around n round she goes

A blog for my knitting, spinning, quilting, violin-playing, or whatever else floats my boat

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Location: Texas

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Don't hit that button

I am so glad that I routinely copy my pictures from the camera to my laptop. When I took a picture of these beautiful flowers (from my wonderful husband - isn't he great?) I discovered that my memory card was full. I went to erase a few duplicate pictures and hit 'format' instead......everything got wiped out!

That could have been a disaster! We've got pictures that could not have been duplicated - pictures of my husband's uncle that he had not seen for 17 years, pictures from our last vacation and of course all my wonderful knitting pictures (well, maybe not wonderful - but important!).

....Now I need to back up the laptop before I hit the wrong button on it!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bits & Pieces

Progress report:
Fair Isle - A tiny bit longer
Sock - a lot longer Washcloth - half-way done
Felted kitty toy - done (and with a bell in it, too)

Somehow, it was just difficult to pick up a nice warm wool sweater and work on it this weekend. I think it may have had something to do with the hot muggy weather and all the yard work I did on Saturday and Sunday. The thought of draping that nice warm wool over my hot sweaty legs did nothing for me. I was doing well to work with a little sock and a cotton washcloth.

Reading material! What could be better than two Fair Isle books, a sock book, and a new book of cable-y goodness! delivered them last night. And, my WendyKnits book is finally on its way!

Speaking of books - I've read Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting several times. I don't have my own copy but it has been available at my local library. I went hunting for it a few weeks ago and it wasn't to be found - it's not checked out and the rather ominous online status is 'trace'. Hopefully, it is just shelved in the wrong place (they're remodeling and the place is pretty much upside-down right now). Surely, no knitter would just walk off with it? We don't do things like that do we? If you're lucky you can get a copy for around $175 right now - there's no way the library will ever replace it if it has disappeared for good.

Hopefully, it will turn up after they've finished remodeling and have reshelved the books...or maybe someone will finish their Fair Isle project and return it.

Friday, April 21, 2006


If you knit in public, you've already experienced this - these are the most frequently asked questions and comments that I've gotten since I started knitting again in 2003. If you print this list out and fill in the blanks, you can just hand it to your questioner and save time:

Basic FAQs

1. What you are doing? (see #2 for the alternative question)
2. Is that knit or crochet? (this indicates some basic understanding)
3. How long does it take you to make _______? (everyone asks this one)
4. Is it hard? (also a universal question)
5. How did you learn? (or who taught you?)
6. How long did it take you to learn? (What's this deal about time? Are we on a deadline here?)
7. Will you make me _________? (Usually from co-workers, relatives, or acquaintances, sometimes from complete strangers)

More advanced FAQs (indicating a technical nature or true interest)

8. What was that you just did? (usually while turning a heel or making a cable)
9. How did you get all the colors and designs in there like that? (while looking at my Fair Isle)
10. It looks like you're doing the same thing over and over, but it comes out looking different (from a very observant man that followed with 'Oh, I see, you're moving the yarn differently there'). I've got to get that man some needles and yarn.

This is usually interspersed with anecdotes about an aunt, grandmother or other female relative that used to (or still does) knit, crochet, quilt, sew, or engage in any other type of craft.

There's also the usual -
"I could never learn how to do that" or "I've always wanted to learn but it's (too hard, time-consuming, expensive) (choose one or more excuses/reasons). Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has a great piece about this in her new book.

I rattled all of these off to my husband one day several months ago. I don't think he believed me until he and I were out together and a stranger saw me knitting. That person asked questions #1 through 6.

i'm weak....continued

OK, I broke down and ordered that yarn in color Wave (Reef looked a bit bright for me). I'm playing with my Sweater Wizard software - trying for a short tunic-style sweater with a front placket, polo style collar and 3/4 sleeves. I'm thinking maybe an overall garter-rib, with cables on the bodice and on the lower part of the sleeves to provide a bit of fit. Being worsted weight, it will hopefully knit up quickly (in time for summer). I'm even going to be good and machine wash and machine dry my swatch to make sure of the gauge. If it's going to shrink I want to know now!

So what's happening with the projects already on the needles?
I'm going to rev up on the Fearless Fair Isle cardigan this weekend - it hasn't been languishing exactly but it hasn't been getting the attention it deserves. The second Young Lady's Evening Stocking is rocking along just fine. I may even knit another washcloth with the never-ending cone of kitchen cotton.

Pictures on Monday!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In an effort to reduce stash, I've produced another white washcloth. This one is Baby Fern Stitch. Observing the size of this cone of white kitchen cotton and how much I've used so far, I may have it used up by the end of 2008.

I like this simple little lacy pattern. I may use it for the lace-weight mohair I scored at that yarn estate sale I attended a few weekends ago. There's enough for a decent length scarf.

Startitis - Starting new projects while having projects already on the needles.

I was doing OK.....just the occasional washcloth (I don't count socks - they're necessary for portable project knitting). Then the new Knit Picks catalog came in the mail.

It's not like I haven't already seen most of this on their's just presented in such a way.......I can't help it......I NEED to make a sweater with this yarn. It's a machine washable cotton blend in pretty summer colors....I'm thinking color Reef or Wave. It's worsted weight, so I can use something bigger than a size 4 needle.

i'm weak...........

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

a very long sock

It qualifies as the longest sock I've knitted so far. I really like the open-work pattern and the dutch heel and round toe are different from what I've done before. Now I just need to knit another one.

Friday, April 14, 2006

coloring books for knitters

I love my new Stitch and Motif Maker software. All those patterns and motifs I've laboriously plotted out in an Excel spreadsheet could have been created much more quickly (and legibly) in this software.

I've also got the SweaterWizard software from the same company. I've not designed a sweater with it yet....I had already designed Mom's sweater (using the aforesaid spreadsheets)....but the next one will definitely utilize this.

Now all I need is a color printer that distinguishes between those subtle changes in hues that I'm trying for - it shows up fine on the screen, but not so well on the printed result.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I had this irresistable urge to knit a washcloth the other day (It's all Natalie's fault again - she knits lots of cute washcloths). This is the Flower Buds cloth from the Dishcloth Boutique website. Washcloths are fun and fast to knit...I finished it last night, took the photo, then went and washed my face with it. Talk about instant gratification. As I have a huge cone of this stuff (why was this in my stash?), there will be more white washcloths to come. hmmm....does cotton dye well?

As the photo proves, Fair Isle progress is being made as well. Another 30 rows or so and I'll be at the front neck steek. (Yes, the black blob in the center is Emy taste-testing the washcloth.)

I was looping through all my usual websites and blogsites, grumbling ....'why don't these people post more often!' Then I thought ....'Self, if you're not going to post every day, then don't complain about how often everyone else posts!' Grumbling over. I thoroughly enjoy my daily dose of knitting (and other) blogs and admire those who can successfully find the time to provide fun/interesting/thought-provoking content on a regular basis. 'nuff said.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The kindness of strangers

I was going to post an update of the Fearless Fair Isle but after looking at the picture from last week and calculating how many rounds have been finished since then it's rather pointless. Instead, here's the Young Lady's Evening Stocking from Knitting Vintage Socks. As you can see, this was my main knitting project this weekend. It's a knee length sock with a lacy open-work design.

I left a comment on Lorraine the Knitting Hammy's blog last week, asking her about the software she uses to design Fair Isle (she does yummy stuff, go look!). She not only replied and let me know which software she uses, but gave me a mini-tutorial on designing Fair Isle! She gave me some good ideas - I need to re-visit some of those designs I've been working on. I'm always impressed with the willingness (eagerness, even!) of knitting people to share what they know. Thanks, Lorraine!

Friday, April 07, 2006

some assembly required

Ignore the fact that I did a crummy job of putting it together...I took it apart right after this picture. The important part is that I have my woolly board! So all my Fair Isle sweaters (notice the plural - and I'm only working on my first one) will be beautifully blocked.

Speaking of the Fair Isle......

I've finished the 3rd repeat of the pattern and am slowly making my way through the 4th repeat. Lorraine, I read your comment about being able to fix the wrong color stitch without ripping out a bunch of knitting....if I get in that situation again I'll be calling on you for help!

Boyfriend sweater story.....

My mother's sister is in town for a bridge tournament. I was visiting with her and my folks last night. Watching me knitting on the Fair Isle, Aunt Sally told me about her knitting experience in college......

She knit a cashmere small gauge sweater for her hunky boyfriend for Christmas. All her friends were knitting sweaters too, but with bulky yarn and big needles. She sweated and slaved over that thing; stayed up late knitting rather than studying, trying to finish before she went home for the Christmas holidays. The sweater was apparently accepted gracefully. Story over do you think? No....

Her birthday is the first week in January - what did hunky boyfriend get her for her birthday? An argyle sock kit to make him a pair of socks! She thought it was a joke at first and thought surely there was another gift actually for her - but no.

Mom and I asked if the whole incident resulted in a breakup between Hunky and herself (after all there is the boyfriend sweater curse). She said no, but that it did make the breakup later on much easier.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Cable and Rib Socks
Pattern: My own (inspired by Nancy Bush's pattern in the IK Fall 2005 issue)(I don't have this pattern, I've just seen pictures)
Yarn: Sisu Maskinvaskbar sock yarn (80% wool, 20% nylon) in a heathered gray
Needles: Size two (2.75mm) Brittany birch
Started: March 26, 2006
Finished: April 5, 2006

I'm really happy with the pattern and the fit. The yarn was nice to work with...a bit thicker than most of the sock yarns I've used before.

I'll post a progress picture of the Fair Isle later. Yes, there is progress, just not a lot.

I've cast on for my next sock project from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. The size 1 1/2 Brittanys came in the mail, so I should be ok for gauge this time.

Serendipity - to make discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things not in quest of.

I lost one of my size two sock needles the other day. I only use 4 needles when knitting the leg of a sock, but prefer 5 needles when working on the foot.

This forced me to go to my closest local yarn shop during lunch on Tuesday to buy another set (like I mind going to the yarn shop). While I was paying for my purchases, the proprietor, as usual, asked if I was a member of the local guild (you get a discount if you are). I, as usual, said no and did the 'but I probably need to be' thing.

That's when she gently directed me to the set of leaflets, showed me the location map on the back and invited me to be a guest at the next meeting....which was that night. I'm not sure which of us was more surprised when I actually showed up.

It was great fun - 25 people of all ages sitting around a group of round tables, all of us knitting, of course. The standard organizational stuff at the first, then a program - one of the members demonstrating the SweaterWizard software (I got it for my birthday. It's neat, although I haven't used it for an actual pattern yet). Then 'show and share' - they went around every table and everyone either showed what they were knitting or showed off a finished project. All in all a very pleasant evening. I'll probably join when they have their next member drive.

By the way, if you're in the area, there's a Yarn Estate Sale this Sunday. One of their members passed away recently - all the proceeds from the sale of her stash will go into a college fund for her granddaughters. It took three members three days to sort all her stash, so there should be plenty to choose from.

I found my missing size two sock needle last night......see what I would have missed?