Yarn Pr0n and Even! More! Miscellany!

You may have deduced from my button on the sidebar that I am a Lime N Violet fan. In actuality I'm a fan of Lime N Violet in much the same way that the Pope is awfully fond of Catholicism. If you're not listening to them, you should be, because they are quite possibly the funniest women alive.

Like many of us knitters, LNV have what some might call a slightly unhealthy obsession with sock yarn (we sock knitters know it's just a very strong love, that's all. What do you mean you've seen us casing the LYS for new sock yarn? We were just in the neighbourhood. I wasn't salivating over your Socks that Rock, I just... had allergies, yeah, that's it). They've even started dyeing and spinning their yarn to sell on etsy (and NO I AM NOT SHARING THE LINK! MINE MINE MINE! *ahem*). The last update... well... as Violet said on the podcast "Sharks? Meet Chum."

I managed to snag three skeins before everything was gone (a time period of about 13 minutes from update):

Ooooh, pretty pretty pretty.

Here's the skeins in slightly different light:

The colours came out very true in these pictures, so hooray. They're all named after sideshow characters, which I just love! I was tempted to buy from the later update of spinning batts named after movies, but I still can't spin... so no Last Unicorn batt for me. The skeins arrived SUPER quickly, which helped to make up for Socks that Rock shipping my sock kit to my boyfriend instead of me. I love the way they package their yarn - it comes in tissue with a sticker that says "Wool Porn" on it. :)

Speaking of Socks that Rock, I am trying SO hard not to be spoiled on this month's colour. Is it just me? Does everyone else run to peek at blogs right away? I guess I just crave surprise. I think Blue Moon must be getting a lot of spoiler complaints, because there's a rather testy message on the official blog saying that they can't prevent them. What kind of peeved me was the suggestion that if you don't want to be spoiled, don't come to the club blog at all. I mean, I joined for the community as well as the yarn, and that seemed a little excessively cranky to me. But, the yarn is fab, and I've no complaint on the kits!

In the miscellany file:

What do you do when faced with a sweater like Morrigan? If you're like me, you have a minor breakdown and start working on something that's 100% garter stitch:

Yes, that's the ever-growing Log Cabin blanket. At some point, I hope to have it Afghan sized. Turns out, this is an excellent project for Homespun - it looks great on size 6 needles, and doesn't stretch so much.

Also, some of you crazy folk like to see modelled pictures:

That's my Monsoon sock of heel-tightness. I made the leg a wee bit shorter than called for, because a) I like my sock legs short and b) I couldn't bear to do that cable any more. Good reasons, yes?

Coming soon: Spoiler pictures of Socks that Rock (my boyfriend is coming this weekend and bringing the yarn!) and possibly more log cabin-ing.



My quest for a true craft-room continues.

I finally managed to sell off the Bowflex that some of you might have noticed lurking in the background of the Craft Room photos. This freed up much needed book space!

Once I had all my knitting books organized, it was off to Target for some Simply Shabby Chic containers. I am so madly in love with Target, and that line of stuff fits my house so well. They have a bunch of different style containers that are perfect for different needles. I even got something (not pictured) that sorts my DPNs! Brilliant! The random circulars are in the box on top, straights in the box on bottom, and the cloth container to the left is the official WIP box. Sorry, I've got a few top secret projects, so no photos of what's inside for now...

In a moment of rare organizing frenzy, I even finally got around to putting all my loose paper patterns in a binder - in sheet protectors no less. I suspect I may have been hormonal...

Here's a photo so you can see the full-on YARN CORNER!

Everything knit-related in one spot. I can't begin to tell you how happy that makes me.

Now, the more observant of my readers may be noticing that very... colourful.. poster in the background. Forgive the knitting deviation, because I love to talk about this thing.

Way back when, when Jeanne and I were fledglings at community college, I used to spend quite a lot of time in the local library. On their third floor, they had an ongoing booksale - most paperbacks were 25 cents a piece. For whatever reason, this library had a disproportionate amount of bodice-ripper covered romance novels for sale (please note - I love romance novels, I loathe only the super clinch covers; this is in no way a stab at romance novels or authors :)). Somewhere in my demented college brain, an idea began to form...

Cut to a week later, where Jeanne and I buy about 20 books from the extremely amused librarian. She didn't ask what we were going to do, we didn't tell. We spend an afternoon cutting off covers and arranging them to our liking. We confronted difficult existential questions such as: do we put all the pirates together? a line just for Indian-themed romances? do we put all the "Savage" titles together or sprinkle them throughout? A little duct-tape, and we had a poster.

Of course, a duct taped poster doesn't look very good, even for an ironic craft-project. So we had it framed. To recap: 20 books at 25 cents a piece... 5 bucks. Getting the sucker framed? 60 bucks. The looks on the faces of the people at the framing shop? PRICELESS.

So now I am the proud owner of a $65 romance novel cover poster, and I love it.

Anyway, back to the knitting. I've finally gotten around to working on the February (really March) sock kit from Socks that Rock. Tales of needle sizing woe had kept me away, and the first time I tried to knit it with the recommended size needles, I got a toe that would have fit Bigfoot. I tried again, using size 0s until the heel and leg, and got this:

Back heel shot:

It's gorgeous, but damn is it hard to get that leg over my heel. Least. Stretchy. Cable. EVER. Still, it's a reasonably fun pattern (although I have no desire to knit a sock on 0s ever EVER again), and I'm already working on the second one. It's interesting to see how the colours start to spiral once the needle size changes.

Finally, (and boy isn't this a long-winded post), a hint of the Project of Madness:

Looks innocuous, doesn't it? A simple little cabled sweater... Google "Morrigan Sweater," (it's from No Sheep For You) and then come back.

Back yet?

Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE cabling?

I'm doomed.

Coming soon: Why the hell I took on this crazy project, and hopefully more socks!


A Simple Plan (Or Tragedy and Triumph and Why Customer Service Matters)

All right: The Trip back in Time that I promised. My darling boyfriend got me the Simple Knitted Bodice pattern last Christmas, as he'd seen me drooling over it many a time. Then came Stitches West, where Dreamweaver Yarns had the biggest selection of Tilli Thomas yarn I'd ever seen.

I finished my Eris sweater, and immediately cast on for the SKB. Apparently I angered the Gods of Knitting by starting another sweater so soon, because this turned out to be one of the most hellish projects I've ever worked on. It became immediately apparent that my silk yarn was Full. Of. Knots. So I wrote the company a polite e-mail letting them know that this was pretty uncool considering the price. They responded nicely, saying send us back the faulty yarn, and we'll send you some un-fucked-up yarn (not in those words exactly). So I ripped out 3 hours of knitting and mailed the yarn back.

I wanted to finish this sweater quickly, so I knit as far as I could with what I had (those Pure and Simple skeins go a LONG LONG way, by the way - excellent yardage for the price). That's when I realized I had a slight... problem:

This was where I ran out of beaded yarn. With the cuff of a sleeve, and ONE FREAKING ENTIRE SLEEVE AND NECKLINE to go. I sent off another e-mail to the company, which was sort of stupid, because I made it sound like I wanted to BUY another skein of beaded yarn (I searched everywhere for another skein of my colour before e-mailing - none was to be found). They quite rightly told me that they couldn't sell me yarn, because they're a wholesaler.

So I started calling local yarn shops. I finally found a place that sold the multi coloured yarn, but it was the Ritz line, which is like Rock Star but with a metallic thread. It was about a half hour from my house, so I figured I could tink out the bottom part of the sweater, use the Ritz there, and maybe match the arm lace. Labour intensive, but at least I'd match.

So I got in my chariot:

(Yes, that is a totally gratuitous shot of my car. It was looking awfully pretty that day). I drove to the yarn shop, picked up the Ritz (while I've loved Tilli Thomas' other yarns, I have to say, Ritz is pretty gaudy) and went home to finish my sweater. The Ritz had at least 5 knots, among other quality control issues. Of course, I only found this out after I'd unpicked the bottom of the sweater. I put the sweater down, considered setting it on fire, and vented my wrath on the Knittyboard.

The next day, I decided (based on Bina's excellent advice) to CALL the company and tell them my tale of woe. Not only did they send me a new skein of the Rock Star, they sent me a cheque to cover the crummy Ritz yarn. The lady was super nice, and was very apologetic for all the issues I'd had. I can say that this made all the difference in the odds of me ever buying this yarn again. I'll definitely be wary, and be buying extra, but it truly is lovely, and now I know if I have further problems I can get good, quick service from them.

Once I got my new skein, it was off to the races to finish. Luckily, the finished product is gorgeous, because if it hadn't turned out well (NINJAS!) I would be sobbing quietly in a padded room right now.

The actual finished photos:

Hanging, sadly, the best angle I could get.

And the crummy self-portraits:

Close up:

The Vital Statistics:

Pattern: Simple Knitted Bodice
Needles: Size 3 and 6 (I had to go up a size, because I am the Super Tight Knitter of Doom)
Yarn: Tilli Thomas Pure & Simple (100% silk) in American Beauty, Rock Star (100% silk with beads) in Multi Red/Ginger
Total Knitting Time: Due to yarn wait, two weeks. Without wait time it would have been done in about a week.
Total Knitting Irony: I had a full skein of the Pure & Simple left over, and about 2 yards of the beaded yarn left over. If you're making the medium of this sweater, get /3/ skeins of the beaded yarn.

Coming soon: The project that may actually put me in that above-mentioned padded room.


A Dream Fulfulled

So this blog has been remiss, apparently, in mentioning one of my chief Partners-In-Crime, my darling mother who helps out a TON with getting things done around this house. Cheers to Mom, who is so good about putting up with her crazy daughter.

Anyway, on to the main bit (sorry Mom! ;)). Yesterday I mentioned that I was thinking of making a yarn closet. Today I decided to make it happen with the help of my best friend and other Partner-in-Crime, Jeanne. There's the old saying that a good friend will bail you out of jail at 2:00 am, but a great friend will be sitting next to you in jail laughing about what a good time you had. This is not true. A great friend is willing to do construction projects with you.

Here's the closet before doing anything to it:

It's been the sort of random storage closet. Anything I didn't know what to do with went in there. It's also one of the scariest closets in the house, as it was never painted. We affectionately referred to it as the home of Zoonga the Demon Spider. So at 8:30 this morning I was vacuuming and scrubbing the icky, icky walls.

Then it was off to pick up Jeanne. Her dad helpfully provided us with a stud finder and a square to find out if my walls are square (they're not - big surprise). As we left, I swear her Dad was laughing about what we were about to try (when you pick your friends, it helps if they have handy parents - trust me on this! ;)). We measured and fortified ourselves with lunch and coffee, and it was off to Home Depot. Jeanne found a gorgeous pine that was perfect. We picked up drywall screws, shelf braces, and figured we'd be done in a jiffy.

Somewhere, the Gods of Construction were laughing. Our drywall screws were too long, so a return trip to Home Depot was in order (at this point, we fortified with coffee once again). Then the braces were the wrong height. By now it was around 3pm, and I was feeling weepy. Jeanne and I persisted, though, and ended up with this:

A nice, clean, painted closet with level shelves. You'll note that they may appear to not be level, but that's actually because the closet itself is tilted. We ran for the yarn and filled the shelves.

Here's Jeanne, with that look of construction triumph:

And here's a general view of the yarn closet:

Sock yarn and laceweights are on top, general yarn is in the middle, and the acrylic crap and scraps from leftover projects are on the bottom.

Then we fell on the couch and stayed there for about an hour recuperating. Thanks again to Jeanne for putting up with me, and the foul mouth I develop when things go wrong. ;)

Finally, the light was a bit better today, so here's the best picture I could get of the Tulip sweater:

It's still not a great photo, but as good as it's going to get.

All right, I promise I'm going to to get to the Simple Knitted Bodice story and pictures soon. Maybe tomorrow, we'll see.

Until then, beware the urge to construct!


And now for something completely different!

Occasionally, I actually do non-knitting crafty things. I know this comes as a shock to you, dear reader, and so I'll understand if you have to look away from the screen for a moment to recover.


Are we better yet? Okay, good to go. I've had a mind lately to turn my back room (which has always been sort of my random room) into more of a craft-centric room. I've inherited my grandmother's old Kenmore sewing machine, along with a number of sewing accessories and some truly, TRULY vile-green shelves.

We repainted the vile shelves, and decoupaged their drawers with a nifty brocade we found at Jo-Anns (when it comes to fabrics, I'm still a craft store girl - recommendations for nice fabric sources are encouraged!). The final touch was finding nice drawer pulls, which we managed today at a local hardware store.

We pulled it all together, and this is the result:

Don't mind me lurking in the background! :) Mr. Petey got something new too...

A freaking cool corner cage. I knew they made corner fish-tanks, but this is beyond nifty. Since my rooms are small, I have to try and make use of as much space as possible, and this is perfect for him. The little jerk is thrilled. I'm going to claim the cage is crafty as well, because I had to put it together TWICE (we had to take it apart to get it inside this room). The directions had no words, only vague pictures. I thank my knitting experience for getting me through the assembly, because I don't think I could have made it through otherwise!

Here's another angle of my crafty corner, and of course, nothing gets done here without a cat involved:

This is a close-up of the sewing machine. My guess is that it's a late 60's, early 70's model (based on the avocado colour, which is actually sort of nice in this room...).

Funny story about this here sewing machine. My grandmother has always kept in great condition, so I wasn't sure if it would need servicing. When I started it up, it was SUPER sluggish. Like a sewing machine sewing through molasses. I pondered for a bit... and then Mom mentioned that Grandma used to have to oil it occasionally. A light-bulb went on in my head... My gun cleaner/lube! A few spritzes and a bit of clean-up later, it runs perfectly. I feel ridiculously smart. Sewing machines and guns, who knew? I wonder if I should write the lube company...

Last picture, a close-up of the shelves we painted. These began life as deep avocado green, with lighter yellow-green drawers. I sanded them down to the base wood, primed, and painted them with a barely there vanilla colour.

The top shelf is my sad little fabric stash. Since I'm not a very accomplished sewer, I only have what's left from past projects. I'm tempted to make a few pillows, and try to improve my sewing ability. This sewing machine has BOXES of accessories that I need to learn to use!

This room also has a walk-in closet. I have a lot of yarn. I'm thinking, some shelves from Home Depot, and I might just have a yarn closet.

Ideally, I think I'd like to get most of my crafting materials into one place, so I'm not running around the house wondering where the glue is, or where I left the scissors.

If I do the shelves, I'm make sure to take lots of pictures. Until next time!


Tie One On

Well, there WOULD have been posts this weekend if I could have found my damn camera. Thankfully, it has reappeared, and here we go!

I'm going to start with the most recent completed project, and then we'll have a little back in time in further posts.

Saturday saw the final touch on my first Rowan project - The Tulip Sweater from Rowan Knit & Crochet magazine #41. It heavily features a new summer yarn called Damask which is just stunning to look at, and suprisingly comfy to knit with. It's a viscose, linen, acrylic blend (sounds just awful doesn't it?) and the drape on this yarn! I can't even begin to describe how nice it is. I'm glad I got past my anti-acrylic blend prejudice and gave it a try.

Anyway, the sweater! Here it is laying flat, which does it very little justice, but does show the construction fairly well.

The sleeves are part of the front and back pieces - you just increase till you have wee little sleeves. I'm very fond of that, because I HATE that feeling of "Oh yay! I've finished the front and backs, I'm nearly done! Oh wait... Sleeves."

Here's a better picture, and this is more how it looks when worn:

Those ties in the back are WAY too long, and that's the only part of the pattern I think I'd change if I were to knit this again. They are a k1, p1 rib - and supposed to be 100cm long (approximately 39 inches, according to Google). They end up looking silly unless they're tied in the back. They look artsy in the pattern photo, but not so useful in real life! Not to mention, being an English-style knitter, k1p1 ribbing is sort of the equivalent of water torture for me.

The border - or rather, the instructions on how to put ON the border - nearly did me in as well, but thanks to the friendly help at Nine Rubies, I was able to figure out how it was supposed to be knitted on. The directions seem to assume that you've probably knitted a border onto a bound off surface before, and know what the heck you're doing! In my case, that's totally untrue. :)

The Vital Stats (for those who care):

Yarn: Rowan Damask (colour mica) - 8 balls (the pattern for my size called for nine, but I think they expect you to use a new ball for the ties - I had more than enough left over to do the ties without breaking into a new ball)
Needles: Size 3 for ruffle border, Size 5 for body
Pattern Designer: Marie Wallin
Total Knitting Time: A week and a half

Tomorrow or thereabouts (depending on my roaming camera): The story of the Simple Knitted Bodice, or why customer service REALLY matters.

An administrative note: I have NO EARTHLY IDEA how to respond via e-mail to comments (I could swear I used to be able to, but I can't figure it out now). If you ask a question in the comments, I will reply there. :) I'm not ignoring you, I'm just not so good with the internets. :)


Coming soon...

I've been away for a while in a haze of work, working out, and knitting. However, I promise to you my dear readers, loads of pictures this weekend, including...

A Simple Knitted Bodice (and a tale of yarn woe and redemption)

A Tulip sweater (and the ties that would not end)

Goth Sock Yarn (undead, undead, undead)

and a challenge that may finally put me in the padded room.

Also, why I'm NEVER telling you guys about local sock yarn ever again. My LYS has been getting calls from BOSTON! Boston! For my beloved Baywood sock yarn! I knew you all would steal it away from me...

See y'all soon!