YO! ZMK Knits!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

FO: Licorice All-Sorts Hat

I started and finished an object this week!

Details on Ravelry!







Jus' kidding, folks! Would I do that to you? No, I won't ditch my blog for Ravelry, and I won't ditch the knittyboard for Ravelry. I plan to mostly stay on-topic on Ravelry (i.e., my knitting), and stay within the rules on knittyboard (no religious or political posts, and "play nice"), but, on my blog, anything goes and I'll snark on people if I want to, or talk about my political views (which, by the way, lean towards the "liberal" side), or talk about my religious views (which I don't really have. I guess if pressed I could say I seem to worship nature and karma most of all). But you know what? All that shit is boring! Y'all don't come to my blog to read about me hugging some fucking trees, now do you? No, you come for the knitting and the cats!

So, here's the knitting:





I realize my decreases look a little wonky. They always do. At least you're not seeing the back of the hat, where the stripes jog. Also, my pom poms always come out kind of pathetic looking. I don't think I wrap the yarn around enough (I wrapped the yarn around my row counter. . . ).

The pattern is "Candy Cane Hat" from Susan Anderson's "Itty-Bitty Hats". It's supposed to be in red and white, but I like to sub colors and used pink and black, which reminds me of two things: Good n Plentys (but they are white and pink candies with black insides) and Licorice All Sorts (one of my favorite candies). Thus, this is the Licorice All-Sorts Hat. These are for my grand-niece-to-be, and my niece luckily appreciates the goth/punk aesthetic. You should've seen how I dressed *her* up as a toddler. She loved to wear my chuck taylors and my Siouxsie and the Banshees t-shirt. I think her favorite song was Ministry's "Cold Life". She used to sing it.

The pattern for the booties is from Kris Percival's "Knitting Pretty", which is the first knitting book I bought. I've made 3-4 pairs of these. They take a couple of hours, and it's fun to use different colors. This is the first time I used ribbon through the eyelets -- I thought it went well. I was initially going to make little knitting Chuck Taylors, but couldn't find a pattern and was too lazy to make up one. You can do lots with this pattern though -- they can resemble little combat boots or KISS platform boots. You decide.

I used Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in pink and black. It's not the organic cotton, although I'd love to use that. The yarn is really soft next to the skin and the only reason my hands hurt is because I was doing so much knitting the past few days. Hey, I was knitting with a 17-lb. black cat next to me. It was enjoyable!

Speaking of. . . someone made himself comfortable really quickly:


That was taken last evening, after he had "discovered" the couch for a few hours. He also "discovered" under the bed, and, during the night, sleeping on the bed. He's a pretty affectionate cat, but has his moments of grumpiness. He's not thrilled with having his stomach touched, and wasn't thrilled when I moved him so ZantiMisterKnit could sit down to eat dinner. Yeah, he growled. And hissed a little. He also growls and hisses at Solvie, but she stands her ground and pretends he's not there. She's doesn't sleep with us -- never has -- so I don't think she feels too put out by him sleeping with us.

This is as close as they got to each other:



I like how big she looks in that second picture. She's not -- she's under 6 lbs, and he is about 17 lbs! (I weighed him this morning.) If he had shown any aggression to other cats, we wouldn't have adopted him. He could probably flatten her. I think both cats are generally aloof to other cats -- I know for a fact that Solvie is. She's aloof to everything except food. Ken seems to be aloof to other cats, but affectionate to people, with his moments of aloofness.

The macro button also loves him:


Here's a nice blurry shot for ya:


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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Introducing Ken!!!


Ken is the latest addition to our family. He's a 6-year-old (approx.) neutered male cat. We got him at the local shelter.

Isn't he handsome?


He's a pretty big boy, especially compared to our petite, 6 lb. Solvie. Speaking of Solvie, she's handling it pretty well:


I'm amused that you can see the glow of hatred in her eyes on the hardwood floor.

They're doing well together, really. There hasn't been a single hiss. Ken was housed in the "community room" at the shelter, and coexisted peacefully with the other cats. I think Solvie is fine, as long as he doesn't get too close to her.

He looks a LOT like my cat George (1991-2000). He also likes to open doors, like George did. Hopefully he won't have the tendency to beat up other cats, like George did. I think George only loved Zelia.

Here he is doing his best Terminator impression:


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Friday, July 27, 2007


I got my invite this morning -- if you are in, "friend" me and my spartan profile! I'm ZantiMissKnit there too.

If you don't know what it is, check it out. Someone I knew through the mod nights of 5 years ago has found me and friended me already. :-D


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I have a freakin' AWESOME Secret Pal!

Who, isn't a secret anymore!
My Secret Pal is the blogless Maiziemama, and see what she sent me!


(without the shadow of my hand holding the camera, this would be a great shot!)


This little batch of loveliness is 4 oz of 100% colonial from CJ Kopec Creations, in the colorway of "Crayons". I think I've ogled this shop's fiber before. It's really lovely stuff. Soft! Like, I would sleep with my face on this soft. (hhmmm . . . knitted pillow cases?).

In other news of lovely stuff I've received in the mail recently, here's a photo of the bag I bought from Momma-Monkey:


The photo is a little blurry and the sock project has been frogged. . . one of the "risks" I mentioned in my last post. I was trying out a stitch pattern for a sock, and that pattern didn't look good with the variegated yarn. I just got a bunch of 32" cord circular needles, and a book with Magic Loop Instructions (thanks, ZMrK!), so I will probably pick a pattern that works with variegated yarn and knit my hand-dyed that way. Then I'll do some cool stitch patterns on plain yarn.

Oh, here's a closeup of the skull:


I love it. I may not just use it for sock projects, as I have some baby hats to knit. They'll fit.

Oh, and Momma-Monkey updated her shop recently, so I suggest going and getting yourself a bag! She has lots of cute fabrics to choose from, and the quality is excellent! Much better than I can do! I can sew, but don't really have the eye for details or the patience to make something look professional. I am so not a perfectionist. I guess this is why I don't have a shop, right?

A local yarn store is becoming REALLY local for me. Circles in Jamaica Plain is moving to my little neck of the woods! So, that means. . . MOVING SALE!!!!!

Here's some Blue Sky Cotton I bought for 30% off:


I also got some in black, but the photos came out poor. I'm planning on making the "Candy Cane" hat from Itty Bitty hats, for my grand-niece-to-be.

Here's some Manos Stria that matches my Gila Monster beer bottle:


Not to be outdone, ZantiMisterKnit posed the green Manos Stria with his St. Pauli Girl N/A bottle:


Yes, it's true. People DO drink beer for the taste. At least in our house!
That Gila Monster beer is AWESOME. I got it at Trader Joe's for about $5.99 for a siz-pack. It is so freakin' good. I also got a really good Malbec for $7.99 that blows the ass out of some of the more expensive Malbecs. I should have taken a pic of that, but -- glug, glug -- it's all gone!

Probably inspired by Momma-Monkey, I was looking around on and some fabric fell into my virtual shopping cart:



I'm a sucker when it comes to cats.


I was recently told by a friend that I should make cards of some of my photos, and sell them at crafts fairs. I really love taking photos, especially of cats, so maybe there's something there.

All of the above photos were taken at Winslow Farm, an animal sanctuary in Norton, MA. The full set of photos can be found here.

Oh, and speaking of being a sucker. . . our trip to Winslow Farm really sealed it for us. We're ready to bring home another cat. We got the okay from our landlady, and providing we get approved to adopt (and there's no reason why we wouldn't), we hope to be getting a cat tomorrow night. Hopefully I'll have some cute photos to show y'all, and there will not be much fur flying over here!

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

I got burned.

Sunburned, that is. Today. In Boston. I didn't even have to go to the beach or anything.

You can see the stripe where my bag strap went across my chest.


to tell you the truth, it doesn't hurt. That could change though. It looks painful though.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I'm not the sort of person to take risks. At least not when it comes to my crafts. I suppose it is because my pre-knitting craft was sewing, and if you fuck up a project, you fuck up the materials (fabric, thread, etc.) and probably have to throw it all out.

I've been playing it pretty vanilla with my knitting. Why? If I fuck up, all I have to do is frog, then I have more yarn to play with, right? As long as I don't use mohair, that is, but mohair makes me want to poke my own eyes out.

So, I've decided to take a few risks and tackle a few projects I haven't tried before. I'm going to tackle lace and a little bit of designing. I've done a lot of "mindless knitting", row after row of stockinette or a simple lace-ish pattern, but I haven't really pushed myself before. Now I need to think and maybe even do some math. I'm not even going to go into detail about what I am going to do, because if I'm going about it wrong people will tell me, and I'd like to make my mistakes and learn from them.

I hope that I will eventually have some awesome finished objects to show off. If I don't, I will tell you about my distasters.

Wish me luck!



My last post or activity was July 8. Ummmm . . . I hadn't even been approving my comments. Sorry folks!

I got some really good mail today! A cute little sock project bag from Momma-Monkey's Etsy shop, with a skull/bandana print. I'm in lurve! Now, I need to cast on for socks!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Nifty DPN Storage!

So, this week I was on vacation, you know?
We didn't go anywhere, and there were some days I didn't leave the neighborhood.

I had already decided that I wanted to make something fancy for my needles. I have already made a needle case for my straight needles (I used the pattern from one of the Stitch n Bitch books), but wanted something for my DPNs and/or circular needles.

I had some cigar boxes.
I had some spare fabric (ha!).
I had a sewing machine.
I had liquid stitch glue.

So, here we go!


Here is the outside. It's held closed by a black satin ribbon that wraps around it and tied in a nice bow.


Open it and marvel at the red velvet lining and Dia de la Muertes fabric.


The Dia de la Muertes fabric unfolds like an accordian, with DPNs encased in red velvet inside.


As it unfolds, you can see where my number 3s are missing as I was using them.


Yes, I even have size 13 DPNs, from a felted purse I made. Don't you wish sometimes you could rent knitting needles?


Here's a couple photos of the accordian stretched out. I left 1-inch spaces in between each "page" of needles for folding purposes. Look to the right behind it -- that's why I said "Ha!" when I commented that I had "some spare" fabric. That's only about 1/4 of it!


A WIP shot. This is how I was able to measure for each individual set of DPNs. What will I do when I get more? I don't know! I'll have to make another one!

The coolest thing about this? It fits on a bookshelf! It's not ON a bookshelf right now, mind you, but if I were to put it on one, it would fit.

This project took a lot of ironing, pinning, and sewing for the interior "accordian", and then a lot of measuring, gluing, and sticky fingers for the exterior. It was pretty well worth it, I think.

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2 years and over five feet of garter stitch. . .

. . . that's what it took to finish this scarf!


The pattern is Rock Star from the Fall 2002 Knitty. The pink yarn is lovely solid color sock yarn from a LYS, Mind's Eye Yarns. The novelty yarn is JoAnn's Sensations Castaway yarn. I used size 3 straight Clover Bamboo needles. I started this in July 2005 and just finished it yesterday!


I had several fits of "frog or finish" on this. It was just so bloody boring! It also wasn't always a movie-watching knit because the Castaway yarn is so wispy and loopy that I had to look while knitting. I'll wear this often, but I won't knit it again unless my mommy really wants one. Naw, I'd just give her mine.

The only thing more boring than knitting it is weaving in the ends. Look at what I ended up with:


So, the only other thing I have on the needles is my lace camisole from Vintage Knits, and that's turning into a "frog or finish?" knit. I started that in July 2006, so I have another year to decide. . .

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Another Finished Object!

Remember last week when I posted a picture of Solvie with something that is not a sombrero on her head?

And I said I'd reveal what it was when it was done?

Here it is!!!!



Yes, it's a felted turtle. I used the Felted Turtle (and Starfish) kit from Patternworks. It comes with Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, which felts like a dream!

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Dye Job

I made some pretty little yarn cakes:


This is the Jacob Sheep Wool, 2-ply worsted weight from Stoney Acre Farm. I bought this at a tiny fiber arts festival in Sherborn, MA, last fall. It was originally a cream color.


The colors I used were leftover cherry and grape Kool-Aid from the sock yarn that I had just dyed, which is shown below.


Here it is! Le Sock Yarn. It's KnitPicks' Bare, and I used grape, cherry and berry blue Kool-Aid to dye it. Except I dyed it really messy and the colors got mostly blended together. I was disappointed, but now that I have seen it knit up, I like it.



I like the little touches of blue here and there. ZMrK loves this, but he doesn't think I should make HIM socks out of it. Feh. So it looks as though I'll just have to make myself yet another pair of socks! Does anyone know a good pattern for subtly variegated sock yarn?

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I may be Zombie Fodder.


Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Monday, July 02, 2007

Spinning, Knitting, Dyeing. . . and WIPs and Yarn Pr0n

I'm being a little bit of a bit of a fiber artiste at the moment.

First up, spinning. I spun my merino tencel into singles, and have slowly been trying to ply it. When it works, it works, but it doesn't work for long. Here's what I've got so far:


This is about 16 yards. The thickness is very uneven, but like I said. . . when it works, it works. Here are some closeups:



(click on the photos to go into flickr, then hit "all sizes" and choose "original" to see these really big. . . if I post them like that here some folks have trouble getting my blog to load.)

Here's about 7 yards of the same thing. I keep snapping the yarn, so I think I'll get dribs and drabs.


I got some really good advice on the knittyboard, which I'm going to heed. One being to practice on a naked bobbin, to get my wheel going in the opposite direction (necessary when plying). Another being to try using my opposite foot to treadle. Yet a third being to practice plying with some of my commercial yarn. All simple ideas that I didn't think of, but I will try!

This is what the merino/tencel started as:


And here is it spun single ply:


I know I showed y'all before, but I figured I would again in case your memory is like mine.

Now for some knitting!


Those are my socks! I don't remember when I started them, but it was a while ago. I showed some progress but then didn't because I thought that would be boring. The yarn is the 2nd installment of the sock club at Mind's Eye yarns. I love it and I love the socks, even if they are a little loose in the ankle and tight in the calf. (Note to self: decrease at the ankle, increase at the calf!)

I made some attempts at dyeing yarn today with Kool-Aid:

Here's a boring on-the-kitchen-table shot:


Here's a lovely in-the-sun shot:


Here's a in-the-pot shot:


The first two pics are of Knit Picks 100% merino sock weight "bare" yarn. I dyed it with grape, cherry and berry blue Kool-Aid, using a pour-on method, which of course all ran into each other so there is barely any blue (and it is a gorgeous brilliant blue too!). I'm disappointed in myself for doing that, but it is my first time dyeing yarn so I've learned from it!

The last pic is Jacob Wool 2-ply worsted weight yarn from Stoney Acre Farm. I got the yarn at a fiber fest last fall in Sherborn, MA (I think?), with the intention of trying some dyeing. I used the leftover cherry and grape for this, and tried handpainting it with a sponge. It's done, and it's rinsed and is in the sink. I learned about pooling now, too -- I must have had a heavy hand with the cherry, because there are spots of blood-red pooling on what was probably the bottom side. Again, live and learn.

I also learned that I don't really like the color of the grape kool-aid. It's dull. The cherry and berry blue are awesome, however.

I also learned that I really should wear gloves. I did for the pour-on batch but not for the handpainted batch --- duuuuuuh!!! It looks like I just dyed my hair, except my hair isn't dyed. I used to not wear gloves when I dyed my hair, and ended up with reddish-purplish-brown fingers. Big duh.

So, that's my spinning, knitting and dyeing of the past few days. Well, the socks were finished over a week ago, but I'm just getting around to posting pics of them now. I've made ZMrK two hats -- one can be seeing as a WIP around my beer bottle in the picture with my socks -- since finishing those. The WIP shown is in Rowan Calmer, which may be my new favorite yarn. It's cotton/acrylic and feels awesome and has a nice stitch definition. I found that ball of it in the sale bin at Grafton Yarns. I want to get more and make myself lots of sweaters with it, except it's crazy expensive so I won't unless I find it on a good sale. But I don't really need to do that, because I have an overflowing yarn hutch and really need to do some stashbusting.

So, here's a WIP.


What do you think it is? Is it a sombrero, like Solvie seems to think?

Oh, and what did I say about not needing any more yarn?

We were in Waltham the other day, and stopped by Island Yarns. There was some Skeintilly Clad sock yarn, and I thought I'd support a local yarn shop, and a local yarn dyer by buying some:


This color is called "Into the Blue". I might make my mom some socks out of it, or maybe not. I remember that this yarn is very soft and prone to pilling, so it needs some special care.


This color is called "blaze!". ZMrK picked it out. I have some worsted weight yarn from another local dyer, Woolarina, that is almost the same colors. I may have to make some sort of matching set.




So, that's it. The start of my vacation. We have no big plans; just stick around the house and relax. How does that sound to you?

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