The good sewing project


Even though the perfect pants pattern still eludes me there was a different sewing project that turned out alright. The beans can be spilled now that my loopy swap partner Mapleweave has gotten her box. A road trip seemed like a fun spring theme, so most of her goodies had to do with travel knitting. Since there was a go knit bag to hold her yarn it seemed like there should be something to hold all the other stuff we knitters drag along. And that is how a little idea for a knitting tool kit was born.

I took all the stuff that floats around in my loopy tote and threw it on the floor. What we had was a calculator, pen, paper, measuring tape, scissors, Chibi needles, and beat up Kitchener instructions. I shuffled these things around on a piece of copy paper looking for the best configuration. After much trail and error, prototype 1 was made with three zipper sides and the pockets you see here. The problem was that the zipper kept getting stuck in the lining every time it was closed and reopened and the outside pocket for the tape measure really wasn’t going to work. Later that week prototype 2 was made as a regular zipper pouch that did not zip open. It looked fine but having one that zipped open flat was much nicer. Prototype 2 was dismantled and used for parts of prototype 3. (By this time my husband was wondering if I was ever going to remove the sewing machine from the kitchen table) Prototype 3 got extra pockets and some elastic to hold that the tape measure which is just big enough to be a problem. Maybe a more elegant way of dealing with that tape measure will come to me, but for now this works pretty well. The lining was sewn down further away from the zipper and now opening and closing was smooth as silk.

Thankfully number 3 was finished up right on the final day before Mapleweave’s box had to go out. Her pouch was filled with, scissors (they have a felt sheath that doesn’t want to come out of the pocket), calculator, pad of paper and pen, laminated Kitchener instructions (I got one to!), stitch markers, chibi needles, measuring tape, and this little crochet hook to pick up your dropped stitches (Sheri carries them).

While we’re on the swap here are the blue, blue, blue socks I knitted for her. Pattern – Whistle Bait, Yarn – Sanguine Gryphon Tangled up in blue.

What Next?


I’ve had a very odd feeling lately, like there is something that I really want to be knitting but don’t know what that thing is. There are a couple of sweaters that seem interesting but I haven’t been able to get started. Swatching seems to be too much effort. Right now a second little elephant is on my needles to pass the time during commuting but it feels like a placeholder project. And now he's all done leaving my needles free.

Part of the problem could be the fact that the sewing machine has been eating up most of my time, with very little to show for it. After 8 years I’d forgotten how much of a pain it is to get patterns to fit right. Four pairs of test pants were made on Sunday, 3 of them too tight, the last way too loose. The only progress made was finding a better shape for the rise and a hunch of where to take out the extra width on the pattern.

The tangled yoke has been blocked but not well. It might be time to invest in a blocking board so that button bands dry straighter. Right now the curliness of the button bands is my weak excuse for shirking sewing on buttons. That and it hot enough that buttons don't seem all that important. Surprisingly great buttons for this sweater were found in the inherited grandma button stash. Thank God she bought boxes full of sewing supplies at auctions. It means this entire sweater is from stash. I'll feel virtuous until my brain remembers that a sweaters worth of yarn was bought at The Slip Knot. So much for stash reduction, doh!

Loopy Swap part deux .... the box of fun


Monday night the "box o' fun" from Sheri arrived containing the swap item she knitted for me and a whole bunch of other stuff. For some reason intelligent words will not form in my brain about this swap. Maybe some picture will help out.

First the lovely knitted item was a feather and fan scarf knit out of Wollmeise. Not only did Sheri knit it but Claudia of Wollmeise put in a few rows during the loopy swap. Aww shucks it's a collectors item.

Sheri enclosed a new fluffy friend, a little loopy who was holding on to some burt's bee's items for me. Now he is hanging it out with the froggy bookmark. He also likes lounging on the fiesta sock yarn that was in the package. Soft and squishy. :)

Then my favorite wacky item was these evil devil rubber ducky DPN holders. So deliciously evil! They're sitting on the other skien of sock yarn that came along, Dream in color Smooshy in Dusky Aurora.
Not pictured was a pretty red loopy water bottle, a stitch counter, sock pattern and yummy yummy chocolate. I've been so spoiled all that can be said is, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Sheri!

Wonderful Weekend


It was a great weekend, here are Saturdays highlights.
Don't you love it when something is even better than what you hoped for. The opening of The Slip Knot was like that for me. I wish there were a couple pictures of the shop to show you but there was only one thing was on my mind (yarn). And the store did not disappoint, there was a giant corner of cascade 220 in all the colors of the rainbow. Other brands I re
member are Rowan, Claudia hand paint, some Jo Sharp tweed that was calling my name, and the Filatura Di Crosa Merino that did come home with me. The owners and sales people were very friendly and I heard them discussing yarn choices with some of the other customers. One of them even let a customer try on the sweater she was wearing. Another highlight was meeting some of the local Ravelers while fondling all that yarn. It was great fun and I "only" came home with a sweaters worth of yarn. (There were several sweaters worth of yarn calling my name.)

That would have been plenty of yarn fun for the day, but in the late afternoon came the distinctive slap of a large box against the screen door. Woooo hoooo Woolgirl sock club is finally here! The blog frog always helps me open these packages so he can get his paws on any candy treats. But boy where we delighted to discover that this sock club theme was....frogs! As I opened oodles and oodles of frog swag there might have been some tears of joy in my eyes. All that can be distinctly remembered was my husband muttering about people encouraging me in my frog addiction. Frog was overjoyed that the sock club was in his honor (we won't burst his bubble) and posed with all the goodies.

The frog goodie bag included, frog pencil and pad of paper, frog stickers, postcard, frog lollipop, a 1" x 1" gauge thingie with frogs on it, a very cute frog stitch marker, 2 plastic frogs and a calculator . The pretty yarn is Dashing Dachs in sport weight in the color Froggin. All I can say is Best Sock Club Theme Ever.

All Tangled Up


The tangled yoke cardigan pattern should come with a warning stating the following, “Do not attempt to knit this cable late at night, under the influence, while talking to people or watching TV. Disregarding this warning will lead to headaches, cursing and repeated failed attempts ending with frogging.”

Apparently I had enough sense to forgo drunken knitting, but not enough to quickly lock myself away in quiet room with yarn and chart. Because of this most of the weekend was an epic battle of knitting verses knitter with the knitting beating me soundly in the brain region.

Things to keep in mind when knitting this beast:

1. Actually read the chart - This is a no brainer right? Well there was more than one instance where I “remembered” the chart and remembered it incorrectly. This goes hand in hand with number 2…..

2. Do not assume that you remember the direction of cable twists on similarly looking symbols. Odds are that your semi dyslexic brain has reversed it. Check the key or 2 rows later something just doesn’t look right and you start blaming your mother for bad genes.

3. The direction of the cables switch after hitting the center motif so don’t go into autopilot and forget to switch. To do so means 2 rows later the left half of the sweater will have to be picked out in 5 stitch segments to reknit the cables correctly. (It would have been “interesting” to have two sweaters with this mistake so a timed test could be run. Is picking out 5 stitches at a time faster than ripping out 2 ½ rows and having to pick up cabled stitches?) On a positive note a stitch marker right at the center of the motif solved this problem for future rows.

4. If suddenly there is an extra stitch do not Ktog it together! You’ll find that 4 repeats are one stitch off because an errant stitch has been dropped and has unraveled all the way through the cable. Thankfully felted tweed can take all this abuse and still look good.

In fairness all of these problems were the fault of the knitter. The chart is well written and the only thing I’d add is an instruction to put a stitch marker in the center. Having the marker there acted as a helpful point of reference and made the stress level a lot lower.

As you can see the cable and I made peace when proper attention was paid. It might be a little high maintenance but it sure is pretty.

Marking my Calendar


Thanks to knitting there are just oodles of things to get excited about this summer. Here are a few dates that can’t come fast enough.

June 9th – The next woolgirl sock club package gets shipped. Jen continues to amaze me with the yarn and goodies in these packages so excitement is high. All sock needles are empty in anticipation.

June 14th – A new yarn store, The slip knot is opening about 15 mins away which will make it the closest yarn crack dealer to my house. Crossing my fingers that it will be stocked with tasty brands. Maybe not toooo taste so that my budget remains intact.

June 22nd – Loopy ewe swap round two packages are mailed. I’ve gotten all the knitting done for my partner Mapleweave and am collecting little goodies to add. My dear husband put the air conditioner in the window so now I can bake something tasty too. (Thanks sweetheart!) Sheri owner of the loopy ewe is knitting for me…. please don’t hate me :).

August 1st – A new knitting web mag Twist Collective goes live. The pictures on their media kit make me excited as a kid on Christmas morning. The Twist Collective Ravelry group says articles and pictures of the designs are free to look at, the designs can be purchased. I’m assuming it will be in the same price range one usually pays when you purchase patterns off a designer’s blog. Finally a reason to pull out the big red marker and slash the days off your calendar. Just don’t sniff that marker too long.

Picked up these two lovely rhinestone buttons at my favorite button dealer Vintage Necessities. They aren't going to go on the tangled yoke but they certainly look nice with the felted tweed in gilt.
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