General Ginger Knits

random thoughts on knitting and the universe

Thursday, January 27, 2005

wip & Knitting POLL

Someone really should have warned me. I had no idea this whole felting process was so addictive. I couldn't stop myself and cast on for another felted bag. This time I'm trying Lopi instead of Cascade 220.

Lopi bag

I guess that I should admit that I already finished knitting this bag and it is currently blocking. Wow, what a quick knit. I truly love how this bag is coming out too. More details and photos later.

Knitting POLL:
What do you keep your WsIP in?

Personally I have a different bag for every work in progress. I like to recycle shopping bags for this purpose so that I don't have to worry about the state of the bag in case it gets slung around, tossed about, or slightly crushed. Yep, that has happened to all of my knitting bags! I select bags based on size and ease of use. It must be large enough to hold the wip but not so large that it will be flopping around. It also must have handles. I'm a grab it at the last minute and go kind of girl. I lineup all my WsIP bags in one spot in the TV room and grab one or two as I'm going out the door somewhere. I also prefer a bag that is a little on the stiff side so that it stands up rather than flops over while resting on the floor. Whew. If only these manufacturers knew what their bags were being recycled for. They might make them to knitters' specifications!

what's inside the bag?

This is the bag that I used while knitting up the French market bag. I am happy to report that the quality of the bag is very high and can with stand lots of abuse.

a knitting project!

So the question of the day is: What do you keep your WsIP in?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

knitting in the news

Maclean's, January 17, 2005
"Knitting is on a roll as young hipsters across the country -- including some men -- reinvent the craft"

Teacher, 5th-graders take up a new hobby
The Post and Courier, January 20, 2005
"None of the boys balked at learning a "girlie" hobby, especially when they heard about former NFL player and avid knitter Rosey Grier. "

Festival picks up on knitting craze
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 25, 2005
"Knitting is white hot."

Never mind the needling: Knitting clicks with boys;More males taking up a "female" craft.
Star Tribune, January 23, 2005
“…a friend - another teenage boy - showed him how to make beanies. "Now he's mad at me, because I'm better at it than he is" note: you may have to register to view this one

I'm about half way done with my next felted handbag. This Lopi knits up quick! Still making slow progress on the second sock. Then I want to work on: knitted present for a friend's birthday, spider for a 6 year old's birthday, my sock pal's socks. Lots to do and more fun to have!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

FO - French market bag

Did I drag me feet on felting something for years? Yes. Did I worry it would come out all wonky? Yes. Did I know that I was going to enjoy felting this much? No. Here it is folks, my first felted object!

My sweetheart kept looking at this French market bag and saying that it was a little on the large side. I kept trying to explain to him that it would shrink. Of course, I said this to him in a tone of "yeah, right, sure its going to shrink to the right size and look like a beautiful object, uh huh." Its no wonder he didn't believe me.


But folks, I swear it did! We were both amazed. Secretly my cutie was hoping that it wouldn't felt perfectly so that he could use the bag for his own devises. But I think he was more excited than I was when it came out of the laundry bag and I started to shape it into form. Wow! We were stunned and delighted.

I followed lots of people's advice and stuffed the pre-felted item in a sealed pillow case. I didn't have one that zipped up so I devised a frugal substitute and found an old one among the linens, slit two small holes on the inside edge, threaded a non-felting yarn (acrylic) through the hem, and tied it shut. However, it didn't seem like the Cascade 220 gave off many fibers. I threw in the towel, shut the door and commenced being patient. I actually had to do this part because my washer is the stackable kind where the door is hermetically sealed shut once the cycle begins. I had to let it run its course after that. This could be one of the reasons why I avoided felting for so long. I've read that its best to keep an eye on the amount of felting in order to reach the desired shrinkage. Ah well, it turned out great anyway!

post felting

In fact it came out so great and I had so much fun with it that I've cast on for another felted bag. Can you believe that folks? I bought some Lopi over the Christmas holidays and within a few hours of the first success hot out of the laundry had caston for the booga bag. I do believe ya'll, that I am converted!

another felted bag in the works?

Monday, January 24, 2005

weekend & Vogue knitting

Had a fantastic weekend of knitting, hiking, visiting with family, and dog park clean up. I finished grafting together my sweetheart's sock and knitted about four inches on the second sock. I had no idea that I was going to enjoy knitting with such tiny toothpicks. After this pair of socks I want to try a more patterned sock. Anyone have any pattern suggestions?

babbling brook along my weekend hike

Stopped off at the bookstore this weekend and could not resist Vogue Knitting. I've fallen completely in love with the Felted Flower bag designed by Nicky Epstein. I love it so much that I'm considering joining the Flower Basket Knitalong. What makes me want to do this you ask? Because I finished and felted my French Market Bag! What a fantastic experience. I will share more details and a picture soon.

What I found strange about this issue of Vogue Knitting was the faux cover. This cover is actually an advertisement for Lion Brand yarn. I thought this was kind of odd.

faux vogue cover

This is actually the real cover. Lion Brand has provided a couple of patterns on the front and back covers of this issue. Advertising certainly gets more and more creative every day.

real vogue cover

Friday, January 21, 2005

200 vs 175

It's been a bit of a tough week for me. Work has been really busy. Car has been in the shop. Extracurricular commitments have been numerous. I offer these excuses as to why my knitting came out a little on the short side. Short of stitches that is.

I've been working on the French market bag this week. I've always wanted to knit this bag because it is so cute and, lets face it, a woman can never have too many handbags. I've never made a felted object before and this looked like the perfect candidate. I was encouraged to add extra inches in case the bag felted too shallow so I've been knitting and knitting for what feels like days now. Last night I was thoroughly excited because I'd finally finished the body and was ready to knit the handles. I was mindlessly knitting away and binding off the appropriate stitches. That's when it happened. As I got to what should be the last handle I suddenly ran out of stitches. "There should be more stitches here than this" I said to myself. So I counted out all the handle stitches and all the bind off stitches. No, I didn't make any counting mistakes there. "This is crazy" I thought to myself.

So I started counting all of the stitches on my needles. Disbelief on my face after counting all the way around once, I counted again. Huh. That's when it hit me: there weren't enough stitches there because I never increased way back there at the base of the bag to 200 stitches. For some odd, unexplainable reason (see excuses above) I only increased to 175 stitches.

Ok. So there I was with only 175 stitches to work with in a project that I'd been working on for days as a way to relax. I felt mentally devastated. I toyed with what to do. I could always rip back to the bottom of the bag and reknit it. Its only the knit stitch in the round after all. But in my heart I really didn't want to rip and reknit. I wanted to carry on and hope for the best. I suppose that I really wouldn't make a very good designer because I get pretty stressed out when I have to deviate from the pattern. The stress began to mount on my shoulders last night as I ran from the knitting room to the calculator on the computer and back again repeatedly ranting incessantly about the impending failure of this project. UFO ville was looming. I'm no great shakes at mathematics so trying to figure out how to divide four handles evenly on 175 stitches wasn't computing in my head. I wonder what my sweetheart must have been thinking, poor thing. Thanks for putting up with me darling!

The math is now figured, the handles divided, one section is already complete. The big question now is, what is this bag going to look like after its felted?

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Work has been busy as sin! I haven't had many nice, restful lunch hours to knit. The weather has finally turned back into winter as well so that I can't sit outside next to the lake refreshing my spirits with water and knitting. Instead I'm forced to stay indoors at my desk with the door shut. The good part about this plan is that I can knit and catch up on other knitting blogs. The bad news is that people know I'm in there and come and knock on the door anyway. Hum.

French market bag coming along

My French market bag is knitting up very nicely. Once you get past the bottom of the bag its just miles of the knit stitch. Jane and Max both advised me to add a few extra inches to the bag so that it won't be too shallow. Anyone else have any advice to allay my fears on this felting project?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

knitting lesson

Owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston but not currently on display. Knitting Lesson by Jean- Francois Millet.

Jean-François Millet, French, 1814–1875
Knitting Lesson
about 1860
Oil on panel
40.4 x 31.5 cm (15 7/8 x 12 3/8 in.)

knitting quote

"An unnatural silence and desertion reigned there. Only one soul was to be seen, and that was Madame Defarge - who leaned against the door-post, knitting, and saw nothing." from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

knitting in the news

Here is an interesting article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about local knitters knitting for shelter animals.

Monday, January 17, 2005

almost an FO & French market bag

I'm 99% finished with the first of my sweetheart's socks. I really enjoyed knitting with this Regia yarn. I need a few minutes of quiet time in front of the computer to complete the kitchener stitch and it'll be all set. I'm planning to work on the other sock this week. As soon as I finish this pair of socks I'll be working on the sock pal's socks for sockapalooza.

nearly completed sock

I started the French market bag this weekend as well. I've been wanting to knit and felt something for a long time and this project really appealed to me. I'm using cascade 220 in some lovely browns.

cascade 220 for French market bag

So far, so good. I've nearly completed the bottom of the bag. I suppose I should have done a test swatch to see how it felts but I jumped the gun and went straight to the pattern. Have any of my blog readers felted this yarn before? Any helpful hints?

start of French market bag

Friday, January 14, 2005

wool wine

Let me just tell you folks how much I am loving this Regia sock yarn. It is easy on the fingers, is very soft, is very prettily striped, and hasn't given me any problems at all. I'm about an inch away from starting the heel and am looking forward to working on them over the three day weekend. Yippee! I'm looking forward to using this yarn again sometime.

dyed-in-the wool wine

While out shopping a couple of weeks ago I ran across this Dyed-in-the Wool Wine and I could not leave the store without it. It is a 2001 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. I'm more of a merlot girl myself but this little sheep just followed me home. I haven't had the opportunity to crack that baby open yet. Have any of my blog readers tried it and are willing to give a wine review?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

FO & new socks

Here is the finished orienteering hat. I think my sweetheart likes it a lot. I finished the cable band on a holiday roadtrip and topped it off the other day with a bit more orange.

orienteering hat

orienteering hat being modeled

I also started a new pair of socks for my other half. The last pair of socks I worked on were to get me ready to make a nice pair for him. I wanted to get used to using toothpicks (which I've done) and I also wanted to practice kitchnering so that it would be a lovely item. I'm excited about this next pair and hardly intimidated at all! I'm using Regia strato color, farbe 5745, partie 48134. He picked out the yarn himself and I think he did a great job. These are really nice colors.

current socks

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

feminism & knitting

Here is an interesting article from The Guardian about Debbie Stoller and the popularization of knitting. They've also included several knitting patterns at the end of the article. According to the article "the secret to gender parity doesn't lie in shunting women from one arena of toil to another, then back again; it lies in everybody being able to range freely between one probably partly boring pursuit and another, according to his or her ambition, without certain activities being irrationally denigrated for their traditionally female associations. This point needs to be made, trenchantly and repeatedly, and knitting is as good a way in as any."

techno hair scarf

Whipped up a novelty scarf last night for a friend's birthday. Its tough to get a good picture of the stuff but its made with Gedifra Tecno Hair. Tonight I'll get started on a new project. Haven't yet decided what it will be.

Monday, January 10, 2005


The good news is that I'm at the point of kitchnering the toe on the second wildfoote sock. The bad news is what I discovered when I turned the cuff down.

nearly complete

Notice that string just sort of hanging out in space? What the heck is that I thought as I was looking over the sock. For the life of me I couldn't figure out where that piece of yarn was coming from.


I gave up trying to figure it out late last night. While trying to fall asleep listening to HPGoF I sat bolt upright in bed with the realization that I had made that mistake while reallocating my stitches on the needles. I remembered that I wanted to spread those stitches out a bit more since I had so few on one needle and too many on another. Without realizing it I must have slipped those stitches without knitting them. What a bummer!

Its simply impossible to go back at this point. The sock is virtually done and I've no desire to rip it all out and start over again. Its a good thing that I decided to make these socks for myself and that I've called them the practice socks since the beginning. But its a major hit to my perfectionist self!

Sunday, January 09, 2005


The second wildfoote sock is nearing the home stretch! This is an interesting article about cashmere.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


The weekend is wonderful. I'm so exhausted from working this past week after having been off for two. Finally, I can have some uninterrupted knitting time where people aren't actually expecting me to work. I'm off to the LYS this morning to pick up those circulars that I need to finish the orienteering hat and to hang out with other knitting folks for the weekly wool gathering. Haven't seen them for two weeks due to the holiday season.

The second wildfoote sock is about an inch and a half away from starting the heel. Its possible I might be able to finish this project up this weekend. If I manage it I'm going to work on the orienteering hat that I started while roadtriping during the holidays. When I mentioned this to my sweetheart last night he said "yeah, what about that project" as he rolled his eyes as if to say "are you ever going to finish anything". Sometimes its tough to make our loved ones understand that the fact that our projects can be started, put aside, completely forgotten, put on hold, abandoned, or heck, even completed, is immaterial. For many of us, myself included, it is the process that we cleave to and enjoy so much. I am planning to get back to that orienteering hat, I am indeed. But who knows what will happen between now and the day that I pick up the needles. That day may be tomorrow or perhaps a year from now. Regardless, I love knitting no matter how many projects I have going.


In other non knit news my little kitty, Piglet, was spayed this week. Poor thing hid under the bed for three days!

Friday, January 07, 2005

FO with kitchner

Yippee! Sock one is complete. It was a bit tough coming down the home stretch on this one. I'm so, so glad that I ripped out, added more rows, then reknit the toe shaping. Now I've got a sock that will fit me.

completed sock

The groovy part is the toe finishing. Dig that groovy kitchner stitch man! I've never done kitchner before and was, frankly, quite intimidated by it. But thanks to Bagatell I was able to follow the wonderful directions on her page and figure it all out.

kitchner stitch

I think this sock intrigued me, well, sucked me in is probably more like it. I've already worked nearly four inches on the next sock. Yippee! I don't even notice how teeny, tiny the needles are any more. I'm not afraid that I'm going to snap one of those little bamboo babies in half. I simply get into the rhythm of the stitches and go to town. Amazing. I even signed up for the beginners Socapalooza. Ok all you sock knitters out there. Is this how it all starts? Will I be giving away nothing but socks next Christmas? Hey, can someone tell me the correct way to spell kitchner? kitchener?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

wip & sex

Yesterday I had to rip out all the toe shaping from the wildfoote sock. I started the decreases in haste because of my fear that I would run out of yarn so that the sock turned out far too short for my foot. I hated the thought of ripping out and having to pick up such teeny tiny stitches but I took a big breath and plunged right in. Surprisingly everything turned out ok. It actually felt quite good to do it. Last night I reknit those stitches and finished off the sock using, for the first time ever, the kitchener stitch. More details on that, along with a picture, later.

knitting mags

Picked up a couple of knitting magazines to gloss over the blues. Both of them have simple, beginner like patterns in them. There is an interesting sweater that I like in Easy Knitting on page 49, #18 that includes interesting texture with basket weave. knit.1 had some nice looking flowers I thought I might try. Although I think I've seen nearly the same pattern on knitty. I was actually a little shocked at this magazine. I have never seen such blatant use of sex to sell knitting to teenagers. Based on the simplicity of the patterns and fun, youthful appearance of the models, it is obvious who the audience is. The words "LUST" and "SEXY" are clear as you please on the cover. But most shocking of all is the position of the cover models into the shape of a specific female body part. Hum. What can I say? I needed a little pick me up yesterday and I succumbed to knitting temptation.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

on the needles

Still working on the wildfoote sock. I'm looking forward to its completion.

wildfoote sock still continued

baby hats

Last year I spent a lot of knitting time unchallenged with about 100 scarves. About two or three years ago I'd spent my time knitting baby hats. I made up a very simple hat pattern and used extremely cheap acrylic yarn so that the parents wouldn't be afraid to lose it or throw it into the washer. I created many color combination which was probably the only exciting thing about these little projects. It was neat pairing colors in a block pattern and using colors not usually associated with newborns. Team colors were always a winner with fathers that are sports fans. I finished off the top with a crocheted stalk in the contrasting color.

nipper models baby hat

I've given away countless hats in the last couple of years not only at baby showers and the like but to friends who had baby showers to go to. People always oo and ah over them. A couple of weeks ago I decided to count up how many hats I had left. I counted 44 hats! I couldn't believe it. I'd made many, many more than what was in the basket and yet I still had 44 hats! Amazing. I'm sure there is no way of knowing exactly how many hats I made all together.

The good news about that knitting adventure is that I'm all set with baby gifts for probably the next, oh I don't know, I'd say ten years or so.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


The Wildfoote sock is coming along nicely. I'm about half way done with the foot. I always get nervous that I will run out of yarn when I'm near the end of a project. Its nearly impossible for me to gauge how much yarn I am using when knitting something up and I really can't tell how much yarn there is just from squeezing it. I'm back to work today so will have to limit my knitting to breaks and lunches this week. What a bummer. Why can't I just stay home and knit all day? I've got so many projects that I want to complete and a stash that is growing out of its baskets.


  • wildfoote socks
  • sweetheart's orienteering hat
  • lime handbag to felt
  • homespun blanket

Future Projects

So you see nice people, there really seems to be a lot more knitting than work that needs to get done!

Monday, January 03, 2005


Here is the completed and blocked brown and rust cable scarf. I finished this very quickly but it seemed to take forever to block!

completed brown & rust cable scarf

on the needles

It got a lot easier to work this sock after the cast on and first few rounds. I found a rhythm and have managed to get several inches knit. I enjoy how this yarn pulls from the skein, not too much and not too little. It was hard to believe at first that this entire skein of yarn was for only one sock. Now, however, after having worked several rows I see how this is true. I also love the colors of this yarn! The pebbly effect is gorgeous.

wildfoote sock continued

This practice sock is going very well. The toothpicks seem to be doing their job and I'm pretty much knitting as I normally would. I'm bound and determined learn the kitchner stitch on this sock but am hoping that I can find someone who can show me how it is done when the time comes.

I'm off to the LYS later today to pick up those number 4 circulars that I need to finish the orienteering hat. When I started back knitting last year (or was it two years ago now?) I focused on one project at a time and this seemed to work out pretty well. Now I feel like I've got a lot of projects going at one time and I'm feeling a bit over whelmed. Fun, relaxation, and comfort knitting, these are what I'm going for today!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

on the needles

I was searching through my stash last night looking for two things. First, my dear one asked to see the camel yarn we'd bought in Alaska on our honeymoon. I have two skeins of this lovely stuff and I'm not exactly sure what I want to do with it. Second, I was rooting around for colors to knit up a big spider for a certain young man who will be having a birthday in February. He specified several colors in his request but I'll be darned if I could find any scraps of pink in my stash. I found a UFO that had some pink in it that I was willing to rip out and reuse the yarn from but just as I looked in the last basket I found a bit of what I needed.

I began knitting myself a pair of socks in preparation for knitting up some socks for my sweetheart. I'm practicing using these toothpicks that are trying to pass themselves off as knitting needles. Size 1 1/2 indeed! I had a devil of a time at the start of things and had to cast on three times before I could get it right. I've knit socks before but never on needles so tiny that I had to leave the overhead light on in the room so that I could see the stitches.

wildfoote sock

Finally after I got the cast on right I struggled through the first row three times. Eek! What a torture test. What I wasn't expecting was the malleableness of the sticks. These knitting needles, Crystal Palace Bamboo Needles, kept bending as I struggled to knit with them so that I was terrified I was knitting too roughly. Well, after the first couple of rows, three times knitted, I finally got some sort of rhythm going. I've finally made it up to about two inches. Wow. Well, I'd been lamenting that I was finishing projects too quickly for my wallet so I guess this project will put a hold on that.

This Wildfoote sock yarn is color SY-500 Brown Sugar and was given to me by Max quite some time ago. Thanks Max!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

happy New Year

I got lots of lovley knitting done on a road trip to the Great Smokie Mountains. Continuing my cable caze I'm creating an orienteering hat for my sweetheart. These are the colors of a control that you find out in the woods. I'm using the same yarn as the orienteering headband. It took almost the entire trip just to create this band on tiny number 4 needles. I had hoped to finish this hat this weekend but I don't have the circulars that I need and the LYS is closed today so it will have to wait until next week. Lucky for me I brought home other yarn to play with!

orienteering hat

future socks

My sweetheart stopped at a terrific yarn store on the way up to the mountains. I was there once before and loved the place! Lots of yummy yarn to choose from. My sweetheart amazed me by remembering how to get to Quilted Hearts in Gainesville, Georgia. As his reward to this lovely side trip I asked him to pick out some sock yarn that I could knit up for him. I also picked up these toothpicks to knit them with. Um, did I mention that I thought the size 4 needles were tiny? These are 1 1/2. Hum...should be interesting.

future socks

future felted object

I also picked up some Lopi. I tried to get this yarn interpreted at the Yarn Interpretive Center (see post below) but alas, they couldn't do it. ;) I've been really wanting to try felting and I thought this might be a good yarn to use. Any hints from anyone about how this yarn felts up? Any suggestions on the type of object I should try to knit and felt?

future felted object

In other knitting news I also finished the rust and brown cable scarf on the drive. It is currently blocking but I'll put a picture up as soon as its ready.