29 February 2008

and sometimes things don't work out at all.

So long story short, there was a welding-related fire in theBoy's basement last night. The house is okay. No structural damage, just superficial stuff and a lot of soot everywhere. He is out a boat, all his fishing poles, and most of his fishing lures. (He had one backpack with a tackle box and lures in it that was okay, so he says he can "survive" with those.) He is really bummed. The boat was the whole reason he was welding, and now it is useless. He is pretty bummed. (Imagine your stash - GONE!) His house doesn't have power or water until some shit gets fixed.
I spent this afternoon scrubbing soot off walls and mopping floors. (Fire damage fixinf/removal tips welcome! Getting the smoke smell out is going to be a real bitch.) He spent the afternoon hauling burnt shit out of the basement. It sucked.

Be careful. Get a fireproof box to put your important stuff in. (He didn't loose anything more important than fishing stuff and tools, but there is a huge 'what if' factor.) Think about your favorite items, and love them while you can. Things are temporary.

He lost a fishing pole his grandpa gave him when he was a kid, and this makes me want to cry if I think about it for any length of time. To me, things are tangible memories. When I crochet with yarn and hooks that were my great grandma's, I feel such a connection. Seeing so much stuff damaged and worthless makes me very sad. I have a very strong connection to tangible stuff, which is probably why I knit, crochet, scrapbook, and just make things in general.

Please don't almost burn your house down. It's not fun.

And do something fun today, since you won't get another one for 4 years.

28 February 2008

Things work out great when you don't expect it.

Sometimes when fate brings things together. The marriage of the perfect yarn and a fantastic pattern is one of those things that doesn't come around every day. For me, these things usually happen by accident. I started out thinking this yarn would be perfect for Hedera. I liked the idea of the ivy-based lace pattern in a green yarn. But those socks are top-down, and after I turned the heel and did the gusset on the first sock, I thought I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish it. Also, I just don't like the way top-down flap and gusset heels fit me.
So I decided to do something different with my other ball for the second sock. I searched for patterns, and remembered Charade, which I had seen before. I liked the pattern, because while it is written top-down, it seemed easily adapted to be toe-up. I started in on my toe-up Charades.
I blew through the first sock, but then needed my only pair of #1s to work on socks for theBoy. I actually lost the first sock in the time it took me to make the second one! By the time I did get the second one finished, my gauge was totally off from the first. The second sock is visibly bigger than the first but by the grace of the wool/elastic blend, it makes no difference when I wear them.
I love this yarn. It is mostly wool but you really wouldn't notice. It is so soft and smooth. And, oh, are they warm! The elastic makes them the most comfortable socks I have ever put onto my feet. If you have a problem with short row heels making it too tight across the heel/ankle, the elastic eliminates that.
The pattern is great, too. It's fantastic for variegated yarns. It's fun to knit. It's also easily customizable and adaptable because it's well-written.

What I'm trying to say is I really like these socks. I recommend both the pattern and the yarn one hundred percent. (Really, I am one picky bitch so it tells you something. I have never been so completely happy or liked a FO so much!)

Charades! crime scene-esque I am so in love. in your face point and flex

pattern: Charade by Sandra Park
yarn: Knit One Crochet Too's Soxx Appeal in colorway 3590, Jungle.
needles: Addi Turbo #1 1/2; 2.5mm
mods: I did them toe-up; one with a magic cast-on toe and one with a short-row toe with provisional crochet cast-on. I don't care that they don't match. Also, I substituted a short-row heel for the one in the pattern. And, instead of the 2x2 twisted rib, I did 1x1 twisted rib. I like it more.
[ravelry page]

27 February 2008


Once I got a substantial way into my first illusion project, I had a basic understanding of what was happening. When I designed my first illusion project, the light bulb really went on. Illusion knitting is a technique that uses raised and flat stitches with two colors to create a design that is visible only when viewing the work from an angle. It might take a while to really comprehend what that says, but it's simple. If you can knit, you can purl, and you can follow a pattern, you can do this. What you're doing is knitting all the right side rows, making a flat row so that your design will show up on the nest row. On the wrong side rows, you're going to either do a series of purls surrounded by knits on both sides, or vice-versa. What that does, is either create the background or the design itself. The scarf I'm currently working on (which is the basis of all the pictures and charts in this) has a black background with a pink illusion. Okay, now to really get into this and explain it. To knit a pink "T" on a black background, one would do this: (most illusion patterns are charted, but I'm writing this out to illustrate it a little.)

CO 8 stitches
Row 1: Main Color. K all stitches (8). [this is a flat row]
Row 2: MC purl 2, knit across. [this row makes background stitches]
Row 3: Contrasting Color. K all stitches.[this is a flat row]
Row 4: CC knit 2, purl across. [this row makes your design]
Row 5-12: repeat rows 1-4 twice.
Row 13: MC Knit.
Row 14: MC Knit.
Row 15: CC Knit.
Row 16: CC Purl.

That will give you a letter "T". This is the "T" from the top view. Looks just like rows of stripes from here.
T top view

In the scarf it's done with two more background stitches on each side, but otherwise the same. My chart looks like this: (The pictures and charts I'm using are for a scarf that has the "T" or other letter patter twice, with blank stitches on each side. So it's 24 stitches across)

T chart O Chart N and I chart

So if you can do that, you can really do any illusion pattern. I'll give the pattern for this scarf, which I charted out by hand. Letter by letter, square for square. I really should have cheated with it but I didn't. One resource that's great for illusion patterns: cross stitch charts! Everything is already made up in nice neat squares, and you're ready to go. If you compare the first chart and the second ones, you can see that when you chart it out, the illusion only goes on every fourth row. DO NOT FORGET THAT! The row two rows before the illusion row is the background row, which is the illusion row with OPPOSITE stitches (knits are purls and purls are knits). I like to chart my things out just as I would knit them. I draw a primary chart with just the illusion, and then I chart it all out with both colors and what each stitch will be. It's a lot easier for me to follow a chart like that than one with symbols and all kinds of crazy stuff.

TONI chart

I think the best learning is to design your own illusion knit piece. The only limitations are that you need to use one contrasting color on a background, and some things just may not look right. You just have to try it and find out.

So here are some suggestions of things to knit using this technique:

Card Trick Illusion Scarf - I love this! It was my first illusion knit project, and I'm so glad I did it! Thank God for Knitty Gritty! (Which is basically the only resource I've used to learn about this, other than my knitting.)

-My "TONI" illusion scarf- Once I get a whole alphabet's worth of illusion letters this might be better. But if you know a girl named Toni, you should knit this for her! I need to get the last chart uploaded, and then I'll really put the pattern up.

Naughty/Nice scarf from Son of a SNB. This is my favorite illusion pattern! Such a great idea.

Here are
some search results on ravelry for "illusion knitting". There is a lot of cool stuff!

Illusion scarf from the top, and from an angle:
Illusion Scarf - above Illusion Scarf - angle Illusion Scarf - angle
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

And if you really liked it or found it useful, it would be wonderful if you would donate something. Anything is welcome! <3

26 February 2008

tangled up in barbed wire love

Since I've had pretty much no attention span lately, I've wanted to work on granny squares. They're perfect, because it doesn't take long to finish one and yet I'm still contributing to a bigger project. They are also great for things like Project Spectrum. I love looking at what squares and yarns I already have and getting them to work for the month's colors.

granny square mosaic

As for layout goes, in the end I want to have things looking very random. I don't want any two squares of the same color touching. Which makes things a little hard. I also am trying to avoid two solid squares next to each other. In these pictures, I didn't pay very much attention to that, and I now notice a lot that shouldn't be together. It's really hard to do, especially when there are a lot of squares with 4 colors, and a lot of similar colors throughout.

laid out. granny squares leftovers

These aren't final. I just wanted to lay things out and get a visual for what I've got done. Like I've said, they will also all have a round of black before they're seamed together.

I cannot stop sneezing.

I don't know what the deal with my nose is. I even took some benadryl and it hasn't helped. It's been going on for a couple of hours and it's driving me crazy. Allergies, go away!

favorites mosaic

This is the first favorites mosaic I've ever made. I don't really favorite photos too often or as often as I should, so some of them are pretty old. And I barely have any knitting pictures favorited! I need to rectify that, for sure. And a couple of them have me in them, hahah!

I did a TON of seed starting today. I got supplies at the hardware store yesterday and set to work this afternoon. I didn't take any pictures because I was a little pressed for time, but once things start sprouting I'm sure I will have some.

I can't concentrate with this nose.

15 February 2008

C is for ...

fucking crazy! Which is how busy I've been lately. (Notice how I've blogged twice in one week and put up a ton of pictures? That just means I was really supposed to be getting other things done.) I have had at least two different things to do every day, which is not the norm. And I don't mean I had to both do the dishes and vacuum the carpet. I've had appointment and meeting type stuff, as well as dance classes, work parties, practices and helping cook for and serve a dinner for 60-ish people. And I memorized like 3o minutes worth of a speech and said it on Tuesday. No one today when I was supposed to be handing someone as check, I pulled out my school ID/bus pass and started to show it to him. Uh, what? (I also managed, on Tuesday, in the middle of my speaking thing to almost fall down and knock a waist-high pedestal over. I'm not very coordinated, what can I say.) On top of all this, I am one of the co-chairs for planning an event with an expected 600 people in attendance. So let's hope I can keep my head on straight 'til Sunday night when I am done with all this. I am really not good in high stress situations. (Really not good. I just end up frustrated any crying most of the time.)

C is also for cap! I finally took pictures of the Amelia Erhart aviator cap I made in about 2004.
Amelia Erhardt Aviator cap Amelia Earhart Aviator cap Amelia Erhardt Aviator cap
I've only worn it a couple of times because I'm really not a hat wearer, but I do like it a lot. And good god was this thing hard to photograph! It is a challenge to take pictures of the back of yuor own head.
yarn: LB Cotton Ease -the original- in red
needles: I'm guessing a US #5, but it might be a #6 or something in that range
pattern: Amelia Erhart aviator cap
ravelry page

I tried to avoid more obvious Cs like, craft or crochet. Really, I haven't got an crochet WsIP. After that giant freaking afghan, I could use a little break.

C is also for cutting out 600 moons and 1800 stars. Also well as punching footprints in all the moons. That sucked, and I'm still really not done. (And I should be doing that right now!)


Oh my gosh, I can't believe I almost forgot about this. I have the best boyfriend in the whole (fiber) world. You know what he got me for Valentine's day? A ball winder! I've already wound 1/3 of my stash into neat little yarn cakes. I have some pictures. I'm so excited, I've wanted one of these for so long! I love having yarn wound up so that it doesn't roll everywhere. Very helpful, especially on the bus ...

13 February 2008


The wind is back. No sixty miles per hour madness, but it's still windy. It's sunny out, but the wind just steals any warmth you can get from the sun. And it seems like I always blog when the weather sucks. Maybe I just find crappy weather inspiring or something.

I have a lot to blog about. I've actually got a list sitting on the desk next to me. I've been taking a lot of pictures lately, so if you really want to know what I've been doing check out flickr. I'm trying to not be lazy and make sure that every single one of my pictures is tagged and described. Especially since it bugs me when other people don't tell me exactly what every single item in all their photos is! hey, I'm nosy. I'll admit it.

Speaking of things I'm trying to do, I've been participating in the 2008 ABC-along for a little while. I've been doing things the lazy way (of course) and just putting things into the flickr pool. Hopefully from now on I will get an entry up about every letter.
I'm also trying to participate in 52 weeks, and in Ravelry's Project 365 (but again, 52 weeks-style). I really need to get in the habit of taking pictures and putting them up right after they are taken, when things are still fresh in my mind.

In getting things done news, I finished two projects this week! I finally finished theBoy's giant silver and black afghan! It was getting to the point where I just wanted to finish it so I wouldn't have to look at it anymore and I could just sleep under it. You know when you make something like an afghan as a gift that you have to test it out for a night or two. it's a quality control thing; you've got to make sure you've made a good, warm afghan.
I also finished my toe-up Charades last night! I'll take some pictures soon, when the wind isn't blowing a million miles an hour. I washed them as soon as I was done, and was hoping they might be dry by this morning. I really wanted to wear them today, but they were still wet.

I've been spending a lot of time at my new favorite "place": folia. It's like ravelry, but for gardeners. (I almost typed, 'It's like ravelry but for knitters'! Which is just confusing.) I've got a good portion of my plants in there, and almost all of my seeds. Everything, I think, but 3 packets. In doing this I've discovered that I'm really not a yarn stasher, but I am a big time seed stasher! I don't have a lot, but most of them I have no particular plans for. I just want to have them in case I need them, or something. Anyway if you're on folia add me as a friend. If you're not, you should check it out. It's still very small. And it has great new features, more of which are being added daily. It seems like every time I comeback there is something new, much like ravelry.

viola seedling