Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some Really Fine Yarn



Land O Lace is having something of a trial run of yarn. This is the 2/60 and there is a huge part of me that wants to tell you that this swatch I knit a few days ago is horrible and scratchy and has no stitch definition (Yes, I think that the blind are looking at those pictures) and that even dry blocked it looks awful.

Do you believe me? Have I sold you on the idea that I should get all that LoL has and get to keep it for myself?

No?

Oh!

I really hope that they decide to keep this yarn in stock, it is a cashmere, silk, merino blend and has all the best features of each of those yarn in a really small, fine package. 900 yards of this would make a lovely doily, I might have something closer to 4500 yards to make a drop dead gorgeous shawl. (Yep, that is what I was swatching for and the answer is...need smaller needles).

While I wait for the 000 needles to arrive I might put together "A year in the life of this knitter" for tomorrow...or I might just swatch some more.

~M

Monday, December 28, 2009

Squeaking in some more



Just squeaking in some final finished objects for the year.

When I stumbled across these socks (rav link) I knew just the person that had to have them, of course her little feet would be swamped in adult size socks so some adjustments were in order.

Stats: Tardis Socks
Yarn : Araucania Ranco Multi (blues), Knit Pick Essential Sock ( now Stroll, soot kettle dyed) and Patons Kroy Socks 4 ply (cream)
Needles: 2.5mm a betweener size US
Mods: cast on 54 stitches, worked k2,p2 rib for 10 rows, only worked Police Box wording on front half of sock, carried the contrast color all the way around using a stranding method, fudged the stitch count for both the windows and the textured leg pattern which I reduced in row height....
Next Time thoughts: make the textured leg pattern narrower and shorter still to allow for the full 4 pattern repeats.

I hope the little girl who loves the Doctor will love her socks!

~M

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Finishitis

Every knitter worth their needles has a stash of more than yarn, somewhere maybe hidden, maybe right out for all to see if the UFO nest. Unfinished Objects sometimes sit quietly, and other times yell loudly for attention.

My UFO nest has had a good dusting and you have seen some of them become FO's in the last post. I have had Finishititis the last couple of days, which when you have a UFO nest is a good thing. Last year my motto was Finish It or Frog It and this year the nest was not too terribly bad, there is only one little tablecloth hiding out in there.

For Christmas I was gifted with some of the things off my Gifts for Knitters List...Ziploc Bags in all kinds of shapes and sizes for one. But I also got some yarn that really wasn't my style.

Bulky Weight and size 10.5 US needles put quick work to the three balls of yarn that arrived from Washington State. It's dry now and can go back!! :)







I cast on another pair of socks, these little quickies will be for one of my nieces for her birthday in a couple of days so I had better go knit!

~M

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Finally some Knitting Content!






Andrea of Bad Cat Designs gave knitters an early Christmas present this year. Saint Michael Beret.

Knitters choice of yarn weights and finished hat styles, I went with sock yarn and the Beret version.

Stats: Saint Michael Beret from BadCat Designs
Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn S92
US size 2 needles

Modeled shots to follow if TDQ cooperates.





Also hot of the needles:

Pattern :Minestrone
Yarn: Leftovers from a sweater I made TDQ when she was about 5, leftovers from Deathflake Socks and leftovers from Miss Marple Socks.
US size 0 needles.

~M

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seriously, this is the last Christmas Project



Sometimes you have to wonder about the way knitters think. I mean, seriously, what kind of person casts on a new project to be done for Christmas on December 23rd and really believes that they can pull it off?


Hi, My name is Mary and I am a Knitter...yep there is a capital K on that!


With hours, an entire night to spare.....Elf Shoes!

I really hope that TDQ likes these ones. :)

Merry KnitMass from my knitting den to yours.

~M

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Absolutely last minute gifts

Ok guys, you are out of time. Christmas is just about here and if you don't have something for your knitter yet..well you have a minute but you better be quick!!

Knit Picks sells online gift cards, suitable for any budget.

or

If you read this before the stores close on Christmas Eve and have a Joanne Fabric and Crafts nearby go and get 2 balls of this and direct your knitter here, if you buy your favorite colors maybe your knitter will make some for you!!

or

Chocolate and wine are much loved in the knitting community - just remember : Friend's don't let Friend's knit drunk!!

Happy Holiday's everyone!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Isn't there something about slippers....

I am sure that there is a tradition about leaving shoes or slippers out at night and finding them filled with candy in the morning, do you suppose someone will fill these with truffles while I sleep?

My first version of French Press Felted Slippers. Let me tell you that felting them in the kitchen sink with a potato masher was not fun! I think that if I am going to make more (and I probably will!) I will find a new best friend with a top load washing machine.

Stats: French Press Felted Slippers
Yarn : Patons Classic Wool in Dark Grey Mix
Needles : size 15 (10mm) bamboo circulars
Finished size : women's 6/7 ish shoe.

How much more knitting do you have to do before the big day?

~M

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Only a few words

I direct you to Franklin's post today. I agree with the sentiment 100%, maybe not the whole six weeks, but at least a couple would be nice!!

I seem to have jumped on the French Press Slipper train, having bought the pattern a few days ago I really need to find someone with a front load washing machine so I can try it out. :)

Gotta run, I have knitting to do! To quote a certain rabbit...

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date, no time to say goodbye, hello, I'm late......

~M

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gifts for THIS knitter

Amanda posted today about the generosity of knitters, and while in this case she was referring to some sock blockers that this knitter sent her, I think it is something I have seen over and over again after finding a Knitting Community online.

A knitter needs just a few more yards of a specific dyelot of yarn and another, maybe continents away not only has it but sends it for no reason other than generosity.

A yarn company does not ship outside it's own country's borders and a knitter in that country will forward yarn orders to parts distant, again for no reason, no requests for postage, just to be generous.

It goes beyond sending the occasional package to a virtual friend, Knitters without Borders has raised an exceptional amount of money because of the generosity of knitters.

Knitting is really a solitary project, only one knitter at a time manipulates yarn and needles to turn balls of string into wonderful things and yet the online knitting community, including knitting blogs, Ravelry, Yahoo and Google Groups, brings those solitary knitters together in ways that sitting at home with my ball of yarn and pattern does not.

So today, rather than a post about what to get your favorite knitter, you have a post about what you as the favorite knitter probably already do. This is a post about sharing your love for this craft in all it's variations. From sock knitting to aran sweaters, from lace shawls to baby blankets, share what you know and those things that you love.

Amanda did. Look what she sent to me!




A total surprise is hard to achieve when you live continents apart, but Amanda managed it. I thought she needed my address for something completely different!

She has good taste, doesn't she?

~M

Thursday, December 17, 2009

knitting reads


We start with The Secret Life of a Knitter

Move on to a calendar

And some hand drawn cartoons.

Muggles, I mean non knitters, very often do not understand our passion with fiber and pointy sticks. Many times I have read hysterical (to me) blog posts from our favorite Yarn Harlot aloud only to have these blank faces stare at me while I collapse in a fit of giggles. Although the post about Joe and the Truck did make even the most serious of non knitter laugh.

Knitting humor is not just about misreading patterns and making three armed sweaters or crawling around on the floor of a bus trying to get that pesky double point back in your knitting where it belongs while an entire bus load of non-knitters try valiantly not to laugh, it is about taking the time to find the lighter side of complex lace patterns and super fine yarn.

I stole the picture from Amazon, and included the links for your shopping pleasure.

Speaking of pleasure, as soon as I can charge the camera batteries I have to share another knitters gift, this one was in my mail box when I got home and was a complete surprise!

~M

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Things that mean a lot

The Loopy Ewe, among other places, has little sampler packs of wool soak. Just the thing to brighten up a hand-knit.
Or you could pick a scent and go with the big bottle, either way your knitter will love it!

~M

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In case you were wondering

Just in case you were wondering, yes, there is knitting going on, I just can't show you any of it. :)

I will say that the one problem with knitting the same pattern more than once is you get complacent. "Oh, I know how this goes" you say to yourself (at least if you are me) and you go charging off, casting on and throwing yarn and needles in one of those handy zipper bags and drop it on the counter at work. On those rare occasions that you get to sit down back there you pull the work out of the bag and knit a few stitches, or rows, merrily content that you know what you are doing.

It all came to a screeching halt when I realized I had skipped two charted rows at the end of Chart A which would be why it didn't look quite right and I ran out of stitches quite rapidly in the next chart. I won't mention how long it took me to figure out my mistake, but here is a hint for you, VOI increases every right side row at each end of four sections, that would be 8 stitches per pattern round. ;)

On to the real purpose of your visit today.....will it be expensive and only found in specialty yarn stores, or cheap and found in the grocery store?

Let me tell you a little secret about your knitter. Even when she* throws her knitting across the break room, grinds her teeth or is convinced that she will ever learn a new technique there is one thing you can count on.

Are you ready for this deep, dark secret?





Are you sure?





Your Knitter loves yarn! There, I said it and let the cat out of the bag. Some knitters will prefer one fiber over another, but deep down we love any kind of fiber you would care to give us. If you aren't sure which fiber or which color take a look at what your knitter has been working on all year (yeah, check YOUR sock drawer there are probably some good choices in there). Once you have an idea of what you want to surprise her with visit your Local Yarn Store, they might even know exactly what your knitter is looking at, petting but not buying from their shelves, and pick up as many skeins, hanks and balls of the stuff as you can fit in your car.

Many online yarn stores are having sales this week and with priority shipping you might still have time to get your gifts.

Land O Lace has some new gossamer yarns that look yummy and check out their Just Abouts colorways in sock yarn and lace weight.

KnitPicks has some really low prices on all of their yarns, good for the smaller budget. I really like their knitting needles, nickle plated for me please!

The Gossamer Web has some really fine yarn, suitable for heirloom shetland shawls if your knitter is so inclined.

Something for every price range can be found on these sites. :)

~M




*That would be a generalization, not all knitters are "she", some of the best I know are "he", I am a she so it feels right to type it that way!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Many would not be too much

In her gifts for knitters The Yarn Harlot talks about some beautiful project bags, but I also know without a doubt that she uses millions of zipper bags too! In fact, I believe that it is a well known fact that knitters use many more plastic zipper bags than any other type of person in the world.

I use the gallon size to store my stash in.....yarn in zipper bag, zipper bag in plastic tub with little cedar chips in the bottom to ward of, the dreaded killer of wool, moths! Quart size can sometimes hold leftovers and they make some bigger ones that you can put an entire sweaters worth of yarn in.

Think more when buying for your knitter, one box would not be enough!!

~M

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This gift measures up, and down and sideways

This one is from Knitpicks.

This one is from WEBS
And this one is from Perfect Measuring Tape

They come plain and fancy, brightly colored and just plain black and white, with whimsical sheep or bees or just crammed in the bottom of a knitting bag, but no matter how you look at them a tape measure is one of those tools that can never be found when you need it. I know for a fact that there are ten in my house, but I had to print one when I needed it yesterday!

~M

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nearly forgot this one!

Another useful tool in the knitters arsenal is a Ball Winder. Virtually all of the less than $200 models are from the same company and made of plastic. Royal is a Japanese company, so no buying Made in The USA here, but like many knitters in the world I don't know how I managed to live without one!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday without the FO


Doing the gifts for knitters posts have certainly improved the number of times I am blogging in a month, but have not increased my knitting speed at all. I did cast on for a project that doesn't need to be finished until next spring, something I can just leave in the back room at work for those days I do get a lunch break!

The Soap Shed has some soaps that are specifically designed for the drying effects some yarns have on our hands, this one is nice but there is something about the smell of lavender that gets me all soft and cozy feeling so I like the one above!

If you are a knitter a bar of specialty soap partnered with a pretty knit cloth makes the perfect gift! If you are not a knitter, consider the gift of a pattern to go with the soap....twice the fun that way.

~M

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And this.......

Highlighter tape is not just for quilters any more! I am not really sure what they use it for, I am not a quilter, but as a knitter I can tell you that highlighter tape has saved my stitches on more than one lace project. It is the best invention since stitch markers for complicated multi line charts and I make it a point to order some every time I order from WEBS. One in every color would not be a bad idea for your knitter this year!



I had a lovely surprise when I got my mail in today, this little pink package that had wound it's way from Cornwall, England was sent by order of Colleen. Wait until you see what is inside..ready?

You can bet that The Drama Queen has already given the lavender her own personal seal of approval and the search for perfect patterns is on! Although Dear Son #2 is our greenest green fan, that silk and merino sock yarn on the left is destined for MY feet. :)

Knitters really are the nicest, most generous, sharing people out there! Colleen, you made my day.

~M

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lots would be good

Every time I finish a project the scramble is on...where oh where did I leave my yarn needle?

I am sure that I am not the only knitter with this problem, at least I hope I am not...so to the rescue some little stocking stuffers!



These are from KnitPicks....and the ones below from The Stitchery

More little gifts to come tomorrow!

~M

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Handy Thing



I don't know about anyone else but there are a few things that never seem to be in my knitting bag, or on my desk that I need!

The cutter above is from Knit Picks and comes with a handy carabiner clip to attach to your belt, purse, knitting bag or anywhere else that you can think of to clip it!

Of course the Yarn Harlot is also posting about gifts for knitters, if only a muggle, I mean non knitter would purchase this for me! I actually had a necklace in mind to post here too, but nothing as spectacular as that!

More useful things to talk about tomorrow!

~M

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 7

Glad you liked the socks Amanda. I hope that the intended victim, I mean recipient of the DeathFlake socks likes them. If not, well they almost fit me!

I never used to like stranded knitting, until I tried it in the round and for some reason I find that easier than flat pieces. As I have said before, socks are the perfect medium for learning new things, not too big, but big enough that by the end of the first one you know if it is a technique you want to do or not.

I have had one heck of a day today, everyone that I work with is sick and they have been dropping like flies! So far, touch wood, I have only had one day where I wasn't feeling up to par, keep your fingers crossed for me continuing to be well. That said not a lot of thought went into today's gifts for knitters....but here we go:
Cafe Press has tons of things for knitters, this is just one of many! Want to see a few more?




~M

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Knitting Content, Finally!

I finished my Deathflake socks a day or two ago. Actually I finished them twice, the first time one foot was longer than the other so I ripped back and fixed it.

Stats: Deathflake Socks from this chart
Bamboo and Ewe in Red
Berroco Comfort Socks in dusk
Size 3 US needles


December's challenge at SKA on Ravelry is to use up those leftovers, I have started with the stripes from my Miss Marple Socks, some cream that I don't even remember what socks and the grey from Deathflake....so far so good. This will be my first short row heel and I am hoping that it turns out ok.

Now on to Gifts for Knitters part 6!

Many of the yarns I like to knit with come in hanks rather than balls. This is better for the yarn as it doesn't stretch it while it is lounging in my stash. For a long time when I wanted to convert that hank into a ball to knit from it was the chore of one of my children to hold the hank so that the yarn didn't get tangled, and then I saw this:
This swift can come apart in a jiffy to store in a cupboard, although mine seems to live all put together on a side table! This one is from The Knit Store, but if you are handy you could probably take this general idea and make your own version.

The countdown is on for Christmas at my house....we finally got some decorations out!

Please forgive the picture issues with those I "borrow" from other sites, I don't know how to resize them when they are someone elses!

~M

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Not that I think every knitter knits socks




Many times I have heard sock knitters bemoan the inability to remember the steps in grafting toes! This little gift from KaratStix could help. And if your knitter is not a sock knitter, well tune in tomorrow I have a gift idea for them too!

If I am lucky we might even have some knitting content. :)

~M

Friday, December 4, 2009

Managing Stitches

Now that your knitter has needles and yarn he/she probably needs something to help manage all those wonderful stitches. Snag free stitch markers are a must for the lace knitter on your list, something to keep those pattern repeats straight without catching on the fine yarns we like to use.


found here

Stitch markers come in all sorts of different designs.


and here

From simple rings of metal or plastic to highly ornate decorative works of art.

Or make your own, here.

Of course I won't mention that a ton of knitters out there use nothing more than scraps of yarn tied in a circle!

~M

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Did she see me coming?

Check out today's post from, none other than, the Yarn Harlot...Scroll down a little, you will see what I am talking about!

Now I have to try and keep my Gifts for Knitters different than hers, which as the Harlot has some really great knitting taste could be hard.

Now on to what I had planned to post about today. :)

So far we have needles and blockers designed for socks so what better for day 3 than sock yarn? But how do you pick, how do you know what your knitter loves? Although there are plenty of expensive, inexpensive, dramatically and subdued colors of sock yarn my first tip is BUY ENOUGH FOR A PAIR OF SOCKS...check the labels folks, look for the yardage because there is nothing worse than trying to match dyelots long after the yarn was bought. *Or in Stephanie's case, ever.* If the ball of yarn you are holding suspiciously has less than 400 yards, do everyone a favor and buy two. Better yet, buy the balls with more than 400 yards.**

Webs has a ton of sock yarn to pick from, all at discount prices. Pick a color and go shopping, maybe if you are lucky the socks that are knit from those precious balls will end up on your feet.

~M

*the beginning of today's post talks all about matching dyelots.
** one of the knitting creeds is you can never have too much yarn, but just in case you get too much there are many monster sock patterns out there for leftovers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gifts for Knitters 12/2


Every sock knitter on your Holiday gift giving list is in need of some of these! Picture shamelessly stolen from here.

Sock blockers come in all sorts of materials and sizes, with prices ranging from free to several tens of dollars. I have some of these But they are not what were wished for by Amanda in yesterdays comments. If I am reading her request right, she is asking for something from here and there are many to pick from.

Of course we shouldn't leave out the glove knitters, they make blockers for them too!

Still no knitting content to share, there is another pair of socks in the works but so far they just look like three rows of ribbing!

The question is still out there...What do you, the knitter, want for the holidays?

~M

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Way back when

Way back in 2004 the Yarn Harlot did a special posting in December, several of them actually with guest spots by daughters, of Gifts for Knitters. When I have nothing better to do, or I am trying to distract myself from finding new patterns to knit or work on the things that are already on my needles I will look back at those posts and think to myself "Wow, if only (insert name of whoever I want to buy me something) could look at that I might get (insert name of cool thing here)".

So how's about we all join in, leave me a comment with something that you the knitter would like for Christmas and we can make a whole Advent of Gifts for Knitters.

I will start us off with :



Square double pointed needles. I got to test these out last summer and while I thought the cable joins on the circulars ...well let's be lady like...were not up to Addi Turbo standards, the double points were wonderful to use. Many knitters knit on a single swatch over the course of TNNA, and to tell the truth even with different hands, different tensions and different knitting styles, you couldn't see where one knitter started and another left off. (I might have hedged my bets to make sure someone wraps these up for me for Christmas, the only question is which child will wrap them!)

Kollage needles can be found here If the knitter in your life hasn't tried them, maybe they should. :)

No knitting content from me today, still slogging through some hidden knitting!

~M