Dec 21, 2007

Take Back Your Year - Sign Ups Are Open

Thanks VERY much for all the kind compliments you've sent about Dashing. I'm really looking forward to the reaction these get from the recipient.

And speaking of gift giving...I'm starting a movement and I want you to come along with me. I've created a support group of sorts at

A plan for those of us who make gifts by hand to do so STRESS FREE in 2008. We'll plan, make, and send out our gifts early by working on our gift lists every month, all year long!

Head over there for more details, but I will tell you - there are prizes involved. You don't want to miss this. And if you know someone else who might want to sign up for putting the joy back into giving, send them over to and tell them to sign up too.

Now go eat some Christmas cookies...

Dec 20, 2007

May I Present: Dashing


Dashing Finished 122007 026

That's exactly what these will be doing in tomorrow's mail. Speeding away to their recipient on wings of hope that they'll arrive by Tuesday. Hub claims that all mail delivery services ramp up around this time to get as many gifts delivered by Christmas as possible. I, on the other hand, think that if most of the population is like me, even the great FedEx's of the world will struggle under the weight of tardy packages. But never mind that, it's the thought that counts, right? Right. And the thought behind these is that they are meant to warm the arms of someone I couldn't do without. I know this someone reads this blog, and (gasp!) has even seen me knitting these, but maybe - just maybe - they will still come as a surprise.

Dashing Finished 122007 018

Pattern from Knitty, Spring 2007
Yarn is Webs house brand Valley Yarns Northampton in Dark Grey, 100% Wool
247yds/skein; both arm warmers were knit with less than 1 skein (207.5 yds)

Dashing Armwarmers

Yes those are ends that are not weaved in, but this photo of my blurry li'l one trying to sneak in the picture was too cute not to share.

Knit Notes: What a fantastic pattern! Clear and easy to understand. It claims to be a bit more challenging than it's predecessor, Fetching, but I didn't find that at all. It fed my new found obsession for cables just enough without being overwhelming. The hardest mental exercise was remembering that the cables are meant to cross in opposite directions on opposite hands. I knit them two at a time and just used a stitch marker on one to remind me not to goof that up.
Dashing Cabled Armwarmers Dashing - A Gift

Modifications: Yep!
I wanted these to be much longer than called for, and I also knew going in that my gauge was not quite according to pattern. This yarn is called a worsted, but I think it's more like a "heavy DK" when knit up. The pattern row gauge was 18 rows/in and I was getting 25 rows/in on size 7's (4.5mm). Out came the measuring tape! I just marked where I wanted the cuffs to hit and knit to that measurement. Easy peasy.

I extended the initial ribbing from 4" to nearly 6", and I added length to the hand portion too. I made the thumbs 13 rows long instead of the 9 called for. Essentially, I wanted these long, lean and elegant to match the recipient.

Dashing Finished 122007 022
Cast on Dec. 12; finished and blocking Dec. 20, 2007
Knit 2 at a time using
Magic Loop method

I didn't intend to knit these as a gift. They were actually the do-over I mentioned in our last Round Table Discussion. As I went round and round though, I realized that these were the kind of gift I could feel good about giving. No fuss, flexible sizing, and useful for a good amount of fall, winter and spring time climates.

Oh - and through this project I also discovered that using my tripod and the self-timer on the camera are a match made in blog photo heaven (especially when you have to substitute a model to avoid showing them flat).

Dashing - Finished 122007


Dec 15, 2007

To Finish or To Frog: How Do You Decide? Let's Discuss...

Do you ever stop to think about how many thousands, or more likely millions of stitches pass over our needles in the course of our journey? I would be willing to bet that somewhere along the lines you have actually even counted the number of stitches that make up a project, and I would also bet that bracing yourself doesn't make much of a difference...the resulting number is always something staggering.

Most of us don't knit by the stitch though. We knit until a stitch becomes a row which becomes a section which becomes a piece of the garment, accessory, toy, or household item we set out to create. It is this cumulative nature that I find the most therapeutic (magical!) about knitting. That time plus yarn plus needles equals something that wasn't there before. Time is the prime ingredient. With enough time, we can make
just about anything. There is such possibility in that.

Twisted Maiden in Progress 003

Twisted Maiden Armwarmers - Frogged December 2007

But we know another side of knitting don't we? We know that a project doesn't always flow smoothly from the first stitch cast on to the final row of a finished item.
Like any handmade treasure, a knitted item is only as good as the pattern, or idea, or materials it came from; many times it's goodness is directly related to the the amount of sleep that it's maker has had before beginning it's creation. At times, what lies in between is so disturbing, and so daunting that it had to be given a name. A frightening concept that can reduce even the most resolute knitter to a pool of heartsick mush when they are forced to use the F word.


Some of your stomachs just flipped reading that. I know mine did. Frogging is the term coined to describe the reverse or our beautifully creative flow. The UNdoing of that cumulative process. So named because the action (rip it, rip it!) sounds eerily like the croak of a frog. A frog who lives at the bottom of a pond full of yarn barf. Nature loving though we may be - we hate this pond, and we avoid it whenever possible. At least, most of us do...

WCoK - Raglan V-Neck

Top Down Raglan - Frogged July 2006

I've been knitting over 2 years now, and as that time has passed, I find that instead of visiting the Frog Pond less due to improvement in my skills, I actually have been frogging even MORE of my projects - some of them well underway - because I am unsatisfied with something about the work in progress. In fact, after much deliberation, I actually frogged a completed sweater that I had knit top down because I just couldn't get over how poorly the armhole joins looked, and it bothered me and bothered me until that raglan was frogged back to the yarn cakes from which it came. I'm only surprised by this new tactic to rid myself of "less than perfect" FO's because it really doesn't mirror anything else in my non-knitting life. My mom and I are infamous for Making Do. When pressed, we will take anything in the pantry/craft cupboard/dresser drawer and make it into something that will pass for good enough. Get it done. That's usually the primary goal - mostly because whatever IT is is just a blip on the list of 8 million other things that need to be done.

Not so with my knitting of late. I'm finding that as soon as something starts to trouble me about a project's progress (the gauge seems off somehow, I don't like how this fabric feels on these needles, that cable could reeeeeally use some tightening up...) my brain starts the chant "Frog it and start over. You won't be happy until you do".

Red Raglan Pullover WIP

Toddler Raglan Pullover - Frogged September 2007 to become this

So, as with all of our round table chats - I'm reaching out to YOU now to share your Frog Filosophy. When something is not quite right with your knitting -how quick are you to rip it? What qualifies as a frog-worthy problem in a project? How major or minor does an "uh oh" have to be to get you to rip back and start over? Tell us your worst frogging story. Tell us about a frogging that actually saved your sanity. Have you ever resisted the call of the frog pond, only to press ahead and find a brilliant work around? I'd love to know about it.

In the continued spirit of these discussions, I'm sure you'll find that you are not alone in your experience with this less than rosy side of knit life, so share openly!

When something is not quite right with your knitting, and the time comes

To finish or to frog - How do you decide?

Let's Discuss....

Dec 10, 2007

From the Mouth of Babes

An excerpt from a conversation that took place after a television character asked "What's the secret word?"

Adachi: I Do!

Me: I do is the secret word?

Adachi: Yep

Me: Why is that honey?

Adachi: Because...Everything happens when you say "I do". Your life happens. "I do" is the secret word.

Would you have corrected her to tell her that I Do is actually a phrase?
Nah. Me neither.

She is small this one, but she is wise.

Dec 3, 2007

May I Present: Clapotis (Encore)

It worked! It seems that writing about a knit goal out here really does do wonders for the potential (and success) to actually finish it. Your comments and encouragement did wonders because I knew how good it would feel to finally be able to show you this...

Aunty's Clapotis!

Aunty's Clapotis

Cast on Nov. 22, Ends weaved in Dec.1 (no blocking)

Yarn = Cascade 220 Handdyed Paints in "Indiana Summer"

Needles - KnitPicks circular, US Size 8 (5mm), 24" cable

Mods - Added 1 extra increase repeat , 1 extra straight row repeat, 1 extra decrease repeat

She loves it, I love it, I love her, she loves me - it is a veritable love fest all wrapped up in some stockinette and dropped stitches.

Thanks for being along for this ride. Who knew I could let the yarn fly like that?! I won't let it go to my head though...nothing wrong with a slow knit to balance it out once in a while. And in that spirit, I've already cast on for
this. Turns out that hubby's the only one in the house without a hand-knit sweater...we can't allow that to continue any longer.