Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Project Reveal

I know all of my avid readers are anxious to see what I created for my friends and family for Christmas. The time is now!

Project #1
Dad's Tweed Scarf

Pattern:Harris Tweed by PurpleSage
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Pastaza, Charcoal
Needles: Size 10

Dad seemed to like it. Hopefully it will keep his neck warm while in MT this week (it's 3 degrees there as I type this) and at home in Kennewick while walking Willis.

Project #2
Angela's "Spirit Warmers"

Pattern: Alpaca Sox by Classic Elite Yarns
Yarn: Classic Elite Alpaca Sox, Violet
Needles: Size 3

Still not finished. =( But, perhaps a good thing, because I made her try them on. Pattern calls for them to come above the knee. As written, it was already pretty dang wide on her leg, so instead of increasing to go over the knee I'm going to decrease and make them shorter. But she seemed to like them just fine. =)

Project #3
Carmen's Pseudo-Hypoallergenic Mitts
(see past post)

Project #4
Christmas Gnome! (The Gnoel Gnome)

Project: Christmas Gnome by Irina Haller (pattern for purchase on Ravelry.com)
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool, Red, Cream
Needles: Size 2

Wish his beard was a bit more wiry, but I'm hoping it'll unravel with time. He sits awfully well over a beer bottle. I hope to make a family of them to fit wine bottles, beer bottles, and maybe I'll even make a super fat one to fit a champagne bottle.

Project #5
Mom's Holiday Headband

Pattern: Julia's Cabled Headband by Paulina Chin
Yarn: Paton's SWS, Black
Needles: Size 7

For me mums because she doesn't like that hats mess up her hair, but complains if her ears get cold. If only I could engineer earwarmers that would automatically apply lotion to her as she walked outside because you know "the air is like a sponge" and it sucks up all the moisture in your skin!

Last, but certainly not least, is an unnumbered project made when my fingers were too tired to work on Ang's Leg Warmers.

A beer koozie for Ryan!

(doesn't it kind of look like one of the purple and gold Bud Light football cans?)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Who needs the gym?

Good news, sports fans!

Knitting burns 102 calories per hour!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Deliciousness

Holiday baking recap:

Three batches Cranberry Nut Bread (one for me and to test the recipe, two for gifts)

One batch Lemon Cookie Snaps

One batch Snickerdoodles

Two batches Chex Mix (only I use Crispix instead of Rice and Corn Chex, and Cheerios instead of bagel chips)

Two batches Salted Nut Roll Bars (the first was for the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party)

Two batches Peanut Butter Blossoms (the first batch would have been enough, but they were tempting in their deliciousness and more than half were eaten in three days)

Just think, all that time I spent in the kitchen I could have been knitting... But they were all so tasty it was worth it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

First Christmas success!

I had a wonderful change of plans on Friday night! My original plans were to see Hey Marseilles, my buddy's band. They're fantastic and were opening for The Maldives, a band I saw over the summer and LOVED (potentially more so due to the tallboys of PBR that it is necessary to consume at a venue). As bummed as I was to miss the show, instead I got to see my long-lost cousin Carmen!! She's been teaching in a teeny-tiny village in northeastern Alaska for what feels like ten years and our Montana schedules never seem to coincide. It was a rousing good time to catch up with her.

PLUS I got to be Santa! Evil Project #3 completed, wrapped, delivered, and, hopefully, enjoyed!

Pattern: Bella's Mittens by Marielle Henault
Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist, Ladyfern
Needles: Size 8 DPN

Only three knitting days left before all projects are due. Finished Project #5, so just #2 left to finish up on. Less than half done with one of two. Sigh. I think working on this project is giving me premature arthritis.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Knitting Suicide

What a stressful weekend for knitting. Both productive and destructive at the same time. Spent early Saturday finishing up a pair of koozies for a White Elephant party. Due to the cold snap here in Seattle, I decided they needed matching hats and scarves. First attempt at a pompom. Maybe I'll follow directions if I ever need to make a larger, more attractive one, or at least one that won't go directly into Adele's mouth.

Completed 90% of Project #4 and entered into the world of felting. Not quite sure how I feel about it. I tossed my project into the washer with hotter-than-hell water and let it agitate for the whole cycle. When I discovered that the only change was that my project was wet and soapy, I had to add an old pair of jeans to help with the agitation. Probably should have left it in for another go-around, buy hey, time is money and I'm going broke. It's blocking right now and I think it's going to be terribly cute when I'm done.

Started Project #5 while #4 was felting. Should be quick (good lord, I hope so). I'm using Paton's SWS yarn, which is 70% wool, 30% soy. I think I rather like it, but it's not spun very tightly and it's easy to split sts. Decided that it was a better idea to work on this one on my lunch break than Project #3 because I might actually make some progress on it.

Speaking of #3...

I had to be talked off a knitting ledge last night. After hours and hours spent carefully knitting Project #3 at work, I reached the end of my rope. Literally. With 4 inches left to go, I ran out of yarn.

I hemmed and I hawed about what to do. I weighed the pros and cons. I had an old fashioned debate in my mind. I plotted time requirements vs ease of completion on a mental graph. Plan A won by a very narrow margin.

Plan A: Because this is a two part project, I unraveled the cast on edge of part 1 to steal a few yards to add to the top of part 2. This, of course, meant that I needed to do the same to part 2 so they look the same. I got maybe an extra inch of new work, but it still left me high and dry.

So Plan A failed. I would not recommend following plan A in most cases. It's time consuming, doesn't provide nearly the yardage needed, and is a pain in the ass. If you think you might run out of yarn, PLEASE use a provisional cast on!! You'll thank me later. On to Plan B.

Painful, heartbreaking Plan B.

I frogged it. The whole dang thing. What a waste of lunch time hours that I could have spent playing Kingdom of Loathing. On the bright side, if you can call it that, I'm re-knitting them using a single strand of yarn instead of two, so I should have some yarn left over. Enough to make a hat? Probably not. Not even enough to try. Maybe a headband. Chances are I won't have enough time before Christmas, but I'll keep it in mind just in case.

I ended up drowning my sorrows in this confection:

Salted Nut Roll Bars

16 oz dry roasted peanuts
12 oz peanut butter chips
3 Tbsp butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 cups miniature marshmallows

Grease 13x9inch pan. Spread half of the peanuts in pan. Melt chips, butter and milk together. Cool slightly and fold in marshmallows. Pour in pan over nuts. Sprinkle remaining nuts on top; press into mixture.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Caution: Slow Moving Traffic

Have been working on Tiny Christmas Project #2. It's slow going, so I decided to detour to all my other projects that have deadlines. Wanted to cross a few short ones off the list, so on Sunday I watched a terrible movie or two and popped out two W koozies for a White Elephant party this coming Saturday.

Hypoallergenic Project #3, aka the lunchtime effort, is half done. Slightly concerned I don't have enough yarn to make the second half look the same as the first, so I'm going to modify my pattern a tiny bit. Hope it still looks the same...

Have completed a good 30% of Project 4. The pattern calls for a provisional cast on, so that was a learning experience. Normally youtube is a great source for instructional videos, but all of the ones I found were terrible. They went too fast and I simply couldn't figure out what they were doing. Luckily, I found a picture tutorial and that worked out fine. Also had to teach myself how to kf/b (knit front and back of the same stitch). Turns out it's quite simple as long as you knit rather loosely on the last row. Looking good so far. I made him "extra bulbous." What am I creating, you ask? Let's just say he's inspired by this guy:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Slow Down

Apparently I need to stop having fun because it's significantly cutting into my knitting time. Started two Christmas projects over the weekend, but haven't gotten much done on either of them. New pattern and new yarn for project #2 is going to slow down production on that one. Easy enough pattern, but teeny tiny yarn and size 3 needles makes it seem like I'm not getting anywhere.

Decided to work on Project #3 in my office at lunchtime. This way all the cat allergens at my house won't attack the yarn, and I can focus on two projects at once. All in all I think it's a great idea and I hope to be done in two work weeks. *Fingers crossed*

While in Kennewick over Thanksgiving I had to stop in a the LYS because I got an email saying there was a sale. Not much of a sale, but the hint is all it takes to get me in the shop. Ended up coming home with the softest yarn I've ever felt. Ooh la la, what a luxurious "something" will be made out of this!

Misti Alpaca, Chunky - Color: Silver
100% Baby Alpaca.

Only bought one hank, so will have to find a simply hat pattern that doesn't require much yarn.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Production rate through the roof!

I got a little worried when I made a list of all of my holiday projects. There were so many, and several of them are new projects so I have no way to gauge how long they'll take. I have three "for sure" projects that must be done by Christmas, two quick little projects that have to be done by mid-December, and two projects that I would really like to give on Christmas, but they're the low men on the totem pole. That's a lot of time spent knitting!

Saturday morning I started Holiday Project 1. Even with helping Sarah move in the morning, and cooking dinner and going to a show Saturday night, I still managed to complete more than 50% of it! Thank goodness for HGTV and terrible chick flicks! Those, plus an easily memorized pattern, have made my knitting tasks much easier. Hope to finish over Thanksgiving weekend. Would love to be able to knit during the 3.5 hour drive home on Wednesday, but I'm not sure I trust my brother to drive my car over the snowy pass....

No pictures for now. Wouldn't want my "readers" to see their own gifts in advance! But I will leave you with this.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Finishing up the mittens. I'd say just in time for New Moon, but I have no plans to see it. So there.

They are lovely, though.

Too bad the lighting in my room is terrible.

Ollie, who is also a bit of a fiber freak, wanted to help show off the 2.5 hour scarf I made.

He's very selective of what he uses for a bed or sharpens his claws on. The afghan I made is one of his favorites.

Made a super narrow "scarf" with the leftovers of the fuzzy purple yarn. Not quite long enough, so I put a button on it and am calling it a headband or a muff.


Two months ago I had the brilliant idea to knit myself a koozie to take to Husky tailgates. I used yarn I had laying around from a hat project for my brother several Christmases back and made myself a striped beverage cooler/hand warmer. Voila! A thing of beauty!

I used it at a tailgate and had about ten requests for the same, and several people mentioned that if I could work in a big ol' Washington W, they'd even pay for them, so it was back to the drawing board. After an attempt with different yarn that turned out more like a stein koozie, I got it down and wrote up a pattern. Husky fans everywhere rejoice.

It can be downloaded here. (Thanks, LP, for all the help!)

Go Dawgs!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My name is Robyn and I'm a Yarnaholic.

I have a yarn buying problem. Sometimes I'm really good when I'm in a craft/yarn store and only buy what I need to make a specific pattern, but other times... Went to Bad Woman Yarn in the Wallingford Center today (it's pretty cool) and blew $50, and not on what I went for.

I have lots of projects on the books for Christmas this year and have been on a mission to find the perfect yarn for XXX's gift. Had planned on buying it at the Pacific Fabric's Holiday Open House last night, but they didn't have the right color. This morning I called Acorn St and Weaving Works, with no success. I guess in the back of my mind I knew it was a terrible idea, but I decided to go to Bad Woman at lunch because it's only a few blocks from the office. "Even if they don't have exactly what I want, surely they'll have a similar enough replacement!" I told myself.

Ha. Yeah, right. Not only did they not have a replacement, but I talked to the shop girl while I was there so I felt duty-bound to browse for a bit. Does any fibrephile ever really "browse?" Isn't it really more of a "want-everything-and-narrow-it-down-to-two-to-buy?" Alas, I am a true fibrephile and purchased my requisite four hanks of yarn (two hanks of each type, of course). Now the question is how can I afford Christmas presents when I blew my whole budget on yarn? But oh what beautiful yarn it is.

Alpaca with a Twist, Highlander - Color: Lady Fern
45% Baby Alpaca, 45% Merino Wool, 8% Microfiber, 2% Viscose.

Berroco, Lustra - Color: Aioli
50% Peruvian Wool, 50% Tencel (R) Lyocell.

Think I'm going to try to sneak in a project for myself with the Lustra after the holidays are over. Sometimes you just need a cream-colored scarf, right?

And, to make myself feel even worse, I'm going to post the yarn I bought last night, too. Not quite as soft, but more man-ish and much more affordable. Plus, I think I found the perfect pattern for it!

Cascade Yarns, Pastaza - Color: Charcoal
50% Llama, 50% Wool.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who loves Twilight knits? It's me, it's me!

I'm not a Twilight fanatic, but man, does that movie have some nice knit patterns! Leda's hat was from it (or at least an actress from the movie) and I just started these awesome gloves.

(photo by marielle henault)

This will be my first attempt at mittens. My repertoire expands daily!! I started on Saturday and completed the first mitten Sunday night. I was a little worried that it would turn out too big on my tiny carnie hands, but it's perfect! I did shorten the thumb by one round, and probably could have gotten away with two. The pattern also calls for casting on in the middle of a row, which I've never done. Lisa and I played with it a bit and did something that kind of works, but now that I've started the second I think I'll look up how to do it for real. I'm keeping these, so I don't really care if they look a little different, plus its only four sts AND it's in the thumb crack.

Hope to finish these on Thursday at the latest. May have difficulties with that due to bowling tonight and the Pacific Fabrics open house and demo on Wednesday, but I'll try my best. Already have most of the arm done.

Pattern: Bella's Mittens by Marielle Henault
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool, Dark Gray
Needles: Size 8 DPN

Monday, November 16, 2009

Warning: Stash Busting in progress

My parents brought back two skeins of yarn for me from a cruise to Norway last summer. It's pretty yarn, a nice deep red wine color, but two small skeins does not many projects make! Determined to use it in a way that would display the quality of the yarn, I started a scarf. Two months later, I'm still only 2/3 of the way through. It's an easy pattern, but it just can't hold my attention. I'd much rather be making my UW beer coozies or working on my first attempt at mittens!

Pattern: Ripened Scarf by Danielle Chalson
Yarn: Norwegian nylon blend (??), wine
Needles: size 7

Leda's birthday hat

This hat drove me a little crazy in the beginning. Had the brilliant idea to make this using the green yarn left over from a friend's housewarming afghan to make my roommate a birthday hat, and our other roommate would make a scarf using the same pattern. Multiple disasters followed.

Bought size 4 16" circulars and cast on at my parents house. After failing to start with enough yarn using long tail method four times (!!!), I realized after working a row that I had miscounted my sts and had to try again. I wised up and placed stitch markers every 10 cast on sts and got working for real. Finished the ribbing for the brim and wanted to shoot myself in the foot because it was HUGE. No doubt about it, using worsted weight yarn and needles one size too large did not gauge correctly. Who would have expected that? Modified the pattern by decreasing purls between columns by two and got to working. My first try at cable and it turned out awesome. If only the Husky's had pulled out a win that night, I would have been able to go to bed happy. End result: A little big on my head, but perfect for Leda's massive amounts of hair!

Lisa started the scarf around the same time as me and after 18" of work we compared and found, to our dismay, something was awry. We worked the same pattern, but Lisa's scarf was much looser and the lace pattern were super stretched out. Perhaps a gremlin had crept in at night and changed our needles so we were not both working with 6s? Ten minutes later we realized we watch too many SciFi made-for-tv movies when Lisa had the epiphany that while we were using the same pattern, her project was stretched x2 due to purling the wrong side. Alas, no gremlins here, just yarn monsters and one Jabba the Cat.

Pattern: Ashley by Bethe Galantino
Yarn: Vanna's Choice, Dusty Green
Needles: Size 4 for ribbing, 6 for hat body

In the beginning...

After knitting for nigh on 8 years, I decided that it's time to keep track of my work. I'm starting this blog in an attempt to keep track of the patterns and yarn I use on projects, and to remember what I've created and given away. Yay for organization!!

Now to try to post pictures and pattern links.