Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I'm half way through knitting a sweater for D and I've yet to take a picture of it. But my knitting journal is up to date. Well sort of I started knitting a pair of socks and the yarn is pooling badly. The colorway is basically two colors and they are spitting between the front and back of the sock. I'm trying to figure out how to work around this. No ideas just yet.

I'm knitting swatches of Malabrigo worsted yarn to plan my next sweater for me. I tried knitting it on my standard US 8 needles then tried knitting on US 7 needles to compare the fabrics. I'm going to wash them and block them to see which one I like more.

I really need to convert the needle sizes from US sizing to metric. It is much more precise to think of things in mm instead of US.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Darn it - a sock's tale

I finally decided to take the time to attempt to darn my holey socks, well one of them at least. I remembered reading an article on how to do it on The article is in the summer '08 issue. I remember thinking the instructions were very clear. I assembled my repair kit, including a camera to document my experiment.

Smile for the camera!

Since I did not have a darning egg I used a GE lightbulb. You know they "bring good things to light", and I figured I would need all the help I could get. Yeah, I know that slogan is old so are my light bulbs.

I ran a set of yarn lines across the affected area. After having done this once I would now make those lines closer together. But after I try this on the next sock I may change my mind back to this set up, who knows.

I then ran another set of yarn lines perpendicular to the first set. See how the area closer to the back of the sock is fairly well filled in, but you can still see the lightbulb on the side closer to my thumb?

I switched back and forth running the yarn lines, trying to weave opposite to what I had done before. I got a little distracted by the show I was watching so I may have done one more pass in both directions than I really needed to. Again I'm not sure, only experience will tell me more. I figured it wore out once if I made it too thin it would be more likely to wear out again.

This is the inside of the sock. See how it puckers? I don't think it should be like that. I think I pulled too hard and pulled the fabric in.

It is even puckered on the foot as well.

The fabric looks and feels totally different than the knit fabric. The sock is off to the wash now so we will see if it really is darned. I worry that the puckered area will be uncomfortable under my foot.

So what did I learn? Run the lines closer together and don't pull the work too tightly. It took less yarn and time than I thought it would to repair the damage. I think it took about 3 feet of yarn and around 20-25 minutes. Not bad to get a sock back in the rotation, definitely less time than it took to knit them.

I still need to learn how to duplicate stitch so I can repair before the hole appears.

Oh and FYI I've been looking into what we will call here "bacteria bread" (see my last post).
Sounds like there are a couple of different/basic recipes on the internet. I think each author put out their method's basic recipe. I found one or two on YouTube also. Just look up no knead bread. I think I'm going to give it a try one of the weekends instead of my regular bread, or maybe in addition to my regular bread, since D eats bread like it is going out of style. I might help him with it too. I will keep you posted as to how it turns out or if I chicken out.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

As we were walking into church today I was flooded with a memory from my childhood.

I grew up in a small farming town in rural South Dakota. We did not have much in the way of exotic things. The coolest car in town was a Trans Am complete with the eagle on the hood and T top. You know like the Smokey and the Bandit car. The most exotic place I could dream of living was Texas. It was as far as my imagination would take me. Granted it was pretty different from South Dakota, at least in my mind it was.

I can remember one year for Palm Sunday the children received a palm leaf frond. Not the whole leaf like we received today, but one single frond from the leaf.

Yeah our Church did not have a lot of money. I think, I thought the frond came from Jerusalem. I remember them telling us the reason it is named Palm Sunday. Jesus was welcomed into the gates of Jerusalem by all the people laying palms on the street before him to honor him.

I remember keeping my frond for a long time. I think that was the exotic and mystical thing I owned in my childhood. It alway struck me that you could be welcomed with such honor one week and persecuted and dead the next.

On a happier note I managed to make bread correctly today, Mediterranean Herbed Bread.

I was looking at the book store this week for a new bread book. I had found it the last time I was in and the idea intrigued me, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I like making bread so I decided to buy the book the next time I was in the store. Well I researched it a bit further and it is a slow rise method, or some such name. Basically you mix the dough and leave it for 16 to 18 hours unrefrigerated then you can cook it or store it in the refrigerator and bake up bits as you want. You allow natural bacteria to do the work that kneading does in regular bread dough. The bread is supposed to be more flavorful and convenient for cooking. (Plus you don't need a bread machine to make the dough.)

I've got to be honest I know that there is beneficial bacteria and what not, but it totally grossed me out to think of bread dough sitting on the counter for the day. I know that we lived for hundreds of years with bacteria, and I hate antibacterial soaps. But come on my stomach did a flip. I think this may be the reason I've not yet attempted making sourdough bread.

Now after reading a book I have from the library, it is not a new concept to do bread this way. I'm a bit more intrigued, I may even purchase a book about it. I mean it can not hurt to try new things, I hope. I am interested in making more bread and different breads too.

What do you think experimental bacteria anyone?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have nothing to say. Well I have things to say, my nickname is not "Babbling Brook" without a reason. Just seems like I am continually writing posts in my head that instantly disappear when I sit in this chair.

Sometimes they disappear because I'm lacking the photos that help me tell a story, but most of the time I go through a memory wipe.

Let's see what I can come up with tonight.

Oh for some reason when I am sick I like to cook/bake. It is not just comfort food like chicken soup either. I was sick day a couple of weeks ago and this is what I ended up making.


Four bean beef chili, Cheesy Mustard Pretzel Bread and Chocolate covered Strawberries.

I told you there is no rhyme or reason to my urges. It must be that when I am sick all I want to do is stay home. Staying home in my mind means "homey" so that means good food.

I did learn a lesson, nonstick surface does not apply for chocolate strawberries. You really need to put them on wax paper so you don't ruin a pan trying to pry them off.

I'm really trying to bake more of my own bread these days. I like it and since I like to spend one day of the weekend at home, I tend to get the urge.

I make the dough in my bread machine then bake it in the oven. Gives it a more rustic look. Plus I get to sink my hands into the dough at least once. The other day I made a batch carefully measuring and rechecking that I put in all the ingredients. I ran the dough cycle on the machine and was letting it do the final rise when I walked by where I had put it all in the pan. Fiddlesticks, the packet of yeast was still sitting right there. I tried baking the dough just to see what it would do. Turns into a big hockey puck. One of my friends tried to tell me that I'd made Matzo, but I don't think so. I did make sure the yeast made it into the second batch and that one tasted fine.

Great now I want to make bread! Yep too late for me. I just got to get through one more day then it is on, the oven I mean.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Finally - My Mittens

Here they are, photographed with the help of my man.

I think they are gorgeous if I do say so myself. The funny thing is, I've not been able to really use them. The weather has been quite nice since I finished them. We had a big snow storm three days before I finished them. But since nada, no snow, no reason to wear them. Oh, by the way your welcome Northeast.

The inside of stranded knitting is beautiful too. I can not believe that the reverse of the pattern shows up too. I'm pretty proud that these worked out so well since I had so many issues. Not bad for a first try, or more truthfully many first tries done consecutively.

On another note I was in buying wine the other night and that started me thinking. I go through buying phases, sometimes all I want to do is experiment and try new things, other times all I want are tried and true old favorites. I think I buy yarn the same way I love trying new yarns, but some projects require tried and true. Oh I bought some beautiful Malabrigo for a sweater. So there is my new yarn for a time. I made a hat with it a while ago with a skein, turned out all wrong and I've not reknit it into a more useable item. I hope my sweater will work out. Did I jinx myself by buying the yarn on the warmest day so far?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Getting it done!!

I thought, I'd been talking about my knitting here but I went and looked back through posts and several projects are missing. Turns out I've been busy.

D has 3/4 of a pair of socks. Knit Picks stroll yarn in grass color way. I bought this yarn for another pattern but I offered a choice of yarns to D since he liked his other pair so much. See socks a few photos below. I decided to do the same pattern on both. 2 x 2 rib for 3 inches then a plain sock foot. D mentioned he liked his new socks and I like knitting plain socks so this is win-win for us.

There are things out there in the knitting world called sock clubs. You sign up and the supplier every so often sends you a yarn, pattern and little goodies. Since I found out about these clubs I've wanted to join one. I love getting woolly goodness through the mail. I thought I had talked about the two major reasons I've not signed up for something like this, but I can not find it so I will tell you again. I have a lot of sock yarn to begin with, all colors I've personally picked out and like, what happens if I don't like the color of the yarn they send? The goodies would be cool but by this point I've got the tools that I like to use and in theory would not really use others. Plus I am really cheap I like spending my money on things I know I will like, not things someone else picks out for me. That is really not meant to sound snooty just state that I am the best person to judge what I would like. So other knitters have already found the solution for me. Match patterns and yarn that you already have, package them up together to make your own sock club.

Introducing Yarnkettle's sock club winter season. I paired the Kroy socks yarn in Glencheck colorway with the Retro Rib pattern from Favorite Socks. I just finished the first sock on Saturday and like how it looks. I'm also very happy to find that my local craft stores are stocking the Kroy Socks yarn. I will be buying more of it. It is not the softest but after the sock blow outs I've had recently, I'm more interested in how the yarn will wear. This fabric feels like it can withstand some use, but only time will tell. I always slow down on patterned socks, I think that is why the project (get it done) knitter in me likes plain socks so much.

D's newest pair. We both like the way these came out. The patterning really pops. I still have to take pictures and tell you the story that goes along with this yarn. The story will be called Second Sock Yarn Frustration.

Since I'm showing things off here. This is an interchangeable circular needle set from Knit Picks. I had been waffling back and forth about buying it. I have other needles so I did not "need" these. D's Grandma gives us each checks for Christmas. This gives me a easy way to treat myself to something that would not have made it on to my wish list. Did I mention that I am also cheap for other people too? I waffled till the last day of the sale. I am so happy with the needles, makes knitting so much easier for me. I foresee many a sweater coming off these needles.

My Purple Poems socks took me a long time to finish since I hated working with the yarn. Such a cool gradual color change. But this yarn loves to split so I could not work on it very fast. Took me a month or two to get up the courage to start the second sock. I hate unfinished business like unfinished pairs of socks. Very rarely do I face second sock syndrome. I'm such a product knitter.

We had a photo shoot at the Yarnkettle house today. D had to play photographer since I wanted pictures of the Selbu mittens. I've decided to save pictures of them for another day and give them lead off in a post.

This is the hat my sister requested at Christmas time. Well sort of. This is the before picture to let you know how big it is. Yep, that is me in there. It covers the whole entire head.

This is after felting. Don't I look sort of like a 20's flapper girl? As with many cold weather items I knit this is done just in time for spring! Well maybe she will enjoy it next year.

This pattern left out at least 2 very important details. The first one being that you join the knitting in the beginning and knit in the round. Something I figured out myself and confirmed opinions with the knitting group. Second no where in the directions did it tell me to double strand the yarn. That means to hold two strands of yarn together while you knit to achieve a bulkier fabric. Especially when you felt the project after knitting.

I could have used the yarn she originally picked out in SD. Complete directions are a very nice thing to have. So would you contact the company to tell them? It was a free pattern on the band of the yarn. Is it worth it, would they even change it if they knew? I just don't want to be a big old whiner either.

Here is what it looks like from the top, sort of. I'm still working on how to photograph things so they show to their best.

Anyways I like the hat and will probably make one for myself too. After I do one for my Mom. I wonder if all our heads are the same sizes?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Obtaining Knowledge

I think I am a visual learner first and an auditory learner second. I'm pretty sure because most things I can 'get' by watching others. I usually understand illustrations. I offer proof by way of the fact that at one time my sister's furniture was 99% assembled by me. I was more than happy to do it.

When Hubby and I got married and eventually bought a house there were a few tense moments when he assumed he would put the furniture together. Don't worry we learned to compromise and we work wonderfully together, now. I get to read the directions! On a tangent that I can not explain I will admit to being a horrible navigator. I guess I can not think quick enough to account for automobile movement.

So when I started to knit I did not really have a mentor. (Excuse my anti-social behavior and what not.) I turned to the internet to see what was out there. I found a blog that I was inspired by - The Yarn Harlot. I found the KnittingHelp website and learned some things. I ravaged my library for knitting books. Knitting for Dummies taught me that I was purling wrong. I wrapped the yarn the wrong way. Luckily that was in my everyone gets a chenille scarf stage. All the evidence is hidden by tiny snippets of yarn.

I also had just purchased an Ipod, so I discovered podcasts too. I learned to seek out new yarns from some podcasts that are no longer active. (Knitty D and the City and Craftborg) I still miss them but have fallen in love all over again with a few others. My two favorites are Sticks and String and Stash and Burn. I think I could loop these two shows together and my knitting world would be pretty happy. I also enjoy the Knit Picks podcast but not quite on the same level. David from Sticks and String introduced me to Ravelry, a huge online knitting community.

My newest podcast love is Here's to Ewe! I find them amusing without being completely crazy about it.

So that is how I obtain much of my knitting knowledge. Well those things and all the books I buy. But my books are a topic for another day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How about that?

Hey, I found out today I'm not the only one that knits at my hair salon. I spotted a hat in a car in the parking lot and was going to do a quick look round to see if it was a knitter or a recipient. Before I could get to it she was pointed out to me.

She was a knitter. Yes, we go to the same yarn store and no, I did not get to chat her up or her name. Dang! I did correctly identify her project as a cardigan. That should get me some bonus points right?

Apparently I am learning to be slightly less selfish. I bought yarn for a sweater before the knitting olympics mitten sprint, so I could not start the sweater. Turns out my startitis is a chronic condition that has acute flare ups. The most recent flare up caused a sweater to be cast on. Somehow in the time between buying the yarn and casting on, it went from being my sweater to Hubby's sweater. I did ask him if he liked the yarn and offered to knit for him not the other way around. He did not demand the yarn himself. This of course would bring our sweater count even. Goodness what ever will I do. Cast on another sweater right after that? Probably.

I really like the heathered blue and grey colors of this yarn. I even knit a swatch and hung it to dry in a way that is supposed to simulate the weight of the sweater once it is knit.

D did ask me what the heck this was once he saw it. I tried to explain but this might just be another one of my weird "knitter" things in his mind.

So what did this effort get me? Nothing - I measured the swatch before washing and after. According to the after measurements the width shrank by 1/8 inch and the length did not change. So where did the 1/8th inch go? Did the yarn just fluff?

Maybe next time instead of hanging a 50 g ball of yarn from the swatch I will just throw it on the bed and let one of the cats massage it into real life conditions. That may be a more accurate way to assess it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My favorite Christie Character

I love this one. Makes me want to search the world for another cat that looks like this and name him Hercule.

Funny Pictures of Cats With Captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Monday, March 1, 2010

What the?

While I had my major success this weekend we also saw what the TV show called "the agony of defeat". In this case I should call it the agony of my feet.

I can tell I am no longer a new knitter, my socks are starting to wear out. Can you see the thin spot on the ball of my left foot too?

That was not my first pair to have a blow out.

My first noticeable wear was this pair (below), I caught it before it could blow out, but I've been thinking about how to save them with out killing them first.

Yep I'm still thinking about that one. See the thing is I could duplicate stitch over the worn areas, but I worry about two things. One: that the existing thread in the worn areas will break while I'm trying to repair it and two: in the time it would take me to do that I could be halfway through another sock.

What to do, what to do? I will tell you about how I discovered 2 of the 3 needed work. We have a tile floor in the bathroom and I noticed that it felt really cold. This is not a normal cold I feel because usually I am protected by my wooly goodness. Yep that was my first clue if I can feel how cold the floor is my sock is screaming for help. Happened with both the blue and the lilac colored socks. I thought for a minute that I had accidentally bleached the lilac pair till I figured out it was my white foot showing through the yarn, not pale yarn.

It certainly makes me feel less guilty for knitting even more socks. I was experiencing that little voice in my head that said "You have 30 pairs why do you need more socks?" Take that voice in my head, socks wear out. More more I must have more.

So what do you think do I try to darn them? That will be a different type of fabric, more of a woven surface. I do so like the blue pair, I think of them as my Colts socks and used to wear them when I wore my Colts sweatshirt.

I guess I will try to darn the orange ones first since they are my least favorite. I can make all the mistakes on them and move on to the others.

Can we have a moment of silence for the socks that have been removed from the rotation?