I suck at Navajo plying

July 10, 2008 @ 10:45 pm
posted by kris

what the title says.

I am going super slow, and about 50% of the time it looks ok, but the other half, sucks ass. Really. A lot of times, I have one of the plys too tight (like coming from the lazy kate) and so the other two start wrapping around it. I tried pulling the other two tight, but then I start pulling the yarn off the bobbin and there’s not enough take up (I think I have this adjusted to have as much takeup as possible). Then I tried loosening the LK, but then I got the curlys, even though this single has been sitting for 2 days). And then there’s the problem of when I’m getting ready to “chain”, plys shift and move and look like crap.

Please tell me that whacking fixes this!!! Probably not. Shit.

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Knitting handspun socks in Switzerland

June 14, 2008 @ 1:39 pm
posted by kris

So we’ve had a traumatic past couple of days. Thursday afternoon, we headed out on a train to Chur (me, husband and boys). My parents left early in the morning so they were already there. It’s a long story about a car that has been in the shop for 4 weeks as to why we didn’t leave all together. Anyways, the train ride was actually pleasant, the boys did great.

The boys have been potty trained for about a month now and have been doing so very well. Hardly any accidents and if it did happen, it would happen during their nap. Bathrooms on the train really aren’t great for beginning potty trained boys. One of them did fine, but Elijah got totally freaked out by the weird toilet and how it moved. I think this really scarred him for life and he didn’t want to use a toilet after that – even the ones in the train station and in our hotel. So we put him in diapers again. He always wants to wear underwear but then when he realizes that means going to the toilet, he starts screaming and crying. Ugh. Today Michael bought a kids toilet seat – you know, the kind that fits over the toilet so it’s smaller and he is finally comfortable enough to use it.

We got a rude introduction to Switzerland! When we got to Chur, it was surprising at how expensive everything is. Thank goodness my parents were there to warn us. We knew it would be expensive, but I don’t think we were quite prepared. One swiss franc is about the same as one US dollar. We paid close to $40 for a McDonalds meal for 2 adults and 2 kids. Wow. We also booked a cheap room (at least in Chur – it was $130 a room) and it was in the middle of all these strip clubs and bars. How embarrassing it was to be walking with 2 kids and your parents with pictures of these naked ladies everywhere. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The next day we took the Glacier Expess train to Zermatt and it was a really great train ride (but OH MY GOD expensive)

Zermatt was so much nicer and everything is clean and there are no cars (except for these little electric cars). Our room is amazing and surprisingly not that expensive. Off of our balcony we have an incredible view of the Matterhorn and the weather is PERFECT! We have a kitchen here so we plan to cook as much as possible to save on the costs.

So anyways, that was my rant about Switzerland. On to knitting! I finished spinning the skein of CMF superwash merino in San Francisco and I was so-so about it. It wasn’t as thin as I would’ve liked it and also I wasn’t sure about the colors, they kind of went everywhere. I decided to knit Michael socks with it anyways (and he saw the colors and thought it was ok), and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. The transformation that handspun makes from yarn to sock is amazing. Oh, it is so awesome. I wish I could take a picture of it, but sadly, internet connection here costs money (of course) and the computer that works with the internet connection doesn’t have a port that fits the memory card. Argh. I’ll take pictures and post them later. I am making a plain stockinette foot with a 2×2 rib leg and an afterthought heel. I never made those heels before so I thought I should try it.

Other than that, I am missing my spinning (no wheel for 1 whole week!) but have my handspun socks and Fiddleheads to keep me company among the mountains!

Oh yeah, today is WWKIP day, I’m going to try and knit outside awhile. But it’s kinda sad that I’ll be by myself. There is a yarn shop here, I’ll have to find it! :)

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Look ma – I’m Knitting!

June 3, 2008 @ 11:36 am
posted by kris


Wollmeise Fiddleheads

Wollmeise Fiddleheads

Twisted Fiber art in Warlock

FatCatKnits merino/tencel in Patina

Look – I’m knitting!!! My left thumb is getting some kind of spinning injury (is that possible?) so I’m giving it a rest and I haven’t spun in 2 days. So what do I do? I buy a pattern and take stock of my wollmeise!

Man, do I suck at color work. I cannot do fair-isle for the life of me. Oh it looks good from afar, but it’s puckery, loosey goosey, and hole-y. :( I can’t knit English style so I basically pick up and drop the yarn. Very time consuming. One of these days I will have to learn to throw. Will someone give me some tips (ms. onandofftheneedles, I’m talking to you!)? I looked at the video on Knitting Help and she makes it look easy but it’s so freakishly hard!

The spice market (middle strip) doesn’t have a whole lot of contrast, and I thought about ripping it out, but ugh, to go all the way back there would bring me to tears. So can you just lie and say that it looks super awesome??? ;)

And also wanted to post pics of my latest skeins of spinning. I love them both!

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WIP: Baudelaire in Posh Yarn Lucia

April 8, 2008 @ 11:54 pm
posted by kris


Look at that amazing texture!

I am being so good. I am knitting from my stash. And not recent stash – DEEP stash! I bought this yarn about a year ago and didn’t like the feel and color of it. It is 70% merino and 30% cashmere and it is indeed soft, but it’s kind of sticky like when you rub velvet the wrong way. I think the colors on the web were much more darker and vibrant, so it was a slight let down. But I liked it enough to keep it, and the person it was for would like it. It was supposed to be socks for my mother-in-law LAST YEAR, but never got the time to do it, so I decided to do it this year. And it makes me feel good that I’m getting a jump start on Christmas. Well, really, what it is is that I want to reduce how much we spend at Christmas, and hand knit socks are priceless!! Hand knit cashmere socks…well…much better than some bargain basement DVD from Target.

Anyways, so I wound the yarn up on my injured ball winder and still didn’t like it, and I started having regrets. But then, I started knitting with it and my god, it was amazing. The pattern was the perfect choice – Baudelaire by CookieA. The stitch definition and the fabric was very pleasing and oh-so-soft-you-can’t-stop-touching-it. I’m still not happy with the color, but I have to remember that it’s not for me. I know that my MIL will love it!

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Enter the KU Contest!

March 19, 2008 @ 3:08 am
posted by kris

Just a reminder here for everyone to enter the Knitters Uncensored contest by April 1! If you don’t listen to the podcast, the questions are in the show notes and you can just guess at random for an entry. But keep in mind, it’s not a drawing (so you need to have some amount of it right!). Hey, it’s worth a shot for some German hand dyed yarn and handspun from Elem! ;)

I am plugging along on the Cobblestone. In fact, I have not been able to put it down. I am done with the body and two sleeves, tomorrow I attack the yoke (my first)! It’s amazing how fast I breeze through skeins of Cascade.

Does anyone else have the problem of the cables coming out of their Knit Picks options needles? I do – almost all of mine come out! I finally bought some super glue and glued them back together. On the first one, I had to cut off a part of the end because putting the glue on it makes it too bulky to go back into the metal part. Then on the next ones, I put glue only at the very top so it could slide into the metal easily. I thought there might be issues with the glue gunking up, but I wiped it away before it dried and it was fine. I might not be making sense because it’s 2am now… Well, I’m just happy that I now have my 3 cables back in service!

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I thought I was done!

March 12, 2008 @ 11:32 pm
posted by kris


Booties ready to be delivered!

I just finished making 7 pairs of booties (2 of which are not completely finished but knitting wise they are done) and I thought I was done, but then my cousin goes off and has a baby boy yesterday. The Hazel Knits comes back out! I love the Beach Glass/Chocolatier combo, totally perfect! I am also playing with stripes. I need to figure out how to make them with those leaves (from the original pattern) so that I can avoid buying and sewing on buttons. I hate buttons. I never feel like they are secure enough.

And BIG NEWS – I cast on for a … drum roll … SWEATER! Yes, you heard that right, a garment! Not a sock, not a scarf, not a bootie, not children’s clothing, a full grown man’s sweater! Michael actually requested one. I knit him one out of alpaca when we lived in TEXAS so it never got worn and it is still too hot to even wear here. I attempted to knit him one out of cotton, but got about 1/2 way done and put it away (this was 12 or so years ago) and I just frogged it 6 months ago. It was waaaaay too huge. I have also made maybe 3 or 4 other sweaters. One sleeveless one for my mom who actually wore it quite a bit. One for my sister, who I’m guessing never wore it, and a couple for myself – one came out waaaay too bulky and the other I wore a few times. So I haven’t had very much luck when it comes to sweaters. But now that I know a whole lot more about knitting and am more careful about stuff, I thought it was time to try it again. After scouring Ravelry for appropriate patterns, I decided on Jared’s Cobblestone Pullover. I almost didn’t cast on because looking at how much it would cost was very off putting. And then I found Cascade 220 tweed at Die Wollbox for around 7eur/skein. Not bad at all! Wish me luck, I hope I don’t get too bored with the stockinette…

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Aloha to Aloha Knitters

January 14, 2008 @ 11:59 am
posted by kris


The Aloha Knitters

What should I do for the edging???

So, this past Thursday, I went to my second meeting with the Aloha Knitters at Mocha Java. Again, it was super crowded with lots and lots of knitters! I didn’t even get to talk to everyone! I met up with tink and encouraged her to attend her first meeting (even though she lives here, she needed a push to go). She also graciously offered her ball winder/swift since she read my last post and I had to ball up my 2nd skein of silk. Thanks so much tink! The Aloha Knitters is a really great group, I consider this my “second home” knitting group, they make everyone feel welcome, even visitors. There was also Donna from Australia, who I sat across from and she was hilarious! I will always remember the conversation we had about David Reidy. I also talked about marathon running with blogless Michelle (she’s trying to get me to do it! uhhhh…yeah….ok…), and convinced several others to knit the Hanami stole. I seriously think I am doing a “hanami tour” because everyone I’ve showed it to oooohs and aaaahs over it. I wish I could count how many people I’ve enabled! I also destashed my Wollmeise (one skein of Amazonas left) because I needed to make room in my suitcase. Almost all of it was snatched up as soon as I pulled it out of my bag. Why is there no Amazonas love? I really like that colorway! I won’t be able to attend another meeting since I will be going to Seattle the next week and then I’m heading home the week after. I will really miss them! Until next year…

I am working on my Print ‘o the Wave stole and guess what? There was an error in the amounts required so I won’t have enough yarn to finish. I am contemplating what to do. I started some of the edging but it is really obvious there is no way it will be enough. I emailed Dani (Sunshine Yarns) to see if she can dye me up another skein, but she is out of the sillk at the moment! ARGH! And even if she did have some, it won’t be the same color. Any suggestions? The center panel is gorgeous though, I am really pleased with it.

Other than that, I’ve been visiting some friends and family and just relaxing. and knitting. Oh, and I’ve decided to get the clap. :) Wollmeise Raku-Regenbogen clap. Yum!

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Pictures…finally!

December 21, 2007 @ 9:27 am
posted by kris


Yarn binge!

Mom’s new tabi socks

La Digitessa…masterpiece in the making!

Ugliest baby sweater EVER!

Poisonous Firestarters are done!

I know, I have been super horrible with pictures. I get them up on flickr and then forget about them. Let’s see…I went on a yarn binge in Houston, I finished up the Firestarters that I’ve had on my needles since October. I also finished up tabi socks for my mom for Christmas. I have also been chugging along on Yarnissima’s La Digitessa. Gorgeous!!!! It is a little snug, and I’ve considered frogging. But now that I’m on the gusset, I think frogging is out the window. I think I’d rather give them away if they were too tight. Who am I kidding though, as much work as this sock is, I don’t think I could part with it. It takes an amazing amount of concentration to learn the pattern, but once you learn it (it only takes 1 repeat), you can chug along. The gusset is a little tricky, I hope I’m doing it right, I guess I’ll email Yarnissima herself and make sure.

Notes on the Firestarters, the pattern is changed quite a bit. I did a magic toe, I didn’t do any ribbing except for a 1×1 twisted rib cuff, and I did an eye-of-partridge heel. This sock fits very, very nicely. It’s a little snug and I like it. It’s like buttah. And the best part is that I have enough yarn for another pair, I may even do Firestarters again!

I also included a picture of the fugly Striped Lily the Pink. It is awful. and ugly. And I cry every time I look at it since I believe I will have to chuck it. I am putting it on the side for now until maybe I learn how to put things together properly.

Other than that, I’ve been enjoying my time in the islands. The weather here is perfect. It has rained every day, but just for a minute or two and then the sun comes out and rainbows are everywhere. I thought it would be a lot hotter and humider than it is. The breezes are really nice. The whole family is enjoying going outside without having to put on a sweater, jacket, socks, shoes, mittens and hat. This year Rowan really enjoyed the beach. In previous years, they have been too scared to go into the water. Elijah is still scared to go in, but we’re going to try again at a different beach (one without waves) and I think that will go over better. I have also been eating all of my favorite foods (ono grinds) and probably gained about 5 pounds in 2 days.

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Cast on crazy

October 22, 2007 @ 11:07 pm
posted by kris


poisonous firestarters!

The malabrigo is just ok

Hanami + marisilk = heaven

So, since I finished 2 pairs of socks, I have been casting on like crazy. Why oh why do I do this? It’s just pure torture for me. I know it’s normal for everyone else, but for me 2 projects are good. And really, I only work on one at a time anyways. So what did I cast on?

I think I already told you about the Firestarters. I started that in London. I didn’t post any pictures though. It’s with Wollmeise Poison Nr. 5 and how can you not love that color? I really want some magic pooling to occur but with Wollmeise, I almost always get stripes. Not a bad thing, but I love pooling.

Then, I have been planning to do the Hanami Stole for awhile now. Shannon of the SSK Podcast convinced me that I need to do one. So I bought the malabrigo laceweight and then I had problems finding beads. The sizes aren’t the same here, no real surprise. So I had a hard time guessing what size to get. Shannon volunteered to send me some of her leftover beads so that solved the problem. Only I waited, and waited, and waited. No beads. The damn post office is out to get me, I swear. I think it’s a conspiracy that they don’t want me knitting.

So, when I went to London, there were many bead stalls, so I picked out some (same sizing as the US yay!) and got a little extra since they were cheap. Well, relatively. OK, so now I’m ready. I had the urge a few nights ago to cast on and I had needles, I dug up the yarn and even found that I wound a ball already, and now…where did I put those dang beads. I looked everywhere twice and then finally found them in this huge cavernous yarn stash bin. Must’ve gotten in there when I put all the yarn I bought in there.

OK, I cast on! I really enjoyed doing the beaded cast on. It’s lovely. I didn’t expect to like it that much because I am not a bead person. And I love the way it just sparkles and makes the stole more dressier. Not gaudy at all. Only thing is that I didn’t like the way the malabrigo is so light and airy. It knits up nice but it has no substance. After 3 repeats, this started to bother me as the marisilk sitting on my desk starts to invade my thoughts.

I balled up the Marisilk and started knitting with US5 circs. The stitches were too loose so I cast on again with US3′s. Much, much better. I love the way the stitches are tight and defined. The fabric is just a tad bit stiff, but I’m thinking that will be ok once I wash and block. I just love the weight of the silk and the sheen. I will have a hard time giving this one up as a gift.

So I’m obsessing over this pattern. I can’t stop thinking about it and knitting it and envisioning the finished product. I think I’m setting myself up for disappointment because in my head I’m building it up so much. Why do I torture myself so? I also want to do it in Wollmeise laceweight too now. :) But I’m going to hold off and finish it before I start making plans for the next one. I think it’s that damn beaded cast on! HA!

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Super secret project unveiled!

September 24, 2007 @ 3:54 pm
posted by kris


Isn’t this gorgeous?

Gusset of coolness!

On the foot

So, here is the secret project that I’ve been working on. It’s the Fratello socks by Yarnissima! I am always on the lookout for great socks for men and this one is a winner. The pattern is fairly simple, purl side out, with a little bit of travelling sts. The design of the sock is genius, and if you’ve seen her patterns online, you’ll know that Yarnissima is the queen of cool gussets! I only have one sock done, and will hopefully get the second sock done sometime before Christmas!

The yarn is an exclusive color from Wollmeise and I LOVE this coffee brown!!! You can buy the pattern by itself or get the yarn+pattern in a kit. Contact Yarnissima at yarnissima (at) gmail (dot) com for more details and how to purchase.

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What does bockstark mean (pronounced bok-shtark)? My crazy German friend, Matthias, made that word up to mean "really cool" and says that it is catching on in Garmisch. So I am helping him popularize the word! I thought if I ever opened a yarn store, I would call it "Bockstark Yarns". This blog is all about my projects, yarns and crazy ideas related to knitting and other crafts. Contact me at bockstark.knits(at)gmail(dot)com.