30 July 2006

New Yarn!

I had a witty post percolating in my head about how I have been playing "musical needles" lately, but that's going to have to wait. Why? Because the gorgeous yarn that I got today (Noro Lily) takes all words away. The pictures will have to speak for themselves:

I rolled the first skein into a center-pull ball (by hand; I really need to get a ball winder someday):

And started swatching:

The gauge of the swatch appears to be in the range of 4.5 stitchs per inch, and I'm going for 5.5 stitches per inch, so I'm going to have to go down at least one needle size. Not too big of a surprise, and I'm finding it hard to be upset. This yarn is a lovely cotton silk blend, and I think I'm falling in love with this fiber combination almost as much as the color combination.

New yarn... I feel much better now.

(By the way, after the yarn store troubles lately, I must give credit where credit is due: I bought this yarn online at Loop Yarn, and the service was great. The picture was very accurate, I got the yarn on sale, it shipped the next day, and came quickly. There was even a little handwritten thank you on the receipt! All is right with the world again.) Posted by Picasa

29 July 2006

One Strike, Two Strike

Two days, two attempted trips the LYS.  Note the "attempted."

Yesterday, I dragged my non-knitting friend (well, she doesn't knit YET) to the former location of the LYS.  Actually, it wasn't so much dragging, since she fell in love with some wonderful novelty yarn last time (when I *did* drag her there) and hasn't been able to get it out of her mind.  It's been several months.  Raise your hand if you think we have a future knitter here!

Anyway, we went to the former location.  Not knowing that it was the former location.  There was a sign in the window for a "moving sale" but the shop was suspiciously dark and empty, and the door securely locked.  No evidence of where the store had gone.

So when we got home, I immediately googled for the store (the Celtic Knot, in case you're in the Baltimore-ish area of MD) and found out where they had moved to.  It turns out it wasn't so far away from where they had been, but it was too late to go back yesterday.

So today, we went out to the new location; it says on the website that their doors are open.  However, once again it was a dark and extremely locked door that greeted us.  On the plus side, it was not empty on the other side.  There were so many beautiful yarns that I was nearly drooling.

I just wanted some wool fumes to brighten my weekend.. was that so much to ask?  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait for the official opening, because I'm not stupid.  Three strikes and I'm out, so I won't go back to the "plate" until I'm sure I can at least hit the ball.

(P.S. Aside from the Tour de France/cycling, that is likely the only sports analogy you will ever see on this blog.  It took me until sixth grade flag football to learn that football actually had rules about not tackling people who don't have the ball.  And when one doesn't have a good grasp on the rules of the game(s), one does well not to use analogies that require such a grasp.  I'm just saying.)

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27 July 2006

Knitting with Pencils!

Yes indeed, I can now say that I *have* knitted with pencils! And it was remarkably easy, too!

I used cap erasers to keep yarn from going off the end, and after sharpening I applied clear nail polish to the tips to smooth the wood and keep graphite off my yarn. Then I was off!

I think I'll work on getting some better pictures (that's actually quite hard, as it turns out!) but it's a fun a little experiment. And making the knitting needles was quite easy; anyone think there's a new hexagonal knitting craze on the way?

 Posted by Picasa

Knitting with Pencils!

Yes indeed, I can now say that I *have* knitted with pencils! And it was remarkably easy, too!

I used cap erasers to keep yarn from going off the end, and after sharpening I applied clear nail polish to the tips to smooth the wood and keep graphite off my yarn. Then I was off!

I think I'll work on getting some better pictures (that's actually quite hard, as it turns out!) but it's a fun a little experiment. And making the knitting needles was quite easy; anyone think there's a new hexagonal knitting craze on the way? Posted by Picasa

24 July 2006

Why NOT to buy from KnitPicks!

(Warning: this post contains quite a lot of vitriol, but I hope you will agree with me that it has been well "earned" by KnitPicks.)

Anyone wondering why I haven't posted any more pictures of the Doctor Who scarf? I was making such good progress, so why haven't I at least made more progress, and maybe even posted pictures?

It's all KnitPicks fault, and I'm really not exaggerating here.

You see, I bought 16 balls of KnitPicks Andean Silk; I placed the order on July 6th. The yarn came on July 12th. So far so good.

Then, though, I was looking through the yarn when I realized that one of the balls of yarn was a different gauge. It turns out it was the same color, but a completely different type of yarn. So, I immediately called KnitPicks, the night of the 12th, and explained what had happened. The woman I spoke to was very nice and said they would ship two balls of that color (that's how many I had originally, and that would make certain they were in the same dye lot) the next day.

Not so bad. KnitPicks and I were still on good terms.

Here's the problem though: over the last several weeks as I have been knitting with the Andean Silk, I have found THREE knots in different balls of yarn. To put this in perspective, I have only started 7 of the 16 balls of yarn so far, and because of the pattern of varying length stripes, have only gotten more than halfway through about 3 of those balls. Three. Remember that number? Yeah, that would be the number of knots.

So I was already unhappy. And now, it's the 24th (quick count= 11 days after KnitPicks claims they shipped the order), and no yarn. I wanted to check where it was, but lo and behold, they use even cheaper shipping for shipping out their replacement yarn than they did for the original, and I can't even track it.

Does this seem backwards to anyone? Shouldn't they be using FASTER shipping to get the replacement yarn into people's hands before they start fuming like I am right now? Shouldn't they eat the difference in cost when it is THEIR mistake? Just a thought...

So, the "closing" piece of this story is the 7 minute phone call I just had with a KnitPicks representative. She told me, essentially, "Shipments take 5 to 14 days to arrive. Your yarn should be there by the 27th." Great, the 27th! Oh yeah, and I explained to her my "theory" about shipping yarn faster, and she said that sometimes, if people ask, they will ship it faster.. but usually on the orders of a couple hundred dollars, so that they can track it!!!

Isn't that reassuring? If it's worth enough that they care about whether it gets to your house or not, then they will track it. Otherwise, they will send it as slowly as possible, and leave you wondering about your yarn. The yarn that they messed up on.

So yeah. KnitPicks may have some cool looking yarn at cheap prices, but for me, it's not cheap enough to deal with knots and lack of quality customer service. I'll be shopping at Elann.com or another discount yarn store in the future. Any suggestions?

20 July 2006

Doctor Who Scarf Progress

Here's the Doctor Who scarf progress! There may be a nasty post in a bit about the yarn, though.. more on that later. But now, I have to drive for three hours, and I won't have my camera, so no more pictures for a few days.. hopefully the "scarf of many colors" will hold you over in the meantime! Posted by Picasa

19 July 2006

The Kickx, it will be a Teddy Bear

Remember the crazy furry colorful yarn that I got cheap at Michael's (though I failed to get the needles I needed) and that I finally posted a picture of a few days ago?

Well, I decided that it needs to be made into something that is supposed to be furry and soft. Any ideas..?

Oh yes, I'm talking about a Teddy Bear! (Okay, maybe the title of the post gave it away. Oh well.)

That was my moment of great excitement.  I am sad to say that there are no pictures of the Doctor Who scarf's progress yet.  Last night I had a good excuse: a thunderstorm knocked out the internet.  Tonight, I'm just too lazy to go downstairs and turn on the lights and arrange the scarf and take a picture and upload it to the computer and post it on this blog.

In fact, I hardly had enough energy to type all that out.  Which is a sign that I should probably be sleeping, instead of posting.  I just wanted to share something!

I'll try to post pictures tomorrow morning.  I'm trying to be a good knitblogger, really!

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17 July 2006

Local Stitchers' Group!

First a little plug: if there is a local stitchers group (SnB or not), go to it! I don't care if you are shy, it could be very fun!

I went for the first time to a stitching group tonight, and met tons of fun people. Because I am absolutely HORRENDOUS with names (mind like a steel sieve, when it comes to that), I'm not going to drop names, because it wouldn't be fair to the people I didn't remember! However, I can tell you that Lolly will be posting pictures and links sometime tomorrow (I think). In fact, there is a high probability that you came from there, since I don't think I have many readers at the moment. The more the merrier.

Now for the knitting. At the group, I was bravely knitting on my Calliope Shell (pattern and yarn from KnitPicks). I got lots of compliments, and that combined with finally making my own stitch markers actually got me brave enough to take a picture and post it on the blog. So here it is!

Someday I will get a close-up of some of the stitch markers, to help you see how pretty they turned out (I humbly say), but for now, I'm just too lazy.

I was not too lazy, however, to take a picture of the Yarntainer that my lovely friends bought me. Note: these friends do not knit. However, they smile and nod at my yarn obsession (they are convinced that I am collecting yarn), and they occasionally feed my obsession by buying wonderful inventions like this, at Target of all places!

You can't see the yarn inside in this picture, but it comes from inside and then threads through a hole in the top to allow me to knit with the thing closed.. and then, when I'm done for the moment, I can stuff my knitting, needles and all, right inside! I've really enjoyed it, and it also helps keep it safe from curious cats. (Though, as I've said, Jimmy is much more interested in the KnitPicks box at the moment, and I'm happy to let him be!)

That's all for the moment. Tomorrow after the exciting Tour de France stage (Alpe d'Huez, here they come!) I will post my progress on the Doctor Who scarf. The more exciting it gets, the faster I knit! Posted by Picasa

16 July 2006


Yes, indeed, the camera is set up once again (finally!) and we have pictures galore!

First is the finished Tara's Tank, lying flat:

Then comes the Kickx yarn that I bought about a week ago now.. you should be able to see some of the other colors, now, even if you can't identify them:

The next picture comes with a bit of a story. Now that I'm almost completely moved, I'm staying with some friends who have kindly invited me to live in their guest bedroom while I job search. These friends have two cats, who have almost opposite personalities. Jimmy is a black cat, and VERY friendly. Sam is mottled grey and you will probably never see a picture of me, because I can't imagine him staying in the same room with me for me to take a picture. I see him just before he goes around a corner, occasionally, but that's about it.

Anyway, I was afraid that Jimmy was going to want to attack my yarn while I was knitting. I have dealt with this with other cats (though I've never owned any myself). However, Jimmy has instead decided to adopt the box that my KnitPicks yarn came in, even though he doesn't really fit into it. He's in it nearly all the time that I'm knitting, and it looks something like this:

He gives me a giggle, every time he plops down halfway inside of it!

And finally, an actual Finished Object, being worn, to prove that I haven't completely been "sucking wind" as far as the Tour de FOs goes. I think Tara's Tank has become my own, and I like it very much!

 Posted by Picasa

13 July 2006

BUSY!!! (But not too much for knitting)

So, the last week (since my last post, eek!) has been very busy.

I moved the last load of stuff to my new place, and all the packing that involved.

I was keeping the stress more or less under control, but this last trip was almost too much. Thankfully, my aunt came over and helped me pack rather than panic when faced with how much was left to fit into my car (which is only a Civic, after all).

Oh yeah, and I've been knitting. I got the pattern and yarn for my new Calliope sleeveless shell, and panicked when I looked at the instructions. Then came my mantra, "I wanted a challenge, I wanted a challenge, I wanted a challenge."

As it turns out, I did want a challenge, and I've been doing a pretty good job with it. If I do say so myself. Sorry, still don't have my computer/camera connection set up, so no pictures yet, but hopefully later today?

Oh yeah, and the other thing, my most ambitious knitting project yet. A Doctor Who Scarf. I'm knitting the Season 12 version, for my friend who asked me nicely. (And also is letting me stay in their guest bedroom for a while.. this is like my rent for the next couple of months, in knitting.) 60 stitches per row. And, um... I figured out how many rows, though that may have been a mistake. Are you ready for this?

Eight hundred ninety rows. 890 rows. Yes, you read that right. There is no decimal missing.

So, that will keep me busy for a while, eh? If I can just keep my nose to the grindstone and not get literally sick of garter stitch! This is why I have the lacy shell to keep my brain occupied, because otherwise, the garter stitch, it would be too much.

That's how I've been busy. How about you?

06 July 2006

For all your sock-knitting needs... don't go to Michael's

I just needed a couple of knitting needles. I wanted to try the toe-up, two circular needle method of knitting socks. However, that required two circular needles of the same size (I have a Boye Interchangeable needle set, but that only gets me ONE circular needle of each size). So, I went to Michael's, thinking that even if they have lots of acrylic yarn and very little natural fiber, they would at least have plenty of knitting needles.

I've been to two Michael's now (not in a row, but over the course of the day), and they don't sell circulars below size 6. This is not useful.

Also not useful is the temptation of Moda Dea yarn hugely on sale. I might have fallen into temptation and bought 6 balls of Kickx.. but it's so pretty, AND I got all six balls for under $19, tax included!

We'll see what I actually use it in, but Moda Dea is wonderfully soft, so I'm sure I will get some good use out of it! If nothing else, I will make a dangerously soft scarf and hat combo. But if I do that, it will be waiting until it is a little cooler.

(Another thought I just had was that I could attempt to adjust the pattern for the Fetching gloves in the newest issue of Knitty.. they would be kind of fun in this yarn!)

04 July 2006

Tour de...

So, the Tour de France started four days ago (on the 1st of July). This is getting me up at a decent time in the morning (9:30am) in order to watch it live... and it's also a great thing to watch while knitting.

I missed the Knitting Olympics, so I was hoping that something similar might happen with the Tour de France. As it turns out, though, some people are doing the Tour de Fleece; a very cute idea, I will admit, but for spinners rather than knitters. And since I don't spin at all...

So, I've been trying to come up with something that would work for me as a knitter, and I finally got it. I give you: The Tour de Finished Objects!

The Tour de France is a grueling three week race that is much mental as physical; each day, the riders must make the decision to get back on the bike and run their body into the ground once again, with only a few short breaks.

Similarly, the Tour de Finished Objects will be a grueling three week project of forcing myself to FINISH all my projects which are off the needles but not technically finished. I will be posting pictures of these projects before and after finishing, as I unpack them and set up my camera. It should be an exciting ride, folks! (Or, at least, productive!)

01 July 2006


So, I bought quite a bit of yarn from KnitPicks a few days ago. Considering I'm not yet finished with the beautiful Lucy Lu (though I'm done with the first sleeve and a few inches into the second one, already), one would think that I would stop thinking ahead and wanting to buy yarn. Especially since I need to be on a budget!

However, remember the Top with Cable Straps? From my "Dreaming" post? Well, if I actually used Zodiac, I would have to pay $36 for my yarn. I also read over on Knitty (don't have my links, so sorry I can't link you exactly right now) that the best results come when you substitute a yarn not only of the same gauge but also of the same fiber content. That way it has the same drape and such. (If only I knew what "drape" meant exactly. I'm sure I just need to read Knitty a little more...)

I'm sure you're wondering where the "danger" comes in in all of this. I won't spend $36 for yarn (and $5 for a pattern) until I have finished the projects I have with the yarn I already have. We're safe.

Okay, actually, no, safe is not the right word. I stupidly ignored Yarn Harlot's warning about following the link to Elann.com, and then I thought, "Oh, I wonder if there is a good, inexpensive 100% mercerized cotton yarn that gets 20 sts./4 inches that I could substitute."

Do you see where the danger comes in?

Anyway, long story short (too late!), I found one of the elann.com yarns, Sonata.. And look how many colors there are! And only $1.98 per ball.. that means it would cost under $12 for the yarn! Under $12!

So, I need some help here.. Why am I not buying the yarn yet? Why am I waiting? Remind me, please, because I've forgotten!

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