Thursday, April 26, 2007

Camera Bag finished

This bag, I'm happy to report, came out just as I had envisioned. The colors work together and the size is perfect. That of course is not a dramatic story nor does it provide much fodder for humor, but still it's nice.

It is about 6 inches wide, seven inches tall and one inch deep. I put in metal grommets on the sides so I could attach the i-cord. It was my first grommet experience. It's pretty easy if you get the wrench-like tool from the fabric store.

I lined the bag with left over fabric, keeping in line with the theme of stash busting. My favorite part is a gusseted pocket which is just big enough to hold the camera. There's also a flat pocket to hold the memory cards.

I used velcro to close the top, which seems so far to be working well.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Stash busting camera bag

Every new camera deserves a new bag. And why not a bag that is as creative as the pictures I hope to take with the camera? This is the pre-felted version of my new felted camera bag. It was inspired by Leigh Radford's AlterKnits, which I highly recommend.

The pattern is simple:

I used various amounts of left over worsted weight wool. I think it would take less than 220 yards, but I'm not certain. You could substitute bulky. I held one strand together and found it to be thick enough. You could double strand to make the bag extra padded, but I would then add a few stitches to accomodate the bulk.

Change colors to make stripes as desired. I tied knots rather than weaving in the ends and snipped off the knots after the bag was felted. I planned my stripes ahead of time, but changed them as I figured out how much yarn each one took. Generally, you need three times the amount of yarn to cover a given length.

Cast on 56 stitches and knit in the round until the bag is 10.5 inches. Cast off 28 stitches. Knit remaining stitches in stockinette for 5 inches.
Next, for flap:
1. k1, ssk, knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k1
2. purl
Repeat these two rows twice.
cast off
(As a side note, I ended up deciding that I wanted what was supposed to be at the top of my bag at the bottom so I cast off the tube part and picked up stitches at the cast on end. That worked just fine)
Sew up bottom. Turn bag inside out. Flatten the corners and sew across about 1.5 inches from corner to create flat bottom.

Turn right side out and felt to desired size (I will include the measurements of mine with a photo of the finished product in a future post)
Attach handles as desired. You could use a short handle for a hand held strap. I made a long i-cord so I can sling the camera over my shoulder. I plan to use grommets to make holes

Use velcro or buttons, or other method to hold flap closed.

I plan on lining my bag and making pockets to hold batteries and memory cards.

On a side note - trying to write out that pattern gives me a whole new appreciation for pattern makers.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New Goal

I know it's long past New Year's, but I think I finally have decided on a resolution. I want to knit this year with as many different kinds of fibers as possible. Yak yarn, camel yarn, Moose yarn? Is there such a thing? I've been reading about them and it's whet my appetite to try them. The challenge now is deciding what to make with them. It has to be something simple enough so I don't mess up and waste such expensive yarn, but yet intricate enough to draw attention. I want people to ask about it so I can say it was made with Yak yarn or camel yarn or whatever I can find.

Suggestions welcomed.

For anyone who might be interested in ancient Mayan ruins, here's the link to the field notes my dh has been writing while on "vacation" from the homefront:

He told me that he was mucking around in the ruins at night and later learned he shouldn't have been doing that because there was a jaguar in the area. Personally, I think I'd rather face the jaguar than a hormonal boy crazy riled up14 yo.

But in fairness, the kids have been surprisingly delightful as of late. Maybe it's that the sun has finally came out and Spring seems to have finally arrived. We've even had fun together and they've been doing their jobs with minimal nagging.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Happy Birthday happenings

I said goodnight to a 4yo and goodmorning to a 5yo! It is a bittersweet day. I can hardly wait to get to know her 5yo little self, but I already miss her little 4yo self. She's such a delightful little soul.

Up until at least midnight the weather report called for a gloomy day, but we awoke to bright blue skies and sunshine. A special birthday gift from God? It was perfect weather for the zoo.

But before we left, I had to get a camera. I've been good all week on not stocking up on yarn to assuage the parental stress of the week, but I needed a camera to record the day, of course. It's a Canon PowerShot A55o that so far I love, for anyone looking to buy a camera.

The aforementioned teenager was truly a gem, sheparding her sister and five other screaming squirrly tots through the zoo. She even paid for their rides on the miniature merri-go-round without being prompted. Now, I know she's on her best behavior because she's wants to go to a church dinner on Friday where all her friends will be despite being grounded for grade problems, but still it was nice. She assured me the pleasantness will continue even if I don't change my mind on the dinner. hmmm.. Again I'm having a problem with the lack of a manual here!

Getting a camera means being able to take a picture of the socks. The really nice thing about working from home is that I can knit while waiting for my computer to boot up without upsetting the boss. I know they're not matching and that the whole point of doing two at once is to end up with a pair, but for my first try I thought I'd have an easier time with two different colors.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Teen age angst

I have always respected the difficult job that single parents face. At least I thought I did. I have a whole new appreciation and level of respect for them!

I thought in the middle of a heated discussion with my 14 yo that perhaps I should take out my knitting to calm myself down. But then I would have sharp objects in my hand. Maybe not so good. Lets just say a quick way to get a 14 yo real mad is to ask a (potential) boyfriend calling on the phone to identify himself before handing over the phone. I realized later that she may have been so upset with me in part because she was unhappy with how the conversation went.

Is there a code for teen behavior? Is there some secret manual that someone forgot to send me? Where are the instructions?

I have two socks on one needle! I'm so excited. I'd really like to show it off, but dh took the good camera to Mexico and I can't find the crummy one.

A random thought: how old does a WIP have to be before it's too late to pick it up again? Is there an expiration date? Should there be?

For anyone who might be interested in ancient Mayan ruins or the rain forest, here is a link to my husband's project - there are supposed to be notes from the field...

Monday, April 16, 2007

More time less wool?

I wonder if I actually had more time to knit if I would buy less yarn? I think sometimes I buy it because it's the easiest step in making a project that I can complete given my time and parenting constraints. I might buy fewer knitting magazines and books too, but I doubt it.

DH left at 4 a.m. this AM. Of course we didn't get to bed until late given all the last minute packing and planning. And of course there was a raging storm that kept waking up the baby with a nasty head cold, the 4 yo and the dog and consequently us. It was quite an auspicious beginning.

All in all, however, the day was rather impressively undramatic.

The day care was closed but then my meeting got cancelled. The big kids started complaining about being bored even before breakfast, but they agreed only somewhat begrudgingly to entertain the little ones in exchange for computer time. I had to run into Boston to pick up my eldest, but my son cooked supper. We even managed to walk down to see the waves left over from the incredible storm. They were quite impressive even to the 4 yo who really wasn't happy about having to walk for several blocks in the (light) rain.

In the few down moments of the day, I shopped on line for yarn. There was no time to cast on, no time to sew up seams, no chance to pull out a WIP, but shopping on line I can manage. No dropped stitches, no need to concentrate to the exclusion of keeping an eye on the kids...I didn't, however, buy anything.... yet. Webbs ( has an incredible anniversary sale ...

Sunday, April 15, 2007


In my desire to support and promote PDK's (public displays of knitting) I daringly whipped out a project while accompanying my 4yodd to a friend's birthday party. I chatted with the other parents for awhile and then sat centerally as to not be anti-social and took out my knitting. I garnered nary a sideways glance. When the kiddies needed the seating I stood up but kept working. Eventually, as I'd hoped, my humble act became a conversation starter. Thankfully I knew the pattern well enough that I was able to maintain eye contact while counting and knitting and purling correctly. I will confess that I checked over the piece very carefully after the party just to make sure. I was actually hoping to make progress as well as making a statement! After all was said and done, I'd managed to talk about knitting with three people, including the father of the birthday girl and one potential knitter-in-waiting. (Someone who hasn't yet figured out he or she is a knitter.)

The project was the cabled bag - having had to frog, I feel I need to make up some time on it!

My dh heads south of the border in the AM. I've decided that I've been looking at this all wrong. It's an opportunity to change the dynamics of my relationship with my children and to strengthen my ability to be self sufficient. I must admit despite the change in attitude, I'm still hugely jealous on many levels. To begin with, it will be warm where he is headed and NOT snowing.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Rrrrrripit Rrrrrrrrrripit

I was just about to knit the LAST line on my cabled tote and what should I see but this: My cable goes over when it should go under. Aaaaaarrrrrgggg.
I tried at first to pretend there was nothing wrong, but there is no denying it. That's the first stage, right? Denial. Then anger? Oh for crying out loud! Then bargaining: "No one will notice." Maybe that's denial too. I am finally at acceptance. There's something wonky on the other side anyway (see picture below). So frog we must. At least I enjoy the cable knitting, so I won't mind redoing it too much.

I wonder which child was driving me crazy when I made this mistake and why was I trying to continue to knit when they were driving me crazy? The answer to the latter question of course is that otherwise I'd never knit. I guess I won't be finishing this tonight. Heavy sigh.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Knitting Journey

For those who haven't read the Yarn Harlot's new book (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off) - she equates knitting to a destination and she does it with her usual hysterical insight.

There are many ways to get there, she writes, introducing a pop quiz to find your own style. Here is mine, according to this test:

"Get out of the way, baby, because you're traveling on a space-age monorail that's never late. You are accurate and deliberate, methodical and clear-thinking, and other knitters dream of turning out the work that youi do. You can tell a right-leaning decrease from a left-leaning one and you can think of four ways to make a buttonhole. Your work is beautiful because you are a perfectionist and you work hard to get things right. You believe that most people could knit as well as you if only they would work as hard as you, and you're right, thought it would help if they also had your obsessive streak."

I would say the perfectionist, methodical part is true. Sadly, there is enough of something else mixed in so that my work isn't as admirable as indicated from this description! And I wouldn't describe myself as a great knitter (yet).

Really, I wish I fit the last style she describes:

"You my dear knitter are a skydiver. You're Knitting's daredevil, and if anyone is going to learn anything by living it, it's you. Your knitting is wild and adventurous, and though the rest of us never think your ideas are going to work out, they usually do. You are the knitter who reminds al of us not to take it so seriously (and you drive the type C knitters nuts). ..."

It's interesting to define an approach to knitting like this. It makes me appreciate how I go about things. I can embrace the perfectionist in me and live with the understanding that I have a deep need to fix problems rather than trying to live with them. At the same time, I think it will help me relax and strive to become more of a daredevil.

Overall, the book is great. I want to devour it, but I'm going at a slow pace because I want to savor it.

I'm eager to hear from other knitters about their styles.

In summary, the other two styles are:

The cruise "You don't care how you get there or what sort of thing syou produce while you're there...You're in it for the good time and you're Knitting's answer to blender drinks by the pool."

A good old fashioned road trip: "You've got some maps and you're pretty sure where the motel is, but if you see a sign for a cool roadside attraction, you're absolutely takin the exit ramp for the afternoon."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Musings

Note to self: consider making the children wait until after church (8 a.m. service) to hunt for their baskets. It kind of ruins the mood to be yelling at them to get ready while they're happily pouring over their goodies. Also doesn't help them to sit still when they're hyped up on candy!

(Then again, how does one stop a child so excited that the Easter Bunny came from hunting for a basket?)

I should go this week to load up on the cheap plastic bunny and chicky junk to have for next year.

What if I were to buy Valentine's Day candy on sale next year and store it away for Easter? Would that make me really thrifty or just cheap? Would it send my children into therapy some day?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Super Secret Pal

"Even if you don't care to travel, if you're a knitter, you're on a journey to an amazing land. You packed your bags for this trip the first time you picked up needles and yarn, the first time someone showed you the knit stitch, or the first time you cracked open a knitting instruction book or surfed a knitting Web page."

--- the opening paragraph of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off

And in this amazing land are amazing people who understand that fellow travelers not only love to knit, they love to read about knitting, and they would really appreciate having a personalized signed copy of the Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting.

That's what was waiting for me at the end of an incredibly stressful day. I wanted to post this thank you, but I admit I did take the time to read a little bit of the book first!

I had just recently arrived in the land of knitting when someone gave me a copy of the Yarn Harlot's first book. It opened my eyes to the wonderful depths of this world into which I had stumbled. I understood for the first time that I wasn't alone and that it was okay to be so ga ga over knitting!

In another package from my super secret pal was this great knitted lighthouse. It really fits with the theme of my house, which is the beach. I have embraced this motif since I am a transplanted mid-westerner who is thrilled to live on the ocean.

Happy Easter All

He Has Risen

He has Risen Indeed

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hola amigos

So it turns out my dh will be heading to Mexico to go on an expedition with some people studying ancient Myan Ruins. For 10 days. While our 5 children (including two teenage girls) are on Spring Break.

I'm still in shock. I'm not even exactly sure what he's going to do there. I haven't gotten past the fact that he's really leaving for 10 days. Of course I'm happy for him to have the opportunity - can't you see that really big smile plastered on my face!?


Not that I'll have time to knit or read, but I think I might help to just be surrounded by these things of comfort.

Any other suggestions?

Monday, April 02, 2007

It's Magic

I have discovered something great - a way to knit small things in the round without dpns! No ladders, no dropped stitches, no fumbling to get things set up. It's the Magic Loop method, which uses one long circular. I am in awe of the brilliance of the person who came up with this idea!

I had heard about the method, but didn't think much about it until my SP9 sent me a booklet on how to do it, needles and sock yarn. Shortly after, one of my favorite LYS's, Minds Eye Yarn, offered a class on it. It's not hard to pick up, but I'm glad that I took the class because the instructor , Danielle, had so many great tips. Plus, it was easier to pick up actually seeing it being done.

In just three hours, I'd knitted the darling little pink sock pictured here. I made the blue one on my own later. Remarkably, I've even made the blue one a mate. Now I just need to find a baby boy to give them to.

The next challenge will be to do two socks at once. Danielle assured us that it's much more complicated to describe how to do it than to actually do it.