Saturday, June 6, 2009

eek! Another month has gone by....

To my three faithful readers: I'm very sorry I've been so lax. And I don't really have an excuse- it's not like I've been too busy...

The thing in the store didn't work out, unfortunately, but I've started a new venture: An Etsy storefront! For all you ignorants, is a website where people buy and sell their handmade stuff on the internets. I've been meaning to set up a storefront for a while, but didn't get around to it until I got home for summer break, which was about three weeks ago. Here's the link to my storefront:

My username/store name is "InfiKnits" (Genuis, isn't it? It came to me out of nowhere). So far I've got nine things listed- my three backpacks, the windowpane purse, sun pillow (which I've listed as a "custom image pillow"-- more on that in a bit), fabric strips purse, and three sweet entrelac hats that I've made in the last week.

So what have I been working on since I got home? Not as much as I'd like. I'm not sure how I spend my time, but it seems to fly by without me getting much done. I have done some cool things. I've been drawing charts and knitting some intarsia designs for the custom pillows. Here's the deal with those: I'm selling pillows that have custom image designs on them. I made a few sample designs, which I'll post here-- a cool sun, a flower, and a rainbow. I wrote on Etsy that I can make almost any image that a customer wants, but I'm not sure how Etsy's custom item deal works yet. I'm also working on another line of pillows with a similar theme, but more personalized. I've made one sample swatch so far. Basically, the idea is that I can knit your (or anyone's) initials into a pillow! The sample one has "A.L. (Heart) C.J." on it with a decorative border, but I can make ANY name/initial/word that is requested. I'm not sure how to translate that to Etsy yet, so this may be better explored on my (theoretical) website, which is nonexistant right now but which I HOPE to create in a few weeks. The website will offer more options for custom items, I think, and I'm really excited about that.

Pictures! You've seen the backpacks. I'll post the stuff I've been working on in the last few weeks, and the ADORABLE hats.

Intarsia sun I designed. That was the first one I made, and the one that helped me realize that knitting charts can be VERY deceiving. This is a problem I've been having. When you draw a circle on a knitting chart, it looks like a circle. But when you knit it, it comes out like a very FLAT circle. Knitting groooows horizontally. So I have to be more careful about that in the future and make things much taller in the charts if I want them to look normal in the knitting.
Cute flower, worked in intarsia. I used two solid colors and one varigated yarn for the petals, so it looks pretty cool. However, the stepping on the petals came out a little funky. It's much harder than it seems to make shapes round in knitting because of the stepping of each stitch.
Rainbow. One of my faves. I had to draw the chart twice because the first time it was way too wide (see above note about horizontal GROWING!!) and even this chart was pretty wide. However, I think it came out pretty cool. It is also worked in intarsia, and it was pretty easy as intarsia goes. The only tricky part was the cloud shaping because for intarsia you need a new peice of yarn for EACH occurance of EACH color within one row. So at times I'd be working with like four different supplies of white yarn. Luckily, intarsia makes it easy to disguise color changes, and what I love about it is that the fabric is FLAT.
The first entrelac hat I made. I had to experiment with the number of stitches, and the first few hats I made were with the wrong size circular needle so they came out a little looser than I liked, but they still look great. Plus, there's no binding off, and binding off in entrelac is really annoying. I started with nine rectangles of five stitches each, worked for five rows of rectangles, then I made the next row of rectangles with four stitches instead of five, and the next with three. Then I picked up stitches between each rectangle to create a solid fabric and steadily decreased until I had about seven stitches. I drew them together and tied them off. The only annoying thing about the hats is the weaving in of ends, but I have developed a technique which I think will help stop the ends from unraveling or poking out.
Second entrelac hat. Cute right? I love the colors. I made two more, one with two shades of purple, and one with red and orange, with a smaller needle that I bought at Michael's (size eights instead of ten). The fabric is much snugger and tighter. Definitely looks better. I'll be using those from now on.

I can't seem to find a picture of my knitted initials. I don't think I uploaded any to the computer. Well I'll do that later (hopefully).
Again, sorry for the long lag. The reason why I don't post that often, by the way, is because this blogger interface sucks. When I upload pictures, the pictures always appear right at the beginning of my post even if I've typed six paragraphs, so I have to manually drag each picture down to where I want it to be positioned. It's really annoying. If it were easier I'd post a lot more.
Till next time... maybe BEFORE July rolls around!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Big News

It's been a month since I last posted-- whoops! A lot of stuff is going on. For one: I'm selling my stuff in a store! It's not all set in stone yet, but a guy in this store expressed interest in my entrelac backpack when I went in a few weeks ago, so I went home and made a few more. They're pretty sweet:

It took me a while to work it all out. The original backpack was worked completely off the cuff, pretty unplanned, and everything was knit: the straps were knit (and took a long time to make), the drawstring was an I-Cord. It had some flaws, like the drawstring never stayed closed, so I sewed on a parachute buckle. Definitely a needed addition, but that didn't help the opening stay closed. After the guy asked me about the backpacks and I decided to make a few more, I wanted to make sure they looked really professional. I knit different straps, with thicker wool and yarn so it would go faster, and did the same I-cord drawstring and lining, but I didn't like the way the straps looked and I thought about making nylon straps from the fabric store. So I went to Jo-Anns and discovered so much great stuff for the bag: nylon strapping, strap adjustors, drawstring locks to thread the string through, nylon cord for the drawstring-- all kinds of neat stuff. Went home and sewed feverishly for a few hours. I had to rip out the black straps, which I'd already sewed in, so that was a hassle, but once I sewed in the new nylon straps I could see how much better it would look. The first set were a little short, doable, but I adjusted my measurements for the future bags. It looked great. I threaded the new drawstring, it was really hard getting the nylon straps through the lock, but once it was in it looked great. And I sewed on the buckle. I sewed pockets into the fabric linings, sewed in the linings. I thought they looked great. I made two more.

Brought em to the store today. I am NOT a businesswoman. It was stressful. Went okay I thought. I left him some of my things, two bags, two pillows (sun and name), and another bag I made which took less effort. We agreed on tentative prices for everything-- I mean the pillows and smaller bags, those were easy, but it took a while for the backpacks because I wanted $35 and he was pushing for $30 or less because he'd have to charge double and he didn't think they would sell for $70. I didn't want to give in because I did spend a LOT of money and time on these bags and I feel like I could get at least $50 if I sold them on the web or something like that. I have gotten a LOT of comments when I walk around with the backpack-- people come up to me and tell me how cool it is. I know it would sell for a lot, and I worked really hard, so I feel like I should really not accept less than $35. Even that is really not too great, it doesn't offer much reward for all the effort I put in.

He was definitely impressed with the work though. Anyway, he's going to try to sell them and figure out what he can charge for the backpack and I'm going back in a few days to check back in/get the money for the stuff I made.

We'll see how it works out. At any rate, it's a start. Pretty exciting I think.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I have discovered the COOLEST knitting pattern ever. ENTRELAC.
It makes your knitting look like weaved strips, but actually it's just all one peice. I should have taken a picture of the wrong side. Oh well.

HOW COOL IS IT??? I'm obsessed. I started this little sample swatch just to feel out the pattern, but I loved it so much that I kept going, and now I am not entirely sure where I'm going with it. I might try to make it into a backpack somehow. It is just SO awesome. My eventual goal is to make an afghan with the pattern, but that would take many years, so I'm not ready to commit to it, but I'm in love with entrelac.
Mom's socks:
Finished them yesterday. I made a little mistake, I forgot one thing, which makes the leg a little looser than it should be, and they're kind of big on me but my mother has bigger feet than me so hopefully they will fit her. I really love the striping yarn.
--Entrelac hat
--Sock-yarn skirt made up of geometric shapes
--Wedding dress.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sock and purse and scarf in action

Hello all!
Here is a picture of my new scarf in action:
It's very warm! Thick and cozy. Though, as I mentioned, the curling edges are unfixable and annoying.
This next thing doesn't look like much yet:
It will eventually be a purse. The windowpane pattern is from my new knitting book. (That's the black, white, gray and purple thing.) The checkered fabric will be the lining, and the long narrow strip at the top will be the strap of the bag. That thing is really annoying because it uses three different colors and the yarn keeps getting badly tangled. So I can't take it places and work on it on the go. And I have to make TWO of the straps which are 21 inches each and right now I only have one that's about 10 inches so I see myself not finishing that for quite a while.
This next thing is a sock for my mommy, pictured in several sages of completion:
I love the self-striping yarn! You never know what color's coming next. (Well, once you go through the pattern once you do.) It's exciting and pretty. I love making socks. They are easy to make and they look so professional. This picture shows the sock right after I've turned the heel, which is not the annoying part. The most annoying part is then picking up the stitches to connect the heel to the top of the foot part because it ends up being so obvious. But when you're actually wearing it, the change isn't too noticeable.
Stage two:
Almost done! About ready to start shaping the toe.
Stage three: All finished!
Toe is finished, ends are weaved in. Isn't the color pattern awesome? Now I just have to make the other sock. I started this sock earlier in the week, Sunday or Monday I think, and finished it today. So they really don't take long at all. Although making pairs of things is always a little annoying, socks aren't too bad.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I finished another thing!

The cable scarf I started over winter break!

I finally finished it, and I stayed up till three in the morning adding fringe and weaving in ends. It looked great, but there was one problem. The edges kept folding in! It makes it impossible to see the whole pattern. So I decided to block it because I've heard that blocking knitting helps fix the shape of the thing. So I got it wet, pinned it to a garbage bag on my carpet (see above), and let it sit there for a while. Today I thought it was dry enough so I unpinned it and the edges CURLED RIGHT BACK UP. Blurg!

See? I have to hold the edges flat or else they fold.
Uncool, scarf.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

i FINISHED something! finally.

Two things actually. My aunt's legwarmers, pictured here, and the sun pillow, which did not come out as stellar as I'd hoped.

The legwarmers look good though-- the only complaint I have is the weird color patterns. The one on the right came out really cool looking I think, with regular white twists up the whole thing. I expected the other one to come out looking the same way since I used the same yarn,

but these varigated color yarns are tricky... It came out in huge swabs of color. Still, I think it looks purty good and they are mighty warm and comfortable too. I mailed them out today. I hope she likes them! I did get some good feedback on the socks I made for my cousin:

Apparently she likes them a lot! Keeps her toasty warm.

And the pillow.

Disappointing. I machine sewed the seams. They came out nice and tight, but they still had that weird sticky out corner thing. And when the knitting was stretched over the pillow form, every flaw became visible. It's okay for a first try, but I will do better next time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recent Knittings

Things I've made in the past week!!

Child's hat.
I just made this tonight actually. I was experimenting with some techniques from my new knitting book The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques and it looked really cute so I decided to turn it into a hat. It would probably fit a child but I have no idea what age group that would be. Maybe like... four or five?

Half a pillow.
Cool right? This is another new color technique, intarsia knitting. I call it the SUN PILLOW. I'm going to finish knitting it in red, and then sew it together and put in a pillow form.
A leg warmer.
Half of the pair for my aunt.

A glove.
Half of the pair for my friend. Oy, this was annoying to make and it's pretty small. Luckily she has tiny hands... it might possibly fit but I wouldn't hold my breath. I don't care though because I'm not making another pair. Now I have to knit the other hand aargg annoying.

Lots of projects, keeping busy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Oh friends, what a frustrating hour I've just spent. To start from the beginning: I had a flash of brilliance yesterday while thinking of how I could start my Etsy store ( is a place where people sell their handmade things online). My flash went like this: Pillows!! For all you who have seen my name pillows, you will agree that they are pretty cute.

I don't plan on selling name pillows, though, because that would cater to too small an audience, unless I want to put up custom postings, but I don't want to do that just yet-- I'd rather put up stuff that I have made and are ready to be mailed. Anyway, I started doodling some designs for pillows. Standard stripes, bubbles, hearts, plaid, diagonals, a sun, a rainbow, a star, a smiley face... the possibilities were endless! I was so excited that I rushed right over to A.C. Moore to stock up on lots of different colored yarn. I bought a few small skeins and a pillow form to make a test pillow. I wanted to start with the SUN one, which would be a series of circles within one another, i.e., a yellow circle in the center surrounded by an orange one and all of that on a red background.

I got home, did some calculations for the gauge, and happily cast on. The method I used for changing colors was standard, carry-alongs, that is, when I was knitting with one color, I simply carried the other color yarn along behind the row and knit it into the stitch I was working on so that it would stay snug. This is how I've always done color-changes, like for the name pillows. But it didn't take me long to notice that it looked like crap. If I'm going to be selling these things, they need to be perfect, and this clearly was NOT. The knitting where I had carried yarn behind was all bunched up and scrunchy, it wasn't smooth or professional looking, and it was making the knitting all tight. In short, it looked amateur and bad. I ripped it out. I looked up "knitting with colors" online and read about intarsia knitting, which is a different kind of color knitting all together which I will not explain in detail here-- suffice it to say, it looks a lot better though it is a little more complicated.

It also required a tool I did not have: KNITTING BOBBINS. So I went to A.C. Moore today to buy some. Or try to. They didn't have any. I went to Wal-Mart. They didn't have them either. I went to Michael's. THEY DIDN'T HAVE THEM. I am starting to suspect that these things do not really exist. So I bought at Michael's some clothespins, which one website had recommended as a substitute, and some other stuff that I didn't need (can't walk out of that store without spending money). And now I am going to start this intarsia method. I think this will be a long and frustrating road but I must walk it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Slow knitting day

Didn't get much done today. I was going to finish that stupid glove/mitten thing, but I realized it was pointless. It was just way too big. So I bound off around the first knuckles and now I have a really dumb-looking, useless pink thing. It would only fit a large man, and it's pink. And it's half of a pair. So I have no idea why I didn't just rip it out. I'll probably just toss it...

Anyway, I have to start the gloves again, obviously. But now I don't have any yarn to use for it that's not sock weight or medium weight. I need something in between, maybe weight 3. I don't know what to do with this pink sock yarn that I made the first glove with. I don't think there's enough left to make socks-- maybe ankle socks, but who wants knitted ankle socks? Oh well, add it to the stash.

I tore out the leg warmer that I'd started and began again with 48 stitches instead of 64. First I did a k2, p2 rib for two inches, then a k4, p4 rib for the leg, but it looked dumb so I tore it out and started again with stockinette. Oy, this project is going to annoy me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

projects about which i am no longer enthusiastic

Every knitter has these projects. Stuff that you started months ago, put down and never picked up again. It's boring or it's old or the yarn isn't cool. For whatever reason, you've lost interest. I have a few of these. The oldest is this:

It's one of eleven loong, 67" strips that will one day (hopefully) all add up to an afghan. I'm working on it with my nana. Like eight of the eleven are done, but this is the fourth year of the project and we haven't finished. I started this particular strip maybe two years ago. Maybe a year and a half. I had ALMOST FINISHED it when I unrolled it and realized that I had knit the pattern backwards for the past fourteen inches. So the pattern was on the wrong side. I had to rip it all out. After that I really lost momentum and stopped working on it except once every few months. I now have a deadline: the end of the semester, so around May. By then I'm supposed to have finished this strip and started another one. But I have no interest in it anymore.

This is a more recent project. I started it over my winter break, about a month or two ago. I was really excited about it because I'm using this cool recycled yarn made out of plastic bottles and I love the color and feel of it. Plus, I like the pattern-- it's interesting to knit, looks complex but is actually pretty simple. It will eventually be a scarf for me. However, after putting it down a few weeks ago, I never picked it back up and now when I look at it I feel nothing except dread at the fact that I have almost an entire skein to go before it's the appropriate length.

Most recent of all. A relative commissioned a pair of leg warmers. I found some patterns but ultimately decided to make it up as I went. Pretty simple right? K1, p1 rib for two inches, then stockinette for about a foot, then another two inches of ribbing, worked in the round. But it's so boring. And I think it's too big. In fact, I was so convinced of this that I ripped the whole thing out and started again. So basically it will take even longer.

glove madness

So I'm making gloves for the first time at the request of a friend. For my first attempt I used size one dpns (double-pointed needles) and sock yarn because I figured lightweight yarn would be better for a delicate project like this. Nay. The glove came out sized for a nine year old. Plus, I totally screwed up the increases for the thumb gusset and there are tons of holes. And it fits terribly.

I know it looks like it's on the wrong hand, but it looks just as bad on the other one too.

Basically, WEAK.

I'm trying again. I'm using Bernat Worsted, which is medium-weight. I originally used it for a sweater vest and I had some left over. I bought size three dpns, but I think they are too small. Anyway, the glove is going to come out way too big, since my friend has tiny fairy-like hands and this one seems like it'll be too big on me. Blurg! I bought a dowel at Wal-Mart to make my own size four/five DPNs instead of having to buy another set for $4. It worked out pretty well. I cut it into five equal-size lengths and used a nail file to sand down the points. To make them perfect I'd have to smooth them down with some sand paper and maybe paint on a coat of varnish, but I don't have that kind of dedication. This works fine. I actually made another set, like comparable to size twos, from those shish-kebab skewars you can buy at food stores. This is a great solution to buying dpns. You can get dowels in lots of sizes from hardware stores REALLY cheaply. And one stick will make a whole set of five.

Anyway... I'm going to finish this one just so I can have a general idea of sizing. Even though it will definitely not fit my friend. So that means I'll have to make a third test glove.

Oh well, knitting is a labor of love.