September 2008 Archives

Amsterdam Craft Stores

I really should be in bed sleeping, but I'm going to blame my awakeness on the jet lag. I did a search yesterday and found a number of shops for yarn and quilt fabric here in Amsterdam. I haven't had a chance to go over there yet, since I'm attending the EuroIA conference today and tomorrow. But I will go over next week. Here's where I'm going.

Den Hann & Wagenmakers. URL is Make their own cotton chintz fabric.

The Albert Cuuyp Straat Market is listed as the best place for fabric in the city.

Afstap is a yarn shop on De Oude Leliestraat.

Maglia on Bloemdwstr is a yarn shop that is said to be organized solely by color. They have over 800 colors. I can't wait to go there just to take photos of it!

Posting Light, Crafting Still Heavy

Posting here is going to be light over the next few weeks. I'm on a business trip and vacation in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Malmö. Woohoo! I'm still knitting (I was able to get 2/3 done on a super sekrit kitmas project on the plane ride over here), but I'm also doing a lot of other stuff.

I was all excited today as I was wondering around Amsterdam, trying to soak up the lovely sun to reset my body clock, and I saw a shop named "Sweet Stitches" across the street. I had to go look and see what they had. But on closer inspection the store was actually named "Sweet Snacks." Silly fancy fonts on the sign made that less than clear. Oh well. I'm still determined to find a crafty store while I'm here.

I spent a late lunch in a nice little cafe, drinking fresh mint tea (are you suppose to take the sprigs of mint out of the water before you drink it? I wasn't sure so I left them in), eating a scone and goat cheese sandwich and frogging the last row I knitted on the plane of the super sekrit project. It's all frogged now and I'm ready to go.

I'd have photos of my finished Gretel Hat, but I tripped on the cobblestones and smashed the filter on my camera. I think the lens is okay, but I can't get the broken lens off. Which means no more photos until I get that taken care of. *le sigh*

Anywho... I'm off to do something to keep me awake as I can't give in to the jet lag yet. I have a conference call in 3 hours I'm suppose to call in for. But my knees are sore enough from the fall that I don't want to wander around outside. Might just curl up on the couch and knit. Oh knitting, whatever did I do before you?

Knitted Dragon-Skin

In the Knitting Daily newsletter I received yesterday, there was a lovely picture of this:

It's the Dragon-Skin Wrap by Angela Hahn (shown here in bamboo-merino). I eagerly clicked through the link, ignoring the fact that the whole newsletter is devoted to what to make for baby. But sadly the pattern only appears to be in baby/child sizes.

I wonder how hard it would be to covert it to grown-up size? Probably not too difficult, but not something I should undertake with all the other projects that are in the queue.

But it's so pretty!

Update on Erik's Celtic Cable Scarf

I often find that if I'm going to knit while there is something social going on, I tend to do better when it's an ultra-simple pattern (read, just knit stitch). But most of my projects are more complex these days. I've been doing a lot more knitting with cables and lace, and I'm getting better at paying attention to what I'm doing. At Craft Night this month I decided that I would work on Erik's Celtic Cable Scarf. I went in confident that I could talk and pay attention to what I was knitting.

When you look at the photos of the scarf at first they seem fine. But on closer inspection you will see that I have indeed messed up the pattern. The pattern basically goes 4 twists, 2 twists, long straight bit with 1 twist, 4 twists, 2 twists, 3 twists, 2 twists then back to the 4 and repeat. If you look at the bit near the needles, you'll see that I have missed the long part with the single twist.


I pointed this out to the ladies at Craft Night and they all thought that I could make it work. "Just do that again and make it part of the pattern!" they said. But that assumes that I can deconstruct and figure out what I did where. Okay, I could certainly DO that, but it would take some time.

Alas I think I'm just going to rip it out. It really isn't that much. And I would prefer to have it right. I guess I should stick with my plain knit stitch sweater the next time the group is over.

Celtic Cable Scarf
Started: March 30, 2008

Takes Longer When You Frog Every Other Row

I leave for a trip to Europe in a couple of weeks. I have my super-fuzzy hat, but I thought it might be a good idea for me to have a second hat, seeing how I often get cold. I LOVED the look of the Gretel Hat that I made as part of the hat series. The way the cables wound together was just lovely. So I decided that I'd make one of those for myself. I picked up a skein of Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted on one of my many trips to ImagiKnits. It was rather difficult to pick which color... there are so many lovely shades of pink and red. I ended up choosing a lovely hot pink with just enough red to go with my new red jacket.

A Hat for Me

This pattern isn't particularly difficult. It does have a unique cast-on and uses some more advanced stitches (like the purl in the front and back). But I made this once before, and I didn't have the problems then that I'm having now. Maybe I was just more careful the first time?

The cast on method involves using some waste yarn. So what do I do? Stitch 4 rows in the waste yarn when I was only suppose to use it for casting on. Frogging #1. I announce this and E looks at me with a quizzical look on his face. "Frogging?" I smile and say "Yup... rip-it, rip-it, rip-it." He laughs.

I complete the 2x2 ribbing and get to the point where you start adding stitches. The pattern just says M1. But how should I make one? I can't remember how I did it the last time, so I decide that I'm going to make one purlwise. I even look up online to see how to do so. I go all the way around, making one purlwise the whole time. On the next row, I have to M1 again. But this time it says K2, M1, K1, P1. Huh. I have 2 knits now 3 purls on my needles. Guess I wasn't suppose to make one purlwise after all. So, I frog the whole row out. Frogging #2.

I decided that I will just use the reverse of my handy-dandy making one purlwise stitch to make one knitwise. Why not? I go most of the way around the row and realize that oops! This method, while invisible purlwise, it leaves a nice hole knitwise. So, I frog the row again. Frogging #3.

I reknit the row, using my standard method of knitting into the front and back to add the stitches I need over the next two rows. It looks lovely. Must remember to make a note on the pattern so I don't have to go through this again.

I continue stitching, including getting through the first cable with out a single croak. I'm suppose to knit a basic row around (one of the "setting rows" as I like to think of them), but move the start of the row forward 3 stitches before starting the row of twists. Of course, we are knee deep in the episode of BSG that we are watching when I get to this row. I knit the whole thing and then move right into the twists. Without moving the start of the row. Get within 6 stitches of the end of the row, go to move the start and realize that I'm a row off. I have twisted right on top of the cables, rather than having them offset by 3 so the twists appear between the cables. *sigh* I call it a night.

The next morning I wake up and frog the whole twisted row. This wasn't as hard as I was afraid it would be. And luckily there are only 144 or so stitches at this point. But it's still rather tedious and time consuming. I back up enough to move over the row start and then twist the next row. Looks much better. Frogging #4 complete.

The purl into front and back (pfd) comes back to me much faster than I thought it would. I didn't even have to look it up again. This yarn doesn't do the "pop" that the silk blend did, but it's still kind of fun. So far I've managed to stick to the pattern and not have to frog anything else.

It's slow going though... all those cables. I looked up the trick on how to knit cables without using a cable needle. Basically you just move them to the other needle and then move them back. I'm a bit afraid that I'll drop the live stitches as I'm moving them. But it's suppose to be faster, so maybe I'll try it. I have a little less than 2 weeks to finish this after all.

Gretel Hat:
Started: September 13, 2008

Lantzilla's Toque

My friend Lantzilla commissioned me to make him a hat, like the lead character in The Professional wears. I did some web searches, and I found a pattern that both he and I liked.

I used Brenda Zuk's pattern for the Roll Brim Hat. It was easy to follow and very quick to do. I would have finished it sooner but I forgot to bring double pointed needles with me to Carmel.

I ended up using slightly larger needles than the pattern calls for, since the Merino wool was slightly finer. But the finished result is very nice. It's cosy and soft. I hope he likes it.

Lantzilla's Toque
Started: August 30, 2008
Finished: September 7, 2008

Quick Update

Google Analytics tells me that I got Stumbled this weekend. If you are here from Stumble, welcome!

Things have been quiet here online of late, but not because things are quiet in the real world. I'm finishing up a project for work, so much of my usual post time has been consumed by worky-work.

My mother-in-law-to-be has been staying with us for the past week. We went to Carmel this weekend for some fun R&R and to meet with the wedding caterer and check out the site again. I'm all excited and full of wedding ideas now.

I was able to get some knitting done. Lantzilla's hat is now done! Yay. I brought it with me in the car to Carmel and got a few more rows done when I realized I had forgotten to bring the double pointed needles with me. DOH! Luckily I had what I needed to work on another dishrag with me. I'm not sure I like the pattern (well, the pattern is fine, I'm just not sure how effective of a dishrag it will be) but we'll see when it's done. Photos to come soon!

Tonight is my Monthly Craft Night. I'm hoping to do some more work on E's cabled scarf. I'll try to remember to take some photos of everyone. Yay Craft Night!

Gracie's Birth Announcement Cross-Stitch

When I found out that my brother and sister-in-law were pregnant with my nephew, Nicholas, I stitched a birth announcement for him, the Beatrix Potter Storybook Sampler. I had it finished, framed and delivered to them within a few months of the birth. That was back in 1998 and I sadly don't have any photos of it.

When I found out that they were pregnant again, I found a similar pattern to the announcement I had made for Nick, the Beatrix Potter Storybook Sampler II. Gracie will be six years old in February and this poor thing is still less than half finished. I'm sorry Gracie! I swear I will finish it before you graduate college!

I just love the Green Apple cross-stitch patterns. They have such detail. It's a pain to stitch because you are constantly changing colors. But the result in the end is so very lovely. This is I think 16-count Aida. It's a bit bigger than the Colors project, so it's easier on the eyes. But it's still small enough that the stitches feel very delicate and intricate.

Do you notice how the Aida cloth is rolled around the edges. That's because it's been sitting in the stitching frame for the past 5 years. This is why you should always take your needlework out of the hoop/frame when you are not working on it kids. Hopefully steaming it when it's done will flatten it out.

Oh, and they had a third child two years ago, Tony. Unfortunately they don't make a Storybook Sampler III. I may combine images from the first two to make Tony's.

Storybook Sampler II:
Started: Fall 2001

Bringing Order to the Chaos

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We have two rooms upstairs in the house, our bedroom and another room we call the Sitting Room or Craft Room. You have to walk through this room to get to the bedroom. It's mostly become a dumping ground for things we can't figure out where to put. It's been too disorganized to really craft in it, even after I got a 6-foot table as a work space. So, this weekend I decided that it was time to reclaim the room!

I picked up 5 large drawer-like bins and two smaller ones at Bed Bath and Beyond. (They even took my expired coupons and let me use one per bin! It was like getting the two smaller ones for free!) I may end up going back to get some more so I can replace the older bins with the drawer-like ones. It really makes it so much easier to get to stuff.

It was actually a lot of fun to go through all the bins and see what I have collected over the years. There are a lot of really beautiful patterns and projects in those boxes! I was surprised at the number of quilts that I have in various states of construction: at least 5. I was also surprised at all the fabric that I had picked up to make into gifts for people. Many of whom are no longer in my life. I'm not 100% sure what to do with it... perhaps I'll donate it to the place in Berkeley that takes in random craft supplies.

If you check the last photo on Flickr, I've annotated all the bins so you can see what is where. (Mostly this is for my own reference.) My yarn stash is actually kept downstairs. I usually knit while watching TV downstairs, and it's much more convenient to have it there in easy reach.

I don't have a photo of the crafting table because it is currently covered with E's tools. He finished installing the ceiling fan in the bedroom (it looks and works GREAT!) As so as he cleans up his stuff I'll set up the table for quilting. I think I'll drape a sheet over it so I don't get kitty litter dust all over everything (which was another reason to replace the open drawers with enclosed ones).


  • One woman's adventure with yarn, fabric and needles.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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