Tag Archives: Knitting

Episode 8: Livin’ on the Edge

Thank You’s!

Rebecca for her generous gift of a Ravelry pattern to a lucky viewer

Cori for her donation of Hazel Knits for a Gratitude KAL prize

Barb and Tracey of 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast for their shout out, and their awesome podcast!

Everyone who participated in the forums!

The Gratitude KAL will run through June 3.  I will be knitting the Color Affection shawl by Veera Valimaki, but any wearable for yourself suited to mindful knitting will work!


Elowen Shawl by Judy Marples in unknown colorways of Sanguin Gryphon’s Little Traveler and Eidos on US 3’s


Daybreak by Steven West in MadelineTosh Merino Light, Saffron and Baltic colorways on US 3’s

Color Affection by Veera Valimaki in Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-Ply Sock, Barley Heather, Winter Rosehip, and Bison colorways on US 3’s

Loop Bullseye Bump in Desert Sun

Episode 6: Frolic-y and What Not

The ravelry group is up!  Please Join!

We will be starting the Gratitude KAL April 15th and it will run through June 3.  I will be knitting the Color Affection shawl by Veera Valimaki, but any wearable for yourself suited to mindful knitting will work! 


Damson by Ysolda Teague in Jojoland Harmony, MS11 colorway, knit on US6’s

Friends in Fiber Chianti 4oz BFL/Silk gradient….300yds Navajo Plied from supported long draw singles

Natural Shetland FAIL 2oz Navajo Plied, 150yds from supported long draw singles


Elowen Shawl by Judy Marples in unknown colorways of Sanguin Gryphon’s Little Traveler and Eidos on US 3’s

AfterThought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman in Marigold Jen’s Hand Dyed Sock, Scranton colorway on US 0’s

Feed the Stash

Loop Bat in Desert Sun

MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light in Saffron and Baltic

Episode 4: Don’t Knit Angry, Yo

Thank You!’s:

Diane from The Knitabulls

Dawn from The Wolfe Farms Podcast and Wolfe Farms Herbal Soaps and More!

Kimberly from Sock Bunny Knit and Fit

Manda aka knitpsycho for the much appreciated gifting of the Elowen Shawl by Judy Marples

Finished Objects:

Dickeys von Beethoven by Elizabeth Zimmerman in: KnitPicks Shine, Hydrangea on US 3

Joris by Annita Wilschut in Regia Design Line 6-Ply, Fire colorway on US 1.0

Works In Progress:

Brigid Sock, pattern to come from moi, in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, the Solstice colorway on US 0

Easy Peasy Socks for First Time Knitters in Stitch Nation Washable Ewe, Clover colorway on US3 (I’m not sure of the blue, it’s random, bandless stash)

BFL and silk gradient in the Chianti colorway from Friends in Fiber…..Woops, I think I said Freedom Fiber in the show!

Halliard sweater by Kate Gildbert in Black Water Abbey’s worsted, Pippin colorway

Feeding the Stash

The Woolen Rabbit’s Harmony Sock in Scottish Heather and Godiva


Thanks again for watching!  I can be found on Ravelry and Plurk under thefatsquirrel if you have any questions!


Episode 3: Now With Extra Crazy Flakes!

Thank You:

Thank you for all your awesome comments, well-wishings and friendings via Plurk and Ravelry (thefatsquirrel on both).

A special thank you to Sue of Suezee Knits and Carla of Knitting Podcast


In which I display my true insanity and love of all things wool, AKA a review of the Jay County Fiber Fest and Spin-In:

Prize-winning Shetland from Bell Creek Farms, Mike and Kendra (pm me for the info if you’re interested in purchasing)

Suri Alpaca from Coldwater Creek Alpacas, Mary and Norm (pm me for their info if you’re interested in purchasing



Fueling the Economy Through Fiber Purchases:

BFL and silk gradient in the Chianti colorway from Friends in Fiber

Superwash sock in Scranton colorway from Marigold Jen


Finished Objects:

Mittens for Me by Laura Linneman in Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-ply sock, Mink and Chokecherry colorways



Halliard sweater by Kate Gildbert in Black Water Abbey’s worsted, Pippin colorway

Joris by Annita Wilschut in Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in natural

Joris by Annita Wilschut in Regia Kaffe Fassett sport, Fire colorway

Episode 2: Look behind you Mom, it’s a SHEEP!


Half Finished Objects:

Brigid Sock, pattern to come from moi in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, the Solstice colorway

Mittens for ME!, by Laura Linneman in Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-ply sock, the Mink and Chokecherry colorways

Mysteriously Missing WIP’s:

Halliard by Kate Gilbert in Black Water Abbey’s worsted in the Pippen colorway

Dickey von Beethoven by Elizabeth Zimmerman in Knitpicks Shine Sport, Hydrangea colorway

Spinning WIP:

Sheepish Creations Wensleydale in the Wall-E colorway


Fiber Fest and Spin-In, Portland, IN

Spinning start to finish


Beautiful BFL roving from Three Waters Farm in Stone House colorway

I think I may have purchased this roving even before I bought my wheel?  I’ve been trying to save it until I’m a better spinner, but, well, I clearly have no self-control.  I confess, I regularly cruise the Three Waters Farm Etsy shop and drool over her beautiful colorways.  T his is the only one I’ve purchased so far, but let me tell you, it is a total gateway purchase.  The combination of Blueface Leicester wool and her rich dyeing techniques creates an almost pearlized luminescence in the final roving and the fiber is a joy to spin.

Singles all spun up:

I’m still very new to spinning, so while I tried to spin this semi-woolen with a long draw, I think it kind of turned into a medium-to-long draw.  Either way, it was very pleasant going and it’s by far the best yardage that I’ve achieved…..Around 360 yards of a DK-ish weight from the 4oz bump.  For me that is three times better than anything thus far.  It’s still super uneven, but I’ll take what I can get!

Plied yarn:

Plying still seems to vex me.  I see all these beautifully plump, tightly plied finished skeins posted, but mine just never seem to turn out that way….I’m sure it has everything to do with the uneven texture of my singles, because it seems that fatter pieces are the ones to end up more loosely plied than I would like.  I’ve tried putting more spin into them, but then they wind up overplied and twisty.  Oh well, I reckon I need to buck up and find a spinning class.

Plied yarn soaking:

Finished object:

Perhaps will become:

This is Piper’s Journey designed by Paula Emons-Fuessle of the Knitting Pipeline podcast.  I’ve been wanting to knit this since it came out, and while I don’t technically have enough of this handspun, Paula’s design is easily adaptable to differing weights/yardages.

Available through Quince & Co‘s website or as a Ravelry download

Oh Elizabeth, how I do love you

“We call ’em Dickeys.  They go around the human neck in parky weather and keep it snug and secure.”  Zimmermann, Elizabeth (1989).  Knitting Around.  Pittsville, Wisconsin: Schoolhouse Press.

I will confess that I am a full-fledged Elizabeth Zimmerman geek.  I love her pithy directions and the thought of a knitting book whose text is as engaging as any piece of fiction.  She helped me to fall in love with garter stitch and the wonders of plain old wool.  I will knit any of her patterns given half an excuse, and everyone in my family has opened something from her books on one Christmas or another.

If I could write poetry, my first slim little volume would be an ode Elizabeth.

So hooray!  I have another excuse to knit one of her projects!  My wonderful mamaw, who is habitually/perpetually/consistently/without-the-risk-of-hyperbole ALWAYS cold, has requested some dickeys.

The yarn:

I almost exclusively knit with wool.  I’m usually quite obnoxious about it, but since Mamaw has requested cotton dickeys (this will be her summer set) and Mamaw is, well, my grandma, I went on a search for some cotton.  Elizabeth’s original is knit in fingering weight, but I wanted use a sport weight, because, well, while I really enjoy EZ’s patterns, the thought of knitting four dickeys in fingering weight cotton was less than exciting.  I decided on Knit Picks Comfy Sport (the one pictured above is Peony) and I’m very satisfied with it.  Of course, I can speak nothing to the long-term durability at this point, but it has a very nice drape and just the slightest bit of sheen.

The pattern:

In true Elizabeth fashion, her Dickey von Beetoven pattern can be summarized in one schematic illustration.  I’m sure this would be terribly frustrating for a beginner, but for a gal who has knit to the moon and back, a thumbnail sketch that encompasses the entire scope of the project is amazingly elegant.  It’s kind of like the beauty of a charted stitch pattern, only it’s then entire piece that’s been captured.  It’s knit flat in one piece, casting on for the height of the piece and working around, using short rows for shaping.  To account for the sport weight, I’ve decreased the row counts by 20%, but am leaving the stitch counts the same to allow for a slightly wider, shoulder-warming, sort of dickey.

I’ll be sure to post finished pics and hopefully some sort of picture that looks like this:

(My mamaw is AWESOMELY appreciative of handmade gifts.  This reaction is from opening dish cloths!)

The never-ending project

So my first world problem of the day…..The never-ending knitting project.  We’ve all had them.  You start with a fire that burns clean and pure.  You pour all your time into them and are psyched about your progress.  You proudly tote it about anytime there’s even the most remote chance you’ll have a spare three minutes to knit.  It sparkles.  It shines.  It is the awesomeness.

Then, well, something happens.  A new pattern shakes it’s sweet bum at you….A trip to the yarn store finds you fondly stroking another skein of yarn….You just look at the dang thing with the cold hard stare of an experienced, non-deluded-by-newness, crafter and think……Meh.

Not bad enough to rip out and make anew, but no longer the stuff of idle daydreams.

Such is this shawl:

Candle Flame Shawl by Dean Cranehttp://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/candle-flame-shawl-archived

Originally suggested in bulky, mine is a sport weight Alpaca of unknown origin knit on US size 6 circulars.

I bought this yarn at the lovely Sheep Street Fibers on a fiber outing with two girlfriends.  We had pretty much laid the shop to waste and were moving towards the cash register when I spotted this shawl hanging from a horizontal dowel suspended from the ceiling.

Now, you make think really?  A dowel rod?  A darn simple shawl in a basic, non-flashy yarn, draped over something from the hardware store sucked you in?  Dude, it really did.  (I’ve since decided that I am going to set up a crazy system of dowel rod display in my front room for all the knitted goods that I need to look at more than wear, but that’s insanity for another day.)  The shawl displayed was in camel alpaca and the buttery color, hand and drape were awesome.  Plus, bonus, the yarn for the project was less than $30.  SOLD.  The kind proprietor caked it for me and we were out the door.

I was almost done with my Christmas knitting, so I put the yarn in the to-do bucket and only occasionally took a moment to sniff it(I have a weird thing about wool-sniffing).  But then after Christmas….Hooray!!!!  I cast on!  You start at the point of the triangular shape, so by New Years I had a nice, hefty triangle swinging about from my needles.  I loved it.  It was great.  Once learned, the pattern repeat was pretty easy and the vertical repeat was just long enough to keep you wanting to finish one more.  The yarn was über soft.  I really do generally prefer what some would consider “scratchy” wool, so the alpaca was a fun change of pace, and with a shawl, I wasn’t at all worried about it’s tendency to stretch out during wearing.  All was good.

And then, the “meh” snuck in.  The bad thing about working a triangular shawl from the point up is that the rows just keep getting longer, and Longer, and LONGER,  AND FLIPPIN’ LONGER.  Now really, this is totally ridiculous as it’s only like a 700 yard shawl.  I’ve done 2400 hundred yard pieces with way less griping and grunting, but for some reason this one just has me dragging my feet.

Adding the accumulating angst, the yarn started having these weird splits where it would go from three plies down to one for about a quarter of an inch.  Normally, this sort of thing doesn’t bother me all that much, in fact it’s one of the things I sometimes roll my eyes about when other people have similar complaints, but it just keeps happening.  Since I didn’t cake the darn stuff, I had no idea about the splits so they just keep popping up and they’re all “Hey, I’m obnoxious….how are you going to deal with me?  Rip back to the beginning of the row?  Do yet another Russian join?”

I hate mouthy yarn.


And so, there it is.  My internal monologue looks something like this: “I will finish this project.  One row at a time is just fine.  If you finish two rows you can work on something else.  I know it looks like this ball of yarn is not getting any smaller, but the laws of physics dictate that it must be getting smaller.  Trust the laws of physics, Amy Beth.  Trust the laws of physics.”

Look up in that tree….It’s a bird…..No, it’s an owl….No…..It’s yarn?

Haha, this picture is silly, but I couldn’t resist the temptation for taking a few pictures outside in our nearly balmy February conditions.

Here is a slightly less silly one:

So, this is officially my fourth finished handspun.  I’ve been knitting for almost sixteen years, and until sometime last year I’d always rolled my eyes at the thought of learning to spin.  My internal monologue went something like this: “There is already yarn.  The yarn is good.  The yarn is very, very good and there is so much to knit with it.  So very, very much to knit with it that I could never ever ever not be knitting the things and instead making the yarn. ”

And then, I drank the Kool-Aid.

After agonizing over the investment of a new wheel (a relatively simple piece of technology that somehow retails for around $600), and the amazingly high resale value of used wheels on Ebay, I found a very second-hand Louet from a local fellow who was upgrading and needed the additional studio space.  Several YouTube instructional videos later, I was on my way to spinning some uber clunky yarn and scrounging ravelry for projects requiring very little yardage.

I’m still in the shallow end of the learning curve, as you can see from the wildly uneven owl-inspired goodness above, but guess what?  I don’t care!  Its fun!  You can make yarn!  Out of like this stuff that grown on sheep!  Even if it’s jacked-up-crazy yarn, you can still make stuff out of it!  It’s squooshy and you can smoosh your face in it and smell the wooly goodness of the world, and in that moment you are sharing a kinship with an imaginary woman standing outside her croft on some wind-swept moor four hundred years ago.

The last part might just be me though.

The all important inaugural post

Ok, so clearly a blog that I’ve been percolating on, agonizing over how to start, should start on a random Monday morning while my daughter is watching Phineas and Ferb.  I tend to over think to the point of inaction, so I’m just going to go ahead and roll on up in this thing.

Here is where I think I’m supposed to do an introduction.  Bullets are clearly in order.

  • Knitting–I knit a lot.  Let’s just say that I went to my daughter’s naturey-type preschool class the other day and realized that I was wearing the following handmade items: cowl, fingerless mits, hat, and socks.  I really do generally try to dial it back for the muggles, but sometimes the convergence of knitted items is unavoidable.   (Please also note that I was wearing a quippy knitting t-shirt and working on a pair of socks during her class.)
  • Family–I like family a lot.  I regularly entertain fantasies of living off the grid so that family can be the primary driving forces of all our lives, undistracted by pesky electricity and flush toilets.  The other unknowing participants in this fantasy are my dear “husband”, my daughter Tova (just turned 5) and our lil’ schnoodle Annie (just turned 1).
  • Food–I like food a lot.  Have you seen my pic?  That’s not from McDonalds folks.  That is straight up homemade food.  I’ll try to keep the food threads to a minimum, but sometimes a gal just has to post a biscuit pic.
  • Spinning–I like spinning a lot.  Now, if you’re confused about the aforementioned fatness combined with the spinning bullet, let me clarify that I don’t mean that bicycle going nowhere kind of spinning, I mean the kind that results in yarn.  I only started spinning in January of 2012, and I still pretty much suck at it, but I’m hooked anyway.

Ok, so enough with the wordiness, let’s get to a flipping picture already.

Brigid Sock in Progress

Here it is.  My offering to the muse.  I’m designing/knitting a sock that I will post on ravelry as a free pattern.  I will of course post my progress, but in the interest of making these posts easily digestible chunks, I’ll hold off on my motivation until another time.