Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yarnblob on the Edge!

I'll bet by now you're wondering why I'm posting pics of "yarnblobs." Well, it has been my experience that every time I wind yarn from a pre-wound skein to a spool (cake?), there's always a blob of yarn in the middle that plops out and has to be untangled before winding can continue. Every. Single. Time. So, I decided to start taking pictures of them and on posting them once a week. I figure I'll never run out of these pics unless Murphy's Law kicks in and suddenly my life becomes yarnblob free..... It could happen.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sea Shells

After having decided to make a Fan Kimono with the pink Drops Alpaca Virginia Knitting sent me, I decided to go ahead and do some test swatches. First, I tried it with size US 13 needles in an attempt to get somewhere near the gauge in the pattern I want to use. That did not go well. At all. Seriously, it would have qualified for a Yarnblob post.

Being a stubborn Capricorn, however, I did not give up. I did two more test swatches with different size needles, hoping to find one that would make the yarn behave and show off the shell pattern. This was done with US 9's:

I didn't bother doing a second repeat on the shell pattern because it just wasn't getting any more shell-like. Say goodnight, Floppy. I tried again with US 3's:

Lo and behold, a shell pattern. It seems the bigger the needles, the floppier this yarn looks. I think I'll go with the US 3's. It'll require some serious adjustment on the pattern, but the US 3's seem to tame this fuzzy pinkness better than the others. That, or I'll have to find a coordinating yarn to knit together with it. It's too late in the evening for my brain to function well enough to either look for a coordinating yarn or do any sort of accurate calculating, so I'll try tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hittin' the Easy Button

After a rough day at work, I had to go to the grocery store on my way home (those dern kids insist on eating "every: day - tsk!). Being somewhat exhausted, I picked up dinner pre-cooked in the deli section so we could get everyone fed reasonably early. Easy Button! Right after dinner, I had the kids help with the laundry, the cat box, and a few other things. I say "help" but I really just told them what to do and had them do it. Easy Button! All that done, I decided we needed cookies, but didn't want to roll and ice them. Drop cookies are easy enough, so I made up a batch of chocolate-chocolate chip-mint drop cookies using chips I bought while at the store today:

I used parchment paper on the cookie pans so they just need to cool and be put away, already clean. Easy Button! After baking, I only managed to down one before I was all sugared out - they're very rich. Have I mentioned that I love my stand mixer? My Hubby likes to keep brown sugar in the freezer, so of course it gets lumpy. I just left the mixer on for a few minutes with the butter and sugar, and it got the lumps out. Easy Button!

Meanwhile, after having a cookie or two himself, my Hubby reminded me that I've not posted pics of these socks:


I made them some time ago, as you can see by the slow felting process that's going on during washing. I made these for myself, but despite my precise and numerous calculations, they ended up big enough for my Hubby. That was before I realized my in-the-round gauge is different than my back-and-forth gauge. Blast ye scurvy purls! These days, I just knit them with a few quick calculations once I've got enough knitted to establish gauge. Easy button!

Now that I've hit the easy button so many times in one evening, I'm too tired to knit. Oh well, off to bed; that's easy too. Probably another rough day at work tomorrow, but that doesn't hit the easy button, so I' not gonna think about that just now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Additions to the Yarn Booty

My Hubby and I managed to get out of the house last weekend, so of course we went to Madness, which is our local game store and, of course, our LYS. We are planning for me to make dice bags, possibly for sale, so we bought lots of pretty yarn:


Thanks to our game store purchases and superb parental influence, my older daughter was able to produce a tiny guardian for the new Yarn Booty additions:


Here's a close-up of the tiny guardian, held aloft by his owner/trainer:

Yes, that's a Wee Ninja. And yes, that's a fuzzy pencil with a tiny devil duck on either end, intended to be a two-ended weapon for the ninja.

You just can't buy that kind of parental pride.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Belated Valentines Day

Most years, my Hubby sends me flowers for Valentine's Day, and this year was no exception. Unfortunately, they arrived several days late due to the snow we had. Still, they made it through the weekend and the week, and are still in pretty good shape:

The little fella next to the flowers was also a gift from my Hubby. He plays a little song and twirls his pitchfork, which displays a series of light images, one of which you can almost see in this pic:


Just a kudo to my Hubby because he always thinks about the little things, and that means a great deal.

Happy Yarn Blob Says Hi


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mens Worsted Weight Socks - Free Pattern

While shopping at Hobby Lobby recently, I came across a worsted Red Heart yarn in a color called Marrakesh:

It was too vibrant and pretty not to pick up a skein. Naturally, I made socks with it, and naturally, they have already been deployed:

At first I sized these for myself, but it’s really not my color. Despite the bright pink, my Hubby likes the color, so I re-sized them for him. Now I can expect to see them quite frequently around the house, since we tend to wear the worsted-weight socks as slippers. Once I’ve seen them around awhile, I can decide whether I like the color enough to make something bigger, like an afghan. Meanwhile, here’s the pattern.

I wanted to use this color to show how I use the stitch markers for the increase on the arches. I use three: one in the middle of the back, and one at each side of the back, between the original number of stitches and the increased stitches. It starts out a bit odd-looking:

But once you’ve increased a few stitches, it becomes very easy to count how many you’ve increased:

Once I get to the number of stitches I need and begin the heel decrease, I use the middle marker as my counter for the first decrease and turn (which is generally the middle stitch plus 2). Once I’ve done that, all the stitch markers come out, though the middle one can be left in to mark the center of the back row for bind-off purposes.

Now, off to a late lunch with my Hubby, who has chosen to wear the new socks today. Guess I'll take the cabled scarf with me to work on.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Update and Cookies

Well I basically did no knitting at all last night. I did some yesterday at lunch on some very brightly colored socks, but I'll post that when they're done.

I got this far Wednesday on the blue cabled scarf:

As you can see from the mad knittist 3x5" cards glowing brightly in undimmable contrast, that's a whopping inch and a half.

In all fairness, I did make very late Valentine's Day cookies Wednesday, and iced them rather sloppily last night:

So, another slow yarn day. And I have a whole new bag and then some of pretty, sparkly, fuzzy yarn, just begging for attention. So much yarn, so little time. Sigh.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RPG Painted Mini - Dark Elf

One of my favorite minis is a Drow (Dark Elf) mini, sculpted by Sandra Garrity. I particularly love the armor and shield. Here is the unpainted original, photo from Reaper Minis:

Here is mine, with and without mousepad background (Monet's Water Lilly Pond):

Note her little friend at her feet and the blood-stained blade.

Here’s a close-up of her shield, which I just love:

As usual, the paints and varnish are from Reaper and FolkArt.

My version of the Dark Elf rather differs from the "standard" in that mine has light skin. Apparently the "standard" is to have dark skin and white hair, but I just can't help but disagree. They live underground, and most beings and critters that live underground and/or in the dark end up with pale skin. Also, they are related to High Elves, and would, in my opinion, have the same hair color range. I've not actually played a Dark Elf, but my younger daughter has, and used this mini for that campaign. Fortunately, most of my minis can be carried over from the original D&D to Paizo's Pathfinder RPG, which is what we play now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

FO - Blue Cabled Hat

Ta-daah - all finished with the hat, and I didn't even screw up the decreases:

Now on to the scarf.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RPG Painted Mini - Dryad

One of my favorite non-character minis is a Dryad sculpted by Patrick Keith. I had to add a base because she fell over a lot - silly drunken Dryad. Here is the unpainted original, photo from Reaper Minis:

Here is mine, with and without mousepad background (Monet's Water Lilly Pond):


The base was made from a circle my Hubby cut from a plastic sheet he had which was then glued to the mini. I added Crayola Air-Dry Clay and sculpted additional rocks and the waves, using the only sculpting tools I had at the time: a yarn needle and a bobby pin. The paints and varnish are from Reaper and FolkArt.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Work in Progress - Cabled Hat

I started on my best friend's hat and scarf set late Friday evening, and managed to transfer the pattern to 3x5" index cards (because I'm a nerd and they're portable) and still had time to cast on and get a few inches into the hat:

I figured that wasn't bad for a couple hours' work. Note the omnipresent mad knittist scribbles on the 3x5 cards. Nerdiness aside, I find that transferring the pattern to the cards helps me understand the pattern and look up any instructions I don't understand so it's easier to translate when I'm actually knitting it. That's especially helpful when the pattern includes an instruction that seems odd or out of place. I have several types of index cards: graph cards for plotting the charts and regular lined cards for mad knittist notes. I also have blank ones, but I usually use those to roll up and put in the center of wound yarns.

Update: I was late in posting this, so here's my progress as of Sunday night:

I'm one pattern repeat (4 rows) away from starting the decrease for the crown. The cable pattern is really quite easy once the foundation row is done, so the scarf should go pretty quick too.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yarn Blob

Vaguely Heart-Shaped Red Yarn Blob says Happy Hearts and Flowers Day

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Pics from Texas

Snow.  In Texas.  'Nuff said.

These were taken from my front and back doors, respectively, 2/12/2010.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brown Suede Dice Bag

I remember now why I frequently simply knit things without writing out a full-blown pattern. Murphy’s law invariably kicks in and the only thing that will match the pattern is the number of stitches I started out with and the schematic for any special stitching. This bag is no exception: The long-tail cast-on didn’t work so well with the actual dice bag, and even if it had, the cabling was directional so it had to be knit from the bottom up. Here’s the completed outer layer sans pullstring, and you can see the cabling:

That done, I decided on a sock yarn for the inner liner: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Tweed #106:

Oddly enough, I did write out the pattern for the inner layer, which knitted up mostly like the pattern except I had to add knit-even rows between the decrease rows. I originally didn’t think that would be necessary: so much for my precise calculations. Murphy’s law aside, here’s the final product, inside and out:


I like that it will stand on its own when empty. This is how many dice it will hold:

In case you don’t want to spend all day counting, that’s 13 sets of 7 polyhedral dice each (91 dice) plus a handful of mini 6-sided dice (for sneak attack damage). And no, that is not my entire dice collection, but a good portion of it. My Hubby calls this one "the Barbarian."

Cauldron O’Yarn

They have “slow news days” in TV news, so maybe knitter bloggy people can have slow news days too. I've made some progress on a couple of projects but haven't finished anything, so this is that day. Thus, here’s a random pic of yarn. In a cauldron. On a hearth. Next to a giraffe-print pillow. I’ll leave explanations to the imagination.

Argh matey, don’t ya be touchin’ me lucky charms. Or me cauldron o’yarn!

PS I nearly finished a dice bag and would have posted that, but I had to re-do the bottom of the liner.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Own Personal UFO

For those of you I’ve known for a long time, I am not referring to that crazy song people used to sing to get it stuck in your head: thankfully I’ve long since forgotten the tune and most of the words, other than “I’m being followed by my own personal UFO.”

In this case, I’m talking about an UnFinished Object. Specifically, this is a blanket for myself I’ve been working on pretty much as long as I’ve been able to knit. At this point, all the sections have been knitted and I’ve got a section sewn together wide enough to make it usable. Here’s a wide shot to show how long this thing is:

Here’s a close-up of the colors involved:

So what’s the holdup? As I’ve mentioned previously, I hate sewing knitting. This particular pattern, while I like it, is a pain to sew and it takes forever. Eventually, though, this UFO will join the ranks of the FO’s. Just, not today.

P.S. It’s all Red Heart worsted weight yarns.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Baby Set

I finally finished this rather overdue set (as in, the baby was just born Friday):

For this set, I used two colors of Coats&Clark’s worsted weight Red Heart yarn. The main color is No. 0668 Honeydew (the name always makes me think of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew of the Muppets) and the contrasting color is No. 0318 Watercolor, which is a pretty multi, but used in very large pieces it can look oddly dark. I don’t normally use Red Heart for baby stuff, but it was the only yarn I could easily locate that included the color choices the mom-to-be gave me, and coordinates acceptably with the Winnie-the-Pooh theme she’s chosen for the baby. Once again, I scribbled some basic notes to create the thing, did the knitting and then wrote the pattern, which is available here. Yes, I’m backwards. Much like the backwards sails on the ship in the picture my older sis painted me years ago, I’m not wrong; I’m just backing out of the harbor.


This is a variant on my standard generic sock pattern, much scaled down. While I’ve taken to doing most socks using circular needles with the “magic loop” tactic, baby booties are rather small for that and work up very quickly, so I used DPN’s instead. I also diverged from my normal practice of using a provisional cast-on and then the inside-out three needle bind-off. Instead, I started with two DPNs, alternating between the two as I cast on, i.e. stitches 1 & 3 on needle 1, stitches 2 & 4 on needle 2, using the single cast-on method. You can also use a figure 8 cast-on, but it will be a looser start, so if you’re doing the figure 8, you might want to use smaller needles for the cast-on and then change to the regular needles.


This is a rolled-brim baby hat. I like rolled brims for baby girls because it gives a softer edge and you can roll it up or down to adjust sizing. Again, due to the small size and quick workup, I used DPN’s for this, but feel free to use circular needles.


I used Vera for this, as I generally do for baby blankets. As much as I’d like to do it all by hand so I don’t have to feel like I’m cheating, I figure it’s probably better to use Vera so the kid isn’t in college by the time I finish the thing. The pattern is the same whether you machine knit or hand-knit, though some mental translation will be necessary since most machines only purl. The downside of using “The Machine” (no yarn withstands The Machine) is that occasionally, things go rather amiss in ways they just don’t when hand-knitting:

Note the loop of excess yarn I’m going to have to tuck in. I’ve already tucked in the really big one. I don’t even know how that happens.

Note the areas where I forgot to rework the border stitches into garter stitch. Vera works only in stockinette, so any other stitch has to be knitted, then reworked by hand. There are three places where I forgot to do this, all on the same side.

I like to think of these glaring boo-boos as my personal insurance against ever being turned into a spider. However, were Athena available for comment, she would probably say something like “K, so, I can appreciate that you’re trying to avoid pretending to be perfect and all that, but… were you even looking at that thing while you worked on it? Do We not provide you with light? ‘Cause… damn.”

P.S. No blog entry about a FO (finished object) would be complete without a pose with my youngest:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Note Book Randomness 2

On the subject of notebooks, I’m constantly on the lookout for notebooks that will make it easier for me to chart/graph/scribble my creations (insert mad scientist knittist laugh here) and make notes on the same page. Seems like Day-Timer used to have these “project” pages where the top half of each page was graph paper for sketching and the bottom half was lined for notes. Can’t find them anymore, but I’ve been on a passive quest to find a notebook with something equivalent. Generally, I end up with notebooks of graph paper. I did find a NoteSketch book by Bienfang, which is blank at the top with lines at the bottom, though I haven’t tried using it yet. I really do prefer to have the half graph/half lined pages since I’m not much of an artist and the squares make it convenient to count stitches even if they do nothing to improve my handwriting. Given the difficulty in finding such a specialized notebook, one might wonder why I continue the search. The answer is simple:

That is the plan/pattern for a baby blanket I just finished (note the lack of, well, notes).

Those are my initial notes for the hat and booties. Note the lack of sketches. Also note that they’re in two separate notebooks.

Here’s where I reverse-engineered the booties after knitting them and scribbled out the pattern:

Now we’re up to three notebooks.

Here’s the post-knitting reverse-engineered pattern for the hat, though we are still at three notebooks:

My point is, if I could find something that had graph paper and note lines on the same page, this entire baby set could have been in one book. Wouldn’t that have been both convenient and slightly less mad scientist knittist? Oh sure, the writing might still remind one of a mad scientist scribbling frantically on a chalkboard, trying to complete a brand new equation that might change the universe as we know it, but at least there would be a little sketch nearby so you could tell it was just a baby bootie pattern.

P.S. I plan to actually type these patterns up, thus the notes and reverse-engineering my own knitting.