Posted by: Laura | 15 March, 2011

WEBS Tent Sale 2011-Step 1 Budgeting

I’m so stinkin’ excited that Jess has spotted the dates for the Spring WEBS tent sale. It’s in mid-May, and we are definitely planning a trip up to Northampton, MA to be there when it opens on Saturday morning!

Jess, Lady Poncho, and I made the trip last year, so we’ve got a few helpful hints for visiting the mecca that is’s headquarters.

Step 1, start bugeting now. My plan? Change is a good thing.

I’m anticipating having somewhere between $100-$200 in change by mid-May.

And, I know I can take this change to any TDBank here (with a “Penny Arcade”, check their website for locations with “Penny Arcades”) and trade it in for paper money, even though I’m not a customer of TDBank!

Stay tuned for the next step of preparations: Organizing your shopping list!

For now, add things to you queue that you would love to make for 2011!

Posted by: Laura | 12 March, 2011

I See London, I See Francis

I made this sweater. The pattern is called Francis Revisited.  I used Lion Brand Organic Cotton in Espresso, and I learned a few things along the way…

Dye Lots: I purchased all of the balls of this yarn that I could when I first spotted it at my local Michaels. When I went back a week later, there was another ball, which I naturally snapped up. By that time, I knew I would be casting on Francis Revisited with this yarn.  As I started knitting, I realized I would need at least three more skeins, so I called up Lion Brand Studios to see if they had any on hand. They had three skeins, but each of them was a different dye lot. This is how I ended up with literally six different dye lots.

Top Down: I haven’t made many sweaters yet, but I do know that top down is a great way to knit a whole sweater because you can try it on as you go. So, I knit the body, then I added the cowl as per the instructions and then….wait a minute, “This thing looks like a brown potato sack,” I said to myself.  And what’s more, “There are unintentional striped blocks from the different dye lots!” I exclaimed. This was in December. I threw the whole mess into a bag, to be restarted later.

Why it’s called Francis Revisited: If you knit this, you will want to rip it back make your own modifications, and revisit it. I decided it wanted it to follow my curves a bit more, so I added decreases at the waist and left out increases at the hips.  It’s still a bit big though, so I may “revisit” i.e. rip it out and re-knit it again next year.

In the end, I waited until a sunny day, and I lined all the balls up on my window sill in order of reddish to greenish. Then, I numbered the balls, and I made sure to start around 4, 5, and 6 for the shoulders and cowl, then back to 7, 8, and 9 for the sleeves and 1, 2, and 3 for the body.  Ball 10 was used for the seed stitch edges on both the sleeves and the body.

I would say that this pattern is more of a guideline to an amazing sweater than a set-in-stone patterny pattern.

I would also highly recommend it for a quick knit! To be honest, I don’t think I’ll mind re-visiting Francis in another year.

And of course, I love the cowl neckline. (What a ham I am!)

Posted by: nicole | 10 March, 2011

Ephemeral or endless?

For March’s self-imposed sock of the month, I am stepping outside the box: my goal this month is to finish my Ephemera Cardigan. I am knitting this cardigan out of sock yarn, and I want to make the leftover yarn into some warm grey socks, so this sweater is practically a sock-in-progress.


Ephemera has been a UFO for quite a while, as the photographic evidence suggests: I no longer own a sage green couch or a burgundy towel, but the pieces of this sweater have survived a cross-country move and are ready for some sleeves, a few seams, my first hems, and a to-be-determined type of trim. Most importantly, though, I think this little cardi is ready for a deadline.

Posted by: nicole | 2 March, 2011

The only jogging I’ll really do…

My February socks are still in progress, and 2011 seems to be, thus far, the year of stripes.

Noro stripes, versions 1 and 2

I am still enjoying each color change: the plain stockinette requires very little attention, but each alternation of yarns brings a concrete sense of progress. The progression through the rainbow in the Noro Kureyon is also quite entertaining. For these socks, I am cycling between black Patons Kroy and the leftover Kureyon from last month. If anything, I am finding this pair more enjoyable than the last. I didn’t worry too much about doing a jogless jog on the previous socks, but for these I decided to test out a technique I saw on TechKnitter. The first row of a new color is worked normally, but the first stitch is slipped on the second round. Then, the next color change moves to the left by one stitch, keeping each stripe the same height. The two-row stripes are very intuitive to work in this way – on each round, I have something to do when I get to the stitch marker. If I there are two rows of a color when I reach the stitch marker, I change colors; if there is one row of the color, I remove the stitch marker, slip one stitch, replace the stitch marker, and keep knitting. I think the jogs look pretty good when they are worked this way… there is a hint of a diagonal line where the color change continually moves leftward, so I am being very conscious of the tension of my floats on the second sock. How obvious is the jog while the sock is being worn? It moves from the bottom right to the upper left.

Posted by: Laura | 25 February, 2011

Self-Imposed Sock for February!

I’m not sure if I’m getting faster at knitting or if this actually was a very fast pattern. Probably the latter. January’s socks were ribbed from the ankle to the shin, and these ones only have a bit of ribbing at the top.


I used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Boobie 2. (Have I mentioned how much I love blue-footed boobies?! Great colorway name, Blue Moon!)

The pattern was Leyburn.

Cast-on was the Magic Cast On from Knitty. I started with 14 stitches on each needle, and then increased until I reached 50 stitches total.  Before turning the heel, I added 4 stitches to the instep instead of three. On the short row heel, I wrapped and turned until I had 7 unwrapped stitches. After the heel turn, I added the increase stitches until I had the approved 72 stitches.

Result: These were a very quick knit for me. I think the ankles are a little baggy, but I’m still gonna wear these toasties quite a bit.

Also, I love that the “floats” of the pattern were good practice for Fair Isle (more on that soon!). If the floats are too tight, this sock may be impossible to put on.

Finally, their test run on 2/21/2011 revealed that they were toasty warm under my boots, so success!

De-Stash count:

1 skein sock yarn used up for Brainless socks

1 ball of mystery cotton used up for charity knitting

4 balls of chenille sent out as yarn karma

1 skein sock yarn used up for Leyburn socks

Posted by: Jess | 21 February, 2011


Let me say, the British take their crafts seriously.  John Lewis, a big UK department store, has most of a floor devoted just to haberdashery – all the yarn, sewing and other crafty notions you can think of.  It would be like walking into Macy’s and popping up to the fourth floor for the latest Rowan release.  If only.

Haberdashery:  dealing in small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons, zippers, and other notions.  Of course, in American English, a haberdasher is another term for a men’s outfitter. A haberdasher’s shop or the items sold therein are called haberdashery.  The word appears in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  Haberdashers were initially peddlers, sellers of small wares such as needles, buttons, etc.

While in London I just had to make a stop at the John Lewis on Oxford Street for a quick look.  It seemed a little smaller on the yarn front than a few years ago, but there were more sewing machines, notions and other random crafty goodness.  Sewing box shaped like a house?  I love you Cath Kidston.  Rowan yarn at non-imported prices?  How strong I felt for sticking to my yarn diet.  Just becaues it’s on sale, and in a foreign country, does not mean I actually have more money.  So I walked away with a book of cute Debbie Bliss patterns.  Of course, I had dreams of the adorable poncho… until I was reminded that only waify folks with no chest can really pull that off.  Probably a good thing, too, before I’m 19 balls of Cashmerino Aran in the hole.

Posted by: Laura | 9 February, 2011

Anthro Hack-Bygone Brooch Necklace

I think we can all agree that Anthropologie carries some of the cutest, most creative wearables and home furnishings out there. I’m inspired by their window diplays, and I love love love digging through their sale racks for things that I can’t find anywhere else. So, back in December, I was thumbing through the catalog, and I spotted these Bygone Brooch Necklaces.

They’re interesting statement necklaces, and they are one-of-a-kind, created by jewelry artist Nancy Rhett. The price at the time, was $138, plus shipping. Now, they’re marked down to $69.95 (Ladies, never pay full price at anthro.)

I’m fascinated by other bloggers who knock off or “hack” anthro designs. Like feathertysews, who hacked an anthro jacket last month. Or Miss Priss, who loves to hack anthro jewelry and include tutorials…wonder how her baby is coming along, did she deliver yet?

Anyway, inspired by these intrepid crafters, I decided that I would make my own version of the Bygone Brooch Necklace. After all, I have a brooch that I inherited from my Grandma last June and some gorgeous silk ribbon that I “inherited” from Nicole  in November.

I tried knotting the ribbon, tying a bow in the ribbon, and even pinning the brooch through the ribbon. The brooch kept flipping face-down into my cleavage. I was thinking of making a “Bygone Brooch Bracelet” (say that ten times fast), when I looped the ribbon through the brooch twice, tied a bow and viola!

My version of the Bygone Brooch Necklace

I wore it out last Friday, and a new gentleman friend asked, “Is that a medal?”

I responded, “Maybe….if it were a medal what would it be for?”

He smoothly replied, “Being the prettiest girl in here.”

I think Grandma would appreciate that I am using her baubles...

Posted by: nicole | 9 February, 2011

a january sock

Well, Punxsutawney Phil popped out of his burrow and saw a finished sock! Can you guys look the other way while I pretend that February 2 is still basically January?

I managed to make my Noro striped socks nearly identical, which I find quite satisfying. Before I cast on, I re-wound the ball of Kureyon with my ball winder and wrote down the sequence of colors as they emerged. (I found one knot that interrupted the color sequence.) From my notes, I determined the longest continuous color sequence that appeared twice and then wound the yarn again to extract these two stretches of yarn into a ball for each sock.



Maybe it’s because I finished the first sock over a year ago, but I still have stripes on the brain… I think my February socks might be stripey as well!

Posted by: Laura | 7 February, 2011

Yarn Karma

So, I hadn’t been on Ravelry for a while (maybe at least a week), and when I logged on last week, I noticed that I’d gotten a personal message….a week earlier. Sidenote: Can someone tell me how to set my settings so that I get notification when I get a Ravelry message in my inbox?

What do people *do* with this yarn?

In this message, a stranger was asking me if I still had a Chenille Thick and Quick in my stash, and if so, would I be willing to sell it. I messaged back asking about the color, and she replied that she was interested, but that it depended on the price. I told her I’d send her the yarn for free.

Which brings me to Yarn Karma. I have this idea that sometimes, it’s best to send out that yarn you’re never going to use in the hopes that the yarn karma will be repaid in the future. I bought that Thick and Quick early on in my knitting “career”, and  I honestly can’t remember how I thought I would use it. I love that color of peacock, so maybe I thought I would make throw pillows out of it? I vaguely remember trying to make a floor cushion with it using seed stitch, but not liking the gauge I’d done it in. So, to my new Ravelry friend, I am sending this strange chenille that’s been gathering dust in my stash.

At the same time, I’ve had some yarn-y windfalls in the past year that have kept my stash drawers full. For example, I bought a giant bag of yarn from someone who was moving in my building for a mere $20. And I got a nice chunk of Nicole’s stash when she moved cross-country. I also got a whole BAG of mohair in my favorite color (teal) that I will be making into a gauzey wrap sweater this spring, thanks to lovely Liz (who also passed along two skeins of sock yarn she rescued from a neighbor trying to purge).  AND of course, Jess has given me a new skein for Christmas two years in a row—skeins that have pushed me to try my first pair of socks (and soon, my first lacey shawl).

As it turns out, my new Ravelry friend will be using the yarn to teach her students how to knit, so I feel pretty great about sending these balls across the country.

Bon voyage, yarn!

De-Stash count:

1 skein sock yarn used up for Brainless socks

1 ball of mystery cotton used up for charity knitting

4 balls of chenille sent out as yarn karma

Posted by: Laura | 5 February, 2011

Embroidered Rose!

Itty Bitty Russian Dolls! They open up and nest too!

I love most things crafty, truly, I do. And, I thought I’d learned most of the embroidery techniques I’d ever need (satin stitch, daisy chain, blanket stitch, back stitch). But then, as I was making these adorable Russian Nesting Dolls from Itty-Bitty Toys, I encountered something called the spiderweb stitch.

First of all, there is an awesome diagram in the beginning of the book that explains the spiderweb stitch so intuitively that you will literally look at the photo and be able to start it ten seconds later. (No exaggeration). I highly recommend the patterns in this book, based off my experience with the Russian Nesting Dolls. Amazing. As an added bonus, the book is spiral bound, so you can lay it flat, and use it repeatedly without breaking the spine!

The cheek coloring is the spiderweb stitch....cute, right?

So, here’s a link to a tutorial of the stitch on an amazing blog I found: tutorial

This is an adorable stitch, don’t you think? It looks like a rose or a flower, and I’m trying to figure out when and where I can use it again. I predict the embellishment of some old sweaters or some tiny gifted baby hats in the future!

In terms of embroidery inspiration, I want to add this type of project to my “To Craft” list. Wouldn’t Avon look adorable in embroidered portrait form? Pet Portrait!

Photo by Marysgrandaughter, a seller on Etsy

P.S. I think I can use many of the patterns in the book, Itty-Bitty Toys, to help in my stash-busting efforts, don’t you?


Note: You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

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