Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oldies but Goodies

When I go on vacation, I really go on vacation.  There has been lots of activity yarn-wise, but on this New Year's Eve I thought it would be fun to look at some sweaters I made a long, long time ago.  I purchased a Bond Incredible Sweater Machine from QVC at some point in the early 90's.  It was totally random, I have never called them before or since, but I just had to have this thing.  It was loads of fun and I eventually bought a second one and bolted them together to form a super-Bond ISM, with an approximate capacity of 200 stitches per row.  I whipped out afghans in a day and sweaters in a weekend.  While home over Christmas, my lovely mother volunteered to model some of these fiber artifacts for posterity.  Here they are in all of their acrylic glory.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chubby Chirps

After careful review of the evolving yarn selection available at Knitting in the Loop in Houston, TX, I have deemed it "Heather friendly".  They have added more basic wool yarns in useful colors, and appear to be slowing down with the novelty yarns.  As such, they are now on my good list and when I was called to action to knit Chubby Chirps for a fundraiser at the Houston Zoo... I got cracking.  Proceeds from the sale of these guys will go to help the NZ oil-fouled penguins.  I knitted one at the store, these 3 at home with handspun.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I made lots of things over this delightfully long 4-day weekend.  My favorite is the evil-eye themed yarn seen above.  I hand carded the wool into rolags (which as it turns out, work infinitely better for long draw than pseudo-rolags.)  The lighter single was equal amounts of the blue merino wool blended  with undyed coopworth.  Beads were strung onto the blue single which was more even in diameter, and both were plied.  I am a little worried about the larger beads weakening the overall strength of the yarn, so it will be an interesting experiment while I knit it up. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Yes, I made a brain hat.  Somebody at work is taking a leave of absence to finish their thesis and I decided they needed a good thinkin' cap.  I saw one on regretsy at some point and it just stuck in my craw as a "need to make someday" kind of project.  It was a lot of work, but I'm happy with how it turned out.  No, I will not make one for you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I picked up the 2011 Interweave Holiday Gifts Edition and dove headfirst into some stranded color work.  These are called "Chivalry Mitts" and have been worked in knitpicks chroma fingering.  They're a bit twee for me and will be given to a co-worker.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

All Aboard!

This ship-load of bunnies is steaming out of port!  The latest batch of 24 has deployed in my final weeks at work before I change assignments.  They are finding themselves into offices bidden or not all over the floor.  Leftovers are assuming posts in nooks and crannies to be discovered in the future.  I just can't help myself. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Viking Hat #2

You have got to be exceedingly careful when knitting something cool.  It is only a matter of time before everybody wants one.  That's exactly what happened with the viking hat.  I tend to be very strong on my stance of "I can't knit one for everybody" and "I'll gladly teach you how to knit one yourself."  But...  I relented to the entreaties of one coworker due to health and safety concerns.  They're Swedish and planning to go home for Christmas.  The child (3 to 4 years old) resists hats at all costs except for a plastic souvenir viking helmet a relative mailed him for kicks.  This isn't usually a problem in Texas, but it will be a bit nippy in Sweden in December.  This hat is medically necessary.  It is being modeled by my pet sheep Lord Bitey of Cornwall.

On another note, I didn't have to buy back my handcrafted items from the United Way auction this year.  The yarn went for 21$ and the baby blanket for 42$.  I was pleased.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tiger Coils

While looking for a quasi active spinning group on Ravelry I have fallen in with the Novelty and Art Yarn Spinners.   They're a fun crowd and have lots of ideas for new things to try.  I signed up for a wee mini-swap that includes knitting a hexipuff which incorporates a hand spun art yarn.  The hexipuffs are knit with sock yarn, so I experimented with this teeny tiny coil yarn spun with singles left over from my tiger themed charity skein.  It looks OK, now to do something with it...

Saturday, October 1, 2011


This is some fluffy (but a wee bit scratchy) yarn I've been spinning up with roving from Bartlett Yarns.  Their roving is 7.00$ for half a pound, and this stuff is like potato chips so there was stopping with one.  I have 1 pound of wool with equal quantities of Thistle and Mountain Laurel.  The roving smells wonderfully sheepy and has a very short staple.  I was caught by surprise by the latter feature and had little luck with my preferred short draw.   This wool wants to be spun long draw only with no need for rolags.  I strip the roving in half and we are ready to go.  I may have crossed the line to fiber "artist" because I feel like a sculptor who listens to the stone.  So far I have one skein with 170 yards, but have barely made a dent in the massive lumps of wool.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elmer Fudd Nugget

In furtherance of my goal to insert adorable knits into the offices of curmudgeonly manly men at work, I present "nugget with tiny shotgun."  Lovingly crafted out of wool yarn dyed to hunter safe blaze orange, this little guy is the most militant member of my endearing junta to date.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spinning for Charity

Every year at work there is an e-bay style auction on the intranet to raise money for the United Way.  People are encouraged to get creative and donate unique goods and services, so I spun some yarn.  

This is 75% superwash merino/ 25% nylon bare stroll roving from knitpicks.  In the end there are 260 yards with a wpi of 10 (yes, I checked!!).  I was going for a tiger theme (one of our company's mascots), which is also fitting for fall crafting.  The original pre spinning dye-job looked like cat vomit and I was so tragically disheartened I almost chucked it.  Luckily, it is nicer spun up and I dyed it again post ply so there will be stripes of black superimposed over the barberpole striping in the orange sections.  It was kind of a stripes within stripes Inception-y thing.

I hope people appreciate my offering.  In the past I have ended up buying back my donated items.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Black Gold

The problem with knitting bunny nuggets to overthrow my office building in a fuzzy bloodless coup is that people have all kinds of ideas for things that would be cool to knit.  "Knit me an oil rig!"  Hmmm, let me think about that one.  OK, got it.

The base is a recycled chunk of styrofoam from a package I received at some point covered with oddments of yarn for "stratigraphy" in the subsurface and "grass" on top.  I wanted it to be a successful well, so I added some nice black crude at the base, knit from petroleum based acrylic yarn for that added touch of poetic justice.  The derrick is i-cord threaded onto some armature wire with tied on criss-crossing lengths of yarn.  The recipient was quite pleased.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mystery Knitalong (KAL)

I had never done one before, and probably won't again.  This was a painfully boring knit.  I might wear it on St. Paddy's Day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Works in Progress

I have a bunch of irons in the stove right now, but no actual finished products.  Here's a sneak peek at something that will be coming down the line at some point.  I am deliberately vague on that ETA because the pattern has gotten a bit boring and I have to take a break.  So far I am ~450 yards into this project, the Ostrich Plumes Stole, from the book Knitting 24/7.  The concept for all projects is to keep them simple enough to pick up and put down while you carry on with your life.  A good idea it is, but a project this large needs something more to make it interesting.  You may remember this yarn from a previous post, it is my handspun "Kentucky Bluegrass."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Got my Mojo Working

After that pain in the ass yarn I worried that I had lost my touch.  Not so.  Here is 240 yards of BFL/silk, sport weight, 2ply mojo.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Socks for Bev

I have quite a bit of trouble with second sock syndrome (SSS), the inability to soldier on and complete the mate once sock number one has been knitted.  Only very special people receive two sock gifts from me.  Bev* is the current record holder, with two pair.  

*Bev is my mom. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pain in the Butt Yarn

I like to experiment with new skills, in spinning as in life.  This trait caused me to try spinning with a woolen/long draw from pseudo rolags.  I had seen several descriptions, on the cover of Spin Off magazine and at my friend Brandi's blog.  I took apart my niddy noddy and used the center dowel to roll up literally hundreds of rolags assembly line style with an efficiency that would have made old man Ford jealous. 

Then I started to spin.  I got the hang of the long draw after watching some youtube videos and lots of practice.  I am used to the short draw with small hand movements and this method made my arm hurt.  I am also used to changing to a different project after a week or so, but I had two massive bags of fiber to get through and fatigue set in.  When I realized I was no longer having fun, I declared it time to ply and move on.  This is 430 yards of a rather chunky 2 ply yarn (at least Aran, probably bigger) spun from wool/alpaca mill ends from Brown Sheep.  The woolen draw definitely lowered the grist and produced a softer, fluffier product, but I'm going back to worsted/short draw.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bunny Nuggets

No blog posts for a month?!!?  Work was extremely busy for a few weeks, in a pretty stressful yet productive kind of way.  That left me at the end of the day with little energy and absolutely no brain power.  But I must still knit.  As a result, I have been obsessively and compulsively knitting bunny nuggets.  Find the pattern here and start your own descent into madness today.  They are quick (about an hour) and easy.  I have the pattern memorized.  Scrap yarn works like a dream.

Strangely enough, I only photographed this first one.  The rest have been going with me to work and finding their way into the offices of my colleagues.  No need to share online if they are making the rounds IRL, right?  (Plus they were all born at night under sub-optimal photographic conditions.)  I estimate at least 45 have infiltrated my floor at this point.  Only the most grizzled old oil men have been able to resist so far...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Well, unwearable where I work anyway.  Bright orange with crazy green beads...  too much fun.  I have restarted  without the beads and I like it better anyway.  The simple pattern really showcases the hand dyed/spun yarn without distractions.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baby Clothes

They are small and easy in theory, but what if you forget the buttonholes?  
(This is the famous EZ February baby sweater on two needles. It does not mention buttonholes until you are past the yoke.  I guess you're supposed to read the whole pattern before you start.  Whatever.  Afterthought buttonholes do not meet my standards.)
Start over.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Life is stressful

Life is stressful, make yarn.  I didn't even think I liked pink, but this stuff cheered me right up.  In between Helicopter Underwater Egress Training and fit testing for my self contained H2S respirator, pink fluffy kettle dyed corriedale roving plied with shiny rayon thread gives me 472 yards of calm.  Thank you Mr. Sheep.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Knitting Experiments

The same basic pattern and a different yarn produces a unique solution.  Here is a scarf knitted again with the vine lace motif from Barbara Walker, but this time with some worsted weight superwash I spun and proportionally smaller needles.  The result is a far less drapey, almost herringbone texture.  And the experiment is over because I am sick to death of that pattern.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finished Object

It's interesting to see how I balance spinning on my wheel and knitting throughout the course of a week.  When I get home from work, I'm drained.  I leave it all on the field and have to lay down for an hour or two before I can move.  I am mentally and physically exhausted, not to mention stressed out. 

The perfect remedy for this is spinning.  Spinning is utterly mindless and meditative.  The only moment in time that exists is the current one.  This moment, this draft.  At the same time though, it does require some physical activity and can add additional fatigue if I'm not very careful in limiting myself.   Then I knit.  Knitting can be a bit more "thinky" and to be perfectly honest, the repetition of plain garter or stockinette fills my chest with a palpable sense of ennui and frustration.  I need patterns that aren't too boring, but not so complex I'll have to rip back every other row.  The scarf above became a little boring after awhile, but I plowed through, knitting with sheer will rather than hands.  The yarn is my handspun "chocolate covered cherry" from a few posts back.  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nobody Gets Hurt

Step right up and get in line to view the ultra-laceweight yarn perfect for knitting the latest and greatest in high visibility hunting season accessories.  I call the colorway OSHA orange and think it would be equally fabulous for knitting the most delicate of dainties on an offshore rig surrounded by roughnecks.  Hypothetically speaking, of course. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

If a unicorn farts in the forest and there's nobody there to smell it...

I had a rough day, so you get some super saccharine fun yarn I made on a good day last week.  I got this chunk of roving free with purchase from CCSmile2006's Etsy shoppe and I could not force myself not to whip out my turkish drop spindle and play with the pastel rainbow of wooly fluff.  (I should have taken a picture, but I was enjoying the moment.)  It was just so easter-y, rainbow-y, and fun.  Have a great day!

Stats: 57yds, 9g

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cherry

This skein I'm calling chocolate covered cherry.  It's 350 yards of a red merino wool single plied with brown #10 crochet cotton.  I would call it DK weight, but again I can't be bothered with wpi.  I pre-strung red beads on the cotton strand and slid one up to get tangled in place at semi-random intervals.  The key takeaway from my experience on this one was to re wind the cotton thread on a bobbin before plying instead of working off the spool.  It was a pain in the arse trying to yank off lengths while the spool flailed wildly about.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


With the wheel I'm spinning way faster than I can comfortably blog, so my stockpile of projects to share is building up.  Today's skein is superwash wool spun from part of a grab bag of brown sheep mill end roving I bought at DBNY.  There's 240 yards of worsted-ish blueness.  (I still haven't bothered with wpi...) It was my second attempt at navajo plying and produced a near commercial quality yarn... now if only any of these babies I need to knit for were boys!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Madness

I spun up some scarlet and gray buckeye yarn for good luck in the NCAA tournament! O-H-I-O!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pinky and the Brain

I ordered several kilos of undyed wool online, so I suggest you get accustomed to many pictures of hand dyed roving.  This is 90g of corriedale dyed as is my habit with Jacquard acid dyes.  After an epic quest for powdered citric acid yesterday I gave up and bought a big jug of vinegar at Kroger.  I'll have to just buy the good stuff online.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Skein!

This is the first skein from my Ashford Joy.  It's a 70% merino, 30% silk blend roving from KnitPicks that I dyed.  (see earlier posts...)  It's 300 yards of fingering weight yarn.  WPI - meh, I haven't gotten that far.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ode to Joy

I finally got my spinning wheel.  It was my planned big purchase for when I got a "real job".  I've had the job for awhile now, but it took me that long to find a store/instruction locally.  Sure, I could have randomly chosen a wheel on the internet and ordered one, but which one?  And what if I get the thing and can't figure it out.

Upstairs Studio to the rescue!  It's a great place in La Porte, TX, not too far away from Houston.  They specialize in yarn, spinning, and weaving; and have classes to learn any fiber related arts.  I had a great instructor named Lizzie who got me started on the wheel and helped my explore my preferences.  By the end of our three hours session I had spun and plied a wee skein of yarn and decided on a wheel.

I picked up the wheel yesterday and have already been making some great strides in yarnery.  I can't wait to see what kind of trouble me and my new friend Joy whip up!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Jayne Hat

My cousin wanted a Jayne hat.  I harbor a strange discomfort with the concept of knitting such a thing.  Why?  I'm not entirely sure, but it might have something to do with my stubborn yet frequently yielding resistance to viral knitting trends.  Everybody has knitted a clapotis, a koolhaas, and a Jayne hat, therefore I feel the need to be the one person who hasn't.  I know deep down that the contrived bucking of fads is just as sheeplike, but the ego that generates my sense of personal special-ness wins every time. It's totally idiotic, I know.  I end up making a lot of those projects anyway because there was reason they became so popular.  Either they're cool, or easy to knit, or generally awesome.  So I sucked it up and knit the Jayne hat.

* Hi Mom - Firefly is a sci fi TV show that came out in 2002, made by the same people as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It has quite the cult following and is now returning to TV on the Science Channel.  One of the characters named Jayne received a hat just like this and wore it on the show.  I suspect the re-airing is what triggered Scott's sudden hat lust.

* Hi Fellow Nerds - yes, I am aware the pom pom color distribution is wrong.  I redid it but didn't take pictures of the final headwear.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Shawl for Bev

These photos have been closely guarded until I was able to conquer the inconvenience that is the USPS. *
 This is the delightful Chinook Shawl Pattern that I purchased as a kit from KnitPicks a year or so ago.  It was a simple lace pattern pattern to execute, even though it had pattern to work on both the knit and purl rows.  I would recommend it to novice and experienced lace workers alike.

*  The shawl was knitted (a few weeks) blocked (2 days) and packed to mail on a Saturday afternoon (1 day).  We lose Sunday (1 day), and then the box is carted around all day Monday until I make it to a post office.  Presidents' day!  The post office automated kiosk is still open though, so I get all stamped up only to find the big box that takes the packages is locked shut.  I could have put it through a slot for "stamped mail", but there was a sign warning that if the package was over 13oz it would be treated as hostile and returned to sender (1 day).  I took it with me to work again on Tuesday and threw it in the outgoing tray to see what would happen with a post it explaining the situation.  It arrived 3 days later in Columbus, Ohio with the bright pink post it still attached, which amused Bev and I both.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kettle-dying (aka I only ended up with a few blue fingers)

I kettle-dyed some roving last night, 100grams of a 70% merino 30% silk blend from my beloved knitpicks.  I had never dyed plain old fluffy roving in a vat of water and was terrified that it would felt, nep, or sprout legs and run away dripping dye EVERYWHERE while trying to force the door knob open with soggy, slippery bits of wet sheep and worm poop.  Since that didn't happen, I was quite less disappointed when I didn't get exactly what I expected.  I can't wait to get back to spinning once I finish a Valentine Day shawl for Bev.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

By the way...

As I knit forward on other projects and begin to hoard indecent amounts of roving, I really should make an effort to post everything else.  This is how my "snowy pastures" hand spun knit up in cowl form.  I tried a few different stitch patterns, but the end result looked like yarn gak.  I settled on the plain stockinette to best showcase to yarn.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bike Helmet Ear Warmers

It doesn't get very cold out here in Houston more than once or twice a year.  That being said, folks around these parts aren't used to it.  Even those originally from normal places with snow and sleet find their blood thins after a short period of time.  I decided that justified knitting up some bicycle helmet ear-warmers for an avid cyclist at work.  It was pretty quick, but I recommend anybody planning to knit them, just do so in the round.  Sew the things up was the least fun bit.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Spinster Chronicles

Yes my friends, I am now officially a spinster.  (and I'm loving every minute of it!)  Santa Claus brought me a learn to spin kit from KnitPicks with a convertible Turkish drop spindle and 100 grams of Peruvian wool roving.  It took a while to figure out what I was doing, and I made lots of noob errors, but the yarn I produced makes me so happy.

It's definitely not a consistent weight throughout, but thick and thin art yarn is totally in vogue nowadays.  (I think.)  I predrafted the roving for the singles and then plied it with a lace-weight wool/mohair blend in green.  I'm calling it "snowy pastures".  There are about 85 yards and I haven't decided what to knit with it yet.  Have another look with fingers for scale.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011