Friday, September 29, 2006

A more organized knitter

In the past week, I haven't been doing as much knitting as I normally do. I have the back of Arisaig completed, which I'll show in my next post, but I have kinda gotten on a little sewing kick. It all started when I read a post on that showed a lovely dpn case she had made. At the time, my needles and other notions lived in a mess in a basket that I had to dig through everytime I needed a tapestry needle or crochet hook or size 4 needles. You get the idea. So, this inspired me to do a little more Googling on needle cases. I'm not a good sewer, but the cases didn't look *too* hard. Straight lines to sew and straight lines to cut. I Googled away and found some helpful links for sewing your own needle case. I also found some cases other knitters had made, like Grumperina's and splityarn's. I also found The Organized Knitter with beautiful photos of cases.

So, I went to the fabric store and found some nice coordinating fabrics, got some ribbon and thread and got to work. My first case, which was for straight needles, was a disaster. I didn't even take a photo for you because I already cut away the fabric that could be re-used. I guess it was my learning experience. Basically, I sewed the front and inside flaps together first before sewing all the pockets for the needles. So when I made the pockets for the needles, the underside stitch (this probably has a technical name, but I'm not a real sewer to know) showed up on the outside fabric. So when it was rolled up, there were lines of stitches half-way up the roll. Gross. I thought the process through a little better and also rounded the corners so the edges were cleaner. Here are the finished products:

Straight needle case rolled up.

Unrolled. It holds all of my straight needles and even the big size 35s I bought for fun.

Circular needle case. This one folds in half twice like a book.

Circular needle case opened up. I kept these in their original cases, so I didn't have to measure to tell the 24" ones from the 29" ones!

dpn / crochet hook case. I still need to attach the ribbon and button....

dpn case opened up. I don't have a lot of dpn, but it holds crochet hooks, stitch holders and scissors.

I also made a straight needle case for my friend Jen (non-blogger) who knits. She's a big crochet person too, so I'm making a dpn like case for her crochet needles.

The last item on my to-sew list is a mini case for all those little notions, like the tapestry needles, cable needles, row counters, point protectors...have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Prosperous Plum Tank Finished

I actually finished this a little while ago.

Yarn: Rowan Handknit DK in Sugar, 5 balls
Pattern: By Joanna at knitpicking, available here
Started: Early August
Verdict: Love it! This one was a project that I wasn't super excited about when I started it, but it ended up being one of my favorite knits. I love the picot edging and learned how to use a provisional cast on. It fits really nicely, not too big or too small, and the back came out nicer than I thought, too. I was nervous about it because it was my first project dealing with negative ease. I wasn't using the specified yarn, which yielded 4" of negative ease, but I trusted Joanna's advice and gave myself more negative ease, 6" worth, since I wasn't using a stretchy yarn.

Unfortunately, it's getting chilly now here in the mid-Atlantic (which I am actually enjoying, autumn is my favorite time of year), so unless we get another warm day, this one might have to sit in the closet until spring time. Thanks Joanna for the free pattern, it was really well written and easy to follow.

In other knit news, I've added some items to my stash.

Elann Devon in Claret - no project in mind.

Cascade Indulgence in Rose - intended for the Embellished V Neck from Fall VK.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A make-up gift and a little quickie

I got a very nice surprise this week. It's kinda a long story, involving a Christmas gift from my husband Bill that didn't materialize and a crappy 2nd anniversary gift last year. Going back to October 2005 (we got married in 2003), if you didn't know, the traditional gift for a 2nd wedding anniversary is cotton. I normally follow tradition, but these categories are so difficult to work with. I mean, come on, paper for year 1? Does that mean only a card because you're still poor from paying off your honeymoon? Anyway, I really wanted to get Bill an iPod nano. So, he got his fancy iPod nano and I got cotton. Socks. With dogs on them. I got over it though, since we had sort of agreed not to really go all-out for anniversaries. I guess I forgot about that.

Christmas came 2 months later. My sole gift from Bill was an envelope containing a 'voucher' for acupuncture. I have back problems and he thought this would be a good gift. The voucher itself was cute - he made it and took pins from my sewing kit and stuck them in it. His mom even contributed $200 towards my gift. As it turned out, I started acupuncture and my health insurance covered it at 80%. To this day, I have yet to fork out the $200 his mom gave me in co-pays. This means that Bill's gift didn't really materialize. He didn't seem to notice.

Back to now: It's September. Our 3rd wedding anniversary is next month. For the past few months, I've been borrowing my parents' camera since our digital is WAY old and outdated. The batteries can barely keep it charged for an hour. Well, my parents just left for a trip to Germany and took their camera, rightfully so. We are going a friend's wedding on Saturday and I am left camera-less. Much to my delight, I came home this week to find a brand new Canon SD600 digital elph hiding under my Arisaig WIP bag in my yarn basket.

I asked: is this was an early anniversary gift?
Bill replied: no, it's to make up for Christmas and our anniversary last year.

What a fabulous husband. The camera didn't come with a protective case, so I quickly got to work on a case for it. I had 1 ball of Noro Blossom I had purchased a long time ago because it was so pretty. This was perfect for it.

I just knit in seed stitch until I had enough to fold up with a flap, sewed up the sides and attached a small loop for a button.

Then I tossed it in the washer to felt. It's so cute and I love it because it was a quickie-knit (took about an hour while watching 'House' on Tuesday night) and it's for my awesome make-up gift.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ms. Marigold Finished

Ms. Marigold finally finished blocking last night - the rainy weather doesn't really facilitate speeding blocking. Here she is.

The Details:
Pattern: Ms. Marigold, available at
Yarn: Elann Sonata in Ruby, 4 balls with nothing to spare
Verdict: So-so. I like the pattern but it was a frustrating process. Here are my gripes with this one. I thought the pattern lacked some guidance. For instance, I usually double check and keep track of my stitches anyway, but before joining in the round, after doing all those increases, there was no guideline for about how many stitches should be on the needle. I ended up counting and doing the gauge math, realized that I had about 30" of fabric around, even though I was knitting the 34". So, I added on some extra increases before joining in the round.

My other major gripe was that I ran out of yarn. Twice. I used up my 3rd ball before even getting to the bottom border, which I did in seed stitch instead of rib. So, I ordered 1 more from Elann, thinking that would be plenty. Wrong! I finished the bottom (added some increases to allow for my hips) and v-neck border and had only enough yarn to crochet 2 rounds over the ruffle, not 4. In a perfect world, I would like this to be a little longer, I would have knit the 36" size and I would like enough yarn to have rufflier ruffles. I might knit this again with some modifications, but overall I'm pleased with it (I wore it to work today).

Some more shots:

In other knitting news, I scored some Cascade Indulgence on sale ($5.70/ball, regularly $9.50) from Knot Another Hat for the Embellished V Neck from the new VK. And, Stitches East is coming to the Baltimore Convention Center November 2-5. There are supposed to be lots of vendors at the Stitches Market - has anyone ever been to one of these? Sounds like trouble for my wallet!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lotsa yarn

I took Friday off from work, planning to use the day to run some errands, clean the house and knit. My order at Knit picks for the 21 balls of Swish I ordered had been shipped over a week before and the tracking system said it would probably be delivered on Friday. It was! The package was practically vacuum-packed and felt like an over-stuffed throw pillow. It was heavy. And dense. I pried it open, too excited to find scissors, and the bag burped out 21 balls of yummy soft, colorful yarn....

I ordered at least 1 of almost every color they stocked. It is VERY SOFT. So far, I've got 9 hats in mind. With Christmas less than 4 months aways, that's about 2.25 hats per month. 1.125 hats per week!

In other knitting news, I finished Ms. Marigold over the weekend. She is currently blocking - I'll have a FO report this week. I enjoyed the long weekend, hope everyone else did too!