Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Return of Cotton-Ease

Lion Brand has listened to us! They are bringing back Cotton-Ease! YAY! I'd heard this rumor on the Craftster forum, and emailed to see what the company had to say about it. Here is their response:

Dear Crystal,

Yes the rumors are true! We will be re-introducing Cotton-Ease in a brand new range of colors in a few months. Stay tuned to the newsletters for an announcement!

With Warm Regards,

Allison Mackie

Lion Brand Yarn Company

Awesome! Thanks, Lion Brand. I hope there is pink!!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Of Delphine, shoes, and evening gowns

If you read this blog, you know I love sweaters. If you know me, you know I love shoes. And if you REALLY know me, you know I secretly love, love, love skirts and dresses.

Delphine and I had a spat. A major one! I'm not sure what made me think I could knit a sweater without a pattern. With major shaping AND cables. And all kinds of intricacies that I don't know whether I can handle. It's not coming along well at all. The shaping isn't making me happy, the sizing is making me want to cry, and I won't even go into the cables. AND I think with my bust, I'll have to figure out how to add short-row shaping to a cabled section! Let alone that I've never done short rows for shaping a sweater at all. I really don't know how they work, or exactly WHAT kind of shaping you are supposed to be doing with the short rows. Wow, I really did not think this through. I don't even know that this style of sweater is going to flatter me. Apparently, I am just a pattern knitter... NOT a designer! It's disappointing, but not surprising. I gain more respect for knitwear designers every time I pick up this darn sweater. I'm not exactly giving up, but I think I'm putting this sweater on hold... again. I guess I need more experience. *sigh* I just don't know what to do about this sweater. I've attempted all these calculations, read all of these articles on shaping... ugh! I'll feel like an absolute failure giving up, so I don't plan on it... but don't expect to see this thing any time soon! :-( I think I'm going to have to work on something else in its stead for now. I need to learn more!

Soo, since Delph annoyed me so... I worked a little on GG, and quite a bit on Sideways Spencer. I didn't have the concentration time I needed this weekend to work on Butterfly.

Here's a *gasp* progress shot of SS. The color is waaaay off. It is not a bright red as it appears in the pictures - it's really a deep, jewel toned red. NOT burgundy, either.

It is turning out very pretty. One thing I found out, though, when I blocked my E-town hat, is that this yarn seems to GROW. So I'm a little worried that this thing will end up too big for me, although it seemed ok in the swatch. I'm not worried that it will turn out too small, since I've read the stitch pattern really stretches.

Now, shoes. As already stated, I love shoes! One thing I always have problems with is finding a great pair of well-fitting shoes. I sometimes wear a 5, sometimes a 5.5, and, very rarely, a 6. It's hard finding cute shoes in a 5 or 5.5, believe me! My roommate happens to wear near my size also, and today she was wearing the cutest pair of shoes she'd just got. I tried them on, and they fit! I NEED them! Well, I don't NEED them, but I do hope to get a pair - they are very nice, dressy, black slides with a heel that isn't TOO high... the exact pair of shoes I've been searching for FOREVER! Here's a pic:

UGH! I love them!

I also love evening gowns. The only reason I ever bother to look at magazines or sites with celebrities is the beautiful gowns. For some reason, I'm usually most attracted to red gowns. Here are some I just adore:

This one is from Loralie.com, and it's called Show Stopper, for obvious reasons.

This one, also from Loralie, is called Passion:

The last dress from Loralie is called Salsa. I LOVE it!

The final beautiful red dress, from Yosa.com (she sells the most fabulous wedding and costume gowns!!), is appropiately named The Red Dress.

I wish it was considered OK to be married in red here. I would definitely be married in this dress!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Deal With Myself

You may or, more likely, may not notice that several projects have been moved to the "Back Burner" on the sidebar, though they've been on the back burner for awhile now, in reality. Today, I was putting away a couple of things in my needle case, and realized it looks like I don't have any straights or circulars, only DPNs. This is because I have so many projects in the works. That's just shameful!

I'm making a deal with myself, and posting it here so that it will be real. That way, maybe, hopefully, I can keep it. For some reason, starting a new project is always so exciting for me, but then I put it down and don't feel like picking it back up. It's getting out of control. I love knitting, and I love having a finished knit, so I don't know why it's so hard for me to keep on just one project!

Anyway, here's the deal:

I cannot cast on for any new projects until I finish at least 3 BIG projects. The only exceptions are: a stockinette/garter stitch project - if I finish my current one, I can start a new one, because I only work on it at times I couldn't work on anything that requires attention, or if Cookie chooses me to test knit her cute cabled sweater thingy, I can drop everything else and work on it... because I really, really love it. :-D

I'm going to focus on: the armwarmers I'm test knitting, Gatsby Girl, Butterfly (but only when I can give it my complete attention, since this knit requires that much of me!), and I am going to give Delphine another shot. If Butterfly frustrates me too much, I can elect to work on the Spencer Jacket in its place, but I'm hoping Butterfly will get easier for me. Knitting lace is a new experience - I'm not used to having to pay attention to EVERY SINGLE STITCH!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I responded to a post of Wendy's, from KnitandTonic, and she replied mentioning how future anthropologists will someday analyze our stuff. And, yeah, it's probably unlikely that my knitting or anything else I've made will be around for that long, but let's suppose somehow something like that is found. How will they see this refreshing tide of craftiness that has swept over our country? As a rebellion against a society made up of people who do nothing but work and sit in front of TVs and computers all day, against a time when hobbies have been lost (and not entirely due to disinterest, although that is a big part of it - some people I know are simply too tired at the end of the day for their hobbies, and even for their families, which I find heartbreaking... I hope that is never me), against a materialistic society where everything is easy and cheap, but disposable and somewhat meaningless? That's never been a conscious reason for my crafting; it's really just been something to keep me from being bored and it's something I really enjoy doing, but IS that the reason, perhaps, that crafts of all kinds seem to be rather popular now? ARE we tired of our disposable, bored society? Are we tired of working all the time to have "the best," but never having the time or energy to enjoy the things we earn? How long will it last? How long can it last?

Sorry for the lack of pictures in these posts. All I've got are wips that pretty much look the same from day to day. Kinda boring, I think. But maybe more exciting than a post with no picture at all?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I said I wasn't going to....

But I cast on for another hat! I SHOULD be working on the GG, and the only reason I'm not is that I saw another hat pattern I loved! But after this one, I'm going back to GG... even Odessa will have to wait, although I'm itching to work with that dreamy Cashsoft!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lion Brand and Cotton-Ease

I know this will probably make anyone reading this gasp, but I actually rather like Lion Brand's yarn. Blah, blah, blah, it's cheap and it's not an animal fiber. Blah, blah, blah, it's gaudy/scratchy/whatever.

No offense to the self-proclaimed yarn snobs (or anyone else, for that matter) - you guys taught me that certain things are worth spending more for - like superwash wool and alpaca, and good customer service with knowledgeable, helpful people at a real yarn store... and I am very appreciative... especially since some of those things I would probably not have thought of myself. Yall have me DYING to get my hands on some silk, angora, and cashmere! And after being convinced to try wool, I would now always rather knit with wool than acrylics, myself... I just love the feel of wool in my hands! BUT I don't think it makes me less of a knitter to use other, cheaper things whenever I feel like it. I don't even need an excuse for doing it, and no one should feel like they have to add in how they used acrylic because " I know so and so won't handwash it" or something along those lines. I used an acrylic yarn to knit a scarf for my mom, and I worked very hard on it, and she loved it. She didn't care that it wasn't made of some super special fiber. And it's not like I don't care enough about my mom to use the best for her. She deserves cashmere! And I don't really think it's fair to make knitters feel that their works aren't as special because they used *insert name of random cheapo yarn here.* Not that I have noticed this too often, but I have seen the occasional snub... even if it's unintentional. They probably worked just as hard on that FO, and ya know, yes you can find natural fibers for cheap, but knitting is an expensive hobby, and not everyone has it in his/her budget to buy even the cheaper wools. And when so and so posts about something she/he made, and receives a comment about oh, that's so cute... *insert something derogatory about acrylic here,* I'm sure it lowers the satisfaction of having made something, and devalues it. And most of the people using those cheap yarns either
1) are new knitters who don't know any better, and making them feel snobbed is not going to encourage them to keep knitting
2) don't have easy access to better yarns, or don't have the budget for them (do we really want to make people feel bad about that?)

Anyway, back to the point, and as I said before, I had no one in mind writing this, and if you only knit with natural fibers, that's fine and understandable, but just please don't alienate others or act like you are better than they, because they use acrylics. You can even talk about why you love your natural fibers so much, just don't be all like "OMG, I can't believe you use acrylic! UGH!!" Even if you're thinking it, you don't have to say it. There are better ways to introduce someone to the wonders of wool!

As far as LB yarn goes, I like that it's cheap, and I like that most of it is machine washable. I like that I can get Lion Brand yarn even in a tiny town that has only a Walmart, no craft store for about 50 miles, and no yarn store for well over 100. Although even our selection of Lion Brand and Red Heart is extremely limited, and I wish so much that I had easy access to other yarns. Now, I will agree that it's unlikely for any woman in the world to look good in a sweater knit entirely of Fun Fur. But it's cute when used for a scarf, or as trim for a hat. And I'll bet your 7 year old daughter would feel like a rock star in a little Fun Fur jacket. Also, Homespun DOES fray, so no fringes with it (or at least tie knots at the bottom, and expect them to eventually get fluffy), but it's very nice and soft, although, yes, it splits because it's so loosely spun. And I knit a cardigan with it last year, have even washed it a couple of times, and it still feels soft, looks nice, and keeps me warm. Anyway, the point of this is that I do like Lion Brand's yarns. Although I am in agreement that their Cashmere blend yarn is too costly for the cashmere content.

But this entry isn't really meant to praise the company, or even to make an argument for the use of the "crappy yarns." The point of this entry is actually just to whine.

I recently got my hands on some discontinued Cotton-Ease, and Lion Brand, WHY did you stop making this stuff?! I don't love knitting with cotton, but I've found it works rather well for knit garments in Louisiana, and this Cotton-Ease is nice and soft, and I love it! I mean, I love BSCF and Rowan All Season's Cotton, but Cotton-Ease was more affordable than the Rowan, and more easily attainable than both, especially for me... and it is really a great yarn! I'd say Lion Brand's best yarn. And Lion Cotton or Kitchen Cotton or whatever it's called is no substitute, because knitting with cotton blends is about a thousand times better. I guess I'm being a cotton snob now, haha... I'm a hypocrite. But 100% cotton hurts my hands. And, being serious now, why on earth did they discontinue it? It was before I started knitting, so I never saw it in stores, don't know how well it sold, but due to the fact that it's been discontinued for what, well over a year now, and still has so many fans, it HAD to have done well! Despite having been produced in a rather limited color palette. C'mon Lion Brand, give us back our Cotton-Ease! And in more colors!! You won't regret it!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

FO: Kirsten Dunst Spiderman 2 "Pithy" Hat

I finished the second Kirsten Dunst hat I was making, the Spiderman 2 "Pithy" hat, also from Littleturtleknits. I think it's pretty darn cute! I used the new Paton's SWS, in Natural Geranium. I modified the pattern, by not knitting as long, and doing the decreases a little differently - I did one row of decreases, did the purl row, then did the next row of decreases, worked a couple more rows in pattern, did a final decrease and another row, then closed the stitches as instructed. I thought it might help shape the body to more what I wanted, and it does look pretty good, imo, so I guess it worked. I do think that it looks a little funky from the side and the back... so I'm not completely sure about this hat, either.

This yarn is so nice and soft! It is also sort of "slippery." I will definitely use it again. I would not, however, ever use it for making a sweater/vest/anything of the sort - it fuzzes up way too much. My hat is already very fuzzy. As you will see in the pictures below, it does stripe very nicely. I love the pinks/plum/blonde colorway. I have two balls and a little bit left, which I am going to use for a scarf. I think this yarn would make a beautiful clapotis.

I need to start putting on makeup before I take pictures modeling my fos.

Several pictures below:

Oh! Edited to say that I now really understand how people can be so nervous about working with dpns. Using dpns with this stitch pattern was a _itch, at least for me... if I knit too tightly, the k2tog tbl were almost impossible to do, and if I knit loosely, I was constantly dropping stitches, and even needles a time or two. NOT fun, especially when trying to find where the yarn over was.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tiffany Sweater

How beautiful is this? I don't know how it would look on ME, but I love it. It's simple looking, but elegant.

From: Knitting Fever

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RIP Fur Collared Shrug

"Rip" or "rest in peace," either way you interpret it, this sweater is pretty much gone, for now. I don't think I want to knit the fur collared shrug anymore. I haven't even thought of picking it up in months. I ran across it today straightening up my yarn, and thought, bleh. I still LOVE the color of the yarn, but the project just doesn't inspire me any more. Plus, I am pretty sure I would have had to get more yarn for it, and if I am going to do that, I'd just rather knit something else. I do think this sweater would probably be cuter in pink anyway... I could even go all out and knit the obnoxious fun fur collar in a multicolored pink fun fur, and it might look really cute. Wow, I just got excited about the idea of the shrug again. Maybe I do still love the shrug, and the yarn, just not together. Sometimes it be that way.

The Hyacinth color, I think, once I've ordered more yarn, will either be used for this great jacket in my Phildar catalog, or one of various sweater patterns I've found online. A couple I am considering are:






I've always planned on knitting Forecast, but I never imagined doing it in a yarn this dark, so I don't know. I always saw it in red or yellow. Oh! Or, I could do the cute green cropped jacket from the Art Issue of Knit.1. I could, of course, thumb through all of my magazines to see if there was anything else I'd planned that would look great in this color. I'd thought of just trying to find a stitch pattern I loved, and seeing what I could do with it, but I already have one sweater in the works that is self-designed (sort of) and going nowhere, though I suppose it could be if I actually worked on it for awhile. Yes, I am talking about Delphine and that darned cable that is hindering me from even WANTING to work on it.

These two aren't considerations for the WotA, but I love them so much! I will definitely knit them some time! The first seems like yarn substitions will be hard to find. :-(



I also decided to use my purple sock yarn for the Baudelaire socks, instead of the Pomatomus, since I found a (cheap!) perfect watery colored sock yarn to use for them! I don't have it here yet. I don't think I'm a sock knitter, though. I see all these gorgeous sock patterns, and think about how nice it would be to have some warm, handknit socks for wearing in the dorm (and just about anywhere else - my feet are ALWAYS cold!). I'll go as far as picking out the pattern, picking out the yarn, maybe even getting started... then I end up putting them down and forgetting about them, until the next time my feet are freezing and my store bought socks are doing no good (like now!). So, before this fall/winter ends, I will knit at least ONE pair of socks, to see if it's all it's cracked up to be, and plus because I am still dying to have Pomatomi (ses?)!

I need to get back to Gatsby Girl. I'm thinking of finishing the Spiderman 2 hat first... it is looking lovely, although quite fuzzy. SWS stripes beautifully, and the color, Natural Geranium, a blend of pinks, mauve, and blonde, couldn't possibly be prettier... or more me. But I do hate how fuzzy it is.

Oh! I think I just found the perfect sweater! At least, I think it would look pretty in the Hyacinth color, and it's just beautiful... and I think the gauge would work. I'd love to hear your opinions!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

FO: "Elizabethtown Pithy Hat"

I set aside GG for a more "instant gratification" project - a hat, of course! I love hats, and I particularly loved this hat from the moment I saw it in the movie. The movie wasn't bad, but the hat was awesome! A search brought up a pattern, so I decided to give both this and the Spiderman hat from the same page a try. I went for the Elizabethtown hat first because the other will be in Paton's SWS, and I don't want to frog this yarn much - it's very nice and soft, in beautiful colors, but it's also loose and only one ply - not fun, at least imo, to rip. I didn't know whether I'd like how this hat turned out, since pictures of it completed were hard to come across and most people seem to have modified the hat to be close fitting. I wanted the hat to look as much like the one in the movie as I could; I can knit a "skullcap" with my eyes closed, but this hat needed to be MORE! It needed it be fun, happy, bright, and unique to capture the spirit of the hat in the movie, and I still feel mine falls short of the mark. The shaping isn't right, somehow... but I like it ok. I also feel this style works better on a girl with bangs, which I don't have or plan to get.

I used the pattern from here, and used Swish Superwash in Red Pepper, on size 4 and 8 dpns.

The first two are pictures from the movie for comparsion, followed by two pictures of me in my hat:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

More Gatsby Girl progress

I've finished the back of Gatsby Girl, and while I don't normally bother with progress shots, someone expressed interest in seeing the sweater in the Felted Tweed. So, here are a couple of bad pictures of my progress on this sweater: