Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Zero Knitting Content:

It's true, today's post has zippy knitting stuff.

Instead, I want to share a blog that I find absolutely knee-slapping funny.

It's called Bee's Musings and I highly recommend it to help lighten bad times and dark moods.

Just so's ya know though, it is chock full of off-color humor - my favorite kind!

She posted a music video of that song "Baby it's cold outside" that had me in stitches.

Click here if you dare!

I'm telling you though, you may never hear the song the same way again :grin:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Outside My Wheelhouse:

Mike's great friend John has been dating a woman for quite some time (for him!) now. I've met her a few times and Mike has visited with her several more and REALLY likes her - in that he thinks she's a great addition to John's life. John can be a handful, but even I see that he's settled down and seems the most content I've ever known him, because of having her in his life.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer not too long ago, and has undergone surgery to get rid of the lump(s). Now she's in the chemotherapy stage of her treatment. When we visited them a few days before Christmas, she told us that she had just shaved her head because the hair-loss was getting too noticeable.

She was sporting a Santa cap, in the holiday spirit, and I didn't give her statement much thought, because hair - mine or other people's - really doesn't factor in my thoughts.

That evening, as I was taking a shower and lamenting the absolute ridiculousness of the length of my own locks, it hit me.

She doesn't get to shampoo her hair right now. Not brush it out or contemplate blow-drying it. She doesn't have the option of wearing it up or down. Nothing. All choice is gone for her at the moment.

Even though *I* think the hang-ups about a woman's hair are pretty dang dumb, it hit me that other people may still give part of their worth over to their hair, and the loss of it might affect them.

So I knit her a hat. I wanted her head to be warm, sporting anything more stylish and fit than a dumb Santa cap, and to minimize the discomfort she may have while living a hair-free live.

Lemme tell ya though, it was very hard deciding on a pattern. Not only do I have my own hat/head/hair hang-ups and ideas, there was much second-guessing of what another person would want to sport - even just in the privacy of their own home!

Plain beanie? Hello. PLAIN. Very Un-girlygirl.

Lacy Beret? Do they want peeks of their bald skull showing through? Am I projecting my own concerns?

Newsboy Cap/Baseball Cap replica? Some are very chic, but does the average banking professional want that?

Itchy Scratchy Wool/Alpaca blend - on a sensitive noggin? Not too sure on that one either.

Are you starting to see the self-doubt and gifting concern I was up against!?!?

It was very hard to pick something that I thought would not only keep her head warm (my original objective) but also wouldn't turn her off to hand-knits for all eternity.

Yet again, ravelry to the rescue. I won't bore you with the details of all the ways I cross-referenced my yarns to suitable patterns, but trust that I did that and more.

I eventually kept circling (and finally landed on) the Ring of Cables hat from Knit Picks. It's pretty similar to Knitty's Coronet and once I researched the yarns used, there was no doubt that my stashed burgundy Pastaza was a good fit. A little birdy named John let it be known that burgundy and black were the colors of choice for the recipient, so there ya go!

(it's less purple in real life, I promise)

M got her hat today and called to thank me profusely. She's nice like that :grin:

We got to talking, and I took the opportunity to ask her about particulars that I wasn't sure she'd be okay talking about . . . like . . .

Lacy pattern showing a bald head? Ayup. She loves the lacy.

Wearing in private only or for public outings? Both.

Another color she'd love to wear? M started out saying "red" which I got her to narrow down to "tomato red" versus "brick red" but then she changed it up and said what she'd really like is "Breast Cancer Survivor" pink. Her only concern in telling me her particular tastes was that she didn't want me to go out and buy a yarn "just because" I was knitting her something.

Oh, I would SO totally go buy it, but as luck would have it, I SO totally already own it!

Now, it's back to the pattern drawing-board.

Any suggestions?

The knitting options are:

Not too much forehead covering
Not too much "extra" at the crown
A brim, although not a large one

Friday, December 26, 2008

What I Knit for Christmas:

Now that the Holiday of Doom (tm) is over, I can divulge my knitting activities (although I'm not 100% done, but more on that later).

Unfortunately, my camera is MIA so pics will be up as soon as I locate the dang thing!

2 pairs of felted slippers for the in-laws

3 intarsia skull beanies for 2 BILs and a niece

1 matching beanie & scarf (done in horrid Moda Dea yarn) for wee-young niece

1 two-tone Coronet with a matching (in fiber and one of the colors of the hat) Falling Water scarf

6 soap socks to accompany handmade (by someone else) soaps

1 pair of Fuzzy Feet for my sis

2 "already knit and sitting in my F.O. stash pile" scarves

1 slouchy beret for my BFF. That her on-screen presence is "Queen of Curls" should explain why I went with "slouchy" and "beret" on her. She also got a neck-warmer thingymajig . . .

of which if knit . . .

7 neck-warmer thingymajigs and I only gifted one (see above).

Hands down, my absolute LOVE LOVE LOVE of the things I knit-gifted this year are my MIL's red felted clogs. They are So. Stink'n. Cute. and if they were for anyone else but her, I'm not sure I would have given them up.

My FIL's felted clogs were pretty good looking too, as were the skull hats I did.

Sheila's slouchy beret turned out really well also, thanks to Jollyewe's input and tips. I hope the coral/salmon color looks as good on her as I imagine. Her neckwarmer came from my never-ending skein of Lisa Souza's beautiful blue/green/purple alpaca blend. Sheila AND her sister saw me knitting with it and declared the colorway "Sheila's colors" . . . so what was I supposed to do? LOL.

Wee-young niece's hat & scarf were made in yarn that I knew she would love - Eden in the dark blue and light blue (grey?). It feels like (synthetic) rabbit fur. So very soft! Mike told me she kept petting the scarf and saying "soooooo soooooffft". More on her hat later.

My sis's Fuzzy Feet were bound off, felted and dried today. I dunno about this pattern though. From everything I read, they are supposed to be gargantuan socks felted down to a human foot size and I accomplished the 'gargantuan sock' part. Upon felting, they appear to be more like felted "bubbles" encasing the feet. There was no identifiable *shape* to them before felting. Pictures of the "before" just didn't look like my "before" and thus my "after" doesn't look like other people's "after" as well.

They are certainly functional enough that I would wear and enjoy them myself, but? You guys know what I mean. Are they what I want to represent my knitting acumen? That, I'm not so sure of. Where did I miss the shaping that should have been there, since my technical knitting was spot-on?

Which leads me to wee-young niece's hat (that matches her scarf). It didn't fit. At. All. Mike said it sat atop her head like a yarmulke (not that Mike's Bush-Okie family has ever seen one in living color, but I knew what he meant).

Mike's mom, my MIL, stated the obvious and said Wee-Young Niece is a McL and "hog-headed". No lie, hand-to-heart, that's what she said. Hog Headed. It's how those Bush-Okies talk.

Two other things:

The soap socks and corresponding handmade soaps didn't garner one mention from any recipient this year. Interesting.

Those other 6 neck-warmers I cranked out? I dunno. It just didn't feel right to give them as gifts. I definitely loved knitting them, and I've worn one or two myself and loved them alot, but . . . they felt like "those things". Items that are enjoyable from a knitter's perspective but wouldn't really be understood from a non-knitter-recipient's perspective. Much like legwarmers or the Clapotis or a lace project.

This year's knitted gifts - some amazing, some pretty damn good, some not-quites and all learning experiences.

Still left to knit:

MY BIL (on *my* family's side) want's a pair of felted slippers, and he deserves them.

A woman dear to Mike is being treated for breast cancer and has recently shaved her head, so I'm working on a worthy hat. I don't think she knows any other knitters and isn't sporting any "worthy" hats, so . . . now's my chance to represent us fiber fiends, lol!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chart Knitting Rocks:

This holiday knitting season has been the catalyst to get me into knitting from a chart, and now that I've done it I LOVE it.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the charted knitting patterns!

Look what I can do:

One BIL hat almost finished in one day! Details will get up on ravelry later.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ravelry: love (1 squillion)

Something I *just* figured out on ravelry and I must must must share with y'all!

Free charts.

Not impressed? You should be!

This latest "lightbulb moment" happened when I was perusing the pattern pages for something appropriately goth/rock/macabre/bizarro in knitted form for my rocker BIL, The Elder.

Skulls were my first pattern search, and naturally the We Call Them Pirates pattern jumped right out at me (it helps that I remember when CJ posted her FO of one). Then my eyes caught the Skull Hat pattern, which interested me even more.

From there, I thought to myself "Self, I wonder if there is just a chart for something skull-like" and whoo boy did I hit the jackpot. I did a pattern search for "skull chart" and found The Lady Wyvern's awesome knitting charts! How freak'n adorable is her "winking skull" ??? Then, I happened upon the Domiknitrix's stunning (and large) full-scale skull chart. I don't even like skull stuff but from a knitting standpoint, these are rather cool!

That's when my lightbulb went off. I began wondering if these awesome (and free) knitting charts might just be the tip of the iceberg . . . and people? They are!

Feast your eyes upon all the free knit charts.

My queue has just exploded and I cannot WAIT until Christmas knitting for 2008 is done, so I can cast on for 2009. Funny how 4 hours ago I was dreaming of all the "ME ME ME" knitting to look forward to on December 25th and now I'm more excited about gift knitting than I've ever been :grin:

I hope you all find something inspiring to knit too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Couldn't Tell You:

This holiday season, I have been bit extremely hard by the Crafting bug.

If I'm not knitting, then I'm hand-sewing. If I'm not hand-sewing, then I'm rubber-stamping.

Seriously, people.

Five years ago, if you had told me that I would want to knit more than I would want to read? I'da laughed so hard that tears would have rained down on the book I had in my lap at the time.

Two years ago, if you'da told me that I'd be hoarding yarn and pattern books/magazines like chocolate? I would wonder about your mental health.

A year ago, if you'da told me that I'd be breaking out a sewing machine soon? Well, I certainly would have thought you were off your rocker, as it were!

Things here at KBW are in full Crafty mode and while it surprises me a LOT, I couldn't be happier.

Once things get managed, from an organization standpoint, I will start cataloging all my crafty F.O.s, and believeyoume, there are a metric fiber ton of F.O.s.

I couldn't tell you where it has come from, but it's here and I LOVE it! Love, love, love!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dipping Into the 401(k)

It's been mentioned across the knitting world, how *stash* is like a yarn retirement account. You have it, in case 1) yarn becomes so expensive that you can't afford to buy more or 2) you become so poor you can't afford to buy more, even when it's available at an affordable price.

Lately, I fit into scenario #2, by my own choosing. This break I'm taking from Corporate has been FANTASTIC! Every day that slips away, I mourn its passing . . . until the next morning when I have all those hours ahead of me again.

While the lack of disposable (yarn) income is definitely sad, I'm ever so grateful that I've amassed quite the 401(k) safe-haven!

Truth be told, it's not like I completely forsook ANY yarn purchases these last four months or so. I've just been more particular and have changed up my hunting & gathering methods.

My stash gives me great comfort. I have several exceptional purchases hoarded away - malabrigo, cashmere, silk, etc. It seems I also have enough Cascade to felt a life-sized diorama of California and enough lace to canopy my county, LOL. There is sock yarn to cover the feet of the Miami Dolphin's first string as well as SO MUCH cotton that I think I could possibly give every Obama voter their own washcloth. For the most part, my stash has made an exceptionally nice LYS in my own home and I am so very thankful that I had the foresight to stock it well.

Once I get back into the working world, and start having disposable (yarn) income again, there are some changes I will be implementing this time around. For even though my stash rocks (and it really does), I've noticed some personal shopping habits that are counter-productive to creating a nice in-home LYS.

A) I've balked at "sweater quantity" buys. The cold hard truth has sunk in that I'm ready for sweaters. The making of - not just the wearing of.

B) Workhorse Yarns - get to know them and get to buying them. Cascade 220, Lambs Pride Worsted, and several sock yarns.

C) Save up to buy the good stuff - Enough with piddling away the little money on little purchases. I want The Good Stuff and if that means saving up for a bit, then that's what it means.

It's really been fun to hang out in my craft/yarn room, and to draw from my knitting 401(k) these last few months, but that time is about to be over and I've grown from the experience. The stuff I've knit, and the things I've experienced . . . they are all things I don't think I would have done if I didn't take this down time.

I'm so lucky to have a great 401(k) available :grin:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An Oldie But a Goodie:

About 11 months ago, I was playing around with ideas on how to knit a pouch for a bar of soap. Something that would hold the bar, but also serve as a washcloth at the same time.

I fiddled around with different stitches and came up with what I think accomplished my goal of being "scrubby" in texture while being airy enough to let the soap foam escape and do its intended purpose of cleaning.

The reason I'm revisiting this idea tonight, is exactly the same reason I did it last year. Handmade soaps (of some DELICIOUS aromas, bytheway!) as holiday presents, but also with my knitting twist added in.

Today (and tomorrow) is the annual fall craft sale in Halcyon, California. A few years ago I bought some really neat soap at a craft festival at the Edwards Barn in Nipomo and have never forgotten how delish they were. The soaps languished in my craft room for a few years, but when I took on the handmade pledge last holiday season, they made perfect sense as presents.

Those soaps were a HUGE hit with all the recipients in the family! The knitted pouches? I'm not sure they really even noticed, lol, but that doesn't bother me in the least. Even after a few years (but carefully preserved) the soaps still smelled wonderful. Today, when I snagged some more, they smell as good as I remembered. Even The Mike picked himself out a cucumber one!

If you miss Halcyon's craft fair this weekend, the Nipomo (Edwards Barn) one is in two weeks and Lisa (the owner of The Soapdishes) said she'll be there too.

No matter where you get your handmade soaps ('cuz I hear good things about these too) I gift you with a basic Soap Sock pattern to truly make a handmade bar of soap yours!

Cut & Pasted from the original post (bad spelling and all):

Last night, I started the red soap sock and used the opportunity to refine my 'on the fly' pattern ideas. What I ended up with created the perfect texture for scrubbing with soap and I'm just pleased as punch! It was exactly what I was looking for.

A little voice in my head has me worried that what I concocted is really some already *known* stitch pattern (like the 'farfalolly stitch' or some such shit I'd never heard of, LOL), but if it is, it is, and oh well. Feel free to make fun of me and definately feel free to steal my made up pattern.

I used Elann's Endless Summer Collection - Connemara and size 7 dpns

Cast on 16, and knit 5 rows using 2 of the dpns.

With the remaining dpns, pick up and knit 3 stitches on both short sides and 16 on the long side for a total of 38 stitches as the base. (The bottom is created with the same technique as the Booga Bag pattern) ***

The stitch pattern is as follows:

Row 1 -
K1, P1 and repeat for all 16 stitches on long sides
K1 for each of the 3 stitches on the short sides

Row 2 -
P1, K1 and repeat for all 16 stitches on long sides
K1 for each of the three stitches on the short sides

Row 3 -
YO, K2Tog and repeat for all 16 stitches on the long sides
K1 for each of the three stitches on the short sides

Repeat rows 1 through 3 until pouch is as long as you want, then bind off.

For the drawstring I just could NOT bear doing a foot of I-cord so I picked up a dusty, hardly-ever-used crochet hook and winged it. I just crocheted a starting chain about 12 inches and then turned it to make it wider by doing a basic crochet stitch back across.

Weave the drawstring through the top-most YOs of the pouch, tie a knot on each end and voila. Done and Done.

It isn't the prettiest pattern ever written, but there ya go.


In hindsight, I now see I never did post pictures of my F.O.s over on ravelry and I didn't even post the concept! Bad raveler!

Here are some pictures of the prototypes and the final pattern result:


*** A year later, I finally understand the provisional cast-on method and that's what I'm using this year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"No on 8" Rally/Picnic in San Luis Obispo

If you have interest, there will be a rally/picnic to get out the "NO ON PROP 8" word.


When: This Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 2pm
Where: Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo (Santa Rosa and Pismo streets)

More information can be found by clicking here.

It's the least I can do to help my fellow Californians in their fight for legal equality.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some WIP Pics:


This is the sock I'm doing in Lisa Souza's "Painted Desert" colorway:

The ball of yarn:

In one day, I cast on and finished one of the felted clogs from Fiber Trends. These are for Mike, and he's got size 13s. When I was researching other people's experiences with the pattern, I came across someone (sorry I didn't bookmark it) that wrote (knitting them up in size 15s) they looked, pre-felted like a sleeping bag for a toddler and I'm inclined to agree with her. They're ginormous!

One thing I didn't either read properly or intuitively know is that when you knit the sole, you're actually knitting it long-ways, and when done you fold it in half. After I was on my 91st stitch I could not understand how this narrow and long thing was supposed to fit my husband's fat-ass foot! I get it now, LOL.

You can see all the pictures here on flickr, and here's the set from Chick Flick night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Current Going-Ons:

I wanted to jot down some of my knitterly happenings at the moment, so here goes!

I've been working on another pair of custom socks for myself. Trying to figure out exactly how to execute the individual elements that make the perfect sock is my goal.

One day (soon) I have to break out of the top-down start with my sock projects, but being a creature of habit, it's my go-to cast on. This pair starts with a 2x2 ribbing for 1.5 inches (maybe a touch less). I then increased between the two knit ribbed stitches to make a much larger leg portion.

One thing I've had to deal with is figuring out the marriage of more yardage in my sock yarn than ever before with my distaste of long socks.

The increase I've done this time is to create a "fatter" leg portion so that the length will slouch down when on. So far I'm liking the look and feel of where the sock is hitting me.

After I knit stockinette on these for several inches, I knit 2tog every third stitch and then made another 2x2 ribbing (1/2 an inch) that lands at my ankle.

I've knitted the basic slipped stitch heel, heel turn and gusset, then about another 2 inches of stockinette for the foot.

Currently I'm working 2x2 ribbing that will lay right around my arch, which is my personal favorite element in socks.

There are two things I'm not overly happy with - one within my skill and one outside of my control. The heel is probably going to be a tad short. I can live with it, but if that ends up being the case then I need to note it and learn from it.

The thing outside of my control is the color of this yarn.

Ugh. I'm not happy with it.


It was a beautiful skein of sock yarn, or else why would I have purchased it? I only buy beautiful yarn, don't'cha know :grin: Lisa Souza's SOCK! purchased at Stitches West '08, colorway "painted desert". Man was it beautiful on the shelf that day.

Knitted up? Oranges and purples and browns with flecks of white make stunning skies but they make yucko stripes on socks.

It's not Lisa. Her stuff is awesome and I'm so very happy with things I've knitted up of hers in the past. It's that I need to have better skills (and willpower, people!) when it comes time to purchase. All this sock knitting experience has opened my eyes to color play and how things actually knit up in real life. So much so that my sock yarn purchasing has been seriously curtailed.

I'm learning.

Other than this sock, I still have my ravelympic second sock to finish. All in good time.

Tonight I picked up Ruth down the road and we went to the Scarlet Skein in Atascadero for this month's "Chick Flick" night.

The store is *very* nice. Well lit, scads of great yarn and excellent pattern book/pamphlet choices. Oh, and the coffee pot thingie? Don't even get me started on how awesome that little piece of equipment is!

The owner Tracy not only has a great store, she's a wonderful hostess as well. She provided take-out pizza with various drinks and a few shop patrons provided excellent sides! Fruit salad, salad-salad and even cookies! When I go next time I am definately bringing something from home to share.

I got to see 'Becca again (she brought the chocolate chip and cranberry cookies . . . YUM!) and meet podcaster queen Ms. nevernotknitting as well. Guess what y'all. She really was 'never not knitting' the entire time, save for a little snack of pretzels she noshed on, lol. Lucky us, she brought this, this and this for us to fondle! I also got to visit with Jen again and pet her latest F.O. It's soft and airy like lace is, but it's also thick enough to provide warmth from chilly/foggy times around the ocean. She picked a great yarn for it.

What a fan-freak'n-tastic group! I look forward to many other visits to the Scarlet Skein. A great store with a great clientele for sure.

Pictures will follow pretty soon, I promise.

Knitting Fear-Less:

There had to have been a tangible moment between just being scared of knitting as a newbie, knitting thinking I *got it* and finally being back to scared of knitting because I realized I don't *got it*.

This is that moment:

Ohhh, to have been so naive when I sewed up my last backing edge. I long for those blissfully unaware days again, LOL.

It is a beauty and I am very proud of it. Hell, it's my avatar on ravelry! The one thing I put out there to represent me as a first impression.

I just wish I didn't (knitting) know now what I didn't (knitting) know then. I'd do the whole thing over better, but probably STILL doubt myself. It's a knitter thing, don'tcha think?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Welcome to my new ravelry-related blog.

Here there will be knitting content and general blather with rainbow kisses and lollipop dreams.

Enjoy and see ya 'round ravelry!