Where are they now? - 2KCBWDAY4

Today's blog theme focuses on the fate of past knitting projects.


These are my very first socks! My LYS has wonderful instructors, so upon undertaking the much feared heel turn, I thought I’d take a class to get some supervision. (The heel turn would be the least of my sock knitting problems!) My daughter loved those things. Being knit out of a worsted weight yarn she really couldn’t wear them with her fashionable shoes but you wouldn’t find them off her feet while in the house. The yarn was an wool/acrylic blend not best yarn for socks and she wore unfixable holes in both heels and the toe. I think we might have tossed them. There are ladders and a messy gusset but I think I did OK.


Lol, Alexis is trying to work her best serious, America’s Next Top Model pose, but you can see that grin is curling up on her lips. Tyra would have something to say about that! She’s wearing my first ever knitted project, a sampler scarf designed by the owner of my LYS. A great pattern which had all the basic stitches to get me accustomed to my needles, garter, stockinette, reverse stockinette and ribbed. It’s the project that let me know that knitting would be a perfect fit for me and as I worked those last stitches, I could foresee a love affair for the craft that lasts until this day and thanks to Ravelry it’s been fueled into a full blown obsession. Alexis still wears this scarf; it is well loved.

The second item is first pair of non-class socks in Plymouth Happy Feet. What’s wrong with this picture? For one, it’s missing its mate..tear. Also, it’s huge! If someone can explain to me how to make a sock that fits I’d love them for life. I’m still working on really learning guage. But anyway, the sock hates the single life and is pilling but overall it’s not too shabby.

That’s it for today’s blog. If I think overall about my past knitted items, I find that I rarely knit for myself. I’m very much a process knitter and I like gifting handmades to those who appreciate my efforts.

Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches - 2KCBWDAY3

What is this “organization” that you speak of? Let me look it up in the dictionary. Ah, here it is:

1.) A group of persons organized for some end or work; association.

Yes, yes, like Greenpeace or Volunteers for America. Ok, there are other definitions listed.

2.) The state or manner of being organized.

Hmm, no. Cannot compute...

3.) The act or process of organizing.

Now I’m confused!

4.) Something that is organized. Don’t have a clue.

Today’s theme for Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week is: Tidy minds, tidy stitches.

Honestly, I don’t have the talent for organization, the mere concept almost evades me completely. I know there should be “a place for everything and everything has its” place, so I’ll go out and buy “places” only to end up with clear containers stacked up adding to the clutter. Aggravating the situation is a small house, with a full family….aargh!

However, I try to keep a few things tidy. Those areas are smaller therefore easier for me to figure out how to put in order. My purse and tote bags are neat and clutter free and my yarn and knitting supplies are also pretty together. Although it can get out of hand at times, my stash and accessories are at a manageable level so when things are a jumble, I can take a half-hour to straighten everything out. My stash organizational tools aren’t elaborate. I have my straight needles in an adorable tin jug I bought for cheap and a home ware store. My yarn is almost getting out of hand for the clear plastic used for storage, but everything is still neatly stacked in it. I love Ziploc bags, which I use to separate the stash into categories, sock, acrylic, etc. I also use Ziploc bags for projects as well. Although I own a few cute, sewn project bags, but it’s nice to be able to see the project and what I’ve stored inside with it. A wicker basket is used to house circular needles and DPNs and a plain old plastic pencil case is for my on-the-go accessories and a crafting tote for the miscellaneous. Knitting and crafting books/magazines are on a bookshelf (running out of room quickly!!!)

Now if someone could assist me in figuring out what to do with this mountain of clothes and everything else I’d be a happy camper.

Above, The tin jug with needles. Extreme close up so you don't see other items on the dresser (except the neatly stacked Nintendo DS games - mine and my daughter's combined).

Some other organized items. A plastic bin for most of the stash, wools, acrylics, sock yarn, lace weight all in the appropriate Ziploc bags with a few UFOs on top. Orderly box of cotton for dishcloths, etc. Wicker basket with circs and plastic crafting tote for the extras. See the bit of total mess in the upper right corner...that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Skill + 1UP - 2KCBWDAY2

This day's theme is to reflect on the past year's knitting/crocheting to see what progress you've made. I’ve been knitting for three years and as much as I chastise myself for sometimes letting fear make me hesitant to take on a new skill, when I look back at last year I see that I actually have enhanced my skills by trying and succeeding at a few new techniques.

Knitting with beads:

Below is the Odessa hat, which I knit for a close friend of mine who loves it dearly. Knitting with beads was really fun and seeing the embellishments as the project moved along was quite rewarding. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be:

Fair Isle knitting:

I took a class at my LYS so the teacher could start me off and oversee how I handled the multiple colors, but I only needed the one class. I held my yarn in both hands and since I knit Continental it was a challenge to work that right side in English, however, it was much easier than holding both yarns in my left hand. Also, I had a ball knitting with different colors as it kept the project interesting. Next go around I’ll need to work on tension, not pulling so tightly to prevent puckering. My teacher showed me how to knit with the project inside out which should help greatly. This is the infamous $30 hat I knit for my daughter out of Karabella Aurora, which is so yummy to work with. If I start saving my pennies now I might be able to afford enough for a sweater in a few years, lol.


Crocheting has always been on my radar. My dear, deceased great-grandmother was an expert; I still have her intricate doilies crocheted with thread to prove it. In my teens, I tried to pick up the hobby myself, but that was before the age of the internet and being a visual learner I couldn’t get the hang of it. My long latent crocheting skills is why my knitting teacher, seeing how I held my needles, suggested that I learn to knit Continental. With knitting squarely under my belt I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a hook.

So far I’ve learned the basic, single, double, half-double, and etc., stitches but obviously crocheting offers more complexity than that. My main challenge is learning how to read and understand a pattern and learning how to read and count my stitches. Learning these aspects in knitting offers a helpful foundation in this area, but crocheting is still a horse of a different color. My first attempts at a pattern I found that I thought I understood the directions, until I actually started working it. Or eventually I'd get a firmer grasp of the pattern but find that my work didn't match the project picture. Even worse is knowing there's a mistake based on comparison, but not having a clue as to the location of the mistake, and even less of a clue of how to fix it. Several frogged coasters later I was able to finish these to a desired result. I really enjoyed the experience though and have plans on many more crocheting projects.

I feel the past year was pretty productive as far as learning new skills. The coming year I want to tackle even more, first and foremost mastering guage so I can knit my first sweater (finally!) and make socks that actually fit. Two-at-a-time and toe up socks, plus a crocheted afghan are alson on the horizion.

I love crafting. The possibilities to learn something new are endless!

It's Itchy! A Tale of Two Yarns - 2KCBWDAY1

What does my tale of two yarns have to do with the title of this post? Well, a lot. My family is plagued by sensitive skin. You’ll find nary a fragranced body wash, lotion or clothes detergent in my household and this sensitivity also applies to fiber. Not just wool, but any number of things can cause itchiness, non-wool fiber like linen or even man-made clothing that has an unfortunate placing of elastic or a ruffle. And it’s like pulling teeth to get my daughter, while wearing a skirt, to put on the softest pair of tights in the dead of winter. Even I am susceptible to such skin discomfort, so naturally that means I have to be very careful when selecting yarn when knitting for my family and myself.

Enter the world of acrylic yarn. Acrylic is often frowned upon amongst knitters and I can understand why. It’s cheap, squeaks on the needles, doesn’t block well and isn’t very breathable. Plus, with the internet and off season sales at one’s LYS a knitter can find many ways to purchase natural fibers at a great price, so why not go for the better quality. Not to mention there is natural non-wool yarn a plenty but shall we go back to the $30 hat for my daughter? Non-wool yarns can get expensive as well, and the thought of a hat being balled up on the floor, lost, thrown amongst dirty clothes, or splurging only to find out that it still itches my mother (she’s the itchiest of us all), brings me back to less expensive acrylic as a great option.

But I digress; this is a tale of two yarns. I chose two from a company famous for acrylic, work horse, inexpensive yarn in a million colors and quite a few brands, Coats and Clark’s Red Heart line, wanting to focus on the two opposite ends of the spectrum because I loved one and hated the other and yes, I used the word hate.

Red Heart Soft True to the name this yarn is soft has a nice drape and subtle sheen. The stitch definition is pretty good and as with all 100% acrylic yarns you can just throw it in the wash (which is great for those above mentioned hats and other items that I’ve found way, way under the dear daughter’s bed, you know where the dust bunnies live or for a baby/toddler when you know the item is going to get grubby.)

Red Heart Super Saver Yuck! Just yuck! My very first yarn purchase outside of my LYS; having to purchase yarn from the store to go with my class projects (they pretty much only carry mid to higher end yarns as most LYS do). I figured was advanced enough in my knitting skills to buy my own yarn; I was going to buy something that wasn’t expensive and knit a scarf for a couple of bucks instead of fifteen, “I’ll show you LYS and your required yarn purchases!!!!” A skein in a purple variegated colorway caught my eye, I snatched it up and took it home ready to start my first non-class project. As I unraveled the yarn I immediately noticed how scratchy it felt, surely it wouldn’t past the itchiness test, but I cast on anyway. Yup, it squeaked, which I could have dealt with as I do now, but I was also using bamboo needles and talk about sticky! Those stitches would barely move down the needle and the yarn just felt too artificial, it was as if I could feel the plastic, the chemicals used to make the fiber and it grossed me out completely. I've heard that this yarn is great for afghans, that it gets softer after its washed, but I'll never know...I haven't picked up that skein since I frogged the two rows I knit with it. (But it was actually in my stash for notstalgia sake until recently.)

There are so many options if you’re looking for less expensive yarns, non-wool yarns, even if you frequent the chain stores you can find many acrylic blends with soy, silk or cotton that are pretty nice to use if you’re itchy like us. Not that I only knit with this kind of yarn (ask Jimmy Beans Wool). I’ve had the fortune to knit with more expensive cotton, I can handle wearing some superwash merino for socks, a few wool blends aren’t that bad for a few of us in the family and I’ve had the pleasure of knitting for others without any fiber-related issues, using wonderful, yummy and more expensive yarns. So even with some of my fiber-related challenges I can be amongst the knitters of this world in their adoration of yarn.

What's in a Name Book Challenge 2011: The Giant's House

Um, no.

This is the story of a lonely librarian, Peggy, who forges a friendship with a young man, Jimmy, who is tall, very tall. In fact he starts out tall when they first meet, over six feet at age eleven and eventually he grows to be over eight feet tall. The fact that he doesn't fit in with society draws her to him as emotionally she feels just as much of an outcast.

There were things to love in this book, ideas I connected with, that really hit home. Passages about love, wishing you could find love just so you could finally think about something else, not wanting to listen to love songs because love feels so out of your reach that those romantic melodies pain you to hear. The voice of Peggy had wit, and sometimes humor as dry as a bone, that I liked...at times. However, that just wasn't enough for me to fully enjoy this read.

I had issues with this book. I didn't like Peggy. As I kept reading I kept wanting to like her, expecting to like her, but I didn't. Well for one, if you read the description on the back of the book, you'd be led to believe that this was a friendship which evolved into a romance, but Peggy pretty much set her sights on Jimmy during their initial interactions when he was that tall kid. There was nothing inappropriate about her actions, but in her heart she'd decided he was her soulmate well before he had even made it to his mid-teens. It was unsettling to me how much she'd devoted her heart to him and no, not just as a friend, but as her one, true love. Had it been a man as the protagonist, with his attentions on a girl, I think that there would have been a very different reaction to this story.

I moved past those feelings once Jimmy became of age (as I mentioned there wasn't any appropriate conduct), but I never connected to the romance. Trust me, I love quirky, eccentric, off the beaten path, but some of the writing seemed to try and force this upon me.

I know this book was critically acclaimed, but I just wasn't feeling it.

2 out of 5 Iggystars

The 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week!

Howdy all!

For the first time I'll be participating in the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog week. This event is for knitters and crocheters who blog, each day posting simultaneously on the same fiber-related topic. This year the event runs from March 28th through April 3rd. I'm really excited to be taking part in this celebration of the hobby I've grown to love and I hope that I'll get a few persons to navigate to my little corner of blogverse for the week.