Keeping Up With the Joneses

I’ve never really considered myself a trendy person.  It’s not like I’m lagging far behind the times, I just don’t feel the need to run out and buy the latest skinny jeans or whatever is new this week. 

So why is it, that when it comes to the flu, my family needs to keep up with the Joneses?  We’re on Day 3 of Addie being sick.  Technically, I suppose it’s day 2.5, but who’s keeping track?  Fever, stomach ache, body aches, cough, extreme tireness.  Ugh.  The poor kid is miserable.  She missed her Halloween party at school today.  Although she was sad about it last night, she really just didn’t have the energy to get too upset about it. 

I’m going on less than the normal amount of sleep today, and when I get like this I feel the need to organize.  So here’s a run down of the projects I’m working on.  In my defense, I’m getting ready for Christmas.  Yes, it’s only October, but a knitter has to get going early or she’ll never finish. 

1.  Socks for Oma

2.  Cabled Scarf for Richard (my husband’s aunt asked me to make a scarf for her son for Christmas)

3.  Sweater for ___________ in Debbie Bliss Merino

4.  February Lady Sweater for ___________ in ___________ yarn.  (You don’t think I’m going to spill all my secrets do you?  Not started yet.

5.  Wisp (no intended recipient yet)

6.  Slippers for Sharon

7.  Branching Out Scarf for my sister.  Technically this isn’t a Christmas gift.  It’s a swap from 2 years ago.  She agreed to make me a bag if I would make her a scarf.  I bought the fabric.  She bought the yarn.  I just got the bag, so I think it’s time for me to break out the scarf and work on it again.  It’s got some bad memories associated with the scarf, so I may have to rethink the pattern. 

The completely bag – fabric purchased at Fabric Works in Superior. 

Flu-Like Symptoms

I meant for this to be a really cool post.  Perhaps some Gifts for Knitters.  Or a nice little story about how my boss bought me yarn today, which I think is quite possibly the coolest thing ever.  Instead, I got a call from daycare that my oldest child got off the bus with a 102 degree fever. 

So no real posts today.  Maybe tomorrow during nap time.  My daughter is insisting in a way that only a 5 year old can that she MUST go to school tomorrow because it’s the day before the Halloween party and it’s going to be SOOO exciting.  Poor kid.  I hope she does feel better tomorrow so she can go to the Halloween party on Friday!

Square Needles?

Yep, you read that right.  Kollage has come out with square needles.  The sides are squared off to supposedly ease some of the strain on your hands.  In the interest of science, I bought 2 types of their square needles from the Paradise Fibers booth at Sock Summit. 

The first one I tried was the circular needle in a size 7 since I needed a 40" circular to work on the Cinxia sweater.  I’ve resisted writing this review for awhile because I just don’t have words to express how much I hated working with the circular needles.  To be fair, I loved the needle portion.  It really did feel nice in my hands.  I didn’t feel the need to grasp the needle so tightly, as my fingers could just sort of touch the squared off edges and keep the needles in motion.  The part I hated was the cable.  It seemed to stick to the wool/linen blend.  I had to actively tug on the fabric to get the stitches to move along the cable.  I don’t need to fight with my knitting, I just want to enjoy it.  I returned the needle to Paradise Fibers right away.  Paradise Fibers was very gracious about the return, saying that they were getting very mixed reviews of the circulars.  Some people love them, some hate them.  Check me off as the later.  (Bythe way, check out Paradise Fibers, they are a family run company out of Canada.  The family stayed in the same hotel as me and were very nice the entire weekend.  Plus, they donate 2% of each year’s profits to maintaining fiberarts traditions.) 

I also bought size 1 double points.  I’m a pretty tight knitter and socks tend to make my hands ache.  I’m knitting the sock shown above with Socks That Rock and the Kollage needles.  I’m not sure that the needles really ease any strain on my hands.  After a weekend of knitting socks, I could really use a hand and arm massage.  However, the tips are super pointy and great for doing knit 2 togethers.  The metal needle is very strong; even with my tight knitting, I don’t feel like the needle might break off in my hands like I would with bamboo needles.  These needles rank right up with the KnitPicks wooden needles as my favs. 

Overall, I would say that the double points are a winner.  I would definitely buy more double points and probably buy some straight needles from them as well (I don’t use straights all that often, but I’m a sucker for pretty needles and these are beauts). 

The Spin Doctor

I’ve been putting a good spin on things around the Big Blue House lately. 

Last week I took a beginning spinning class at Yarn Harbor.  I’ve been spinning for about 6 months and am fairly confident in my spinning, however, after taking a class at Sock Summit in August I felt like there was more that I should know.  So, when in doubt, start at the beginning.  I picked up a couple of good tips and got some reassurance that what I was doing was on the right track. 

This weekend I decided to Navajo ply some yarn that I had spun quite a while back.  It’s merino in alternating long stretches of brown and olive green.  My intention was that I’d make self-striping sock yarn out of it.  It’s been sitting on the bobbin for several months now.  Since I’ve spun this, I’ve taken two classes where the instructors have told me to spin a tighter twist.  Ummm… yeah, now I understand why.  When you ply 2 strands together (this makes the yarn stronger and more durable), you ply in the opposite direction from your regular spinning.  If you’re spinning the original yarn (called a single) clockwise, then you ply in the counter clockwise direction.  When I went to ply the yarn, it was so underspun that the yarn just went *poof* in my hands.  It dissolved back into fluffy roving.  So… what to do?  Any suggestions?  I’m thinking about just running it back through the wheel and adding more spin to it.  Will that work?

While I think on that, I’ve also been spinning some superwash merino.  It’s from Kitchen Sink Dyeworks.  I bought it at Sock Summit, so I’m pretty sure that I’m attributing it to the correct dyer.  I do remember that they gave me a Voodoo Donut while I was shopping.  I thought that was brave, handing a customer a Coco Puffs donut while she’s fondling your wool.  By the way, her seacell merino would make an awesome gift for any knitter.  It’s an amazing price for seacell.  And it’s purrr-ty! 

Instant Gratification

After working on a deadline, I always like to throw in a couple of projects that are instant gratification.  The Meathead hats from Knitalong can be done in a couple of hours.  STC Crafts is offering it as a free download right now.  Go, go get it and knit it.  This is the child size, but it fits me.  I made the pink one for Addie so she’d have a warm hat to wear to school.  She put it on yesterday morning and said, "Cool, a elf hat!"  I think that’s high praise from a 5 year old!  The hat was so cute on her that I made a second for Lily last night. 


Pattern:  Meathead Hat from Knitalong

Yarn:  4 Strands of Worsted weight 100% wool (I used a combination of Ella Rae, Cascade 220 and Lamb’s Pride)

Needles:  Size 15

Modifications:  None.  It’s knit flat and seamed together.  I may do another one in the round, just because I like it better, but I don’t have size 15 circular needles (Nor do I really want them) so I’d probably end up making it in a baby size. 


Another instant gratification project. 


Pattern:  Cool Little Llama Silk Mittens from 101 Luxury One Skein Wonders

Yarn:  Debbie Bliss Cashmere – 2 skeins

Needles:  Size 8 US

Comments:  I received the yarn in a swap about a year ago and just didn’t know what to do with it.  It’s two 45 yard skeins, so it’s pretty short on yardage.  I finished the first mitt with probably a yard of yarn left over.  These are super soft and cushy though! 



Flower Girls

The sweaters were finished, blocked and (most of) the ends were weaved in by the time we got to the wedding last weekend.  I say most because I somehow missed one end on Lily’s sleeve so I just ended up tucking it up into the sleeve all day.  Making the sweaters was a really good idea since it was unseasonably cold in Milwaukee last weekend.  While the wedding party was having pictures taken, it even snowed!  I probably could have gotten away with making the sweaters out of alpaca for even more warmth instead of bamboo. The couple wanted wedding photos taken outside at the Joan of Arc chapel on the Marquette campus.  We carried the kids, wrapped in the men’s tux coats, the three blocks to the chapel and hurridly took the photos.  Everyone had goose bumps! 

The three flower girls were adorably cute, as only 3 and 5 year olds can be.  They did a wonderful job walking down the aisle; they even held hands the whole way! 

I’m pretty positive that someone took a photo of the 4 of us together.  However, I don’t remember who it was.  It certainly wasn’t with my camera.  My camera had a wonderful blurry effect all weekend that I couldn’t figure out.  I kept changing the settings and messing with the focus.  Turns out that Lily had been playing with my camera last week and got messy fingerprints all over the lens.  Now that the lens is clean, it takes crisp photos again. 

Down to the Wire

I am down to the wire with the last bolero sweater.  I knit furiously through the Viking/Packer game last night and started casting off the ribbing during the final minutes when I thought maybe, just maybe Rodgers might just pull it off.  Alas, Rodgers is no Farve, and doesn’t have quite the flair for the dramatic 4th quarter pull it off at the last minute by the skin of his nose umph that Farve has.  I guess, then again, neither do I as the sweater is sitting in my car waiting for me to finish the bind off.  I should be able to finish it at lunch.  Tonight I’ll block the sweater.  This time around I’m going to put a fan on it so it will dry quicker than the last one.  We leave on Thursday for Milwaukee.  My plan for the first part of the road trip is to weave in all the ends. 

Oh, and I have to make some barrettes (Hair Pretties as they’re called at our house) for the girls to wear during the wedding.  Yikes, I hope they turn out OK. 

Then?  Well, then I will probably work some version of a manly scarf for my husband’s cousin.  My hubby’s aunt asked me to make her son a scarf for Christmas.  I’ve been searching for pretty green yarn in my stash, and while I have lots of partial skeins, I don’t have a full skein.  So… any suggestions?  Local suggestions that I can get quickly? 

I do have a website for everyone to check out, it’s not a local website, however I believe the mom of the woman who owns the company does live local.  🙂 And she read my blog which means that I like her already.  Three Irish Girls has incredible, amazing, wonderful colors on an awesome yarn base.  Her Tierney makes my heart go pitter patter!  I actually briefly met the owner at Sock Summit in Portland, OR.  She was very sweet and nice.  Had I realized at the time that she had a Northland Connection, I would have chatted her up more. 

I promise you’ll get photos soon, definitely photos of the girls in their flower girl dresses by next week! 

Free Patterns & a Finished Object

This is the Bison Shawlette from 101 Luxury One Skein Wonders.  I really like the patterns in the book, but you should be aware that A LOT of the patterns have errata on the website.  Just follow the link and click on corrections. 

The shawl is knit in some mystery alpaca that my Brother-in-Law brought back from a trip to Peru.  It is beautiful beautiful yarn, soft and easy to knit with.  It’s somewhere in the fingering weight range.  I wasn’t sure of the yardage since the label was partially torn, so I just started kniting and hoping that there would be enough.  I ran out of yarn just as I was at the 2nd to last pattern row.  I knew I wouldn’t like it if I finished the last 3 rows (1 purl row, 1 pattern row and bind off row) in a different color, so I bound off early.  Thanks to Barb from Fabric Works, I bound off with a needle 3 sizes bigger so I’d be able to block out the points a little better. 

I need to re-block this as I could have been a lot more aggressive in my blocking.  Lesson learned, block the he-double hockey sticks out of lace!  It should be blocked and ready for me to wear to my Brother-in-Law’s wedding next weekend. 

I love free patterns.  I really love free patterns, especially when they’re fun patterns that I’ve been coveting for some time.  STC Craft is giving away some free patterns, just in time for your Christmas knitting!  Just follow the link below. 

STC Craft

So what will you be crafting for Christmas?