Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yay, Etsy!

I'm a real Etsy fan.  I find the best bargains, wonderful quality, and unique things/objects/jewelry/ whatever.

I thought it would be nice to share some of my faves with you, just  in case you need ideas for, gasp, the holidays.  Yep, they are all upon us in less than 3 months and we'd better get prepared.  Hanukkah is December 1-9!  That's 2 months from Friday.  So, check these vendors out and maybe you'll find some answers to the never-ending question of "What am I going to get them?"  A word of warning:  these are all female oriented; the Hubbo and I are way too smart to exchange presents.

American Girl Doll clothing.  You can get the prettiest stuff on Etsy, and not crazy expensive either.  Of course if you have a persnickety kid, who only wants AG stuff, well then that's your problem.  Miss P is the proud owner of tons of Etsy clothing for her dolls, and in fact, doesn't want the standard AG clothing; she likes the variety and different outfits  that I find her.  The Principessa is of the same opinion. - Julia's Creations has contemporary outfits, and they are around $15 - $20. - Margarette Designs with the prettiest period costumes and in the range of $16-25. - Does your doll need jammies?  For a mere $16, you can get really cute ones. - Pretty little dresses and outfits from $8.75!!! - A nice variety of outfits mostly in the $20-30 range.  I've bought a lot of her clothing and everything is so well made. - Both AG and Barbie outfits from $3- 8.75.  How can you beat this?

Bags, knitting and others.  I admit that I'm a sucker for a nice cloth sock bag; I own more than anyone needs, and I still get the tug to buy them.  I also love any cloth tote.  The Hubbo calls me "Ruth the Schlepper";  I carry way too much junk around with me.  As much as I adore Coach bags, just the leather alone is too heavy.  And then, when I load up my stuff, well, it just doesn't work.  But give me a nice fabric tote, and I still overload it, but at least the bag itself doesn't destroy my shoulders.  OK, it does, but not nearly the way a leather satchel will do it to me.  Here are some of my favorites. - Catherine is wicked.  She is the worst sock back enabler going.  Ask me how I know! - Charming purses, both big and little. - If you want to sew your own patchwork bag, here are the instructions.  Too bad I'm such a crummy seamstress. - Wonderful sock and knitting bags, and pretty cheap, too. - I bought my very first sock bag from her and it's still going strong. - She's a college kid.  Sews beautifully.  Go, support her! - I haven't bought from her yet, but I'm seriously thinking about it.  This bag stuff is an addiction!

And, of course, you know that I'm on Etsy:

That's enough for today.  I don't want to wear you out.  What's coming up in a future Etsy moment?  jewelry, soap, already-knitted or crocheted clothing, stitch markers, potpourri.

itsJUSTme - What I particularily love about Etsy is that most of the vendors are "little" people like you and me.  I like supporting small businesses.  The profits go directly to the vendor and not some big anonymous corporation.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


How come:

there are always too many dishes on the top of the dishwasher than the bottom or the reverse?  Why do we never have the same amount of dishes?

we are always out of teaspoons?  Does the teaspoon elf swipe them?

my house is such a mess?  This is rhetorical; doesn't require an answer.

the Hubbo sleeps on top of the covers?  Does he not understand that the word "cover" means for him to BE covered?

we have so much laundry?  Does it expand at night while we are sleeping?

the grass is really greener on the other side?  Do we need to start watering our lawn and wasting water?

I'm not rich?  snort.  giggle.  howl with laughter.

I don't care that I'm not rich?

I'm writing this?

you're reading this?

Good night, folks.  This silly ruth is going to sleep!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little "o" on a graph.


I like to graph out my designs first on graph paper with my favorite pencil, Papermate Sharpwriter (those nice yellow ones with the points that you move up).  And then I knit from the charts, and if all is well, then I go to the computer. 

So, for the last three months, I've been slowly working on this pretty lace shawlette.  I did the pattern just by playing around, no stitch dictionary used.  Good.  It's not an easy pattern because it doesn't have repeating rows, or at least the repeat is many rows long.  So, I have to pay attention.  That's fine with me.  I'm not crazy enough to put complex stuff on the wrong side, and indeed this one has a wrong side resting row.  But still, I have to pay attention.

The last time I worked on it, maybe 2-3 weeks ago, I discovered a mistake, so carefully tinked it a few rows.  Then I worked back to where I had been.  Today, I picked it up, found where I had left off, and proceeded to work the following:  k2, yo, k14, k2tog.......  The pattern is centered and at the end of the section I should also have that k14, only instead the chart says k13.  Now I did this chart.  I can look at it and know that no way did I have an extra stitch on the right hand side of the chart.  Nope, nada, not!  But when I count it, there is that k14 and the k13 at the other side of the section.  So of course, I tinked, knit back, tinked again, knit, tinked back.  I'm thinking that my brain has ceased to function.  I took a ruler and lined up those increased on both sides of the section.  Everything is fine.  So why an extra stitch or one less stitch?

Ah ha!  Seems that I drew that little yo not very well; I didn't fill up that little box, and of course, I saw a bit of space and counted it and came to the number 14.  No, no, no!  It's actually 13 k stitches, and now I'm done tinking, at least until the next time I goof.  Fixed that little "o", and all is happy!

Henya - It's a very bad little o, and it's going on the  bad behavior chair right now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I love Karen cashmere sock yarn.

I love all my yarns, and here is why I adore Karen mcn (merino/cashmere/nylon):  it is beyond soft, and since it has nylon, you can actually make socks from it.  Not that I would.  It's way too pretty for my feet.  This is prime yarn for scarves and shawlettes, and mitts, and cowls, and OK, socks too.

I dyed yarn yesterday morning.  The Hubbo was off on his garage sale expeditions, and it seemed a good moment to play with color.  I set out to dye autumn colors and pastels, but you know those dyes; they have a mind of their own.  I did get some lovely muted blues and teals and an antique rose, but then the dyes took over, and I have a lovely collection of rosiness and pinkies, too.  While I had my back turned, an amber colorway sneaked out into the dyepot.  What can I tell you?  I have no control here.  I can't repeat these colorways except for Summer's Last Rose.  I happily mixed and poured and played and don't ask me how I did it because I don't know.

The roses:  American Beauty

Cherie Rose

Charming Rose

 Muted Roses

Summer's Last Rose

The Blues: Black Forest

 Sleepy Meadow


And Amber:

You can email me directly if you want one before I post on Etsy.  fritzL234 AT yahoo DOT com
Otherwise, wait until I put them up on Etsy.

Scrabblequeen - Karen yarn is $25 + the usual first class shipping of $3.  It's more than my usual yarns because it costs me considerably more.  It really is gorgeous and worth the money, and you know I'm cheap. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do you ever have The Wants?

What do I want?

I want this and I want that and I don't need any of it.  Here's today's abbreviated list of wants:  I want enough KnitPicks City Tweed DK to make a sweater.  The fact that I haven't finished last year's sweater started at the same time of year should tell me that I don't need more sweater yarn.  I have enough yarn to float a boat, and that includes the most delicious SW merino DK to be dyed. That doesn't stop me from wanting it, though.

I want to learn how to weave.  OK, that's doable, but not in the forseeable future.  I just don't have the time for another obsession, and where would I put all the gear.  As it is, the house is awash in yarn in various stages of preparation.  So that will have to wait.

I want to learn how to do patchwork.  I'm a lousy sewer.  I'm a very good embroiderer, but a terrible sewer.  And my sewing machine is ancient and kaput.  So do I get a new sewing machine, go into fabric stashing, and generally gnash my teeth at my crummy sewing?  Nope, but I want it and I want to do it.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I want to be organized.  No brainer:  it will never happen.  If I haven't gotten my act together in 66 years, what makes me think I'm going to do that now?  Piffle. But still, it would be nice.

I want lots of new clothing from Lands End, Coldwater Creek and J. Jill.  And where exactly would I put it all?  The closets are so squooshed, I need nothing, and I don't want to spend a lot of money.  But still.....

I want to like to drive.  Nope, ain't happening.

I want a magic knitting and crocheting fairy to finish up all the projects that I've started so that I can start new ones.  Uh huh.  If you know that particular fairy, send her to me.  I'll bake a bread for her.

I want a personal chef.  Snort.  Giggle.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on my Wants.  What about you?  What do you want?  And don't ask for a gazillion dollars, or perfect health or world peace.  The Wants have to be doable, and realistic.  Aw, forget the realistic; this is fantasy land.  We can want what we want.  We may not get it, but who cares?  It's just fun.

And now I'm off to finish a project or two.  Gotta make room for more Wants to be filled.  Like all those projects from yesterday.

Caryn - I too hope that your dad's peaceful.  That is an awful way to live.  And I hope you get all your fun wants.  You clearly need a chauffeur.

Scrabblequeen - Hey, we're twins!  

Henya - I have a great use for your red tape:  knit a bureaucrat out of it! 

There are just not enough hours in the day.

I need more time!

Do you ever want to try so many new ideas and not have the time to do it? That's where I am these days.

I'm working happily away on my cowl project, and am almost done. OK, one idea down. The socks are just basic socks and I just motor along on them. The zillions of blankies are always in process.

But here's the thing: I want to play. Just play, and what with designing and dyeing and the normal chores, I can't seem to find the time. Of course, if I ever got off the computer, I'd have tons of time. But do I do that? nooooo. So mostly it's my fault. sigh.

BUT, nonetheless, here's some of what I want to play with:

I really want to play with these post stitches. I learned how to do them on this scarf, and liked them. Maybe another scarf or ten?

How about lots of flowers from this book? Aren't they cute?

I now own the Japanese language edition of this as well as the English one. They are not the same at all. There are lots of projects here that are calling me.

I want to do this:

And I haven't begun to think of what I want to do from the new entrelac book that I just received.

See what I mean? In my lifetime, I will never be able to do all those projects that I'm interested in. Still, I could get a good case of startitis and try some of them. Now if I would just get off Facebook.......

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Yarnarian Watches TV.

Whoo hoo! The fall season has begun. After the vast wasteland that is summer television, it's so great to watch all my regular shows again.

House is back, this time with Cuddy and House starting a relationship. The first show wasn't "House-ish" enough for me. I love his weird way of looking at the world, but I have great hopes for his usual misanthropic ways. We also watched The Event on NBC; this might grow into something.

And last night, The Biggest Loser started again. I'm in love with that show. Considering that I'm a little over 5'1" and a size 6-8 (depending on the day's blubbiness), I'm not exactly someone who is even remotely overweight. But I love to watch these poor folk go from obesity and feelings of worthlessness into strong, confident athletes. I have to admit that we tend to nibble when we watch TBL, thus defeating any possibility of weight loss for ourselves. Still, it is inspiring. Now if they only didn't keep repeating the same lines over and over and over. But then, during those repetitious moments, I can find more nibbles, and can do some bread baking, and knit, and crochet.

And while I was watching TBL, I baked some bagels. They look odd, not like store-bought ones, but they have this wonderful crackly crust. They also don't taste much like regular bagels, but they are mighty tasty.

Tonight? Who knows? Maybe I'll just read instead. I'm beginning to think that I need a 28 hour day. There is just not enough time to knit, read, compute, bake, exercise, etc, etc. If I ever get off Facebook, then I'd get the time, but do I do that? Noooo. I have to play my dopey games. What's a day without Farmville or Cafe World? Not to mention the never-ending games of Klondike on MindJolt.

Pics? Nope, not at the moment. I'm writing this at 5AM, because I wake up every morning at 4ish, play on Facebook, and now I'm blogging. Besides, I haven't done enough of anything to show you new pics. And so it goes.

Back to slumberland. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Yarnarian Returns.

The big holidays are over, the company has gone home, and things are slowly settling down to our normal pace.

We had a wonderful Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. There's nothing like family visiting on holidays. My sister came down for both holidays, and my niece and her boyfriend came for Yom Kippur. I felt as if I were cuddled in a warm blankie to have them and my dear Hubbo surround me in synagogue. The food was good. The fast went very well for everyone. We laughed and fooled around and were serious (OK, mostly on Yom Kippur), and it was great!

So. now it's back to normal, and I'm dyeing again, and showing new yarns on Etsy, and I'm into new projects. I feel as if I had a wonderful vacation, and am now delighted to be back to work.

I dyed the first shipment of the Magic Carpet Ride sotm yesterday, and added a few more skeins to play with. I find it fascinating that my eye wants different colorways now that the days are so much shorter, and the summer heat has finally ended. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I want more grayed or muted colors, except of course, when it comes to the leafy colorways. Then, I go a bit crazy, but then nature goes crazy, so who am I to argue with nature?

This little batch of yarns is not in leaf mode; no oranges here. Sigh, but don't worry, I'll get to them as soon as those leaves change color.

Stormy Weather, Faded Green, Cinnabar, and Bronze:

I've been listing new yarns almost every day since I last posted, so there are lots of pretties listed. This is the time of year when I expect to sell tons of yarn, but instead I have a slow time. In the summer, when I thought I'd snooze with sales, nope, I was delightfully busy. Go figure. It's quite beyond me.

New Projects:

I started a pair of socks and a cowl. I dyed this yarn quite a while ago, and it didn't sell, but it intrigued me, and you know that that means that I had to play with it to see what it would do. This one is Grazing Moo, and the tricky part of the colorway is that very dark bit of gray.

When I work with a yarn like this, it takes me 3-4 tries to get it right. At first, I played with this gorgeous lace that I'm using for my cowl. Yech! So busy that you couldn't see the lace, and that deep gray made a mess. So, I played with other ideas, and ta da, finally did this mindless little rib pattern. And it works. The pictures don't do it justice; you should see it on my leg. It really pops. So, the lesson here is: if you have a dark contrasting color in your variegated colorway, use it in a type of ribbing. And then add a pattern in which a bit of the yarn is displaced, as in this fake little cable.

When it's stretched out on my leg, you see the cable and the gray adds to the charm. Trust me, it works.

And here's the cowl that I started. This is the original lace patter for the sock, and it was a disaster there. This pattern calls for a solid or almost solid, no wild yarns here. It is so easy to knit, and I'm quite in love with it. I can see me using it again and again. It's that pleasant to do.

I've never worn a cowl, but everyone seems to be knitting them, so I figured that I'd play with it. The pattern has work done on every round, and that's enough for me not to do a scarf or shawlette in it. I'm way too lazy a knitter to work that hard. But in a circular piece, it's just fun.

And now I'm off to get those sotm packages out. And bake some bread, and call the drugstore for the Mommie meds, and find a warm sunny place to work on my projects. Mmm, I do love retirement.

Scrabblequeen - I almost never have my kids except for Passover. For these holidays, I always have my sister, and often her daughter and boyfriend. I think we would feel very lonely if they were not with us. When my mom was younger, she would come and so would my MIL, but my MIL is not in great shape these days, and the Mommie is close to 96 and she just wants to stay in her residence. Going to synagogue would be just too much for her. So instead, my sister and I pop in to visit her during Rosh HaShanah, and bring her our holiday coffee cake.

KV - And to you and yours also. It was a most enjoyable time for all of us.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

That 60's Hat

That 60's Hat

A tam with glam

Or was it the 50's? I can't remember when the color combination of pink and green was so popular, so I've arbitrarily made it in the 60's. Not that it matters very much.

I've had a moment of tam obsession, and this is the result. Unfortunately I can't work nonstop on stranded items because the tension on my left wrist is not good. A little tam, worked in DK yarn would ordinarily take me 2 days at the most, but this one lasted about a week. I have to rest the wrists in between. Too bad, because stranded knitting is just about my favorite type of knitting. Good thing I love working lace almost as much.

Here's the pattern:

Yarn: 300 yards of DK yarn in two colors: color A (main color), and color B (contrast color.) My color A is green, and color B is pink. In the charts, color A is left blank, color B is a square.

Notions: 6 stitch markers. Tapestry needle.

Needles: circular size 5 or size required to achieve gauge. Options: 16” circular needle and then dpns for when the hat reduces in size; 2 circs, either 16 “ or 24”, which you can use throughout the entire hat. Use whatever you are comfortable with.

Gauge: 6 stitches/inch over stranded pattern.

Size: Small - Medium. To make larger or smaller, change needle size and get looser or tighter gauge. You can also go down a needle size to do the ribbing.

With color A, Cast on 88 sts and join without twisting. Work k2, p2 ribbing for approx 1-2 inches, or as long as you like that ribbing to be.

Increase rounds:
Working still in the main color A, at the end of the ribbing, increase to 139 stitches. I increased the first round by k2, make one. On the next round, I added the number of stitches to make 139.

Begin brim:
Note that on rounds 10 and 21, Color A is worked in purl.

On the last pink round, increase to 144 stitches. Place markers so that each of the 6 sections contains 24 sts.

Begin top of hat: Color A is left blank; Color B is indicated with the square.

The pattern begins with column 14; that will be the beginning of the pattern in each section. Work rounds 1 and 2 even with no decreases.

Begin the double decrease on round 3. I used this decrease: sl 2tog, k2, p2sso, which is indicated on the chart by the indentations.

Continue to work pattern by doing the double decrease every other round until you are left with 2 sts per section. Cut the yarn, leaving a 12” tail, and thread through the stitches a couple of times, pulling them tightly so that you don’t have a hole. Using the tapestry needle, weave in the ends.

Wet the hat, squeeze out extra moisture, and block over an upside down dinner plate, or lay out flat, smoothing out the stitches as you go.

Wear and enjoy.

Note: I expected color B to be the “stand out” color. Surprise! Color B became the background color! That’s the fun of stranded knitting.

Please, please, please, let me know if I've made any dopey mistakes. This has not gone to a test knitter, and you know that I goof all the time. So, I need your corrections, OK?

Also, please do not sell copies of this pattern. It's here for the enjoyment of everyone, but it is my pattern, so don't muck up the copyright issues here.

Holly - The bagels and cream cheese were wonderful, but even better was the hot sweet milky tea. And this morning, as usual, I feel much worse than yesterday. I always suffer from post-Yom-Kippur-itis.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Digging out forgotten dyes.

Beautiful Rachel Yarn!

Wednesday I was in the mood to dye. Lately, it seems as if I have to force myself, which is not a good thing if this is something you love to do. What happened was that Tues night, as I was working in the laundry/dyeing studio, I decided to go through my dye collection and haul out some that had been forgotten. Of course I then wanted to play with the colors, and Wednesday morning, that's just what I did. And I had such a good time. I played with avocado, teal, grape juice and salmon, plus of course I added other colors to the mix. Such fun. It was better than opening a new box of crayons.

I haven't done much with salmon. It is such a distinct color, and for some reason, I never combine it with anything else. But not this time. The first yarn is totally salmon with nothing else added. Then you can see how the dye solution morphed into 3 very different colorways. You add a bit of this and that, and voila, you get something totally new.


From here, the dye pot became Latte, and that became Harvest, which then turned into Sunlight.

Trust me, that was all done using the first basic salmon dye solution.

I also played with teal and avocado.

Here is the first one done with avocado, Greener, with just a pinch of turquoise added for a bit of sparkle.

And then the teal yarn, Bluegrass.

Then I combined them with bit of the Harvest solution to the colorway, Autumn Dreams.

Then I moved on to Grape Juice, and made Grapes, of course.

And that solution plus a bit of the leftover green solution, made Wildflowers.

And then a combo of everything floating around, Moody River.

I'm back to knitting socks again. This time I want the yarn to be the focus, not the pattern, so I'm using a simple rib pattern: k5, p2. The yarn is Rachel, the one I dyed above. Approx 400 yards of 100% superwash merino in a pretty tight twist which makes the nicest fabric.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, everybody. And if you don't celebrate Labor Day, then have a wonderful weekend anyhow.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Somebody in the government has too much time on his hands!

Hat in Progress

We used to have this nice simple customs form. Piece of cake to fill out. No two pages of tiny print with instructions, just one easy simple form.

Clearly somebody in the federal government decided that that was much too clear and easy to fill out. After all, why do something simple when complex can be done instead. So now we have a booklet. Pages 1 and 2 give lots of instructions, all in tiny print with lots of legal verbiage. I'll spare you the reverse side.

And then 3 pages, all pretty much the same except for the last page being the actual shipping label. One is a "scan" copy; the next one is the post office copy, and the last page is the customer copy and the shipping label. And you get to fill out all 3 pages. Is this overkill or what?

The forms actually came out last December, but my little post office never had them. Now this is what is available. I suppose that someone's position was saved by producing this masterpiece, but it really is overkill. Bah!

Hat progress:

I'm at the decreasing top of the tam. I have to do this in very short bits because my wonky wrist objects to it. I adore stranded knitting, but the wrist doesn't. So I'll take my time, and what was a 1-2 day project, will now last much longer. Not that I'm in a hurry. Given that it's going to be in the 90s again today, I don't think I'm going to need this hat anytime soon. Autumn, I'm ready!


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