Jun 17

I Done Yarn Maths

I started this shawl (pattern: Vlad, yarn: Araucania Ranco) on Thursday and it is just flying off the needles!  Lace is a refreshing change from all of the baby stuff I’ve been doing lately — lots of mindless stockinette and ribbing, but not a lot of challenge — and I’m loving how the pattern is growing.

But I just hit the point where I should be starting the edging and I realized that I had a LOT of yarn left. As in, more than half of my skein. So I wondered if I had enough yarn to add an extra repeat. I know that edgings can take a deceptively large percentage of yarn, so I booted up my handy-dandy spreadsheet and went to town…

[SIDENOTE: I do know that the transistion chart isn’t exactly the same as the first 6 rows of the body chart, but it’s pretty damn close. I can easily drop down that middle stitch and turn it into 2 stitches instead, if I do decide to add an 8th repeat of the body chart.]

I figured out exactly how many stitches were in each row and I estimated that the bind off would be the equivalent of twice as many stitches as the last row (possibly a high estimation, but the absolute last place you want to run out of yarn is DURING the bind off!)  So, the pattern as written has 17,711 stitches and at the end of the transition chart you have completed 11,220 of them. Which is 63% of the yarn.  Okay, I’m definitely going to have a ton of yarn left over.

But, if I add that 8th repeat of the body chart, am I then going to screw myself over and run out of yarn?  HERE COMES MATH TO SAVE THE DAY!  If I add in the 8th repeat, the shawl will then have 20,951 stitches (which means it will take 18% more yarn than as originally written!) and I am still at 11,220 stitches. So that means that I have used 54% of the yarn that I will need to complete the shawl… but when I weigh my yarn I still have 56g left of a 100g skein, which means I’ve only used 44% of it. So Math informs me that I should be just fine to finish this shawl — and that I’ll still have some left over to do a couple of squares for my mitered square patchwork blanky.

Some days I forget just how much of a nerd I am. Some days I remember just fine, thanks.

P.S. Yes, I know it’s been a year and a half since I posted here. I am *so* good at this blogging thing…

Oct 20

Knitting Classes… and more!

We just started our second Knitting 101 class at the shop this past week. I had forgotten how much I enjoy seeing new people get into knitting. It was so much fun. As our friend Anne puts it, we have to “keep spreading the virus”!

The class was an absolute blast. It’s a larger class this time around, so I recruited perian to help, and it was a great success. I can’t wait for Monday to roll around again! I also got to rave about Ravelry as part of the class, which is awesome in all sorts of ways. I think the best part was how enthusiastic everyone was. We provided a 50 gram ball of yarn to start, and one student asked if she knit the whole thing between the first and second class, whether she should tear it all out or if she could get more yarn. Hmm… I sense a challenge! Actually, all the ladies caught on really well, and everyone was laughing all evening, so it was a really fun evening.

Some of our knitterly friends have also been listening to us drop hints about new things happening at the shop. Faking Sanity, which started as hand-dyed yarns and knitting accessories before it was a bookstore/cafe, is returning to its roots. We’re just waiting on our last shipments to arrive, and in the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out our new yarn and knitting section! We’ll have an assortment of sock and lace weight yarns to start, from pretty but basic Araucania Ranco, to luxurious Malabrigo, to yarns with a more modern twist, such as Tofutsies, or Austermann Step, which is infused with aloe and jojoba. And lots more to come, so stay tuned! We’ll also be carrying an assortment of interchangeable circular needle styles, dpns and crochet hooks. The most exciting addition to the needles for me, though, is the cubic circular needle. I just played with a sample one for a bit last night, and I think I might love it!

We’ll be posting an announcement once we launch this, but wanted to give our loyal readers the opportunity to hear it here first!

In somewhat related news, we’ll be starting a Ravelry group for the shop to discuss all things knitterly, so let us know if you would like an invite to the group once it’s up and running.

Jan 21

Finish or Perish

When I packed up all our yarn and knitting stuff to make the move up north, I was amazed at just how many WIPs I actually had. I mean, I’ve never been a monogamous knitter, but I didn’t realize quite how much of a knit-slut I had become!

So my challenge for 2011 is to either finish or frog ALL of my outstanding WIPs. No exceptions. I’m certainly allowed to start new projects, but all those old ones need to be out of the overflowing WIP-bin!

WIP #1: Elizabeth Zimmerman Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket in Cascade Eco — FROGGED

I was absolutely *loving* this knit… back when I knew what size needles it should be on! Silly me, I stole the needle tips for another project and didn’t record anywhere what size they were. I’d rather start all over again than putz around trying to figure it out!  I also had a baby version of this in the WIP-bin, but that one got sewn together and edged and is just waiting to be blocked.

Jul 6

New beginnings

You may have noticed an absence of knitting or knit bloggin on my part of late.

I am still knitting and dyeing yarn, though to be honest, I haven’t done so in the past two weeks at all. What has captured my attention so fully? I am starting a business with a friend, whom you may know as perian (a co-author on this blog). The business will be a used book store/coffee shop, with a knitting group and perhaps a place I can sell my yarn, should i find time to dye more.

We’ve thought about a business in the past, but it was always a “pie in the sky” scenario. In the past two weeks, we went from not even thinking about it, to having discussed nearly all aspects of this business, including funding, marketing, stock, daily operations – you name the topic, we have a list with thoughts about it.

So, being the geeks that we are, we’ve decided to start blogging about the process of planning and starting our new business. Please check us out there if you’re interested in this not-quite-so-crafty side of our lives – the blog is at http://www.faking-sanity.net. Come check us out!

Jun 1

I’m Back!!!

Wow, look at this, I’m posting! It’s been almost a year since my last confession post.  I haven’t exactly been in a knitting mood lately, but I fixed that by going crazy with the frogging.  I ripped out my Green Gables sweater and a Stolen Moments wrap, and then went to town on my Lift and Separate.  This was the pattern that made me want to learn how to knit 4 years ago.  I started it at the beginning of 2007 and haven’t touched it in years, my gauge has changed drastically, and I realized that I wouldn’t wear it anyway. So, I frogged. It felt awesome!

And then I took the yarn and turned it into a lovely little blanket — well, half a blanket so far.  It’s Jared Flood’s Wool Leaves. Yes, I totally have a thing for Jared’s patterns.

I also cast on a little scarf yesterday as a on-the-go project. It’s out of yarn that I stole from mtlaise’s dyepot, a pretty shiny yarn with SeaCell in it. It’s not my normal colours, but it’s knitting up so well in Anne Hanson’s Tudor Grace pattern.

And tonight, I might actually go do the whole knit night thing again…

Aug 14


Surprisingly enough, I have actually been knitting this summer, even if I haven’t been posting about it!  First, there was some garter stitch — not the most fascinating thing to photograph.  Then there was some present knitting — couldn’t talk about it because it was for one of this blog’s co-authors and presumably she reads it, even if she doesn’t post (hint, hint.)  And of course I gave the present to her before taking pictures (or, you know, sewing in the ends!  And she won’t give them back so that I can.  Lose a present that you’re finishing once and they never let you forget it!)  And then there was some baby pressies that are waiting for finishing (have I mentioned lately that I hate finishing?  I’d rather untangle a skein of yarn for someone else than sew together a sweater!)

But!  I did complete something!  (Well, except for sewing in the ends.  But really, they’re socks.  I can just tuck the ends in once I have them on…)

Pattern: Kaylee by Monkey Toes
Yarn: Fireside Superwash Sock in Greens
(dyed by the incomparable SpinKnit, the Fiber Queen)

I’ve been working on them in little tiny spurts for almost a year now and they’ve remained favourites the entire time.  I didn’t even swear at them!

May 1

Shop Update

I’ve had tons of stuff ready to go up on the shop for a while now, but just finally got around to taking pics. Here’s some of it:

Psst, mechanicaldoll!  Were you still interested in a purple and black bracelet?  I was playing around and ended up with this one (not a fabulous picture, but it was the closest I could get to the right colours):

I also have earrings and a watch going up in the next day or too, so stay tuned!

Apr 13

Takes a Lickin’…

Oooh, have to show off my newest chainmail project!  I have some other stuff going up in the shop over the next couple of days, but this was a custom project that’s just waiting on a better clasp:

Apr 13

Koolhaas Krazy

If you’ve been anywhere near me in the last 5 months, you’ll probably be very aware that I have a little hard on for Jared Flood’s Koolhaas pattern.  It started when I knit one for my brother-in-law for Christmas (Cascade Ecological):

And then I made one for me (Sheep Shop Sheep One) and one for a friend (Manos Wool Clasica):

The latest one I had even more fun with, since I also dyed the yarn for it.  I started with some lovely Custom Woolen Mills mulespun worsted and ended up with a pretty damn cool hat, if I do say so myself:

Do you know how hard it is to take pictures of your own head?  Bah!  Though I do love seeing the backgrounds (despite having to delete the ones that make us look like complete and utter slobs.)  For instance, the stack of Munchkin boxes, Joshua Malina as Will Bailey on my computer screen (damn West Wing has sucked me in again), and my collection of geek DVDs (Stargate, Doctor Who, Buffy, Lord of the Rings, etc.)

Mar 2

Admitting Defeat Can Be Good For the Soul (and the Knitting Mojo)

I have finally regained my knitting mojo!  Apparently, all I needed to do was finally give up on all the stuff that I had promised to people for Christmas.  I couldn’t bring myself to knit another round on a sock (and I had three pairs on the go for Christmas pressies!) but I felt guilty if I knitted on anything else, since I “should” have been working on the socks.  But I finally decided yesterday just to buy replacement presents and I was instantly in the knitting mood again!

I’ve started a new project (it’s a secret so I can’t show pictures) and I’m loving it to little tiny pieces.  Much as I love sock and lace yarn, it is fabulous to be knitting with worsted weight again.  You can see progress!  I now have this urge to knit myself a nice warm blankey out of Cascade Ecological (besides the one I already have that looks like a giant amoeba because I don’t have the space to block it. Hemlock Blanket, I still love you!) but I don’t know where I can get it around here.  I picked up the stuff I have in the stash when we were in Vancouver.

Speaking of yarn shopping… there is the possibility of a yarn crawl happening this Saturday.  Not that I’ll be buying any (still broke) but it’s so fun to look!

In other crafty news, I received a new shipment of chainmail supplies today.  I made mtlaise a copper bracelet that I just adore, so it’ll definitely be replicated for the store.

Feb 23

Oh my god, you people rock!  We’ve had the best Etsy grand opening ever, way beyond our expectations!  All day at work I was checking the shop, watching more stuff sell, and getting bouncier and bouncier (my staff already knew I was batshit insane, so it’s okay.)

Expect another update in the next week or so.

Feb 22

I finished a fiber-related project!  I haven’t really been in the mood to knit or crochet lately (probably because I have a backlog of Christmas presents on the needles and the guilt is making me procrastinate) but mtlaise dyed up this tiny skein of yarn a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t resist doing some Tunisian crochet with it.  The speed of crochet, the suppleness of knitting, and the look of weaving…

Ta da!  Easy peasy iPod cover.  The seam on this one isn’t perfect, so it’s for me, but I thought I might do up some for the store.  Dunno if anyone would be interested.

I also had to share my super-duper photo setup I had going this afternoon, trying to get decent pictures of my chainmail bracelets:

Excuse the blurriness, I had to take it with my old, icky camera.  That is a bracelet on a Irish Cream bottle (not empty!) on a Doctor Who book, up against a footstool, all on top of a computer table.  It prompted a discussion on just how big of a lush I will have to become to have a liquor bottle big enough for a necklace shot.

Feb 2

New craft!

While mtlaise has been teasing you all with the dyeing she’s doing for her half of our upcoming etsy shop, I’ve been waiting impatiently for the supplies so I could start working on my half.  They arrived today while I was napping (came home sick from work but, as always, drugging myself to the gills and napping for a few hours made me feel relatively better) so I thought I’d give you a bit of a preview:

Chainmail! I’ve been wanting to try making chainmail jewellery for years and years, since back when I was making wire jewellery, but I just never got my ass in gear and bought some rings. Now that I’ve started, I just want more!

Jan 9

Hippo Birdie to Ewe!

It was my birfdey a couple of days ago and the wondrous Doug made me one of his spectacular cakes:

With added fat!

For those of you who aren’t Doctor Who nerds (and why not?!?) I won’t even try to explain what this is. Just accept that it’s totally cool. *grin*

Dec 14

[insert cute title here]

It may seem that mtlaise is the only one still alive around here (9 of the last 10 posts!) but it’s not true, really.  I just have to admit that all of my knitting for the last million years has been gift-y.  Specifically, gifts for the other authors of this blog, so I haven’t wanted to post pictures or really talk about them (though they all know what they’re getting and also that they definitely won’t be getting them for Christmas!)

But last night I actually cast on something that I can talk about!  I’ve been completely stumped for a Christmas pressie for my newest brother-in-law because I’m completely broke this year.  So I was thinking, what can I make for an architect whose idea of a good time is spending an entire day out in the snow and cold?  Silly!  Of course he’d love a Koolhaas Hat!  I had 100g of Cascade Ecological Wool left over from my Hemlock Ring Blanket (which I really need to find space to block some day.  There is just no place big enough in our apartment!) in a dark brown and it’s knitting up like a dream.  Pictures to come when I’m at home.

‘Cause I’m not at home right now.  Guess where I am?  I’m working at M1 today (mtlaise and I are splitting the weekend between us) so if you’re in Calgary and feel like braving the snow and cold and stupid drivers, come visit!

Oct 1

Knitting and spinning and cooking… oh my!

I posted that post and then realized that I had more to say!  Because not only have I been knitting, I’ve been spinning.  Long, long ago I spun up some gorgeous red fiber on my drop spindle and I actually put it to good use:

Hand Spun Mitts

They’re uber short (and used every last inch of yarn!) but I’m so proud of them.  My very first project out of my own handspun!  Since then Sherry, one of the lovely ladies who hangs out at  M1, lent me an Ashford Joy wheel and I’ve been thoroughly drafted (sorry, one must pun when one can) to the spinning side.  I’ve tried a few different fibers, though the only one I thought to take a picture of was this one:

Tricolour Browns 1

It’s a 3-ply using the fiber that came in the Louet kit with my drop spindle.  There are a few icky spots but all-in-all it turned out faboo.  I decided that the colour just wasn’t me, but Mike liked it so it was immediately gifted.

In completely non-fiber-related news, I cooked last night!

Ham & Kidney Bean Soup

I don’t cook.  Unless you consider making Kraft Dinner cooking.  But this?  This is homemade Ham & Kidney Bean soup.  It was yummy and has made me want to cook more often.  Unfortunately, I have no ideas.  I look through cookbooks and nothing seems all that appealing.  Anyone have any good recipes for me?  Or, y’know, want the recipe for this?

Oct 1

Long time, no…

hank goodness for my blogging buddies or it would have been mightly quiet around here for the past few months!  Life has been good, if extremely busy.  But I have accomplished some knitting:

Limbo Socks 6

Name: Limbo Socks
Pattern: Basic toe-up sock
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock
Notes: I saw AnnaRose working on a pair of these (obviously based on the Noro Striped Scarf) and I couldn’t resist making a pair for myself.  Sock #1 was knit entirely while waiting to hear if I got my dream job and Sock #2 was knit while working my ass off at said job.  Not surprisingly, I was a little less tense while knitting Sock #2, so it’s about half an inch too long.  I may just have to rip back the toe and reknit it.

Edgewater Socks 4

Name: River’s Edge
Pattern: Basic toe-up sock, using the Rushing Rivulet stitch pattern from
Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Edgewater

Lynda's Mitts 2Lynda's Mitts 3

Name: Lynda’s Opera Gloves (aka OMG THOSE ARE SO VERY VERY PINK!)
Pattern: Marquise Gauntlets by Sarah Bales
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk in Guava
Notes: You wouldn’t believe how much I bitched about the colour of these while I was knitting them (I must confess that I hate pink with a passion), but I ended up loving the end product.  They are just sooooo my sister.  And I have enough yarn left over to make Aylii a pair for Christmas.

So much for finished objects.  On the needles I’ve got a whole bunch of projects in stockinette hell, two lace projects that are moving slower than a glacier, and these socks:

Kaylee Socks 1

which I love with an unholy (but not un-holey) glee.  I’m using yarn hand-dyed by the wonderous Spinknit, the Fiber Queen and the pattern is Kaylee by MommaMonkey.  I’ve been waiting for months for the pattern to be available again and I am loving it so, so much!

And last, but not least, I participated in my very first sock swap!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the socks I knit for TangledArts, but I have a picture of the lovely, smooshy, warm sock that Sandra made for me:

Socks from Sandra 3

Aren’t they great?

Jul 10

The Train Has Left Limbo Station…

…and is quickly gathering speed! I got offered the job yesterday, signed paperwork this morning, and start on Monday. Between now and then I need to buy a car and get my wardrobe back to dress code standards. And, of course, knit.

The Limbo Socks have been saved, I think. I ripped the ribbed cuff out on Monday and did a picot edge cuff instead and I like it a hell of a lot better. I might even start on the second sock sometime soonish. *grin*

Jul 6

Waiting Waiting Waiting

I’ve been cursing the socks I’m working on — they’re boring, I hate the yarn, I broke a needle (a circular!) on them, etc — and just finally figured out why I’m so grumpy with them. They are the waiting socks. I have spent the last week and a half (truthfully, two months, but we won’t get into that!) waiting impatiently to hear back about my dream job. I’ve tried to keep myself distracted. In fact, I “earned” the yarn for the waiting socks helping Sandra out at Fiber Week last weekend, which was really just a good excuse to *not* sit around the house worrying.

Now that I’ve figured out why they’re annoying me so much? They have been dubbed the Limbo Socks, and I believe their fate may hang entirely on whether I get this job or not. If I do, I’ll probably end up happy with them. If not, they may just become a store sample at M1!

Waiting Sock 01 Waiting Sock 02

There has been some happier knitting happening around here. In fact, I have something I’m very, very proud of that I need to show off, but I can’t get a decent picture at the moment. Tomorrow, I promise!

I’ve also given in to certain people and have started designing a sock. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it to the point where I’m willing to put it up for other people, but I’m enjoying it greatly! I’m going to hug it and squeeze it and call it George Neville.

Jun 23

The Good, the Bad, and the Pretty

The Good: I finally got the call I’ve been waiting for regarding my dream job and will be having “coffee” (aka a casual interview) with my potential boss on Weds. I firmly believe that this only happened when I finally gave up on it and started seriously looking for other jobs.

The Bad: One of the dork squad has left us to fly all the way across the country (or what seems like it to us Westerners, at least) to go live in the wilds of Sudbury. Hopefully you guys have noticed that this is a community blog — there are seven of us, though two have never actually posted yet! Ralae is one of the original three of us who came up with the idea and as I write she is sitting at the airport waiting for her flight. I’m going to miss her more than I can say, since she’s the one who keeps me sane, but this is one friendship that will totally survive the long distance. (Look at this terrible picture of us while I go have a bit of a cry.)

Liz & Me

The Pretty: To keep my mind off the bad, I’ve been busily working away on a couple of projects. First are my Urban Jungle socks (dyed by Sandra and Amy at M1 and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.)

Urban Jungle Socks #2

And tonight I started spinning again. My technique is terrible and my yarn is hilarious, but two things make up for that. One is the absolutely scrumptious colourway, Coleus ‘Red Velvet’, by the lovely Spinknit (my picture doesn’t do it justice, trust me!) and the other is the fun I’m having doing it. I could get into this spinning thing…

Spinning #1

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