It’s been a while since I’ve been knitting much. I’ve been working on a Liesl sweater that really should be finished by now. For Christmas though, I finally decided that I should knit a pair of mittens as a gift for the often cold-handed boyfriend. Pretty?
Yeah – they’re pretty basic. Pattern here. I knitted it per the men’s size, with pretty much no changes. I started on December 9, hoping for a Christmas completion. I finished it on Christmas Eve – so not bad! The yarn is Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK. They’re warm!
So here’s to the final FO of 2009. It hasn’t been a productive knitting year, but here’s hoping it gets better next year.
This past weekend, I went to Asheville, NC for SAFF 2009. This year, the drive was a bit longer coming from Atlanta instead of Knoxville. I met one of my friends who live in South Carolina in Greenville (SC), and we drive the rest of the way up to Asheville together.
This year, neither of us were that excited about yarn. I don’t knit that much anymore (as is probably evident by the lack of FOs on this blog), so I feel like I already have enough yarn to last me at least 10 years. I was mostly looking for roving, since I just don’t have that much (OK… I have 5 lbs… which is probably a few year’s worth of spinning at my speed, but I digress). For some reason, I just felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of interesting stuff there this year. I came home with 2 things:
8 oz of natural brown alpaca from Little Barn. Do you see the price tag? Seriously, how could I not buy it at this price. It’s nice and soft too, just like alpaca should be.
After SAFF, my friend and I went to a Laughing Seed, a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Asheville. The food was seriously delicious. I ordered the Tempecado sandwich, and my friend ordered the Dragon Plate. I was going to take pictures, but alas, the food looked and tasted so good that it was devoured before I had a chance. If you’re ever in the area, don’t miss this place!
Yarn Yarn Yarn!
I haven’t had too many fibery accomplishments lately. I just haven’t been feeling very motivated. Dunno why.
Regardless, spinning is still the perfect companion to TV-watching. I was completely obsessed with Battlestar Galactica for a while, and watched all 4 seasons within about 6 months (that’s fast for me). If you haven’t watched it, you must. It’s simply the best TV show out there.
Anyways, while watching Battlestar Galactica, I was able to turn this:
This is beautiful black BFL roving from Gale’s Art that I bought from Knitch. It spun up so easily! I really had nothing planned when I started spinning – it was mostly something to do with my hands while I watched an ungodly amount of TV. Having said that, it turned out incredibly even, and I really like how the colors mushed together.
I haven’t measured it for stats yet, but it’s roughly fingering weight, and there was 4 oz of roving, so I’m imagining there’s roughly the same amount of yarn. I’m hoping to (eventually) knit it into some Viper Pilot Socks. Seems fitting, doesn’t it? It’s too bad the roving wasn’t superwash… Guess I’ll just have to remember to handwash them (or turn them into Christmas ornaments if they accidentally end up in the washer…)
I have started spinning something else since these came off the wheel – a lovely heathered green merino that I bought from SAFF in 2007. I figured I should start spinning at least 1 thing from SAFF that year before I got to SAFF again this year!
Hi to everyone who’s still here! I know I haven’t posted anything for a long, long time. Life has been crazy busy, and I’m trying to get back into it. Meanwhile, I’ve consolidated all my blogs and got my own web address. You can keep up with my knitting stuff here:
Alternately, if you’re interested in the other aspects of my crazy life. My general blog address is
See you there!
I went to Stitches South with Lisa last weekend. I was so psyched that I get to experience such a big, talked-about event. Lisa came down for the weekend and we had some fun touring the vegetarian cuisine of Atlanta. I have a couple of friends who are vegetarians, so I’ve gotten to know the vegetarian landscape a little. It’s amazing how much choices we have here!
OK – tangent over. We went to Stitches on Saturday. I was really amazed at everything that was there. The show was really big with lots of booths. Lisa and I were both on a roving kick, so that’s definitely what we paid more attention to. We came across some really cool stuff though. First stop was Sassafras Creation‘s booth. I had seen ads for them online before, but had never seen the jewelry in person. They are absolutely stunning! I really debated between getting a lot of it, but I ended up coming home with this pair of earrings (photo not mine – it’s the vendor’s stock photo).
They’re super cute and super lightweight. I wear them all the time now. Nobody knows they’re old knitting needles. It makes me happy to sneak around my knitting goodies.
They also had these watches that I completely fell in love with. I didn’t come home with one, but I want the one with pearls so bad (second one from the left). Anyone want to get it for me?
Other loot I ended up with from Stitches:
Shawl pin. I’ve been looking for one for a while, for the theoretical shawl that I will be knitting. Plus they’re really handy to close scarfs and cardigans and other stuff like that. I dont’ really have too many things that need one…actually, I might not have anything that needs one, but that’s beside the point. It’s pretty and I like it.
Webs was also at Stitches. I’ve been listening to the Webs podcast for a while, although I haven’t really kept up lately. It was totally weird to see one of the owners, Steve Elkins, there. He’s just normal guy running a booth at a yarn show. But weird because I heard his voice in person. Am I a dork or what? Knitting celebrity, anyone?
Anyhow, Webs had AMAZING prices, as usual. First thing I saw walking into the booth was a 10-ball bag of Plymouth Worsted Alpaca for $37! Holy moly. I almost walked away with it that second. I browsed some more though, and found 2 yarns that I’ve been wanting for a long time, and opted for them instead. I bought Malabrigo sock (heavenly!) and Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (so sofffttt). Both yarns are AMAZING! Can’t wait to knit something with them… all my other sock yarn will have to line up.
That was it of my loot. I think I did pretty good. I have to say, though, that I think I prefer the atmosphere of SAFF more. Maybe it’s just the fiber thing – I’m just way more into fiber than yarn. I have much too much yarn already (although compared to the rest of the knitting community, I’m quite tame).
On a slightly different note, I finally finished my Spring Forward socks. They’ve been on the needles forever – can’t even remember when I started them at this point. Actually, I think it must have been around August, since I started them for Football season. I’ve put them away and not knit on them for a while, especially due to busy season and all the other crap that has been happening in my life. Anyways, Lisa gave me a good pep talk and I finished them Sunday night. Aren’t they pretty?
For the record, self-sock photography is super hard. This is the best I can come up with. Sorry.
This didn’t use much yarn – only about 2/3 of the skein. I have a lot leftover I don’t know what to do with. Matching coin pouch? Any better ideas?
Ok – that’s it for now. My yarn adventure continues later. I’m almost done with the BFL I started spinning a short while ago. Will post pictures when it’s all done, skeined, and washed. It’s looking super pretty!
Note (Dec 2011) – I’ve been told by many that the cost to build the swift has increased since 2008. When I built this, I lived in a part of the country with pretty low cost of living, so between that and inflation, the costs are now reportedly much higher. I’ve heard about $20-25 is average now, depending on the tools you need or have on hand. YMMV.
Many, many, wonderful knitters have told me that there’s a mistake in my tutorial for a while now, but I’ve been so busy with life that I haven’t had a chance to correct it. It’s a minor one – the swift requires 4 2″ pieces instead of 3 as noted. Anyway, it’s finally been corrected!
I finally did it! Remember the PVC Swift/SkeinerI talked about around a month ago?
The tutorial (pdf) is done!
- Acts both as a yarn swift and skeiner
- Holds up to a 2-yard skein
- Collapsible so it can be stored flat
- Has optional yarn guide to make winding on easier
- Cost roughly ~$10 of supplies from a home improvement store (plus some tools)
OK, so I know that I’ve been super slow about it, but exam procrastination got me so I wrote this up (I would rather do anything but study… as you can see).
I tried to be real thorough about where all the parts go and to give detailed pictures and directions. Please let me know if you use it and find any mistakes or confusions. I would love to improve them. Send me an email at beatawih AT gmail DOT com (replace AT and DOT, obviously).
Also, if you build one of your own, let me know. I would love to see what yours look like!
OK, here comes the PDF of the tutorial. Enjoy!
Today, I was able to take the day and travel to Atlanta to see the Yarn Harlot. I read her blog pretty regularly, but I only just read her last book, Casts Off, while I was on spring break (I borrowed Katy‘s copy). It was super funny. So I bought her latest book, Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not) , recently, and it’s been a hilarious blast. I’m about half way done with it, and enjoying every word.
So back to the trip. Lisa and I left at 8:30 am for Atlanta, and we got there at 11:30 or so, just in time for a delicious brunch at Murphy’s. Their eggs benedict is to kill for, but I went with the version with spinach and mushrooms on a foccacia instead of the traditional one. Super delicious. Lisa got the French Toast, and while I didn’t try it, it looked to be about the most delicious French Toast ever (I was a little caught up with my eggs benedict). Then we had mimosas… delicious mimosas. Something about their mimosas make them better than other mimosas. No idea what it is. Just awesome.
Ok, enough food rambling. After brunch, we got in the GIANT line to get in to see the Yarn Harlot. There must have been 700 people there, it was incredible. As we walked along the line to find the back, people kept commenting “Oh I love your sweater” “What pattern is it?” etc. I love knitters! Mostly, this was directed to Lisa, who’s wearing the most awesome cardigan made from some super cool Cherry Tree Hill yarn. She just winged it – top down raglan style. It was incredible. I was wearing my Isabella – cool, but just not nearly as cool as Lisa’s was.
We stood in line probably for 20 minutes, but of course, no one was impatient because we all had our knitting. I had my monkey socks with me, and the pattern is pretty easy to remember, so I didn’t even need my chart all the time. People were commenting on each other’s patterns, shawls, socks, sweaters – you name it. I got some kudos for doing 2 socks at once on magic loop. I never thought it was that hard, but apparently it’s pretty impressive. That’s kind of cool.
Oh, and we got free wool wash while standing in line – cool, eh?
Several muggles walked by and was like, WTF? What is with this giant line of people trying to get into Ben & Jerry’s. Here’s the trick, the theater where we saw the Yarn Harlot is behind Ben & Jerry’s with no visible sign (or a separate door). I bet it looked pretty funny having 600 people line up with their socks in progress trying to get into Ben & Jerry’s. hehe. Of course, they were probably equally, if not more, baffled by us knitting. I mean, who in their decent mind would be knitting at noon on Sunday in a giant queue?
Once we got in, we had about 2 hours to just knit and chat. Knitch did a pretty awesome raffle with really good prizes. If I had cash on me, I would have totally bought some tickets (they were donations to Knitters Without Borders anyway – a good cause). Seriously, someone got a $300 skein of yarn. I’m still trying to figure out what the heck that’s made of.
Then the Yarn Harlot spoke.
I’ve never laughed so hard in an hours worth of time. She is about to so accurately reflect society, but in the most humorous way possible. It’s much, much better than I could ever repeat it at, so I’m not even going to try. Her blog and her books come pretty darn close to seeing her in person, but there’s nothing quite like being in a room with 700 knitters listening to her speak about knitting, all the while knitting on my socks. I think I cried about 5 times from laughing so hard.
It was also pretty amusing to hear someone dropping a dpn every 5 minutes or so. We’re a coordinated bunch, no?
After her speech, people had a chance to ask her some questions. It was such a nice and jovial atmosphere – almost like a conversation. She’s so nice and down to earth that sometimes, I forget I’m not acutally just sitting their talking to her. It’s awesome.
So after all that, we went back to Knitch to browse. The store is absolutely amazing. Yarns in all colors from top to bottom. In all amazing fibers. There’s quite a few cashmeres that I’m surprised didn’t jump in my bag to come home with me. I did end up with this though. 2 oz of camel down. RIDICULOUSLY soft. It’ll be interesting to see how well I can spin it. Current plan is to make it into lace weight and knit Wisp – since Knitch had a really nice sample knit in 100% cashmere, and I really preferred that to the Kid Mohair that the pattern is designed for. Problem is, I don’t want to spend $50 on cashmere, and the camel was only $6 for the same amount. Let’s see what I can do! They fall into the same fiber category, so surely, it can be done. Now, my spinning skills…
So after the yummy yarn shopping, we got in line to do the book signing. The Yarn Harlot is super wonderful. She takes time to talk to everyone, and takes care to sign her entire name instead of just initials like some other celebrities would do. And she has a long name. (Refer to this blog post of hers). I even got to take a picture of her while she’s signing my book. Yay!
So after the book signing, or mission for today was basically accomplished. We had dinner at Neighbor’s (Shrimp Caesar Salad) and drove home. Here I am blogging. It was a good day.
On Saturday, I went to my local spinning guild for the first time. I was so pleasantly surprised at how large the guild was. There were probably about 20 people there. Wow – that many spinners live near me? One lady even told me she had the same wheel I did. Yay – someone to ask if my wheel is acting wonky. The ladies were all so nice at the guild, and super knowledgeable too. I learned so much just from sitting there and listening. It’s definitely going to be a great resource for any spinning questions.
Of course, it was super fun as well. Everyone goes around in a circle to do a show and tell. Some people have some awesome stuff spun and knitted up. One lady made this really long and amazing shawl out of linen. The drape was incredible, plus it looked great and cozy on her. Two ladies had hand dyed wool with easter egg dyes and food coloring. Such beautiful colors. Some showed their finished spinning. There was definitely some yummy stuff there.
I also found some yummy stuff to buy there. Check this out. It’s a wool silk blend (exactly percentage not sure). The blue is the wool and the silver is the silk.
There’s a really nice shimmer in person. It’s not as soft as merino (yeah, I’ve been spoiled), but it’s pretty soft. I bought 20 oz from a lady at the guild who owns her own farm and sells her fiber. I’m hoping to get enough yardage to make at least a tank top with it. Dare I say a sweater? I guess we’ll just have to see.
So I’ve been eyeing a skeiner for a while. Babe’s sell one for $35, which isn’t bad. But I wanted it to be free standing, and I also wanted it to function as a swift too. So in comes DIY.
My hubby is a seasoned PVC builder. He grew up playing boffer and and built numerous weapons. So I asked him to help, and when I showed him what I wanted, he said, “Oh! That’s ridiculously simple.” Whee!
We spent about $10 at home depot for the materials, and an additional $8 for a PVC cutter to make it easier. I’ve used it a few times already, and I absolutely love it. Check it out
The arms are adjustable to fit skeins up to 2 yards. It functions both as a skeiner and a swift. When I use it as a skeiner, the extra arm in the middle is the handle I use to crank it around. The cup hooks at the base helps to feed the yarn in to the skeiner – useful when I’m winding from a cone into a skein. When using it as a swift, I take the middle arm out to make it more balanced. It spins more freely that way.
I’m thinking of writing up a tutorial to build this, since it was really easy and cheap, and I think it works great. Anyone interested?
Edited to add: Tutorial now available! Check it out here.
FO time! I finished this baby hoodie on spring break.
Thanks Abby for modeling! As you can tell, it’s still a bit big on her. This is good, since it’ll still fit her next spring.
Pattern: Hooded Baby Cardigan (P630) from Plymouth
Yarn: Oh My! by Plymouth – 7 balls
Needle: Knit Picks Options size 10
Project Ravelry page
Pattern knit entirely as is. I wanted to convert it to be knit in the round, but was too lazy to. The pattern is very easy to make. It made for really productive SnB knitting, and spring break knitting while traveling in the car. The only change I made was to kitchener the top of the hood instead of bind off and sew it together. The bind off just seemed a little arbitrary, plus who would want a seam there?
I read on ravelry that the yarn unravels easily from being weaved in, so I (gasp) knotted the ends in after weaving. Let’s hope that withstands the pulling and tugging of a toddler!
I made the buttons from polymer clay. It’s sort of a new hobby of mine. I consider it an extension of my knitting (like the beading – it’s just for stitch markers, really), so it’s not really a new hobby. Can you see them? I rolled the clay on the thickest setting of the pasta machine, cut them out from a 5/8″ template, and textured it with a rubber stamp. Then I painted it with a wash and put gloss coat on it after baking it. I love them!
My floppy dog was also kind enough to model the hoodie for me.
Isn’t he just so darn cute?!?