Punch Needle

This is just a quick hello! It's been a few days since I've posted, but I do have things to share! I finished my Twinkle Toes Socks and I also started my little sparkly pink evening bag, Girl's Night Out. Photos to come soon, I promise.

I also got sucked into something new. It's a totally new "craft" for me, and a coworker and I were chatting and she is the one who introduced me to it. I'd never even heard of it. But of course, I was intrigued and on Friday after work I went to the craft store and got myself a kit to make one. It's called "punch needle" (or something like that...click that last link for a little more information, and here's a wordy how-to page). All I needed to get started was this one kit, and the inexpensive little needle tool to go with it. I already had a cross stitch ring (or whatever those are called...you know, the things you use to stretch your fabric taut for stitching?) so I was good to go.

I tried it...and at first I failed. I got quite frustrated with it, and then Moose started helping, so I had to put it away.

But then I did a little more reading online about it, and it turns out that I had been threading my needle wrong, and that was what was messing me up. Apparently I neglected to read the second half of the instructions for threading the needle. whoops. At first I was all cocky, "sure, I can do this!"...heh. But no. Some string and canvas and a funky-looking needle sure put me in my place! lol.

Anyway, since I am lacking any photos of my own, here is a borrowed photo of the design I am doing:

punch needle

Cute, no? It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but the design is made up of little tiny loops of thread that are sticking up from the canvas, and to work the design you "punch" through from the back to front with the funky (and not to mention dangerous-looking) little needle tool, creating the loops on the front. It's pretty simple in theory, though it sure did take a little getting used to.

So, once I figured out what I was doing wrong, I was back in business and cruised through half of it in a couple of hours. The thing is, Moose is way too helpy with this, since it's just a series of little loops going through the fabric, so if you tug on your thread, it all could come undone. Anyway, it's satisfyingly quick to do and I'm enjoying the little change of pace. I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon though! I've definitely found that even though I've tried so many different crafts and still do them now and then, knitting is really my true passion in the craft world. :o)


Praise for ravelry

Just wanted to babble about some random thoughts. I'm sure I will have many in agreement with me when I say, ravelry is fun! I joined/was invited a while back, but haven't really been seriously spending time in there until very recently. I think I was a tad overwhelmed with all that was involved with just putting a project in there that I sort of left it and wandered off. But, I think they've actually streamlined some of it since I was first in there and it's much easier now. I've also made a personal decision to only list projects that have actual published patterns...the kind I can search on in there and actually find (for example, I'm not bothering with putting my plain roll brim hats or other "personal patterns" in there). It's quicker and easier that way, and just adds to the wonderful cross-referencing that ravelry is all about. I figure, I've got the blog on which to post photos of random hats and such, why not use ravelry for what it's intended.

It's so great to be able to go in there, click on a pattern, and see photos of all of the ones people have made. Helps me decide what yarn to use, or what color to do...that's how I decided on making pink and white Anemoi mittens...(no, I haven't started them yet, but I do have the yarn!)

Also, remember that swift I was trying to get rid of? Well, I sold it through ravelry! Very cool. I went onto the forums, happened upon a post from someone who was looking for one, and a few PM's later, we'd agreed on a price and I mailed it off! That's also the first time I've used PayPal to sell something, very easy and cool. And my thanks to Dee too for her help as I bounced ideas off her. :)

It's also kind of fun to join the groups in ravelry, and to add friends to my list. I've never even been on Facebook or any of those popular networking sites...to be honest they kind of freak me out. But somehow a whole site about knitting and crochet and yarn and patterns? It just seems cozy and friendly and safe.

But I think one of my favorite features is the project queue. I am a HUGE fan of lists, and love to be able to find a pattern, and with just one click add it to my list and never forget about it or wonder where to find it. Fabulous!

And I swear every time I go in there there's something new to discover. I just noticed how you can see what your friends have queued or made or what yarn or books they have in their stash. That does serve to remind me though that every thing is out in the open, and whatever you put in there can be seen by anyone in ravelry!

So there. That's all I wanted to say! Just wanted to give my two cents about the site.

Oh! One more thing...on a completely unrelated topic...remember the hat I made for my FIL for Christmas? Well, my husband was talking to his mom the other day who told him that his dad leaves the hat on a table by the door and every time he comes in from outside, he will switch from his outdoor hat (a baseball cap type) to the hat I made him! And apparently he wears it constantly! How awesome is that?! Made my day, I can tell you. (Of course, my funnyguy husband then tried to trick me by saying the story wasn't true and he'd made it all up! humph. But it really is true...he promised it was.)


Frog pond

Well, I did it. The gray socks and blue beaded scarf are no more. (Okay, well, technically the half-sock is still in existence, but I pulled out the needles. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to wind up the yarn again. But for all intents and purposes, it is frogged!)

It felt good! I made notes about what went wrong and what I think I want to do next time. See, I like to keep good notes of stuff, is anyone else like that too? I made up little WIP note sheets that I have copies of and every time I start a new project, I grab one. That way I have a place I can write down date started, pattern info, info about the yarn, needles, how much yarn I started with...all the info that I want to end up with at the end of the project. Then when it's done, I copy that info neatly into my finished projects notebook, and chuck the piece of paper. I also cut a sample of the yarn, attach it to the ball band, and write the project on the ball band. It's a simple system that works well for me! (My old system was a tad more complicated and needed revamping.) Then again, I am a freak about being organized. If anyone's interested in seeing my list I'll be glad to post it. I made mine in a Word document, two up per page, print and cut in half. (Or it's pretty easy to make your own, just come up with a list of all of the information you want to have at hand!)

Next up to finish are the Twinkle Toes Socks, since they're the closest to being done. Usually I like to keep some plain socks always on the needles because of their portability, but as I have no trips in the foreseeable future, I can let that go for now. Other things to make!

So...my WIP list is now down to a much more reasonable 6. whew. That's better. Thanks for all the support!

And because this is a rather short and boring post, I thought I'd share this link to an article I saw and thought was cute: Cat stowaway makes it home again

Talk atcha later! ;o)


Raspberries and Cream

First off...you guys are awesome!! To all my loyal readers and commenters...you made me feel much better about my WIPs! :) There I was, holding my breath when I went to read my comments, and not one of you made fun of all my long list! Thanks! I was afraid I'd get comments like "NINE?! gee, whatsa matter with you, can't you concentrate on ANYTHING? I mean, commit already!!" heh. But no. You had nothing but nice things to say. :)

I suppose it's true...not so bad really. Every now and then I really try and keep things under control...but then I get so excited about starting something else, and I just go for it. Especially those little projects like hats and mittens, they're so quick if you really apply yourself. Even though I love the process of knitting, there's something to be said for quick projects. And who doesn't love a new hat you can use right now?

Which brings me to...my FO: The hat I am calling "Raspberries and Cream"...to me that's what it looks like. Does anyone remember those Life Savers candy lollipops...they looked just like the traditional Life Savers candy, but they were bigger and on a stick...and they came in creamy flavors like strawberry cream...and they were usually mostly white and a little red/pink...well anyway, that's what this hat makes me think of. (Do they still sell those? I haven't seen them for ages. I tried googling them but didn't find any like what I am thinking of. They did have the hole in the middle just like the small candies.)

Anyway, back to the knitting...this yarn had great variations of thickness in it, it would go from a super bulky down to a fingering weight or less...which really added a lot of texture to the hat. I love too how the colors didn't pool at all, and remained very consistently random (heh!) throughout.


Specs on the project:

Pattern: basic roll-brim hat
Needles used: size 7
Yarn: Rio de la Plata
Color: Begonia Pink
Amount used: most of one skein
Started: 1/2/08
Finished: 1/17/08


Coming clean

Okey dokey. So...this is the post where I am coming clean and owning up to all those WIPs in the sidebar... There are lots of them!! Even for me that's a bit excessive. Please don't judge me! Yarn and needles and projects just suck me right in with their clever wiles...

But here's the thing...I am the kind of person who gets themselves all in a tizzy if I have too much going on, and especially if it's not organized. I like to be organized and have my stuff organized too...and my knitting WIPs fall into this as well. And right now, with my recent rash of casting on new things, I am feeling a tad frazzled. So that 9 WIP total is going to change. And soon.

And I'd just like to point out here...I feel I am being very honest in disclosing every one of my WIPs!! I mean, you wouldn't be any the wiser if I didn't want to tell you, right? heh. ;) But I am telling all to you, my knitterly friends. :)

I also feel that if I write it all out here, that will somehow help me feel more organized, and justify all my WIPs! You know, put in writing what's been in my head. So this is as much for me as you. (You guys probably don't care about the details though, so I hope I'm not boring all of you!)

So here goes (yes, you've seen these photos before, sorry, but I wanted to provide illustrations to make this list more palatable!).


Fuchsia Lace Scarf ~ I'd like to finish this one soon, so I can use it this season, and since it's been a WIP for a long time! But it's not a quick knit, by any means. First off, it has that Endless Scarf Syndrome working against it, and second, while not a terribly difficult lace pattern, it's still lace and requires me to be paying attention. It's a really fun knit though. It's also farther along than this photo shows, but, well, just imagine this a little longer and you're good. ;)



Colored Blocks Throw ~ another I'd like to finish sooner rather than later, so I can use it. Yes, I'm aware this currently looks like a scarf. This part, panel 1 of 4, is done now, and panel 2 is in the works.



Fall Embossed Leaves Socks ~ these I don't feel as much pressure about, since they're really for fall. I figure if I leave these till next summer there's truly nothing wrong with that, especially since socks are such great summertime projects.



Plain gray Trekking socks ~ these are going to be frogged. I'm just not happy with my gauge/sizing and this is already the second try...so they'll be frogged and the yarn set aside for when I have a better attitude about it!



Blue scarf with beads ~ this too will be frogged. It was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law, and I love it. However, I don't really like how the beads look with this yarn, I think lighter beads with this yarn, and then darker yarn for these beads would make me happier. And since this one isn't making me happy, I'm going to frog it. Even though a little part of me feels guilty since it was such a nice gift and I was so excited to receive it (I cast on the day I received it!), but, it's not like I'm getting rid of it, or swearing off of it forever, right?!



The Pink Thing (circular scarf) ~ this is one of those projects that I'll be fine with leaving as WIP for as long as necessary...I always need to have one of these simple, mindless projects I can just knit and knit; bonus if it's portable.



DH's hat and mittens ~ these must be finished by early March for DH's birthday. The hat is done as well as more than half of the first mitten. Slow going with him around, but I'm managing to find time. (Sorry, no photo of the mitten yet...I need to be stealthy about that one! Just use your knitterly imaginations to picture a mitten that matches this hat.)



Twinkle Toes Socks ~ I want to finish these very soon so I can wear them! I'm on the foot of the second sock, so these will be done shortly.



Raspberries and Cream Hat ~ this one is actually done! F.O. photos coming soon.



So there you have it...all out in the open. I'm sure most of you will agree, that's a lot of WIPs!! I definitely suffer from a severe case of Startitis. ;) I do intend to get myself organized, but I also have a couple of other things I want to start and finish very soon as well...we might be going skiing in February or March, and I have to finish DH's mittens by then...and I have a kit for a cute hat (Siena) I wanted to make before then too (since it'll go pretty well with my ski jacket), although we'll see how my timing works and whether or not that deadline will be feasible, I might just start it and if not done, take it along on the trip, and if I finish, great! And I thought the cute bag kit I mentioned in this post would be fun to use for Valentine's Day, so that one's up next. :)

Also right now I'm in love with making hats...I see more of those in my near future as well! I mean, it is winter after all! I really want to make Koolhaas and Foliage, and I'd like some sort of black hat too. Then there are the popular sock patterns I've never tried...Monkey, Jaywalker...can you tell I'm a little behind the times on the current knitting trends? ;) And not to mention Anemoi mittens, for which I already have the pattern and yarn. So many pretty things I want to knit!

Whew! That felt good! Still a little overhwhelmed, but I do feel a bit better now. Off to go knit!


Blue hat redux

So, I've been thinking. I think I want to frog back and partially re-knit a hat I made last year. This one:


That would be Coronet, from Knitty. See, here's the thing...the cabled brim is knit first, and then you pick up stitches around, and knit the rest of the hat. But what you do is pick up the stitches with the wrong side of the brim facing, so then when it's all done, you fold the brim up and it's right side out and double-layered. Get it?

Well, I made this hat last winter and didn't wear it much before the spring came, but this year I've worn it a couple of times and I've come to a decision based on a couple of observations. First, the "fold" where the brim folds up wants to roll, letting the brim move upwards, and that makes the hat a little too short. I find myself tugging it down when I wear it. Second, the double thickness of the brim makes the whole thing a weensy teensy bit tight, which is probably contributing to the need to tug it down now and then. And apparently my new motto is, if I'm not 100% happy with it, fix it!

So here's my plan...I think that I am going to undo and rip back the entire main part of the hat, pick up those stitches around the brim again, and knit it right-side-out...so the brim will be single thickness, and won't have to be turned up. I am thinking this will eliminate both issues. I'll just count how many rows of the plain stockinette are currently behind the folded up brim and knit that many fewer rows of the hat. I think this plan will work. Plus, since the brim is a separate piece to begin with, when I rip back I won't be in danger of undoing any of that part. And since I will be reducing the number of rows, it also won't matter that the yarn was cut at the end, since I'll be using less yarn. I'm thinking this is a win-win sort of deal! Cuz I love the hat, it's toasty and soft and comfy and I really love the pretty cabled brim.


My first thought in improving this hat was to attach the brim somehow to the hat to keep it from rolling, but I don't want to lose any of the hat's natural elasticity by doing that. So I think my new plan is a decent one. I also don't like how you can see the back of the stockinette rolling up at the bottom, which you can see in both photos above. Another thing that'll be fixed with this re-do.

So that's the plan. Not much other news from here. Oh--except, I went to my favorite LYS yesterday as my reward for going to the dentist (he said my teeth look good!) and, well, um...a ball of Noro just may have followed me home. ahem. (But it's pretty! And it'll make a fun stripey hat!)

Back soon with photos of my now-nearly completed pink hat, you know, the one I said wanted to savor? Well, I'm still savoring and enjoying it, but I'm also working on it. So it's almost done. :)


Well how about that...

...I finished a sock. Just one, but still. And I even got outside to take pictures in the sun!

I give you Twinkle Toes the first:


And picot cuff the first:


Fits great, and I like how extremely colorful it is! And the picot edge is quite satisfying. I'll probably start the second sock tonight.

I've also completed the little finishing details on (and have finally taken a photo of) my DH's hat, the one I was going to make him for Christmas but decided to wait for his early March birthday, along with some matching mittens. The knitting on the hat has been done for some time, but I finally got around to the weaving of ends and such.



I rather like it. And yes, I added a little braid/tassel thingy. I figure, if he doesn't like it, it's a quick and easy removal, and my feelings won't be hurt. But see, back when I was making his dad's hat for Christmas, I asked him if he thought a tassel would be nice on that one. He did think so, and although I ended up not putting one on there, his reply did serve to nicely answer my question regarding his own hat! heh. So we'll see what he thinks of it.

In other WIP news, here is that pink hat I've been working on. I haven't been knitting this at any great rate of speed...it's one of those sentimental projects that even though I want to be able to wear it, it's such special yarn and I love knitting it so much, I almost don't want it to end! I know, I'm a little silly. :P I'm just savoring it, I guess.


And here is a really, really exciting photo of the WIP cuff of one of DH's mittens. And not just that...a cuff of a gray mitten. I know--fascinating.


But, I am off now to go work on it, since DH is outside right now with a friend installing a garage door opener! We have a two-car detached garage, and it never had openers. In fact, usually one half is so full of lawnmowers and tools that only one car lives in it. That's DH's, which is fine with me. But he recently moved the mowers out behind the garage under a tarp so there isn't as much crap in there...and tonight we're expecting snow, so guess who else is going to park her car in there tonight?! yep. It'll be such a luxury to not have to clear my car off before heading off to work tomorrow morning!


Yarn haul

Back with some promised photos of WIPs and my Christmas yarn haul!

First I'll start with the yarn my sweet, sweet, wonderful husband gave me for Christmas. I did give him a Christmas list with some ideas of things that had been on my wishlist for some time...and he came through big time!

This is a recycled yarn that looked fun...it has a ton of pretty colors in it and I thought it would make a really fun accent scarf:



Then, I'd spotted a pattern (somewhere that I can't find anymore) for a cabled scarf using this yarn, called Karaoke. The scarf is narrow and the color changes gradually from pink to purple throughout the scarf. And I loves me some pink and purple! :) (It's a little hard to see the color change in this photo, sorry.)


Then there's this, the Girl's Night Out kit. I love this yarn!! It's Tilli Tomas Disco Lights, in this beautiful pink. I am definitely starting this one soon since I thought it would be a fun purse to use when we go out for dinner for Valentine's Day.



So, even though I picked out the above things, I am almost even more delighted with the following yarns...that my DH picked out himself. It was a yarn set that the shop had put together and he got it for me, knowing that anything pink and purple would make me happy...and it did!

The yarns, from left to right, are:
Claudia's Handpainted merino wool
Blue Sky Alpacas alpaca/silk
Artyarns Regal Silk


Aren't they pretty? The website suggests putting them all together in a fun scarf, and I think that might be what I will do. I am thinking a long-ways scarf in garter stitch, a few rows of this, a row or two of that... We'll see what comes to mind!

Then, my awesome sister-in-law found me this beaded scarf kit:



The yarn is a lovely light blue boucle. I started the scarf with the pattern as intended, but ended up abandoning the drop-stitch pattern and am just doing a ribbed pattern, and adding the beads. It's fun! This is the first beaded knitting pattern I've done, and I am enjoying it.



So that's my Christmas yarn haul! Pretty sweet, huh? Now on to the stuff I got recently that I mentioned in my last post. I got this yarn at Gypsyknits.

This is the two-color set I got called Creamy Neopolitan:


It really does make you think of ice cream, doesn't it?

And here is the one called Christmas Twinkle Lights, which I've started knitting with.



Here's my sock, and my first picot edge! I'm calling these my Twinkle Toes Socks, in honor of the yarn name.


I love the picot edge...although it's going to take a little more practice till I get completely used to it. I did forget to switch to one-size-smaller needles for doing the first half of the cuff, but I don't think I did it any major harm. We'll see. Next time I will try to remember to do that. I think I'm going to make the socks a little shorter than others I've made, so hopefully they'll just sort of stand up on their own, since the picot cuff isn't at all stretchy, as far as holding up a sock goes. Here's the sock where it stands now:


So far I like this sock...the yarn is nice and soft, and the colors are knitting up fun...I think this yarn has every color possible in it! :)

One more WIP to share with you, the white and pink hat I mentioned. I love how this is coming out too...


The thick-and-thin qualities of the yarn are adding a lot of depth to the fabric of the knitting.


Lastly, referring back to my last post below, this is the swift I don't want anymore. Anyone interested? Anyone know someone who might be?



Oh wait, one more "lastly"...this morning we were in the family room and heard a ruckus in the kitchen...DH went to investigate and found this:


SOMEkitty had opened the cupboard door, gotten himself some paper towels out, and was playing in them. The pink thing peeking out from under him in the next photo is a drinking straw...perhaps his most favorite toy. If you have a drink with a straw in it, fuhgettaboutit! In about .5 seconds that straw will no longer be yours, and you have to keep moving your drink in order to hang on to the straw for that mere .5 seconds. Crazy critter.




Hi! Just popping in here for a moment...no photos to share, just some thoughts and knitting babble.

First off, I just wanted to say how nice it is to have "met" all of you loyal readers who stop by here...it's so nice to get little comments and emails and such. :) Just wanted to say that I appreciate it, even if I don't say it enough.

Knitting-wise, I've got a slight case of startitis right now. I started a roll-brim hat for myself, and so far I'm loving it. Photos soon. I know I have a lot of hat patterns I want to try, but this yarn just needs a simple pattern. It's a thick and thin wool, in a white that has little bits of pink here and there. It was originally going to be mittens, but I decided that mostly-white mittens was probably not a good plan. I love the yarn, and it's special souvenir yarn from a trip my DH and I took.

I'm also thinking of frogging my gray socks (see sidebar) for the second time...the first try at them they were just a little too tight...so I went up 8 stitches but then down to size 0 needles so as not to overcompensate...but they're still too tight, and now they've lost all of their intrigue for me. They definitely need to be started over, not to mention put aside for a while. I have also discovered that I don't like size 0 needles...I like tiny needles as much as the next sock knitter, but those are too small. I think my plan will be to go up to size 1's and try again. Just not anytime soon.

I'm also itching to start some plain socks with a picot edge, and have decided to do them with some fun colorful yarn I recently got from the Etsy shop of a fellow blogger, Gypsyknits (there's a link to her shop on her blog). I love the yarn, so soft, and colorful! I got two skeins, one that has every possible color in it called Christmas Twinkle Lights and then one that's a dual skein combo, the main yarn being pink and white and brown and then a mini skein of brown for toes and heels (that one's called Creamy Neo...which I am guessing is short for Neopolitan? Like the ice cream? The one that comes with chocolate, strawberry and vanilla...am I right Kathy?). So I decided to start with the Twinkle Lights one and wound that into a yarn cake last night.

I have to come clean here...the yarn, um...fought me a little. I won the battle eventually but only after about 50 minutes of the yarn getting the better of me. See, it was entirely my fault because I decided not to use my yarn swift because it is so big and heavy (it's a wooden one, and I'm not pleased with it, more on that later) so I laid the yarn on the floor and tried to wind it from there. It didn't go well. (Here and there I've been reading about people who knit directly from the skein...?!? There's no WAY I would ever be able to do that! Especially with those feline types in the house. No way no how. Good golly.) What was supposed to be a 5 minute task turned into 50 minutes, and I didn't have time to start my socks! At least I managed to do this cat-free, as Maddie was sleeping in the bedroom and Moose was downstairs. However, the bell we have on him came in handy as I heard him coming up the steps and so I had time to reach over and close the door...he would have made a sticky situation much worse!! He meowed plaintively from outside the door for a minute, but eventually wandered off to wreak havoc somewhere else.

So back to the yarn swift...I'd gotten this one at JoAnn's well over a year ago, having wanted a wooden one, thinking it would be nice. And it is nice...nicely made and all...but it's so big and heavy and really doesn't spin all that smoothly/loosely, and that really makes it not so good for fine yarns. A huge skein of something thick can handle it, but I don't like it for lace or sock yarn. It just pulls too hard and puts too much tension on the yarn.

So now I am trying to brainstorm my options for getting rid of it, because I have enough stuff hanging around my house that I really don't want to keep something I don't like! I want to get one of those little lightweight ones that I've seen...they seem like they'd spin very nicely, plus I'd also rather patronize one of my LYSs and get it there. I doubt I can return the thing to JoAnn's, since it's been so long. I might try that though before I give up on that option. I mean, I've been able to return unused yarn to places like Michaels and ACMoore a year after I'd bought it, so who knows. But if that falls through, I might try Ebay or something...anyone have any suggestions? Anyone want it? I'd certainly sell it cheap. I mean, it works fine, as intended, and there's nothing wrong with it, I just don't like it for my purposes. I'm a much bigger fan of fine yarn than thick yarn, so that's what I use most. I'll post photos of it, but in the meantime, this is the one I got. I forget what I paid for it, but I know I got it on sale since I'd waited until I had a good coupon.

I'll be back soon with photos of yummy yarns!