Saturday, January 19, 2008

Knitting and the Alphabet

The Meema Files is running a really fun creative contest. A combination of knitting and the alphabet. Read more about it here.

Here was my entry: (slightly PG-13 rated)

A is for advanced, something I'm not.
B is for blocking, whether a sweater or sock.

C is for cables, some small, some fat.
D is for D*mn, my yarn became a victim of my cat.

E is for extra, as in stitches I've got.
F is for frogging, I get extras a lot.

G is for gauge, it can cause me to age.
H is for hooch, for when knitting drives me to rage.

I is for idiot, which sometimes I feel.
J is for joy, Look! I turned a heel!

K is for knit, more fun than purl.
L is for lost stitch, makes me want to hurl.

M is for Make one, occasionally on both sides.
N is for not much, asked how much I've spent on yarn, sometimes I've lied.

O is for object, finished or un.
P is for project, boy this sure is fun!

Q is for quick, mittens, scarves and hats.
R is for reevaluate, the adoption of the yarnball chasing cat.

S is for SEX, Stash Enhancement eXpedition.
T is for trip, to gain more yarn attrition.

U is for unstoppable, knitting is such an addiciton
V is for vowing, when my friends vow to give me a knitting intervention.

W is for weather, Oh good, it's snowing, I can stay home and knit.
X is for Xstatic, my hand knit gift was a hit!

Y is for yelp, I stabbed myself with a needle, now go get help!
Z is for the zzz's I can get, after a project well knit.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bella Paquita for beginning chart knitters

My needles came in and now Bella Paquita begins!

I'd been waiting on my KnitPicks order to arrive on my doorstep and it finally happened yesterday afternoon. Yeah!

I cast on today for Bella Paquita for the Sexy Knitter's Club KAL. Technically I'm jumping the gun as the KAL is not set to begin until the 21st. I'm not sure that 3 days head start is really going to matter. I'm not a super quick knitter, so we'll see what happens.

I immediately began reading and then re-reading Marnie's pattern. My comfort zone is really with long drawn written out directions, not charts. Guess what this pattern is all about? Charts!

So here's what I did to start. I'm working on the Top chart in a size Small.

Reading charts is a little like reading Chinese (okay, I'm exaggerating, but bear with me) you need to start at the bottom and read right to left.

First thing I needed to do was to count how many sts to cast on. That would be 128.

Second, I wanted to know how many rows total that I would be working on: 69.

Third, there are decreases on either side of the pattern. I needed to decide what kind of decreases I wanted on each side. I chose to do ktogs on side A and and ssls on side C. You can choose as you like.

Fourth, to help me keep everything straight, I marked up the chart a bit (I'll show you that in a sec.)

Fifth, I marked what kind of stitch I would be doing in what direction on the chart. This helps me know which way to look on the chart. This won't always help with other stitch patterns, but it works on stockinette done flat.

Sixth, I marked what rows I would need to decrease on in a little chart at the top.

Seventh, I know that on row 23 I will need to move from one ball of yarn to three and marked that in the chart.

Here's my working chart notes:

Click on pic to enlarge (edited due to me being an idiot - math are hard!)

Now to experts with charts these steps will seem a no brainer. But I know that others, like me, have difficulty with charts and I hope that by doing this "out loud" so to speak, I can help the chart newbies.

I got the chart written up and then ran into the provisional cast-on. This is officially my first provisional cast on. You can go to's cast on page and scroll down for directions on the invisible provisional cast on.

I cast on the 128 and began knitting. I placed markers between A and B and then B and C. For those who don't know, you can work this section in one piece if you want. You begin from the bottom up. You ignore the white space in the chart from rows 1 to 22. Pretend it's negative space and doesn't really exist. (ETA - except for the increases, don't forget those, they're kinda important :) ) easy peasy. When you get to row 23 though, you need to work each part, A B & C, in separate pieces which calls for separate balls of yarn.

Then, I had an attack of poor self confidence. I began second guessing myself. What if I was all wrong? So what did I do? I emailed Marnie and asked her to hold my hand. She answered back really fast and calmed me back down and sent me back out to knit. Whew!

The only problem I had after that (so far) was the 2 yo. grabbing the ball of yarn, throwing it and eventually unwinding it. That one, I can handle. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cluster Stitch Shoulder Bag Finished!

I finished the Crochet Cluster Stitch Shoulder Bag last night. Although I don't have a pic of it, it is lined with some cute contemporary red fabric that has little white hearts drawn on it.

Tips for working on this pattern:

How to do a Cluster Stitch in this pattern: Yarn over before you put the hook into the center of the SC (Single Crochet) stitch. Then, grab the yarn draw up about one inch worth and pull it back through the loop. Do this again for as many times as the directions specify. Then you will put the hook back through the SC stitch, grab the yarn one more time and pull it back through all the loops on the hook. One last chain stitch will gather the loops all together to make the cluster. Your first cluster is made! Now, skip the next SC and do the cluster again in the following SC. Basically you'll be doing a Cluster in every other SC.

Also pay attention to the X times more directions. You don't want to be a few rows too short at the end of the pattern. Printing out the pattern and placing little tick marks on it is an easy way of keeping up with how many rows you have completed.

It may seem tedious, but going back and counting your sts in your row fairly often will guarantee that you keep the 29 sts that you are supposed to have. You won't believe how easy it is to leave one stitch off a row and add two others onto another row.

I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as I have!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


We got SNOW today! I know you people up North and in Canada and Russia think this is no big deal, but it is here in the deep South! These pics were taken early on, we got about and inch or two of snow later. Snow only comes once maybe twice (and that's pushing it) a year here. The kids were so excited.
The back yard

Blurry back porch. Looks much more focused in person, I promise.

The Youngest trying to catch and eat snow flakes.

More proof of early snow

Resolutions Contest Results

The Contest is now officially over. I'm feelin' sorta sad about that. This was so much fun! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Would ya like to know the winner?

Well, just to string you a long for a second, I'll tell you the resolution that I've already broken. Mine actually started a couple of weeks before the end of the year, but I'm counting it anyway.

I resolved to cut out all the sugar that I've been drinking in my hot tea and coffee. At one time I was putting two to three teaspoons of sugar in my mug. When you multiply that by how many mugs of hot drink it takes to keep me warm and happy during the day, well, let's just say it was way too much. I got a sugar substitute and got to it. This was so hard for me. I hate the taste of all the substitutes. I have yet to find one I like. I tried Splenda and Equal both. I prefer Equal, but it still yucky. It's easier to take in coffee, but not tea. I've already blown the resolution with the tea, but the coffee is still getting by with Equal. Oh well.

So there you have it. You are not the only ones who have little to no willpower.

As soon as I get her address details, the following:

will be sent post haste to:


Congratulations Knitasaur!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Contest ends tomorrow!

Don't forget - the Contest ends tomorrow. The winner will be announced on the 16th. Good Luck!


Mohawk Beanie

Now I know why I see so many hats and bags and small projects on everyone's blogs. The instant gratification of completing a project in just a few days is so awesome.

This is not my usual thing. I tend toward sweaters and socks mainly. I'm taking part in the KAL over at the Sexy Knitters Club for the Bella Paquita sweater. However, I realized that I'm missing some needles that I need. I headed to KnitPicks and ordered some more, but now I'm at the mercy of the US postal service.

Thus, the dog sweater and hat kick that I seem to be on. I need fast, easy and fun projects to while away the time until I can start Bella.

That all being said, I finished the Mohawk Beanie for the Eldest on Sunday afternoon. As goofy as he looks in it, He is totally loving it. He couldn't wait to get to school to tell everyone his Mom had made him a hat (and I heard him do it too.)

Showin' off the 'hawk.

My wannabe skateboardin' punk rocker

It ended up being a bit too big for him as you can see in the second pic. I adjusted it by sewing a small seam in the back and now it fits perfectly.

I found a few errors in the pattern, but if you count carefully, you can correct them as you go. On her site she also has directions for doing this hat in the round, but they're not very clear. You are going to have to carry the fuzzy yarn on the inside. I don't think I could stand to have that much fuzzy stuff on the inside of a hat, so I made this one flat instead.

But this is perfect for silly 7 year old boys!