Saturday, June 11, 2016


I am the type of person who uses a Ziploc bag, reinforced with duct tape, for my sock projects. And the last thing I need is more sock yarn. However, that did not stop me from indulging in this anniversary kit from Simply Sock Yarn.

I don't sew except in extreme circumstances, but that doesn't mean I can't admire and covet particular prints, like this vintage kitchen one sewn into a flat sock bag by Bird Leg Bags. Throw in some color coordinated striping sock yarn and I'm helpless. The macaroon stitch markers are icing on the cake.

(An aside: For some reason, the Knitterly Things yarn label says to hand wash and dry flat, even though the yarn is made from superwash wool and nylon. WUWT?)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Summertime knitting

Not much knitting gets done during the summer. And what does get done is usually in cotton. This year I am not even doing that, at least not yet, although I think some dishcloths are calling to me.

I am knitting a bit here and there, on these socks. With the garden and yard needing so much attention, though, the bit of knitting has been very little. I keep thinking, Once the yard is under control... (as if that will ever happen).

In an attempt to motivate myself to pursue dyeing more seriously, I purchased some blank yarn (Lamb's Pride and Cascade 220), as well as alum and iron for mordants (from Dharma Trading Co.) So far, it hasn't worked. There is just so much *other* time critical stuff to tend to right now. Someday, though.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Another learning experience

The good news is, I didn't warp the loom backwards on this weaving project.

The bad news is, I tied the warp threads to the rollers instead of the warp sticks, so there was a lot of wasted yarn and the project was shorter than I planned.

This bath rug is almost the widest thing I could weave on my loom, and I had to learn to "bubble" the weft more, to prevent draw in. The last project was feltable wool, while this one is cotton, which has no give or elasticity.

Pattern: none
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton, in red, white, navy, and 'Americana'
Loom: Ashford Rigid Heddle 24"

I'm still missing the warp here and there, thanks to inconsistent tension. When I saw all the rows where the colors ended abruptly midway across, I was puzzled, until I remembered using the 'America' colorway, which is a mixture of red, white, navy, and pink.

I didn't like how the navy and white looked together on the loom, but after a trip through the washing machine (on gentle - I was afraid the rug would fall apart!) and dryer (for a little while, then hung to finish drying), the two colors played nicely together.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What we won't do for our grandchildren

I think I have never been so happy to be done with a knitting project as I am with this one. Doll clothes are too fiddly, almost as bad as baby bootees. By far the worst part, though, was all the freaking eyelash yarn. Fun Fur is not fun at all.

Pattern: Curious Cat, by Nicky Epstein
Yarn: Lion Brand Fun Fur Stripes, in 'Cotton Candy' (and when I ran out of that, 'Soft Pink'), Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Solids, in 'White' and 'Raspberry'
Needles: US6 and US8
Modifications: See below.

I had some trouble with the instructions and left a note on Ravelry for the designer, but there was no response. I closed the mitts and paws with kitchener stitch, used kfb for increases, and performed "jogless jogs" when changing colors. Also, I could not imagine sewing snaps into Fun Fur, much less see my g'daughter getting them to work. The torso was a bit snug anyway, so I added bands for buttons and button holes, picking up about 30 stitches per side and sewing on 6 buttons.

My g'daughter wants the matching bonnet, mitts, and tail, but I told her I needed a break from Fun Fur. There is another pattern in Enchanted Knits for Dolls she also wants, but I also need a break from doll costumes. A L-O-N-G break.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weave, wove, woven

I finished my first weaving project, which started out as a test run but now looks like something. My first thought was, I can always use it as a table runner. But while knotting the fringe, I had the piece draped across my bare legs. Mmmm! So warm! So maybe it is a scarf or a small shawl?

Pattern: none.
Yarn: Leftovers from the Pinwheel sweater and Fuzzy Feet and the Mitered Crosses blanket
Loom: Ashford 24" rigid heddle, 7.5 sett
Finished size: 49.5" length (plus fringe), 10" width (more or less)

I obviously have some learning to do. The edges are not even, especially where I got in a hurry. Also, there is one missed warp, which of course stands out like a neon sign in outer space. All in all, I think it is not a bad start, though.

Of course, I had some assistance from the *other* helpful weaving cat in this household. Maybe Finn thinks the scarf/shawl is for him?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lessons learned

What is wrong with this picture?

I finally got around to warping the new loom, and I did it BACKWARDS. It took me HOURS to get this far, and it is wrong, wrong, WRONG! And it left me with about 40 12-foot sections of yarn after I undid all my hard work.

Finding a good place for the warping peg was another challenge. No matter how or where I situated the peg, it had a tendency to pop off when I was about two-thirds of the way done. GRRR!!! I finally gave up on making the tension tight across the warp and concentrated on making it as even as possible. And still the peg almost popped off again. I think I will invest in a warping board.

Since I was warping solo, I tried to work out a method whereby I would not need an extra set of hands for winding the warp. None of my ideas worked very well, but I was finally able to find instructions on the Ashford web site. However, not wanting to wind up with another 40 12-foot pieces of yarn, I refrained from cutting the warp threads until the warp had been wound.

Since I was using scrap yarn to practice with and had already ruined a bunch of it warping BACKWARDS, I had to resort to mixing yarns. The burgundy yarn is Elann Peruvian wool, the pink Lamb's Pride, both ostensibly worsted weight but not the same at all. So while tying off the warp threads, I bunched them by color. This led to them being rather spread out. I'm not sure how much of a problem this is, but it doesn't look ideal.

Another result of tying the warp threads off by color is the knots turned out rather bulky, making the woven fabric bulge. Again, not sure if this is a big deal, but in the future, I will include fewer threads in a bunch.

FINALLY, I was able to weave. A recurring problem is the shed - the yarn is stretchy enough that I keep losing tension with one color or the other, which makes the shed too small. The lack of tension also causes the heddle to lose its footing. And it is taking me a while to get the knack of avoiding draw in or loops along the selvages. On the plus side, I have been able to salvage the original warp yarn by spit splicing the pieces together.

The class I took gave me a false sense of weaving competency. Doing everything myself with no one to look over my shoulder is quite the opportunity for learning. Originally, I planned to start warping with crochet thread and create a bunch of samples with different weight warps and wefts. Instead, I had to resort to worsted and now must simply practice, practice, practice. This stage may go on for a while. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 08, 2016

Cats of the Internet

Someone started the hashtag #helpfulknittingcats. I had to contribute.

Today I started the hashtag #helpfulweavingcats.

At least Beau is learning to leave the yarn alone... for the most part.