Here is a knitting survey that is going around…

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
I-cord
Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Shawl
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up

Knitting with camel yarn – not in the budget yet
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down

Hat
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting – seems overrated
Participating in a KAL
Sweater
Drop stitch patterns

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn – yay freecycle!
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn

Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns

Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Cardigan
Toy/doll clothing

Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn

Slippers
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
Scarf
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental) – but I HATE it
Knitting to make money

Button holes
Knitting with alpaca – a current project is 100% alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors – I have so many dried flowers I’ve been saving for this purpose

Knitting items for a wedding – it wouldn’t be any different from regular gift knitting as far as I’m concerned
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting – only if someone makes a really cool team
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Bobbles – going to have to learn in the bobbles and leaves chapter in the 300 Stitch KAL
Knitting for a living – I’m trying to get there now!

Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking – going to have to as it’s in the 300 Stitch KAL
Dying yarn
Steeks
Knitting art
Fulling/felting
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Purses/bags

Knitting with beads – it’s in the 300 stitch KAL! Yes!
Swatching
Long Tail CO

Entrelac – again it’s in the 300 stitch KAL
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items

Knitting with cashmere – believe it or not, I’m not that into it to pay for it BUT I may be forced to make gifts…
Darning
Jewelry

Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern

Gloves – I picked the pattern yesterday!
Intarsia – in the KAL

Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting – but it wasn’t intentional
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Pillows
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Rug
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting – I may make this swatch 301 in the KAL to fill any gaps in the afghan assembly
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Shrug/bolero/poncho
Knitting with dog/cat hair – Sketch wool is the best!
Hair accessories
Knitting in public – pretty much EVERY time I go out, do I get extra points for spinning in public?

Not bad for a beginning knitter. I’m actually proud of the mass of bold. There really isn’t anything on this list I wouldn’t try, and more things that I’ve tried that aren’t even on here! Where’s the two-at-a-time socks? The size 0000 needles? Knitting with magnetic tape from old VHS? Knitting for swaps? Self-taught? The super stretchy cast off? Kitchener stitching up a seam and the funky cast on that goes with it? Taught someone more than a decade older than you to knit/a new technique? Inventing a new method for dyeing protein based fibers? Been named the “Yarn Doctor” at Michael’s Arts and Crafts to help folks at their yarn events? Been there, done them…and I want extra bold for ’em!

And yes, guy pal had to learn to knit. He only does knit stitches, and only enough to add a few stitches of extra love to each hat I knit.

July Mystery KAL

July 28, 2010

This month I signed up to do a mystery KAL in my Knitted Toys group on Ravelry. I finally got my little critter done. My original guess based just on the supplies required (black and white yarn) was right! We made a sheep…I’d figured the colorwork for a zebra would unfortunately be beyond too many people’s grasp to make for a good KAL, but I’d have loved to do a zebra. Maybe that’ll be one of my first animal patterns I write. A zebra’s stripes are close enough fair isle would probably work…

Anyhow, here’s my finished sheep! If you need more pictures and info, check out her project page on Ravelry!

I’m calling her Juliana. Her body piece was my first time to every do seed stitch. I only had to unravel one row because it had become ribbing which I think is pretty good for a beginner. I also altered the pattern a bit as it had TONS of seaming. I worked the arms and legs in the round, but not the hands and feet so I’d still be able to stitch in the pipe cleaners I used as stuffing. Her arms have just enough bulk from the yarn and plenty of poses from the doubled up pipe cleaners. I also made her scarf longer than in the pattern and instead of having her knitting on a second scarf, I knit a bitty sock for her to work on. She’s using shortened toothpicks as her double pointed needles.

The little bear beside her is one of those silly little personal things that one keeps on their bookcases. This bear once lived in my little sister’s doll house. When we were playing (mind you I was in college at the time, much younger sister) she said that bear couldn’t play because it had broken it’s leg falling down the stairs. There weren’t even stairs in the doll house! It was two stories, but it lacked stairs. What imagination! I carefully moved the bear, Ruby, to my apartment where I gave my sister some gauze and told her she should bandage up the injuries. This helped, but the bear was still bed ridden. She couldn’t walk on her broken leg. Of course I did the logical thing and built little crutches only an inch tall complete with padded arm rests for Ruby. When it came time for the doll house to find a new home, I just couldn’t pass Ruby along. She lives now tucked amongst my ever growing collection of antique medical texts. It seems an appropriate place. Maybe I’ll have to make Ruby some knitting one day; she and Juliana can have their own KAL.

Here’s the basic rules:

  • Have fun
  • Learn new techniques
  • Improve your knitting skill
  • Make new friends
  • Use stash yarns where possible, however, wool is preferable due to blocking requirements
  • Avoid variegated (except on things like garter/stockinette). Use lighter colored yarns to help show off the stitches. Black and variegated tend to hide your stitch work.
  • Share what you learn along the way, about knitting, about life, or anything
  • Share pictures of your stitches if possible, I’ll repost them here as well.
  • You don’t have to use the same book as I’m using, just a book of knitting stitches
  • Late joiners are just as welcome as original members. If you want to join 5 years from now, great! Feel free to still message me. I’d love to see what you’re doing.
  • You don’t HAVE to meet any deadlines. We play nice here. It’s just to help make sure people keep on their work and actually finish.

I’ve devised a basic points system so we’ll have 7 points per week, one per day. The difficulty rating of a swatch is a point, up to 3 points per swatch based on the difficulty listed in the book. Colorwork and beading doubles the difficulty points. Excessive size adds a point as well. This way, we don’t have 7 huge and complicated swatches in one week and can still have plenty of time for our other knitting.

Each Tuesday, pending life those life crises we’re all prone to, I’ll post the week’s swatches and points per swatch so you can try to keep your knitting on track with one point per day. If you run into any trouble and need to talk through a swatch with someone, by all means ask! We have a ravelry discussion here and we can use the comments section of each week’s blog post as well.

Week 1:

Stitches 001-007 in worsted weight

001 Garter Stitch: Cast on 20 stitches and work for 20 rows (acrylic ok)

002 Four-row welting: Cast on 20 stitches and work for 20 rows (prefer blockable fiber)***While working this welting, I opted to continute working in pattern until the end of row 22 so I would have the same 2 rows of stockinette at the beginning and end of the welting to make it look more balanced in the final swatch. I recommend working for 22 rows instead of 20.

003 Garter stitch welting: Cast on 20 stitches and work for 27 rows so the pattern begins and ends with some stockinette (prefer blockable fiber)

004 Stockinette stitch: Cast on 20 st and work in pattern for 20 rows (acrylic ok)

005: Reverse stockinette stitch: Cast on 20 stitches and work 20 rows (acrylic ok)

006: Seed Stitch: Cast on 15 sts and work for 30 rows (acrylic ok)

007: Moss Stitch: Cast on 15 sts and wrok for 30 rows (acrylic ok)

Ready to get playing? This first week is going to be one of the easier weeks as the stitches are all very basic with easy to memorize pattern repeats. You’ve likely done most of them before, or at least heard of them. Of course it’s ok if you haven’t either. I’m new to all kinds of welting and the moss stitch. The welting is less common of a stitch and interesting to learn. Now we can all do horizontal ribbing in our designs! I do recommend spending time making sure you can read and use the small charts provided in the book on these easier swatches so you’ll be an old hand at it by the time we get to the trickier swatches, like 195 Paisley. (Don’t worry too much about 195, it’ll have PLENTY of points assigned. 3 for difficulty, 1 for excessive size, and 2-3 more for excessive bobbles. It may just end up being a 7. We’ll keep it doable!

Good luck everyone! I can’t wait to see the pictures!!!

Mondye July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

Right now I need to focus more on listing the past two weeks worth of dyeing and less on new dyeing. Plus, I ran out of yarn! Rest assured, more yarn has been dyed and you can get your Mondye fix.

This week I did only 3 hanks of yarn. One is another Orange Crush fingering sock weight yarn. I loved the sample I knit up so much from the first Orange Crush sock yarn, I had to make more right then that night. I also dyed one worsted and one sock yarn each in the Jolly Rancher soda. Each hank was split into 3 smaller, roughly equal hanks and dyed in 3 separate colors to create accent/striping kits for the store. I’m so in love with the Jolly Rancher kits. I’ve still got to package, photograph and list them. I don’t want to though. I just love being able to meander into guy pal’s kitchen and see the colors staring back at me from the drying rack. See what I mean?

This batch of striping sock Jolly Rancher does have one little problem, it tends to go all Packman on you when you aren’t looking!

I’ll be making a sock kit for myself next week and start that just as soon as I’m done with the gift “Punk Entrails” socks I’m working so hard on at the moment. The eyelet rib lace is giving me a bit of trouble. It doesn’t agree well with two-at-a-time on a magic loop. Of course I still was losing my YOs on the DPNs. This will be the last time I EVER do this pattern!

I absolutely fell in love with the mini stripe/accent packs of yarn I worked on dyeing last night. So much so that today I went out to get more wool and soda so I’ll be able to make a few more of my stunning stripe kits. They will still be a very limited run. This is good because I’ll be keeping one at a minimum. I can’t tell you how much I love these colors! I want to make black socks with these soda stripes. I think I’ll even try and make a special stripe kit tag for the packaging honoring my childhood cat, appropriately named Stripes.

I also picked up a ton of Cascade 220 with my $40 shopping spree I’d earned by getting enough punches at my local yarn shop. I plan on  using it to complete a project from my first big and original knitting pattern! This will be one awesome looking pattern sample. I can’t wait to get started knitting it up! Plus, all the leftovers of these stunning wool colors will get to be added to the 300 stitch afghan 🙂 I’ve got to get a few more projects off my plate first before tackling my new pattern.

Today and for much of last night, I’m trying to finish the Knitted Toys group’s July Mystery KAL. It’s shaping up to be such a cute pattern even made of cheap leftover acrylic! Unfortunately, it has way too much seaming. I hate seaming. I’ve already made a few alterations to the little sheep pattern to get around some of it. I’d so much rather work in the round. Pictures will be coming soon, just two arms, a leg, and a mini scarf left to knit. I’ve got to hustle because to be eligible for prizes. The deadline is the end of the month. Fingers crossed for a quick finish to the little guy!

On a final note, I’m about to load up on fresh wool to dye. Any requests? I’m looking at adding some 100% superfine alpaca, some 50/50 silk/Merino blend, and some alpaca wool blends to the shop in lace, sport, and worsted. Is there anything else you all would like to see? More sock yarns? I’m getting bored with just wool. Granted I LOVE working with it as evidenced by the major stashing today at Table Rock Llamas, but sometimes you just need some alpaca under your fingers. I’m also considering some cotton at my mother’s request. Soda dye won’t take to the cotton, but I will be able to get close to some of my other colors, like the tumultuous sea that she loves so much.

Today I managed to score a very limited supply of a new kind of soda and am working on dyeing up some of the most stunning yarns. Since the soda came in only 1L bottles and I only have a couple hanks of yarn on hand to dye, I’m making stripe/accent sets! Each set is still the same 100g of yarn, but split into three 33ish gram hanks. I’m making one in Peruvian Highland worsted weight and one in fingering sock weight (75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon). Each set will include 3 separate bottles of soda with just enough of each color to add stripes to your next project or even make up some swatches! I’m probably going to make a few sodas in these smaller sets for myself to use in the Epic 300 Stitch KAL.

I’m so happy with these colors. I also tasted a little shot glass of each soda, and they’re so good! I’m really hoping I’ll be able to get more of these flavors. I found them at a local discount store, but they cost more than normal soda…go figure.

Curious enough yet? I found Jolly Rancher brand soda! I got every flavor they had, blue raspberry, cherry, and my personal favorite Jolly Rancher flavor, Green Apple! Here’s a picture I found online of what the soda’s look like. I haven’t been able to find any of the other flavors, yet.

The worsted yarns are in their bathing process now and look excellent! I love the green and the blue came out so much better than Mountain Dew Voltage, which had to be over-dyed. This set might be my favorite dye job ever. It’s a bit more time consuming to wind up the separate but equally weighted hanks, but I love the colors and the idea of getting 3 littler hanks to play with. What do you all think? I’m hoping to have this batch, a whole 2 sets up in the store by early next week and will make more if I can keep getting the soda.

Last night I took a short break from swatch making to finish the first fingerless mitt in a pair I’m making. I’m using the pattern Green Thumb by Diana Foss that a raverly friend of mine gave me. While I love the pattern, I felt like it needed some serious colorwork. I altered the pattern to have the colorwork I wanted, green for the leaf and knit stitches and brown for the purls. I used a two-color cast on method so my first row would still match the rest of my pattern. Some of the strands on the thumb leaf motif were a little bit too long (I worked the entire mitt in fair isle) and caused the mitt to bunch up. I ended up cutting the worst 8 offenders and tieing them up and weaving in those ends as well. Now it’s perfect! I love wearing it so much it’ll be hard to take it off long enough to get a shower today!

I ended up learning a bit more about fair isle and colorwork in general on this project. Here’s what my supplies looked like. There were more when I ended than when I started:

I started out with nothing but the pattern, a set of size 3 DPNs in bamboo, and the yarn, Berroco Comfort DK. I got frustrated with the DPNs because the yarn wasn’t sliding well. I’d like to get more Addi Turbo and Bernat Aero needles, or even some more BaleneII. Unfortunately, this is all I have in size 3 so I’m stuck with them for now. I did just buy a square circular size 3 DPN but I’m afraid that it might mess up my gauge on the second mitt. I do plan on using the new circular to make some gift mitts 2-at-a-time magic loop style. As I worked, I added a cute stitch marker I made to help keep track of the beginning and end of the round.

Then I made myself a row counter because I couldn’t find any I liked. The most brilliant addition to my supplies is the little thingy that keeps your yarns from getting tangled when doing colorwork. I picked it up at one of my local shops, and it’s been one of the best purchase ever! I highly recommend them for all colorwork projects. It take a little while to figure out how to get your tension right while wearing one, but it pays off. Unfortunately, I also had to add a small crochet hook to the little kit because I made a few mistakes in the 2X2 rib. I kept my colors right, but when sleepy would mess up the knits and purls. It turns out it’s very difficult to drop a stitch, run it down and work it back up when doing colorwork! Finally, I put the whole thing into the perfectly sized bag that choperena made for me in the Dr. Horrible Swap.

Here’s a few more pictures of the finished mitt for your drooling pleasure. This pattern is tons of fun and I highly recommend it. If you decide to try to tackle it with colors like mine, feel free to contact me with questions. Heck, with any luck after my big swatch project, I’ll be able to make my own leafy mitts that I like more and have even more green leaves! I’d love to see more of the ‘sapling’ knit ribs grow into having leaves and buds on them. We’ll see, it’s back to some special gift crafting and swatches for me in the meantime.