Hello, My name is Bethany and I'm a Yarn Addict. I've struggled with/enjoyed my addiction for 20 + years. I'm on about the 12th step of my pattern and I have no intention of kicking the habit. I have a large stash (of yarn) and I've been known to share (knitting) needles. My Fiber of choice is lace. Yes, I am a yarn addict, and this is my story...

Friday, October 28, 2011

What a Tangled Web We Weave...

I had the pattern to make this scarf for MONTHS.  And I had the yarn almost as long.  For some reason this particular project psyched me out a little and made me doubt my knitting skills.  It had cable-needleless-cabling.  And drop stitches.  Heavy on the drop stitches.  Drop stitches scare the living daylights out of me.  I was always taught that dropping a stitch was a bad thing, and even if it was intentional could possibly have disastrous effects on your previously knitted fabric if it was dropped at the wrong point.  Yes, these are the things some knitters fret about.

But at the same time, it had a spider.  Even as a kid the Greek Myth of Arachne and her weaving skills had always been my favorite story in Ancient Lit. class.  And it had webby bits.  And lace weight yarn...my fave.  So I finally pulled the yarn and needles out and gave it a go.

It was actually much simpler than I expected, other than rows 126-140 of the pattern being ill-written and needing to be done over for accuracy.  It took only 4 days time to finish it!

The spider bit was done on size 6 needles with 4 strands of merino wool lace weight held together.  I used KnitPicks Shadow lace in basalt, a deep grey color with hints of burgundy, black and violet mixed throughout.  This involved back cabling, twisted stitches and a "cluster" stitch that I had never done before but was quite simple.

The opposite end looks like the spider's web has fallen into disrepair, created by dropping a strand of lace weight , maing intentional holes and runs, and increasing your needle size as you go.  (I used sizes 6, 8, 10.5 and 13).  Even the fringe at the ends are reflective of this:  One side is neat, the other end is straggly and tattered looking...

I had SO much fun with this project!  I'm thinking of making pillows by modifying the yarn and needle sizes and just doing the spider bit framed with seed stitch...

'Twas Brillig

Made this project  as a combination of "extra yarn bits lying about the house", sheer boredom, and because I noticed that in Disneyland they sell very little Alice in Wonderland merchandise, especially by way of their ear hats.

Necessity is the mother of invention?  Or maybe just extreme geekiness.

Et voila.  Cheshire Hat.

Everyone Else is Making One...

So, I finally made a February Lady Sweater.

It's based on an Elizabeth Zimmerman Pattern for a simple baby sweater on 2 needles. It's a top-down sweater, Worsted weight on size 8 needles and possibly one of the easiest sweater patterns EVER.  And EVERYONE on Ravelry.com seems to have made one.

So I gave into peer pressure.

I wasn't too pleased with the fit/bulkiness of the project.  I think if I make it again (and I might, because it is a simple, classic pattern) I will try making it 1 size down, use a thinner gauge yarn with a heavier  drape to make it hang more, decrease my needle size and add some waist shaping so I don't end up looking like a potato.

Oh well, practice brings improvement.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Acrylic Blocking, 101

Just as an introduction, this was NOT a difficult project, nor was it one of my favorites or most functional, but I needed something small to make as an 'Acrylic Blocking Sample/Tutorial', so, here goes.

I've had a lot of people tell me that blocking acrylic blend yarns is not possible.  I wanted to add a tutorial here to show it is not only possible, but necessary.  If you do not block your acrylic projects, they will look like my pre-blocked bonnet:  A ball of mush.

 Not horrible, but not exactly holding it's form, either.

To block your acrylic, the best method is to use steam.  It will not kill your fiber, like directly ironing it, it blocks more dramatically than trying to wet block (which usually has no result), and is PERMANENT!  YAY!

First off, pin your acrylic item down in the shape you would like it to ultimately be.  Because this item was small I pinned it directly to the ironing board.  For larger items, cloth covered blocking boards can be used, with either an iron to block or a steamer, if you are lucky enough to have one.

Next, hover your iron on a steam setting 1-2" above your work, allowing the steam to penetrate the piece. If you hold the iron directly on the yarn, it will cause the plastic (AKA acrylic) in the yarn to melt and flatten, looking strange, possibly ruining the project/yarn, and possibly melting and adhering to your board/iron.  No bueno.  Hover, hover,hover.

And, as always, there is a story that goes along with this project.  The iron in the photo above is/was my beloved Black & Decker, a trusty member of my household for about 10 years, passed down to me from an ex-boyfriend's mother.  As I began steaming my project I noticed an unhealthy amount of water (ok, the entire amount of water!) leaking out from where the plate met the actual iron itself, rather then steamily billowing out from the plate's holes.  Frustrated, I did what anyone would do and poured another bottle of water into the hemorrhaging machine.  To no avail.  It just leaked more.  Then I remembered an event the week before, where I heard a deafening crash come from the closet where the iron and it's companion board are kept while my hubby was retrieving his jacket.  When asked what the sound was, I was answered with "Nothing!!!".  But I digress.  The happy ending of this story is that I received a lovely new iron =)


After the steaming is complete, let the item cool, take out the pins, and if it is flat enough for your liking, it is complete.

 Flat, no rolling, and ready to wear.  TAH-DAH!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Keep Knitting.....

I had wanted to make a scarf I saw hanging as a model in our shop since I started working there.  The pattern, labeled 'Six Simple Scarves' seemed promising to be a brainless, easy knit.  The technique was completely elementary.  As a bonus, the yarn, Heather Alpaca Prime by Joseph Galler, was AMAZING!  A few people who made it, however rolled their eyes while talking about their endeavors.  I decided to ignore them as usual and cast on.

I altered the pattern a bit, since the actual pattern called for 375 yards of worsted weight on size 7 needles, and the yarn I chose was a fingering weight (651 yards, no less!) of beautiful 100% Alpaca Fiber.  I cast on about twice the amount called for, on a size 3.

Then I stared knitting...and knitting....and knitting.

I became less and less thrilled with the simple combination of knit and purl stitches, each repetitious row pretty much putting me into a self-induced yarn coma just from the lack of change,  Even the yarn became less thrilling.

I swear I was asleep for most of the project.

But, when I finally awoke on my last row and ready to bind off I was THRILLED with the nearly knee-length, just right for a slip knot around the neck scarf.

It's pretty hard to tell from the photos just how classic and beautiful the scarf came out after blocking, and there are no words to describe how incredibly soft this yarn is.

Fist day I wore it my mother saw it and HAD to have one....guess I'll be in another scarf-coma soon!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Painting The Roses Red

It's been so long since I last posted....almost 10 projects have come and gone and apparently I've been either too busy or too lazy to take the time to show the latest work....

Since my last post was about the Alice in Wonderland Swap I'm a part of (and now the Moderator of, on Ravelry.com!) I guess I'll pick up where I left off and write about the latest swap and installation in my "Alice" knit series.

This (well, September's) Swap's theme was 'The Deck of Cards'.   I kind of ran into a brick wall with this one because I figured, If people weren't rally into card motifs, or playing poker, any intricately patterned knitwear I made would probably go unused.  My swap partner told me she liked hats, and particularly whimsical designs, so I decided to go a bit out there.

I decided to go with The Cards' most notable past time in the book and  made a giant red rose headband out of wool to keep her ears warm in the winter.  Also included in her package were napkins, cards, swizzle sticks, a mug, some candies and pens, all with a playing card motif, a copy of Alice In Wonderland with Alice being attacked by cards on the cover, some card motif patches and buttons, a red satin rose brooch and a pendant depicting the cards painting a rose bush =)

A really poor picture of me modeling the headband