Posts Tagged ‘Blog Contests’

Lots of Knitting!


I finished the test knit of Michelle Stead’s Walderton.


It’s a beautiful project.  I think it would have worked better with another yarn, the Neigborhood Fiber Company hand dyes are glorious, but they’re also heavily variegated, and the cabling gets lost in all the color noise, even if the texture of the main body is picked up beautifully.

The yarn is beautiful, but I was disappointed with the Rustic yarn.  It seems to have been cut (sometimes partially, others fully) into lots of segments.  My sister and friends have bought from Neighborhood Fiber Co and haven’t had any trouble at all.  Yes, I could have returned the skein, but it was a limited edition colorway*  which I had picked up over a year ago.  I didn’t discover the issue until I wound the ball, and so I decided to make do.

I probably should have stopped the project at 36 pattern repeats, which is what the pattern calls for.  At that length it hangs down in front, with the thin and thick ends layered to make a nice piece with the teeth on both sides.  As Michelle said she was curious to see it longer I kept going.  It’s a more conventional shawlette at this point, still very pretty, but not as neat.

I recommend the pattern when it comes out.

The final frustration with this project is that I seem to have mislaid my blocking wires!  I ended up just pinning it out.  I would have liked to run wires through the edges, then really pin the points out hard.  I will probably re-block this in the future when I find my kit.  In the mean time, I do like the way it turned out.


I’ve had Aidez by Cirila Rose in my Ravelry queue for a long time.  I bought the yarn for it (Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool) almost a year ago.

Yarn Choice


It has a delicious odor, which much be what a freshly washed sheep smells like.

I don’t know why I got it in a tweedy colorway.  Especially after my experience with Walderton I’m concerned, but it’s lighter in color and I’m pleased with the visibility of the garter stitch in my swatch.


New Tools/Toys


As you can see from the above picture, I decided to leave the ends unfinished and weave them in after blocking.  I also decided to try a new tool to work them in with.  I picked up a pack of Susan Bates finishing needles.

It’s a nice design.  The super giant ‘eye’ means you don’t have to try to turn the needle when you’re weaving super short ends (like if you find you’ve inadvertently played yarn chicken while doing a long tail cast on).   I usually end up re-threading the needle after each pass in those cases, but this makes that unnecessary.

They come in a pack of five, to suit yarn from bulky (pictured) down to lace weight.  My only criticism is the material.  I would have preferred recyclable plastic.

I’ve also ordered an “experimental tool” from lesliewind on Etsy.   This is a fingering weight combination cable tool and Portuguese (Egyptian) knitting hook.  I’ve been curious about the front-yarn method for a while, and she makes absolutely beautiful stuff.  Besides, I’m always interested in beta-testing (even if I am a curmudgeon at times).

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Kate Spade giveaway.  No new giveaways entered.

file_medium2*The Windchester-Sandtowne colorway was introduced for a limited time in 2015, proceeds went to help rebuild neighborhoods damaged in the Baltimore Riot (insurrection), which took place in early May (right around the time of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival). Another reason I decided not cause a fuss, even if I was annoyed enough to post about it here – it’s a good gesture, and a good company – I know these things happen, I’m just going to whine a bit.  (back) 


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Working on It

I’ve still got two older WiPs going, (the Helical Hat and the Mount Gay socks) but I’m going to show you the other two today.

Spinning Project

I’m still working on the Millers Fire spinning project.  I happen to have a series of progress pics on it, taken and even intervals over August.  It isn’t my fastest spin, but I’m getting better at getting the single even.

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The spindle is a mini Destiny from the wonderful Snyder’s Spindles.

Knitting Project – Test knit


Most of my crafting time has been going to a test knit for Michelle Stead (of Michelle’s Assortment).  I’m not sure how much I should show, since the shawl project hasn’t been published yet, but here’s a teaser –

This is an incredibly fun pattern to work on.  I set up a spread sheet to figure out how to pace myself (FO pics are due on September 28).  I started on August 29 and I’m about four days ahead of schedule.

I’m using that gorgeous skein of Neighberhood Fiber Company yarn (proceeds to help rebuild Baltimore after last summer’s insurrection).  I have to say that, although it is beautiful and feels yummy in the hands, I don’t love it as much as I thought I would.  The yarn is more of a variegated than a tonal, and there are random cuts throughout the skein.  I’m using a doubleknot to join them, but not 100% thrilled with how that’s going.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Smithsonian tote of cool things.  I entered a drawing for a skein of Manos del Uruguay Marina from Petals to Picots (8 September).

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Current Crafting

This was going to be a regular WiP Wednesday post, but my WiPs aren’t drastically different than two weeks ago (given the intervening FO Friday post).  I have started one new project, a hat.  Abby tells me that it’s customary for men in the village to wear knitted hats to keep the sun off their heads, and she thinks it would be nice if I were to knit some for her local family.

New WiP

Let me repeat that – knit hats.  In equatorial Africa. I have been asked to knit hats for people living in equatorial Africa.  I…  can’t… even…

Anyway, I started this hat.  It’s got a herringbone stripe, which I’ve never worked before.


It doesn’t much look it, but it’s actually a lace stitch – decreases are K2TogTBL, and increases are also a TBL.  The result looks very much like a line of knitting perpendicular to the wales.  The thing is, it’s also helical.

Helical Crafting

It’s worked very much like the Guinan hat was worked (in knit rather than crochet).  In that case I crocheted 1/4 of the way around the hat, held the loop in place with a stitch marker, and picked up the previous loop in the contrasting color.

Guinan Spiral

The principle is the same with the knitting, only no stitch marker is needed.  Just pick up the color and knit to two before the next strand was dropped off, slip some stitches, and pick up the next strand.  It’s rather fun to work such a similar technique in both crafts.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win either PhatFiber giveaway.  I’ve entered two new (non crafting) giveaways.  The Smithsonian has a quize giveaway of a tote full of cool sciencey things (2 September), and Smart Bitches Trashy Books is giving away a Kate Spade bag and a gift card to the bookstore of your choice (26 September)

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It’s been about six months since I’ve done an FO post.  I’m going to post the most recent finished objects, and maybe a few highlights.  Not that I don’t love my projects..


Here’s my friend Kay-Megan as Guinan.  She won the costume contest!

I finished Guinan.  The pattern is from Akua Lezli Hope AkuaDesigns, and it’s really fun to crochet.  It’s also a great pattern for variegated yarn (which is always a plus).  I’ll be working this one again.

I also finished the Charming Crawling Eyeball hat. file_medium2

The Abracadabra yarn totally does the right thing in sunlight!

Last but not least, I finally finished the Five sweater.


I’m really happy with how this turned out.  Steve wants to wear it for Anachronism Day at the Renaissance Festival this fall, but I have no idea how we’d come up with the frock coat in time…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered a drawing for Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers (26 August) and the Expression Fiber Arts $1000 Yarn Giveaway (15 September).

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Project bags

I’m still crafting

I was still crafting throughout the long dry spell, and I have had had other things to blog about since I started posting again, so this seemed like a good time to join in Paula’s WiP Wednesday push (as started on the Tangled Mess blog).  Depending on how this goes I might join in FO Fridays as well.

Mont Royal Socks

I always have a pair of socks on my needles.  In particular, it seems that I always have this pair of socks on my needles.  I started them in July of last year, they’re toe up and I haven’t reached the heel turn yet.  I’m generally a slow sock knitter for whatever reason, and this pair is not ‘mindless knitting’, so it’s been a row now and again.

Slow going or not, I do like these.

Mont Royal status

Charming Crawling Eyeball

One of the things I did during my posting hiatus was to join in the Charm City Yarn Crawl.  I didn’t hit six shops (so I didn’t join the drawing), but I did pick up a skein at each shop I visited. It did kind of break my heart not to get more, but reality intervened. Here was my tour:

Clover Hill Yarn Shop: I picked up a skein of Hikoo by Skacel Abracadabra.  This is a photosensitive yarn.  Mine turns pink in sunlight and, as soon as I had it, I had the idea of the theme project for my crawl.

All About Yarn: This is my LYS. I grabbed a skein of Berroco Linus (which is a ribbon yarn) in a color very similar to the Abracadabra when it’s not in sunlight.  The texture is very different.

Lovelyarns: I got a skein of JoJoland Tonic in an amazing blue.

The Knitting Boutique: One skein of Kraemer Yarns Perfection in the sand colorway.

Have you guessed the project?

Captain models crawling eyeball

Captain graciously modeling the (Yarn) Crawling Eyeball Hat

Guinan Hat

Guinan Spiral

This pattern has been one of my Ravelry favorites for a long time, so when my friend Kay asked if I had any suggestions for a Guinan costume it came to mind immediately.  It turns out that Kay didn’t think she had time to finish it before the event, so I told her I’d gladly do the work in exchange for the pattern, so it’s a win-win.  It’s also my 200th Ravelry project.

The construction on this one is interesting.  I used split ring stitch markers to keep four strands of yarn ‘live’ at a time.

I expect to finish it up today

Guinan unassembled


Millers Fire

My one spinning WiP is using the Millers Fire colorway from Alpaca Joy on a mini destiny spindle from Snyders Spindles.

August 8

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Slipped Stitch Studios giveaway.  PhatFiber is hosting a  number of giveaways for 20 August.  I entered the “shiny briny” giveaway, the “Golden threads breed study” giveaway








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I’m growing old

Yesterday, Dottie and I went to a bridal shower for one of Abby’s best friends1. I’ve known Molly since she and Abby were in High School together2 (I’ve known Bryan, her fiance, for longer than that), so, yeah, that’s definitely a mark of aging. That’s not what motivated me to post this.

On Thursday I accompanied Dottie to the mall while she shopped for her and Abby’s gift, her money, her choices, I was there for company more than feedback.  She was putting together a ‘spa basket’. So when the man selling creams and scrubs from a kiosk>3 hailed us we were pleased.  He was slick, certainly.  He greeted us as sisters (corny but effective) and was otherwise quite charming.  Then, while demoing his products he was rather less complimentary, with subtle (occasionally less subtle) digs at my appearance and habits, designed to sell his overpriced wrinkle cream, all delivered in a friendly manner designed to cloak him in the halo effect. It was pretty egregious.  It did not make him any sales (despite his proffered ‘special deal’), but he avoided being dressed down in front of everyone who walked by.

Dottie and I discussed it afterwards.  I said the pitch was calculated to take advantage of women’s insecurity about aging (at the same time being an example of cultural pressures which reinforce the insecurities).  Her feeling (as a Fashion and Marketing minor) was that all cosmetics marketing basically does the same thing (minus the reference to aging).  She has a point, but I don’t think it makes mine less valid.

The thing is

I walked into the situation with a level of acceptance of my own aging.  If I seriously thought someone mistook me for my daughter’s sister, I’d be horrified.  I’m pleased that my hair is turning silver (as opposed to gray).  I’m not happy with all the changes my body is going through, because of health implications, but there are some aspects of aging which I look forward to.  Peri-menopause does have some downsides, but I’m looking forward to the end of it, not bemoaning the fact that it began.

At the same time, this encounter is still bothering me three days later.  Not enough to ruin my day, but enough that I want to blog about it.  So I’m making an effort to took for positive and empowering images of aging in America.  Starting with aging playboy bunnies, and following up with a song:

All The Wrinkled Ladies from nicole carpenter on Vimeo.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

This isn’t really a knitting post, but I wanted to slip this one in before closing.  Slipped Stitch Studios is giving away a $50 gift card.  Enter today, drawing tomorrow (1 August).  I really want to get a Go Crafty Needle Case, but it’s not in budget until the job situation gets better.

Footnotes (because I’m just that geeky)

1 For those playing without a scorecard, Abby and Dottie are both my daughters. Dottie is a Junior in college, and Abby is serving overseas in the Peace Corps. Which is another way to mark the fact that I’m growing old.

2Why, yes, since you ask (and I know you’re asking) I did give her a handmade gift. It’s a merino/alpaca/silk lace infinity scarf. Everyone else gave gifts from the registry, which just goes to show that I’m out of touch with the current customs as well as just being old, but I believe she was pleased with it and will get joy from it.

3No, I’m not going to identify the brand. Instead, I’ll recommend Lush.  They are genuinely nice people (who don’t insult their customers) selling quality, ethically sourced products that you should check out.


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Since Last I Posted

The Sky Fell

…and I fell off the Internet

but things have been happening, and instead of trying to catch up on everything, I’m going to jump in with

The BIG News

I’ve opened an Etsy shop with my Mother-in-Law.

Beginning slowly, because I really don’t want to overcommit.  So far we’ve just got a few things up there (on purpose).  I have some concerns over my spoon level, and hers, and the general going into business with relatives thing.  I’m trying to keep my hopes high and expectations low, but I’m really pleased with the start.





Eventually I may start a separate shop blog, but for now I’ll just try to give updates here.  I’m most excited about the recycled stitch markers (made from earbud cording). The two of us have decided to make a lot of different
stuff and see what gets the best response, but we’re both thinking upcycled and recycled* materials will play a big part. I’m going to be playing around with the idea of making string bags with handles of printer spools, because otherwise they tend to cut into my hands, but those will take a while. I plan to make the next shop update next week.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

The Brother Chicory CD giveaway  still hasn’t reached 50 likes, so no winner there. I won the Michelle’s Assortment pattern giveaway (and you should totally check out her designs!)  No other wins.

I’ve entered the February/March Expression Fiber Arts giveaway (15 March).

* Can anybody explain the difference, or does ‘upcycled’ just mean ‘this is cool’?

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