Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Weekend Project

My DGD has a Britax Wizard car seat. These seats have a reputation for being very safe, and they are rather expensive. Unfortunately, just as her cover wore out, the company discontinued the Wizard for a new model and quit making replacement seat covers. The old cover was something of a hassle anyway, since the seat had to be removed from the vehicle and the straps undone to remove and replace the cover. My daughter asked me if I thought I could make one. She cut the old cover apart at the seams and figured out how to use velcro to make it easily removable for washing. My DGD selected cotton quilted fabric with "ballets" on it. We also added a second quilted layer and some extra thick padding for the headrest part. I am not sure exactly how many pieces that makes. I think somewhere between 25 and 30. It also would have helped if I had not sewn part of it together upside down and had to rip out. (Is it frogging if it's sewing?) Here is the finished product!

My "Priceless" Sock Bag

I have been reading many posts about knitting bags on the Knitter's Review board. I am extremely pleased with the bag I use for carrying my sock projects around when I am not at home. (At home I don't use a bag for socks.) This bag was scrounged from my daughter's high school/junior high leftovers. I think it was originally home to a Walkman on long school bus trips. It has the following features:
It is made of heavy Cordura nylon and thickly padded so sharp needles don't poke through.

It has both an adjustable shoulder strap and a short carry handle.

It has a large outside pocket.

In a pinch, I can squeeze in my wallet so that I don't have to carry a purse.
It opens flat with a handy mesh inner pocket. This photo shows the flat view of a sock-loaded bag--yarn and finished first sock on the left, sock journal and sock on needles on the right. Notice that there is a divider standing straight up in the middle and a velcro tab on the left. I use these.

Below is a picture of the partially unzipped bag, showing how the velcro tab and divider hold my skein of yarn upright to feed out through the opening.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I knitted whenever I had a chance yesterday on the ribwarmer. I got slightly less than half of the first half done--midway in the first set of short rows. Then I looked at the remaining yarn for that half and got suspicious. I didn't think I had enough. I put off weighing the remaining yarn until today. Guess what? I don't have enough yarn for this project this time either. I would have enough if I went back to the original size, I think. Until I lose more weight, however, the smaller size won't fit. I guess I'll put this away in my "losing weight rewards" stash and wait until later and reknit it. Chalk this one up to experience! I am madly socknitting in plain stockinette to soothe my nerves.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

FOs and Future Projects

("Future Projects" is a euphemism for "stash.")
These are the fitting socks for my DGS. If these fit, we will work together to dye some yarn with KoolAid to make him a pair of custom socks just like I did with his cousin. This time perhaps I'll have enough sense to know that 6 packages might be too many!

My stash enhancement. The one on the left is Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in Violet Heather. I am going to go through the Aran lessons on the FLAK KAL. I chose this yarn both because of the price and because it was the yarn used for the original sweater. Not having any LYSs around makes it hard sometimes to choose yarn. I can't do the feel tests. I haven't decided if I'm going to make a pullover or a cardigan, but I don't really have to decide until later anyway.

The sock yarns are from The Loopy Ewe--two Fleece Artist colors (Rose and Forest) and Lorna's Laces Black Purl. I have never knitted with either of these yarns, but I've read a lot about them, so I'm looking forward to the experience.
On the needles--a pair of socks for me from some Regia I shopped from stash and an Elizabeth Zimmermann ribwarmer vest of wool from Handpainted Yarn. I bought 2 skeins, started the project, decided I needed to resize so I ordered directions from Schoolhouse Press, started again and decided I did not have enough yarn. I ordered two more skeins, and of course, the dyelots are not the same, so I am rather tediously switching yarns every two rows. I love the yarn and the look of the fabric I'm getting. The alternating yarns are just adding more variation to the color--Emerald, but I really dislike doing anything that has two balls of yarn to get twisted up. That's probably why I'm never tempted to do two socks on the same needles even though I knit socks with circs or Magic Loop. It spoils the portablility of knitting. The yarn is lovely to work with. I am determined to finish this before beginning the Aran. If I have two many objects started (socks don't count), I feel pressured. Does that classify me as a "product knitter"?

Monday, April 16, 2007

KoolAid Socks

The KoolAid socks that my DGD and I dyed yarn for are finished. They came out a rather dark grape color, but I was careful not to swish the yarn around so that we would have some color variation. The colored bits in the tweed yarn kept their original hues. After finishing them, I machine washed them to make them soft, and the wool bloomed beautifully.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Memories and Socks

When I used to stay at my grandma's house as a little girl, she would spend the afternoons crocheting. I always wanted to learn, but she was always afraid I would stick a hook into my finger, so she would only let me use the bone needles. My mother also crocheted. I have a few of their hooks that I keep in a special drawer and use when I am at home for picking up dropped stitches and picking up stitches for gussets. These precious needles do not travel with me--I have some modern aluminum ones in my knitting bags.
The quilt is a pattern that my mother called "Flower Girl." The two of them pieced and embroidered the top during the 1930s.

I have also finished a pair of socks from a merino/tencel blend from Susan's Spinning Bunny. Photos don't do justice to the richness of the colors--Roses for You. (Yes, the socks are actually the same size. Don't camera angles do funny things?) The pattern is the garter rib from SKS, with my usual heel and toe a la Yarn Harlot. The needle was KP Classics, size 1, Magic Loop.
The colorway in various shades of pinks and greens makes this my Project Spectrum project.

Yarn review--The yarn was a little springy while working, but it is wonderfully soft after washing and blocking. It has a sheen that is very nice. I have another color of the same yarn, and I can hardly wait to knit it.

I did find two knots about one yard apart when working the foot of the second sock. (The dyer recommended leg, leg, foot, foot, so that's what I did. ) It wasn't too much trouble to cut them out. I did not have any problems with pooling or flashing. I would definitely recommend this yarn.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Fiber Experience

One of the things I enjoy most about the area of Texas in which I live is the variety in the weather. At least, I enjoy it when I think about living somewhere where the weather is predictable all the time. I enjoy the change of seasons and the hot summers, beautiful falls, and cooler winters. Even the spring winds and sandstorms are fine as long as there are not too many of them. This year the winter was regularly colder than usual because we had much more snow. Usually we have whole runs of 60s and 70s (Fahrenheit), punctuated by really cold days. This past week, we had temps of 86 on Monday, 60s and 70s the rest of the week, dropping to snow yesterday afternoon and night. We have had scattered flakes all day today. Great weather for knitting; inconvenient weather for spring dresses and Easter egg hunts!

I made an early morning dash on Friday to my daughter's house in a nearby city to deliver some items and to share a fiber experience with my DGD, who is almost 4. We dyed some KP Essentials Bare Tweed to make her a pair of socks. She was somewhat wary of putting the yarn in the vinegar and water to soak, but she did remember putting vinegar in the Easter egg dye last week, so that was OK. She loved mixing in the KoolAid. In fact, she loved it so much that we used all six packages--this yarn is really grapey. However, she balked at the idea of putting the bowl in the microwave, explaining to me seriously that you do not cook socks. Eventually, she found getting to punch the buttons, set a timer, and watch the water turn clear interesting enough to compensate for her misgivings. Washing the yarn and hanging it to dry was ok, too. I brought the slightly damp yarn home with me. I don't think she's quite ready to use the ball winder yet, particularly since I don't have a swift. I suppose I'd better knit quickly! I'm not sure but what she expected finished socks to pop out of the microwave.