Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I love surprises. LOVE. There's something about a fun surprise that lifts the spirits and I could use a little spirit-lifting at the moment. Could there have been a more perfect time for this...My Secret Pal has struck again! In yesterday's mail I found some yummy candy that Owen immediately claimed as his own (he only got one in the end) and some Mad Caterpillar stitchmarkers. For those of you who would like to purchase some stitchmarkers of your own, I'm terribly sorry that my Secret Pal has already sent me the cutest ones available. Thank you, Secret Pal!
Another surprise this week has been the Jaywalkers. This is attempt number 4/4 and I do believe that I have finally gotten it right. What is surprising about them is how much easier the pattern is when you're finally doing it correctly. Okay, fine. When I'm finally doing it correctly.
The last surprise of the week has to be the Leftovers Wrap that I finished knitting on Monday night. I'm so in love with the colors that I want to marry them. I want to marry them and take pictures of them and put beautiful pictures of them all over the house. Since I'm sure that Bryan will object to this plan of action, I will have to settle with finishing them and putting them on Miss Ailish.

We're getting use out of the last wrap that I made but I think that this time around I want to find some Aplix for the closure instead of using the hook and loop stuff that I found at Wal-Mart. Aplix is just like Velcro but much softer in the hook, which makes it a perfect product for baby items or anything else, for that matter.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In search of the perfect wrap

This week has been the week of the wrap. On Monday I finished the white Encore soaker only to cast on for another soaker style called the wrap. Rather than being more shorts-like, the wrap is, well more wrap-like. These have velcro sewn on, with the softer loop side sewn all the way across the front and a short 1" hook on each side of the back that allows you to customize the fit. These are so quick and easy to make that I finished the wrap on Saturday.

Since I loved the fit of the wrap soaker so much, I cast on for another one! This wrap also is using green Manos Cotton Stria like the white one, but I'm pairing it with another strand of wool yarn and I'm using up some small leftovers that I had lying around. The rust color of the ribbing is leftover from a hat I made for Owen. The small green stripe right above the rust is what remains from Ailish's cardigan. The blue that makes up the main accent color is from a wrap that I made about a year and a half ago.
I pulled the leftover yarn from the aptly named Leftover Yarn Bag in my knitting closet and eyed it closely. I wasn't sure I was going to like the color combinations but I figured, "Whatever. It's going over a diaper so who cares?" As soon as I started knitting I fell in love with how the colors worked together. I pulled Bryan over to admire it and he didn't even have to fake interest! I don't think that it would have worked half as well without the green manos pulling it all together.If you've read my blog for a while you'll remember that I've mentioned a lone skein of Cascade 220 Quatro as being that one skein that represents all hasty yarn purchases. It has sat in my stash for almost 2 years and I've had no idea what to do with it. I have finally wound the Quatro!!! It is going to be another soaker or a wrap, depending on how the mood strikes me. It has the perfect yardage for the project and will be a much used item so it will fulfill it's destiny as a desired knitted object.
Also wound up and sitting in the bull pen are two skeins of hand dyed Cascade 220 that I purchased off of eBay two summers ago. These will become another pair of Baby Bell Bottoms for Miss A. I love how the cotton denim and khaki pairs look on her and she's going to need another size up for the winter. The wool will help keep her nice and warm.

I've really found myself enjoying knitting from my stash. There's something about finding a pattern for a yarn that had been sitting neglected and tucked away that makes me happy. I'm hoping that I can whittle down the stash a little more so that when I get some Christmas money that I can make some wisely thought out and planned additions to it. Or at least something more versatile than a single skein of Quatro.

(Michelle asked me where I found the pattern for the soaker. I found the pattern for the soaker and the wrap on this great website that has about 100 different pattern links, both for free and for sale.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Picture Laden

Princess A has finally grown into some of her hand knits and I'm so pleased every time I put one of them on her! It is now time for the picture parade...

Princess Ailish holds court from her throne (aka: the swing) whilst sporting adorable denim pants. The pattern is the Baby Bell Bottoms from The Blue Blog.

Again we find our fair princess sitting upon her throne, this time wearing a bolero a la Debbie Bliss.

A more recent addition to the wardrobe is this not very fashionable but oh so useful wool soaker knitted up in Encore Worsted in a versatile off-white color. Much to her Mama's pleasure the Encore softened up quite a bit in the wash but she is still searching through the laundry trying to find the i-cord drawstring.

I started a smaller-sized wrap-style soaker in some leftover Manos Cotton Stria. I'm using the yarn doubled to make a nice tight fabric but it is killing my hands.

My SP11 pal sent out her first package and it has been received! Included in the package was this skein of Tofuties sock yarn in a colorway of beautiful pink, green, blue and purple. I can't wait to see how this knits up! Also she was kind enough to include some bubbles for Owen, which happens to be one of his most favorite things to do! He found them right away but it was so hot outside that I told him that it would have to wait until tomorrow morning. It is a very difficult thing for a little boy to be patient! My SP also included a square of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate which was absolutely delicious and eaten immediately upon the package being opened. How did you know that Ghirardelli is my favorite?!

Friday, August 17, 2007


When Bryan and I lived in California it was easy to be eco-friendly because it was encouraged by the local and state government as well as the people around you. Since living in Missouri I've found myself slipping away from that type of lifestyle and I have decided to turn that around. We've been diligently and conciously recycling so that now the amount of trash that we take out to the curb each week has been cut down by almost half. It takes a little more work because we have to take our recycling to the center instead of it being picked up at the curb, but I find a lot of pleasure in seeing our recycling bin fill up and then empty out.

I've spent a lot of time researching other ways to help the earth and our pocketbook. Cloth diapering is making a comeback and these aren't our parents' cloth diapers! There are some that are the old fasioned kind and some that are very much like disposables. They come in plain white, solid colors or fun prints. Best of all there are diapers out there that can fit your child from birth until potty training, making them a great investment that if treated well can make it through 2 or more children.

We've purchased a small stash of diapers that should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Mostly we're going to do prefold diapers which are an upgrade from the old fashioned diapers that our parents used and we already have a couple of the more disposable type diapers that we've tried out and liked. We are planning on trying this out for a few months and then re-evaluating. Surprisingly, cloth diapers have an amazing resale value and if they are in good condition they can be sold for just under their original purchase price.

In preparing for these new diapers to arrive I'm going to be knitting up some soakers and longies to go over the prefolds. I was shocked to find out how much some people charge to make custom soakers so I'm definitely going to be making my own. There are a lot of patterns available for free online that allow you to customize the fit and embellishing the finished product is easy!

Tomorrow night I'm going to cast on for my first soaker in some white Encore Worsted that I have in the stash based on the free Curly Purly pattern that I found on Ravelry. These should be a fairly quick knit but I first need to get some accurate measurements of the girly girl so that these will fit.

And now for a few SP11 questions!

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?

I'm assuming that I already have patterns, needles, yarn, scissors, darning needle and tape measure? Beyond those things I'd be so sad if I didn't have a cute knitting bag to put all of my stuff in.

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?

Um, I take knitting with me when we go to church. Not that I knit in church, but there's 20 minutes of prime knitting time on the way to church and back that I don't want to miss out on! I have taken a couple of vacations since I started knitting and socks has been the project of choice especially when air travel is the mode of transportation. Scarves are also nice if they're still short. I like to take a couple of projects along so that in case I get bored with one I can switch over to the other.

3. Where have you travelled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?

Wow, that's really hard to decide! We were really lucky to live in CA because there are so many great places to travel to within the state! Our favorite vacation spot in CA is San Luis Obispo. There's a great place called Apple Farm Inn that we've stayed at 5 times and we love it. I also had a great time in Washington DC and would love to go back again. Outside of the US I thought that the Dominican Republic was beautiful and hope to take Bryan there some day, but we both absolutely fell in love with Romania.

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?

I'm drooling as I flip through the Knitting Vintage Socks book. Mom drools with me.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?

I do! I enjoy Cast On, Craft Lit and Stash & Burn.

Monday, August 13, 2007

SP11 Questionnaire

  1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

It’s probably easier if I just do the *not* list! I do *not* like Lamb’s Pride (any of their yarns), KidSilk Haze or anything fuzzy like that, and sock yarns that have a lot of stretch like Fixation.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have two needle holders. One for straights and one for dpns. I keep my Addi Turbos in their original packaging within a pencil box.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I taught myself to knit in July of 2005. I’d consider myself to be an advanced intermediate knitter.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I don’t. But I’d make one if you really wanted me to!

5. What's your favorite scent?

Fresh Linen scent.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Oh, I’m all about the chocolate!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I like to cross-stitch and most recently took up sewing.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like all kinds of music and love to be exposed to new artists. I can play mp3s and have an iPod.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I love blue, green, purple, red, brown, black and white. I like orange and pink in moderation. I really can’t stand yellow. Bright colors aren’t really my thing, I find myself drawn more towards muted tones and colors that are found in nature.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I am married to Bryan and on 9/16 we’ll be celebrating our 7th anniversary. We have a son, Owen, who will be 4 on 9/10 and he has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our little girl, Ailish, was born May 17th of this year and is our miracle baby! (Her name is pronounce A-lish with the a like in acorn.)

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I adore scarves! Mittens are great but I don’t always like wearing them. Ponchos are a big no.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I love to knit socks and stuff for my kiddos.

13. What are you knitting right now?

I’m knitting a pair of socks and the moss grid handtowel from Mason Dixon Knitting but I’m not liking the handtowel at the moment. I’m also eyeing a cardigan that I want to start.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Yes! I usually work on circulars but like straight needles for some projects. I have a Denise set and the Options set from KnitPicks and most of my dpns are either bamboo or birch.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yes to both!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

There’s a garter stitch blanket that I started on in September of 2005 that I bring out occasionally. It is truly mindless knitting that has it’s time and purpose but I don’t know that I’ll ever really finish it.

I try hard to finish the projects that I start and don’t have too many things on the needles at the same time.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

My birthday, which is 10/16… but next to that would have to be Thanksgiving.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Besides yarn, knitting books and needles? I love to drink tea so I collect tea and beautiful mugs to drink it out of.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I currently have no subscriptions but the Fall IK is tempting me like you wouldn’t believe. In fact, the past 2 or 3 editions I don’t have and I’m coveting them.

For yarn I love hand-dyed yarns that are tone on tone colors or yarns that don’t pool or flash.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I’d like to learn colorwork.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I am! I’ll measure my foot for you once I get my tape measure back from Owen.

23. When is your birthday?

10/16 and I’ll be 28

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

I am! My ID is Brianne.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Yesterday as I was driving home from Branson, the temperature gauge in my car read 109 degrees. That is really hot. Hot enough that it melted the rear view mirror off of the windshield so that it dangled unattractively (and distractingly) from the wire the whole way home.

So why am I contemplating starting a black wool cardigan? (Number 241, for what it's worth.)

Surely I must be crazy! The heat must have knocked a screw loose, or perhaps it is the colicky baby who has reared her very loud vocal chords or the fact that I only have 2 small projects on the needles at the moment. Who can say? But the wool calls to me. "I see top down construction."

You are probably wondering what new project I decided to take with me to Branson? The winner was Jaywalkers, toe-up, two at a time using Regia Silk Color yarn!

I love love love the yarn. It is wonderful to work with and the colors are amazing. Rich and complex. I bought two skeins of colorway 13906 from Simply Fibers and then took two more skeins of the exact same colorway off of Tammy during our swap a few months ago! Thank goodness I did, too, because Simply Fibers no longer carries it!

The pattern is proving to be a challenge, though. Perhaps it is just because I'm working these from the toe up instead of from the cuff down like the pattern was written but my increases and decreases aren't looking like they should. The first time around I wasn't doing the double increase so I kept loosing a stitch on the top of the foot. Now the second time around I consistently have the correct stitch amount but I'm not getting the beautiful ridge detail on the increases and decreases. These are only about 4 rows in to the zig zag stitch pattern so it may be that I just need to be patient and wait for the loveliness to show itself.

On a positive note, I'm no longer hating the Figure 8 Cast On anymore!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I've recently been hired by my parents to help them get their accounting ready for taxes. They pay their taxes in October every year and what with building their house and getting ready to move in on the 25th of this month, things like taxes have fallen by the wayside. I did their basic accounting for the last 3 years that we lived in CA and it looks like I'm back to doing it again!

This works out really well for all of us. I get a little extra money to help out with bills and they get to take packing breaks and play with their grandkids! The only problem is that I'm driving 40 miles to their house and spending a few days there at a time so that I don't have to commute. I leave tomorrow and then come back on Saturday afternoon. There's packing to be done and I don't just mean clothes and toiletries!

The toe up socks are 1.5" away from being done so I'll definitely need to bring another project with me for after the socks have been bound off. I have the Moss Grid Hand Towel that I could bring but that project doesn't make my heart flutter. On Sunday I cast on for a Pinwheel Blanket using 4 skeins of Sweetie Pie that I bought on clearance from Simply Fibers for $2.00/skein but I don't know that this 100% acrylic yarn is doing it for me. It's not so soft when it's knit up and who wants to give that to a baby? In fact, I can't even find a place online where I can show you this yarn. Tammy, I do believe I'll be giving this yarn to you so that you can give it to the lady at work who crochets for charity.

What do I bring with me? I have 10 hours before I leave! Yikes!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What course?

Staying The Course was the title of my last entry. I was very passionate about NOT starting any new projects until both the L&D Socks and the toe up socks were done. That did not last very long, people.

I will justify myself by saying that it was a very small project and that it was an incredibly useful project.

See? That's hardly a project at all! I have hardwood floors and tile covering 60% of my floor space and so I go through a lot of Swiffer Wet Mop disposable cover things. This gets expensive and I hate to think of the extra trash it creates, so think of my excitement when I found this pattern! I figured that for the cost of one skein of cheap kitchen cotton yarn (which I already had in the stash) it would be worth finding out if this would work for my needs or not. It does and I'm happy!

Pattern: Zoom Dust Mop Cover
Yarn: 1 skein Peaches & Cream in a blue color
Needles: Size 7 aluminum monsters
Started: July 27, 2007
Finished: July 28, 2007
Modifications: My Swiffer Wet Mop has one end that is chunkier than the other so I accounted for that.

Lest you think that I forgot the socks altogether, here are the Labor & Delivery Socks that I started just 3 hours before we checked into the hospital to have Ailish.

Pattern: Modified Canada socks by Nancy Bush from Knitting On The Road
Yarn: Trekking XXL, colorway 107
Needles: Size 0 US dpns, Clover
Date Started: May 17, 2007
Date Finished: August 2, 2007
Modifications: It's really difficult to see the stitch pattern that runs down the sides of these socks, but that is the only part of her pattern that I did. (You can see that pattern better in this post.) I did not do the fancy twisted cast on or the colorwork on the cuff.

In a total surprise moment, I was contacted by someone on Ravelry wanting to make a trade for 2 skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed that I had in my stash. She invited me to look at her stash and see if there was anything I might be interested in. Lo and behold the woman has 347 yarns in her stash and it was the most beautiful thing. I gave her a list of things that I would be interested in and let her choose from them. Yesterday we both received our packages and I now am minus 2 skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed but have the new additions of...

Misti Alpaca Lace weight in a beautiful green color. This will probably become Wisp.

And one skein of Cherry Tree Hill Superwash Merino in Slate that will be some sort of fabulous sock.

The trade experience was fun and I'm looking forward to the next one!