a bit of yoke stranded love

Lately I’ve had a “thing” with adding sleeves to patterns that would otherwise just be vests. Someday I would love to knit myself a vest, and have thought about it a few times. But I’m not sure if they would look good on me or not. When I first saw the shalom pattern I thought “oooo, this would rock with sleeves.” I finished it, still have to take pictures of it and blog about it. I did add sleeves and it does rock a bit. Now when I saw Lolly’s Létt-Lopi Vest I knew it would be perfect pattern for the blue Berroco Peruvia that Mike got me for Christmas. I would have to pick up a few contrast colors, and that means a trip to the yarn shop. (yay!)


When I looked at the pattern for the vest, I thought I would wear it more often if it had sleeves. I cast on for the body and knit away, halfway through I realized, duh, that I would have to cast on the sleeves and attach them to the yoke where it says to cast on so many stitches for the sleeves. Duh! For some reason I was thinking that I would add the sleeves after I knit the yoke. Um, yeah. I know it doesn’t work like that. So I cast on 30sts worked 5 rows of seed stitch to match the hem. I increased 2 stitches every 10 rows until I had 48 sts. Then ended up knitting 6 rows before stopping, my finished sleeves measured 19″. I added the sleeves to the body where in the pattern is says to cast on for them. I put 10 sts on each side on hold for the underarms. I wanted my sleeves to be a bit fitted. I didn’t want them to be baggy but I do want to be able to wear a long sleeve shirt under it for extra warmth.

FO: not so much a vest

I don’t think I have a particularly long torso, I’m a little on the short side on a good day I’m a full 5’3″ tall. I added 1.3” to the body. Making my finished body measurement 13.5″. I wanted my sweater to fall a little bit below my jeans, just above the back pockets. Anyway one of the best things about this type of sweater is that the best part is the last. Motivating you to finish up the sea of stockinette to get to that good stuff… the color-work.
FO: not so much a vest

I knit 4 rows before starting the fair-isle pattern, I can’t remember if the pattern said to do that or not… I used many safety pins to mark out the repeats because I have an inability to count at times, it made it easier to see a mistake. I thought of this after I tinked back a row a few too many times. Also, I used 4 colors instead of the 3. Cause I just liked it better! And I used this calculator for the decrease just before the neckband. Also, I kinda forgot and only left out row 40. Which made the yoke a little bit taller. Oops, oh well. The yoke fits fine, and only occasionally hits my neck. But its ok when it does, read: it doesn’t bother me enough to rip it out. I do wish I had added some short rows to the back of the neck before binding off. Oh, well. Next time.

FO: not so much a vest

I absolutely love how this sweater came out, its perfect. Fits me wonderfully, and makes me feel like a million bucks when I’m wearing it. This is my first sweater for nakniswemodo. And I couldn’t be happer with how it turned out.
the dets:
pattern: Lett-Lopi Vest by Védís Jónsdóttir PDF!
size: small (32″)
needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm and US 8 / 5.0 mm
yarn: Berroco Peruvia
MC- 3.58 skeins in color 4145 (blue heather with bits of green)
CC1- 0.44 skeins in color 7124 (white)
CC2- 0.32 skeins in color 7125 (green)
CC3- 0.28 skeins in color 7152 (brown)
Started February 6 and completed February 15 2009
raveled here. (All my notes all there, maybe even a bit easier to read.)
a note on the yarn: this was a wonderfully wooly yarn to knit with. It’s a tad bit hairy and something that I can only see using for sweaters or the like. I think it would drive me mad if it was anything else because of the little hairs that wiggle free. In the 7 skeins that I wound and used there was only 1 knot. It was more of a join, almost like a Russian join. And after wearing it four times it started to pill, I had a feeling that it would. Chanting it won’t pill didn’t work either.  The the piling is minimal, but is happening. With that said I would totally use this yarn again, in fact I can’t bring myself to return the 2 unused skeins. I think a vest would be nice, a nice stripy vest. Maybe I’ll add solid colored sleeves…

It’s totally normal to love a sweater this much, right? *sigh*


Wrapping up

I want to thank all of you guys who commented on my last two posts, I found lots of new to me blogs and look forward to checking out. Thanks for taking the time to comment. And I hope that you come back! This post is going to be quick, I hope to post later on my spiffy new sweater. I’m exceptionally pleased with it.  I made the mistake of taking a nap yesterday afternoon because I was so worn out. And because of it I had a really hard time falling asleep last night!
To Wrap up the blog contest using the random number generator (gotta love how easy that thing is)

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-02-25 15:12:14 UTC

Melanie that’s you! Congrats, look for my email in your inbox.

Just a quick FO to share, last month my mother in law called me out of the blue and asked me if I could knit her 2 keyhole scarves like the one that I made her for Christmas. She thought the nurse at her Dr’s office would like one, and maybe one of my mil’s friends would like one to. *grumble* I said yes, because really how could I not? Really! Now I don’t know if this is just me, cause I do have a tendency to be odd. But I went through my entire stash. There was nothing that I wanted to use. Everything that I thought maybe would work I wanted to keep for myself! Yes, selfish, I can do that. When I buy a yarn its either because 1. think it would be great for blank or 2. I love it and thinks its pretty.
Yesterday I finished my green tweed sweater, now I’m just waiting for my mailman to deliver my buttons (they are coming today! Is it 3 yet?! Is it? IS IT! Mr. Mailman where are you?!) I knew I had to start those damn scarves since I’m starting to feel guilty about it. I found some yarn in my stash that I love, don’t want to give away, but it inspired me. I can’t seem to finish things that I don’t feel the yarn is working.
FO Keyhole scarf
Using US 11’s I cast on 24 sts and knit for 22ish inches. For the keyhole I k10, BO 4, k10 on the next row I k10, cast on 4, k10 then I knit for 6 more inches before binding off in pattern. Took approx. 90 yards of bulky yarn.
The ends still need to be wove in, and it needs blocked. And I still have to make the other one. *grumble*

one big fibery hug

It’s hard to find the words to type up this post, (don’t worry its a good thing,) because of all the love, care and time that went into this project. Its something that I’ve had under wraps for a little over a year, and I want to share our story of shawl/blanket for Cathy. Let’s start at the beginning shall we? It sounds like the easiest place to start, even though its a little blurry on how this all began.

WIP: Cathy's hug

Way back in December of 2008 I read a post on a good blog buddy Cathy’s blog and I cried, you should also know that I cry during Christmas movies, hearing the National Anthem, most ceremonies,  and today while listening to the song “this little light inside” with Allysa, yes you could say I’m a very mushy person. Anyway. I still can’t read it without tearing up, I thought of how she was feeling, how scared she had to be. I knew that she has a great family that supports her, and wonderful friends too. I thought that someone as wonderful and caring as her deserves a hand-knit hug, I felt that I could help where I was needed. Remember the blanket for Jenn? She came up with that idea to comfort her friend in her time of need.  The first week after reading that post I had so many idea’s floating around in my head, I wanted to do something different. Mostly because crochet isn’t something I’m good at, and I was *really* burnt out on squares at that point. I thought about knitting her a shawl by myself. But I kicked that idea out. Why? Even thought it would be meaningful and bring hope to her it wouldn’t be as special as one that was made by many hands. I had the idea of contacting all the people who made the squares for Jenn’s blanket and asking them what they thought about a traveling shawl for Cathy.

WIP: Cathy's hug

The response from them was overwhelming, 24 people said they where in . I didn’t expect so many people to say, ok count me in.  At that point I came up with” The Big Idea”  I remembered the yarn aboard swap. We used that idea, but changing it. I told everyone  I would start knitting the shawl, then send it on to the next person who would knit a bit on the shawl using blue merino wool of their choosing. Then that person would send it on to the next person on the list. And so on. The number of rows each knitter would knit would depend on how many of us sign up. We talked about the feather and fan comfort shawl but threw that out because we had a few beginner knitters. Browsing through Ravelery I found this shawl.  I loved the idea of  writing on strips of ribbon, which we would all attach to our finished part of the shawl, helping identify who knit which portion. Then I came up with the idea, based on a gauge swatch which lied like a dirty dog (ok maybe it was user error, I think I measured it wrong :p) , to use the knitpicks option’s US 8 (5mm) on a 60″ cord and cast on 165 sts and each of us would knit 16 rows each before mailing it to the next person.  After I started the cast on, it didn’t look like enough so I increased it (a lot) to 220 sts. After I finished my first portion I packed up a little kit of ribbons, the knitpicks needles (when the shawl traveled the caps where on the cables), and the special pen and mailed it off to its first stop in Canada.

FO: Cathy's hug

While I was waiting in line I had a brilliant (ha) idea to cast on the other half of the shawl and to mail it to the US knitters so it wouldn’t’ take so long to get this finished. I would just graft the stitches together, it would be all easy peasy. So I ordered more needles from knitpicks and cast on for the other half, my mom knit a portion while she was visiting before I mailed it off to the next knitter in line. Its very impressive how many stops this shawl made, I’m a little jealous of all the traveling it got to to. The first half made 4 stops across Canada, first to Leslee in Ottowa , then to Cindy in Ontario, Dorthy in Ontario, Michelle and Lois in British Columbia. While the first half was traveling in Canada the second half started out with Kimberly’s portion knit by me since she lives in Germany. She used her machine to embroider her message onto her ribbon and I added it to her part. Then when my mom was done with her part I mailed it off to Karen G. in CT, who mailed it to Kelly in CT, then to Kimberly RI, Cheryl in MA, Karen F. in MA, Karen V in MA. (it really amused me that there where so many Karen’s,!) Julie in MA, Bethe in MA, Lynne in NY, Amy in IL and to Cindy H. in MO who mailed the 2nd half back to me. Somewhere in there the 1st half was done in Canada and Michelle & Lois mailed it to Christine in AZ who mailed it to Carrie AZ, June in AZ, then back to me to knit Janine’s portion. She lives in the UK on the island Guernsey. Janine sent me some lovely handspun to knit her portion with. After I was done with Janine’s portion Kristianne in CA was ready for it and she mailed it back to me when she was done. Not only is that a lot of linkage, but its a lot of miles too. Now that the package has been delivered to Cathy I can say this: The post office didn’t lose it. The shawl didn’t get lost in Canada, customs didn’t’ lose it, it made 20 stops and didn’t get lost. (Watch this, I’ll lose a package now!) Which is amazing, I know USPS doesn’t get a whole lotta credit, but this time they earned it.

FO: Cathy's hug

I bet your all wondering how that big graft went. Well, the first time I did it, it didn’t come out to well. I think its because I’m so used to grafting stockinette that after a few stitches I went from grafting in garter (the stitch pattern) to grafting in stockinette. And of course that looked all wonky. I ripped that out and started over paying closer attention to what I was doing. Halfway though I thought “damn, I shoulda called Guinness!” Grafting 220 stitches together takes a bit of time but it wasn’t horrible. It was nice to sit at the table and work and just listen to the radio for an hour. The end product is amazing in its simplicity.

FO: Cathy's hug, the graft

It’s amazing how I can find so many word to describe something so simple. In the simplicity of this project there is so much love, so many prayers, good feelings and hope. Cathy, we hope that this shawl/blanket brings you comfort. I can’t tell you how happy that I am to hear that your doing well, that your big surgeries are behind you and that your on the mend enjoying life, . I hope that our big fibery hug brings you comfort. ((hugs))

FO: Cathy's hug

PS. If I got anyone’s linky wrong, pretty please let me know. It was a lot of linkies! Please take the time to go visit everyone, they are a bunch of wonderful woman who delt with my crazy way of organizing things. I could have been a better moderator and I would like to extend my gratitude to these lovely ladies for all their help, their time and their talents. Thanks for helping me pull off this wonderful project.
FO: Cathy's hug
PPS. Yes, Tracy dryer lint. (You so crack me up grl!)
PPS. I started something new.
PPPS contest is still open 🙂

l o v e

I realized earlier this week, while driving my kids to school non the less (don’t worry I am getting to something really good, not just for me but maybe for you too), that I have been knitting for 6 years. (I think, it might be 5 but I’m really not sure.) I can’t believe that its been 6 years already. S I X years. My love for knitting is so much stronger now than it was back then. *So* much stronger. And I think I have all of you and blogging to thank for that. Really, I think that if it wasn’t for blogging my triumph’s and my well, disasters (oh that horrible sweater.) Reading about other people’s projects, yarn purchases and such I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now. I really feel like I’m getting this whole knitting thing.
Oh! And another thing that I recently realized too is that I’ve been blogging for 3 years. It all started on a crappy AOL blog that is now lost in the interwebs, then I moved to blogspirit, before I landed here at wordpress (I ❤ you wordpress. I don’ think I’ll move again!) And that got me thinking, its been a really loooong time since I’ve had a contest. I think the last one was when we picked Kailey’s name over 2 years ago. I kept thinking oh, when my blogoversary comes around I’ll have a contest, then September would roll on by and I would forget and remember in June. oh, when my knitting-versary would be a good time for a contest, well that was a month or more ago…. I was going to have a contest pool for when we would take down that damn tree. (Which has thankfully been down since the last day in Jan. *twitch* After that year that it stayed up for well the whole year I can’t seem to take it for very long) but unfortunately the pool sounded like a bit to much work right now. Maybe next year. Onto my good thing, ts time for a contest here at chez Mistress Stash Enhancer, You all make me feel so good about my kniting and fibery stuff that you deserve something for sticking around for all these years dealing with my run on sentences and horrible grammar. I’ve made so many good friends though this blog and I’m going to go all old school on ya’ll! Any comments left of this post or later posts by midnight on the 24 of February will be entered to win a nice fibery prize. (Sounds mysterious doesn’t it? Don’t worry I’m not going to send you something that I wouldn’t want to get myself.)

Now I’m all excited! I still have to share all the good stuffs I made for the kids for V-day.
V-day surprise
They wanted stupid sock creatures so badly for Christmas, but there was no time to make them. I thought they would be a super sweet Valentine’s present. I have to say I’m quite addicted to making them. I heard of a store near me that has wild toe socks. I’m way too excited over that to even begin to explain. Mike was able to come home for Saturday night, stayed through Sunday and left early Monday morning. It was the best Valentine’s present ever just having him home.
I need to send out some thrummed mitten love too since these have been done for awhile, thrumms for Corra
FO: thrummmmmm's for Corra

FO: thrummmmmm's for Corra FO: thrummmmmm's for Corra
My own pattern, I wanted to do a two color corrugated rib cause I think they are really cool. This was my first time knitting one, and I love how the green just pops!  Way more info on my rav project page here, if your not on raverly but want the info please feel free to drop me a line.
and thrums for me:
FO: backyard thrummmmmm's FO: backyard thrummmmmm's
These mittens are a bit of the Yarn Harlot’s, with a dose of Adrian’s thrumming tutorial. The roving is a gift from Cayli, (Thanks so much Cayli!) she sent it to me a few years ago when I first learned how to spindle spin. There is more info on my rav project page. What these mittens lack in dexterity they certainly make up for it in warmth! My hands are nice and toasty while shoveling the driveway and cleaning of the car. Two big fat thumbs up!

Can you believe that 6 years ago, I was knitting oodles and oodles of fun fur scarves? I can’t either, and I’m so happy that I found the good stuff. My how times flies when your having fun!

Warm socks!

January was cold. Really, really, really cold. Granted it’s usually the coldest month outta the year here in Western, Pennsylvania. For some reason this year my fingering weight wool socks where not cutting it. My feet where freezing! Thicker socks where in order. But not socks that are too thick.  I want socks not slippers and it sure would be nice if they could fit into my shoes. I started the first pair on the trip down to Pittsburgh with my parents during their last visit.  I told my mom about Natural Stitches and she wanted to go.
Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever finished a pair of socks in a weekend.
warm socks in a hurry
I started the first sock after we dropped the kids off at the sitters and headed down to Pittsburgh. Finished it by that night, it sure is wonderful when you don’t have to drive! Cast on for the second right after I was done with the first. And finished that one by the next night. What amazed me the most is that I didn’t ignore anything. You know what I mean! I did other things than just knit, not that there is anything wrong with that because well, I do that sometimes…. anyway, Nice socks right? here are the stats:
pattern: My own, vanilla sock recipe. CO 48 sts cause it sounded good. Knit 1.5″ of ribbing. Short row heel, standard toe.
needles: US 3 / 3.25 mm
yarn: 1.47 skeins Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett 6ply (purchased from Natural Stitches)
Started January 17 2009 and completed January 18 2009
notes: I wasn’t worrying about the stripes matching, the oddness of it makes me happy.
raveled. Talk about instant gratification. After that, I casted on for another pair of thick socks.
Flash, Bang, Pool! Socks
These took me a little bit longer. I’m not quite sure why, probably because it was during the week and things have a tendency of getting a little bit hectic around here during the week. Here are the stats:
pattern: My own, with a picot edge. Short row heel, purl row before the toe decreases. Standard toe.
needles: US 4 / 3.5 mm
yarn: 91 yards Autumn House Farm Herdwick Strideaway Sock Yarn
Started January 18 2008 and completed January 22 2008
notes: I don’t seem to have luck getting Harriet’s yarn to stripe on both socks. The same thing happened the last time I used it. One stock striped, the other pooled and flashed and did its own thing. Which I know, the whole striping thing has to do with your gauge and blah blah. But what I don’t get, is even though my gauge is the same on both socks one stripes and the other doesn’t!
Another thing about the yarn, is there was 4 freaking knots in it. F.O.U.R. I don’t ever see a reason why any yarn that is full priced and isn’t marked as a second should have even one knot in it. Its just wrong and frustrating. The yarn also grew when wet (which is ok, wool does that. Some more than others), to get the socks to shrink back I washed them again and threw them in the dryer.
5 days, 2 pairs of nice warm socks is pretty awesome if I do say so myself! Makes me pretty darn proud, its a big accomplishment for me considering I think its a great day when I finish the laundry. (Like that’s ever going to happen.) Now any other mom can tell you how frustrating it is when its freezing out and your child won’t wear the appropriate clothing. Christ, I can tell you of millions of times I would walk around in the winter wearing a t-shirt, going outside with wet hair, never wearing a hat (sorry mom). Kailey, the newly turned 2 year old is asserting her independence and refuses to wear socks. This drives me crazy (I get it now mom, I’m so sorry).  I came across a pair that I made for Allysa a few years ago and decided to see if Kailey would wear them. Damn kid did. She would wear them all day. Even leave them on while she was napping. Fine, I might be able to play this game. She gets a pair of socks.
FO lil warm socks for Kailey
pattern: vanilla socks, I cast on 34 sts (just sounded good. Thought about how many I cased on for my sock and the difference in our feet sizes). Ribbing for 12 rows, short row heel, standard toe.
needles: needles: US 4 / 3.5 mm
time: 3 hours for the pair Started February 2 2009 and completed February 3 2009
notes: She wears them! Well, ok kinda. She will put them on, wear them for awhile and then take them off. *sigh* She’s like her father. And she’s slightly spoiled. Wearing only hand-knit socks is a good kinda spoiled though right?

PS. Just so ya know, I’m not through with my selfish knitting, I started a sweater for me. More on that later. Gotta start dinner, and finish a sleeve.

Another special birthday

First a little background, years ago after I was diagnosed with my platelet thing (essential thrombocytosis. Basically my bone marrow says make lots of platelets and for no good reason. So not all of them are made well and I could either clot or bleed. Its rare, doesn’t run in families, and thankfully for right now doesn’t cause me anymore problems then having to take a mini aspirin a day). And my Dr. wanted to see if I was a bleeder or a clotter by testing for gene variants. Seems like I’m a clotter, which is a bit funny since I have a cousin that is a hemophiliac. I have two gene variants that pre-dispose me to clotting the MTFHR gene variant which Mike call’s the mother f*cker gene hehe, and another one that I have to go digg up my heath records to find out exactly what its called prombo something or other.  Around 6 years ago I had Corra and Bryce tested to see if they had any of the gene variants. I took the kids on separate days and when I took Bryce the tech messed up his test by using the wrong tubes. So he had to have his re-done. Very few things could be more traumatic to a 2 year old then having blood taken again. The hospital gave Bryce a little froggy and a coffee mug (that I kept, and melted in the mirco last month). Well that little froggy has become Bryce’s BFF.

A two weeks ago Bryce comes to me and says “Mommy, Froggy’s birthday is on Tuesday.”
which I respond with “oh, really? What does froggy want for his birthday?” Thinking where the hell does he come up with this stuff?
B- “All he wants is a mommy. Can you make him a mommy frog?”
me- “If we change his Birthday to next week. Because Kailey’s birthday is Monday and I don’t think I’ll have time to make a mommy frog.”
B- “Ok, can we have cake for his party too?”
and that’s how it started. Corra overheard the conversation and said to Bryce “Why doesn’t froggy want a Daddy too?”
B- “Because I’m his Daddy.”
C- “YOUR MARRIED?!” Which we all laughed, and Bryce glared at his older sister. It was comical.
I got Corra’s EZ bake oven down, since I’ve had it squirreled away. A friend of mine had given it to her when she was 6 and I was doing more of the baking than she was. Also it required way more supervision than I wanted to deal with at that time with a new baby. Corra and I baked a two layer birthday cake for froggy. Frosted with a bit of chocolate icing.
EZ bake cake
We devoured the cake after we opened presents. mmmmm, nothing like a tiny little crispy cake that took 30 minuets to be cooked by a light bulb! Bryce wanted froggy to get his mommy first so she could have cake too. The older kids gave froggy lil presents too, Bryce gave him some cars, Allysa a small softy and Corra gave him a littlest pet shop animal. Bryce and Froggy both seem to be enjoying the new addition to the froggy family.
Froggy and his mom
Too make froggy’s mom I used a half a yard of flannel fabric and enlarged the purl bee’s frog pattern 200%. The resulting frog is about a foot long. It was another speical birthday. The next day Bryce comes up to me and says Froggy’s mom had a baby! One of the bean bag frogs that I made last year (and never blogged about)
3 Lentejas Frogs
His imagination has no bounds it seems!

PS I needed to change my header, couldn’t stand looking at the Christmas-y stuff anymore!
PPS Happy Groundhog day! The critter saw his shadow, this “holiday” will always amuse me. I had to explain to the older kids why they have school today, and why today isn’t a “real” holiday. Gesh. And you couldn’t pay me to drive to Punxsy today.