Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas knitting

I'm going through the never ending mittens. I only have 1 pair done and most of a second. There are 2 pairs left and 34 days left til Christmas. I can churn out kids mittens quickly, but mittens for mom will the problem. I also thought about making my little sister a scarf, but that's not going to happen this late. Older sis has a hat I made that while I like it, matches nothing that I own. She loves hats, and will wear it.

I have one sock done for hubby and I don't want to knit the other. I want to work on socks, but socks for me not him. It's like my brain needs a break from mittens.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Crocheting and Knitting

Every year, I say that I will start earlier with Christmas. I like to craft gifts for family since A) a skein of yarn costs $3-8 per skein. and B) it shows that I actually do care. I will say that I did plan out gifts this year earlier than last. I knew for the most part what I was making. Mom asked last Christmas for mittens, and I figured my nieces and nephews would need a pair too. I say a pair and not 3 since I plan on crocheting a chain to keep the mittens together. You make it just long enough to stick out either arm hole (a little longer so the kids can actually put their hands in). One pair is done and has been since early October. But with me dislocating my shoulder at the end of last month, that made me pull back on crafting.

I am crafting again. I got a sock done for my husband's Christmas gift. And a cuff done on some mittens for my other niece, but not much else. I do have a project that I'm crafting for pay which needs to be done by Thanksgiving.

I really do need to think more before Christmas. We've got 43 crafting days left and I don't want to be up Christmas Eve crafting ( as I am every year I've done crafting for Christmas). But at the same time I don't want to be listening to Christmas music in July so I can get into the holiday spirit for crafting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Giving up

When knitting it seems that giving up on a project is the hardest thing to do. Once I've started a project I like to complete it no matter how much I dislike it. I did this during the summer with my Traveling Woman Shawl. I didn't like the color, but I wanted the shawl so bad. It took me 3 months to realize I would never wear the shawl because the chocolate shawl would make my face look really dark. I have brown hair so I don't wear brown near my face.

Today I had to admit defeat on the mittens that I posted about in mitten surgery. I had to rechart them since it was too small, then I made too much ribbing (without realizing it), the floats were messy as were the decreases. The final straw was the thumb not fitting and having gaps.  I  was getting frustrated knitting them. And knitting shouldn't be frustrating.  So I'm giving up on my OWL for HPKCHC. Next term if I play along (IRL I'll be taking 18 credit hours for classes) I'll be a 4th year without an OWL complete (OWLs are large projects taking 2-3 months to craft as opposed to less than a month).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mitten surgery

I've been working on a pair of stranded mittens for just over a month now (6 weeks). I put them away for 2 reasons. I dislocated my shoulder about 3 weeks ago now and really couldn't knit for 2 weeks. I also had a problem with the ribbing being too long. it came to the middle of my forearm. I didn't know when I started that 2.5 inches of ribbing would be too much. I guess I should have guessed since most stranded mittens have tiny cuffs.

Today I finally said to myself "Self, you need to fix that mitten and make the other one. If you don't do it now, you never will and a lonely mitten is a terrible thing." So I undid the cast on edge and wasn't getting anywhere trying to unravel that. So I made a small cut about 2 rows before the length I wanted the mitten and picked up stitches from there. It gave me a manageable length for the mitten.

Unfortunately, I did this spur of the moment, so I don't have a before picture, but there are after pictures.

That's how much was cut off. It's about an inch and a half.

See, much more of a manageable edge.
It still needs a thumb but I'm happy to be working on these again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Galina but Galena

I've calmed down a little after my initial reaction today. I got a PM pretty much telling me off that I wanted to be Galina Khmeleva (who does lovely work, don't get me wrong).  I am not her, nor am I pretending to be. I didn't even know she existed when I picked this name.

I picked this name because I almost (1 semester short, before I decided that I didn't like it) had a geology degree. My favorite mineral was galena. It was metallic, with a high specific gravity. It's found near coal mining areas. I fell in love with it. It was also very pretty to say.  Also it began with a G and my name begins with a G.

I've gone by this nickname for about 7 years now, long before I was a knitter (I was crocheting at the time). I have several online friends, and even some in person that just know me as Galena. I see no reason to change it.

If you are looking for Galina and Orenburg lace, follow this link:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Knitting Retreat

I went to my first knitting retreat this past weekend. I didn't know what to expect really, I've heard of some being really structured and some being not so much. This one had some, which I liked, but it wasn't rigid. We work as we wanted, but there was time to take a class if we chose.

We started out picking out grabbags.
Each was slightly different, but we each got a skein of a KnitPicks yarn (mine is Wool of the Andes Pumpkin) two skeins of another type ( Classic Elite) and 2 sets of stitch markers. There's also a tape measure, stitch holders, needle inventory, KnitPicks Emergecy Fix keychain, and a pattern (given by the the designer).

I did decide to take the class they offered since I've done very little with colorwork and I've been knitting 4 years. I picked out an easy pattern (Picot Hem Snowflake Hat).
 I got about halfway through the star/snowflake before we left. I'm having a lot of fun with this. I couldn't get the method of wrapping the yarn around the needle then removing it to make the float, but I've got it now. And I'm using both hands, so learning right handed wasn't a total waste. I'm looking forward to doing more colorwork.I think I even have my next project picked out for it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The month of Finishing

Learning to knit right handed did not turn out well. It aggravated the carpal tunnel that's starting in that hand and was just uncomfortable. I now say to knit the way you like and don't let anyone tell you you're knitting incorrectly. That and I wasn't too thrilled about what I was knitting (baby hats).  Medically I may not be able to have kids (i.e. these projects weren't for me...I'm a selfish knitter/crocheter what can I say).

Over at Ravelry (which if you haven't seen and are reading this blog, go check it out!) I'm a member of the HP knitting/crochet house cup. Yes, I'm a Harry Potter nerd, and you had no idea how much. They have 3 month terms with 6 classes each month. Then a month in between terms for sign-ups (sign up will be happening this month if you want to join in on the fun).

This month the focus there is on not starting anymore projects but finishing the ones you have. So far I've finished 2 projects. Both are not for me surprisingly.

First, my husband's birthday was Tuesday. I'm constantly showing him patterns and asking if he likes them. I'm still trying to understand his style, we've been married for a year and together for 4 so still not that long. I knew he would like this hat though since he had 2 just like it.

I'm not too thrilled with the pattern (Lidsville from Son of a Stitch and Bitch). Hubby has a big head, 24" around. Most hat patterns are sized for  23" heads. Sizing up wasn't the problem, just used a size bigger hook, the inside lining didn't size up, and there was a lot of seaming. Hubby loves it and wants a couple more.

The other project is a Christmas present, so it won't be posted right now. I'll just say they are lovely soft and I want to keep them for myself.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


With the untimely departure of the Lime and Violet podcast, I've been looking for another podcast to listen to while I knit. This is difficult for several reasons.

I liked the community LnV gave, the forums were fun, and I met a lot of awesome knitter and crochet people through it. I also felt like I was a part of the podcast, like LnV were friends.  The second part is that I never really listened to any other knitting or crochet podcasts with the exception of KnitPicks Podcast. I also really liked the length of the LnV podcast. It gave me at least 1.5 hours of steady knitting time. With the help of some people over at Ravelry, I've started listening to some other podcasts.

Brass Needles -  knitting and scifi/cosplay. I've listened to about 4 episodes each about 20-25 minutes long. I'm really not sure how I feel about this. It seems to be more scifi than knitting for me. Don't get me wrong, I love scifi/cosplay/anime, but I'm kinda indifferent. I'm going to listen to a few more casts, and see how I feel.

Knitter with Critters - I adore this 'cast! They're short episodes (about 12 minutes each) but she does something that I like. She talks about what's on her needles and what's off of them.  She also has a section in the 'cast about terms you may not know (double knitting, felting (fulling), what mercinized cotton is) which helps you learn while listening. The sad thing is that she doesn't have a lot of podcast space so she has to delete some back episodes, but don't let that stop you from checking it out!

Sticks and String - I remember liking this but I don't remember much about it.  Will listen again and update.

Lets Knit Together -  This is a video podcast that I love to watch. It's another podcast where I always learn something new while watching. Steeking doesn't seem so scary after this podcast (and that's saying something!)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First projects again

I learned to knit from Deb Stoller's book "Stitch and Bitch" back in March 2006. The first project I made was the kitchy kerchief (spelling may be off since the book burned in the fire and I haven't yet repurchased it). It was a mess yarn overs everywhere. But I didn't care I made it.

Before this even, when I started crocheting again in 2003 (I learned when I was 6, and that wasn't 2003). I made a double crochet scarf the first 10 rows went in, since I wasn't crocheting the chain stitch. Even worse I tried to make a bear and wasn't making single crochets but slip stitches. That thing would have taken forever to make.

Right now, I'm at a first project again. I'm learning to throw. My first project with that? Baby hats. I thought it would be easy! But there's new motions, wrapping the yarn, and moving the yarn to the front to purl. I think I should have added some flat things in like dishclothes in with it.

Thinking back on first projects makes me realize my skill level has increased quite a bit in both knit and crochet. But learning right handed is completely different. I may go cast on a dishcloth since then I can learn a little at a time.

I need some cheering up, so if anyone reads this post about your first project in knitor crochet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What's on my needles

This month I've been trying to finish what's on my needles, with varying degrees of success.

In March, I started making a baby blanket for a friend who has her baby shower this weekend. I'm going to be unable to attend since I'm 7 hours away, but I do want to finish the blanket and send it to her relatively soon. I'm making it in strips and hopefully will use SimplyKnit's Join as you go.

In February, I started a binary cable hat for hubby since he left his in the apartment before it burned. This is the third time I've made one, and it's becoming more difficult every time. It's not that it's a boring pattern either, it's lovely and the cables turn out wonderful. It's  just that making the same pattern 3 times (and 4 if you count I want another) it wears one out. I've been making progress on this and should finish today.

In March, I also started an Elephante. I planned to have it finished my niece and nephew's birthday in April. It didn't happen.  I've picked this up every so often. I'm not thrilled with the pooling colors.

I also lost my sock needles. I could have swore I had them when the fire happened, but they are no where to be found. I ordered a new set from KnitPicks and am trying to avoid casting some Devon Socks (in Sock Innovations). I have enough projects right now.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Queen C's Crown

I started this pattern as a joke over at one of the Ravelry groups. I liked the pattern so much that I decided to post it over here. Feel free to use it for personal use. Any corrections can be e-mailed to ghargis at

Basic knowledge of crochet is needed. Pattern is worked in double crochet with some single crochet. Knowledge of increases and decreases needed.

Required items:
Size H crochet hook for child, Size I/J for adult
1/2 skein (about 100-120y) Worsted WeightMC (purple)
very little Worsted Weight CC1 (black)
1/2 skein (about 100-120 y) Worsted Weight CC2 (gold) 1/2 skein (about 100-120 y) Worsted Weight

 Ch 3.
 Row 1: 11 dc in first chain. (12sts)
Row 2: 2 dc in each stitch around. (24 sts)
Row 3: 1 dc in same space as ch, *1 dc in next st, 2 dc in the one after   repeat from * end with 1dc in st (36 sts)
Row 4: 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in next 2 sts, *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 sts repeat from * around.(48 sts)
Row 5: 2 dc in same st as join, 1 dc in next 3 sts, (2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts) around. (60 sts)
Row 6-10: 1 dc in each st. (This should end just above the ears).
Join row using CC1

For adult hat, switch to larger hook
Row 1 &2: ch1,  1 sc in each st across (60sts), at the end of  row2 join round 2 with CC2
Round 3: 1 sc in each st around
Round 4: Ch 3, 1 dc in next st, *3 dc in next, 1 dc in next 3, 3dc decrease (yo, pull up loop from st below, yo bringing loop through 2 loops on hook, yo pull up loop from st below, yo bringing loop through 2 loops on hook, yo, pull up loop from st below, yo bringing through 2 loops on hook, yo bring through all 4 loops on hook), 1 dc in next 3 sts repeat from *.
Round 5-8: Continue in ripple pattern (row 4) following peaks an troughs.

Note: When the trough includes the join st, yo, pull up loop from st below, yo go through 2 loops, yo pull up loop from st below, yo pulling through 2 loops, go through ch st grab a loop and pull through all loops on hook.
On the next row, sl 2 sts , then ch 3, follow ripple pattern end with 3dc decrease through the slipped stitch.

Row 9: Using CC1 or CC2, ch1, *sc in next 3 st, [sc in next st, picot st (ch 3 , sl st into first ch, sc in same st] sc in next 3, 3sc dec repeat from * round. Bind off and weave in ends.

Fold up hat on CC1 (black) section.

 Copyright ©2010 by Gretchen Barr

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    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Update on not updating

    I haven't used the blog much. Right after I got it, I had finals and then we lost everything in a house fire December 19.

    My entire stash was gone.

    This was remedied by ladies in the knitting group, and by a group on ravelry. I now have a 34 gallon bin overflowing with yarn.

    I haven't really been knitting much lately. I have a baby blanket for a friend on the needles,, hat for Jason, my husband, that I've been working on since late February; and zero motivation.

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