Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I am experimenting with new organization ideas for my blog.  Please excuse the "mess" while I try new things.  I'm trying to divide it into regular sections.  I will continue with my "tutorials" but as outtakes, because I like writing them, and they help me in my crafting. 

On my Needles, Hook, Sewing Machine, Computer
I have started 2 new projects for the month of January.  The first is a pair of socks that I am making for myself I hope, and the second is a sweater for a friend.

1. Pewter Flowers:
name of project: Pewter Flowers
for:  Me
Start Date:  January 2, 2012
Completion Date:  ?
Pattern Used:   Blàthnat by Irish Girlie Knits
                this is the mystery sock (mock) for SKA for January 2012
Yarn:  String Theory Caper Sock in Pewter
Needles:  Addi Turbo Lace 0, 1
Tags:  skajan2011, solidsocks, TAAT
Link to my Project Page: Pewter Flowers

This is my first time using Caper Sock by String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns and OMG IT IS SO SOFT!

I am starting with the Large size.  This yarn is so amazing that I really really really I mean really want these socks to fit me.  I am tired of starting socks for me and then deciding half way through that they are going to be either too small (my red willows - gave them to my younger sister Amie), or too big (the Bee's Knees - gave them to my older sister, Sue)

I cast on 1/2 of the first sock's 72 stitches (so 36),
then all 72 of the 2nd sock. 

I slid sock 1's stitches close to the end of the needle,

and cast on the rest of sock 1.

The pattern has its own cuff.  One thing I am not liking is that there is a YO at the middle and end of each side, which is super awkward to keep on the needle.  I find that most of the time, I lose that YO, and have to pick it up when I come around on the next row.  No big deal.  I mean, this is probably the easiest of my common mistakes to fix as I knit, ... but I find it annoying to have to count and read my knitting to watch for it.

I've done 4 rows of the cuffs, and already I can see the cool cuff pattern emerging, but I'm afraid these are going to be huge even though I dropped down a needle size. Hmmm should I frog now and drop down another needle?  or move to the M size either sticking with these needles or moving up 1 size?... let me do 2 more rows and then check the gauge. 

at Row 6 i checked the gauge as best I can, and it seems to be right, so I measured the width of my foot, and I'm a L.  I will keep going...

Finished the cuff, but had to split the socks into 2 separate circs for the set up for the leg pattern.  I hope I can put them back together.  Anyway, I love the pattern so far!

2. Red Hot Lewk
Name of project: Red Hot Lewk
for:  Tony
Start Date:  Tuesday, Jan 3, 2011
Completion Date:  ?
Pattern Used: Textured Pullover by Norah Gaughan from Vogue Knitting:  Very Easy Knits 
Yarn:  Wool-Ease
                company: Lion Brand Yarn
                color: Chili
                weight: Worsted
                purchased from: Knitting-Warehouse.com
                amount used: (started with 13 balls of 3oz each)
Needles:  size 5
Link to my Project Page: [F1bercat's Red Hot Lewk](project)

I copied the pattern and highlighted the numbers for size L.  I keep changing my mind back and forth whether or not I should just knit the body in the round... I will have to buy new needles anyway, so I think I will just do it. It will be much easier to not have to do those side seams.  The pattern calls for size 7 needles.  Because I tend to knit loosely, I will make a swatch with size 5 and see what happens. 
This yarn is reasonably soft for 80% acrylic 20% wool (he needs something that is easily washable), but after knitting the String Theory Caper Sock... It is nothing!  I need to quickly crochet with my 100% acrylic so that this feels soft again.

I finished the swatch:

and it is just about perfect, but I need circs with a much longer cable.  I think I will buy 2 new nice needles tomorrow and officially cast on.  I am going to knit this in the round.  I think I can make it work.

Name of project: Graduation Afghan
for:  Luke
Start Date:  Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Completion Date:  ?
Pattern Used:   Multiple Squares in the 2012 crochet block-a-month group
Yarn:      Name: One Pound
                Company: Caron
                Weight:  Worsted
                Fiber: 100% Acrylic
                Color(s): white, sky blue, sunflower, and midnight blue
                Purchased from: Jo Ann's Fabric at Crossroads
                Amount used:  bought 4 pounds (1 of each color) to start
Needles/Hooks:  H (5.0 mm)
Tags:  2012BAMCAL
Link to my Project Page:

First thoughts on the Graduation Afghan for Luke:
1. do I need a separate project thing for every square on Ravelry?  I will ask in the group threads about that.
2. I don't like the feel of the yarn at all.  Now that I have started knitting with wool, I hate going back to Acrylic.  Why did I?  In the yarn thread in the Block A Month group (2012BAMCAL), everyone recommended it... Hope I didn't make a mistake.  It is very easy to wash though.
3. Why can't I count to 70?  The directions for the 2nd color, "chain 70," seems so tough.  I over shot because I am listening to Brenda Dayne's Cast On Podcast.
4. The instructions are not very complete, and for the 2nd color, I needed 75 chains, not 70.  I will post a tutorial for this square as an outtake.
5. I love the finished square, 

but it measures 9" not 6".  So, should I make it again with a smaller needle?  Or just make big squares?

Sewing Machine
Name of project: Don Q
for:  Luke
Start Date:  January 1, 2012
Completion Date:  before YAGP!
Pattern Used:   Tutu.com Men's Peasant Shirt and Simplicity Bolero
                white cotton muslin, black and gold brocade, black stretch velvet, red cotton quilting fabric
                Purchased from: Jo Ann's Fabric at Crossroads
                Amount used: 
Link to my Project Page:

This is a costume for my son, Luke, who is dancing the Don Quixote Variation for the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition in 2 weeks.  Yes, 2 weeks.  I need to finish by Friday at the latest, in case we need to change/alter anything.  I am making him an undershirt that is white muslin with black stretch velvet sleeves.  Then over that he will wear a black and gold brocade bolero but just the vest part.  The black sleeves should make the vest look like a jacket, but since it is not attached, he should be able to move more freely.  Luke is also dancing the Black Swan Pas de Deux in February.  I am hoping to use the undershirt for that costume also, and just make a new over tunic.



Happy New Year!
It's worth saying more than once.  2011 was an extremely stressful year for me and my family, immediate and far flung.  Just when you think life is going smoothly, it hits you with a 2 x 4.  I was going to write a "pie,"  but well, it was no pie that hit me last year.  There were 3 good things that came out of last year however:  knitting, Ravelry, and my blog.

I have known fiber arts forever.  My mother and both grandmothers were avid crocheters.  My mother was a wonderful seamstress, making most of my favorite dresses as a girl.  My mother knit as well, but not very often.  She taught us (the 3 older girls) how to crochet and knit, and sew when we were in elementary school.  A neighbor lady gave the girls on our street needlepoint and crewel stitchery lessons.  I think we were always making some kind of fiber project, though, to be truthful, other than the sewing, I don't remember finishing much.  I do remember starting, and being excited about projects.

When I was in high school, I started sewing more seriously, and crocheting.  But not knitting.  Knitting was too hard.  Knitting was too slow.  I couldn't keep even tension.  Everything looked so sloppy.

I still crocheted in college, sewing occasionally.  I remember sitting in an English class at CSUF  (California State University at Fullerton) frantically crocheting scarves for Christmas gifts while the Professor glared at me.  When the Doc and I married, I sewed almost all of my "Teacher Outfits."  I made myself 3 different peasant skirts and 2 tops that could mix and match, and a number of A-Line wool skirts in complementing colors that went with a few sweaters I bought.  That was all I wore.  We were so poor, and coming out of college (after 3 years at CSUF I transfered to Notre Dame which is where I got my BA in English), I think my wardrobe consisted of sweatpants, t-shirts, and sweatshirts.  I had worked at Disneyland until our marriage, so I needed no clothes for that either.  Anyway, I sewed like a fiend the summer we were first married.

For some reason, the 2nd winter in St. Louis, where we were living while the Doc went to medical school, I knit myself a sweater.  It was blue.  It had these lacy sleeves.  I loved it.  I remember my visited us for a couple of days, I don't remember why, and I showed it to her as a WIP (work in progress).  I was cooking dinner, and she asked if I wanted her to knit on it while I worked.  After a few stitches, she put it down.  When I asked why, she said, "It will look weird if there are a few even rows."  LOL!  My oldest daughter, Allie, has since discovered and stolen that sweater.

I didn't pick up the pointy sticks again until my sons were dancers in the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker.  I volunteered as a parent assistant, helping out in the boys' dressing-room.  Another mom helper, Maggie, was an avid knitter.  She brought needles and yarn for all of the  boys, I think we had about 12 in the room, and taught them all to knit as a way to keep them occupied and quiet.  It worked like a charm.  Of course, I had to start again, too.  Maggie watched me knit for about 2 minutes, and took my horrible cheap metal needles away, gave me some wooden (bamboo I think) ones, some wool, and taught me the continental method.  I loved it.

I started my first sock.  That one was orphaned, but I learned a lot, and made everyone in the family slippers using the pattern and sport weight or dk weight yarns which were much faster.  

Last Fall we took in our 3 God Kids.

Our family went from 7 to 10.  We had 7 kids living home, one in an apartment at college, Doc, and me.  These are great kids, but they had been through an emotional wringer, and needed all kinds of parenting, which involved tons of driving and waiting.  Pick-ups from school, sports, therapy, etc.  I was suddenly waiting places again, often for an hour at a time.

I picked up my knitting needles and started making an aran afghan for my 4th child, James, as a graduation gift.  (That is still OTN - on the needles).  I made a good friend we knew from our on-line gaming a Dr. Who Scarf.  And then, at my oldest daughter's recommendation, I joined Ravelry.

I have written a bit about Ravelry already, but I can not say how much I enjoy that site.  I am still learning, experiencing, experimenting, making friends there.  I love it.  And that led me to my blog.

I never understood the point of blogs by normal people.  I mean, I don't live anywhere interesting, have an interesting job, and I am not famous.  I could have written an amazing blog about our 9 months with the God Kids, but I would never violate their privacy that way.  And my normal life is supremely boring.  Sort of. But, seeing the knitting/crochet/fiber blogs on Ravelry,  I decided to start writing one anyway. 
As a published author, I have taken many many workshops and classes about writing.  The teachers always recommend journaling.  I never did it.  If I was going to spend time writing, I was going to work on my books and poems.  I have tried to journal.  I found a diary from 5th grade that I started to chronicle a summer trip driving across the country from California to Connecticut to visit my maternal Grandparents that had 2 entries.  The first was about how I was going to keep a record of the trip.   The second a list of the states we had driven through while I was asleep the first night.  And that was it.

But, I thought, I'm not really writing anything right now, no time, no energy, no ideas. I might as well keep a log of what I am knitting.  I thought it would help me get back to writing poetry and picture books.  So far that hasn't happened, though I do have ideas now for 3 picture books and perhaps a first reader. 

I have these ideas now.  And I have my blog of the last summer and fall.  And my marathon in the form of the Advent Calendar Scarf.  I am so happy I made myself write every day about that scarf.  You don't know the number of times I was falling asleep at the keyboard and totally afraid that I was posting gibberish because I could barely read what I was typing.

A good friend posted this idea to her Facebook page:  Write your New Year's Resolution in one word.  I was tripping back and forth between writing, knitting, crochet, sewing... And then I saw someone else's post:  CREATE. 

Yes, I take as my New Year's Resolution for 2012 the goal to Create.  I will fill my waiting hours, my "idle" time, my working hours creating.  And 2012 will be a better year for it.

Be present this week.  Remember to Create.

C. A. Losi

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