Thursday, March 31, 2011


I have to say, I'm really enjoying blog week. This is such a great opportunity to meet new bloggers and learn about your experiences. I really enjoy your feedback, and as always, any ideas or critiques you might have are greatly appreciated. Might I also mention that in the time when I planned to write this blog post, I ended up perusing the Pierrot Yarns website... sale on merino fingering weight yarn!! Old habits die hard, y'all. Now, onto today's topic: knits from the past:

Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

I love looking back on my first knits because, as I said in a previous post, I was really a fearless knitter at the start. I made 2 boring stocking stitch scarves before I dove in headfirst: cabled fingerless gloves and an entrelac headwrap were some of my earliest projects... followed by lace.

My Springtime Bandit, up-close and personal

I made my first yarn splurge with an order for The Fibre Company's Road to China in citrine. With said splurge, I decided to knit myself a Springtime Bandit. Now, I was new and not exactly the brightest of knitters, so I ended up buying too little of a discontinued color, and could only knit the edge portion once, but man oh man, I was so proud and so pleased when I finished that scarf.

Even though I feel like my Bandit illustrates a lot of my inexperience, it also shows my enthusiasm for trying new techniques on the fly. It made me feel impossibly clever when I was finished, and it now holds a special place in the canon of my knitted items. In fact, my mom recently pilfered it when I left it sitting on her dining room table... so I'll be knitting her a Springtime Bandit of her own in some fingering weight yarn in the coming weeks.

I don't have some touching story to share (unfortunately), but when I read this prompt, I immediately thought of my Bandit. It's precious to me, and it gives me a lot of joy to see my mom's love for it as well. She's probably my biggest knitty supporter, and I feel even warmer and fuzzier when she wears it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We're trucking along and it's already day three of KCBW! Again, thanks to everyone for all the amazing feedback. I'm doing my best to get around to all the blog participants, but there are just too damn many of you! :D So today, we're talking about organizing your yarny stuffs:

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

I'm not afraid to admit that my stash isn't organized at all. Really, not in the slightest. I have plastic bins of yarn and a few errant baskets in designated areas around the house, but I know where specific skeins are located mainly by memory. However, I have made a big effort in the last year to better organize my individual patterns and project notes. It's a small start, but it has made a serious difference in my knitting habits.

The massive binder of all things knitty.

Before, I'd often print off my downloaded patterns, fold them up and toss them into my knitting bag, where they'd find a certain demise after a few short weeks. Wasteful and pretty irritating. Now, just by simply putting all of my patterns into plastic sleeves, they hold up much better. And by keeping all of said patterns in a binder with labeled dividers, I can always find what I'm looking for, which is great when I want to revisit a pattern.

Also, I realized over the past few years that I did a terrible job of documenting the knitting process while working on my various projects. It would become especially frustrating when I'd misplace the little sheets of paper that I wrote modifications on. Several months ago, I got a moleskine notebook for sketching and note-keeping, so I have a really detailed account of my progress on each garment. It has revolutionized my crafting. I take note of dates, mods, thoughts on the pattern, design ideas, etc. It's especially useful because I can, in turn, share these notes online via Ravelry or my blog. Finally! A system that works for me.

It's funny how this prompt has made me realize that despite my love for and interest in technology, the best way for me to keep organized is in an analog format. I prefer having hard copies of my patterns rather than glancing at the PDF file on my laptop or my phone, and I'd rather pull out a pen and stop knitting for a minute to jot down notes than log into Ravelry and document it there. In this next year, it seems like a good idea for me to focus on better storage for my yarn and notions. All in due time, right?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I must start out by saying thanks to all of the knit & crochet bloggers out there who have paid me a visit so far for Knit & Crochet Blog Week! I was really excited to see the responses to my Day 1 post, and hopefully it promoted a feeling of inclusiveness. Now onto, Day 2's prompt, which is all about my mad knitting skills:

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

In general, I'd like to think of myself as a rather fearless knitter. I'm willing to try new techniques and see how it goes. Really, my flaw is a lack of time management skills. Last year, I promised myself I'd try stranded knitting. And although I have a much better idea of what I'm doing technique-wise and the projects I'd like to tackle, I still haven't done it AN ENTIRE A YEAR LATER.

However, I have tried out a few new skills this year. First off, my cables have improved leaps and bounds, by paying greater attention to how tightly I hold the yarn and switching needle gauge when necessary. In the last year, I've done a handful of cabled hats using both a cable needle and without, and I think they look pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

Also, I dared to try socks this year for the first time ever. I was certain that I was morally allergic to sock knitting and it never really appealed to me, despite the bizarre amount of sock yarn lurking in my stash. But I gave it a shot, and after several months (yeah, I know), I had a finished pair of socks. And I actually sort-of enjoyed it. I did a standard heel flap for my first pair, and I'm going to try an eye of partridge heel for the second.

Finally, I've been exploring garment construction and am consistently excited about sweaters. I have four (yes, count 'em) sweaters on the needles at the moment, all in different stages of completion. I'm trying one knit in pieces, two top-down raglans, and one modified to be knit in the round. I even knitted a tiny baby sweater the other day that's a bottom-up raglan.

So there's a lot happening at the moment. I'm not completely pushing myself into new techniques, but it something that comes up in a pattern, I'll try it - kitchener stitch, i-cord edging, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, picking up and knitting stitches, cable cast-on - count me in. I don't cower in the face of new techniques. And really, why should I? If it doesn't work out, I can always unravel and start again.

Monday, March 28, 2011


My knitting (and blogging) mojo has been missing for a majority of the season, but I'm making the effort to get back in action with the second annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week. However, in typical fashion, I have the feeling I might cause a bit of a ruckus amongst my knitterly compatriots with my response to today's prompt, which is all about yarn:

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

So, I'm already having trouble. I will not bash yarn here. Even when I don't particularly enjoy using a certain yarn, I generally assume that I am the root of the problem for one reason or another - I chose the wrong yarn for the project, I'm knitting too tightly / too loosely / etc, I didn't take x-factor into consideration... Whatever it is, I don't like to go postal about a yarn unless something completely unacceptable happens - for example, a skein with multiple knots in it. But still, rather than write a ranting post here or an angry tweet, I like to contact the manufacturer and see what can be done. Of course I might complain with my knitting group, but I'm not going to publish a diatribe against a yarn company.

A mix of high-end and less expensive yarns in my handknits, all with lovely results

But the major disconnect I'm experiencing is that I don't really have a favorite yarn. I truly enjoy every thing I work with, and I always look for the good qualities in fibre. I have a serious distaste for the yarn snobbery that I see in yarn shops and on the interweb. I believe in the notion that 'it might not be your taste, but that doesn't make it bad.'

In actuality,
I am an Equal Opportunity Yarnie, as coined by Maria of the Subway Knits podcast. I love the colors of MadelineTosh as much as I enjoy the springy bounce of Paton's 100% Wool. Rowan Felted Tweed has those amazing little flecks of gorgeousness, but so does KnitPicks City Tweed. I nearly die over Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton, especially when I can buy it with a coupon. But the same thing happens to my brain with a lovely locally sourced yarn, Angel's Kiss Alpaca-Merino Worsted.

I like to think that I don't discriminate too much, but I typically prefer natural fibres over synthetics. My favorite yarns are usually straight-up undyed wool, but if you're telling me you don't use superwash or wool blends for socks, I personally think you're out of your mind. At the end of the day, I think it's all about making knitting accessible to everyone - so use your alpaca or your acrylic with pride. And don't be surprised to see me knitting with anything that strikes my fancy and fits my budget.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Yeah, it happened.

I didn't mean to do it. Really, I swear.

I've been on point for the last three months - no new yarn. (Well, aside from the 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces I won from
Karin's blog, but that doesn't really count... right?) Plus, I've been knitting lots of big projects to help bust some of the stash that has grown so large I truly, honestly have no where else to keep it. I'd even go online and ogle sale yarns, filling my virtual shopping cart with armfuls of merino alpaca blends and Malabrigo and sock yarns, but never acting on those impulses. One day, I even spent several hours at a coffee shop directly across the street from Lovelyarns, but I didn't walk in. I've been surprised by my self control.

Then, my mom said, "Can you knit me a lacy spring scarf?" Damn her. We paid a visit to Black Sheep Yarn Shop, an LYS I had never visited before, and I was screwed from the start. The store is huge. They have a wall of Noro. Beautiful samples hanging all over. And a major selection of pattern booklets, books, and magazines. So long, yarn diet. It was fun while it lasted.

It wasn't all that bad, though. I ended up getting several skeins of Claudia's Hand Paints fingering weight yarn in a peach and yellow variegated colorway for mom's lace shawlette. I'm making another Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osbourne, which I'm really excited to get on the needles. I was a novice knitter when I made my first one, and while it looks so pretty, I can see a few beginner's issues: I think the yarn I used, Fibre Company's Road to China, was too bulky for the piece. It also didn't help that I bought far too little yarn and had to omit the last lace repeat. I wear it only occasionally, as compare to my other handknits. Nonetheless, it's super pretty hanging from a hook in the hallway.

I also bought several balls of Ella Rae Worsted Merino in an oatmeal shade for a future sweater project, completely ignoring the THREE sweaters I have on the needles at this moment. Planning ahead, that's all. I glimpsed the Hollyhock sweater from Cecily Glowik Macdonald and fell in love. It has all sorts of qualities I love - an oversized cowl neck with lace edging, short sleeves perfect for layering, mindless stocking stitch body with nice waist shaping, and knit in one piece. You had me at hello. In the meantime, I've avoided startitis and finished the sleeves on my Effortless Cardi, so now I'm onto the trim and collar. I'll share some more updates on my WIPs later in the week.

Happy knitting!!