Friday, August 31, 2007

Barn Jacket!

My sweater is done. It took days for it to dry. It was impossible to get the color right, inside or outside. The below picture shows the color best (made with flash).

You might wonder about the title to this post. When I was a little girl, until my teenage years, whenever I went to visit my grandparents, who had a farm, I naturally helped with all the chores. I especially liked to take care of the livestock, not so much the work in the fields, or house work. Anyway, working in the barn, around cows, pigs, and chickens, was pound to give off some smell. I didn't mind the smell at all, with time you didn't even smell it on yourself anymore.
Still everybody had barn clothe, which we changed into before going to work. Once I had to run and get something for my grandma form the grocery store. There was no time to change for me. At the checkout counter I was standing in line, and suddenly I could smell myself. I was a little embarrassed, but nobody said anything.
Usually you would not wear your barn clothe outside the barn, but hang it on a hook and leave it there.
As to my new sweater, it would have become my barn jacket, because I don't like it very much and will not wear it outside our house boundaries. Good enough for yard work (no barn or livestock here), and for letting the dogs out, when it's chilly. The reason why?
There are several: Even though I like orange and green, I don't like the self striping . It's hard to match it up on all the parts. I did my best, but I didn't want to unwind and cut yarn, just so I get the stripes right. I tried to start at the same color and so on.
It's also a little wide, not uncomfortable so. The biggest reason why I don't like this sweater is the yarn itself.
It is single ply, with NO twist. While knitting with it was O.K., sewing was hell! Every ball of yarn had at least one knot in it, but often more. Now I understand why. I sewed on the sleeves, and every ten stitches or so the yarn broke, just drifted apart like a feather. That meant weaving in all those ends, and that was not going to happen for me. I was really mad because of that, and decided to get another yarn left over to sew it together. By that time I didn't care very much, if it showed or not. It doesn't unless you go looking for it. I've never sewn together a knitted garment that fast! This yarn is made for felting. There were a few ends which tangled while I knitted the pieces. By the time I came to weave in the ends, some of them had felted themselves together just by rubbing against each other. So, if you think of knitting a garment with this yarn, make it a seamless one!
And, which of course is not so surprising at all, it itches. 70% wool does that. Not even the 30% soy could help to make it softer. Washing it did little to make it better. I'm a mimosa, can't stand the itch, except for my feet, they can take more of it.
Right now I don't think I'll slip into this jacket with only a T-shirt underneath with any pleasure. Just thinking about it makes my skin itch. I've encountered worse yarn, but the need to make myself a sweater, and fast, let me not think more clearly about the yarn I was about to choose.
This yarn would be perfect for a blanket though, and some day I will use what's left of it in my stash to make one. And if you like felting, you should definitely use it for that.

I did NOT buy this yarn with a sweater, or any garment for that matter, in mind. I was going to make another blanket, and have a couple of other colorways still in my stash. Next time though, I'll buy me the yarn I really LOVE to knit a garment for myself.

I made eight button holes. Cuffs, button bands and neck were done in seed stitch. For the main part I used the "dot-stitch".

I did the shoulder seams with 3-needle bind off. For the neck, I kept the stitches alive (only on the back), so there's no seam there.

Pattern: none
yarn: Patons SWS in colorway # 160448 Natural Green, one ball is 80g/110yds, 70% wool/30% soy
needles: 5.5mm
size: XL
start-finish: July 23-August 27

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Karen Noe - Shawl

There has been some interest in the Karen Noe shawl. The shawl is called "Flettet Sjal", which means "braided shawl". You can see a picture on her website and contact her at

As Judy told me, she was told by Karen, that if you buy the yarn from her, she'll be willing to give the pattern in English.

Hope that helps those, who are interested.

edited September 08: I just found out today, that Lotte Wackerhagen designed this shawl, and Karen Noe is selling the pattern and yarn for it on her website. Just wanted to give credit to the designer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just some things.....

In my last post I was pondering the idea of training Sam to alert me to the steaming of my water kettle. Monica reminded me, that it doesn't always have to be the hard way. I was rummaging around in a kitchen drawer to find the whistle, which came with the pot. Ha! Used it already, and now I'm never going to stand and wait for the water to boil again (or not stand and let it burn out).

My sweater is done, thru and thru wet, and blocking. It will be a few days until it will be dry enough, and ready for a photo shoot. So lets talk about something else instead.

I've been spinning today, for an hour, in the end my right hand, arm and fingers hurt like hell. I think it's partly because of this wool/mohair blend. It's really hard to spin. I have to do it differently as I've become used to. How does this spun yarn look to you? I'm thinking rag. I don't know, it might surprise me in the end, as usual. I'm going to 3-ply it again, but this is my first bobbin, and I'm not done with this one yet. It's going to be a while, because I have to force myself to sit and spin. Not that I don't like to spin all of a sudden anymore, it's just this particular roving. Oh, well.

I've been up since 4:30 AM today, to get my guys ready to go to the Airport. So I'm tired already, and it's not even dark outside yet. You know, when I'm tired I get a lot done, or my mind is in overdrive and makes me do things, I would normally not do. Point in case, I did me some translating today, a free pattern I found online, from Danish to English. Translating knitting terms is not as hard as one would think. I had a great time doing it too. I pawed through my stash and came up with some yarn,which hopefully will work for this project (I like the texture for it, and the color, but I'm not sure about the weight anymore, might be a bit too thin). I had something else out already before I found this yarn. I'm glad I kept digging.

What's that you say, there are more than ONE WIP in this house and I'm still looking for something else to cast on? That's not me, is it? ;o) I'm going to force myself to work on multiple projects, until one takes over, and there are more to come! Oh, my goodness! ;o)

I've knit 6 rows on my mittens this morning, before I could not take it anymore. If I will ever finish this pair, this will be very slow going. Then there's also Teresa's La Dentelle Belle Scarf, which I finally am able to knit, in a red merino/cotton blend yarn, very soft and sure not to be itchy around my delicate mimosa throat!

Soon there will be the Karen Noe shawl (see previous post for more information if you are interested in this KAL/pattern), and the Sockamania Club socks for September as well. So, I better get cracking!

But first, to even out the score, something about our "Princess" Biko:

See the old and dirty greenish/yellow tennis ball? It's the last one left from about 40 balls, which rolled around here all over the place. Some got chewed up, and many managed to climb the 6' fence, freeing themselves, hiding in the wild, untamed bushes behind our backyard.

Yesterday, I had to get new ones. They are alarmingly pink! Our Biko grew up with red tennis balls, and when we could not get them any longer, we had to switch to the yellow ones. She did not like the change, but her love of chasing balls was stronger.

Yesterday, we poured the new ones out in front of her, hoping she would be thrilled, she was more like scared and not at all interested. Sam chewed on one for a while, but since it's not a cookie, he lost interest real quick.

Now, we threw a pink ball at Biko, and yelled, "Catch!" Whereupon she closed her eyes and let the ball bounce off her nose. I was afraid of that.

So we took the show outside.
Once I told her, that these tennis balls in this garish color where bought to support a good cause, she was willing to give them a try. Of course, as soon as we threw a ball, she was after it, before she could even think straight herself. ;o) Instinct to chase took over.


...tasting ...

... yummy, good enough to play with.

Sadly I'm no longer allowed to throw her fresh new balls, since I've whacked them too hard and lost a couple of them to the wild already! (I'm using a tennis racket, which works fine for me, because otherwise I would throw the ball like a girl, and never in the direction I want). ;o)

After the first frost, I'm going in, and hope to find some of the balls outside the fence. Right now, it would be deathly, because the rag weed is "King of the yard" right now, kicking our butts, with us loosing our cool to seasonal allergies.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New KAL!

There is a German magazine called ANNA, and in the September issue there is this beautiful triangular shawl designed by Lotte Wackerhagen. I saw it, and I had to have it (the magazine and the shawl). My dad was so nice to get it for me and sent it over. I like the shawl as it is, it's rustic look, but I don't have the same yarn or anything in blue at all in my stash. You can purchase the kit at Wollsucht, a German online store, by the way.
edited: Many asked if this pattern is available in English. As far as I know it's not. I think you can get it at Karen Noe's website, which is in Danish, and at the above mentioned online store. The magazine ANNA is written in German. I've asked Karen Noe about the pattern via e-mail, and she just told me about Sorry, that I can't help you English speaking folks. Maybe if enough people send her an e-mail and ask for an English translation, it might motivate her to do a translation.
edited August 30th: Judy left the following comment: "Hi, I just got a reply from Karen Noe about shawl pattern. She said if i want to buy yarn she will do a pattern in english. Thought you might like to pass this on. " Judy Boddy

I'm going to go with this colorway from Koigu though, which I already have. Since it's mainly a garter stitch shawl I think it will work with the multi colored yarn. The challenge will be the braided part, I'm scared of it, but I'll know how it goes, when I get there. Heike set up a blog for this Knitalong, which will start September 15th. That leaves me with time to finish other stuff first, but I suspect that there will always be something on the needles until I actually start knitting the shawl.

None knitting related, but cute and funny is once again, my Sam. Some time ago I taught him to return yogurt container, which I gave him to lick clean. He's very food oriented, so it was fairly easy to train him. This is organic natural 2% fat yogurt he's cleaning out here, but he doesn't care which kind he'll get.
Afterwards his face is all crusty when the yogurt dries, and he doesn't like his face to be washed, but everything has a good and a bad side. ;o)

What I actually trained him to do is, return the clean container to me, so I don't have to pick it up where ever he dropped it. That's so funny, because everytime he brings it back, he thinks I'll give him a refill. In the picture below he was quite frustrated, because he held it out to me several times, but I was busy taking pictures, so in the end he just dropped it in front of me and "yelled" at me.

I would love to train either one of them, but I think it has to be Sam, because he's up with me in the morning, while Biko's still sleeping, to allert me when the tea kettle is boiling. I put it on the stove and go sit in front ot the computer, and naturally forget about it quite often. I've ruined one already, burned out and all. I wish he would tell me when it's time to get it off the stove. No clue how to go about that, though. As it is, he's happily sleeping in the kitchen to the sound of the steaming kettle.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wanna see what's going on around here?

Sometimes it's not easy to be me. Sigh.

This is my first sleeve of my sweater. I've fixed the back, I've fixed the left front, and finished the right front. Now I'm knitting the sleeve, one at a time. I'm pathetic!
Below is the effort of an hour of knitting. Or should I say knitting, ripping, and knitting, and ripping ....
These are fairly simple two color mittens, or so I thought. Anna Zilboorg likes to knit her mitts from the finger tips down. Not the best thing to try, when you are not used to knitting with two colors. I'm using Koigu by the way.

I've decided to knit my mitts from the cuff. First time corrugated ribbed cuffs as well. This is a little over an inch, and it took me a whole evening! I'm not sure I'll move forward with this one either. I left it at that for now, to decide its fate later. I just didn't feel comfortable starting something new, was restless until I grabbed my sweater and worked on it. I told you I'm pathetic. I really, really want to knit several pairs of mitts, but they'll have to wait.

I'm going to finish the sweater first, and after that, in September there's going to be a new KAL, which I'd like to join for a triangular shawl from a German crafts magazine. More about that later. There will be the September Sockamania Club KAL pattern coming soon as well, and of course Cat's book is waiting patiently for me to play with it again.

I've also got something going on with my spinning. This is on my wheel right now. A blend of wool (don't know which sheep it came from) and mohair. Nasty to spin, at least I have difficulties. I'm going for a 3-ply for socks again. This roving looks nice enough, but spun it looks like an old rag, not pretty, but since I have it, and started it, I'll finish it. Have you ever thrown away roving or yarn from roving you didn't like? Well, if and when I finish this, it will be good enough for socks, even if I don't like it.

I've also discovered, that spinning hurts my right arm more than knitting does. Have to do it in shorter sessions. What's the longest you can spin comfortably?

Biko and Sam and I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Moni's Nature Socks!

I was so wrong!
Thanks to Renee, who told me about the master numbers in Cat's book, I could make these socks a "New Pathway" experience.

I had already started on the first sock, toe up, and had knit about three inches, when Renee's comment (see how important comments are? Thanks by the way for all your comments, I appreaciate them very much!) made me go over the book, and have a closer look. Sure enough, I took out my measuring tape and measured my feet. I had already the toe as a swatch, and so I could calculate all the parts I needed to know.

As I've mentioned before, I've done a couple of "Flow Motion" socks by Cat already, so I wanted to make this pair with the arch expansion as well. I was familiar with that concept. (At first, when I got the book, I fully intended to knit the sample socks).

After I've got all my numbers, I used the Upstream arch expansion on these socks, as well as the master plain heel. I saw the cuff of the "Jeweled Steps" socks, and liked that one for my socks, and I did a double stranded bind off.

All the time my handspun yarn made me think of Nature. So many different shades of green, yellow and even a little rose, mixed up in that yarn. I felt like an elf putting on these socks. Right from the start I thought I wanted to mark that nature thought with something special, so I made a leave on one of the toes. I also knew, that these socks would not be twins with the random striping (very Trekking XXL like, don't you think?). I used the feather & fan stitch on the right toe part, which doesn't show up that well at all, but I know it's there and I like it. My first sock was the leave sock, and I finished that one late at night. It looks like my creative juices run stronger when I'm starting to get tired, because instead of weaving in the ends, I braided the ends and incorporated a wooden bead, just for the fun of it! Another element of nature. I was so pleased that I ran outside and took a picture of the finished sock to send a picture to my daughter. ;o) It was totally dark outside, and I could only see the sock during the flash was on, just a split second. Anyway, I had so much fun knitting these socks, and it made me happy using my own handspun yarn.

By the way, my feet are happy to be warmed by these 100% Corriedale wool socks, no complains about scratchiness, and they are very, very warm!
I did a good dye job as well (pat myself on my shoulder), because the bath water for my socks had hardly any color in it.
I've knit the toe -foot-heel part with 2mm needles. After the heel, about an inch up, I changed to 2.25mm needles. I still can't believe that my 3-ply yarn was thin enough to knit with 2mm needles!!! ;o) This pair is women's size large, for myself of course.

That's the outside photo, made late at night.

Cat's socks look a little like you are knitting for a clubfoot, but actually fit like a second skin when put on. I'm debating what to do next. I've got a few yarns she's using for her socks in the book in my stash, very happy about that. On the other hand, socks, socks, and nothing but socks gets kind of boring for you to see and for me to knit ( no that's not true, I could knit socks for eternity). My sweater is making me feel guilty, waiting in it's basket, but that's the last thing I want to work on right now. I've started some mitts, stranded knitting! Who on earth enjoys knitting like that? Not me. I haven't ripped it out yet, but I think I just can't do it. Lace would be nice too, but what? Too much to choose from, can't decide. So please forgive me, if I 1. show more socks (maybe) or 2. don't have to show anything finished at all, because I'm casting on and ripping it out again. Not so much fun, being so indecisive! I've got some mohair/wool blend on my spinning wheel, spinning for a 3-ply sock yarn again.

And for friends of Sam's here's a picture of him enjoying himself with his big red ball, while I was throwing Biko her tennis ball.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Child's First Socks!

LOVED working these socks!


yarn: Panda Wool 46% Bamboo, 43% Wool, 11% Nylon (wonderful to work with, love the color# 9573 Ultramarine) This yarn is squishy and I'm glad I have it in another colorway, so there's a chance I can make myself a pair.

needles: 2.5mm 5 DP

size: even though it's called "Child's First Socks" the pattern is written for adult feet, in this case a women's medium

pattern: Child's First Socks by Nancy Bush from the book "Knitting Vintage Socks, New Twists on Classic Patterns", (wonderful written; the shell pattern was easy to memorize; I did only 5 repeats on the leg, because I worried about having enough yarn - as always)

This pair is going to a friends home. It was pure pleasure to knit it!

I was also gifted by Monica with this gorgeous 100% mohair hand painted yarn. It's 112 g, I don't know the yardage, but it's a lot. I've used a mohair/acrylic blend once for a scarf. Any idea what to knit with mohair? It doesn't matter if I get to it soon or not, because I love to look at it as it is! ;o)

Friday, August 17, 2007

My very first 3-ply handspun sock yarn!

4 oz self dyed Corriedale roving turned into ...

I've tried to separate the roving into three equal parts to spin, but I think my scale has a screw loose. Every time I put on the same ball of roving, it showed me a different weight. That's why I believe I was left with three bobbins full of varying amounts of singles. In all I had about 1/2 an oz of singles left on two bobbins. I have to be more careful next time. But as it turns out, I still got enough yardage of the 3.5 oz for a pair of socks.

The niddy noddy calculation is 382 yds of 3-ply, 20 WPI sock yarn.

I like the look of 3-ply much better than 2-ply, but each has it's use in knitting. 2-ply is fine for lace knitting, for socks I at least want 3-ply, maybe one day I even get to make a 4-ply, that would be cool.

It amazes me every time how different yarn turns out, from the roving one uses. Most of the time the colors get pretty much muddled up. It would not matter with a solid color, but with multicolor roving there's always a fine line. I knew this roving had the potential of being real ugly. I was prepared to hate it, but to my surprise I like the yarn. Now it will be interesting to see how it looks knitted up. I'm not far enough in Cat's book yet, but I hope to use this yarn for one of her socks.

I've got wonderful help and advise from Spinning Spider Jenny, thanks!

Now, I hope the scale is playing nice when it comes to dividing this ball in two.

I've calmed down, by the way. I've read to a certain point in the book, where you have to get some yarn and the needles out, and start knitting. But I'm almost done with my friends socks, and I love those too!
A nice weekend to you all!
edited later: I don't think I'm going to be able to make socks from Cat's book. My sock yarn is too thin. She's using sock yarn doubled up or worsted weight. I don't have enough to double up, so I think I'll just knit some plain socks with it. One thing, after swatching, is for sure, Corriedale is on the rough side of yarns. I could not wear this around my neck, hope my feet wont be too disappointed. ;o)

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Last night, I didn't get the mail. I just couldn't stand to see a mail box with junk mail and bills, and no Cat Bordhi book parcel. This morning my son got the mail for me, and I guess he's the lucky one. I'm going to get him to get the mail from now on. I think my heart skipped a beat or two, and there might be some tears in my eyes as well. You think I'm over reacting? I THINK NOT! I've been waiting for this book for month now. After knitting Cat's Flow Motion socks (2 pairs), and visiting her website, reading about her upcoming books, I've been hooked. This is only book ONE, there will be more! I've only looked through it very fast, and am very pleased and excited with what I saw. If you buy only one more sock knitting book in your life, that's the one to buy.
Now I have a dilemma. I've got one sock on the needles, it's almost done. Can I muster the will power to finish the pair, and send it off, before diving in, and knitting myself silly with those gorgeous socks? Can I? What about my other projects? There's always some spinning going on, I've taken out the sewing machine to make another bag, my sweater? What about housework, the dogs, and all the other stuff going on around here? Oh boy, oh boy ....

edited later the same day: the first hyperventilating is over - have never done my housework so fast - being a good girl, I'm knitting my Nancy Bush socks first- dogs are almost comatose because of much running and playing - dinner is at least in my head, so will go fast, when actually has to be cooked - procrastinated everything else - evening will be for reading THE BOOK. ;o)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Omi's Crosshatch Socks

Let me, before I forget again, thank you all very much for the well wishes for my Omi's Birthday! I think she'll be surprised to get a pair of socks in the mail, now, that all the festivities are over.

I loved making these socks, first, because I made them for her, and second, the yarn is so very soft and squishy. Here are the specs:

yarn: Peruvian Baby Cashmere (wool/alpaca/cashmere blend) 3 balls each 109 yds with a little left over
needles: 2.5mm 5 DP
stitch pattern: "Crosshatch" from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
size: 8 1/2 US

I made them toe up with Judy's magic cast on, which is my all time favorite. I like how the stitch pattern looks, but as usual, by the second sock, the pattern was getting a little on my nerves. The good news is, it's easy to memorize. I think the pictures show the lilac color quite well. To have comparison I've included the baby blue balls, same yarn. I think I'll make some fingerless mitts fwith these. It's not really sock yarn, but as I said before, since my Omi is not going to run around in sneakers with these socks on, they will do just fine, warming her feet.

Sam's got a run-in with a fir tree. There was blood running down from a gash under his eye. Hot read blood on his white fur always makes me panic. So after I tended to his wound, I had to take a picture, because he's got some green spots on his forehead as well. Of course, he didn't think it was funny! ;o)
(you can click on all except the last picture to have a better look)

My sweater hasn't been touched in days, I'm afraid, but I left it out in plain site, so my guilt can grow a little each day and will make me work on it again, soon I hope.
In the meantime I've been spinning, and I've already cast on for my next pair of socks. They'll be for a dear friend.
I'm so bumped out, because I've still not received my Cat Bordhi sock book. I've pre-ordered it, and I think I'll never do that again. It's supposedly on it's way, 14 days now. I'm normally a very patient person, but I was looking forward to this book for month, since it was first to be released sometime in May? . People all around are talking about it already, and I feel LEFT OUT! O.K. rant over. Can't do anything but wait anyway. And knit socks from other sock books. Hrumpfh!