Archive for the ‘the hook’ Category

Seriously, this post has been sitting in the post bullpen for over a week, and it’s getting silly. Things are happening and I need to talk about them before they are over and lose their WIP status.

(1) Knitting & Crocheting
I have been doing both. A lot.

Bigger than my hand

Almost Finished Starghan
A blanket for a friend of mine who’s due in June. She’s a performer, he’s a performer, so the baby must be a star. All that’s left is to weave in those damned ends. All of them.

Blueberry Hat
A blueberry hat for the same baby. Both projects in Bernat Cottontots (via Ravelry). The hat took like 5 minutes to make. Or two days. And I still have to weave in the ends.

Stripey Mittens
I finished the stripey mittens, and I love them. They are the perfect antidote to crummy winter weather, and I’ll probably make a matching hat (but with grey as the main color) for funsies.

One repeat done
This is the sock I started to combat the gloom of winter. It’s a lot farther along than this, about ready to start the gusset, but I don’t have any pictures of it in its current state because of …

(2) The Weather
Which is foggy and craptastic today. Bad light, no picture. The weather is much better than previous months’ weather, but still not what I want it to be, which is warm and sunny and 75 degrees. Because I live in Northern Illinois. When the light gets better (when? if?), I’ll show off pictures of my new purchases, which include yarn and books (do I buy anything else?), and more current WIPs. Promise.

I’m also really excited about (3) My Physical Therapy which is now over! I’ve been seeing a massage therapist for my hip and leg problems, and as of this morning I have been discharged! I don’t have to come back to see her for this problem (unless I act like an idiot — meaning, like normal — and injure myself again)! Hooray! The pain in my hips and legs has kept me from working out, but since I’ve been going to her I feel 100 times better and have been hitting the gym 3 or 4 times a week, and will hopefully see some weight loss soon.

Now I’m off to find a better tea cozy pattern. My sister wants one and I want to make her one, but the pattern she picked isn’t making me happy, and the yarn wants to be something else. Anyone have any stellar tea cozy patterns they’ve made?

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You may remember that my camera became posessed by demons, that I had to send it away for an exorcism, and that I’ve been borrowing digital cameras both from cheerfully helpful people and from people who don’t even know about it. Because blogging is amazingly dull when one doesn’t have a digital camera.

I called the camera repair place the other day, and it turns out my camera is still “in the repair process” and isn’t likely to be done until next Friday or the Friday after that (Sep. 21st or 28th). No matter how hard I beg, and despite the fact that they’ve had it for a month already. I even offered them mohair in an offhand, under-the-table way (“Hey buddy, if you move me up in the queue I’ll send some great yarn your way”), but they remained unmoved. I know, I’m baffled too.

With that in mind, I’m going to show you pictures of old WIPs (and yes, they are still WIPs) that have been neglected in favor of more exciting projects, or less exciting projects, or abandoned by my capricious and small span of knitting attention. My hope is this will shame me into picking them back up (I’m not going to hold my breath, though). (Click the pictures for stats on yarn and needles, and for bigger images.)

First Example
The ultimate WIP — the first sock I ever started. It’s still in this state. The heel flap is done, the turn is made, but I didn’t have the guts to pick up the gusset stitches and fled to the realm of toe-up socks (of which I have still only made one and one-half pairs, more on that below). Why are gusset stitches intimidating? I have no idea. Well, I do, but I don’t want to go into it now. If I ever finish these, they’ll make great house socks.

Second Example
I know I’ve posted this picture on this blog before, but remember the lack of camera and indulge me a bit. Thank you. This is one of the second pair of socks, which I abandoned in June when they just weren’t speaking to me anymore. These might get picked up pretty soon, as the weather is getting chilly (it’s supposed to frost tonight! Wow!) and the colors sing a lot more now in autumn than they did in spring.

Third Example
Stripey swatch
Back and front
These are bits of a toddler-sized cardigan which I started when the intended recipient was mere months old. She is now approaching her 2nd birthday and the cardigan is rapidly becoming obsolete. I might finish this one and give it to another deserving baby, or I might repurpose the yarn for a baby blanket. The pattern is not interesting at all, so I find myself leaning toward the repurpose-to-blanket scenario.

Fourth Example
This is the cuff of the second sock I ever started and never finished. I only started one, as if that makes me less of an awful knitter. I did get pretty far (farther than the top picture indicates), but when the deer hit Nick’s car and he (Nick, not the deer) had to go to the emergency room, this was the only knitting I had with me and I couldn’t remember the pattern. Full story in that link there. This is one sock I really don’t think I’ll be keeping. I’m going to rip it out and maybe make a scarf of it, or wristies. Some projects have too much weird juju about them and they just won’t work.

Fifth (and final) Example
Like a spider web
small point
This is the big one. When I was planning my wedding and reading knit blogs while I was supposed to be choosing invitations or flatware, I read lots about wedding shawls. “That’s exactly what I need,” I exclaimed in a flurry of knitterly passion, “a shawl for my wedding! In July! And I’ll make the pattern up as I go! And do wedding planning at the same time!” Right. Well, I had just started knitting and didn’t really get it (when trying to make a lace pattern: “Why do I keep getting these huge HOLES in my knitting?!”) so I switched to crochet pretty early on. And I did make up the pattern entirely on my own. One problem with this oh-so-well-thought-out plan was that I got married in July and didn’t really need a shawl because July in Northern Illinois is a sweaty bastard. Another problem was that I got to a sort-of finishing point on the shawl before it was big enough to go over my shoulders. Now it’s languishing somewhere in my knitting corner. It might become a table-topper for the holidays, what with the silver-sparkly and all. Or I might keep going on it and just see how damn big it can get. Either way, I’m sure I’ll share the pattern so you too can enjoy your own white elephant of a crochet project. I know you want to.

And if you’re wondering what’s going on with my actual WIPs, I will tell you. The Log Cabin blocks have all been knit together (4 strips of 5 blocks each), and I’m sorting out how I’m going to pick up stitches on the long edge. Tomato top is coming along slowly, and more slowly now that the weather has cooled off and I’m thinking more about woolen long-sleeved pullovers and less about cotton-blend short-sleeved tops. I did cast on for Icarus and got all of 8 rows done before life got completely insane and I couldn’t concentrate (and the tiny tiny laceweight yarn scared the hell out of me). And yesterday I made a warshrag for a friend.

It only looks like I’ve been slacking.

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I just realized that the last four posts of mine have been entirely without photos. That’s boring. Really boring. So, to revitalize this blog, I give you pictures of what I’ve been up to during my non-knitting time.

1. I haven’t had these since fourth grade

I now have bangs.

(I was going to talk only about this new haircut and title this post “She Bangs” [because for some reason Ricky Martin songs are burned into my brain and nothing NOTHING! can remove them] but I didn’t want the really creepy perverts finding this site. I’m only comfortable with the sort-of-weird.)

The last time I had bangs was the fourth grade. I would get bored in class and just stare at my hair, which screwed up my vision, and which resulted in my not having bangs ever again (and also in my getting glasses in sixth grade, the end result of which are my new glasses visible in these fine photographs).

I got the rest of my hair cut, too, but I’m still not sure how I like it. The very enthusiastic stylist suggested layers, and I wanted a change so layers sounded really good. Then she took off so much hair that I feel dangerously close to mullet territory. THEN! she blow dried it all poofy and put more hairspray in it than I use in an entire year, and I looked like a lion. A lion, people. I’ve been wearing my hair up ever since.

2. What does a vegan have on her pizza?

We made pizza on Sunday night, using the following ingredients…

black beans…

diced cooked potato…

sauteed/carmelized onions (so tasty!)…

fresh mushrooms…

green olives (for which I have a mad passion)…

avocado (which we peeled and diced, of course)…

and fake mozzerella cheese, from Vegan Gourmet.

And pizza crust, and pizza sauce. And it all turned out amazing and tasty and good, but I didn’t get a picture of the finished product because I was hungry like the wolf and ate it all up before I even thought of the camera. Best pizza I’ve had in a long time.

3. When you can’t stitch, plan your next project!

Or your next project after the fifty in line ahead of this one.

There’s this long story behind the pictures I’m going to show you, but as I want this post to be more about the pictures and less about me rambling on and on about some crazy story, I give you the pictures.

This is Nine-Patch Number One…

…and this is Nine-Patch Number Two.

I started making these squares about three years ago, thinking that I’d make Nick an afghan (a visible and warming manifestation of my love). Turns out these squares are pretty small (7 inches across). I’ve made 20 of the buggers, and I’m not making any more. My current plan is to (1) Weave in the ends, (2) Crochet them together, (3) Somehow make one afghan out of two giant squares. I think I’m going to crochet a border around the nine-patches, then attach the two and make that the central panel of the blanket, then work some basic stitch on the sides.

Easy as pie, right? I’ll get to it right after I finish everything else.

It will make a great 15-year anniversary present.

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In the swirling madness that was my wedding preparation, I forgot that Sunday the 23rd of July was my blogiversary.


Way to go, little blog!


I started this bloggyblog in the hopes that it would take the place of the monthly newsletter I was sending out to all my past crochet students who expressed interest in getting updates & new info between class sessions. It didn’t really work out that way. Very few people cared enough to check in with a website–a quality that astonished me, as I had just discovered crocheting and knitting blogs and loved that everyone was sharing their progress (struggles and all), and couldn’t wait to read what everyone was going to say next. I also started wanted to write more for myself and less as a font of information for a group of stitchers who were not nearly as rabid as I was about the idea of staying up-to-the-minute current on the latest stitch-type news, or learning every possible technique all at once (or at least were not as vocal about it as I was). I also wanted to write better (after 3 years of writing mosly APA-style lab papers, my skills were honed to a sponge-like dullness).

And thus was born the blog you see today.


When I named it “get your hook on”, of course, I was a crocheter with absolutely no knitting aspriations. Now that I have a foot planted firmly in either camp (but with a definite leaning toward knitting), I’m considering a name change but have no real plans for that. I don’t know how it would go over or what I would change it to.

(Yes, I just ended a sentence–nay, a paragraph!–with a preposition. Having just read The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson, I learned that the injunction against ending sentences with a preposition began with some dude’s opinion that it doesn’t look nice, and got put into some Great English Rulebook and is now official and stuff. While I’m usually a stickler for grammar and rules, it makes me chuckle to know that the rules sprouted from some random guy’s mildly expressed opinion, and that they have led to sentence constructions such as “That is something up with which we will not put!” [a true story… one of Nick’s law school professors said it. Jokingly, one presumes] There’s probably some rule against massive and constant use of parentheticals, but you can see how well I adhere to that one.)


. So yes, blogiversary number one has come and gone, and I am done with wedding planning for the rest of my life (so help me, if I have a daughter I will run away to Azerbaijan if she wants a big wedding and just show up the day of. So very supportive.), and I hope to make some changes around here in the housekeeping department. You know, keep up with my projects on the sidebar, join a swap or two, start a weekly something that makes me think (as you can see, any sort of kick in the pants in that direction will be welcome). We’ll see what happens.

*(All the pictures? They’re projects that I started over the past year and have not yet finished. I hope to better myself this year.)

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I know. You don’t want to hear any more about the wedding. You’ve tolerated my whining and ranting because you just want me to get back to the fiber arts, for the love of pete. I know this because I don’t want to hear any more about my wedding. I’m wedding-ed out. And more friends are getting married this weekend! And Nick and I are in the wedding! And today our own wedding is one month away! Panic!


Okay. I’m fine. Where was I? Oh yes, yarn and lovely things made from yarn. What a pretty concept. I like yarn.

The wedding shawl (I just can’t get away, can I? Good lord, I’ll be so happy on the 23rd) is coming along nicely.

Here is the latest round, at one of the points. The points are getting bigger and may eventually take over the whole thing, like The Blob or a really sparkly fungus. This is the one thing that I want to be really elaborate (or as elaborate as I can make it in the next month. One Month! Oh My Freaking God!), because I’m making it myself and boy howdy do I want my on-display handcraft to pop.

As I mentioned before, I had run out of the Patons Brilliant I was using. I went to my lovely LYS (The Yarn Exchange, visit them because they are lovely people and if you’re ever in DeKalb let me know and I’ll meet you there because it smells like cozy wool and it’s delightful and I love it) to purchase some but they were also out of the color I needed. Not wanting a two-tone shawl (though the Ruby color would have looked stunning, not so appropriate for my blue/pink/yellow wedding), I asked for more and they of course ordered more and it was very nice. I went in after a week to check on my order and the owner said that she told Patons it was for a wedding shawl and they put a rush on the shipment (!!) and and that Patons wants a picture of my wedding shawl when it’s all done.

Holy crap, Patons wants a picture of something I made. I’m falling over every time I think of it.

Remember that yarn I had rambling everywhere willy-nilly on my green post?

It is now a sock. Or, more accurately, the beginning of a sock. It’s a tube, people, and it’s a pretty one. I love it, and I love the ChiaGoo 5″ dpns (size 4 for this sportweight yarn, good for a first sock which will become winter boot socks). I can’t find a website for them, and Google thinks I mean “Chicago double pointed,” which opens up a whole new realm of possibilities, so you’ll have to take my word for it that they are pretty darn good. And pointy enough that I can stab the living daylights out of this yarn and split it quite effectively.

It may be because I’ve completely lost my ability to focus due to the wedding and its never-ending torrent of details that must be attended to this very instant! or all will come crashing down and don’t you want everything to match exactly, you heathen?, but I’ve been casting on for a bunch of projects lately.

My latest obsession: Picovoli, because I am a sheep. But a sheep who knows what looks amazing. The yarn is KnitPicks (to whom I cannot link because–and I kid you not–“There has been an overflow or underflow of GC memory pressure.”) Shine sport in Orchid, and it looks stunning on Ziggy, I think. Hopefully it’ll look nice on me too. Considering I have no idea what my gauge is (I used to kind of know what it was when I was a thrower, but now that I pick … ? Who knows. Maybe I’ll measure my gauge today. Hmm.)

I also swatched for the Baby Maggie sweater (the yarn for which was purchased a hundred years ago, or maybe just back in February),

and got confused. The pattern calls for Size 6 (4.0mm) needles. My size 6’s (from Clover) are 4.25mm. What the damn hell is going on?

If you clicky-clicky you can see that the needles clearly say 6 4.25 mm. Clearly something is very wrong, because all the charts I have seen comparing needles sizes (that would be a total of one, in Stephanie’s latest book) say that US 6 = 4.0mm and US 7 = 4.5mm. Where does this mysterious 4.25mm needle come into play? I couldn’t figure it out, so I went with my US 5’s, which are aluminum and so very annoying when paired with 100% cotton. I’ll probably use my mutant 4.25mm bamboo needles for this sweater anyway… I’m making the 18-month-old size and if it’s too big, the child can grow into it. As children do.

And I haven’t cast on with this stuff yet, but I did buy KnitPicks Shadows laceweight (3 skanks) and plan to turn two of them (maybe?) into lacey scarf-type gifts. After the wedding is over and everything is back to normal.

Heather turned one skank into a ball for me. Man, I want my own ball winder.

And finally, there is a new e-zine out there built (does one build an e-zine?) by Yvonne of Cogknition, called Faces of Yve. It’s all about web design in the smaller scale, how to tweak your blog template, how to make buttons (I asked her a question and she used it in her button column–way cool!), etc. It’s a good resource, and she writes in a totally approachable style so you don’t feel like a heel for not knowing what an HTML tag is, exactly.

And finally finally, I leave you with a picture of my new notions bag, advertising our honeymoon destination and the kind of people we hope to meet on the way.

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The wedding shawl is growing by leaps and bounds. Or by dc’s and ch’s. Or by whatever means with which you want to define growth. This is what it looked like before, and here is what I have now:

Round eleventyhundred, or maybe 19, posing on the amazing chenille blanket made for me by my sister Laura.

A not-so-great picture of the whole thing. It’s hard to photograph it without help now that it’s getting bigger.

Here it is, folded in half which is probably how I’ll wear it. (I don’t know… I’m making up everything about this shawl as I go along) It’s still not as big as I want it–it doesn’t reach my elbows when I wear it around my shoulders, and I’m out of yarn now. Oh darn, I have to go to the yarn store and purchase more yarn. How troubling.

I’m aiming to make the points a little bigger and lacier, and I’m checkout out doily patterns on this here internet to see what people have done to make a really stunning point/border thing, and I’m thinking: why the hell didn’t I just use a doily pattern in the first place? Bigger hook + fatter yarn = instant shawl.

Things to remember next time I make one of these things. Which will be never.

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I don’t know where I got the idea to make my own wedding shawl. It was probably based in a mad delusion in which I am better at both knitting and time management. I was thinking romantic thoughts involving the words “heirloom” and “fond memories” and imagining a stunning shawl that would make people who know me only as the tomboy anti-domestic-arts girl say “You made this? You made this??” So I suppose it’s all one big ego-stroking exercise, when you get down to it. But really, is that so wrong?

In the process of creating “fond memories” and an “heirloom,” there have been many many incarnations of the wedding shawl.

First it was this knit pattern, then it wasn’t.

The demise of the knit… it was taking too long. Plus, knitted lace? A big step up from where I stand now, which is in the kiddie pool of knitting.

Then it was this crochet pattern,

and then it wasn’t.

I didn’t like the solid look anymore. Because I am fickle and also a masochist?

And then it was going to be a crocheted wedding-ring edging (kind of like this edging, but less red and green) on a piece of store-bought fabric… and then it wasn’t, because for the love of yarn, I’ve been crocheting for 3 years now and I have taught people how to crochet and I can DO THIS, darnit! I can make my own wedding shawl and it will be awesome!

I had checked out A Gathering of Lace from the library, and was drooling over the circular shawls in there (Feather & Fan Shawl is my life’s ambition at the moment) and shazam! I saw before me a crocheted circular shawl. I picked up my hook and my yarn. I had no idea what I was doing–no pattern, just an idea. I’ve never designed before, but I started making a solid circle in double crochet stitch. It got pretty big and I got pretty excited.

(Do you know that kind of creative excitement? When you see the end result in your head and your breathing comes up a little short? I used to get it all the time when I wrote craptacular poetry in highschool, when an idea would hit me and I realized it was the perfect way to express my angst and inner turmoil about my wildly over-dramatic and truly awful relationship with an emotional troll named Brian)

Anyway… back to the shawl. This is what happened after a day of “I wonder what it would look like if I do this.”

I had no pattern or plan, just a day off work and an unlimited supply of patience and yarn. It was only after I had completed the 5th round that I noticed the star/sunburst thing in the center has 13 points. Oh no! Unlucky! And on my wedding day! Gasp! I considered ripping it back, but decided that would ask more of my sanity than I’m willing to give, here at nearly 60 days to my wedding (good god!). Then I named it the You Make Your Own Luck shawl, or I will when it’s finished.

It’s not very big still, and I had the whacked-out idea of making it into a rectangle (don’t ask), but I’m working on it and trying to get inspiration from knitted circle shawls and crocheted doilies. I think the next round will be some combination of shells and net, but we’ll see. I’m completely making this up as I go, and I have no idea of the current stitch count on that last round.

But it’s mine and I’m really really proud of it and have high hopes for making snooty relatives’ jaws drop in 61 days.

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