Thursday, December 04, 2008

Kitting Out the Baby...

When I was pregnant with Lincoln I had just re-started my knitting, and so I only managed to complete a cotton sweater and a (huge!) sweater-vest for him before he arrived. Since my new little one will be arriving just in time for a cold January, I've been trying to be more prepared with a flurry of knitting projects.

So far everything on my "to do" list is *almost* done, just needing a little finishing work. I have a jacket and matching pants, a hat with matching carseat blanket, and just last night at knit night I cast off a Baby Surprise Jacket. I'm very excited about the BSJ because I'm hoping that will be the jacket my little man comes home in. With a little extra effort I'll even make some matching booties!

No fears for Lincoln - I have a pirate sweater on the needles for him, which will be deliberately big so he can hopefully get two winter's worth of wear out of it.

Whew! Off to knit some more!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Where I've Been

Have you been wondering about me? I apologize for the prolonged silence - I've been spending the past few weeks doing battle with my loom, but after several difficult weeks I have emerged victorious. It all began with the shawl I mentioned in my previous post. It is a tencel stole I purchased as a kit from the Yarn Barn in Kansas. The yarn is beautiful and the draft is relatively simple - I have to admit that the problems I encountered are all my own fault. It started right after I sleyed the reed and realized that I had chained the warp incorrectly and inadvertently created a knot...and the only way to correct it was to pull out all 453 ends, correct the chain and re-sley all 453 ends.

Problem number two ocurred when I has halfway through threading the heddles. I had (wrongly) assumed that the ends would be balanced across all four harnesses, so I moved several heddles out of the way before I started. After about 200 ends, I actually looked at the draft and realized that there were many more ends on shafts 2 and 3...and I wouldn't have enough heddles on those two shafts. Once again, I pulled out the ends and re-threaded the heddles.

I eventually did begin weaving, but not before I learned a lot of lessons. I decided to wait on posting about this until it was safely off the loom. The stole is now awaiting wet finishing, so here is a photo of it as I was actually weaving it.

No worries, I still love weaving. I've also kept up on some knitting. I've started a hat for the baby and a hat for Lincoln.

...And here is evidence that I can actually complete a project...the very first scarf I finished on the loom!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Too Fast

Remember when I said that weaving is fast? Well, I've decided that it may be too fast. Since my last post I finished warping the loom, corrected a few errant yarns, started weaving, and finished weaving. I honestly almost started crying when I finished my first few picks and saw that my design matched the design in the book! The weaving itself took about a week, and I cut the scarf off this weekend.

Now I'm lost. I'm used to knitting where not only do projects take a while to complete, but where I always have multiple projects so that when I finish one there's another one waiting on the needles. Right now I have an empty loom with no project, and there are barriers to each project I want to start. Here's the rundown:

*Project A (Tencel Stole): I have the yarn, but not enough heddles. So I need to order more heddles before I can start.
*Project B (Baby Blanket): I have the plan and enough heddles, but I need to order the yarn.
*Project X (Anything I want to make with knitting yarn): I have lots of yarn, but worsted- and Dk- weight yarns need a 8-dent reed, and I have a 12-dent reed. So I need to order the reed.

None of these items are especially cheap, but they're not prohibitively expensive, either. So I guess I just need to place an order...and give my poor loom a rest.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Hello! I just got back from vacation so my weaving has taken a brief hiatus.  Never fear, however - I have picked it back up and am almost done warping some orange and brown sock yarn to make a "test" scarf.  Here you can see the front of the loom, with the yarn passing through the reed.  The reed is what creates your "gauge" in knitting.
Here is the side view.  The yarn has passed through the reed and I have threaded all of the heddles.  The heddles are inside of the shafts, which together lift the different threads up and down as you weave.  Just a few more steps and I'll be set to weave!
Since I was away from my loom I did manage to get a bit of knitting done.  This is the free pattern from the Knitting Pure and Simple website - I am currently knitting the matching overalls.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meet my new baby

I alluded to this in my previous post, but after my wonderful weaving class I made a few phone calls (and checked the limit on my credit card) and came home on Tuesday evening to find this "little" gem sitting on my front stoop.
It's my new loom - the Baby Wolf!  The loom was pretty much ready to go out of the box, but there were a few things for me to put together.  Tying on the apron bars was relatively simple, but getting all of the heddles into the harnesses drove me crazy.  Here I am trying to keep all of the little buggers from sliding off onto the floor.
Thankfully I was able to get it all done with no loss of sanity, and finished the setup by tying up the treadles.  You can't see in the photo how happy I am that it's all done!  You also can't see that I was sitting on one of kiddo's chairs during this "test".  I need to find a decent chair for my weaving.
The Yarn Barn sent all of my extra little goodies in the same box, so I'm all set to start EXCEPT for a warping board (they were out of stock).  For those of you "in the know", you know that the warping board is the first step in weaving.  So while I wait for said warping board to arrive, I can admire my beautiful loom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Recap...

Well, my class is over and done with and I LOVED IT! The instructor, Susan, was very nice and she packed a lot of knowledge into a two-day class. I found out later that Susan is also the owner of the Yarn Barn, so it's wonderful that she gets to own such a cool store and still teach. For anyone thinking about weaving, I highly recommend taking a class since weaving is such a "hands on" type of activity and there's lots of different skills involved. So here's a recap of the weekend:
The classroom: The class was held in the office building adjacent to the Yarn Barn. We were in a small room set up with mostly Baby Wolf looms, plus one Harrisville workshop loom and another small counterbalance loom (I don't remember the brand). There were 7 other ladies in the class with me.
Day 1: The first morning Susan told us how to read a weaving draft, and went through the steps of warping the loom. It took about two hours, and at the end I was overwhelmed at the number of steps involved. She also showed us an example of the sampler we'd be making so that we could plan our colors. Then we walked over to the store and we each picked out 3-4 cones of 5/2 perle cotton for our own sampler. I picked two shades of blue and and an ecru color. After that, half of us went back down to the classroom to measure our warp while the other half went to lunch, then we switched places.

In the afternoon we actually warped our looms. Warping was much more fun than I expected, and actually went really fast considering that none of us had done it before! Susan even manged to not freak out when I threaded my heddles backwards at first (did I mention I learned lots of new phrases, too? Like "heddle" and "sley the reed" )

Day 2: Day two was all weaving! Once the warp was ready, all that was left was learning to follow a treadling pattern and throwing the shuttle. We had quite a bit of leeway here - Susan said that she didn't want to "tell us what to do". She gave us a few patterns to practice on, but encouraged us to experiment. At the end of the day we each had a lovely sampler table runner.

As a result of the class I *may have* bought a loom that is now sitting in our family room...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Class will soon be in session!

No, I haven't decided to go back to school to get another degree. I have taken the advice of my friend Jennifer and enrolled in a beginner weaving class at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence. It's two full days over a weekend, but I figure it's a small price to pay to decide if I actually like this weaving thing. Plus I'll actually get so see different looms live and in-person. Scott is very supportive and says if I take the class he'll feel less guilty about going to Lawrence the following weekend for an Ultimate tourniment.

While I dream of weaving I am also getting some knitting I have BIG NEWS. Remember the cloffice - the combination closet/office that was my knitting refuge? Well I'm finally getting an upgrade! We are moving our office/knitting room upstairs to a previously-unoccupied room, and there will be plenty of room (in the actual room itself, no less!) for my yarn, my swift, and all of my knitting supplies. Yay! More details to follow...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Now to Make a Decision

I had *almost* talked myself out of buying a weaving loom (too expensive! I won't use it much! I'm terrible with color and could never coordinate warp and weft!) . Then fate intervened, in three parts:

1) I received a gift certificate from the Woolery from my most-favorite sister-in-law (and brother-in-law), Joni and Tracy.

2) Hubby bought a ridiculously expensive road bike (yay for him since he never buys anything for himself), which makes me feel less guilty about spending a far lesser amount on a loom.

3) I went to the Studio sale and purchased more yarn. The trip made me realize that I have a lot of yarn that is just sitting around, waiting to be used - and weaving would be a nice way to put it to good use.

I've also been informed by my knitting group that I need to do my part to support the fiber economy (something I always tell them to do, too). So it's pretty much a done deal, but I'm going to enjoy the shopping process a bit more before a take the plunge.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Crush...

I’ve got another crush. I’ve been doing a bit of crochet using patterns from 200 Crochet Blocks (awesome book!) in the hopes of doing a lap blanket with some finished squares. Crochet is a nice diversion from knitting and I’m really enjoying it. But…that’s not my crush.

For years I’ve avoided the fiber-y crafts that seem to dovetail from knitting and crochet: things like spinning, dying, or even felting have never appealed to me. That all changed recently, however, when there was an episode of Ready, Set, Knit (the Webs podcast) that briefly discussed some rigid heddle weaving classes they were doing. I have always been intrigued by weaving, but the investment of time and money necessary for a floor loom was way beyond me. Rigid Heddle looms bypass these obstacles by being small (so you can do weaving in front of the TV!), less expensive (much less than the thousands of $$ you’d spend on a floor loom), and quick to use. The show referenced a girl in their shop that had created a scarf using 100 grams of sock yarn in under three (!) hours.

So I’ve got a weaving crush. I’ve been eyeing looms at the Woolery and imagining the things I could create with a loom – scarves, table runners, placemats…even blankets if I pieced together multiple pieces.

Sigh. I’ve been giving myself a couple of weeks to mull over this and make the “big decision”…what should I do?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Some little things

Whoa! It's been over a month since I last posted. To be honest, I lost a bit of my knitting mojo after the whirlwind of my dissertation defense and graduation. After a brief hiatus, though, I am slowly dipping my toe in the water and doing some small projects. Here's what I've accomplished since I last checked in:

1. Finished Currer. I hated the look of the crab-stitch button band that the pattern calls for. So after ripping out the button band several times I finally settled on a garter-stitch band and blue buttons.
2. Finished a Mason-Dixon "ballband" dishcloth.
3. Made some headway in the log cabin blanket I'm knitting for Lincoln.
4. Queued up a bunch of little projects (this involved a trip to the knitting store, of course!). These will be revealed as I begin working on them...

As for my crochet "crush", I may have to wait awhile as I get my mojo back.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Just call me Doctor

The sweetest phrases I have ever heard in my life:

1.  I now pronounce you husband and wife.
2.  It's a boy!
3.  Congratulations, Dr. Hauner.

Today I successfully defended my dissertation, and I am officially a Doctor.  

Monday, April 21, 2008

Still Hanging On

Behold! I have not forgotten my old pal Currer. I blocked the pieces on Friday night and spent several hours yesterday seaming it all together. It was my first time doing set-in sleeves, and it was quite a challenge. Even though the seams aren't perfect, I'm happy with how it turned out overall. Turns out the peplum I liked so much also involved a looooooong seam...

After I took this photo yesterday I finished weaving in the ends, leaving just the collar and the button band. And the fit? For once I have made something that isn't too big - it has just the right amount of negative ease. Yay!

Monday, April 07, 2008

My Obsession

I am not a knitting monogamist. Even though I may have been in love with a pattern when I started it, after a while my eye starts to wander and I begin to flirt with other patterns. Usually it’s just innocent flings off to the side while I maintain a steady relationship with my current pattern. Sometimes, though, I find that “special someone” that makes me seriously think about leaving my pattern for greener pastures.

Here’s my obsession: Dahlia.

I have created not one, not two, but *three* swatches in three different yarns to determine the Ultimate Yarn for this design. I am convinced that this pattern, combined with the “just right” yarn, will not only end world hunger but allow people to instantly transport from one place to the next and completely eliminate our dependence on oil.

Don’t worry about Currer. I’m at the peplum and I’ll stick with it “for the kids”, but I think it already knows that the romance is gone.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Swatch Power!!

This weekend I swatched and actually cast-on for Currer! Yay me!!

I am really glad I swatched. The pattern calls for size 8 needles. I first knitted a generous swatch using size 7's (I always need to go down at least one needle size), and was delighted that my gauge was spot-on - both stitch and row. The pattern says row gauge matters, too. I then did the unthinkable...I WASHED my swatch!

Can you guess what happened? My gauge changed! I think it is becuase of the high cotton content of the Sierra. Anyway, I'm glad I waited to cast-on until my swatch was washed.

On to swatch 2...I knited a less-than-generous swatch using size 6's. After washing the still-wet swatch was still off-gauge. I did a little tugging here and there, and ended up with the correct gauge (is this okay to tug your swatch to get the right gauge?)

I have now cast-on for currer using the 6's. I have gone through and converted every reference to "inches" (as in "knit even for 3 inches") to # of rows so that the length will be correct after blocking.

I'm feeling pretty smart right now. Did I do the right thing?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Fresh Start (or two)

Below you can see the results of my new swift - which the kiddo now calls "his airplane".  After some serious contemplation I decided to go ahead an knit Currer.  This decision was helped by the fact that after a visit to the "cloffice" (my combination closet/knitting room that was the result of my request to the hubby to let my knitting share his office), I discovered that I actually *had* purchased the right amount of yarn to knit it.

The top yarn is the Euroflax linen from my Valentine swap partner, waiting to become a tank top.  The green yarn is the second ball of Briggs and Little Regal for my Pi Blanket. The blue yarn is Cascade Sierra waiting to be swatched for Currer.
These projects are waiting while I do a quick "in between" project using my stash Malabrigo.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Linda needs help (more than usual)

I've crossed a not-so-secret-super-secret knitting project off of my list, meaning I can cast on something new. The problem? I've got analysis paralysis and can't decide what to knit!!

The Cardigan Options:
1) "Currer" from Norah Gaughn.
1) Sylph Cardi from the most recent Interweave Knits.

For those that know me "in real life", which one is more "me"?

I bought some yarn for Currer during the Studio sale, but I just realized/remembered that I can't do math in my head...I bought three balls of Cascade Sierra (a cotton/wool blend), which is about 2 balls short (apparently 192*3 is not equal to 900)***. Ugh! So I would have to stash dive and/or go to the yarn store for either option.

Other stuff on my to-do list:
1) Hat for Scott (some day, some day).
2) Linen tank using the Euroflax worsted.
3) *Something* for the kiddo before he's old enough to refuse my knitty gifts.

****Before you laugh, realize that I just spent ten minutes *with a calculator* figuring out if I would have enough yarn. My early math years were not pleasant. The day I started algebra was one of the happiest of my life (besides getting married and giving birth, of course...)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Knitting Slowly and a Book Review

We've had a crazy couple of weeks at our house, so not much knitting has been getting done. Lincoln was sick all last week (actually, we were all sick last week), and that sapped my knitting mojo. I've been slowly working on an Elizabeth Zimmermann Pi Shawl in the Regal yarn that you saw on my swift. It should make a nice blanket when it's done and I'm hoping the wool softens when it's washed. The pattern is a fun/easy knit but it's just taking a while.

So since there's no knitting I thought I would discuss one of my knitting book "treasures". Rowan's Vintage Knits is a book I had overlooked for quite a while, yet I was pleasantly surprised when I finally took a deeper look. The patterns are gorgeous and while based on "vintage" style, they are timeless. There are feminine cardigans, gorgeous sweaters, and some nice-looking men's sweaters. It includes the typical mix of Rowan designers - Kim Hargreaves, Martin Storey, Sarah Dallas, and many others. I am a *huge* Kim Hargreaves fan, and this collection didn't disappoint as she has "Demi" - a lovely aran tweed sweater that is on my "must knit" list. This collection also includes the "Salina" sweater with button placket and small collar that has been so popular on Ravelry. My other favorites include "Jolie", a low-fastening fitted cardigan with faux-smocking; and "Magnolia", a turtleneck with buttons on the collar. All are very pretty, very girly, and just ask to be knitted in gorgeous yarn. Check out this book next time you're in your local bookstore, or look and see what other folks have done on Ravelry.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Some Weird Stuff

I've been tagged by srapalmateer. It's similar to an earlier tag by Anne of Purls and Tails that I've been remiss in posting. So, two games in one!

Here are the rules:
-Link to the person who tagged you.
-Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.
-Post the rules on your blog.
-Share the seven (7) most famous or infamous people you have met. Or go with the original 7 weird things about yourself.
-Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.
-Include links to their blogs.
-Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm not really into "tagging" (since there's not many blogs I read and the two referenced above are a large majority of them), so feel free to post this on your own blog if you happen to feel tagged.

I've only met one famous person - Harrison Ford - so that list is too short. Here are my 7 weird things:
1) I sniff things - yarn, sweaters, books...if I'm thinking about buying something I usually take a whiff. Don't know why.
2) I never changed my name when I got married. Saw no reason to.
3) I love "Stargate Atlantis". Didn't realize that was weird until I told one of DH's friends and he freaked out. Then I told another of his friends and *he* freaked out.
4) I am allergic to preservatives in contact lens cleaner. Didn't realize it for a year - I thought your eyes were supposed to burn when you put your contacts in. CIBA Vision's Aosept changed my life (and possibly saved me from blindness).
5) The color maroon makes me sick. Literally. I can't ride in a car with a burgundy/maroon interior or I throw up.
6) When I was little I had recurring nightmares that Busses and VW Bugs were chasing me. When I had to take the city bus to school in junior high I got a little afraid every time the bus came towards my stop. It never attacked me, though.
7) My favorite meal is Rice-a-Roni. I eat it for lunch on the weekends as a special treat.

That's it. Tag yourself if you feel like it, let me know in the comments if you have.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two Fabulous Packages!

I received two great packages recently - one of my own doing, and one that was a wonderful surprise!  First, I received a wonderful package from Lisa for the Knitter's Review exchange.  She sent me a copy of Fair Isle Knitting by Sarah Don (a great book, and Scott likes it because he thinks the boy on the cover looks like him when he was a boy), some cute knitting thank-you cards, (some chocolate - covered coffee beans that couldn't be photographed due to them being, um, in my stomach), and most awesome...some locally grown (sheared?) and spun wool that she dyed herself!!  It's a pretty pinkish-coralish color and will look very nice on me once I get it knitting up into a nice hat (or mittens, or wristwarmers, or...I can't decide!)  Thanks Lisa!!
Next up is the long-awaited Swift.  It's a big-un, but doesn't take up quite as much room as Scott had feared.  I took advantage of it right away to wind some wool I bought at the Studio sale.  
The result?  A ball of wool that required no tears, four-letter words, or declarations of hatred towards knitting in general.  The wool, incidentally, is Briggs and Little Regal 100% wool.  It's a nicely priced, minimally-processed, light-worsted wool spun in Canada.  I'm really looking forward to knitting with it (and I *do* have a plan for this yarn).

Friday, January 18, 2008


First a note: I received a lovely box in the mail last week from my Knitter's Review New Year's Exchange partner, but I haven't had decent light to photograph the goodies yet. That post will come soon (sorry for the delay Lisa!)

Second, as Terri so astutely guessed in my last post...I have *finally* ordered a SWIFT!!! Yes, after feeling sorry for myself for not receiving one as a Christmas gift, and suffering through yet another tangled yarn mess in my attempt to wind some Cascade 220 on my own, the knitting fairies took pity on me and sent me a 50% off coupon for After conferring with the husband (who was deeply concerned about where we would put it - he's still recovering from the atrocity of having to share his office with my knitting stuff) I placed my order and it should arrive next week.

Also - The Studio is having a sale this weekend - 30% off on *everything* on Sunday and Monday. Don't miss it!! I told Scott that I would need "a couple of hours on Sunday" (not mentioning what it was for), and he replied with a sigh, "you're going yarn shopping, aren't you?" Yes, yes I am.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Book Review!

There has been a bit of knitting recently (and an overdue purchase that I will share with you...later!), but I'm down with a cold that has taken both my voice and my knitting mojo. I am somewhat of a book lover, so I thought I would fill my time with some reviews of books on my bookshelf. I'll start with one of my newer purchases: Sensual Knits edited by Yahaira Ferreira.

I had to buy this book for myself since I felt a little weird putting it on my Amazon wishlist where it is possible (but not probable) that it could be seen by my mother-in-law. I simply do not have the energy to explain to her that "sensual knits" is not a naughty book. And it's *not* a naughty book - it's "sensual" in the feel-good-about-yourself and surround-yourself-with-luxury sort of way. Supposedly all of the patterns are knit with luxury natural fibers, but as I almost always sub yarns, that's not what drew me to this book.

There are several sections in this book - ranging from the expected barely-there camisoles to full-on dresses (*not* gonna happen on my needles). There are sections for cardigans, pullovers, and accessories. The patterns are beautifully photographed and aren't especially trendy - a big "plus" for my non-trendy self.

There are two reasons this book was a "must buy" for me. First, it is a collection of designs from several different designers. Therefore the patterns, while sticking to the theme of "sensual", are different enough from each other to make each one interesting in its own right. Yahaira definitely has a wonderful eye for timeless designs. Second, there is a design by my all-time blog-crush Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. I have always hoped he would come out with a woman's sweater design, and he has created a beautiful one for this book. "Ramona" is a simple v-neck sweater with an interesting "seam" down the front that adds a bit of style. There are other wonderful sweaters in this book, and a pair of socks for you *crazy* sock-knitters, and many would look good on a variety of sizes. Go buy yourself a copy now!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New and Improved Vest

When it comes to knitting, I'm a pragmatist.  If I don't like something I've made, I'm willing to try something new in my efforts to transform it into something I *will* like.  Sometimes those efforts don't work out so well - as in the felted hat I gave my brother-in-law last was supposed to be a knit cap that came out way too big - so I decided to shrink it by felting.  It was not my greatest moment.

Sometimes these efforts work out okay, though.  In the case of my vest, the re-blocking (in *hot* water, just to get my point across) was just what it needed to go from "never-ever" to "acceptable" (although not the greatest, as you'll see in my notes).  Here's the finished result:

It's still not perfect, but it's as perfect as it's gonna get...and most importantly, it's wearable.  Here's the stats:
Pattern:  V-neck vest from Paton's Next Steps II (love this pattern book - schematics for every pattern!)
Size:  Small
Yarn:  Paton's Classic Merino, slightly more than two balls in purple.
Mods:  None
Notes:  If I made this again, I would go with the extra small - as it is, the shoulders are a bit wide and the waist is a bit large.  I debated rather I would prefer the smaller size or if I should just add waist shaping, but decided the smaller size would be the way to go because: 1)  It's made to go over a button-down shirt, so you need a bit of give, and 2) any extra ease needed around the bust can be accommodated by the v-neck.
There were a couple of errors in the pattern, but nothing major.  Overall, I very much liked the design and would knit from this pattern book again.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I learn the importance of Blocking...correctly

File this under "lessons learned".

I *finally* finished my v-neck vest (check out all of those picked-up stitches around the collar and arms!) and completed the seaming one night at my knitting group. When I tried it on, I realized that it was a bit short for my taste. One of my knit pals reminded me that I could solve that problem in the blocking (thanks Terri!) Of course, I knew the power of blocking and how it can make lemonade out of knitting lemons. The next night I proceeded to wet-block it with the goal of making it longer. Here is my completed vest. Notice anything "odd" about it? Look a little blocky to you?
Here's me wearing the vest. Notice anything odd? Does it seem a bit wide to you? See how it hangs off my shoulders and how wide the "v" is? And that's *after* some major styling on my part (I even pulled in the waist a bit in the back so it wouldn't be so gruesome in the photo). Well, it seemed a bit wide to me, too. I decided to sit down with the lovely schematic provided by my pattern to see how my vest measured up. It was a whole two inches wider than the schematic. If you are an observant knitter, you may be asking yourself why I waited until *after* I blocked the sweater to check the schematic.

Yeah, that's the problem.

I blocked this baby the day after I blocked Jennifer's lace scarf. With lace, the goal is to pull and stretch the item 'till it won't stretch no more.'s what I did with my vest. No schematic, no measurements, just pure stretching and pinning.

Last night I re-blocked my sweater and actually used the schematic. The results will be time!