Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FO: Bed Socks

Originally uploaded by pudmuddles.

I've been in a sock frenzy lately but I've decided to knit up my "worst" sock yarn first. These socks were made with Cascade Fixation, which is a neat yarn, looks beautiful in tops, etc. However, in my opinion (experience), it is just NOT COMFY to walk on!

NaNoWriMo was abandoned because of book reviews... Holiday knitting (crochet) plans are now in danger too. Today is a good day to give it some thought and try to come up with a list of quick/easy projects to complete in time for Christmas... wish me luck!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I've been sort of down lately...

Looking at the date of my last post it shocks me to see how much time has passed! I haven't been knitting or crocheting (or reading or writing) much lately. My oldest daughter went through a health crisis beginning in early October and though she is walking again, we still do not have a diagnosis.

Of course, the economy has not helped and though I avoid the news to try and keep my anxiety level down, I still feel overwhelmed. My husband and I voted by absentee ballot. We are registered Libertarians and we both voted for our party's candidate. Speaking for myself, it really comes down to a protest vote because I don't have confidence in either the Republicans or Democrats.

I've signed up for NaNoWriMo but have gotten off to a really slow start. I'm trying not to dwell on my inevitable failure to write 50,000 words by the end of the month, focusing on the creative process instead. There was a time when I was in the habit of writing daily but it all seems a distant memory now. Can I hope to get that back?

I've volunteered to help a few hours twice a week in my oldest daughter's classroom. Her teacher is very nice but I worry because some of the students in the class can be quite rowdy.

I have a couple knitting projects in progress: Nanners socks (in hibernation until I can wrap and turn to my satisfaction), dark green Hallowig (changed my mind about finishing it for Halloween), and socks for myself in Cascade Fixation. I want to knit up all of the Fixation in my stash as I don't have enough to make a garment with it and I am not all that confident that the socks will be comfy. I know I could probably trade it but it seems like a hassle at the moment.

I'm hoping after the next follow-up with the pediatric rheumatologists my mood will improve. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year's is traditionally my favorite time of year and I really want to make it enjoyable for my whole family.

I'm contemplating seeing my doctor for some "happy" pills, if you know what I mean...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

FOs: Shopping Bag & Cotton Candy Scarf

This is the second time I have made a cotton shopping bag using a free pattern from the Lion Brand website. My intent was to improve the length of the strap by using fewer stitches. It turned out great, I just wish I could remember exactly how many stitches I used for the strap! I think it is time to move on to other shopping bag patterns in future, however...

The cotton candy scarf uses one skein of Lana Grossa Dasolo Print on US 13 (9.0 mm) needles. The pattern is as follows:

Cast On 10 stitches
K2, * yo, p2tog, K2; rep from *
Repeat this pattern for every row until you nearly run out of yarn but make sure you save enough for the bind off!

The scarf is the first of what I hope will be several items to donate to a local charity. My deadline is October 1st. I am hoping to make a variety of items, in both knit and crochet :)

WIP update

Nanners socks - still love them, just haven't worked on them lately!

Nemisis (Clapotis) - nearly there, I am decreasing like crazy now and plan to finish no later than Labor Day :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's been awhile...

...but I have been knitting! And reading... And Plurking... My Ravelry participation has decreased but I have managed to keep my projects updated there.

Let's see, what is off my needles?
1. Accordion Cowl Hood by Diane Serviss - using gray boucle from stash
2. The Socks of Extreme Angst - using Austermann Step and Ann Budd's basic formula for making socks
3. My Scrap Happy Shawl - using a variety of samples and leftovers from my stash, this project was inspired by Miss Violet's post here. I may have a better picture of this project for the blog at some point LOL!

On my needles:
1. Nanners Socks! I am really loving this pattern, I think WendyKnits is a fab designer and a great person in general!
2. Another cotton shopping bag - using the same pattern as before but shortening the strap considerably so it won't hang down to my ankles when filled. I also went down in needle size to see if that helps too...
3. Nemesis - this is a project which is rumored to be a Clapotis, that's all I will say for now...

What's coming next?
1. More blog posts, to this and my other blogs.
2. Something for myself from More Big Girl Knits.
3. A crochet project... lace or amigurumi...
4. Catching up with the Plurkette Hencircle
5. Working with my local knit group on our ongoing charity projects...

Monday, June 16, 2008

My update sans pictures

Halfway into June and I am just now getting around to posting, bad blogger!

What's on my needles: I am working on my Socks of Extreme Angst, almost done with the cuff of sock #2. I am also about 50% in on an Accordion Cowl Hood by Diane Serviss. This is another "let's use up the boucle quick" project. This time, it is back to the grey Bernat Soft Boucle I used for The Neverending Poncho with a little Bernat Satin in black for contrast. So far, it is working up nicely though the accordion folds are not as clearly defined in the boucle than they would be if I had used a smooth yarn. Pictures will follow soon.

Next to cast-on: I would like to make another shopping bag to use up the last of my kitchen cotton. I will buy kitchen cotton in the future, but ONLY when I have a SPECIFIC project in mind. Also, I found a bunch of granny squares I made years ago and I think they would make some cute scarves for my daughters.

Finally, I didn't get to participate in WWKIP Day as I had family visiting. That's it for this update, more to follow soon. Peace to you and yours!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Finally! A project to use up that boucle stuff...

Originally uploaded by pudmuddles.

I can understand my temporary insanity with respect to the dozen or so balls of fun fur still lurking in my stash. I have a plan for eradication which includes amigurumi crochet creatures.

The other novelty yarn (at least I consider it a novelty) is all the boucle I have laying around. There was the bit I bought to knit up the dreaded never-ending poncho of which I think I still have a full skein, if not more. Then there is a skein of BLACK boucle which is going to be a nightmare, no matter what I decide to do with it. I can't crochet with it, that much I know... Finally, there was a BIG skein of Joann's Rainbow Boucle in pink. This was an impulse buy. I think Joann's had it on sale for $3, marked down from $6. It was a thorn in my side as I had tried to make a hat for my daughter but I wasn't happy with my results so I left the yarn alone for about a year.

As part of my ongoing mission to knit 95% of the time from my stash exclusively, I decided it was time to figure out something to do with this. I tried to hold two strands together but couldn't see the stitches at all! I settled on pairing the pink boucle with a white wool-ease sportweight (oh how I wish this stuff wasn't discontinued).

I used Ann Budd's basic pattern for mittens and though it was difficult to obtain an accurate gauge AND the first mitten came out too large, I am very pleased with how these turned out :) Best of all, I have a plan to deal with the rest of boucle as I will be knitting up mittens for my daughters as well!

Monday, May 26, 2008

FO: ribbed arm warmers

Originally uploaded by pudmuddles.

I've named these Greensleeves for obvious reasons. Made from LB wool-ease, from my stash. This was a relative quick and mindless knit... at least this incarnation was easy! I originally set out to demo a friend's pattern but soon realized that "one size fits most" doesn't include my small-ish hands. So I tinkered and this is what I came up with :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Of concern...

I'm going to talk for a moment about knitting/crochet/crafting podcasts... Since I started listening to podcasts, I've noticed that some podcasts have been very consistent (Sticks & String for example). Others are either coming out less frequently or not at all.

However, what is most troubling to me is a review I recently posted to iTunes for the Lime & Violet podcast. First of all, I mean every word of the review. I love Lime & Violet, they are very entertaining, have provided me with a great deal more knowledge of yarn, books, etc. than I would have had if I hadn't been listening. Like others have said, its a virtual SNB in a podcast. Ok, so no problem, right? Wrong. I made a mistake in not posting the review SOONER... because of this my review doesn't have as much credibility since it was after Ms. V herself mentioned the slew of recent harsh reviews (some do contain valid criticisms) to the L&V Ravelry forum.

BAAAAAAA! I feel like such a sheep right now and it is really bothering me! Ok, that is all I have to say at the moment... Stay tuned for more FOs and WIPs and as always, I humbly thank you for reading :)

ETA: It's still bothering me, days later... I don't really give much credence to iTunes reviews which may seem odd considering that I review books for TRRC. Anyway, I should have stepped back and either waited to post a review or temper my words a bit than my emotional glowing praise as shown... I wanted to be nice and give back in my way. I value the work of podcasters because they are providing a service which is essentially free to be consumed regardless of the level of expense endured by the podcaster. I can't at the moment show my regard for them monetarily. I don't anticipate posting any other reviews on iTunes. I can't help but feel a little bit tainted by the whole thing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cheap Date

Originally uploaded by pudmuddles.

This project had been languishing in my WIP pile. I think I started and frogged about 3 times before I finally powered through. I purchased the yarn (Lion Brand Suede) about a year ago at the 99 cents only store and used just a bit over 2 skeins. Not accounting for my time and effort, the materials for this project was less than $3. Pretty cool, if you ask me!

The pattern is from an episode of Knitty Gritty (DKNG-510) and it is called the Lace Sampler Shrug.

Flawed but functional

Originally uploaded by pudmuddles.

I have a bit of cotton in my stash which was screaming to be something useful. I know that washcloths are really popular with a great many crafters but I am just not one. Anyway, I was looking around for patterns and came across this on the Lion Brand website. I liked the strap construction but found that it still stretched a bit more than I wanted and the sides did not match up perfectly when it was sewn together. I will be making this patten again but plan to go down a needle size and cast on 10-20 fewer stitches for the strap.

Bustin' stash and going green... How awesome is that?

Bye Bye Red Heart

Originally uploaded by pudmuddles.

I am happy to report that my stash has been purged of nearly all the Red Heart acyrlic. This blanket worked up quickly using two strands, rows of half double crochet on a 9.0 mm hook. I call it "(Red) Heart Burn". It's a nice blanket which will no doubt be durable enough to take abuse from my kids but so far, it hasn't come off my bed. I'm keeping this one to myself for now :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Second Sock Indecision

I call this project THE SOCK OF EXTREME ANGST. The yarn was a gift of friendship and I loved it so that I decided to make my first pair of "just-for-me" socks. My daughters each have at least one pair of hand knit socks and I thought it was my turn.

Though it seems like I have been working on these FOREVER, they were actually started just after the New Year. From the beginning, I had a series of mishaps. First I swatched and started knitting on size 1s but didn't like how it was turning out so I frogged it, and went down to size 0s. Ok, no problem... right? Wrong! I forgot to swatch again on the smaller needles so the sock was too small. Fortunately, I was only about an inch into the cuff when I figured this out. Rippit, rippit! Still ignoring the need to swatch again, I cast on more stitches and went for it... This time I was up to the gusset when I realized that the sock was way TOO BIG! Rippit, rippit!

Finally, I swatched and started yet again. The yarn was starting to look a little sad and abused but I charged through because by this point my frustration was at a critical level.

About this time, I had a major disagreement with the lady who runs a local knitting group, of which I had been a member for about a year. I refused to be bullied so I prepared to make my exit from that group. For the very first time in my life, a hobby was causing me a great deal of stress but I would not give up...

The sock you see here still seems a little large, especially in the heel. I have not Kitchener stiched it closed. My gauge is fine, I simply picked the wrong size. I think I may actually be in between sizes and if I sat down with all of the numbers could write up my own variation of the recipe.

Now comes the indecision... Do I knit the second sock to match the first? Do I knit a slightly smaller sock with a slightly shorter cuff in an attempt to get two more socks out of the yarn I have left? Do I put the whole thing away and look through my sock yarn stash for a change of scenery, maybe cast on a different pattern in a different yarn? For now, I think I will sleep on it...

BTW, I am now part of another local crafting group which has a completely different vibe to it, it is very refreshing (and inspirational)...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

FO: Hand Warmers :)

Wow, it seems like forever since I actually finished something! I call these "Warm Simplicity" as I made them up as I went along. The yarn was a gift from my secret pal :)

My crafting group is currently running a secret pal swap and I must say that I am quite enjoying it!

Ok, now back to this project... A bit of crochet, in a bulky weight acrylic/wool blend made in Turkey by Premier Picasso. I used a little less than 50 grams (60 yards) on a size K (6.5 mm) hook. They fit nicely and are WARM!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Balance? More or Less...

I'm still streamlining my online endeavors so that I can properly ration my time while maximizing my creativity. My Ravelry groups are back down to 32 in number, which still sounds like a lot, doesn't it? As much as I adore knitting and crochet there are other facets of my creative life I need to spend more time working on, specifically, writing. Fortunately, there is an active writing group in my area which participates in the annual NaNoWriMo! I think I will be signing up soon :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Finally, I feel like I am achieving balance again since Ravelry came into my life! There are so many wonderful people, projects and information on this site that it can be overwhelming and time consuming... not to mention the time it takes away from actually making something! I've got my groups back down to 40 and I may actually delete a few more as I know I don't have time to actually participate in all 40 groups. My plan is to use Ravelry once a day... we'll see how that goes LOL.

I'm caught up on my podcasts and may be in the "market" for a few new subscriptions. The wonderful thing about podcasts is that they can travel with you and don't demand your full attention while listening. So multi-tasking (which is a necessity in my life) is no problem.

As for the more mundane, my front-loading washer is acting up. Without an agitator it is difficult to balance a load and I think between all of the towels and jeans this family of 5 can dirty, that I've worn the poor thing out!

Monday, March 24, 2008

With the sun beating down...

Originally uploaded by pudmuddles.

...it was time to pull out the sun hats. Just one problem, I didn't have one that fit. Ok, so my head is a little large for a woman... Anyway, I decided that since it was very doubtful that I would take my cotton stash and make washcloths, I would crochet myself a sun hat! I think I did quite well, thank you very much! Actually, I had found an old pattern in one of those little special publication books put out by Better Homes & Gardens but as I worked it up discovered that it was just a bit bigger than I would like. I added a row of double crochet so that I could thread a ribbon through and cinch it in a bit to fit better. After that point, I switched back to single crochet and improvised the rest of the pattern based on how I wanted it to look and feel. I'm very happy with the results and wore it nearly all Easter weekend :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Now, We're Talkin'!

This is my second variation on the popular Booga Bag. I cast on more stitches (48) than the pattern called for, knit a larger bottom panel, and picked up more stitches in the round. I knit until I ran out of yarn and I am thrilled with the results! So these are fall colors? I don't mind!

About the yarn: Patons Classic Merino in Chestnut and a red-orange (I don't know what the color was called).

Where's My Rabbit?

It's been awhile since I posted in part because I was sick with a nasty chest cold and bronchitis which lasted nearly two weeks. Due to extreme fatigue and general blahs, I stuck with less complicated projects such as this one: a felted crochet hat from the book FELTED CROCHET by Jane Davis. I am very happy with how it turned out though it is a bit tall to be practical but its very warm, slightly eccentric, and perfect to wear to my crafting group... I just haven't done it yet... I've become quite taken with felting knit or crochet projects but I must shift gears now and concentrate on crafting through other elements of my stash (such as the last of my squeaky acrylic). Going from knitting or crocheting with pure wool to crafting with acrylic is like dumping a bucket of ice water on my head!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On a happier note...

Here is my latest finished object... my version of the Booga Bag.

This was made utilizing two different felt-able yarns in my stash: Patons Classic Merino in Chestnut and Bernat Lana in Smoke (I think). A quick easy knit, I think I will be making another soon to take my mind off of my recent WIP disasters. I will likely tweak this pattern a bit to make a larger finished bag.

Also, I am considering embellishing these bags with needle felting, a skill I hope to learn in the near future!

Update Overdue...

As you will see in another post, I do have a finished object to share and I am definitely happy with it :)

However, it seems like everything else I have touched since then I have had to frog and forget or frog and restart. For example, my ribbed Austermann Step socks and my stash bustin' lace sampler shrug... I had thought that I had measured my gauge for the socks, but apparently not. After turning the heel and knitting the gusset, I eagerly tried on my creation only to discover it was about an inch too large. Rip-it, rip-it... to the frog pond. I have now come to terms with this situation and I am re-knitting it after casting on 8 fewer stitches. Hopefully, I will have no further issues with these socks.

The shrug, using LB suede, is progressing slowly and the different lace patterns are giving me ideas for designs I may want to create myself :) However, I will be sooooooo glad when my stash is void of this particular yarn. I just don't like working with it... it's becoming a chore but I will see it through to the end!

I've also had gauge issues with a crochet (to be felted) hat. I don't know why I didn't realize that you need to check your gauge even when felting but I didn't until I was over halfway trough the project only to discover that it was waaaaaaaay too big. So I've restarted this project too.

My mojo seems to be missing at the moment...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

$3.96 ...seriously.

$3.96 was my total out of pocket expense for this order from Alpaca Direct. I received 4 skeins of Cascade Sassy Stripes in the Fey colorway for a Clapotis project and 4 skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn in the colorways of Lakeview and Tickled Pink. Pretty cool, huh? I took advantage of the opportunity to buy yarn on Amazon.com using a $50 giftcode courtesy of MyPoints. This was such an easy transaction that I would buy from Amazon/Alpaca Direct again in a heartbeat -- I'm already planning my next purchase as they have a great selection of Cascade Fixation.

If you would like a referral link to MyPoints Send me an
with "MyPoints" in the subject line :)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I've caught STARTITIS

So far I have three WIPs: the Austermann Step socks, a LB Suede Shrug, and a Booga inspired felted bag utilizing some of my stash. You would think that this would be enough to keep me occupied but NO! I am itching to start a crochet project. I have a new Amigurumi book I haven't done anything with yet, plus I have a nice stash of crochet thread and I am just itching to make a table runner for my dining room table. Then there is this great big hook I've never used and I'm thinking it would be nice to bust out a little blanket or lapghan to use up some of my remaining RH. Plus, I have a shipment coming from Alpaca Direct (I'll post more about it when it arrives) and I've been debating between a Drop Scarf inspired by the Clapotis or an actual Clapotis for a KAL. Since I am not a stole or shawl person really, I think the Drop Scarf will ultimately win out, but we'll see...

Here's my theory, when my stress level (not from anything bad, just busy) goes up, my project ADD or STARTITIS increases... I wonder if this is true of other knitters too...

Saturday, February 2, 2008


The second of the Christmas Sweaters finally has a brand new neck band. I had started last night while at a group knit meeting and realized too late that I had the stitches going the wrong direction. So I frogged it at home and started over... but now it is done and it fits my toddler just fine :)

(More pictures on Ravelry...)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Knowing when to say "ENOUGH"

So I have this crochet blanket (not from a pattern, just alternating rows of single and double crochet) that was started sometime late 2002 using Lion Brand Pound of Love. I've used nearly 2 pounds and it is approximately wide enough for a twin bed and so twin bed size was my original target for length. However, I just don't think I want to crochet the last pound of yarn so I think I will stop it after the current skein runs out. My 5 year old daughter loves the blanket just as it is now and it is certainly big enough to snuggle with on the couch :)

Coming to this decision has lifted a big yarn monkey off my back! And so, I have great hopes for a productive 2008... Looking back on 2007, I am thankful for all of the KIP opportunities the local knitting group has provided -- without their encouragement I never would have started knitting socks!

Back to Business

Ok, I've frogged it, cast on again, and I am now well on my way to my first sock for myself :) The yarn, a Christmas gift from my dear friend Jo, is Austermann Step in pretty pinks and purples.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A little whine...

I'm feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. I'm currently in the middle of a stressful week with doctor appointments, meetings at school regarding our soon-to-be kindergarten student, a spelling bee for my second grader (who refuses to study because its "easy" stuff), and another book review deadline. So long story short, I've had little knitting time. Add to that, I had to frog the sock I was working on at our last knit group meeting and go down a needle size. Plus, I just experienced my first Ravelry snub... Ok, I'm done.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What progress?

Admittedly I haven't been knitting as much as I usually do and as you can see, I haven't even posted my 2007 year in review yet. Well, a huge stack of review books and sick children have kept me pretty busy... but I have been catching up on podcasts and after several attempts, have finally given up on the idea of making my mom a hat from LB Suede to match the scarf I gave her for Christmas. While I may attempt a sampler shrug in the LB Suede, it is more likely that my stash will be transformed into scarves and given as teacher gifts for Christmas 2008. I hope to start a pair of socks soon just to save my sanity!