much, much more to see and eat. The sun was shining, the place was buzzing, the air was full of smells from the grilled meats on offer, and people seemed leisurely and relaxed.

In crafty news:
another notebook cover

and something to keep my books open

Hope your weekend was also nice!

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I have been playing with different layouts and color schemes for the blog. Still not determined to stick with this one, but it will do until the next moment of inspiration.

Sometimes I am amazed at my long-term patience. After joining together with safety pins all the patches from my mini lizard ridge, I decided that it isn't long enough, and would not have enough drape. And that I need two more patches. Fortunately, due to my obsessive purchases of Noro, there is no shortage of it in my stash (for now). However, this little one is made by the leftovers from the other patches, and only finished off at the bottom with actual new skeins.

Unblocked. One down, one to go!

In granny-square news, I was inspired by this incredible blanket and its even more incredible offspring, and made some small squares to spice up the medium sized ones. They are now called medium-sized, because I think I like the little ones, so I will keep them, and will also make some bigger ones to make it more interesting. Of course it won't have the colour variety of the Babette, and the squares are a different kind, but that was only inspiration anyway. However, perhaps I see a real Babette in my distant future ...

Finally, I took over some underused corner of the house and set up my sewing machine.

Just in time, as look what I bought in my last trip to the fashion district:

Oh, how ambitious of me!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Knitting survey

I saw this 'survey' in this blog, and thought it would be interesting to play with it. I had no idea some of the things listed here existed. Inspiring!

This is a knitting survey……

Mark with bold the things you have knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.



Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire


Stockinette stitch

Socks: top-down

Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn

Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down


Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting

Participating in a KAL


Drop stitch patterns

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn

Slip stitch patterns

Knitting with banana fiber yarn

Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns

Knitting with bamboo yarn

Two end knitting

Charity knitting

Knitting with soy yarn

Toy/doll clothing

Knitting with circular needles

Baby items

Knitting with your own hand-spun yarn


Graffiti knitting

Continental knitting

Designing knitted garments

Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)

Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting
Participate in an exchange


Teaching a child to knit

American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)

Knitting to make money


Knitting with alpaca

Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting

Dying with plant colors

Knitting items for a wedding

Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)

Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s hand-spun yarn

Knitting with dpns

Holiday related knitting

Teaching a male how to knit


Knitting for a living

Knitting with cotton

Knitting smocking

Dying yarn


Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously (tried it, didn't like it)

Knitting with wool

Textured knitting

Kitchener stitch
Knitted flowers


Knitting with beads


Long Tail CO

Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting

Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn

Stuffed toys

Baby items

Knitting with cashmere



Knitting with synthetic yarn

Writing a pattern



Knitting with linen

Knitting for preemies

Tubular CO

Free-form knitting

Short rows

Cuffs/fingerless mits/arm-warmers

Knitting a pattern from an on-line knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom

Thrummed knitting

Knitting a gift

Knitting for pets


Knitting with dog/cat hair
 (no! eew!)
Hair accessories

Knitting in public

What have you learned to do that has marked a definite change in your knitting life?

Reading patterns and learning knitting terminology in English!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Reinventing the wheel

Disclaimer: some of the posts are outdated. During the week I do things, I take pictures as I do them, but writing about them may have to wait a while. This was certainly the case with this little project.

I have been wanting to try self-striping dyeing for a long time, thinking about it and scheming. heh. I have lots of white wool that begs to be tested, and this time I decided to play with three wide stripes of blue and green for a pair of indoors socks. They will have to be indoors, as the yarn is baby wool, and won't survive regular use.

I started by dividing the yarn into three large sections. Using my newly-acquired swift I brought from home. It belonged to one of my late aunts, and I am so happy to find that it survived the rushed clearing of her possessions. I remember her joy and pride, showing it to me when she first bought it, and will always think of her this way when I see it.

I made one section, moved it to the center of the swift and made the rest. Moving it to the cente was essential, as when I put the first section outside the swift on the floor, I got this:


And here is where the title of this post comes in: why does the expression 'reinventing the wheel' have such bad connotations? I am sure that this trick is well-known to those who have used swifts before. Of course, I didn't know about it at first. But when I did discover the solution to this little problem, I felt so happy! What's wrong with reinventing the wheel, if it gives one such a thrill? In fact, I liked it so much, I hope I reinvent many more wheels! Hurrah for cheap thrills!

... anyway... After all sections were sorted and tied up with little rugs, in it went to warm water for about 20 minutes. Another little experiment I did (as these would be my learning dye socks) was using some pieces of fabric that I knew would bleed heavily. I wanted to make little specks of colour along the sock, like little dots here and there (another case of wheel-reinventing? Perhaps.)

Then, I put each section of the yarn in jars, filled with colour. No picture of this stage, unfortunately. I had to wear gloves as my fingers turned blue very quickly without them (what was I thinking?), and there just was no right moment to take them off and take pictures.

I used RIT dye, two different colours plain and one mixed. The whole process was finished very quickly, no stirring, no boiling, and I let the yarn in for no longer than 5 minutes. I know from past experience that this yarn takes up the colours really fast.

After scalding my fingers squeezing the excess water off the yarn, I rinsed it 'til it called for mercy (o.k., 'til the water run clear), and then let it drip and dry on my favourite instrument for this job: a broomstick. Over the tub (doors closed so kitties won't end up with blue tongues to match my fingers).

I am very pleased with the end result.

Ying and Yang sock yarn

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Oh, no!


Until a few months ago, I had a natural stash-control regime. I stored all my yarn here:

What wouldn't fit, wouldn't be bought. However, things got out of hand when I started planning several large projects and opportunities for buying the right yarn came along. Ah, the slippery path of forethought...

Now I store excess yarn (as well as ongoing projects) in infrequently used bags. They are hanging from the bottom of the loft bed - which is reserved for guests, but mostly controlled by the cats:

Oh, no! I need to make more bags!

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