My current work in progress:

1. "T-Rex," designed by Rebecca Danger, knit from Blue moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in the "Lucky" colorway on U.S. size 3 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

It Felted

Yep, the Noni bag felted.

noni072406 It Felted

It went from 27 inches long to 16.5 inches long. It is 19.5 inches around.

The pattern directs you to felt it to 16 inches long and 19 inches around, so I got it pretty close.

As you no doubt know, Cascade 220 felts beautifully. Even the natural color, which a number of you warned me about, gave me no cause for complaint. There is very little of the natural in this bag, so it either felted obediently on its own, or it was swept along by the enthusiasm of the other colors.

The hardest part of the felting process was pulling the bag out of the washer from time to time to check on the progress. That water was hot. (It did briefly cross my mind that if I had rubber gloves or used tongs to fish the bag out of the water I’d be much happier. But I didn’t and I didn’t. And I wasn’t.) I’ve felted all sorts of things in my washer using this very same setting and I don’t remember the water being so relentlessly hot.

In the pattern it mentions that the top of the bag where the opening is can flare a bit during felting. I tried to smoosh it down as best I could during the process. After I took the bag out of the washer, I stuffed it with rolled-up towels to shape it. I pinned the top together in a few places, and then sewed it together, with regular sewing thread and needle, to help alleviate any residual flaring.

noni072406a It Felted

Sewing through the felted fabric was a bit difficult, made more so by the fact that I wasn’t using a thimble. I poked a hole in my fingers a couple of times pushing the needle through, but no, I did not stop to find a thimble.

So the bag is happily drying. I measured the top opening and ordered a zipper. I think I want to put the zipper in before I line it, so this will go on the back burner until the zipper arrives.

I did knit a flower for an embellishment — from the Noni pattern for camilla flowers. I made the large flower with some smaller petals in the center. Here it is pre-felting.

noniflower072406 It Felted

And after felting.

noniflower072406a It Felted

I think it’s pretty, but it is way too big for the bag, I think. And I felted the living crap out of it.

noni072406b It Felted

Then I wasn’t sure if I actually wanted an embellishment on the bag. Then I thought I could knit a smaller flower.

Then it occurred to me — it’s felt. Trim it with scissors. Duh.

noni072406c It Felted

That’s much better. Mebbe I’ll make a couple of leaves.

Lucy is thrilled at the idea.

lucy072406 It Felted

The Needle Contest

Either you guys have very sharp eyes, or I gave too many hints, or both. Because a whole lotta you got all the needles right. Here’s the picture from the last blog entry, with the needles identified:

needles072106 The Needle Contest

Some of you were flummoxed by the Regia needles. I took a quick web surf to see if they are still available. Apparently so, because The Knitter has them available in two sizes. But that was the only retail source I could find, so perhaps that’s what remains of old stock. Does anyone know?

regianeedles072306 The Needle Contest

I’ve never actually used my Regia needles, because they are far longer than I like for socks — they are 20cm (8″) long. My favorite needles for knitting socks are the Colonial rosewoods (for lighter colored sock yarn) and Skacel bamboo (for darker colored sock yarn).

Anyhow, I drew a name at random to award a prize, and the winner is: Diane McC. Diane I’ve emailed you — I need your snail mail address to send you your prize.

Thanks to everyone who emailed me an entry!

More needle talk . . .

Marjorie asked:
Do you detect any difference between Inox needles and Addi’s? I’ve accumulated a full set of Inox over the years (straights and circulars), but no Addi’s. And I see that you and many other bloggers use the Addi’s. What is the reason for your preference?

I also have English Millward’s in the old English sizes and some of the metric sizes that don’t have U.S. equivalents. Have you ever used them? They seem like Inox needles to me. (Many of these were purchased in the days when only Boye needles were available in the U.S.! Those were really dreadful.)

Interesting questions!

I’ve got two different kinds of Inox circulars — one is shiny metal and one is matte. I don’t like the shiny Inox needles — the cord is very stiff.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the Milward’s needles, but I have heard of them. I have a set of straight Aero needles that I bought in the U.K. in the 1980s — like your Milward’s, they are all marked with mm sizes and some don’t have U.S. equivalents. I used those exclusively til I switched to using ciruculars for everything.

That was the time when I first discovered Addi Turbos. They were advertised as being “fast” needles, so that’s why I bought them (being an impatient sort). I used those exclusively for years. It wasn’t until I discovered the internet and other knitters that it occurred to me that there were different needles that were good for different things. Duh. So I’ve branched out and use what seems right for the task — pointy needles for lace, wooden needles for colorwork, etc.

What about you all? If you are so inclined, leave your needle musings in the comments!

Chip ‘n for Dale

I found out about this extremely worthy cause a couple of days ago:

On June 23, 2006 , Orlando area resident, knitter and spinner, Dale Jarrett, left for Houston , Texas to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Read about her journey here! (http://www.jarrett.ws/dale/)

In an effort to help Dale with the expenses she will incur, we, as members of the Orlando Area Knitters and Spinners, have started a fundraiser. Beginning July 3, 2006 through August 2, 2006 , a knitting or spinning related prize will be offered on our blog: http://chip-n–for-dale.blogspot.com/. The day after the fundraiser closes, those who have made a donation will be eligible to win those daily prizes. For every $5 (US) donated, you will be eligible for one chance at terrific prizes! The first name drawn will receive the prize from Day 1, etc. Please check the blog daily for a picture and description of the prize offered and to check the daily tally!

When Dale is released from the hospital, a gift basket chock full of socks, hats and slippers knit with prayers and good wishes from the Orlando Area Knitters and Spinners, along with the Pay Pal check card, will be sent to her in Houston.

The knitting community is a giving one; a perk of their generosity, is the prizes.

Thank you.

Jackie & Janette

All I can say is that if I was ever to move to the Orlando area, I’d want to hang out with the Orlando Area Knitters and Spinners — what a caring group of friends they are.

If you would like to donate, there is a paypal button on the Chip-n–for-Dale blog. And I have it on very good authority that the grand prize that will be offered is wicked cool. icon wink The Needle Contest

Noni Bag Update

I finished knitting my bag on Saturday — here it is in its pre-felted state:

noni072306 The Needle Contest

It’s 27 inches long. I like how the end looks:

noni072306a The Needle Contest

Post-felting photos tomorrow! Try to contain your excitement!

lucy072306 The Needle Contest

Can You Stand It?

Can you stand yet another blogger blathering on about the new Knitpicks needles?

kpicksneedles072006 Can You Stand It?

If you can’t, you’ll want to skip a bit.

I wasn’t going to get any Knitpicks needles, but a friend got some of the dpns and liked them, so I bought some too, to try them out. I got them in the mail yesterday.

Like others have said, the packaging sucks. The dpns are on a card in a flimsy cellophane sleeve, and the size is marked on the flimsy cellophane sleeve. I like to keep my needles in their original packaging, so my favorite for dpns are nice plastic sleeves, like the ones that the Skacel bamboos come in. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s annoying. Still, considering the price of these needles, you can’t really expect much in the way of snazzy packaging.

The needles themselves are nice. Good points, very smooth. Here’s a comparison photo for you.

needles072006 Can You Stand It?

Which needle is which? I’ll give you a hint: the top one is the Knitpicks needle. Can you guess the rest of them?

If you think you know which needle is which, send me your answer in an email:

1. List the needles in order, from top to bottom.

2. Send me your answer by noon, ET, Sunday, July 23, 2006.

3. Only one email per person.

4. Email your guess to: blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet

Here’s another hint: the needles pictured are the Knitpicks needle, a Pony, a Brittany, a Skacel bamboo, a Regia, a Skacel metal, an Inox, and a Colonial.

Whoever guesses which needle is which will win a nice yarn prize.

Anyhow.

I knit the toe of my second Schaeffer Anne sock with the Knitpicks dpns in size 0 (2mm). Then I switched back to Skacel bamboos.

sock072006 Can You Stand It?

The good thing about knitting socks with metal needles? You are not going to snap them. But the bad thing, for me anyway, is that they are too darn slippery. As I was knitting with them, I’d find the needle would slip out of the stitches when I had just a couple left on the needle. Because my socks go on my commute with me and I knit while waiting on a subway platform, I can’t have my needles escaping like that. (Raye, was it you who told me that the track system for the NYC subway is paved with your lost DPNS?) So I won’t be using these for socks.

I did order a couple of circulars in smaller sizes (but not the Options kit). I’ve not gotten them yet, but I’ll be interested to see what the joins are like. If they are good, I might like ‘em for lace knitting.

Speaking of socks, Anne asked:
I have a question for you about knitting socks in general. I just started my first pair a la “Wendy’s generic toe up pattern” and I’m noticing a very slight crease forming at the change-of-needles sections. Am I pulling too tightly? Not tight enough? I rarely work on dpns – I usually opt for two circs when knitting sleeves, etc. in the round and haven’t noticed this peculiarity before. Thanks for any advice you may have!

And later in the comments, kmk offered this solution:
For Anne/ewelittledickens with the crease problem in her socks on dpns: I avoid that by, when I come to the end of a needle, instead of using the needle I just freed up to work the stitches on the next needle, I work the next couple stitches onto that same needle I just used before I start using the needle I just freed up. Did that make sense? If not, Wendy can surely explain it better. What it does it move the boundary between the needles slowly around the sock instead of in a perfect vertical column that can crease.

It makes sense to me. icon smile Can You Stand It?

Can You Block It?

Julie asked:
How important is sock-blocking? I’ve blocked lace, and a sweater, and the odd scarf, but socks never struck me as needing it so much. But the sock-blockers are pretty cool.

Me? I don’t block socks. Ever. I bought the sock blockers simply because they display the socks nicely for photographing. I like to keep photos of all my knitting projects, and the sock blockers will result in better sock photos.

Can You Handle It?

Lena in Maryland commented:
I just recently bought a noni bag pattern from jimmybeanswool. It is the triangle baguette with camellia flowers. My only concern/dissapointment is that she doesnt explain how to attach the handles. And all her purses are shown with handles. Have you wondered how you will attach your handles? Please let me know if you figure this out!

Ah, but she does explain how to attach purse handles — it’s just not on the pattern. It’s on the Noni Bags website, on a page entitled Handles 101.

She has a similar page that discusses blocking, and one that discusses gauge for felted knits. I recommend that you read ‘em all if you are making a Noni Bag.

Can You Sew It?

I plan (I think) on inserting a zipper and a lining into my Noni bag. To construct the lining, I might actually use my poor old sewing machine for something other than sewing steeks for Dale of Norway sweaters.

I have a lovely Husqvarna Viking sewing machine, that, when it was new over 20 years ago, was their top of the line model. Looking at the website I linked to there makes me think that my machine looks like a Model T compared to what they have now.

I used to sew. A lot. I made designer creations from Vogue patterns. Back when I was a young thang and just starting a career I’d make a suit in a weekend, complete with lining. Those days are gone forever. I know it’s been, well, at least 12 years since I’ve sewn any clothing, because I’ve lived in my condo for just over 12 years, and the sewing machine has not been used for anything other than steek-sewing or repairs since I’ve lived here. I sort of feel sorry for my sewing machine — it deserves so much more attention that it has gotten for the past 12 years.

Hmmmmmm . . . I seem to have digressed a bit.

I’ve purchased some material to use as a lining.

lining072006 Can You Stand It?

I’ve purchased some very stiff interfacing to give my bag some shape. And I’ve purchased bamboo handles and hardware.

handles072006 Can You Stand It?

I’ve got purse feet on order. I’ll not order a zipper until after I felt the bag, because I won’t know exactly how big the opening will end up being until after I’ve felted.

As you can see, I’m going to do my best to turn this into a well-structured, usable bag. We’ll see how I do. Full disclosure, as per usual.

Lucy sez:

lucy072006 Can You Stand It?

“Have a good weekend. Chill!”

Mid-Week Musings

Last week Dave posted a photo of some sock blockers he got from this eBay seller and pronounced them “awesome.” I immediately checked them out, and found a pair that called out to me.

I got them in the mail yesterday (fast shipping!) and I am extremely pleased. They come in three sizes — my Fleece Artist socks are modelling the size medium here.

sockblockers071906 Mid Week Musings

And here is the first of my Schaeffer Anne socks.

sock071906 Mid Week Musings

Noni, Noni, Noni

There were a couple of questions about where to buy patterns for Noni bags and yarn requirements for the bags.

Two places online where I know you can buy the patterns: kpixie and Angelika’s Yarn Store. I’ve ordered from both these places and have had goid experiences with both. On both these sites the yarn requirements are listed, so you can order your yarn when you buy the pattern. Angelika’s carries the Cascade 220 specified in the patterns, while kpixie carries Galway, which is a good sub for Cascade 220.

If you Google, you will, of course, find more sources. These are the two that I have personal experience with and can recommend.

I did knit a bit more on my Noni bag — I was pleased to note that my hand pain is gone today, so apparently that was just a temporary thing.

noni071906 Mid Week Musings

And a wee bit more progress on the log cabin blanket.

logcabin071906 Mid Week Musings

That is all.

lucy071906 Mid Week Musings

Project Lust

The first time I stumbled upon these patterns, I did the mental equivalent of putting my hands over my ears and going “La-la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you.”

But my lust for a Noni bag, of course, won out. Yesterday I got in the mail the pattern and materials to make the skinny baguette.

nonipattern071806 Project Lust

I thought about making it in a different colorway, but I love the photo of the stripey bag, so I’m making mine in pink with touches of green. Out of Cascade 220.

cascade071806 Project Lust

I do love pink. I just realized that recently, to my surprise. I think all of the last few purses I’ve bought have had pink in them. I never considered myself a girly girl, but I do love girly purses!

I’m not going to do the spider-mum embellishment, though. I bought the Noni pattern for the Camilla Flowers, and will knit a couple of those instead.

nonipattern071806a Project Lust

I knitted a bit. Cat toes included for scale.

noni071806 Project Lust

Unfortunately, I realized that knitting on size 11 needles makes my already aching finger ache a bit more, so that’s all I did. I’ll knit a little on it every day, I guess, until it’s done.

I returned to my log cabin blanket.

logcabin071806 Project Lust

Thank you so much to you generous people who offered via email or comments to send me sock leftovers to add to the blanket. There’s no need, really. I’ve got plenty of sock yarn waiting in the wings to be knit into socks, and my plan for the blanket is just to add to it as I finish socks and have bits leftover. This really is a process piece for me. But it is lovely of you all to offer — thank you!

logcabin071806b Project Lust

Hillary asked to see the back of the blanket — here you go.

logcabin071806a Project Lust

I’m adding in new colors by knitting a few stitches with both the old and new yarn. After a few rows, I cut the excess ends off. The back certainly doesn’t look as good as the front, but it’s not too offensive to me.

To close, Lucy demonstrates the “tail over face” sleep position.

lucy071806 Project Lust