Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Knitting and Tea Parties and a Neice or Nephew on the Way!

Long time, no blog! I've been so busy with the holiday knitting and my new job (I'm not working in an office, as I had hoped, but I rather like my new retail environment - plenty to keep me busy and lots of cool folk to work with) that blogging has been the last thing on my mind - but I'm here now, no pics unfortunately but I hope to upload a ton after Christmas!

1. Holiday Knitting

I have finished two of the minor items, although one still requires having the ends weaved in. I'm 20% through one of the bigger projects, have barely started one of the others, and won't even be able to start the last one because I have no yarn for it. (I know which yarn - bare, 100% Peruvian wool from KnitPicks which I want to dye myself with Kool Aid, and which pattern - time and money have both been a factor, though). So I'm feeling pretty good about what I've managed to get done. I'm going to make a miniature version of the last project in acrylic just to show the recipient what he's getting. I hope he'll be pleased.

2. Tea Parties

Okay, well, just one tea party :) I went to an ornament exchange tea party this weekend. There were twelve of us altogether so we each brought 11 ornaments, and enjoyed Christmas music, a lovely spread of finger foods, and had great fun exchanging decorations. (This is the first year my husband and I have had a tree so it was exciting to have some sweet, hand-picked ornaments to put on it!) It also snowed lightly all afternoon, and cardinals gathered in the tree by the hostess' deck. A picture-perfect sort of outing!

3. My sister informed me earlier last week that she's expecting in March! I'm very excited for her and my brother-in-law, and hope that my nephews and neice are excited to have a new arrival too! I'm also excited that I might be able to do some newborn/infant knitting. I didn't knit when the other three were born so I had nothing hand-crafted to give them (though I've been trying to make hats and things to catch up), so I'm already giving thought to what I can gift the new baby. I also want to make something for the two big brothers and big sister so they're not left out! I have three months to get on it, so if you have any suggestions for a favourite baby/infant project, feel free to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

Well, guess I'd better get some dinner and get on with that knitting! I hope to post again before Christmas, but if I don't, I wish you happy holidays and peace and joy and all that jazz ;)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

FO: Knucks, on my hand

FO: Knucks, on my hand
Originally uploaded by sammygirl
Well, "knuck", really, as I've only made one. I wanted to make these for a specific person, but how can I make it if I've never practiced the technique? So this week I finally sat down and got over my fear of learning a new skill (since teaching myself how to knit last year... I've had to do that a lot!). On Wednesday I alternated with another Christmas gift project so I only had the fingers done and put on two needles by bedtime. The next day I started on working the fingers into part of a cohesive whole. By the time I went to bed that night, the thumb was on and the gusset was being shaped. And by dinnertime the next night, I had a glove! It's a bit short for my liking but I can fix that on the next one.

Here's a pattern link. It's a bit tricky at first but it's not as hard as it looks... though I will say that I surprised myself by completing something categorised on Knitty as "piquant"!

Well, best get to more knitting. Only 16 more knitting days until Christmas (AUUUUGHHHH!).

Monday, December 3, 2007

FO: Wrist Warmers (finished at long last!)

For this one, you might want to recall this entry from all the way back in July. That was one wrist-warmer in that lovely biscuity coloured Vanna White yarn. Last night I finally cast on for the second one! I don't know why I put it off for so long - I think I was convinced I didn't have enough yarn left to start it. I ended up weighing the wrist warmer and then the leftover yarn and found out I would have enough. Got an inch or so done last night before bed, and I finished it while I watched TV tonight. Even wove the ends in! This is unusual for me, it's the one dread job of knitting, the weaving-in-the-ends. Anyway, I've even included a picture as proof! I feel like I've come pretty far - knocking out the second one was a breeze. The first one felt like a major accomplishment akin to climbing a mountain or running a 5K!

They sure are clunky, but they're warm. And since I have to be at work at 6am tomorrow, that's good enough for me!

Colouring My World With Kool-Aid!

WIP Update: I finished Nathan's hat on Saturday night and hope to post a picture soon. I'm actually quite pleased with the way it turned out - it definitely looks handmade but not crappy. I'm paranoid that the things I make look silly and that any gift recipient is really just being super-polite (but thinking inside, "I really hope she doesn't expect me to actually wear that"). The ol' self-esteem well is a little low today, but I think once I put on my pink earflap hat and get some coffee into my system I'll be fine. ;)

WIP Update II: I started on yet another Christmas Knitting Project (which I can't disclose here in case of accidental click-throughs on my family's part!). What I will say is that the yarn is extremely nice - Mission Falls 1824 Wool. Superwash merino! It's so soft! Me + Mission Falls = ♥


Yesterday I started researching Kool-Aid dyeing. I've been taking a good, hard look at the world of yarn, and realistically, my bank account can't take the hit for some of the yarns and projects I'd ultimately like to try. However, KnitPicks sells some very reasonably priced undyed yarn (an amount of fingering-weight yarn good for a pair of socks comes in at about six bucks!) and I would love to custom-colour some sock yarn (also some Peruvian wool for a slightly ambitious sweater project). Kool-Aid is getting some very rave reviews as a dyeing method, and is quite affordable for my bargain-basement budget, so for my own future reference - and yours too! - here are some very quick links to some Kool-Aid dyeing how-tos:

Dyed In The Wool (
Dyeing Tutorial (free,
Kool-Aid Yarn Dyeing (Quantum Tea blog; it's not a step-by-step but there are some really pretty pictures)

Hopefully I can post more after work. I definitely plan on documenting my first dyeing experience, so stay tuned! ♥

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Babe!

WIP: Nathan's Manos hat
Originally uploaded by sammygirl
This picture is of a hat I'm knitting for my husband. He wanted a hat, and I didn't really have any colours or fibres in my stash that he especially liked, so we went to our LYS, today. They have a birthday discount (half your age as a percentage off), and he picked out some yarn. I've always wanted to knit with Manos del Uruguay, but haven't ever had a project in mind and was too easily intimidated by the quality and price (e.g.: "Yikes, for my budget it's too steep... and I'm not a good enough knitter!")... but today that's what he liked best, so that's what we got! The thick-and-thin nature of the yarn makes knitting with it a bit of an adventure, but it's working out quite nicely so far. I'll post pictures when I'm finished!

I'm still working (or procrastinating on) various other Christmas knitting. I have officially given up the ornament-knitting idea (I'm just going to pick out some nice stuff at Hobby Lobby, I'm too busy), although I did whip up some paper chains for our very first tree! (Yes, we've been married six years and have never managed to put up a tree, other than a desktop model.) I couldn't find my various-colour construction paper but I did find the plain stuff, and I had a box of crayons on hand, so I coloured in whole pages, then cut them into strips and made chains using a stapler. Fun stuff! I have to make some more as it didn't quite make it around the tree, but still.

Well, off to noddyland with me. Happy knitting to you all! More soon!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Knitting: The Weather Buster!

It is officially 25 degrees F right now, which to me is very, very cold! I have been waiting for cold weather to truly hit our neck of the woods. Summer seemed to overstay its welcome and autumn wasn't in a hurry to take its place; the leaves on the trees didn't turn those magnificent jewel colours until just a week or so ago. Now, I realise the kind of winter weather that we see here in the mid-south isn't exactly harsh - we're not having snowstorms or minus-degree temperatures - but I was born and raised in Australia. The winter temperatures there, while chilly, are nothing compared to this, and even after six years I'm still not used to it. Which is why I'm glad I knitted those purple and yellow Happy Socks. I slipped them on over another pair of thinner socks last night, because my toes were a little nippy, and I wore them to bed, and I was toasty all night, and still am now! Plus, looking at them makes me smile.

I didn't get any knitting done yesterday except for a little bit to take the edge off (I cast some crap yarn onto a needle and just knit a couple of rows), because I was mostly working on a new hand-sewing project (I will be attempting to install a zipper... dun dun dun) and procrastinating on my novel, which has stalled somewhere in the neighbourhood of 18,000 words. Yikes. However, I did a little shopping at Hobby Lobby and scored some Yarn Bee Jewelsong for $1.99 a ball (regularly $10.00!) and some Yarn Bee Elf Eyelash for a $1.60. Bargain. (I am loving furry, fluffy, fuzzy, but still easy-to-work-with yarn right now. The brighter the better. Ever since I started my Rockstar Scarf I've been loving the notion of using these fun yarns as a fabulous accent rather than the meat-and-potatoes of a piece.)

Right now I'm looking up how to knit Christmas tree ornaments. I will be going to a tea-party in December where all of the ladies who attend bring ornaments for every one else, and while I would love to go buy some glittery, shiny ornaments, I don't really have the money. However, I do have yarn! So here's some of what I've found. I might even consider knitting some small versions of the knitted cupcake to make into ornaments!

Christmas trees!
Paton's Yarn ornaments (requires membership, which is free)
Teeny hats!

I will be scouring the internet for more later, so watch this spot.

I suppose if I wanted to be a real trouble-maker and skip the knitting part, I could always make something from a box of O.B... I mean, those angels are really cute! However, considering the negative reaction to the Litter Box Cake I made two years ago for Halloween, I should be wary of grossing out this particular group of lady-folk. (I'm still bitter about the cake though. "Make something gross! Make something scary!" My cake was awesome, and no-one would touch it because it was too realistic! Bah.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My New Favourite Toy (November Edition)

With a title like that I suppose you'd expect me to review some kind of knitting gadget - which was not my intent, but I'll throw a bone to Clover and say that I love their row counter, or as I call it, "my clicker". As noted on Yarn Market, it does make a very satisfying sound, and it also helps me keep track of the stripe sequence on my Rockstar Scarf!

No, my actual new favourite toy of November is Pandora Radio, a music genome project which finds music you might like based on existing favourite artists or songs. I discovered it way ages ago, but promptly forgot about it after I started buying songs from iTunes. Well, now I'm broke and I need to reinstall iTunes but I'm too busy sewing and knitting to care, so I'm listening to Pandora every day. I have stations based on Jamiroquai, Cibo Matto, Rob Zombie, Megadeth, Silverchair, and as of today, Cliff Richard. I know it's a bit eclectic, but, eh. That's me.

Anyway, I just felt the need to get that out there. I'm in the middle of sewing another little pink penguin bag, and it turns out that listening to poppy, boppy music helps, so I wanted to give Pandora a plug! Although this one will likely have no closure of any kind since I didn't buy a zip beforehand... though I do have some buttons stashed away somewhere. When I'm done with this, I have a Top Sekrit Knitting Project to work on - I would love to elaborate, but there might be family members reading. If you're on Ravelry, look me up - sammyknits - to get the goods! ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sewing Project: The Drawstring Sock Project Bag

As noted earlier in the day, today I decided to make a small drawstring bag especially for sock-knitting projects. I measured out a piece of fleece that measured 17" by 12" (it was supposed to be 18", but by the time I finished trimming, well, you know). A 12" length gave enough room to sew up the bottom and leave space for the drawstring, while 17" worked out perfectly for the circumference of the bag.

I wasn't actually sure how I would do the bottom - I had this idea of doing it as a circle so it would sit flat, but realised I was way in over my head. So I sewed up the side and then sewed up the bottom. When I was finished doing that, I pinned an allowance of about an inch for the drawstring, and sewed that so there was a tube at the top. Meanwhile, I knitted a black i-cord for the drawstring, and when I was finished with the body of the bag I used a safety pin to thread it.

I haven't finished the drawstring yet... I want to get a large bead to use as a stopper, but the bag is still functional as it is.

If you want to see the whole set of 9 pictures, check out my Flickr page. I figured it would be too clunky to try to insert them all in here :)

That's all there was to it - AND I had a job interview today! Sure, it's for retail, but money is money, and it's not a gas station. Wish me luck.

Looks Like Someone's Got a Case of the Mondays!

...and I do, so let's just skip over that and talk some knitting and knitting-related crafts!

Behold: the 94" wonder that is the Happy Scarf! As previously mentioned it's made out of Lion Brand Homespun. It took about one and a half balls of said yarn to make it the length I wanted. By the time I was finishing it up I could wear it while knitting it! I had Nathan model it because I am in the middle of a self-esteem crisis and wish never to be photographed again (heh). He looks rather handsome in it, which makes me wish he loved scarves as much as I do so he'd wear one! If you're wondering why this picture only shows half a face, he agreed to model it only if I cropped out his hair (the only birthday gift he's asked for his year is a haircut).

Onto... knitting-related craft! I have been toting around my sock yarn and needles in a paper bag from Handheld Knitting. It's a fine bag, nice handles - but it is made of paper, after all, and paper can only take so much wear before the bottom falls out and you're left with a skein of sock yarn sitting in a puddle and tears running down your face. Luckily this has not happened to me, but I am prescient enough to realise it could. So I'm going to see what I can do with some fleece, thread, a needle, and a little creative know-how in order to make my very own Sock Project Bag - the little bag that could, big enough for some needles, some sock yarn, and a sock, ONLY! If I manage to get it together, I'll post photos and a pattern. I'm coming up with all sorts of ideas lately - watching "The Amazing Race" last night (go Team Goth!), I had an idea for a felted bag and immediately started looking up information about felting. As soon as I can acquire some wool, I will be swatching and fulling up a storm. Maybe I'll even be able to share my idea!

Well, on to the makings of this Sock Project Bag. I'll keep you updated!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quick Project: Happy Scarf

I just finished a long scarf in Lion Brand Homespun (colour: Corinthian, a blend of purple, orange, red, yellow and green, very autumn-y) on size 11 needles - cast on 20 stitches and knit in garter stitch until it was the right length for me (when wrapped around the neck once, it still comes down to the tops of my legs). It's very warm and fuzzy and happy and only took me about five days of knitting in snatches, here and there. I guess I've been trying to put off casting on my second lagoon sock!

I also started a Rockstar Scarf. I found the idea for it in "Knit Wit", a book compiled by the editor of, Amy R. Singer. Basically you alternate six-row stripes of a smooth yarn and a fuzzy/eyelash yarn. I'm using Red Heart in black and Yarn Bee Elf Eyelash in the colourway "Heather", a blend of purple, pink, maroon and a honey/beige colour. It is really quite smashing.

Pictures to follow! I'm nowhere near my computer or my camera - I'm at my in-laws drinking sangria and watching '80s and '90s BBC sitcoms on PBS. Fun! :D

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Finished the Foliage Hat!

FO: Foliage Hat
Originally uploaded by sammygirl
Yey! Here it is. I don't know if the wonkiness in the third repeat of the lace is only visible to me, but whatev - it was a practice run and I'm not so fussy when it comes to my stuff! Even though angora is sort of fluffy, the stitch definition is not completely lost. It just looks subtle. I'm about to head to bed and I'm still wearing it because it's so delightfully warm! (Click on the picture to see more at my Flickr page. I even model it, though it's a fuzzy picture!)

Tomorrow: I plan on finishing my happy scarf in Lion Brand Homespun - just simple garter stitch in lots of nice, bright, shiny fall colours, on size 11 needles (really gives it a nice drape). I was thinking of adapting the scarf/bonnet thing from "Knit 2 Together", but I don't know that I necessarily have the skill for that at just this moment. If I have any of the Homespun leftover I'm going to try making the Urchin hat from the Fall 2007 Knitty.

Nanowrimo update: 12,446 words in! Really need to knuckle down and work on that some more tomorrow. Also, cross fingers that I hear back about my interviews! As much as I love the extra knitting time (and I do, I really do), I'm feeling a bit antsy hanging around the house all day. Eep.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Navigating Flickr, Blogger & Ravelry Simultaneously!

Current Project: Foliage
Originally uploaded by sammygirl
I'm a bit intimidated, but I'm sure I'll survive. I used to be all over new apps and services and technology like no-one's business, but I guess I've turned into a bit of a technophobe. Knitting is as tech as I like to get these days! Anyway, to post pictures to Ravelry, one has to have a Flickr account. I had one, but I wasn't sure of the password. So I had to do a little sorting out on that end before I could post pics to my Ravelry account. Then it occurs to me, "Well, if they're on Flickr, I could put them on my blog". So here I am. Cross fingers that it works.

Anyway, that picture there is the start of Foliage, a hat from the latest issue of Knitty, on DPNs in the round. I chose Elsebeth Lavold angora for the hat, mostly because it's been hanging out in my stash itching to be knitted for about six months now, and it occurs to me that for a project which requires stitch definition it's probably not the best choice. However, since I sort of faffed up my last round of lace (I missed something somewhere and it all went haywire), the fluffiness provides much-needed obfuscation on that count. In any case, the hat will still be warm!

Hey look! My lovely friend Sarah has a knitting blog too, Enchanted Fiber Arts. I owe much to Sarah for my obsession with knitting - I remember chatting one time and she used the acronym DPNs and I went, "Whoa, not so fast!" ...hee hee. Look at me now! ;)

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Obviously, things are a bit joyful in this place as I am actually on Ravelry (look for sammyknits - not original, but as a longterm username I can't change, I think it will do just fine). It is every bit as good as I thought it would be. Just when I think it can't possibly get any more awesome, I find some new feature that sends my brain into hopeless nerd spasms (you put your stash in and it will convert it into a spreadsheet for downloading! *swoon*). I can't endorse it enough. The wait is completely worth it. I can't wait until I have some money so I can throw some their way as a thankyou and for support. It's such a brilliant tool. Gush, gush, gush.

In non-knitting, non-gushing news, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year! I did about three years in a row when it first started, but I took the last couple of years off. This time I'm writing about a zombie apocalypse. I might even be able to work yarn in there somehow. I'm already at 10, 098 words in three days - I'm not sure how I swung that, but I guess when you pick a topic you're interested in, the words fairly fly from brain to keyboard. I'll post some excerpts when I get further into it, but I promise not to let the novel writing outweigh the knit talk!

To end on a yarny note, I had to take some pics of my stash for my Ravelry account, and these are the ones that I think turned out the nicest. Of course, I don't know how to fix the settings on my camera to show the true colour (the yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Angora in Cherry Red, but it looks more like rust!). Enjoy!

Goodnight and pleasant dreams! ♥

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Coolest Podcast... Ever!

Check it out: Vickie Howell - esteemed member of the Austin Craft Mafia and host of my fave DIY Network show, "Knitty Gritty" - has a podcast and it debuts tomorrow! I am really looking forward to more crafty stuff - my bookmarks are bursting at the seams, I have more library books out than you can shake a stick at, and my personal knitting library is slowly taking over my bedroom, but there's always room for more. I think Vickie is the shizz, so if you like craft I bet you'll love her, and I heartily recommend adding her podcast to your subscriptions!

"Antsy" Doesn't Even Begin To Cover It

I'm almost on Ravelry! I've been checking, and checking, and checking, and for about a week there I gave up checking because it was making me sad, and then I gave myself a good talking-to about how busy the admins must be over at the site, and how great they are to put together such a hulking endeavour, and got over myself, and then got back to checking and checking. And now there's only 1,337 people in front of me. Which if you'll note, I screencapped for posterity, because, well, 1337*!

I'm giving some consideration to knitting Christmas stockings for the fam. Including one rogue adoptee who may or may not be back Stateside for Christmas, that comes to 10. I figure I'd use worsted weight and make a mid-size sock and probably use Swiss darning to put the names on. But there's only fifty-five knitting days until Christmas! (Including Christmas morning!) And I'm still not sure I can make something for everybody! Argh. We'll see.

Wish me some luck for tomorrow, y'all. I have two, check 'em, two job interviews. I'm somewhere between "stoked" and "fairly throwing up with nerves". Aieee!

* 1337 = "leet" as in "elite" as in scriptkiddy silly hacker speak. I know, I didn't say my sense of humour is necessarily good!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Sock Documentation Begins

I've decided to take pictures of every pair of socks I make, for posterity. I'm pretty sure after pair #5 this decision will go the way of new years' resolutions, but I'm going to try. So to start, I have pairs #1 and #2 (finished my Happy Socks last night while watching "Top Gear" and "Heroes"). My photography skills aren't exactly sharp - I put the socks down on a light-coloured towel in the hopes I could at least demonstrate the general shape of them (unlike my first attempt, in which I photographed dark green socks on a dark blue chair - genius). Anyone with mad photography skillz is welcome to offer tips! Anyway, here we go:

These were both in worsted weight on size 8 DPNs. It's not necessarily easier than using sock-weight on size 2s (because once you get the hang of it, I think yarn weight and needle size are just variables, none necessarily more difficult than another), but for darn near instant gratification you can't beat it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


It's just been socks, socks, and more socks around here lately! I guess I have officially been bitten by the sock bug. It actually looks like it, literally, as I have this slice/puncture on my left forefinger from poking the needle down while I knit because of how pointy my DPNs are. I love the stupid sharp things, I really do, but maybe I have to invest in some kind of leather thimble for that finger.

So far I've finished a pair of bedsocks for Nigel (husband) - I started a pair for myself but I had to rip some of it out, and when I began again I knitted way past the point of a comfortable, non-clown-like fit for myself and decided to just make them for him. He has actually worn them to bed and finds that they fit just right, they are sensibly toasty, and he doesn't really feel a need to kick them off in the middle of the night. Huzzah!

When I started making a pair for myself I decided to be a little ambitious. They have a yellow cuff, heel-flap and toe, and the leg and foot are purple (I call them Happy Socks). They look quite smashing - well, the first one. I would have had the second one started and finished yesterday if only I had remembered to put the fourth needle in my bag - we went out to my in-law's house, and when I got there I only had the needles on the sock. Luckily, I had my other Blue Lagoon sock (the second of a pair made with yummy Kaffe Fassett yarn)... but I got frustrated with it when I ribbed for too long, and I couldn't get past the row where my ribbing was all off so i just unraveled it all and started again. After I cast on and did the first two rows it just wasn't coming together so I unraveled it again and stuck it deep into my knitting bag. Hmph. I'll try again today but I can't make any promises.

So, stuck without a project to work on while we watched old British comedies on PBS, I ended up winding my brand new sock yarn - it's a lovely jewel-toned yarn I bought from Wooly Treasures on Etsy. (Pictures to come!) Winding it was a bit of an undertaking - I don't have a swift and ball-winder yet, so I had to pop the hank over the top of a chair and wind it the old-fashioned way. (I'm always worried when I do it like that, that I'm going to pull the yarn too tight and affect the way it knits up later.) That part I could deal with - what I couldn't deal with was the family cats and their absolute determination to destroy my yarn! They had to get booted out onto the breezeway with the kitty door locked so they couldn't get back in to chew on it some more. I had to break off a yard or two when I got to where Fritz - a beautiful cat but dumber than hair - had slobbered all over a nice shade of green and actually almost busted through the yarn with her teeth. Sigh.

Hopefully after I get dinner into the slow cooker I'll have some time to work on Happy Sock 2 of 2, and maybe even cast on the second Blue Lagoon sock, and I'll take some pictures. Have a happy Sunday! ♥

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lagoon Socks!

Too tired to actually blog. Pictures should suffice. I have already cast on for the second sock. I started this one Sunday afternoon and now, Tuesday evening, I have one half of a pair. I wish I could knit socks for a living. That would be fun and meaningful!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Fit of Afternoon Whimsy

I have sock pictures! As follows, with handy-dandy labels (because, I will admit, it's a beautiful example of wonk in action):

I know the leg part looks weird, but I did ribbing the whole way so it looks skinny and wonky but it fits really nicely. It's not as dainty or pretty as some of the socks you might see around the innertubes, but I used sport weight on size 4 needles. This past weekend I got some very lovely superwash wool sock yarn and size 2 needles at my LYS, so we'll see how I fare with those. (I'm even contemplating a picot edge for the top - inspired by the Yarn Harlot. I found a couple of good tutorials for a picot edge, here and here, and gave it a shot last night in practice mode. Not fantastic, but it was my first try. I'll give it another whirl tomorrow. Oh! Found another one. Lots of detail. A bit scary. I'm sure I can deal with it.)

The whimsy part comes in here: I was housebound this afternoon with nothing to cook (made crockpot chili yesterday, it kind of lasts a while) and nothing new to read (trip to the library was called off due to a front tyre in need of filling with air). I'd already googled all that could be googled and done the rounds of my fave blogs. So I thought to myself, "I want to knit a cupcake", and went a-googling to see what I could find. Lo and behold, I found this nifty pattern. I went stash-diving to see what I could find and came up with some acrylic in dark brown, lavender, and white. I was going to do more of a dab-of-white-frosting rather than a cherry-on-top, and while it didn't work out perfectly, I submit to you that it is my first attempt at knitted foodstuffs, and for that, it's not so bad (and the cats have another toy). It took me a few tries to get the hang of the bottom circle, but I eventually got there. When my husband got home from work I made him play the "what am I making?" game, and he didn't guess until I got to the lavender part and gave him the hint "edible", hee hee. Also, I didn't have a small enough bottle to use as a stand for the bottom of the cupcake so I cut a circle out of craft foam. I'm glad I didn't throw out the toy-stuffing or foam when I started on the Great Uncluttering Of Ought Seven!

Minkey Boodle loves a cupcake!

And thanks to the great LOLcat builder on ICHC, I present to you...


Pattern notes: I think I might swatch and try to match up the bottom part of the cupcake to the size of water bottle I have at home, and go from there; then I'll flare it out a bit more and increase the lavender/frosting bit so it poofs out a bit more, and I want to try adding "sprinkles" in duplicate stitch. I'll keep y'all posted, I'm sure there's tonnes of you absolutely on edge to find out!

Transcendental Needle Magic

That is to say... "turning the heel".

Which is to say... I taught myself how to knit socks...!!!1!!

This actually happened last week. I found a very good sock tutorial* on the internet and decided for once and for all I was going to just do it already. I dug up the sport-weight yarn and size 4 needles I bought months back (along with a sock-knitting booklet which ended up roundly ignored, filed away with all the rest of the knitting books but rarely touched), and well-near velcroed myself to the couch in order to focus and just do it. I started very early last Tuesday morning, continued through Tuesday afternoon and evening. On Tuesday night/very early Wednesday morning, I followed the instructions to the letter and turned my first heel. And on Wednesday, during the latest trip to LR, I knit the main part of the foot, decreased for the toe, and finished my grafting right as we were pulling into the parking garage at the hospital. Fantastic! I weaved my ends in while I was waiting to see the specialist and borrowed scissors from the receptionist to trim the yarn ends off. I was so excited, I carried that sock around for the next few days just to show everyone my work! I still haven't made a mate for it, yet, but I'm working on a pair of bed socks in worsted weight right now. (I made the foot length too long so they're going to be for my husband. I have plans for a fuzzy pair for myself later.)

You know, I kept hearing about how turning the heel is this magical, mythical thing. I shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself that it couldn't possibly be "all that". Well, a funny thing happened while I was stringently following the step-by-step instructions for a short-row heel: when I saw the shaping happening right there, I had to stop focusing on it and instead turn my attention back to the instructions, otherwise I was going to be fully mesmerised by the power of the shaping. I finished the heel and then allowed myself to look upon what I had just created. Those wacky short rows turned into a heel! I put the knitting down onto my lap, brought my hands up to my mouth and muffled a squeal of excitement. I was amazed! I know it's not unique, it's something everyone can do, and that there are thousands of sock-knitters out there turning heels every day, but y'all. I felt so clever. It's such a simple trick but it works out so well that I think it was the heel that truly converted me to sock knitting.

Photos will come later - as long as you promise not to laugh at my clunky, ugly, first sock!

*And this is the sock tutorial to which I refer:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Surprisingly Calm Moment of Knitting Philosophy

This weekend I learned that ripping back knitting is not actually an unfixable and life-altering event, but an opportunity to learn. I made a mistake - probably an accidental yarn-over - while knitting an opera-length arm warmer. It was on double-points, in ribbing, so I was quite hesitant to remove the needles and pull the yarn out. I knitted for two inches and even tried dropping a stitch to see if fixing it that way would work. Nope. It absolutely required ripping-back. Momentarily I kicked myself for being stubborn, but I sighed, pulled the needles out, and liberated the yarn from my mistake. I managed to get all of the stitches back on the needles, without dropping one or adding any, and continued on. It didn't hurt, it wasn't hard, and I learned a little something about knitting construction.

It's not exactly amazing, new, and improved, but I thought it was
worth noting in case I find myself in that position again and need
a pep talk.

Today I continued along in the attempt to get our townhouse organised/things put away (For Once and For All). We moved in, in January. It is now October. There are still things in boxes. Not essential things, mind you - dishes, cutlery, knitting needles, etc. - but things we simply don't have a place for yet, like books, books, more books, and crafting supplies that don't relate to knitting. This weekend my husband hung out with his dad while I was at work, and managed to score a bookcase. Well, we don't actually have the bookcase yet, but the promise of it lit a tiny fire under my butt so I spent some of today moving boxes of books upstairs into the office. I also found a place for my handbags, threw out a mass of magazines (a huge move - I am a magazine hoarder), repurposed some containers as places to keep yarn (even one for swatches and samples, which I put a label on so I won't forget what it is!), sorted through about a million pens (and managed to throw some out!) and much more. To the naked eye it might not appear that much has changed in the general unpacked-box holding area, but I can tell, and our livingroom feels much lighter already. As a treat I bought myself a couple of magazines - 'Bust' and 'Creative Knitting'.

Tomorrow's agenda involves putting loose knitting patterns into folders, more sorting/throwing-out, knitting a coffee-cup sleeve, popping into Starbucks for a pumpkin-spice latte, making my resume look much fancier and impressive than my paltry job experience reflects, and visiting a temp agency with said resume in the hopes of acquiring some kind of normal daytime-hours Monday-to-Friday job, hopefully in an office. Wish me luck!

P.S.: I think something is up with the formatting right now, so some of my text
might appear to, er, disappear. Don't know what's up with that yet.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is The Knitting Malaise... Broken?!

Perhaps. I was inspired to knit my own coffee-cosy/cup sleeve thing on DPNs. What I created is really only a rough copy and totally not fit to photograph, but I managed to have the measurements fit and a venti-sized Starbucks cup securely hugged by a cuff of knitted yarn, which is about all I want from it. When I make a second one - this one with the join connected right, possibly in something zippier than light grey - I'll take a picture and stick it up here. For now, I'm pretty much just rejoicing that I managed to get something knitted, and it didn't totally suck!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Things That Keep Us From Knitting

I really can't say for sure why my knitting not only slowed down considerably but ground to a halt for the last few weeks. General crafting malaise? The overwhelming breadth of my blanket project? Feeling trapped by my lack of organisation? I would say it was probably the blanket - after you've unknitted something in the neighbourhood of 80 stitches because you missed a slip stitch, not only once, but twice, you tend to feel a bit grouchy. You may even consider a trial seperation, which is I guess what I did. I can't actually remember the last time I picked up the needles. Tonight, however, I foraged through my circular needle wallet, picked out the 16" size 10s, and have begun casting on for a hat. I would like to make a beanie with a 1 - 2 " seed stitch border, stockinette for the body, and earflaps. Sounds like it would go pretty quickly, not terribly ambitious (seriously, I don't think I knew what I was getting myself involved in when I started a KING SIZE BLOODY BLANKET), something to get the ball rolling again.

I fell into knitting so hard and fast, intending for it to be that one, true, lifetime craft, that I'm afraid I burnt myself out before I had a chance to pace myself. I'm still interested, but I doubt my commitment. I did, however, buy a stitch dictionary today, so I guess I can't be too far gone.

Well, time for bed, or reading, or something. Hopefully I might have photographic evidence of actual knitting to post, sometime soon!

Monday, August 6, 2007

All Part of a Complete and Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast of Champions!

I have been knitting, but the latest project is so stupidly ambitious that aside from one almost successful attempt to try and devise a waffle-weave type stitch pattern (nothing I try looks anything like what I want, but this particular experiment yielded an interesting result), I haven't really had much to photograph or talk about. And what is so stupidly ambitious? Let's try a king-size blanket, knitted in one piece, using a honeycomb-style slip-stich pattern, with a worsted-weight yarn, on size ten needles (47" circular), somewhere in the neighbourhood of 560 stitches. Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking, either! But it's good fun, something I can do while I watch TV (though... I took a pretty strong painkiller for lady cramps and then started knitting while watching a particular silly movie, slipped a stitch where I ought not have and didn't notice for about 70 or 80 stitches... that was a fun bit of unknitting. Don't self-medicate and knit, kids!). When I started, each row took about 25 - 30 minutes to complete, but I timed a couple of rows the other day and I think I'm down to 20 minutes per row. So far I've spent about nine hours on that sucker. It might be ready by the time cold weather hits!

As for where I dug up this most fab stitch pattern (second one on page), there is so much stuff at that I would be completely selfish not to share it with y'all. It's a wonderful source for all sorts of interesting stuff and packed with projects galore... like some I can't wait to get started on (like this Feather & Fan Comfort Shawl). Another great resource is Knitting Pattern Central. Acres upon acres of knitting potential (and some stuff for those who love crochet, too!).


I started writing this Monday morning and here it is, Thursday night and I'm finally getting back to it; oh, how time flies. I had a trip to Little Rock on Tuesday for my Ongoing Medical Oddity Odyssey (it's a long story, I'll post something after next weeks' journey to see the rheumatologist... hopefully something will actually come of it to post about!), and Wednesday I had to cover a morning/daytime shift at work and ended up napping away most of my evening. Work today wasn't so bad but I was just tired all through it, I'm glad I was able to get away a bit earlier than usual. I think I'm going to have some dinner and work on my blanket for a while, if I don't fall asleep on my plate, that is! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Timid Forays Into Lace Territory (And Other Tales)

So after learning how to do feather-and-fan, and realising that yarn-overs weren't actually the scary thing I believed them to be, I sort of became hooked on lace. I've been looking up lace patterns (starting with simple things, of course, but printing out much harder-looking patterns for future reference), put a couple of lace books on my wishlist, and have generally been trying to ferret out as much information as I can about lacy knitting while trying to restrain myself from all-out obsession (because the budget we're living on doesn't accommodate such luxuries as new sets of needles in much smaller sizes and actual decent yarn suitable for lace).

After a few stitch patterns kind of crashed and burned right on the needles, I finally got the hang of arrowhead lace, and I felt more prepared to branch out. After searching for "simple knitted lace" on Google I found The Cherry Leaf Scarf. The chart is extremely simple and the key for interpreting it is right there, and thanks to the arrowhead pattern I already understood S2KP, so I had a go at it. It was a bit slow and awkward at first, but with the help of some strategically placed post-it notes to keep my place in the chart I got on board, and by the time I finished my first sixteen rows I was almost agog at what I'd created. I kept staring and it and nudging my husband, all, "OMG, I can't believe I knitted that! I did it! Me! ME!"

Up thar be photos, and it might not be much to look at (bear in mind I'm practicing on Red Heart Super Saver, and it's pretty scrunched up on the needle there), but I'm pretty giddy right now with the thrill of it all. Also, I plan to save up and buy some of the recommended yarn from the pattern (Dale of Norway Tiur wool/mohair blend) and I also have my eye on some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, the recommended yarn for this beautiful scarf from the Knitty Spring '05 issue.

Well, time for me to do a couple more rows and go to bed. Work sucks, but you have to pay the rent and afford yarn somehow, right?

Monday, July 9, 2007

One Finished Wrist Warmer and a New Obsession

Sweet fancy Moses, it's THE CLAW. Or rather, it's my hand awkwardly modeling Wrist Warmer #1 of #2. I am yet to actually knit #2 (I already cast on to that set of needles with another yarn because I wanted to try something... I'm always wanting to try something), but at least one wrist at a time can be toasty warm. Even if it does happen to be the middle of a sweltering Arkansas summer right now. I'm happy with how it turned out... I went Googling for wrist warmer patterns and happened upon a tip for making the thumbhole: once you get the length you want, knit straight for about six or seven rows, then join again and continue to the top. Huh. What a concept! I mean, it's perfectly obvious once you think about it I'm sure, but to me it was like stumbling across a nugget of gold, only it wasn't gold, it was pure, unadulterated genius.

Another view to the right... again, awkward, but attempting to get enough distance from one's own hand in order to photograph it skillfully is something that escapes me.

So, let's talk fandom knitting, or perhaps the junction where fandom and knitting intersect. (I didn't really know there was such a thing until I found a Livejournal community called, funnily enough, Fandom Knit.) I had a little time to waste before work today and I happened upon an ABC Family showing of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", interspersed with bits about "HP and the Order of the Phoenix". I watched for a bit and found myself growing gradually more excited for OotP. I've always gotten a bit worked up for the books and movies, but I guess I've been a bit disconnected from fandom of any type lately, so I hadn't heard much. Anyway, it was during their little snippet on Luna Lovegood that I had a "you know you're a knitter when..." moment. It was a scene where Luna was wearing this cute cropped cardigan/capelet with sleeves thing and I thought, "I have to know how to knit that, and I wonder if anyone on Fandom Knit has thought about it yet". I managed to scrape some pictures up from the intarwebs to illustrate what I'm talking about:

See, it's not a capelet, not yet a cardigan. It would probably look stupid on me. But I love it anyway! I love the colour, the shape, the lacy bits. I don't know if I want to knit it or hug it and squeeze it and call it George. Probably knit it first, the rest later. Plus I dig the character's whole casual-weird-layering thing... yeah, it's a bit Olsen-Twin-Boho, but it works.

If I'm lucky my doctor's appointment in ye olde Little Rock towne on Wednesday won't take all day and we'll be able to catch a showing! Is it the movie or is it the cardi-cape that moves me? I think it's both. In any case, it's all tangled up in the yarn and pointy sticks... as a dear friend wrote to me, "knitting slowly takes over". She is quite right.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Come For The Knitting, Stay For The Kitties!

Or maybe that should be, "come for the kitties, stay for the knitting". I mean, my knitting isn't that much to look at yet, so I'll have to post cat pics to keep y'all entertained. The little one on the left is Minkey Boodle (it's from "Space Ghost's Musical Barbecue". You know, that old chestnut... "there's a noodle in my strudel and its name is minkey boodle"? Okay, maybe just me and the mister then!). She also goes by the name Dog. She is a rambunctious chatterbox who likes to chase anything that moves (including yarn, natch) and will come running when we call for her... about seven times out of ten.

The grumpy-looking girl on the right is Boodie. I thought it was hilarious and appropriate when I found her lounging around on a copy of one of my favourite magazines. She's loud and not shy about displaying her displeasure at... just about anything, really. If you walk past her, she'll squall. If there's no food, she'll squall. If I'm eating corn, she'll squall, and try to steal it from me.

So those are "the kids". More on actual knitting coming soon!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Two Hands, Five Needles, No Problems!

Currently working on: a pair of wrist warmers. Again. I've made a couple of pairs on straight needles, but seams are for losers. Okay, seams aren't really for losers. It's just that I'm the sort of loser who can't manage to sew something up and have it look normal, and I'm slightly bitter about it. Anyway, since I've had so much practice lately on DPNs I finally cast on and have been steadily knitting this wrist warmer up since last night. (For those keeping score: size 8 needles, Lion Brand "Vanna's Choice" yarn in beige.) It's coming together nicely - it's not laddering or anything! I give the last stitch on every needle and the second stitch on the next a bit of a tug, and it seems to keep everything from falling apart (the knitted item, my sanity...). Since I realised that it's not the best choice to photograph cream/biscuit coloured yarn on a cream coloured couch cover, I also took a shot of it leaning against a black cushion.

And for a bonus, my favourite stitch marker. I bought a set of these from Dragonlady Designs - she has all sorts of neat stitch markers and jewelry items for sale. I highly recommend her store - she answers all questions quickly, shipping is expedited, and it's a bargain for truly nice work. Even people who aren't that interested in my knitting have oohed and aahed over my stitch markers!

Personally, today was quite trying and I came home from work feeling much worse for the experience. The combination of dinner, a crappy movie, and some knitting has made me feel a lot better. Receiving a pair of size 10, 47" Addi Turbos in the mail from a spur-of-the-moment, "what the hell, I have money in my PayPal account" Ebay purchase didn't hurt, either! Can't wait to start making my next blanket with those babies :)

Alright, time for this tired knitter to hit the hay. Hopefully I'll get enough break time at work tomorrow and will have finished this sucker, and have pictures to prove it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Aw Haw Haw... Eet Ees Feeneeshed!

Last night we popped "Anchorman" into the DVD player and, although sometimes it was hard to keep my stitch count on decrease rounds, it was enough to allow me to get my beret finished. I thought I was going to run out of yarn before I even had the opportunity to make a pom-pom for the top, but I made it. I was actually really chuffed when I got it all finished... it didn't look like a tea cosy at all! It actually looked like a real, live beret type thing! I took a few pictures of myself wearing it but I'm not one of those people who can pull off an artsy-fartsy type hat, so my husband graciously stepped in to be the model, despite complaining that my creation was too small for his noggin:Hee hee hee :) I think it looks cute on him. If only he played golf, and I knew how to knit argyle sweaters... he'd be set!

Well, happy 4th of July, everybody! Enjoy the fireworks, set off a sparkler, stuff yourself full of meat from the grill, whatever you do to celebrate freedom. Just don't blow yourself up or set fire to somebody's yarn stash, okay?

P.S.: you know, when I finished making this, I thought, "Yes, it looks like a beret, but more like a tam-o-shanter" (especially because of the pom-pom). Well, when I started casting on for the three-colour version of the hat, I noticed it says in the introduction to the pattern, "This hat and scarf from Lois Young pays tribute to the classic Scottish tam-o'-shanter". I guess when I see the word "beret", as the hat is referred to as in the pattern, I think "French"! Hence today's title, in case anyone was going, "Heh, heh... what?"

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Incredibly Exciting and True Adventures of a Low-Budget Knitter and Amateur Photographer

Finally! I got batteries for my camera and I took some long-awaited photos of my current projects... okay, "long-awaited" might be a bit of a stretch, but I've been promising my friend Sarah pictures for ages, so here's something! :)

I finished my first legwarmer today. I switched from size 6 to size 10.5 needles for the bind-off... a bit much, perhaps, but I certainly didn't want to do any ripping back. I'm pleased with the overall result, but it is a bit too baggy around the knee - not long enough at the top and it doesn't "grip", despite the ribbing. I might try to pick up the stitches around the top and lengthen it some. The next one I'll start my stitch count based on a measurement of the five inches above my knee and make it extra-long. Anyhoo, here's the photographic evidence - nevermind that it looks like a weird fish creature. The yarn is TLC Essentials in "Surf N' Turf". (It's very soft for an acrylic, which also makes it nice for hats.)

I also continued work on a beret pattern I found in "Vogue Knitting: Chunky Scarves & Hats". I had some leftover Lion Brand Homespun in "Montana Sky", so even though the pattern calls for three colours I gave it a shot just to see if it would work. So far it looks a bit like a tea cosy, but in about two rounds I start decreasing, so I'll see what happens. I have three colours of the new line of yarn by Vanna White - honey, chocolate, and cream - and I think they'd look smashing together. (I know, more acrylic, but a) seriously, broke and b) on account of being broke I can't afford to become a yarn snob yet. I really wish I could but y'all, this is how broke I am: we visited ye olde LYS today (Handheld: A Knitting Gallery) and I walked out with NOTHING. This wasn't just self-control. This was total lack of fundage. But I pledged to buy something next week when we have cash. There's this lovely Tahki tweed I want to try out!)

I'm giving the pattern for Argosy a try. It's very interesting and once I gave the chart a thorough once-over I thought, "SURE I can do that!" The yarn is cotton, though I'd like to get the suggested kind (Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy). I thought this one would help me see the pattern more clearly while I'm trying to figure it out.

And here's a couple of things I've made in the last couple of weeks: I made a trial run of the "Luxe Neck Warmer" from "Knit 2 Together" (my current favourite knitting book) using... a certain brand of cheap, brightly coloured acrylic. (It's still quite warm and cosy!) Once I figured out yarn overs the "feather-and-fan" pattern became quite easy and it knits up in a snap. I used three different colours because I was thrilled at how wavy it turned out and wanted to see if the colours would follow the lines of the knitting. (Not that bright, I know, but I'm a visual learner. :P)

From L - R: the warmer flat-out; me wearing it as suggested, and... wait, who is that? Oh right, it's just me. I'm incognito! Don't tell anyone!

Here's the hat I knitted on the way to, during, and on the way home from our trip to Little Rock last week (alright, I already had about an inch on the needles before we pushed off, but I did that while I waited for a doctor to finally decide there was time to fit me in an hour after my appointed time, ha). The yarn is TLC Essentials in "Brownberry".

Well, I guess that's enough visual adventure for today. When I uploaded this batch of photos I found ones from months ago during my "obsessive cotton phase" when everything I made was either a washcloth, a coaster, or a dishtowel. I still would like to make more washcloths, though - can't have too many...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

If Ripping Back Isn't So Scary, Then Why Are My Hands Shaking?

This week I started on a pair of legwarmers. I'm not following a particular pattern, but instead decided to use gauge and my own leg measurements to shape a custom-fit for myself. (Ever since I really grasped the concept of gauge/tension, it stopped being a boring, bothersome thing I didn't want to do and became a gateway to the possibility of a near-perfect fit. I realise now how nerdy that sounds but I'm okay with that!) I started the first one on Thursday using a size 8, 16" circular needle, and by Friday afternoon had about three pages of notes and 12" of a nicely decreased tube. I got the thing onto size 8 DPNs with no real drama, and by the time I was about 2 or 3" away from the end, I transferred to size 6s so my end ribbing wouldn't be so untidy. I was so excited when, still on the needles, I put the warmer on to make sure I was ready to cast off and found the length to be just right. So I went ahead and bound off carefully. It was neat, and pretty, and though not perfect by any means, it was great for my generously proportioned calves!

So imagine my horror when I put it on and realised I had bound off so tightly that I couldn't get the end over my heel. Oh. I felt like the biggest idiot. I tried and pushed and pulled and yanked and attempted to manipulate, but it was not budging and I was in serious danger of cutting off my circulation. I had already woven in the end tail and everything! I was so bummed at the idea of all of that knitting going to waste that I did what I ordinarily thought I would be too frightened to attempt: I unpicked my weaving and ripped back. Oh, it hurt to do. I am not a fan of ripping back even on straight knitting, let alone on something I did in the round. I can never get my stitches back on the needle the right way and things end up twisted and dropped. To some people it's not a big deal but it just throws me right off.

I threaded some contrasting yarn on an embroidery needle and managed to locate all of my stitches, and somehow after that got them back onto the DPNs. By the time I had everything evenly distributed and knit a couple of rows plain (at this point I couldn't even think of matching up my ribbing; I just wanted to get everything in order and untwisted and sane), I was exhausted, mentally fried, and ready to go to bed. I mean, written down here in the plain light of day, it doesn't seem like such an ordeal but at the time I was freaking out, yelling at my legwarmer, "WHAT DID I JUST DO?!" Meanwhile my husband was looking up ways to do a stretchy bind-off while I barked at him to try different search strings so I could find a way to undo my damage. Eventually we found a couple of options and I've decided I'll try binding off very carefully with a set of needles a bit bigger than what I've been knitting with.

I am actually kind of proud of myself, though, for wanting to stick with a project so badly that I didn't just abandon it when it went south, but tried to undo the problem and salvage my work. That I was so committed to my legwarmers that I didn't just say, "Screw it, I'll buy retail". In my relatively short time knitting I have found myself loving it so much that I can't bear the idea of a day without it. I can't exist in a world without pointy sticks and loops of string. I have crossed a line and I am here to stay. I am a Knitter, and there is no turning back!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Introducing... Yet Another Knitting Blogger!

Hi! My name is sammy. I'm 27 and live in Arkansas with my lovely husband and our two kitties, Boodie and Dog. I started knitting in November of 2006. I went to Hancock Fabrics to buy some fleece on sale - I don't really sew but I had this crazy notion that I could somehow fashion a hat with earflaps - and while I did come out with some fleece (pink with penguins - still untouched), I also had a Vogue Knitting basics book, a ball of yarn and a pair of knitting needles for kids (one red needle, one blue). When I was in grade two my grandma taught me how to knit, but when I brought a sample of knitting to school some of the grade three girls thought it would be funny to cut it up with scissors and I was turned off the craft. Twenty years later I'm not only knitting again but I'm actually making stuff! I have quite a few projects on the go right now, so I thought I'd start a blog so I can actually keep track of them.

Mostly I knit with acrylic - I'm on a bit of a budget, though I like to go to my LYS and stare in wonder at the big hanks of Manos Del Uruguay and dream about the day I can spend scads of cash on really nice yarn - and I favour circular needles over straights because I like knitting big things, like blankets.

Currently on the needles: a garter-stitch lap blanket (the second of a pair I'm making for a friend); the first in a pair of leg warmers, and a swatch for a cardigan I hope to make (the oversized long cardigan from the spring/summer 2005 edition of "knit.1" magazine. I also have a new set of DPNs, some lightweight yarn and a booklet on sock knitting, but I'm a bit intimidated by that turning-the-heel thing. I also didn't know how to do long-tail cast-on until last night, but my husband - who picked it up right away - taught me and that's one less roadblock to the world of socks :) (It really is a nice stretchy cast-on!)

I love to knit because it's relaxing and I can take it anywhere, and once I managed to figure out how to watch shows/movies and knit at the same time, I felt a whole lot better about those hours in front of the TV ;) I knit on my breaks at work and during long car trips (just yesterday I finished a hat because of road-tripping - when we started out I had less than an inch on the needles, and I had it finished hours before we got home!). It makes waiting at the doctor's office a lot less of a hassle. In fact waiting anywhere isn't a problem at all anymore now that I can knit. Knitting helps me feel productive and it's also wonderful to learn new things and realise... I really CAN do it. I look forward to improving my skills and making more complicated items, but I'm also happy to make afghans and blankets and know that I'm being useful.

That's about it for now, I guess... more later!