Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Knitting Rules!

When one sees oneself in a book one is reading, one either laughs or cries. While reading Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot), I laughted a lot, even when it hurt a little. I am still not quite comfortable with my obsessive-compulsive knitting, and I am in denial about my stash. It is telling that the first scrap of paper I grabbed to use as a bookmark was a yarn ball band. And according to this book, I am an "organic" knitter, although in lieu of sheep, I have an angora lop rabbit.

That said, this book is fun to read if you have some experience knitting. And the project-specific chapters are helpful if you have some experience knitting those types of projects. For example, I have knit several hats, so the chapter on hats provided additional information and insight. But I have never knit a sock, so the sock chapter went right over my head. But don't skip the glossary at the end, as it is the funniest.

The best two pieces of advice this book offers are: There are no knitting police, and It is only knitting. In other words, don't be like me and follow patterns slavishly, and don't be afraid to even start. Yarn is very forgiving. It can be knit and frogged and knit again another day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Another Bauhaus

Just like the previous ones, this Bauhaus-inspired design is crocheted in Lion Brand cotton. This dishcloth was a good in-flight project, but I think I hate crocheting cotton yarn. It has no give and the corners would not square up the way I wanted and the result was rather stiff. My daughter agreed to take it off my hands ("Hey, it's a dishcloth.")

BTW, the pattern is available free on the Lion Brand website.

And, for those who want to learn more about the Bauhaus movement, I recommend Women's Work : Textile Art from the Bauhaus by Sigrid Weltge-Wortmann.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wanted: This Sweater

This photo of Jamie Lerner (prez & CEO of Cittio) appeared in Information Week (photo credit goes to Gabriela Hasbun), and I fell in love with the sweater. It looks like it has a belted hood. Wouldn't this be a cool gift for that manly guy in your life? If I could see it in real life, maybe I could figure out a pattern for it. (Dream on!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl Blocked

It's about time, right? Here is the final, ready-to-be-shipped version of the swallowtail shawl I whined about ad nauseum. (For the rest of the story, look here.)

The spare bed came in handy for a blocking surface.

I could not find any straight pins labeled "rust-proof" so I used brass plated safety pins, which actually worked well. I contacted Rowan about the best way to block their silk wool DK, and they suggested pinning, then spritzing, which also worked well. So I pinned, spritzed, then after the yarn relaxed, I repinned.

Even Fern liked the shawl.

I wore the shawl to work yesterday, primarily to show off. It kept my shoulders warm.

Today it goes into the mail, as it is a gift for my stepmother.

When I was about a third of the way through this shawl, I swore I would never do another. Finishing it gave me a great sense of accomplishment, so I might do another one someday. But the biggest payoff has been that my other knitting projects seem so easy now. I feel like I can knit just about anything.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sean's Go Go Garter Scarf

Another SnB "pattern" - garter stitch in super chunky yarn - using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick®. I needed something quick and I wanted to make something from super chunky yarn, just to see what it was like, so here we are. I still don't like using those giant plastic needles, but the end result is just fine.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Olivia's Keyhole

My daughter did not like the armwarmers I knit her, so I frogged them and knit the SnB Windy City scarf, but much longer and in stripes. I also reinforced the keyhole as it seemed rather flimsy.

This is in Lion Brand cashmere blend, which is becoming one of my favorite yarns. It's very soft and springy.

Jason's Kittyville

The Boyfriend liked my daughter's SnB Kittyville hat so much, he wanted one of his own, sans ears. I used Plymouth Yarn Encore worsted, and since his head is kinda small, I dropped down a needle size. The charcoal gray looks almost felted in real life. Très élégant!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This One Is For Me

I love the SnB Coney Island Fireworks scarf so much, I am keeping it for myself. It's a great accessory when I dress in black - light and airy and colorful and playful. It looks better in real life than in photos, but here are a couple anyway.

I did not enjoy knitting it, though, because I don't care for knitting on big plastic needles and I don't like knitting yarns with no give, like fun fur and eyelash. Fortunately, it went quickly and produced lovely results.

For the record, I used Trendsetter Yarns Shadow just like the pattern recommends, but chose Berroco Ultra Alpaca for the other yarn, partly because I wanted something warmer than fleece, but primarily because it was available where I was (at the Yarn Basket), and the fleece was not.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Knitting Vacation

I spent several days with me da and stepmum last week. We did all those exciting things oldsters like to do: daily grocery shopping (part of my dad's exercise routine), TV watching (they refer to "Wheel of Fortune" as "Spin the Wheel"), TV tray dining (good spaghetti and meatballs takeout), etc. My dad didn't want to "go anywhere or do anything" during my visit, so I went armed with yarn. They were happy to have me there and I was happy to sit 'n knit.

However, my stepmother did not understand why I would knit something that could be bought. I tried "I knit this scarf with love" and she countered "It can be bought with love." I explained that I practice stitch patterns while knitting dishcloths because when I'm done, I have something useful, and she told me how cheap dishcloths are at Walmart. But when I was halfway through the SnB Coney Island Fireworks scarf, she began to eye it and ask what I planned to do with it. So I guess you can question the value of knitting while still coveting the results.

I'm still recovering from the trip, but tonight I plan to weave ends and sew seams, so hopefully I will have some pix of finished projects soon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

On the Road

Out of town, visiting family, in Massachusetts. And, of course, had to check out the LYS, the Yarn Basket, and buy some yarn, natch. After the swallowtail shawl, I needed something easy to knit, and have been working on scarves from SnB. For the Coney Island Fireworks scarf, I needed Trendsetter Yarns "Shadow" and the Yarn Basket had it, on sale - lucky me! They did not have the Brown Sheep fleece yarn, though, and I was too impatient to look for it elsewhere, so I bought a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The two are pairing up quite nicely. I also bought some Patons Shetland Chunky for the SnB Basic Garter Scarf (I'm in a hurry!) And, because I plan to learn to knit socks, I jumped the gun and picked out two colors of Austermann Step ("mit Aloe Vera und Jojoba Ol"). When the final total rang up on the cash register, my dad commented, "At least it's cheaper than golf!"

I also finished the Windy City keyhole scarf for my daughter, in Lion Brand cashmere blend, the very yarn I used to make the arm warmers she rejected. After working with cotton yarn for dish cloths, it was a real pleasure to handle something soft and springy.

More later!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How It Starts

Since I have started knitting again, I have been hearing about other knitters' stashes. My first thought was, Well, that will never happen to me. I don't buy yarn unless it is for a specific project, so my so-called stash consists of only leftover yarn and soon-to-be-used yarn. That doesn't count, does it?

And the sweaters I bought at Goodwill don't count, either, since I haven't frogged them yet. Right?

Nevermind that my daughter came over one day and brought The Boyfriend and pizza and we had to eat on the couch because every other ordinarily suitable surface was covered with yarn and yarn projects. (The couch stays relatively clear because 1) the coffee table holds a lot of yarn, and 2) my scoliosis makes sitting on the floor uncomfortable.)

And nevermind that Saturday afternoon I tidied up the living area by shelving knitting books and relocating knitting projects, in anticipation of my standing date with my SO, but by Sunday afternoon, said living area looked like a yarn explosion. (How does that happen, anyway?!?)

One of my recent no-brainer projects has been to knit dishcloths out of Lion Brand cotton yarn, experimenting with different stitch patterns. A favorite color combination has been "seaspray" and "maize", so I stopped at Joann's to buy some more. They had the seaspray but not the maize. But I really like red, so I added that to the seaspray in my basket. And they had some nice variegated shades. And I want to make myself another scarf, in black wool and eyelash yarn - STOP! I made it out of the store with just four balls of the cotton yarn. (I am so disciplined!)

Then I stopped at Hancock's because I knew they would have the maize. But they had some other colors and color combinations. I had neglected to pick up a basket, so eventually I had a ball of yarn stuck on each of the five digits on my left hand. This caused a cramp, so I stopped picking up yarn and headed for the cash register. (Pain helps enforce discipline.)

So now I have a bunch of cotton yarn that will be turned into dishcloths as time allows. Does that constitute a stash? Or the start of one?

Do I need an intervention?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl Saga

Here is the whole story of the swallowtail shawl:






Ready to block

Swallowtail Shawl Done! (Almost)

I arrived at class on Saturday, ready for the bind off, except for a dropped stitch too many rows before. Fortunately, my instructor was able to pick it up somehow, so I was the only one in the class who actuall finished the knitting. (Pat on back.)

My MO is to rarely swatch and rarely block, but after viewing this shawl on the
Woodlandsprite blog site, I decided I must block. This is a gift for my stepmother, and I am flying in for a visit later this week, so I think I will take it along and block it there.

The second photo shows where I attached each ball of yarn. The first section did not use much, but by the time I got to nupping, the silk wool was running low. I was sweating the end, as I had already purchased the last ball in this color at my LYS, but I finished with a few yards to spare.

Whew! Now I can have my life back. As an antidote, I have been knitting dishcloths.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

In the Homestretch on the Shawl

As I wrapped up the nupping, I ran out of yarn. So back to my LYS to buy another ball of Rowan ($9.95 - this shawl has cost me about $95 so far, $45 for the class and $50 for yarn), the last one in "porcelain". Now I am sweating whether I will finish before the yarn does.

The peaked edging is going more quickly than any other section, so I am hopeful I will be ready to bind off come Saturday. The coworker who originally talked me into this knitting class is planning to skip the last session - something about going to Indy, but I suspect she got bogged down in Nuppland.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mindful Knitting

I attend knitting classes at my LYS, where the rule is you have to buy your yarn for the class from the store (smart business plan). Their yarns are wonderful, but not cheap, so I joke about the $60 baby sweater and $95 shawl I knit in these classes. I could buy something similar for much less money, so what value is added by my work?

I practice a slacker form of Buddhism, meditating when I can, which isn't often enough. I knit more than I sit, by a long shot. Can knitting and sitting be wed?

Tonglen is the Buddhist practice of taking in suffering and releasing blessings. It is (relatively) easy to want to take on the suffering of loved ones and shower them with good wishes, more difficult to do this for strangers or for ourselves or for those we really don't like very much (like exes). Is there a way to learn compassion from knitting?

My knit products go to family and friends. I hold these folks in my mind while I knit, send them good thoughts via the yarn, hope they feel warm and warm feelings when they wear my love. I have yet to try this with anyone outside my immediate circle of concern, even though there are lots of charities, like Dulaan and Kaps for Kendall, that accept homemade knit goods.

I guess I am not that far along the path.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"Nupp" Is A Four-Letter Word

Nupps are the work of the devil. They sound simple - knit, yarn over, knit, yarn over, knit, all in one stitch on the right side, creating five loops, then purl the five loops together on the wrong side. Easier said than done!

The nupps on this swallowtail shawl almost did me in. No matter how loosely I worked the nupp on the RS, I simply could not get my needles into the five loops on the WS for the 5-in-one purl. I tried until I cried.

The Internet came to my rescue. The most useful info came from here. In a nutshell, instead of purling 5 stitches at once, just slip 4 stitches purlwise, purl the fifth, then pass the first 4 over the purled stitch. It sounds like a lot to do, but it goes quickly and produces much less swearing.

We are supposed to be done with everything except the bind off by next week's class. I just might make it! That is, if my hands don't cramp up.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Early Scarf

I'm tired of whining about the swallowtail shawl, so here is a pic of a scarf I knit for myself, just a simple 4x4 rib using one skein of Encore worsted. It is so warm it makes my neck sweat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Little Whine with Cheese

Is There a Hyphen in "Anal Retentive"?

I was way too whiny in knitting class on Saturday. The swallowtail shawl project has just about done me in. Last week I went through this grade school anxiety thing about not having my "homework" done (don't want to earn the teacher's disapproval) plus there rose the question of competency (apparently, I cannot even count) plus I was looking for someone to blame for my difficulties (they can't be my fault). I felt obsessed.

Then later in the day I realized I've been using the wrong size needles. Would you believe I started over? But this time I am trying to knit in relaxed, pleasant, positive thoughts instead of anger, angst, and frustration. The recipient should appreciate that.

You Lost It?!?

I knit a scarf and gave it to my SO. He snagged it on a nail, but fortunately it was not ripped and I was able to straighten out the stitches. He left it at Applebee's, but fortunately it turned up in their lost-and-found. It is now 150 miles away, at his daughter's home, left behind again.

I knit a pair of arm warmers and gave them to my SO. He lost one while hiking at Metea Park, but fortunately found it while retracing his steps the next day. It is mangled but hopefully not torn.

I knit a pair of dishcloths. If I give them to my SO, will they get lost, too? He says not, since the likelihood of their leaving the house is remote.

This is his MO - always leaving a bit of detritis behind, wherever he goes. Coins fall out of his pocket, his glasses disappear, the digital camera is on permanent leave. I think if I knit him anything else, it should include an I-cord so he can attach it to his person.

Friday, November 17, 2006

WIP - Swallowtail Shawl - Progress Report

I don't think I will ever knit another lacy anything, ever, ever, ever. This project is driving me crazy!

Working the RS, I chant the stitches as I go along ("knit together, yarn over, knit, knit, knit, yarn over, slip, slip, knit together, knit"), but a microsecond of inattention results in an error that I don't discover until I get to the end of the row. Working the WS, I count stitches, just in case I missed something. And I then I started counting half rows, so I can find an error by the time I get to the center stitch. And then I count again, when starting a new row. In spite of all this chanting and counting, errors still go undetected until I realize something just doesn't look right.

If the error is a lost YO, I can usually correct the problem on my way back. But if I screwed up the slip-slip-knit or the slip-knit 2 together-passover, I have to undo. And undoing these stitches is not easy.

My coworker stopped by my desk to confess she is going to class without her homework done, partly because she has a life (this was a lot of knitting to get done in one week's time) and partly because she had to undo seven rows. So I'm not the only one struggling.

My suggestion is this class should be a four-session class, instead of three, or the class should meet every two weeks. The rest of my life is on hold until I get caught up.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bauhaus Washcloths

I love knitted washcloths made from cotton yarn, but I'm not sure about these. I like the colors and design, but the ribbing makes them all stretchy. I'm gonig to gift them to a friend and solicit feedback from him on how practical they are.

Also, I could not get the gauge they expected, even with smaller needles. I plan to try the colors/stripes with a basketweave, to see if that suits me.

The pattern is available free from Lion Brand, calls for Lion Cotton yarn and size 6 needles.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WIP - Afghans

I learned to crochet before I learned to knit, and made many an afghan over the years, until everyone I knew had one or more. But I redecorated last year and my daughter moved into a new home this year, so I had excuses to crochet more afghans.

I started this one last winter, but it fell by the wayside. Handling the three colors is a pain.

I started this one a few months ago, with the idea of finishing it by Xmas, but I am not going to make it unless I shift into high gear and abandon all other projects for a while. The executing the pattern makes my wrists ache and the rows run lengthwise, so if I make an error, by the time I track it down, a lot of yarn has run through my fingers. Usually I am anal about correcting errors, but this one requires more wabi sabi.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WIP - Swallowtail Shawl (Gulp!)

A co-worker talked me into taking a how-to-knit-a-swallowtail-shawl class at our LYS. I think CoW had ulterior motives, as she was thinking this shawl would be beautiful on the bridesmaids at her daughter's wedding but knew she could not make them all herself. Fortunately for me, she abandoned the bridesmaid idea (after picturing the shawls being flung about at the reception). Unfortunately, I signed up for the class anyway. Below is a picture of what I accomplished during the first 2-hour session: a palm-sized hunk of lacy knitting.

Actually, it is a great learning experience and a wonderful challenge (ahem). I wondered how spaces were made in lacy knitting and now I know, and my respect for those who tackle these projects has grown immensely. It's one of those things that is not difficult on a stitch-by-stitch basis, as long as you are very, very careful when following the pattern.

I also discovered that combining Turbo Addi needles with 50% silk yarn makes for one slick time. Knowing I would have to rework what I knit in class (my yarn-overs were not always executed correctly and I was tense so the knitting was too tight), at home I switched to Susan Bates aluminum needles, which helped. Then I spent most of Sunday "watching" football while frogging and knitting and counting and frogging and knitting and counting and unknitting and knitting and counting. Many hours later I had a larger hunk of lacy knitting.

Last night I worked up another dozen rows, this time with no backtracking - yay! - so I am hopeful that I will be ready for the next class session.

BTW, I'm using Rowan Yarns Classic Silk Wool DK in Porcelain, on size 6 29" circular needles.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Arm Warming Story

Nothing like turning what should have been a simple project into an ordeal....

I had some extra cashmere blend yarn leftover from another project, so I decided to surprise my daughter with some arm warmers. The pattern, free from Lion Brand, called for three colors and I had only one, so I bought more yarn to go with the original yarn. The arm warmers knit up quickly, and my daughter tried them on, but 1) they were too big, and 2) they are not her style. (Note to self: Ask before knitting.)

But my SO liked the arm warmers and the way they fit. Since I wanted to reserve the cashmere blend for my daughter's sensitive skin, I decided to make his pair from Encore worsted. I didn't care for the 3-color pattern, so I opted for just charcoal and black. And I did not have enough yarn on hand (again), so I purchased more yarn. (Note to self: Ask twice, knit once.)

The arm warmers knit up just as quickly the second time around. I adjusted the increases in the pattern to snug up the wrist section, and added a decrease to taper the finger section. Usually, when I alter a pattern, the results are horrible, so I was quite pleased with myself. (Note to self: Pride goeth before a fall.)

Friday night I decided to wrap up this project. Practicing that invisible seam method I learned from an "advanced beginner" knitting class, I zipped up the side, forgetting to leave a hole for the thumb. Grrr! I pulled out the stitches to where the thumb hole should be and restitched, not realizing I had the arm warmer upside down. Grrr!! Again, I pulled out stitches and restitched, getting the arm warmer rightside up but still misplacing the thumb hole. Grrr!!! Fourth time's the charm, though, and I admired my hard won seam. (See previous note to self.)

Since I had already made every mistake possible, I expected the second arm warmer to be a breeze, but no-o-o-o. I managed to repeat not one, but two of the mistakes made on the previous arm warmer. Gaaa! Sewing two side seams took as long as knitting one arm warmer.

But this story does have a happy ending: I finished the arm warmers by bedtime and my SO loves them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Tissue Holder in Bamboo Yarn

This is my own (and first!) design. It didn't turn out quite the way I expected, but wabi sabi.

What happened is I bought a skein of South West Trading Company bamboo yarn at a fiber festival just for fun, but could not decide how to play with it. A little bag for pocket tissues came to mind, so I decided to make several, using different stitches. This one is in seed stitch.

The idea was to make a little 3-dimensional box, leaving one edge unsewn so the tissue package could be inserted easily. That all worked fine, but the box is not as well-defined as I expected it to be, so the opening gapes. I could add a snap, some velcro, a zipper, but I think I will simply stitch up the gap a bit on each side. I want easy access to the tissues but not have the whole tissue package fall out of the holder, as that would defeat the purpose.

While designing this little contraption, I mentally disassembled a box and came up with the lowercase t shape. While knitting, however, it occurred to me that an uppercase T would make more sense, as I would not have to do the extra bind off. I will try this approach with the next one.

FIguring out how to cast on and bind off to create the t shape was a bit of a challenge. I will have to look at a similar pattern to see how it really should be done.

Working with this yarn was a challenge as well. It kept slipping through my fingers until I finally added a wrap around my pinkie to increase the tension.

Here is the design I used for this incarnation.

South West Trading Company 100% Bamboo Yarn - "Serendipity"
100 g/250 yards (way more than enough for this pattern)
light weight (3)
5 sts and 8 rows = 1" on US 6 needles

Finished size = 1" x 2.5" x 4.5"

CO 25
Rows 1-28: Seed stitch
Row 29: CO 5 stitches, seed stitch across row (30 stitches)
Row 30: CO 5 stitches, seed stitch across row (35 stitches)
Rows 31-48: Seed stitch
Row 49: BO 5 stitches, seed stitch across row (30 stitches)
Row 50: BO 5 stitches, seed stitch across row (25 stitches)
Rows 51-56: Seed stitch
Shape into a box and sew up 1" sides and 2.5" sides.
Leave 4.5" side open.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Saluki Scarf

My son is enrolled at Southern Illinois University, so when I talked him into a hand-knit scarf, I chose maroon and black for the colors. It's a simple 2x2 rib in Encore worsted. I stopped knitting when it reached 5' and added the fringe. My son loves it, says it looks "store-bought".

Betsy is not a Saluki, but she is one cool dog!

(What is a saluki?)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

WIP - Sweet Cherries Blanket

The "Sweet Cherries" blanket pattern is free, from Lion Brand Yarn, and uses their Babysoft and Microspun yarns. It's all knit (no purl), so is a nice project for mindless knitting. I'm using the designated yarn and colors and needle size (circular 29").

The stripe pattern has an odd number of rows in it, which makes carrying colors along nearly impossible - I know because I tried (see first photo). This seemed like too much work, so I decided to change the pattern from 6, 1, 2, 2 to 6, 2, 2, 2.

Also, the cast-on row is in different colors than the first row's colors. I tried this out (again, see first photo) but did not like it.

I'm not too impressed with the Microspun. It feels soft but slick, and tangles and unravels easily. But both yarns are machine washable and dryable, a plus for anything that may be used by a baby. And judging from the finished size (30"x34"), this blanket is meant for a baby.

There are two other similar blankets: "Blue Lagoon" and "Tropical Treat". The stripe patterns for each of these three blankets varies.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ladylike Lace Gloves - DONE!

I was beginning to think I would never finish these gloves. These are actually gloves #4 and #5. (See gloves #2 and #3 for more information about this project.) If my daughter does not like them, too bad!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Princess Snowball Fern Cat Bed

The Princess Snowball cat bed is from Stitch n Bitch. I used the designated yarn from Lion Brand - my first exposure to Fun Fur. The sides to the cat bed is actually one long rectangle, so while knitting that, I played with other ideas for Fun Fur, like chaps or gaitors. No pix of that - sorry!

It took a while to get Princess Fern interested in the bed. Also, I need to reinforce the sides, with basting, interface, or stuffing. The dog occassionally tries it out as well, but not long enough for a photo.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Baby Sweater and Baby Blanket

This past summer I took an "advanced beginner" knitting class at my LYS. The project was the one-skein baby sweater modeled by Grumpy Bear. The project was small enough to finish in four weeks, but it also taught us the basics of sweater construction. I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (100% superwash wool) in Happy Valley (I think).

I originally intended the sweater for my younger brother's first grandchild, but could not part with it, at least not yet. So the baby received this afghan instead. It's the Rainbow Baby Blanket pattern, free from Lion Brand Yarn, crocheted in Lion Brand Babysoft yarn. Simple to make, but makes a big impact visually. The most difficult part for me was the yarn handling - two strands are crocheted together and for some rows you will need to feed the yarn from both ends of the same skein. If you take on this project, check your gauge - I almost ran out of yarn.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

WIP - Ladylike Lace Gloves

This crochet pattern was created by mk carrol and can be found in The Happy Hooker, a Stitch n Bitch book.

WARNING! If you decide to crochet these gloves, read the errata! The errors are more than typos.

I have been working (and reworking) these gloves for quite a while. Glove #1 became a practice glove. Glove #2 looked okay, but when I reached row 19.5 (see errata!) on glove #3, I realized I had not included this row on glove #2 (and it matters - see photo of gloves #2 and #3). Then when my daughter (the intended recipient) wrapped glove #2 around her hand to check the fit (I had not stitched the sides yet), it looked big. I checked the gauge (I know, you are supposed to do this first) and my stitches were way off. So last night I started over, with fresh yarn and a smaller crochet hook (E).

BTW, my LYS does not carry the sock yarn designated in the pattern, so I am using Fortissima Socka. This is my first time using sock yarn - it seems to shed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


When the kids were wee (and even before then), I crocheted a lot and knitted a bit. Then life became extremely busy. Now that the nest is empty, I'm knitting and crocheting lots, almost compulsively. Still a beginner, but I thought it might be fun to keep track of my progress via this blog.