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! ♥