Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The one nice thing about having to go through everything for moving to Japan is that I have to go through EVERYTHING. Like sorting my stash, choosing which yarns will go and which will stay, and actually, really, fully, cataloguing it. As you can see in the sidebar, I've rearranged the stats. I have every single one of my WIPs in the progress panel. This is everything that I'm taking to Japan with me that's already been started. As I'm looking at what I'm taking, what's started versus what's not, and packing it all, I'm really not bringing much. All of my sock yarn and all of my laceweight is going. What's not going is some yarn for a couple of broomstick lace blankets and some earflap hats, along with my extra Classic Merino for Pocket Creatures and a cross stitch of Santa Ornaments I forgot I left in a bag. I kind of wish I had brought all the rest of it. Or at least the stuff mentioned here, the stuff for actual projects. I was going to bring all project things, but then in the end started pareing. Shouldn't have done that. It would have totally fit in the car to get here, and now we're space bag-ing everything! My stash looks so very small all sitting on the table. I'm only bringing all of my sock yarn (enough for 17 pairs) all of my laceweight (enough for quite a few pieces of all shapes and sizes) and yarn for an aran afghan I'm planning to knit. I have yarn for 4 BYOBs (just started one), another sweater and will be buying yarn for another soon, but I'm hoping to finish both before I leave. I do have, not counting the laceweight, enough for 46 other projects (and I just made a Knit Picks order, so I actually have the yarn for another five pairs of socks). 46 sounds like a heck of a lot, and it is, but the vast majority of those projects, all but 22, are cross stitches. Mostly small ornaments. A lot of that 22 is socks. Socks don't take very long.

Also I love Space Bags. The yarn is between 1/2 and 2/3 the size it originally was. Lovely for shipping overseas!

I think I probably have enough to keep me busy for the whole 3 years, but not to keep me knitting. The goal is no yarn purchases, except for presents, until the student loans are paid off. Then a couple of months of using that money for only yarn purchases, and a meal at the most ritzy, expensive restaurant we can find. We figure we can live on half of one of our salaries, so student loans should take just under two years. We're planning on 2-3, because come on, are we really going to live as frugally as we can? No way. Also we'll be needing to buy furniture and putting some away for an emergency fund, at least enough for last-minute tickets to the States. If we can actually do this and then I can put the money we were putting towards the loans to a two-month yarn spree, I will have been able to get so much of whatever I want that it will all be worth it in the end. Debt-free and all the yarn I want, I can totally live with what I have until then. Maybe I'll have my mom ship me what I didn't bring about a year into it so it feels like new yarn...

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Dead" Sweaters

When I recycle a sweater I've bought from Goodwill, I call it a dead sweater. I've recently killed three sweaters I bought for about $16 at a Goodwill in Delaware when I lived there last year. I ended up with 1356 yards of DK-ish weight light blue cotton, 1006 yards of a 50/50 mohair/acrylic blend, and 1186 yards of a worsted-ish weight lovely tweedy brown 100% wool.

Dead Wool

Here is the wool. I wasn't terribly intelligent and skeined this thing almost whole. 988 yards in that monster skein. 198 in the little one, when I realized that I forgot a sleeve afterward!

Mohair SS

This was a really poorly designed sweater, with a cable running down the front of it. See the cable? Yeah, me niether. So I rescued ove 1000 yards of mohair from it, and we'll see what it becomes later.

Dead Mohair

It's not quite laceweight mohair, but I have absolutely no idea what to do with it. Suggestions? I may make a scarf with it...but it was somewhat itchy to my skin. I've found that while wools don't bother me at all, mohair does. Maybe I'll try to trade this one. I'd have to get the actual WPI of it though - didn't feel like digging that out while processing it.

Cotton LS

This one is also cabled, again, not the best choice of design for the yarn used. Not as bad, but cables in cotton are not as awesome as cables in, say, wool. This is 100% cotton, and while I haven't loved the cotton yarns I've used in the past, it looked pretty promising.

Cotton In Progress

Here it is midway done. I take all the pieces apart, and then, learning from my mistake with the wool one, I skein each piece of the sweater individually for four manageable skeins. I use my niddy noddy to skein. It's really nice, from Nancy's Knit Knacks. It's detatchable and has a nice denim case it lives in. It has a 2 yard long skein length and a 1 yard long one, so you can make your skeins however you want. I generally use the two yard one. Once the yarn is skeined, I write the fiber content, number of yards, and approximate weight on a strip of paper, fold the paper in half and cut a notch on either end of the fold, then fold it around the yarn. It stays pretty well.

Dead Cotton

And here is the finished product, four lovely skeins of DK-ish soft cotton, ready to be re-used. Well, not completely. None of these is actually ready for use yet. I need to wash them all. Since I've been packing, I didn't want to have to wait until the skeins dried to pack them, and I didn't know where I'd be able to hang them all. Washing them is integral as it gets all the kinks out of the yarn. So I'll have kinky yarn waiting for me in Japan. Awesome.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Current WIPs

I am trying to finish off my unfinished sweaters and use up stash yarn. I've also got four projects that if I can finish them before I go, will stay in the States. Two of these I don't even have the yarn for right now, but that's okay. I ordered two yarns for it yesterday and have a third that may work. It's a scarf for the friend of the family who made our wedding cake, and her husband is a master weaver. They're very interested in craftsmanship and they know a lot about fiber, so I'm trying to make a perfect scarf for her in thanks for what she did for our wedding. I'm highly considering something from Victorian Lace Today, but am open to suggestions, if you have any!

What I am currently working on are my two newest projects, the Manitou Passage Scarf (rav) and BYOB (rav). The Manitou Passage Scarf is one of the two thank-you scarves I'm knitting. I'm this far:

Manitou Passage 1

Which is about 10%. It's about four inches across and will be between five and six feet long. I wasn't sure if I was liking it while I was knitting it, so I did a quick wet block last night so I could decide whether or not to frog it today. I like it as it is, blocked, so I'm going to continue. I'm going for a versatile scarf, thick and warm for winter but thinner in width, since that's what the recipient wants. I think I got the color right, Patons' Classic Merino Wool in New Denim, and it's a reversible cable pattern so K1, P1 all the way across and therefore thicker and will be warm. It has just enough detail to make it interesting, but not so much that it won't be worn all winter long. I was going for more distinct cabling when looking at patterns, but realized that a subtler and reversible scarf would definitely be better!

I'm also working on reusable grocery bags. I was sketching, pattern writing, and about ready to swatch for almost this exact same bag when the pattern came out. Therefore, instead of continuing to work on my version, I will make this already tried and tested one with the yarn I already have. The handles and bottom are much better than the one I was thinking up, and the only real benefit to my version was that I was going to include a pocket for it to fold into. Looking at the bulk of the fabric, though, a pocket really wouldn't have been a great feature. I'm using Bernat Cotton Naturals for the main colors, and some vareigated blue Sugar and Cream for the other stripe. It's coming along, slowly but surely. I was wondering why it's been going so slowly, then I realized that it's because I haven't been working on it. A row or two in the car while Lee's driving, another row or two while waiting at the DMV, and that's been about it. I'm very nearly to the lace panel though!

BYOB first color stripes

It's actually further along now than it was when I took this picture. I finished the blue stripe and am almost through the next white stripe before the lace center.

So that's what I'm working on now. I also got to the point where I have over 200 pictures in my Flickr account, and I have all the albums allowed when not a paying customer. If you pay for Flickr, is it worth it?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wedding Pictures and Lady's Circular Cape

As I mentioned in the last post, I also made the Lady's Circular Cape (rav) from Victorian Lace Today. It's an awesome book. I really didn't like the cape when I first saw it, but when I saw this one (rav) on Ravelry, I HAD to make it for my wedding. In fact, it's the reason I bought the book. I was going back and forth on whether or not to buy it, due to the fact that I rarely buy books and it has the pricetag of enough Knit Picks yarn for a sweater, but I went for it anyway, and am so very glad I did. I originally wanted to knit my wedding dress too (rav) but am actually pretty glad that I didn't. I got to have my grandmother make my dress instead, my grandmother who made all her daughters' wedding dresses, all our first communion dresses, and multitudes of other formalwear dresses. I'm the oldest grandchild, and the first one to get married, so it's nice that she could help me with it. Well, more than help - it was one of those "here, let me do that part for you so it's lined up right - and this next part is kind of difficult too - and..." so while I picked out the pattern, bought the fabric, and cut out all the pieces, she really made the dress. And it turned out a HECK of a lot nicer than if I were to have done it. She's a perfectionist, and most people couldn't believe that the dress was homemade. We made the veil too - JoAnn's has some awesome veiling material with shiny bits in it, and that's what we used. I can't believe how many pictures I have, and how few full length ones there are of just Lee or Lee and myself. This is the only full length shot of me in my dress with no flowers in front of it.

Speaking of flowers, look at the amazing arrangements from the cake table! There's the main arrangement, the smaller ones on the candlesticks, and the cake topper, all flowers picked from the grounds and arranged beautifully. The cake is a spice cake with buttercream frosting; the same recipe that Lee's great-grandmother made for his parent's wedding. It was excellent and delicious and wonderful. All in all, we had a really cheap wedding. It was amazing and lovely for the small amount of money that was spent. Homemade dress, homemade cake, and awesome flowers, all made with love. We had a great Justice of the Peace officiating in the formal garden, and it was just great. I don't see how it could have been much better had we had months and months to plan. The only difference is that there are definitely more people I would have liked to have had there, but due to the timing and the room we booked for the dinner, we had the perfect amount.

Now comes the important part of the post: My Lady's Circular Cape. I finished it with a 3-needle bindoff in the car between the ceremony and dinner, so it wasn't blocked, but it was done!

Wedding Capelet, Side

It looked nice and served its purpose of keeping me warm in the restaurant well. And now I have a lovely cashmere/silk capelet to wear for future occasions. If I ever have an occasion that requires something as nice as this lovely cashmere/silk capelet.

Shawl while blocking:
Blocking Lady's Circular Cape 2

It's right underneath a skylight, and I just couldn't get the other lighting to make the square go away, so it's there. Anyway, specs:

Pattern: Lady's Circular Cape from Victorian Lace Today
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Superior, 75% cashmere, 25% silk laceweight, 2.2-ish skeins
Needle: Boye Interchangeables, 7 for body, 6 for edging
Timeframe: Started this on June 17. Got married on June 30. Finished blocking July 3.
Mods: Bunches. I took out two of the twelve body panels, because I didn't like how voluminous the cape is. I wanted it to just come around my shoulders and barely close if I want it to, not to envelope me completely. I also changed the edging along the bottom for two reasons, one being the time, since my wedding was closing in, and the second reason being that a lot of people have said that they've run out of yarn due to how much the edging eats it up. I was NOT going to run out of yarn, and I wanted to have it done for the dinner, so I modified it. Instead of the row of eyelets and then the triangular points as the edging, I just did the eyelet row, slipping the outside stitches to create a nice edge. I like it the way it is, but if I ever do want to fill out the edging to match the sides and neck, I can easily knit on the rest of the edging. Though just the eyelets took FOREVER, so I'm not sure how much I'd want to do that again!

Wedding Cape Side View

It now hangs oh-so-beautifully. I've been on the lookout for shawl pins, since I'm starting to amass a bit of a collection, but I haven't been able to find any I've really loved that are versatile enough to go with a bunch. I've seen a lot of pewter ones, some awesome ones that would really only go with the perfect shawl, and a bunch of cute knitterly ones that really aren't what I'm looking for. I want simple, elegant, most likely silver, versatile, and gorgeous. Something that I can wear out with a nice dress that will catch the eye of non-knitters. Something like that. Can you point me in the right direction?

Wedding Cape on Rock

One last shot of the cape, stretched out on a lichen-covered boulder. Beautiful, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

FO: A Wide Triangle

If you're looking for a new book for your knitting, to give you loads of new patterns and techniques and inspire you to create your own unique things, and you like lace, buy Victorian Lace Today. Seriously, this book is awesome. I made two patterns in the first month I owned it! I knit A Wide Triangle (rav) and Lady's Circular Cape (rav) so far, and if I didn't have other projects that used up more yarn and/or were going to stay in the States once finished, I'd probably be knitting more. In fact, I'm going to knit a couple of scarves as thank you gifts for the friends of my Mother in Law (wow, I have one of those...) who made the cake and helped to arrange all the flowers. I'm letting my MIL decide what types of scarves I should make them, and she's talking it over with them. I'm hoping they get back to me sooner rather than later so I can finish them before I leave. I'm also making a sweater for my MIL for all the work she'd done for the wedding and for letting me stay in her house until we leave for Japan.

Anyway, I finally did some FO shoots of the Wide Triangle on the garden wall:

Finished Wide Triangle 2

Specs: Less than one skein of Knit Picks Shadow in Campfire
66 wooden beads
About a week of knitting time

I had bought 66 beads originally. Or so I thought. I either lost a bead while stringing, which is very possible, or one of the strings was short. The book called for 64 beads, and I thought it would actually take 65 while reading the instructions, and a missed decrease which made it 66 beads. The beads come in strings of 22. I had to buy another !#%!# string of beads for one effing bead. One effing bead.

Edge Close-Up

Looks nice though. I love wearing it around my waist with my dark jeans. Tres cute.

Finished Wide Triangle Closeup

100% simple garter stitch, just some increases and decreases to deal with. I messed up the decreases a little, which necessitated that extra bead, but by the time I realized I missed a decrease, I did not want to go back and fix it. This was supposed to be a quick little knit, and so it was. Besides, no one's really going to notice, right?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Beary Cute FO

Here's a little something I just finished. I have a whole bunch of cross stitches, mostly little Christmas ornaments and those six HUGE Art of Disney ones. For the ornaments, I like to back them so that the messy ends aren't showing through. Like this one of an ark:

Ark Front Ark Back

Once I've finished all the crosses and the internal back stitching, I glue the fabric onto the back with some all-purpose tacky glue. I then do the final back stitch outline around the whole ornament to keep the fabric in place better and to finish it nicely. I like the look of just the outline on the back.

The first one I ever did, however, was not finished in this manner. In fact, it wasn't until after I finished that one that I realized I'd like a better manner to finish the back. The first one I did:

Bear Ornament Front Bear Ornament Back 1

While the back doesn't look horrible, it also isn't really finished. It needs some sort of backing. Since I was going through all of my unfinished things in my craft bin to sort them for travel, I realized this was an easy finish. It won't be quite as finished as the rest of them, since I'm not going to re-stitch along the edges, but it won't look unfinished from the backside either.

Step 1: Finish stitching (done)

Step 2: Glue wrong side of ornament to wrong side of fabric. Do not mess this step up. I tried to once. Had to peel the fabric back off. Luckily, it was wrong side of ornament to right side of fabric, not the other way around, so the glue didn't mess up the ornament.

Bear in Progress

Step 3: Cut out bear outline out of fabric.

Finished Bear Ornament Back

Step 4: Put into growing collection of completed ornaments awaiting gifting. I have about ten of these done and another five that are pretty much done but I lost the gold thread to hang them on. Which means they should be in the "In Progress" pile, but they're not. Not until I get the thread at least, and then they probably will be since that will be an easy bunch to finish.

I also, if you can see it, embroidered a little "A" at the bottom of the ornament. I'm going to try to use this pink metallic thread to embroider an "A" somewhere into all the gifts I give as a trademark think. I was trying to decide if I should go with an "AR" as that's my new initials, and I think I will in the future. Move the little loopy bit that connects the horizontal line of the "A" to the leg to the other side, make the right-hand leg vertical, and continue the cross around into the loop of the "R." I'll have to try that next time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kids' Little Cable Hoodie

This was a test knit for Gardiner Yarn Works, the Kids' Little Cable Hoodie. It was perfect; I got a wonderful pattern that was a perfect fit for my youngest sister. She got a new zip-up hoodie. I gave it to her when I went home in early June (like the 1st-ish) and she's worn in quite often since. In the summer. The day or two after she got it, she went somewhere where she was able to buy a cute penguin zipper pull. I just wish I had a picture of the zipper pull and/or with her in it. Anyway, here's some pictures:

Little Kids hoodie Open
Look at the lovely cable detailing, all down the sleeves, next to the zipper, and up the back. This was a very quick and simple knit, and I was ever so pleased to get a zipper in the exact right size!

Little Kids Hoodie Back
Back of the hoodie; you can see the lovely cable detailing.

Little Kids Hoodie
Perfectly matching zipper, wooohooo!

Little Kids Hoodie on Tree
Artsy and not very good shot of the hoodie. But there nonetheless.

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Navy, three skeins
Size: Girls' 14
Notions: Navy blue zipper, ummm...22", I believe...
Time: April 2 - April 19, though knitting was done on the 17th.
Problems: None, loved this pattern! The only thing I didn't quite love was my yarn choice, but that was more of a budget thing. Amazingly soft, but it's already very pilly. Not the best choice for the cables, but looks great anyway!

My sister is currently a size 12, so I made the 14 since I was making it so late in the season. It's a bit big on her now, though she still wears it everywhere she can, and should be great in the fall. All in all, I'm very happy with the end result.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Look what I did!

We don't have the over 300 posed pictures from our photographer - Lee's aunt - but here's one I like from the few we have right now. I may have to put the dress on again with the cape I knit for this occasion because I don't think I got any good pictures of it! Details on cape will be a later post.

It was a very small wedding, about 25 attendees, on Lee's parents property. They have some beautiful gardens, so there are multitudes of pictures with gorgeous scenes, and awesome arrangements made from the blooming flowers and gorgeously put together by his mother and some of her professional arranger friends. It was really, really good for a wedding put together in two weeks and on a rather limited budget. No one really stood up for us, though his best friend was best man of sorts and held the rings and my youngest sister (10 years old) held my flowers during the ceremony. We had a spice cake and an Asti toast following the pictures in Lee's house. Only 20 of the people there stayed for the dinner reception, and we rented out a 20 person room in a local restaurant. It was pretty close to perfect. The only things that could have been better were being able to fit the ring past his huge knuckle during the ceremony, and having a couple more of our friends and family attend. The weather report said scattered thunderstorms, but it was only a little cloudy during the ceremony, and the sun came out during the pictures. Like I said, pretty darn near perfect.

The dress was made by my grandmother, Simplicity 4577, "B" with the long skirt and drape. I used ivory crepe-backed satin and ivory c...c...something shear with a little bit of sparkly. Oh yeah, crepon sheer. I was planning to make it, and was living with my grandparents for the two weeks prior to the ceremony. I cut out the pieces, and she put the correct thread in the machine while I went out for a bike ride. She then said she was just going to start the bodice for me, since it can be tricky, while I was in the shower. I never got the dress back. She made all of her daughters and some of their friends wedding gowns, as well as many, many bridesmade, prom, and other formal and informal dresses. I learned a lot from her, and I'm really happy she did this for me. Everything was gorgeous, simple, elegant, and really, really nice.

I don't feel any different. Now I just gotta try to get all this name change stuff done and see if it affects the visas and stuff. Woohooo!