Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Winding Woes

Well, I bought some yarn - yep. So, I'm not doing so well with the yarn diet, then - yep. And I bought some new bamboo needles, too - yep. Seeing as I can't stick to a food diet, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the yarn one isn't working either.

I bought some lightpipe and Gedifra - Verusca for shawls and scarves to sell, and some Galway for fuzzy feet. I got home and started winding the lightpipe. The LYS told me that it is impossible to work with (which forced me to buy it). She said it took three people to wind it (I knew I could do it myself). I started carefully winding. Twenty feet later I had a knot. It came out easily. I clearly knew what I was doing. A real yarn goddess! I kept slowly winding and - kerplunk (can yarn make that noise? I'm pretty sure mine did). A huge rat's nest. Two hours later I finally broke the yarn, tied a knot, and started winding again - feeling defeated. Five minutes later, another huge rat's nest. I have clearly been bested by this stuff!

I e-mailed the manufacturer and wrote a very honest, not whining - note, saying that they might have more success in selling the yarn if it was sold in a more user friendly format. I asked them to wind the yarn for me. I assumed they would send back the expected professional reply, blowing me off, but they didn't! They said that if I sent them the yarn they would be happy to wind it for me! They said that it really is a difficult yarn to wind! Wow! How nice!

I'm waiting for the package to be returned to me!

Happy Knitting on Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Fuzzy Feet Felting Foibles

Well, it is my own fault. I didn't test felt the yarn I used for the soles of the fuzzy feet, and after 30 minutes of felting (and an ever decreasing foot size for the fuzzy foot), there were still knobs showing on the sole. The yarn says 100% virgin wool on it, so I have no clue if this is a mistake in felting technique, or if it is with the yarn. Here is a photo of the sole.


The cat bed, on the other hand, is beautiful. I was worried about this one - if the sides would stand upright or not. It turned out that the catbed was stress-free and the "stress-free" fuzzy feet made me crazy. The rose color felted really nice.

Auf Wiedersehen to the GA Cardigan

Here is a photo of the completed God-Awful Cardigan (before blocking). I only have to block and figure out when I can deliver the cardigan now that I don't see the woman as much. GGGRRRR!

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day!

I think it's raining, but I'm not sure. The grass is so long that it has overgrown our windows and we can't see outside anymore. We haven't (or really my DH husband hasn't) been able to cut it for so many days because there hasn't been a let up in the rain. The pitter patter of the raindrops on our roof is pretty telling, though.

Garage Sale

Yesterday was our village-wide garage sale. I had everything ready by 10:30pm Friday night and even had time left to finish off my first fuzzy foot from the second pair I had started. I opened at 8:00am, coffee, music and knitting at my side, waiting for the droves of customers to come and take my junk to their house.

The last time I had a garage sale, it was bad weather and I think I made $30. I had done it alone, no neighbors were involved. This time I was hopeful that with the village-wide sale advertised everywhere I would bring in $100. I have really nice girls clothes with most items priced at .50 or 1.00.

The pouring rain kept most people away, but things picked up at 11:00am. We thought it was successful because we got rid of a few really big things that were taking up a lot of space, like two bicycles, a stove, and a child's rocking horse. I was happy with the $40 I brought in because those big items were gone, and I was happy to sit and knit uninterrupted all day.

A Word of Advice for Making Da Fuzzy Feet

Do not, I repeat - DO NOT make fuzzy feet when you need to put it down frequently and think about other things, such as catching the dog that escaped from the house or giving away your profits to your kids so they can bring home other people's junk when you are trying to get rid of your own.

I ribbited (is that a word?) so much of the second foot that I started turning green and searching for a fly to eat. Fuzzy feet aren't the easiest to rip out either because you have to be careful to pick up all of the side stitches as you rip the top of the foot. It took me all day, but I finally finished the second foot and today I'm starting on the third pair.

I had better felt this stuff, though, because I have NO IDEA what it will look like felted. That's right. I'm living on the wild side!

Now go and knit your socks off!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

It's Done!

I finally finished the God Awful Cardigan. I wanted to take a photo, but I left the disk at home, so I will have to try tomorrow. Wow, wow, wow! It turned out better than I had ever hoped. Only blocking left.

Thank you to my new knitting friend, Judy, who gave me a great way to do buttonholes (even if it didn't follow any directions I have read). She suggested I pick up the stitches along each front and stitch in ribbing up and down the front of the cardigan. Where I wanted a hole, I did a yarn over. It worked great, looks great, and meant NO SEWING! Heaven!

One cat bed is ready to be felted, and I'm ready to start on the other art fair projects!

This Saturday is the garage sale, so after all of the work to set up, I hope to have a great day of knitting and selling!

Congratulations to me! I got the job in Cincinnati! Now we have to wait to see if DH can get a job there, too!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Cat Bed

Finally, some knitting new! With the delays in Midway on Thursday night, I had a lot of time to sit and knit at the airport. I never really mind delays, but I was worried about getting home because I had been up for almost 24 hours.

I worked on the cat bed at the airport. On the flight there, one of the attendants talked to me about her knitting. She had made a cat bed with Fun Fur, and had never felted. I explained how forgiving felting is, and how nice the finished fabric feels.

For my bed, I used three very different yarns. The first was Galway in Rose left over from a sweater I made myself, the second was a cream I had bought a long time ago and don’t know what it really is because it doesn’t have a label. I used it for the GA Cardigan, and still have a ton of it left. The third was one skein of a fuzzy, course tan wool that also had been purchased a very long time ago. It’s brand name is Unger.

The straight stockinette was a great diversion for me. I could knit and not worry about a pattern and let my mind think about other things, while still creating something.

I changed the pattern a little bit. For the sides of the bed, the pattern called for eyelash yarn. I didn’t have any, and I thought that if I wanted something furry at the top, I would choose a thinker fur, like fun fur, but I didn’t have any of that with me either. I really wanted to finish the project, so I doubled the length of the top of the sides, folded it over, and did a three-needle bind off. I plan to felt it today (but probably won’t find the time) and I can’t wait to see how it turned out. I didn’t felt a swatch (I know... a big no-no) because I wanted to be daring, and I really don’t care if the project doesn’t turn out as it was made from scrap materials.

Here is a photo of the bra-cup looking start to this project.

Airplane knitting

Well, the metal knitting needles made it on the flight without a question. The only problem I had was while the plane was delayed. A really obnoxious family (loud talkers who thought everyone in the terminal was interested in everything they had to say, including bathroom trips) stared at me, until finally the father gave in and said that he couldn’t believe I was allowed on the plane with, “those”. He had a small scissors taken away from him, and surely, my plastic needles were more of a threat. I was using plastic circular needles and had a pair of 14-inch straight metal needles in my bag. He went on and on about the government and how they don’t know what they are doing until finally I said, “Well, I guess that the government realizes that knitters aren’t much of a threat because they have no problem letting us on with plastic needles, or with these.” I pulled out the huge metal needles and he gasped! I didn’t make any more eye contact with him, and he didn’t say another thing about it.

I also knit my socks off on the plane!

Friday, May 14, 2004


In the movie “Never Been Kissed”, Drew Barrimore played the part of a 25ish year old undercover newspaper reporter trying to find a story pretending to be a high school student. As a child, her character was a misfit, the girl who was strange and tried to fit in with the “in” crowd, but only managed to embarrass herself. By returning to high school, she was given a second chance to fit in, but she began to fall into her old ways and failed to find a story. She went to a party to try to become friends with the popular girls, and had her hand stamped at the door. Someone gave her a brownie laced with pot and she became the life of the party, or so she thought. In reality, she only embarrassed herself again. She went home and ended up passing out with her head resting on her hand. The next day she went to school, thinking she was “all that”, and became confused when everyone started calling her a “loser”. “Loser,” everyone chanted, as she ran to the bathroom crying. As she splashed water in her face, she noticed a mark on her forehead. After doing a double take she saw that the hand stamp had transferred onto her forehead and the stamp, now written in reverse, read, “loser”.

What? She freaked out and started scrubbing frantically at her forehead for it to disappear, but it didn't. She then realized that she has just walked around school with “loser” written on her forehead for everyone to see.

I am such a loser! First, one of the 100 things you need to know about me is that I am not a “girly-girl”. Nothing ultra feminine about me; never has been. I was an honorary Boy Scout as a child and avoided any girly activities. Before my interview yesterday, I had the desire to be girly. I took a nice long bath, exfoliated the feet and put on a new shade of toenail polish. I shaved my legs and sat back in awe of my newfound femininity.

When I looked at my feet, I realized that the winter had left them looking bone white. Hmmm, I should try a self-tanning lotion. I have heard people complain that they streak, but I’ve also heard people say that if you buy the good kind and follow the directions, being sure to wash your hands, the results can be good. Being the ultra tightwad, I bought the cheapest stuff I could find. Off I went to try a test spot on my foot. I waited 2 – 3 hours.... and nothing. Still bone white. Obviously, I was not going to be affected by this treatment, so what the heck! I put it on my arms and my legs.

The next day I went to the interview and changed into my short-sleeved sweater and dress pants. I looked professional. The interview went very well, and they were clearly interested in me. Afterwards I ended up staying overnight in a hotel because of flight delays (that will be another blog entry). I got up this morning, showered, and as I brushed my hair while looking in the mirror, I spotted this on the inside of my forearm -

Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Was this on my arm during the interview? I didn’t remember seeing it! Oh, my God! What a loser! They must have thought I was a complete idiot!

Then I thought – I never have been a girly girl, and people who know that will think this is a riot! I showed my arm to everyone at work today and we nearly wet our pants laughing so hard at the thought of me looking like this in an interview. “Only you,” they said!

I will hear by next week if Cincinnati wants a stained freak to work with them!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Sumfin Fishy Goin on

I tried to post the link for the kitty pi on Monday and again on Tuesday. It wouldn't work. I don't have a clue why not, but those are the facts.

The Copper Lopi arrived, and this time it was correct, but I still haven't gotten that last sleeve finished. It's just hanging around, beckoning to me. I wanted to finish it for this weekend because I will be spending time with the woman I am making it for on Friday and Saturday, but there is no way I can get it done in time anymore and still be able to block it. Ach du lieber!

Tomorrow... well really tonight.... I leave for a second interview in Cincinnati. I will drive to the airport and fly to Columbus, Ohio early in the morning. I plan to spend the day visiting different places and promoting my husband as an employee before my interview at 2:45pm. Maybe I will have time to stop at the knitting shop before driving back to Columbus and flying home at 9:30pm. I love to travel, and had planned to take the train tonight, but I wouldn't have been able to come home until Sunday. That seems more like an abandonment that a one-day interview!

I have never been able to bring my knitting on the plane, and even though so many people have said you can, I'm afraid I'll have to give up my needles. I'll let you know how it turns out.

New Project

You would never guess that I am someone who only likes to work one project at a time because I have four going. I started the Kitty Pi, and it is progressing well. I have had a great time using scrap yarn and coordinating colors in a pleasing way. I'll have to take a photo soon and have you let me know how I did!

Till then, go and knit your socks off!

Wish me luck in Cincinnati!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Happy Mother's Day!

Just a quick entry to wish all of you mothers a Happy Mother's Day! Being a mother was something I always wanted, something I looked forward to, and something I wanted to become at an early age. I look at my two daughter's today and think "What, were you crazy?" No, seriously, they are a joy, even when they mess up the kitchen to make a great surprise, and even when they tell you at 7:45 am that they need two dozen home-made cookies for school that day. The turmoils and occasions that make parents crazy are tiny compared to the great events like when one of your children does something that shows they are growing up and becoming their own individual. That is the great stuff!

Enough with the mushy blog entry. The real point here is knitting, right? Well I started a new project today, the kitty bed that is listed on another website (I'll link it tomorrow). DH was in rare form again, watching me knit in the car as we were off to visit our mothers. Giggling away when I asked him how it looked. What's wrong, I thought. Didn't the colors go well together? Were they still laughing at my innovative cast-on technique using markers because I don't have size 11 dpn? What was so funny?

His response...."Remember that clog you were making in the car the other day?"
"Yes," I answer.
"Well, this looks like a female version of what you were making that day. A warmer for a female part of the anatomy," was his stoic response.
I busted out laughing. The thing looked like a bra cup! A woolen bra cup! Okay, this will definitely be a new cottage industry. Lingerie for your private areas - by Kristyn.

I think I better keep my day job!

Now go knit your socks off, or maybe an article of clothing for another part of your body?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Funny Fuzzy Feet

No, my feet are not fuzzy, but they are funny looking. That is a blog entry all its own - the curse of the family long toes - my second toe is as long as the pinkie on my hand - EEEWWWW! I know!

Anyway - Yesterday was wonderful. My DH had the day off and I had a conference to go to, so he drove me and gave me an early Mother's Day gift of being able to knit in the car the entire time. He was even patient when I shhhshed him so that I could count.

Have you made Fuzzy Feet? I started a paire with stash yarn leftover from another project. If you have made them, this will make sense. If not, I will try to get a photo of the next pair I make when they are at this stage. I had just finished the heel and started the toe shaping. As the toe began to grow, my DH broke out laughing and asked who these were for. The start of the toe, he said, looked just like a jock strap! As the pouch began to grow, it looked like some kind of penis warmer! Now, in Wisconsin - maybe I could market that in winter, especially for the hunters. Make some in blaze orange?? Hmmm... a new cottage industry! Just remember, I thought of it first, so don't go stealing my royalties!

Seriously, the Fuzzy Feet are a blast to make, even if I will never be able to make them without chuckling. You have to pay attention to the pattern, so they are not the best to work on with the kiddies around, but they work up very quick, and I'm pleased with the results. This pair will be for the Art Fair. And by using the leftover wool, the project is basically FREE!

Other addictions

With Spring in full force, I am anxious to get the pop-up camper ready to go for the first trip. I love camping, and lucky for me, the whole family does, too! My daughters have never known a summer without camping. Both of them started before their first birthdays. Last weekend we took our annual "drive" through the campground breathing in that wonderful campfire air. HEAVEN!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Ho Hum

The color of the socks I'm working on says it all.... pretty much this is how I'm feeling.

Blue, blue, blue.

Tomorrow is a conference, and if I feel brave, I can knit there. I have been to this conference before. Basically the same group of people meet to learn about new topics. I have knit there before and felt the steady glare of my fellow attendees. I might be just too blue to even try it this time. We'll see.

GA Cardigan

Just to remind you what the GA stands for - I have finished the color work on one of the sleeves of the "God Awful" Cardigan. I am hoping to cast off the cuff tonight. Then I just have to wait for the yarn exchange and I'm off to finish the other sleeve. While I wait, I could make the button bands. I'm nervous about them because I've never made buttonholes before and to do that while also making my own pattern seems terrifying right now, but I know it will work out.

You Know it's Spring When....

You know it's Spring when your white cat bursts through the open door to run free in the yard. You know it's Spring when you chase after her in your slippers, only to loose them on the stairs of the deck. You know it's Spring when your cat stops 2 feet in front of you to roll in the dirt. You know it's Spring when she runs off the minute you almost catch her! You know it's Spring when she looks at you mockingly and she embeds 38 inches of dirt into her white fur. You know it's Spring when you finally catch your now "brown" cat and she is purring. You know it's Spring when it takes two days for her to turn white again! A short but glorious escape for Talia!

Short blog today. Go knit your socks off!

Sunday, May 02, 2004

The New Arrival

Well, it arrived on Friday. My first yarn purchase online. The service was great and the price beat my LYS, even with the cost of shipping. There it was, a small bundle all cuddly and wrapped up in white. I knew what it would look like when I opened it up, but I was still excited by what might be inside. Reynolds Lopi Yarn in Copper. The new arrival. I rip open the bag slowly to let the anticipation last, just like when I open a gift. I peek inside and.........YIKES! What's this? Rose?? I ordered Copper! What the heck? Furiously I chase to the computer. These guys must have screwed up. Where is the receipt? Oh, I see the receipt in the bottom of the bag. I check it over and it is most definitely a mistake because it says I ordered Rose. I check my e-mail confirmation - Rose. I check the first confirmation - Rose. This must be a mistake! Again, I look through all of the papers. Shoot! It must really be my mistake. What a dope!

I e-mailed the yarn company and explained my mistake. I will ship the Rose colored wool back to them (it actually is prettier than the colors I'm using, but if you remember - I didn't pick the colors for this project) and pay for the shipping to send me the Copper color.

Kid Socks

With all of this GA Cardigan frustration, I haven't worked much on the cardigan. It has also been unusually warm here (above 40 degrees! HA HA), so I don't want to knit with a sheep on my lap. I started up the second sock and I am pleased with the progress, but I am anxious to get started on the art fair projects. I really should start these so that I have something to sell. Before I can do that, I have to clean out my yarn stashes. Yes, I have yarn tucked away in different closets in different rooms. I would love to get it all organized, but there are so many other things I need to do as well. There he is, that old father time, causing problems again.

Well, I'm gonna go knit my socks off, or maybe get going on some other things that need to get done, like cleaning? Naah, I'll knit my socks off. Sounds like much more fun!