Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Cable Swatches

Cable Swatches
Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
Here are the swatches I've done for the baby blanket I'm working on using the Jaeger Baby Merino yarn I bought recently, which, by the way, works nicely for the cabling. The bottom swatch is the "wild oats" stitch pattern. The top left is "plaited cable" and the top right is my (screwed up but we'll call it special design) elongated "sand tracks". If you want to know what sand tracks should look like, imagine these having removed a few rows between each repeat. Oh well, I actually like this one. It's got an almost random look about it that's not bad. I really like the other two, though. I think you could do a really cute baby jacket in those wild oats, and I'm sure I've seen the plaited cable on a sweater sleeve somewhere recently.

So, my original plan was to make a bunch of swatches and then sew them together. Then, good ole smarter-than-me hubbie made the suggestion of just knitting all the designs I want in one single piece. That's more confusing, for sure, because you're changing stitch patterns within a row. Not so great for memorizing the pattern, but I started thinking about all the "fun" I'd have sewing and weaving in the ends, and I'm starting to see his logic. So, that got me thinking about making an actually plan of attack for making this blanket. I'm looking at these swatches, so nicely pinned into to place (notice the colorful pin heads my daughter called little lights), and I'm trying to come up with a pattern I would like. For now, all I've come up with is something with the wild oats as a boarder and the plaited cable doodads in the middle some where. I'm really starting to like this cabling thing, though, so I'm thinking I may even go for something more complicated like one of the patterns I saw on Girl From Auntie. That would be pretty.

Hmmm. More contemplating is definitely in order.

Cables, Lace, Ice, Eggs and Livestock

Feeling a bit decadent today. Just washed my hands with bottled water. I think I'll have a little Evian bath later. When was the last time you washed your hands with bottled water? It feels naughty. No, we don't have money to burn. It's just because our pipes have frozen over for the second time this week. If we were intelligent people (which we're not), we would have saved some water in jugs yesterday afternoon while we still had some. This would allow us to do some minor necessities today (flushing, washing a couple of dishes, cooking...). Instead, I'm doing these things with store-bought drinking water. Probably from some mountain spring in another part of France (I don't think they tend to sell tap water in bottles in France). On the bright side (the really bright side), it's a gorgeous sunny day, without a cloud in the sky. If it weren't so cold, we could actually go out and enjoy the sunshine for a while. We may have to try for a few minutes later, anyway.

Last night I worked on the Kiri shawl after getting the kids tucked in and the house nice and quiet (we shoved Daddy out the door early for a live soccer game - must let the man have his fun sometimes, too). I have decided that lace is apparently not my friend. I am, however, determined to beat it into submission. This shawl may not end up being too pretty, but I'll get it done! I'm just not sure I should have started learning lace knitting on superfine mohair. Oh well, at least it's cheap, so no big loss. I got through one cycle of the second chart that repeats itself to make the leaf pattern for the shawl. I'm pretty sure I did each even numbered row at least three times, which is why I've decided lace must not be fond of me. I'm hoping I'll get the hang of it at some point.

This morning while the kids were awake I started a new project (because I'm not so completely looney as to attempt that shawl while acting as a jungle gym for the little monkeys to climb on). It's going to be a sampler baby blanket made of the Jaeger baby merino I mentioned last weekend. This is my project to try all sorts of cable patterns. I've got the wonderful Reader's Digest craft book that has a couple pages of cable stitches explained in detail. I've started wtih a "wild oat" pattern. At least, I think that's what it was called (going senile in my old age). I started out trying to do it with an extra needle but opted for doing it needleless. I seem to be too uncoordinated for the third needle. I've done about half the piece I'm going to do of this pattern, and it's looking nice. Oddly, the yarn is almost exactly the same color as the picture in the book, so it's looking JUST like it should. I think this pattern would actually make a really pretty baby sweater. It's delicate, but no so dainty as to be completely feminine, I don't think.

Now, after seeing the title of this post, and reading up to this point, you've figured out what the cables, lace and ice were all about. I'm sure you're wondering what the eggs and livestock have to do with anything in my little existence. Well, I'm not sure I've mentioned the fact that we have a chicken. Yes, singular. Only one. We did have several until we lost 4 in the space of two weeks. The remaining one is our little survivor. Shell-shocked after what she must have seen during the disappearance of her peers, she refuses to enter the chicken coop. She limps from place to place on her crooked leg (old war wound after being ambushed by the family dog), happily pecking at whatever munchies she can find on the ground and searching for the ultimate hiding place for her eggs. We've always suspected that this lone chicken had been our best layer but had no proof as we had not found her eggs. Occasionally we'd find one or two under a tree or next to a car wheel, but yesterday we stumbled upon an enormous pile. I'm apparently not the only one around here with a stash. There were at least 25 to 30 eggs hidden in a corner behind an old board. Now that we know where she hoards them, we only need to figure out how to steal them from her without her deciding the jig is up and changing her hiding place. How does one outsmart a being with a brain the size of a pea? Truly a tricky matter, indeed.

Now, on to the livestock, which is actually knitting-related. My husband grew up around sheep. His father raised them for their meat before dedicating himself to wine-making. We live on a very large piece of land, most of which becomes a possible flaming bonfire in the fire season. One of the best remedies for this problem is sheep. They eat any and everything in sight, so they're better and less harmful than Round Up. Because of fond childhood memories and the promise of free bush trimming, my husband has decided to purchase sheep. I know what you're thinking. Shave 'em, spin 'em and stitch 'em! Of course, I'm with you on that one. Sadly, though, the kind of sheep that know how to feed themselves off of the bushes around here don't have nice coats for yarn. Not to mention the thrashing they get from the many prickly wild plants growing in the area. So, I've been suggesting some other options. I love the softness and warmth of alpaca, so I've got him thinking about them. They appear to be pasture animals, though, so they may not like these bushes either (Drat!). He seems to think llama might work, since they apparently eat anything, but what I'd love to see around here is a few camel. What a sight! Heck, why don't we just start our own animal park? Any breed suggestions? What about cashmere goats? Now, that would be nice!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Secret Pals Questionnaire

Here are the answers to the Secret Pals Questionnaire. This is really only for one person in the world to read, so the rest of you will have to be patient with all this junk you didn't want to know, or you can take this time to get to know me better.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high-end/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you? I'm a HUGE yarn snob. I can stand to wear synthetics, but I hate the feel of it running through my fingers when I knit (especially acrylic of any sort - nylon's not quite so bad).
2. Do you spin? Crochet? I'd love to learn to spin, but I'm not there yet. I just made a new friend who spins and is willing to teach, so that will come soon.
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) Not a real perfume fan, and I'm allergic to lots of stuff, but smoke is the only one that would really bug me.
4. How long have you been knitting? 3-4 years, though I can't pin down the exact time I started.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Froogle and maybe amazon too. I'll have to look up the name. You can click on my Froogle wishlist on my profile page, though.
6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Well, I really like clean smelling stuff. Nothing too flowery (gives me a headache). I guess I like lavender okay, though. I think citrus is nice, in general Grapefruit is good.
7. Do you have a sweet tooth? More than I'd like to.
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I cook/bake a lot, if that counts. Knitting is the only craft I've ever stuck to. I've been wanting to attempt rug-making (not hooked rugs but the woven sort). Ooh, ooh, and I like felting. I'd love to try Nuno felting or whatever that's called. Very cool.
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I'm pretty flexible about music, but my favorites are 30's jazz, "world music" (I particularly like Middle Eastern and Baltic stuff), and I really love the sound of the violin, though I don't think I own anything with it.
10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? I love bright colors but seldom wear them. I need to start doing it more often!
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? No pets, though I do love dogs. I have two kids and a hubbie.
12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) I want to start my own LYS at some point.
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? So far, it's Koigu. Yum!
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Not a huge mohair fan, and as I said earlier, I can't stand acrylic. I'd love to try some cashmere or something else extremely soft that didn't come from a rabbit, but I can't afford it for now. *Sigh*
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? I'm a bit obsessed by my Koigu socks I've just started. And, I intend to get more Fair Isle under my belt soon. Just started in on cables, and I'm loving it.
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Haven't found an absolute favorite yet. I've liked everything I've knit so far. But, socks seem pretty fun. I'm enjoying cables at the moment, though they're new to me.
17. What are you knitting right now? Koigu socks, Kiri shawl with mohair (I know I just said I didn't like it much, but it was dirt cheap). Linen tank. Cable baby blanket.
18. What do you think about ponchos? I like the idea of them, but I'm not certain I would actually wear one. I always think they look nice on others, though. I may consider wearing one around the house for comfort someday.
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Everything has it's place and time, but circulars are really nice since I'm a Continental knitter and tend to whack people with my right needle.
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Swallow Casein if it's plastic (very nice to use), bamboo otherwise. Not a metal fan, because of arthritis in my right index finger.
21. Are you a sock knitter? Yep. We already established that.
22. How did you learn to knit? Taught myself from a Reader's Digest craft book after moving to France and having a baby (book belongs to my mother-in-law). I didn't know anyone, and it must have been fate for knitting I to meet up, because it was the only book in English in the whole house.
23. How old is your oldest UFO? Maybe a couple of months. It's the second set to a glove. I love to knit for the relaxation, but I need to see things get finished. I get great satisfaction from seeing that I have created something.
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? Gromit or maybe the little sheep with the sweater from the Wallace & Gromit where the sheep are being stolen for their wool and their meat.
25. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving, maybe. Christmas comes in a close second. All that food, I guess.
26. Is there anything that you collect? Yarn, well, you knew that. I was forced into collecting elephants by someone starting me on a collection of them and others following, but I have no room for collecting anything.

Koigu Fruit Loop Sock

Koigu Fruit Loop Sock
Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
Well, I have finally come to a design that I like. I decided to stick with the ribbing. I find it comfy. I'll do actual decreases for the instep on some future sock (because I WILL be doing more socks!). I've named them Fruit Loop socks because of the bright colors and the fact that there are some eyelet holes on the ankle that reminded me of one of the many sugar-filled cereals of my childhood.

Just a little reminder about this lovely wool: it's Koigu KPPPM in color # 112, knit on 3mm dpns.

For those who might be interested, I'm going to have to type my instructions up for use in making the second sock (my notes are a mess after all the many tries I've gone through in getting the sock I like), so I'll post those soon. I'm thinking of making a pattern page, which will include these socks, the little felted pouch I made, as well as any future patterns I come up with that I think are worth the time it takes to post them (you're always welcome to disagree).

Koigu Fruit Loop Sock #1

I didn't blog last night, but I have a really great excuse. I worked hard on my sock. Then, I worked hard on undoing a portion of my sock. Then, today, I, again, worked hard on my sock. I had it pretty much finished last night, but I felt like the toe decreased a bit too quickly. So, I ripped it back to where the decreases began and restarted them. They're better now, and if anything they may not quite decrease enough. The toe ends up being a bit squared off like a tube sock would be (but the heel is shaped, unlike a tube sock). I'm currently wearing my finished sock to see if I want to make any modifications before diving into the second one. No one-sock syndrome here, I believe. After putting this thing on and feeling how soft and warm it is, I'm ready to wear a second one. Can't wait. I'm not so sure I'm really in the mood to knit a second one, but I keep telling myself the second will go a lot faster because I was working on getting the fit right when knitting the first, so there was frogging going on. That shouldn't be too much of a problem on the second one. Should be able to fly through it, right? Hope so.

As soon as I decide whether I'm sticking with this design or not, I'll post a picture of it. The one design detail I'm uncertain of for now is the foot section. Once I finished turning the heel, I opted for ribbing the foot instead of doing some decreases to form the sock to my instep a bit. I don't have extremely sensitive feet, I don' think, so the ribbing may not bug me, but I can feel it when I walk. It's actually not bad, really, because it almost makes for some extra padding. Very cushy. I'm thinking it may seem to cause a slight additional amount of friction for those with sensitive feet, though. I'll have to have my mom try them on to check out that hypothesis. She's got sensitive skin on her feet, I think.

Walking around getting lunch cooked and cleaning up the mess the little one just made, I'm pretty convince I like the feel of this sock, so stayed tuned for a picture a little later.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Koigu Sock and Kiri Shawl

Koigu Sock and Kiri Shawl
Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
Finally, at long last (I know, you were about to pee your pants from the excitement), I present the barely started Kiri shawl and the not-even-half done Fruit Loop Sock that I'm having so much fun with. I took tons of shots to get one even this good, so no complaining. One was more flattering to Kiri, while this one showed off the Koigu colors best. I'm happier with the sock, so this picture won. The Koigu is colorway #112, in case you're wondering. It's a bute, ain't it.

I'm making my own pattern for this sock, which explains why it's taking so long. I like it, though. I've got a row of eyelets every once in a while doing stripes down the ankle. You don't really see the eyelet holes very well (which is fine with me), but I really like the texture it gives the fabric. In case you're noticing that the holey rows don't look evenly spaced, that's on purpose. The space between holey rows gradually gets larger as you go down the ankle. Cute, huh? Thought that up all by myself. Okay, maybe you don't like it, but they're my socks, so keep your trap shut.

About the Kiri shawl: This isn't her best angle, but you can sort of see the leaves that are slightly raised left and right of the middle. This is the fern pattern. You'll see this repeating all over the place as it gets larger.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

American Knitters in France

Yeah, you didn't even know there were any American knitters in France, did you? Or, maybe you did, but I didn't until recently. I stumbled upon one, and, ironically, she lives two villages away from me. Who'd a thunk it? So, we got together to knit and chat this afternoon while letting our kids (again - ironically, the same age) play. The kids played wonderfully. Not a single fight, which, if you have preschoolers, you'll know to be nothing short of miraculous. She was a great hostess, and, by the way, she's got a blog, if you're interested. I'm too lazy to link to her in this post, but she's "Lou Knits" in the sidebar over there. And, let me tell you, this woman has a serious stash. Beautiful! I didn't ask for permission to pull tons of skeins down off their shelves and just wallow decadently in all of it, but the thought crossed my mind. She had some beautiful silk/wool roving waiting to be spun. So soft. I swear, I felt like a teenage boy copping his first feel. Luscious. You think I'm developing a fiber fetish here? She's got some great things on her needles and it was wonderful be around another knitting fiend for once. I felt normal around her, and I'm excited to find that she's full of bits of knowledge I know I can benefit from. Sadly, all I can offer her is admiration and tons of compliments for the moment, but who knows what the future holds for my knitting, right?

So, you're thinking I must of gotten tons of knitting done while there. Not really, but we were pretending to watch our children, as well. I've gotten the ankle almost all done on those Koigu socks that I ripped back and started over the other day. They're looking nice, and though Louise had never knit socks with Koigu (which she loves and owns tons of in all kinds of great colorways), she seemed inspired to try after seeing what I've finished thus far. Then, encouraged by her warm welcome, I finally found the courage to whip out my Kiri shawl. I was surprised to hear her say how nice it looked. This little boost may give me the confidence I need to show it to you all. It being my first ever attempt at knitted lace, I wasn't sure if it even resembled what it should. She assured me that it wasn't as full of mistakes as I'd thought. Huge relief (though, I was going to just continue on and see what it looked like anyway). Beginner's luck, I guess.

I think I'll make an attempt at arranging a little snapshot of the Koigu sock, which I think I'll call my Fruit Loop Socks from now on, because they remind me of the cereal. If I can get it to look okay, I'll probably show the Kiri shawl (or what I have done at this point) in that same picture. They're both small enough I should be able squeeze them both in. I know, you're on the edge of your seat with anticipation after all the talking about them. Patience, my friend. Patience. It soon will come.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Spot the Space Heater

See Spot sit. See Spot follow Krista from room to room. See Spot get plugged in. See Spot warm Krista. Gooooood space heater.

It's freezing in sunny Southern France this week (but with beautiful, clear blue skies). This is craziness. It had been up in the high 50's just a week ago. Now we're down to actual freezing, with a nasty wind that makes it seem like it's well below. I looked at the weather report earlier today and, though it was only 36F, the wind chill made it feel like it was really 23F. And, it's supposed to be worse tomorrow. We just aren't equipped for this kind of weather around here (I know you blizzard survivors are laughing at me, I'm sure). Our badly heated, badly insulated temporary house is so cold, my trusty, little electric space heater follows me from kitchen to bathroom and back again (the two coldest rooms in the house). It's one of those days when it takes courage and a lot of self-convincing to pull yourself out of a steamy bath or to drag yourself out from under the warm sheets. We went over to the new house (the eternally-in-the-process-of-being-built-house), and it was toasty in comparison, with no heating system turned on at all. You can't imagine how we wish that house were finished on days like today. Which brings me around to knitting, of course. After all, all roads do lead to knitting (all roads worth taking, that is).

I'm very, very, very, very, very, very (as many a 3rd grader has said in school papers) happy to have my Alpaca sweater. I should feel guilty that it was intended to keep my sweet hubbie warm. I'm not. I'm just too busy feeling warm and cozy to worry about others' feelings. Besides, he's the rugged manly type (grrrrr), and I'm the girly wimpy type (brrrrr). I obviously need it more than he does. No, I actually do feel a little guilty (but not that much). I will make him one someday, but first I have to find the right yarn for it. Mom's bringing a bunch for me from the US when she comes, and I'm hoping that part of it will be just what I'm wanting to inspire a new and hopefully correctly-sized hubbie sweater. If anyone knows of any masculine, somewhat tame (even classy, maybe) multiple color, fair isle sweater patterns, please let me know. I think some of the yarns Mom's bringing would make a lovely one.

And, as happy as my torso is to have that sweater, my feet are tens times as anxious to have their new Koigu socks. They'll just have to be patient, though, if they want a good fit, because I frogged the one I had half-done. It'll be snugger now (which will make for happier, warmer feet). For now, though, they'll have to settle for Spot the Space Heater lovingly licking their toes with his warm air (no that was not meant to sound the least bit sexual, though I know it might to some - this is a dog analogy, remember?).

Well, off to slip between those cozy, warm, flannel sheets, for visions of needles and yarns to dance through my head. I'm almost certain it will be the prospect of working with that Koigu that will get me out of bed in the morning. That, or the sound of glass breaking in the kitchen, as the little devils of the manor attempt to serve themselves breakfast.

When the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play...

My husband leaves me alone for just a couple of days, and I've fallen in love. Intrigued? It's his fault for leaving me alone with my two little monsters (who have been abnormally well-behaved these past few days) - thus the infrequent blogging. You want to hear about my new love, I'm sure....

I recently ordered some yarn online and it came over the weekend (rather quickly, I might add). One is a Jaeger Baby Merino in "Buttermilk." Nothing particularly special but at such a great price, I figured it was a shame not to get it. I'm usually not a huge fan of superwash wools, but I just can't get yarn of even that quality in the shops around here for such a low price. So, I plan to make a blanket for the baby my sister-in-law is expecting. I've been wanting to play around with cable stitches, and I think making a cable sampler blanket will let me play around with different stitches without making a ridiculously obnoxious sweater that someone would be forced to wear.

The other yarn that came, though, is what I was really excited to see. It's my very first Koigu, and I have to say, it's the nicest yarn I have ever laid my hands/eyes on. It's soft, it knits well, but oh, the colors... Well, the colors remind me of an old Saturday Night Live skit - they're "like butta" (said with the appropriate accent, of course). No, I guess the buttermilk one from Jaeger is more like butter, but if you've seen the skit, you'll understand. One color flows into the next so smoothly. And, so many colors! The yarn is bursting with life. Like butta, I tell you. Like butta. Anyway, I've been playing around all day today trying to get a sock pattern to work out just right (Koigu's a bit pricey, so I only got enough for a pair of socks for now). I've frogged and reknit countless times, but I'm getting there. I am wondering, though, if I wouldn't like the ankle a bit tighter. It fits nicely, but it's far from snug. Of course, if I change that part, it changes everything, because the number of stitches would change, but I do want it to be right. I may finish the whole sock and try it out to see if I like it. I can always rip it out and do it again. Take it as a learning experience, and it's not like having to redo a whole sweater. I like the way the sock is looking so far. The only part I'm a little unsure of design-wise is the heel. I opted for a sturdy stitch that should last longer, but it doesn't look as delicate as the rest of the sock. You never see that part, anyway, so I think I'll keep it that way. After all, at the price I paid for this yarn, I want to be able to pass these socks down through several generations!

The Kiri shawl is finally advancing a bit. I know there are tons of errors in the very first section, but with this yarn, you can't see much of anything, anyway. So, I figured I'd keep going so as not to get discouraged and quit the project entirely. I have finished two sections of the chart, and it's finally starting to look like there's a design to it. So, maybe my mistakes weren't as frequent or as bad as I suspected. After a while, I started to get the hang of it, and I'm going to continue on and see what happens. It's really inexpensive yarn, anyway, so I figure I'll use it as learning yarn. That way, when I want to try a lacey project with some really pretty yarn (like Koigu, for example), I'll have a better idea of what I'm doing.

I'll try to post some pictures of the lovely Koigu when I get a chance. For now... suspense.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Diagonal Rib Tank

Diagonal Rib Tank
Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
A rare and beautiful silence has finally fallen upon the house (munchkins are finally sound asleep!), giving me quiet time to finish the front of my tank. So far, so good. You'll notice the slight diagonal bias this ribbing gives the fabric. That'll pretty much work itself out when I sew it all together in the end. When I half try it on, putting it up to my body, it looks pretty good.

I'm a bit irked at myself, though. I sped through the shoulders to be able to weigh it. You see, there's a slight glitch that I've seen coming since about halfway through the front - I won't have enough yarn to finish it. Ugh! Don't you just hate it when that happens? And, La Droguerie (the yarn brand) doesn't even tell you the dye lot, since you buy it weighed out for the exact quantity you need and it comes with no label (my trouble actually stems from this). To make matters worse, I don't even live in the city I bought the yarn in (Lyon).

All is not lost, though, because, it being winter, they're not likely to have sold out the dye lot this was from, and even luckier is that my mother has a business trip bringing her to Europe and will be flying in to Lyon to see us. I'll have to go up there, anyway. I'm not looking forward to the enormous line that will certainly be awaiting me in that shop, but I'll have the wonderful company of my very own mom (whom I have not seen since July). So, we'll put this project on hold for now and start in on something else.

Oh, and major stash enrichment went on today. Yet another reason to look forward to Mom's visit. She doesn't know it yet, but she'll have more yarn in her bags than clothes (I finally got to spend my Christmas money - it'd be stupid to spend dollars in France with how low the dollar is these days, so I had been waiting.) Like any good yarn junkie, I'm smiling from ear to ear.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Amazing Grace

I can now breathe again. It once was lost, but now it's found! I'm jumping for joy, and the key is now safely back on it's hook way up high!


I am in knitter's panic at this moment. I have lost the key to my wool wardrobe. If you want anything left untouched by sticky toddler fingers around here, you must lock it up. I do this with my knitting supplies. It's the only semi-organized part of my life. The key usually stays on a hook almost out of MY reach, but last night, I must have misplaced it. I think I put it in the pocket of the pants I was wearing, because I realized I had walked away with it. Now, it's no longer there. I've looked everywhere. This is not good.

On the bright side, I happen to have enough yarn and needles out to keep me busy for a while, but I needed to put some non-knitting stuff in the other side of that wardrobe, and now I can't.

Fooey, I say! Fooey!

Knitting Recycled Bags: An Unoriginal Idea

I've had a few comments about the plastic bag yarn bra, and I just wanted to let everyone know, that, once again, I wasn't being completely original. I've never actually seen anything about recycling bags this way, nor have I heard of a yarn bra done this way. I do, however, have an acquaintance who had seen a site online about doing it. So, my idea is not 100% original, and I would like to make people aware of this, so that they may seek out other ideas for knitting up those many plastic bags that plague our modern households. I checked this morning, and a simple google search of: [ knit plastic bags ] gives you plenty of sites to start with. So, for all of you currently mulling over ideas for using up your grocery bags, google it. You may find something interesting.

Some other ideas I have had for knitting plastic bags:
-Beach bag.
-Shopping bag somewhat like the felted French Market bag that's so popular in blogland at the moment.
-Mesh netting used in car trunks to hold things in place while car is in motion (you just need a couple of hooks to hold it in place).
-Diaper bag.
-Baby changing mat.
-Mesh bag to hang on back of stroller to hold lightweight items (don't want to weigh down the stroller)
-Knit tightly enough, maybe you could make a baby bib or an apron.
-Colorful placemats, if you've got really nice colors of plastic bags (not recommended for very hot dishes) - this could be a fun "weaving" activity for kids even if they don't knit.
-Just a thought: Could you make a rain jacket from this stuff if it were knitting tightly enough? I know, who'd wear it?
-Flip Flop sandals - in my opinion they can't be any more uncomfortable than the real thing (can't stand them).
-Mesh Wine Bag (to protect wine bottles, especially in transport).
-Hanging basket-like bag to hold fruits or veggies in the kitchen, if they didn't already come in a mesh bag.
-Squarish bag to hold recyclables (one for glass, one for plastics, one for paper!)
-Outdoor floor mat to scrape dirty shoes.

I admit, I got a bit silly there, but the sky is the limit: perhaps some fishnet pantyhose and a matching mini-skirt for that special "lady" in your life?!?

And some ideas others have brought to my attention:
-A lacey bag to hold yarn scraps in for the birds to use for their nest-making
-A bag's bag (you know, a bag to keep your plastic grocery bags in before you get a chance to knit them).
-Kitchen floor mat
-Hand bags

If you have other ideas, and you want to share them, please feel free to leave them in the comment section of this post. Or, if you have made items recycling plastic bags, and you have a site with instructions and/or pictures, feel free to share that as well.

I have also seen a site online where they give detailed instructions on how to cut the bags into one long strip. It looks better thought out than my method. If you're interested, click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Recycled Bag Yarn Bra Instructions

A recent string of posts to the Knit List got me thinking about making a "yarn bra". For those who aren't familiar with this term, it is similar to a traditional bra: its purpose is to control the unwieldy - in this case a ball of yarn. Many on the Knit List suggested recycling the netting used to package certain fragile veggies, such as cherry tomatoes. The stores I shop in don't seem to sell them packaged this way, so I got to thinking. And, I know, I should not do such things while my head is hazy from a bad cold, but I did it, and here is this result.

A Knitted, Recycled Grocery Bag Yarn Bra (see photo below instructions):

I know it's a mouthful, and if my brain were a bit less foggy I might come up with something snappier, but here's how I did it, in case I'm not the only nut out there who likes the idea.

Get out a few plastic grocery bags (Clean ones. Please, no food goo). Cut them with a pair of scissors as if you were peeling an apple and wanted the peel to stay in one piece. If you like things slightly more complicated, make use of the handles in making this one long string of plastic. If you don't, chop them off and start your coil just after the handles. I'm the complicated type. Be as haphazard as you want here, it's not going to matter much. I cut my string about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick. And, if you hold a sharp pair of scissors just right and pull lightly on the bag, you can actually slide-slice without doing much of a chopping motion.

Okay, now you've got your "yarn". So, cast on as many stitches as it takes to get the circumference you want on the biggest dpns you've got. I used 24 cast-on stitches and separated them among 3 US size 11 (8 mm) needles (this means 8 stitches per needle).

I knit a couple of rows in stockinette stitch (but, in hindsight, K1,P1 ribbing might have been nice). On the 3rd row, do a row of the following sequence: k2, yrn, k2tog, k1, s1, k1, psso, yrn, k1 (one time on each needle).

Then, continue knitting till the bag is as long as you want (mine was 4" or 10 cm). On the next row, k2, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1 (one time on each needle). You should have 6 stitches on each needle. On the next row k2, k2tog, k2 (once on each needle), leaving you with 5 stitches on each needle. I did one more row of decreases: k2, k2tog, k1 (once on each needle) and started to get bored, so I used a crochet hook to pull what was left of my second bag through the remaining stitches on the needles, tied off and used the crochet hook to weave the "yarn" in.

I'm thinking I could have done a better job with the decreases, but I was just experimenting. So, play with it a bit if you don't like my decreases.

Lastly, I made a chain with my trusty crochet hook and fed it through the holes formed on row 3. And, there you have no doubt the classiest thing you've ever knit! If you really want to make it perty, try alternating different colored bags for stripes. Oh, and trim off any shaggy bag edges that hang (not that anyone is going to examine this piece of art for shoddy craftmanship).

Note: I found the cheapy, grocery store bags knit more easily than the thicker, shiny ones I got in a nice boutique, which caught on my needles.

Another tip: So easy to attach a new bit of "yarn". I just tied a knot with the two strings, leaving a length of about 2 to 3 inches on each side. I twisted the one closest to my work (because it was running the opposite direction from my string going in to the work) and it got knit up in the stitches just fine. Since I changed colors, I made sure to twist the white tail back in the direction of the white and the green tail back in the direction of the green. The tail going away from my work didn't even really need to be twisted. It did it on its own as I knit. You can't even tell I did it, and and there's no weaving in ends there.

Who wouldn't love this idea (please don't all raise your hands at once, it will make me dizzy)? You get an excuse to knit. With free "yarn". It was quick. Your yarn balls will love you. Mother Earth will love you. Your cat - maybe not so much, but when did she ever care what YOU thought? One of these days, I may try to do one with some aloo yarn I've got, which is supposed to have moth-repellent properties, but that would be my fancy, going-out-on-the-town yarn bra.

Knitted Recycled Bag Yarn Bra

Here is a picture of the yarn bra to go with the instructions above.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Diagonal Rib Tank

Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
Must... blog.... Feel... too... sick....

Okay, that's mostly true, so I won't be too chatty (I might not be all that coherent anyway, so no big loss), but let's not exaggerate too much. I have been able to get a little knitting done, since I'm okay with sitting still, spending very little energy.

So, here is a picture of the portion of the diagonal rib tank I've done so far. I like the way it's turning out. This is my first try at diagonals, and I'm finding them to be pretty fun once you get the hang of the way they work. Keep in mind this tank will have this green as the primary color with large blocks of lavender and white, as well.

My head is a bit too hazy to even attempt working on the Kiri shawl, so there's no progress to report there. And, with that haziness in mind, I will bid you farewell for the evening, hoping I will soon feel up to blogging.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Not Much Knitting Going On

I haven't accomplished much knitting today, thus the unusual silence from the Stitchin' Sheep. We've caught a little bug around here, and it seems to be my turn to feel awful. I've noticed that when I'm sick, my concentration is off to the point that my French is somewhat lacking. Today, I've noticed that knitting is affected in a similar way. I keep starting and having to rip out rows (we'll call these false starts, I guess). As a result, I've advanced very little on my tank, and I've even gone backwards on the Kiri Shawl that I started last night. I made enough mistakes that I just wasn't confident that I was getting the desired lace design, so I just threw out that (small) bit I had already done and started anew. At least that small amount I did last night and today helped me learn an important lesson. I cannot do lace or any other complicated pattern needing a chart to follow while anyone else is in the room with me. All children and husbands must be in bed or otherwise occupied. They make me lose track of my chart too easily.

Something completed unrelated but on my mind is the idea of never looking a gift horse in the mouth. It's a nice saying, don't you think? I always thought it was probably a decent piece of wisdom, but now I'm not too sure. I think you should at least examine the gift giver, if not the horse himself. Case in point: a few years ago, we purchased the Mac iBook that I am currently typing this post on. I love it and have not regretted my switch to Macs from PCs for one moment. With it, however, came a free Lexmark printer. Cool! You can always use another printer in a multi-computer home, right? Wrong. Oh so wrong. I didn't realize how wrong until I went to purchase a replacement ink cartridge at the store yesterday. In fact, Lexmark, though one of the cheaper printer brands on the market, makes the most expensive cartridges known to mankind. And, to top that off, the particular model that I received so graciously free of charge requires what? Yes, you guessed it - the most expensive ink cartridges within the Lexmark line. So, I've realized that this model was designed specifically to be given away free, but with the idea in mind that the price of the printer is easily made up on replacement ink cartridges. So, I say, always look a gift horse in the mouth, if he comes with frequently replaced parts.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Diagonal Rib Tank

I've finally figured out what inspires me most for a new project. It turned out to be the linen yarn I got from La Drogerie. So far, I've cast on 100 stitches in the green and am doing a diagonal rib. Last night, I lost track of which side was the right side (I know, pretty pathetic) and ended up having to rip it and start again this morning. It's going well now, and I really like the look of the diagonals. The linen seems particularly nice for diagonals, since it's just a stiff yarn and diagonals can cause a slanting effect in the fabric. With the linen, it should keep its shape pretty well. Most of the tank will be in the green, with blocks of the two other colors (white and lavender). I think it will look nice when finished. My only worry is that it may be too busy with the diagonal and the changing colors. We'll see, I guess.

Another project I plan to start soon is the Kiri shawl. I got a ton of some extremely inexpensive (but hopefully not cheap) mohair laceweight yarn recently. I played with it a bit, but having never used laceweight yarn (which you don't see much here, now that I think about it), and not a huge mohair fan, I was at a loss for what to do. So, I put out a distress signal on the Knit List and many, many people came to my rescue with some suggestions. One, even came armed with a really pretty pattern for the Kiri Shawl, which is quite lovely, though I'm not much of a shawl wearing kind of girl (that's why I'll be knitting it for my grandmother). It'll be done in a royal blue. Then, I've also got tons of this same yarn in bright yellow. My thought is to either find (or make???) a lacey shawl pattern for it to resemble a setting sun. I like the idea, but can I do it? We'll see after I do the Kiri.

Sorry, no pictures of any of this today, because the batteries in my camera need charging. Too much blogging of late, you say?

Also, a funny thing happened to me at the store today... it's semi-annual sale time here in France, and I saw a pair of shoes I liked. I tried them on, which you know you should never do if you don't want them following you home like a lost puppy. So, I sat there looking at these 40 euro shoes (in a style I've been wanting for a very long time), and I thought about all the yarn I could get for that price. In the end, I put them back and walked out of the store, all the while thinking about yarn. So, doesn't that give me the right to immediately go out and splurge on whatever yarn suits my fancy?

On that note, I'm off to go fiddle with my sticks (and yarn).

Sunday, January 16, 2005

What Next?

I've been playing around all afternoon with project ideas, and nothing inspires me, except a beautiful cable on Girl From Auntie's site. To see it click here. It's the Durrow in the middle. I love the asymmetrical design, and I'm thinking that would be a great pattern to run down the middle of a sweater for my husband. All I have to do now is find a yarn for it. Ho hum. I think for my next project (since I can't afford to go getting more yarn without at least the justification that I have no other projects waiting) I'll do the little colorful tank I got the linen yarn for. That sounds fun. I have another tank in mind, too, with some cables on it, but that'll have to wait a bit, since I have yet to decide on exactly what cable pattern I want. It can't be too busy for what I want to do with it, so the Durrow will have to wait.

I did get my little felted bag refelted this afternoon, though. It had stretched out a bit, and I didn't like the shape. So, I've refelted (making it a tighter fabric and better shape, I think). I guess I'll have to sew a little lining in to keep it from stretching out again.

Squared Swirl Sweater

Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
Finally, mission accomplished. And, it fits! I think for my first attempt at fair isle (though, it's certainly far from elaborate) and my first attempt at making a top-down circular needle sweater (from my own imagination, since I lost the pattern I had), it's not bad at all. If I were to do it again, I would probably slightly change the ratio of arms to front to back when doing increases, but overall it works. And, it'll keep my boy warm.

I definitely need to work on my fair isle technique (okay, that's my excuse for doing even more, since I liked it so much) so the tension isn't so tight in that section.

Maybe, if I can get around to it, I'll post a little diagram of the design in case anybody is interested in having it. It was really pretty simple, and it could be put on your favorite circular pattern (socks, hat, glove cuff, sweater, whatever).

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Fiddlesticks, That Darn Frog!

Well, I finished the green and black sweater tonight. I slipped it over my son's head and stuck his sweet little arms in the sleeves only to see they are a bit too short. Faulty measuring AGAIN? Who knows, but I can say this much at least: knitting seems to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, trial by error kind of activity for me. I guess that's what makes everything I knit truly a unique creation, right? So, not quite back to the drawing board, at least, but I won't have a picture of the finished sweater to show tonight. Hey, it's only a couple of inches to add though, so I'll definitely be done by tomorrow, and it looked pretty cute, otherwise.

Feelin' Sassy!

A little piece of advice: don't ever allow a hormonal woman near a pair of scissors. Nooooo, I'm not feeling suicidal. Get ahold of yourself! I was just feeling ugly, that's all. And what does that have to do with a pair of scissors? Well, let's say I just vacuumed up several months worth of trying to let my hair grow out. I guess it wasn't meant to be. I used to have long hair, and I thought it looked nice on me. Then, one fine day in grad school, I got brave and chopped it. I loved it and hadn't tried to grow it back out till recently. So, stuck at that shoulder-length level that's great to be able to pull back in a ponytail, I was feeling blah. I took a good look at myself in the mirror and realized that pulling my hair back in a ponytail wasn't worth having dull, flat hair. So, I whacked the heck out of it tonight, and I guarantee it'll make my short-hair-loving-hubbie smile from ear to ear (he always secretly roots against me when I try to grow it out). So, basically, I'm starting to think I'm just not the young hottie that I probably never was who can wear long hair (all these little hints that are telling me I'm getting old suck).

If your wondering how I am able to take out a pair of scissors and just go at my own hair, you need to be aware that I was raised by a woman who periodically feels the need to do the same because her hair "feels funny."

As always after a good hacking, I'll need to see how it wears for a couple of days and make some adjustments, but, overall I like it. It's short, and I'm feeling sassy!

Progress Report

Originally uploaded by The Stitchin Sheep.
Well, I just couldn't wait to get the squared swirl sweater totally done to take a picture of it. So, here it is in 3/4 of it's glory. And, that darn giraffe just galloped in front of the camera right as I took the shot. Safari anyone? No! I'm an animal lover.

Actually, that is the little project that I did with my daughter last night. It's an origami giraffe that I got from a book on origami I bought a couple of years ago at the Japanese cultural center in Paris. We did the folding and assembly together, but the spots are all her (she's wanting to learn knitting, too, by the way!).

Just a little note about the sweater motif - my husband says it's Greek, and now that I look at it from that perspective, I can see that. I guess seeing Alexander wasn't a complete waste of time. We've got a nice sweater coming out of it. And, the next time you see it, it'll be modeled by my handsome son.

I Played Mommy

Well, one arm down, and one to go (because I don't have a 3-armed son - wouldn't that be fun to knit for). I'll tackle that one tomorrow, but for tonight, I actually played Mommy. I put my knitting down *gasp* and played with my daughter for a while. We were crafty together. I'll show you what we made tomorrow. For now, I'm going to let that sweater get some beauty sleep (if only that would work on knitting that just doesn't want to work out right!).

Friday, January 14, 2005

Sidebar Success

Yay me! I finally got my sidebar back in order after my blog remodelling mishap. I even got some new stuff put in there. I'll, of course, have to continue to add fun stuff, but it's nice to have the blogroll back in there. I actually use that to click on my favorite sites to have quick access to them. Even easier than having them in my favorites, I think.

So, with that accomplishment under my belt, I'll have to sit down with that little sweater for my son and attempt to get it done or well on its way after dinner tonight.

Front Tie Sweater Idea

Okay, I don't even have the yarn for this, but I wanted to put the idea down in words before I forget that I even had it. On my sister-in-law, I saw a very cute little sweater that I loved the idea of. Now, to be honest, it may only be the idea that I love after I put one on myself, but I'll share the idea with you all just for fun.

The sweater was somewhat of a shrug taken to the next level. If I remember correctly, the sleeves were 3/4-length. I don't really recall, but the sweater body itself was the interesting part. It was not fully closed in the front (bear with my description, because it's hard to put into words). Instead of having a zipper or buttons like most cardigans, it had two "things" I can only say are somewhat akin to the wings on modern feminine hygeine products. They were about chest level, long and somewhat thin. Basically, their purpose was to tie the front of the sweater. It was really quite cute, especially on my sister-in-law, whose pregnant belly protruded sweetly from the front.

So, my idea is to do some variation of this in a soft angora or angora/lambswool blend - maybe in black to make it nice and dressy, but also so that it could go over most anything (those hers was in a fun vibrant lime). Ooh, and beads would look cute lining the color, or a scalloped edge... (two things I could add to my repertoire of knitting know-hows.

My task now is to figure out a logical way to knit such a thing.

For Those Who Actually Cared to Wonder

I know it doesn't really matter to most of you, because you'll never see my home and the sad state it seems to constantly be in (my one-year-old is currently starting a round of his favorite new game - let's dump Mommy's books on to the floor and see which pages are shreddable). But, I'll give a little update on the chores I was determined to get done last Friday. You remember, mopping the kitchen floor and putting away folded clothes? I'd love to say it happened, and I stuck to my plan to not knit before the chores were done, but it didn't. In fact, there was playgroup, as there always is on Friday afternoons, so I got a little reprieve (and, a place to knit guiltlessly).

Alas, this past week did not show any signs of improvement either (though I did start another knitting project), and I am once again determined to get some chores done - but will I deprive myself of knitting to do so? Actually, I've come up with a little solution to eliminate this question entirely. If I add, say, "finish current knitting project" to my chore list, I will get in some knitting time while accomplishing part of my chore list, as well. And, hey, maybe I'll soon be able to pay someone else to deal with our mess, right? Well, I can always dream...

Surprise New Project

While watching a movie this evening, I finished the body of the sweater I've been working on. I sat there with no green yarn at hand to start the sleeves. So, just to amuse myself (I'm now practically incapable of just watching a movie without knitting), I snatched up some cotton yarn nearby. It's some Rowan California Cotton I inherited from my mother-in-law. Apparently, she planned to do something with it but never did. So, I've got plenty to play with. I'm thinking a tank or a short-sleeved shirt. So far, I've cast on and knit about 3 or 4 rounds on circulars. I'm working towards something with a diagonal design. We'll see tomorrow if I was too tired to start that kind of trick. Seems like diagonals should be easier on circulars that on straight needles. Easier to see what you're doing. We'll see if that's true.

That's pretty much all my knitting news for now. Not too chatty today like I usually am.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Squared Swirl Sweater

Nope, this isn't a new project I've all of a sudden gotten in the mood to start. I didn't get bored with the Aztec Wave one yet, I've just renamed it. Makes for more exciting blog postings, don't you think? It's like in retail stores, where they frequently move the merchandise around to give customers the idea that they're seeing brand new stock, when really it's just the same old stuff in a different place. No, not really. I really renamed it because I changed the repeated motif a bit and it no longer looks like a wave. I tried a few things and came up with the design I had originally envisioned in the first place. I needed to add a stitch and a couple of rows to accomplish this. I must say that I did like the asymmetrical quality of the wave pattern, but I like this new one two. And, since it's what I originally set out to do, I'm sticking with it and renaming the sweater. And, to top off this great sundae with a nice big red cherry, it actually fits this time. Yay! So, right now, I'm about halfway done with the body. Then, I'll have to pick up the sleeves where I left off and finish them. This part's pretty easy going, though, because it's just stockinette stitch.

I'll keep you in suspense as to what it looks like until I get it finished (the true reason for this is that I don't want to reach the bandwidth limit on my flickr account mid-month). But, don't lose sleep thinking about it, because it's most likely not the most original design you've ever seen. I just liked its simplicity, and since it's not all over the sweater, it has turned out to be a good learning project.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Projects to Look Forward To

Yeah, I know that I still haven't finished the wave sweater (though I did get it ripped back and back on the right track) or the glittens, but I've got ideas for a few new things to do.

First up will be a revamping of a felted sweater. It was an accident that happened to a store-bought turtleneck. Ironically, it's now just the right size for my daughter (after me using it as bulk for agitation when felting my purse recently). So, my thought is to cut it up the front, put on a crochet border or a ribbon or something and a zipper and call it a jacket. How's that for recycling?

Then, I've got the very first adult sweater I ever made that is in bad need of alteration. Knit while I was pregnant, it's way too big now. So, I'm thinking it could use a little alteration. That's a task I've yet to learn in knitting.

Lastly, I've got an idea for a goofy Star Trek mitten. No, I'm not even a Trekkie. It just sounds like a fun thing to do with some cheapy inherited yarn I'd never want to use for a serious project, because I can't stand the feel of it. I'll leave you in suspense as to the details, though you may be able to guess what I have in mind.

Stay tuned...

Some Assembly Required... far as I'm concerned those three words are the devil's work. Who's invention was that, anyway? Today, I saw some plastic magnetic letters at the store and bought them for my preschooler. The evil phrase wasn't actually on the box, but you could see through the little cellophane window that the letters were attached to each other by a series of plastic bars. My daughter amused herself for a time gingerly twisting to free each letter from its prison. Exhausted by her chore, she actually voluntarily went to take her nap - a rare occurrence in our home.

So, that left me to untangle the alphabet, when what do I see peeking out of the box at me? A small bag filled with miniscule magnets. That's right, they spared every dime they could in the manufacture of this fine toy. After all, this was not "Made in China" but here in the mountains of France. Maybe the assembly workers were on strike that day!? So, I'm diligently jamming these tiny magnets into even tinier slots when I see on the box that there are "50" letters, numbers and various signs and punctuation marks. Some are cursive, others are print, and being the bright cookie I am, it doesn't take me long to put two and two together to see that something must be missing. After all, the last time I checked there were still 26 letters in the alphabet (even the French one), so there can't possibly be two whole alphabets, plus some numbers and signs. But, thinking my 3-year-old won't notice or care, I continue my task. I reach the end of my magnets and there are still 5 letters left. Well, that can't be right, can it? I've counted those letters & co. graced with a magnet, and thus able to fulfill their destiny, and, in fact, there are 52. So, here's the situation as I see it. We have people who don't know the alphabet and can't count selling us letters and numbers for our children. I say, buy toys from China, and let the French stick to what they know best: food and wine.

There is, however, some good news. While standing in the check-out line, I spotted a rag mag with a picture of Angelina Jolie unnaturally thrusting her bust forward to greet readers. Does the poor woman actually know what the photographer did to her? Anyway, below it was the caption: "Angelina Jolie moves to Paris with her son." So, now I'm all excited about the prospect of a new friend - does she knit? Seriously, is there some reason why we should all know this? Do we think we'll be seeing her about town with her poodle?

All of this news was just my way of telling you that if you don't see any chatter about knitting around here for a few days, it's only because I'm either busying getting chummy with Ange, or my fingers are still too sore after my letter-assembly project.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Blog Make-over

I'm currently in the process of giving my blog a make-over. Some things will be missing for a bit due to an oops I made when changing backgrounds. Please be patient. I'll get it fixed. Let me know if you think this was an improvement or just a huge mistake.

Froggy Went a Courtin'...

... and he did ride - with my sweater by his side! Yep, I'll be frogging that sweet little aztec wave sweater as soon as I get a chance this afternoon. It was looking too small to me, so as soon as my son was up this morning, I slipped it over his head. And, by the way, if you don't think a set of Denise Interchangeables is necessary yet, I can tell you they make it easy to put the whole thing on hold and actually keep it's shape so you can slip it on. How cool is that? All I had to do was connect two of the larger Denise cords together to make a big loop. Then, I slipped the sweater over his head (not too much further, though, because it's more the right size for a 3-month-old - slight exaggeration) without worrying about losing stitches at all. That little trick can give some great peace of mind or, as in my case, allow you to stop yourself before making a really huge mistake.

Some people hate frogging, and I guess, depending on the piece of work, I don't like it much either. In this case, however, I'm actually looking forward to redoing it. I was having so much fun with that fair isle design that I'm eager to do it again. It's just another chance to practice and get better at it. And, as for having to redo a decent chunk of the stockinette stitch, I don't really mind that either, because there are some interesting increases involved in this little sweater that I am happy to perfect a bit more.

So, let Mr. Frog do his thing. I'll be learning a couple of good lessons in the meantime.

Aztec Wave Sweater

Aztec Wave Sweater
Originally uploaded by The Stitchin Sheep.
That Fair Isle Gymnastics trick of knitting with both hands is fantastic once you get the hang of it. Now, I can even say that I know how to knit with my right hand, English style, which was not easy for me before.

I am absolutely loving this sweater.

A bit of info on it:
Cascade Yarns (Pastaza - 50% Llama/50% wool).
So, I've had this pattern to do a sweater on circs for a couple of years now. I misplaced it once, but recently found it, put it in a safe place - real safe, because I can't find it now. And, of course, it would have come in really handy for this sweater. But, attempting to be as fearless as possible, I dove into some measurements and calculations, and here we are half way into a top down seamless sweater. I'm still a bit dazed at the fact that my pattern is working out okay. And, I can't even begin to describe my excitement at the design I sketched out for my very first project of fair isle fun. It's not very complicated, I know, but I am more of a plain person, so sweaters with all kinds of designs, while probably fun to knit, seem busy to my eye. My little boy is going to look so sweet in this, though. Well, I hope, because the jury's still out as to whether it'll actually fit him when it's done. We can only hope - but if not, there's a newborn due in the family this spring...

...and that green may not even be his color. Tragic! Don't even want to think about it. I swear I'll make him wear it anyway. What does he care? He's just a one-year-old.

Oh, and about the "Aztec Wave" stuff, I don't know, it's really late, and it may sound a lot dumber to me tomorrow. The design just looked like a wave and sort of Aztecish - or Mayan, I'm no expert. Whatever it is, I like it.

And, one more little thing: I know I haven't gotten around to that review of the Denise Interchangeable needle set, but I've got two words for you - so cool. Notice the sleeves are hanging out all curved on the Denise stitch holders. That is just about the most convenient thing in the known universe, I do believe. And, the needles knit really well, two. Never stick on the joints (like some needles I know).

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Fair Isle Finger Gymnastics

Boy, am I having some fun now! I've been working on my technique while doing a little swatch for the sweater I plan to make for my son. I sketched out a little design (nothing really complicated, and probably not even original, but I like it). It's just a squarish swirly thingamajig. How's that for a description? I'm sure you have a vivid mental picture of it after that!

Anyway, I am a continental knitter (yarn comes off left hand - for mom and other's who don't know the term). So, I started off knitting the two colors by picking up and dropping the color I was using each time I needed/didn't need it. That got old REAL fast. So, I decided to go with the two-handed method. Now, I have never tried knitting with the yarn coming off my right hand since I taught myself to knit out of a book several years ago. I attempted it once to see which method was best for me, and knew right off that wasn't it. So, imagine my surprise when I was actually able to knit with both hands (one color coming off the left, the other off the right, Mom) pretty easily. At first my tension was a bit off on the right, but I adjusted pretty fast, and it wasn't so bad. How exciting is that? I'm revving to go on that sweater now. Well, not right now. Seems to me you need a good night's sleep and maybe a good meal in your tummy to be able to concentrate enough to switch colors all over the place.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Sinful Chocolate Cake

I don't know why, but I got in the mood to cook tonight. It's another one of my passions, and I've neglected it lately (too much knitting, perhaps?). So, while in the city today, I got a replacement release valve for my pressure cooker, along with some yarn I'll tell you about later (no, I'm not stuck in the 70s - those things are one of man's most amazing inventions). This must have been what got me in the mood, because I have missed that little baby so much for the months I didn't have a valve.

So, I made a yummy traditional French lamb stew from a cookbook I bought recently. The name of it in French translates to "Our Grandmother's Cooking." They weren't my grandmothers, of course, but they still cooked some mighty yummy dishes back then. All that cooking and anticipating such a delicious meal got me thinking about dessert (Who wouldn't under those circumstances?). I started thinking about this cake you often get in French restaurants called "fondant au chocolat," which roughly translates as melting (thing) of chocolate. It's a rich chocolate cake with a melty center. Who wouldn't love that? Anyway, to my surprise, it wasn't in my new cookbook, so I set out in search of it on the net.

I found a free recipe in French, so I'll share it with you.
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time : 12 min

Ingredients (for 4 people) :

- 120 g dark cooking chocolate (plus several small chunks of chocolate set aside)
- 3 eggs
- 80 g of sugar
- 35 g of butter
- 1 tablespoon of flour

Preparation :

Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan, stirring frequently to make a smooth sauce

In a bowl, mix eggs with sugar and flour.
Add chocolate mixture and mix well.

Pour into well buttered muffin tins or other individual-sized baking dishes (I used a silicon muffin pan and didn't even need the extra butter).
Place chunks of chocolate on top of each.

Place in preheated oven for 12 minutes at 220°C

Serve warm or hot, plain or with a fruit sauce (raspberry, for example) or custard sauce.

I didn't put the chunks of chocolate on them, and they were still melty and yummy.

I am a bit lazy after all that chocolate, so you'll have to convert the temperatures and quantities yourself if you need to. There are plenty of good converters on the net.

As you can see by the large amounts of chocolate, butter, sugar and little else, this is an excellent dessert for a healthy diet. Not to worry, though, you don't need much. I had two (rather small) muffin shaped cakes and feel like it was too much. Not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach, but oh so yummy.

Well, enough of this cooking nonsense. I've got some knitting to do! I have a little baby boy to knit a sweater for.

Silky Sack (felted)

Originally uploaded by The Stitchin Sheep.
Well, here it is after a nice hot bubble bath and a massage. Odd how it doesn't seem more relaxed. I know I would be.

As you can see, this yarn (Himalayan Yarns wool/silk) felts up really nicely. It didn't even take a million wash cycles (I did it in the machine). And, I love the little 100% silk accent on the top and with the tassles. These yarns really complement each other well.

With felting, you're never 100% sure of what you'll get in the end, so I'm almost a bit surprised to see that my little design ended up being exactly what I intended after felting. This is probably, in part, due to the fact that I actually had enough yarn after knitting the whole sack to knit a little swatch to wash to see how much it would felt.

As a little side note, I took advantage of this photo to slip in the yarn I dyed with food coloring. The thicker of the two yarns (closer to the bag) is Manos del Uruguay, "Victoria," I think it's called. Then, the other is Patagonian Yarns 100% merino. Both were just natural color before dyeing. It's fun to see how the same dye bath can give different color results on different yarn brands. I threw a tiny bit of cotton yarn in there too, to see what would happen, and pretty much nothing did. Interesting experiment.

Silky Sack (unfelted)

Originally uploaded by The Stitchin Sheep.
We're going to do a little before and after shot. Here is the flabbier, fatter version of my silky sack. The next photo you will see is the firmer, thinner version after a little hot bath and some spinning.

I love the way this yarn has little specks of different colors throughout (because of the recycled silk content in it). I was a bit afraid this would get lost in felting, but you can still see it.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Random Thoughts

Question #1: If you get your sheep wet, and then you "agitate" him (insults and some name calling, perhaps), will he felt?

Question #2: Can you spin dryer lint to make a variegated, mystery material yarn?


Well, I didn't say anything till now, because I wasn't certain. I was starting to wonder if my right arm was shorter than my left. I never thought it was, but I was starting to doubt this until today. In fact, it's not my arm that is short, it's my sweater sleeve that's long. I'm not sure what on earth I must have done. Either I accidentally forgot which size I was knitting and knit the second arm in the wrong size. Either that or I was knitting really loosely that day. Either way, it's disappointing. It's not that it's totally obvious, but it really gets on my nerves. Every time I shift gears while driving or when I am washing dishes, I feel it slip down.

What I can't figure out is how I managed to do this. I always do something wrong when I get to the sleeves. It's never been so obvious, but there's always something. So, from now on, I think I'm just going to have to avoid sweater patterns and do it by eye, because I apparently get and "N" in "Follows Instructions". And, I swear, I wasn't even KWI (knitting while intoxicated - knitting under the influence, if you prefer).

This sucks. I'm going to have to frog and redo. How sad does this make me? Let me count the ways...

Am I So Wrooooong?

Question: Is it evil to force your children to wear the clothes you have knit for them (e.g. wool sweater in summer, because, by golly, you worked hard on that sucker, and they're going to get some wear out of it!)?

Scouring Bathrooms and Other Forms of Torture

I know what you're thinking. "Isn't this a knitting blog? This is totally unrelated to knitting." It really isn't, though, and you'll see why. I've resolved to clean the house today before I allow myself the priviledge of knitting. Consider me grounded. I know, I know. What about blogging? - Doesn't count. I generally have absolutely no will power when it comes to knitting. I feel the urge, and I stop doing other things to knit. I'm sure many others do the same. Today, I've vowed to clean - no matter how torturous it may seem.

So far, I've vacuumed the kitchen floor and scoured the bathtub. My goal is to at least get all clean laundry put away and mop the kitchen floor before the end of the day. Despite children "uncleaning" everything I clean, I am undeterred from my task. But, oh how I long to pick up some needles. I didn't get the chance to do it yesterday, and I can't wait to do it today. I feel stressed when I don't get to knit for a couple of days. Is this knitting withdrawal? So, quick, quick - let's get hopping! Wish me enough will power (and much more speed) than I usually have.

Butterfly Poncho (close-up)

Butterfly Poncho (close-up)
Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
This picture seems a bit fuzzy. Apparently, dear hubbie has trouble holding the camera still enough to do without the flash. But, it was still better than the others he took. Boy am I NOT photogenic. I love this fabric though. Makes me feel feminine, which I seldom am.

Butterfly Poncho

Butterfly Poncho
Originally uploaded by Reder Family.
Here is a horrible picture of the outfit I wore last night. Probably only my mother will like it. I feel like it doesn't do the outfit justice, but it does make me look a bit like a butterfly, in my opinion, so that will be its name. It was really easy to make. Just a large rectangle sewn up one side (though, I did shape the neck, too). I think this would be an ideal poncho for larger sized women. I still haven't gotten rid of all the baby fat my last child left me with, and since I'm still breastfeeding, I'm bigger than I'm used to being. I felt like this poncho hugged all the right places without emphasizing any of the wrong ones. I don't know if you get that feel from the picture, though. I'll post a close-up as well, so you can see the poncho a bit better.

Cinderella Story

The party last night was magical. I felt like Cinderella. Champagne and wine flowed endlessly. The food was sublime. All eyes were upon me as I was swirled around the dance floor by the most handsome man in the room. Certainly a night to be remembered.

What really happened...

Okay, so it was far from magical, and my husband was actually right in thinking I could have gone in jeans (though very few did), but I'm glad I didn't anyway. Most people wore dressy business attire (though you could easily pick apart the understated elegance of the filthy rich from the rest of us), and I can proudly say that I was one of the few people in the room NOT wearing black. One of the rare moments in my life when I actually felt original. There was a speech, given by a city counsel member. It was very long, yet... very boring. Not a good start to the evening. The wine and champagne really did flow endlessly, and the food wasn't bad. Just all kinds of little finger sandwiches and that sort of thing. Nothing really to write home about and most likely a pretty forgettable evening, though, my husband was, as always, the most handsome man in the room. So, though all was not lost (we did get a free "meal" out of it), we were out of there by 8 pm and off to see a movie, that I would hardly recommend (Alexander - Stone apparently tried too hard to make an epic film).

All that most likely sounds like I had a horrible evening, but any parent knows that a night without children, that you can spend alone with your spouse feels akin to sneaking out on a forbidden date in high school (not that I know what that is like, Mom, if you're reading - it's just a figure of speech).

So, stay tuned for pictures of my outfit, which I will post shortly.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Silky Sack Almost Done

I worked some more on the Silky Sack, and I've almost finished knitting it. I put the bag part on a holder to make sure I have enough yarn to knit the strap. You know, i-cord really isn't fun to knit. It seems to take much longer to do those stitches than just regular knit stitches. And making an i-cord a million miles long so that it felts to the right size isn't all that exciting. I know it makes more sense to have knit the strap before the bag to be sure to have enough yarn, but I'm really not so sure how far this yarn will go (since I didn't knit a sample). So, since I figured I could always make some beady strap after the fact, if need be, I just dove into the bag part. Now that it's reached a decent enough size, I'm dealing with the strap. May seem a bit backwards, I guess, but it's working so far.

In other knitting news, I have forgotten to mention two of my little experiments over the holidays. One was my first pair of socks (though I've knit some slippers before, so I understood the concept). And, all without a pattern. They were little, since they were for my 14-month-old. So, they knit up pretty fast. I was surprised how well they turned out for a first try. My only gripe is that I did them with a yarn with no stretch to it, so they don't stick to his foot very well. We all know that a toddler in motion needs his socks velcroed to his feet if possible. I could always remedy this with some elastic thread around the ankle. I just need to find a good source of this kind of elastic around here. I still haven't found one.

The second experiment was really fun. I had great results. I have a few balls of natural wool (undyed). So, I chopped off enough to make a couple of little skeins. I loosely tied them up, then put them in a bath of food-coloring, water, salt and vinegar. I've seen all the "kool" (so pathetic) results people get from Kool Aid dyeing, but you try to find Kool Aid in France! No Jell-O either, which I've heard also works. But, what you can get in the cake decoration section of most supermarkets is food coloring (only yellow, red and green, but it's a start). So, I threw some of that in. Worked like a charm!

In case anyone is interested, and can't get Kool Aid (or maybe food coloring is cheaper??), here's my procedure:

Pour water in pot large enough to cover wool with water (as if you were cooking rice - no need to skimp on water).
Mix desired quantity of food coloring (I used about a teaspoonful of green and a couple drops of yellow to six to eight cups of water and got bright limey green) into water.
Add a teaspoonful each of salt and vinegar (salt helps the dye penetrate the wool, while the vinegar helps with colorfastness).
Bring to boil.
Turn down so that it is just simmering.
Place wool skeins in water and simmer for 35-45 minutes.
Remove from heat and let sit at least over night (I just covered mine and let sit for several days, since we were going away).
Remove wool from water and gently wash with wool washing soap and cool water.
You may remove excess moisture by gently squeezing wool from top of skein to bottom then rolling in a dry towel.
Hang to dry (in the shower or on a line outside, whatever your preference).

And, voila! It was really easy. I'll post photos of the finished product when I get a chance.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Wean Your Reluctant Child

So, you're tired of your 14-month-old clamping down on your nipple with his razor-sharp teeth? Had enough of his tantrums for just a little more boobie (yeah, like father, like son)? You've tried giving a bottle. He won't take a pacifier, or you refuse to give one. You attempted to reduce feedings gradually. You even made him go cold-turkey, but nothing has worked. At your wits end with nowhere else to turn? Here are a few suggestions that you may not find at your local La Leche League meetings:

1. Apply Tabasco sauce to entire nipple region (if blistering occurs, discontinue use and contact a burn specialist).

2. Administer small electric shocks to child each time he latches on (works to condition lab animals!).

If the above suggestions do not resolve the issue, do not despair. Immediately contact your nearest cosmetic surgeon for an optional mastectomy (advise him to concentrate on nipple-ectomy). This is guaranteed to solve your problem. If you cannot afford this type of elective surgery, do try the following suggestion, which is known to be an inexpensive but effective method of nipple removal:

1. Remove all clothing, including undergarments (this can get a bit messy)
2. Place towels on floor in front of accordion closet door.
3. Position nipple in crack while door is open.
4. Swiftly slam the door closed (you may want to enlist the help of a friend or family member).
5. Repeat step 4 until both nipples are "no longer an issue".

* Please have pillows strewn about the floor, as well as a phone nearby for dialing 911, as this procedure can cause fainting as well as other undesired results.

Disclaimer: If you have taken any of these suggestions seriously, you are in dire need of a sense of humor transplant. Seek professional help immediately.

Okay, you're most likely thinking I've given myself a lobotomy when a knitting needle went astray. Not at all. It's merely weaning distress taking over my brain.

Mine, All Mine!

Today, I am doing selfish knitting. I have been wanting a little bag for a long time. I'm not much of a purse (or call it handbag, if you like) person, but you have to have a place for some little things when you go out. I've done some felting in the past (slippers for the kids - I'll have to post those pictures in my FO Gallery some day), but never a bag. I recently finished that wool/recycled silk scarf, and as I said, there was leftover yarn. I want to see how that wool felts up. Cross your fingers, because I didn't do a sample. I've always done one for felting in the past to get an idea of how much it'll shrink. I didn't this time, because I don't want to lose any valuable yarn (I don't have tons) that could be used for the bag. So, I may be giving this bag to Barbie if it turns out that it felts REALLY well.

I'm knitting it on dpns (size: US 11, 8 mm). Started with 2 stitches on each needle (3 of them), increasing three stitches on each row (one in the middle of each needle). I stopped increasing when I got 18 stitches on each. Figured that looked about right. We'll see. Now I'll just knit and knit till the length looks good. Stayed tuned for updates...

My First Comment

I got my very first site comment today. And, they didn't even tell me how ridiculous my site is. The person rather likes it, even. How exciting! That, if you don't already know, can make a blogger's day.


Thanks Mom!

Angora Cache-coeur

Angora Cache-coeur
Originally uploaded by The Stitchin Sheep.
Here is the little cross-your-heart vest I was making for my daughter. It blocked pretty nicely, except that it's so light-weight that it started to blow away in the wind.

This little baby's made of Phildar "Angora" yarn (80% angora, 20% lambswool) - one of Phildar's only all natural fiber yarns, as far as I can tell (I'm such a yarn snob. Just don't like the feel of synthetics in my hands) . It's done from a French pattern (hence the name cache-coeur - literally, heart hider) in the Citronille line. She likes it, unlike the poncho, and is willing to wear it. Yay! That's what I call real success. I'm just tickled pink, as my mom would say.

No X-Rated Photos

Not even R. To those of you who were expecting something racy when I said the fabric I was using for the top was transparent, I have two things to say: "Shame on you!" and "Sorry to disappoint." What I forgot to mention is that I already had a cream colored shell to wear under the transparent part. I'm maybe not so great at this whole description thing. So, you'll just have to wait for pictures. It's done though. Spent (or wasted, depending on your point of view) the entire evening on it. And, I'm very happy with the results. Despite constantly being told by my mother that I'm very creative, I don't feel that I am. So, every time I am able to sketch out the design for something (sewn or knit), no matter how simple it may be and accomplish it, especially if I feel like it looks good, it makes me as giddy as a school girl. As a result, I probably won't be able to sleep for hours, despite the fact that I'm exhausted.

Well, off to bed anyway to make an attempt.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Choosing a Charity for Tsunami Relief Donations

I know many people have been thinking of donating (or even better, actually, donating) money to charities that will help care for those affected by the recent tsunami in Asia. I don't think I have to go into the horror these people must be living in its aftermath. I want to do something to help, but at the same time, I am a skeptical person when it comes to charities. I have seen too many nightly news reports about charity administrators lining their own pockets with the cash sent to them in the good faith that it will be used appropriately. So, I did a little search on the net. And, let me say, there are tons of charities to choose from. But, how do we know WHICH to choose. In my roaming, I found a site that may help with this important decision. It is Charity Navigator (, and they rate more charities than anyone would care to wade through. So, if you want to give, but don't know where to start. This may be the place.

Inspiration Strikes!

And, I didn't even have to buy anything. That's true inspiration, ain't it? I had forgotten all about some fabric my mom and I had purchased a million years ago. It was originally destined to be a dress, but part of the fabric shrunk horribly in the prewash. It stayed at my mom's till I visited last summer, when it made it's way across the Atlantic to join the rest of my fabric stash. Anyway, it's a matching synthetic fabric of salmony color (but prettier than that, I swear) and this tranparent flowy fabric with Renaissance artsy designs on it. I loved it back then and was disappointed to see the salmony stuff shrink. But, the good news is that if I had used it back then, it most likely wouldn't fit me now. So, my prior loss is my current gain.

All I have to do is get out the sewing machine and some pattern drawing paper (the proper name for this stuff escapes my excited mind) to make a simple emsemble. Yippee! Should this really make me so happy? I told you already I'm aware of how pathetic this is. Anyway, there is enough of the plain-colored fabric to make a knee-length skirt, and more than enough of the transparent one to make a flowy poncho. And, to make things even better, the flowy fabric has finished edges on two sides. Good thing, too, because it looks like it'll be a doozy to work with. Luckily there's enough to practice a bit on an edge.

This all makes my day, because I now know I won't have to freeze my reary end off in a tank-like (albeit elegant) black dress I own.

The real trick is to find the time to do it!

Party Stress

I'm starting to get stressed about Thursday night's fancy shindig. Why? Well, for starters, I haven't been to anything fancier than playgroup (slight exaggeration, I'm sure you understand) since my brother's wedding probably seven or eight years ago (Bad sister! I don't remember when it was). I also haven't had a job I had to dress up for since the late nineties. And, even then, I never looked like a million bucks. To top it off, though, anything that might have been pretty enough doesn't fit my post-pregnancy, still breastfeeding body anyway. Got anything I could borrow? I'm not picky.

I can't even dig into my stash and find some fancy yarns to make a flowy, open knit shawl or something. There's just not enough of anything, and of course, none of my oddments actually matches anything else. Ho hum. What to do?

How pathetic am I? There are more important things in life. I know this, but it doesn't keep me from feeling like I'll most likely look waaaaaay out of place. And, I'm sad to have to admit that I'm a people pleaser at heart, and there's nothing worse to me than receiving disapproving glares. Is there hope for curing this condition? Maybe in my 30's I'll get over it. We're just around the corner. Could this be something to look forward to as I age?

Monday, January 03, 2005

If At First You Don't Succeed...

...try, try again. If, after the fifth or sixth try, you still don't succeed, throw in the damn towel. That's not usually my motto, but illusion knitting seems not to be my thing. That, or there are errors in the instructions for the Alien Illusion Scarf in the Stitch 'N Bitch book. Not wanting to fault someone else, I'm leaning toward me being "ignernt". I've lost count of how many times I've frogged that sucker. I've finally decided to call it quits, because I thought of something better to do with the yarn. My baby boy needs a sweater, and there seems to be the right amount. After all, it wasn't really the yarn I wanted for that scarf, anyway (yes, yes, Krista, keep telling yourself that). I was convinced by the sales lady (as I frequently am) that I could get the right gauge, but after maturing in my knitting, I have learned this just isn't so. I didn't really have a person in mind for that alien scarf, anyway, so no one will miss it. I just thought it looked fun. But, chins up - maybe, I'll try illusion knitting again some other time. Hey, why not try it on my boy's sweater? Just not that alien. He's jinxed me!

Daddy Needs a Brand New Cowl

It has been revealed to me this morning that my husband is in dire need of a cowl. Being a grape grower/winemaker, he spends his winters happily stooping from his height of over 6 feet to delicately trim the branches of his significantly shorter grape vines. This process is much more complicated than merely hacking away at the plant, so he spends hours and hours in the fierce wind each year to accomplish this task. This morning, he set out on his merry way, wearing, on his head, a polar fleece vest than no longer fits our 1-year-old and, around his neck, my "Windy City" scarf made of Manos del Uruguay yarn. Sure, it'll keep him warm, but what will the neighbors think? He has apparently misplaced both of his hats (neither of which I made - Whew! That's a relief.). This cannot continue! We must do something to keep this man from looking ridiculous.

So, here are my thoughts of how to remedy the situation. "Take pictures" is my absolute first thought. After all, we must document his silliness. Then of course, "knit something," is always the first solution that comes to mind, though, dear ole hubbie originally said polar fleece would be nice. So, anyway, I'm thinking a cowl would be a good addition to his trimming wardrobe. And, more specifically, two pattern ideas come to mind. One, simpler, but undoubtedly sillier than the other: a mohawk cowl - black or some other dark color with a strip of some bright fuzzy yarn down the middle (a Bozo the Clown Cowl would be another fun variation!). The other idea, though more subtle, would be more complicated for me because it would entail doing some cables, which I've been dying to learn, is a "cornrow cowl". It would consist of sort of ribbed cables, resembling braids, going down from forehead to neck. Great way to have braids without having the long hair or sitting for days in a hair salon to get them (a fun, feminine variation on this would be to make just a braided hat - somewhat like the idea behind Action Hero's Hallowig - and add beads). I think this could be fun, and I may just make both cowls to see which one he's brave enough to wear (the mohawk cowl has the added bonus of making him more visible from the house).

I'm just full of future project ideas these days, but there's never enough time in a day to get everything I need to do done AND knit. So, I chose to just knit and forget about the other stuff.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Angora Cross-Your-Heart Vest

Well, I'm about 3/4 of the way through with my daughter's little angora vest. Here's a preview. I like it. That yarn is so soft and light-weight. It feels like I'm knitting feathers. It's Phildar "Angora," which is 80% angora, 20% lambswool, if I remember correctly.

I was thinking of doing some lacey designs in it, but when I attempted a little yarnover to see how it would look, I couldn't really see the hole. I think I'll have to get myself a lace pattern for a scarf and follow it to really get the idea of how to knit lace.

Stripey Silk Scarf

Originally uploaded by The Stitchin Sheep.
Here is the scarf I had decided to make with that recycled silk yarn. And, though I won't be considered for the cover of any magazines this year (apparently, "making love to the camera" is somewhat of an acquired art), I think the scarf looks lovely.

A little recap of the materials and stitch used: Himalayan Yarns 100% recycled sari silk striped with their purpley colored wool/recycled silk blend. Two rows of each, all in stockinette stitch with a honkin' set of 12.75 mm needles.

As I said before, I think the silk all by itself was a bit too busy, but mixed with the wool/silk blend, it looks great. Wash this girl by herself, though, because she did make the water a bit purple. It is about 50-55 inches long with the tassles and used almost all of the 100 g skein of silk and probably less than half of the 100 g skein of wool/silk. I saved a tiny bit of the silk to do a border on a felted bag I may try with the leftover wool/silk yarn. We'll see if there's enough - I don't want a very big bag, so it may work.