Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


When I was a kid, probably around 9 or 10 years old, I would go through the Spiegel Catalog page by page, deciding which items I would buy if I were rich. We were what you might describe as "dirt poor" while I was growing up, so this was quite a feat of daydreaming even with Spiegel. You're probably asking yourself, "why Spiegel?" which isn't really known for being a luxury catalog. Living in a rural area before there was the internet (for the youngins out there, yes such a time did exist), Spiegel was the most posh catalog I had access to. It was so much more tony than Sears or JCPenney's. I had not even heard of Saks, Niemans, or Nordstroms, and Macy's was something related to the Thanksgiving Day parade, not a place to shop. Anyway, it turns out that if I had lots of money I would pretty much buy everything in the catalog. Afterall, you just never know when you'll need a juicer or aerobic shoes. Once I eventually did start to earn a bit more money, I did not buy out the Spiegel catalog. Honestly, I'm fairly certain I've never ordered a thing from them. I still do daydream about what I would buy if I were rich, though. I can tell you that my craft closet would have to get a lot bigger to accommodate all the silk, cashmere, and merino wool.

Back in the real world, I am making dishcloths for RJ's teachers. I want to give them each a cloth for Christmas, along with some nice soap. Because she is in the infant/toddler room, she has about 8-9 teachers, so I need to get moving on these. Here is the first one I started, which is now nearly finished. Frustratingly, I ran out of both the red and the ecru yarn. I was able to find more red, but I still need to hunt down some more (Ravelry, here I come!).

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Getting A Jump on the Holidays

I recently told my husband that he is lucky to be with me during these harsh economic times. I come from many, many generations of poor folk, so if there's one thing I know how to do it's live on the cheap. For example, you can eat for a week on a carton of milk, a bag of potatoes, a dozen eggs, and some veggies from the garden and it costs around $10. With our current single-income household situation, I am thinking that homemade gifts are going to be the way to go this year for Christmas. Since I love crafting, making complex plans, and hunting down the materials for projects, this is one area that doesn't seem so much like a sacrifice as a strategy-shift. However, with my fall class load I need to get a lot of gifts done this summer. I've been active lately on Ravelry trying to get some bargains on yarn for gift projects and I've posted some things to destash to generate some extra revenue to buy all the supplies I need (if you're interested, take a look here; anything in my stash is fair game not just those things in the trade section, so just send me a message on Ravelry with an offer if something looks good; I am also open to trades).

I am happy to report that I have my first gift done for holiday season 2009! This is for my brother, who lives in frigid Wisconsin and loves the flexibility of a gaiter. It can be worn as a neckwarmer or a hat, depending on what you need at the moment. This used up a fair amount of yarn that I frogged from the World's Ugliest Scarf (if you're thinking the scarf didn't look that bad, I assure you that in real life it was way too wide and the colors looked odd together). The gaiter is quite warm and soft and looks pretty nice on as well.

Yarn: Lion Wool-Ease Chunky in the color Willow

Pattern: Modified version of Four-In-One Gaiter from One Skein Wonders

Changes: I used chunky yarn instead of worsted weight. I tried to use worsted weight, but it seemed like it would be way too tight and I thought the chunky would be better for the bitter Wisconsin winter. I also made the pattern longer so it would cover more of his head as a hat and would fold over as a gaiter. I bound off on a really large needle (US 15) so that it would flare out a bit at the bottom.

Yardage: about 3/4 of a skein (114 yards)

Needle: US 10

Time: Started November 2008 and finished June 2009

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Friday, June 19, 2009

An Unseasonable FO

I finished these warm, woolly fingerless gloves, just in time for the hot season here in SoCal. I know, good timing right? Now I'm thinking I should start my bulky wool hoodie. I'm only half kidding, since starting it now would mean I might finish it in time for Christmas. The only thing stopping me is that I am spending two weeks in Wisconsin in July, and that project would be way too bulky to take along. I will probably take along a project for my light, airy Jaeger Trinity. I was working on a simple top from a Schachenmayr pamphlet, but I am having trouble getting gauge with size 3s, and the idea of going down to a size 2 needle for a whole sweater gives me the willies. So, I found a couple new pattern options that I will swatch. I will post about that soon. Anyway, here are the particulars of the fingerless mittens:

Yarn: Lorena DK, wool/acrylic blend
Pattern: Modified version of Fingerless Mittens from One Skein Wonders
Changes: I added quite a bit of length to the cuff, and a little to the thumb and hand. I wanted to have more coverage and to use more yarn.
Yardage: about 1 skein (125 yards)
Needle: US 7
Time: Started July 2008 and finished April 2009

I bought this yarn at a craft store in Iowa City, IA while in grad school about 12 years ago. The store is probably long since closed, actually. So far, I've used the yarn to make a vest, a hat, and now a pair of mitts to match the hat. Honestly, I've gotten more than my money's worth out of this yarn. Despite my best efforts, I still have a small ball of this yarn left that I really should just toss away and be done with it. However, now that I have the mitts and hat and I am thinking I need a matching scarf. Perhaps I will start the Ribbed Mini-Scarf, and see if I have enough yarn, or just the flower part of the Flower Scarf (Ravelry links). My frugal nature refuses to let me waste any yarn and my vision for a matching set is taking hold.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Anouk

JennC from The Carlson Zoo asked who was the intended recipient for the new Anouk I mentioned in a previous post. When I finished my first Anouk recently, I said I would like to make another one in fall colors. So to answer Jennifer's question, it's for RJ but as you can see I did not use fall colors or fall yarn. I just used up some more kitchen cotton I had laying around in colors that looked nice together. What can I say, the pattern is addictive and the cotton is easier to work with in summer.

It may appear that I am knitting too much for RJ and not enough for anyone else, but when I post my newest FOs things will look a bit more balanced. I'm also working on a project for a Christmas gift (fingerless gloves for my youngest brother) and may even start a new sweater for myself: Sunkist in yellow cotton (ravelry link). I do love the more relaxed feel of summer, don't you?

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Good Yarn Karma

Thanks for all the well wishes regarding getting RJ into her own bed. After a week of working on it we are at RJ=1, parents=0. I think some significant teething pain is complicating matters, but there is probably a good measure of manipulation going on. Either way, I have been outmaneuvered by my 15-month-old. Damn her cuteness!

I just want to pass along some good yarn karma to Karen (aka Auntyk) on Ravelry. Actually, this story starts with a kind gift from Rachel (aka cupcakegirl on Ravelry) who started to knit something for RJ, then when she ran out of time decided to just give me the yarn, which was some lovely, soft, peach Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. RJ's favorite yellow hat this past winter was knit from this same yarn, so I figured a sweater for next winter in the same yarn would be good. However, I didn't have enough for a sweater so I searched on Ravelry and found that Karen had three skeins she wanted to get rid of IN THE SAME DYELOT! Yes, miracles do happen. As if that weren't wonderful enough, when I contacted her, she offered to send me the yarn without any payment. (Believe me, I offered to at least pay postage, but she refused.) I was very touched by her kindness and wanted to share my wonderful experience and pass along some good karma to Karen. Knitters really are the most wonderful people!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Katja for My Princess

I don't suppose it comes as a surprise to those of you who know us that we are spoiling our little girl. We are now suffering the consequences, as we try to train her to sleep in her own bed and not ours starting this week. The result is that none of us are getting much sleep. Before she was born we vowed that our bed would be off-limits. During the first few months she slept in our room, but had her own bed. Once she moved to her crib we were doing just OK with our vow, only bringing her into our bed around 5:00 am or so, just until she woke up for the day. Then I broke my foot, and she has slowly been taking over our bed ever since.

I am also spoiling her in the knits department, but to be entirely truthful baby knits are so much fun that knitting projects for her are just as much for my enjoyment as they are for her. Gauge, what's gauge? As long as it's bigger than she is now, it will fit her someday. Also, a child can wear lots of things that are no-no's for adults. Garishly bright colors? No problem! Slightly see-through? Throw on a onesie and leggings underneath! Baby knits are also a great way to use up small amounts of yarn or have fun with a yarn that would cost too much to buy in a quantity large enough for an adult sweater.

With that in mind, I am currently working on katja from Knitty, Spring 2006. Could I wear a knitted halter? Probably not. But on a tiny little girl, this will look too cute. I started with a small ball of a silk/cotton blend yarn in a lovely mauve/pink color that I Marie passed along to me. I then bought two skeins of Dale of Norway Svale, which is a cotton/silk/rayon blend. It has just a bit of shimmer and the color is a rich, dusty purple. The result so far is this:

I think it looks girly, but not too cutesy. I have enough of the pink to do the bottom band as well. I think the two colors add a bit more interest. I hope to finish this soon so she can wear while we visit my family in Wisconsin in July.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Update on Life and Birthday Yarn

I turned in my grades over a week ago, and I moved to a lovely new office that is slightly smaller, but has windows with a great view. What a difference natural light makes! Last week I spent a lot of time working on getting a research project up and running as well as organizing my office (with some help from the hubby, thanks sweetie!). What does all that mean? I finally have some free time to blog. I am way, way behind on blogging about my life and knitting-related stuff. I will try to catch up in the next few posts.

First, an update on all of our bad luck this semester. My broken foot has pretty much healed and really only aches a bit now and again, just to make me feel old (although turning 36 will also make you feel old). The hubby is still looking for another job, unfortunately. He's had several phone interviews and a couple in-person interviews, but no offers. We are hopeful that he will have something by this fall, but right now we are taking one day at a time and spending more time together as a family. In unequivocal good news, our illnesses have momentarily abated. Just yesterday I finished my last dose of antibiotic for a sinus infection and RJ's most recent ear infection has cleared up. Overall, things aren't perfect, but they could be a lot worse and we are hopeful that they are getting better.

In yarn-related news, I had a fun shopping trip for my birthday all the way back in March which I never posted about. I went to Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, which took an hour to drive to, but only 30 minutes to drive home from (I used the GPS, so maybe it led me astray on the way there?). My friend Kim came along and we took advantage of my 10% birthday discount to treat ourselves. I didn't want to go too crazy, so I just bought a few things. Here's what I got:

First, one skein of Berroco Twist Variegated to go with some I got free from my good friend Marie. I'm not sure exactly what to do with this, but perhaps I could make a summer top for RJ or a scarf. I love the vibrant color, but I heard this yarn is difficult to knit with (snagging and splitting). Perhaps it would be better to crochet something?

Next, I got two skeins of Dale of Norway Svale in a dusty purple. This I bought to go with a small ball of lighter lavender silk blend yarn that I also got from Marie. I am making RJ Katja from Knitty Spring 2006. It is an adorable halter top and is coming along nicely. I will devote a post to my progress soon.

Finally, I bought one skein of Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk. It is lusciously soft and I thinking I will make some fingerless gloves or a small scarf out of this. It would be for a gift since I already have scarves and gloves, but I haven't decided for certain who I would give them to. My mom would like the color, but she always insists she doesn't need any knitwear. I am thinking that it may work for my niece for a birthday gift. Honestly, I would love to go back and get a few more skeins for a sweater for myself, but it's so expensive. Maybe I can use it for the contrast trim on the Diane Cardigan from Knitting Little Luxuries?

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