Cute as a motnet!

Well, guys, it's official. I was a real person in Round 2 of my Ravelry exchange group and have received a package in my mailbox as of this afternoon!

I grew up listening to my little sister talk about some of her favorite things in the world. Sometimes the hold your clothes together, sometimes they light up, sometimes they click, sometimes they buzz. One of my little sister's favorite words growing up wasn't even a real word at all: motnet! And what is a motnet, you might ask? Why, it's a button, of course! (By the way, that's pronounced in a typical Georgia southern accent, maht-nit with a soft o and a soft i.)

My scarf came out of its packaging and pretty much exploded into my hands. It's totally cute... cute as a button! It's all different shades of purple, from plum to lavender to a really rich and pretty grape-ish color. Now I'm gonna say this like Oprah: "LOOOOOOOOOOVE IIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!!!"

There were also a few treats in the package as a little bonus gift for me. I know, lucky me! There were two boxes of fruity-flavored teas, and the icing on the cake was another motnet. This time, quite literally. It's a ring decorated with three stacked motnets, and they all match my cute-as-a-motnet ruffle scarf! I know, it's totally perfect, right?

Thanks thanks thanks to Ladybug888 for pulling through like a truly kind, totally cool Canadian knitter would do.


Happy 3rd Anniversary to my Hubster and me!

From the lyrics of our first-dance song, "I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow."


A little bit of progre... ooops!

When I started my 2nd repeat of the pattern for the top tab of the Quinn Bag, I accidentally skipped Row 1. Apparently, Row 1 is the row in the pattern that does the work of crossing the center cables over each other, so that step got skipped. Ooops! The Hubster suggested doing that as a part of the pattern so now I'm skipping Row 1 every other repeat.

Looks like this little mistake is working out beautifully! And, I'm really enjoying the process of knitting cables. Not only is it stimulating and a bit complicated for me, but it's also fun to be making something that's both flat and 3-dimensional. Oh, and it doesn't hurt at all that I'm also crossing off another "I wanna learn this" off my New Year's resolutions list!
I've been absent from this blog for a long time. Let's just get that past us and marvel at what I'm teaching myself right now! This is by far accomplishing one of my New Year's resolutions in knitting: learning to knit cables!!!

A few months ago I visited a yarn shop for my first-ever time! I went with my BFF Chelsea in Macon, Georgia and purchased three balls of this Spud & Chloe yarn in the color you see below called flannel as well as one that's a sort of heathered paprika color called sequoia. It's so chunky that it would be nearly impossible to knit a flattering sweater with it. Plus, I'd need tons more of the yarn than I have right now. And at $13.40 a ball, that's not very likely to happen with my budget right now.

But why not make a killer bag? I could use a handmade purse. And a big one. There's enough of this stuff to go very far and make a beautiful bag! So, I set out to find a pattern and found the perfect one for free. I know, big plus there. The pattern for the Quinn Bag shows cables all over, which is very pretty, but I found sknitty's version of the same bag posted online and loved it even more than the original.

 Original:                                                                  Modified:

It's only one round of cables at the top opening to frame off the rest of the bag which is simple and pretty. It seemed like the perfect beginner's project that wouldn't fatigue me too much on this attempt at a new-to-me knitting technique.

Excuse the lazy Sunday afternoon nightgown and un-manicured hand with a weird amount of wrinkles on my thumb. Here's what I'd done so far Sunday since I'd started the project:


Smart cardigans

Here's just a few of my recent finds. Enjoy!

Rorschach Sweater. It's amazing what a chic neckscarf, smart pixie haircut, and lush backdrop of ferns can do for a simple cardigan. This is such a classic, originally published in 1981!

Mossy Featherweight Cardigan. This looks very light, easy, and comfortable for lounging or out-and-abouting. I already had the Featherweight Cardigan stashed in my favorites, but DutchesofYarnover's addition of this trim is so lovely. She gives away her edging secret in her notes, if you're interested.She chose a nice color for her project, too, I think. It would also be pretty in a rosy pink or ivory. Oooo, or black. Anyway, whatever color I knit this in, I've gotta go ahead and knit it up already. It's been waiting around
for a while.

Luminens hoodie. While I could live without the high schooler's thumb-holes at the sleeve cuffs, the rest of this hoodie is so interesting to me! The cabled trim wraps from the hood, down either side of the zipper on the front panel, opens up to make pockets along the bottom, and swooshes around the waist to the back. It looks almost elven, like Liv Tyler would have worn it to lounge around her palace in the movie Lord of the Rings.

Myrtle cardigan. Just look at that pretty eyelet scoop neckline! And all those pearly green buttons. And all those climbing vines! Am I accidentally all about some green here tonight, or what?

103-1 Jacket. Fragilistica did a great job with color on this one. And the buttons are a very nice and understated finishing touch. Love the cuffs on this one. The second pose below makes me wonder what the jacket would look like with buttons all the way down, tied around the waist with a same-yarn belt.

Of course, Ysolda always steals my heart! I have another of her sweet, whimsical masterpieces on my shelf of things to knit. I love that this looks like old-timey smocking. Something's telling me this would be pretty in green. Like, a bright grassy green. Or in a soft, buttery yellow. Mmmm, yellow. (I think hippoknits has a little one at home... if I'm seeing the tv in the background correctly, that's Thomas the Tank Engine!)

Annnnnnnd, I'm sleepy. What do you wanna knit, but haven't started yet? Innything purdy?


I think I spoke too soon.

Yes, it's totally frogged. And no, I don't wanna talk about it.

Annnnnnnnnd, redo.


Knitted Lace of Estonia: the book and a project

So, spirit fingers! I made the blog all cute and Springy and bright and cheerful. But what good does that do if I don't actually contribute anything worth looking at and/or reading?

I'm here to say that even though I've been away for a really, really, really long time, I have actually been knitting.  Not as much as I was a couple of months ago.  Mostly because I work at a quilt shop three days a week and it's had a little bit of influence on my crafting and creating endeavors.  But I have been knitting nonetheless. 

Knitted Lace of Estonia is a beautiful book and I am very happy that I bought it on a whim from Borders back in February.  Stuffed with a rich history behind the making of original lace creations by women of Estonia, this book offers tons of patterns that are challenging, fun, and breathtakingly beautiful.  It's really fun for me to be knitting something that is totally challenging for me... it's keeping me on my toes every step of the way!  But, at the same time, I totally get it - the instructions are flawless, and that makes everything doable.  In keeping with my 2010 New Year's resolution, I am knitting from a chart for the very first time.  GO ME!!!

I'm knitting a scarf for the fearless leader of my aforementioned knitting swap group on Ravelry.com.  The yarn I selected for him reminds me of the colors in a peacock's tail feathers - teal, navy, black, and gold - and this pattern suits the yarn well.

As I dive more into the progress of this scarf, I'll be updating more here.  I'm liking the look of this one so far, and I'm sure I'll be ready to show off my work once this thing grows some more.  Until then, let's all try and forget that this project was supposed to be finished waaaaaay back when... yeah, I try not to think about that.  And, instead, I'm looking at the scarf I'm knitting and hoping it will be well worth the wait.

Until more progress is made, I'll try a little harder to keep in touch.

Much love to knitter-bloggers everywhere!


Seed stitching a secret

As mentioned in my previous entry, I ordered yarns for round 2 of the Scarf Exchange that I'm always raving about lately. Have I mentioned how much fun it is? Have I mentioned that I love it? Well, it is, and I do.

A couple of weeks ago, the leader of the group expressed sad concerns that he had accidentally left himself out of the automated random name draw for this round of the swap. How tragic is that? The guy organizing everything, the guy walking so many of us swap virgins through the proper steps, has accidentally left himself out of the benefits of the whole thing! So, I just couldn't stomach it. I asked to knit something for him, and I'm so excited about it! But because he already knows who's knitting for him and because I have already pictured the yarns I purchased on el blog-o, I'll keep the pattern selection a surprise. Gotta keep something a secret, right? I have a few other things in the works for him, but let's not go there until things are revealed in the end. ;)

As for my "real" Secret Scarfee, the yarn for the thing I am knitting her was ordered from the same supplier on the 20th and arrived yesterday. Needless to say, I started knitting last night just as soon as I had finished my supper. Because she doesn't know who I am, I'll go ahead and share the secrets. First of all, this yarn!!! My goodness, this yarn is sooooo pretty. It's a hand spun, hand painted 100% cotton that is incredibly soft. And the colors are so Springy. Pastel pink and orange and green and yellow and a creamy white. It's like a sorbet. How unintentional and perfectly whimsical!

For the project, I'm knitting my own variation of the Destroyed Cowl by Martha Merzig. Rather than straight stockinette stitch, I opted to stick to as much of a Spring theme as I could and traded in for seed stitch. Real cute, I know. I've been wanting to knit something in seed stitch, and this presented a great opportunity to do so! I'm also making this version a bit shorter than the sample pictured on the pattern page... about half the size, but twice the cuteness!


A Sense of Whimsy

Sorry to everyone out there. I know that my millions of blog fans have been complaining about my absence here. I've been busy. Or lazy. Or sometimes... brace yourselves... busy and lazy. At the same time. I know, I know--that just blew your mind. I'm like Garfield and The Tazmanian Devil all squished into one person sometimes here lately. And I still somehow managed to find the time to paint my toenails the other night.

So. Of course, after my beautiful success in swapping partners (both Scarfer and Scarfee) from the Secret Scarf Exchange: Round 1, I undoubtedly jumped at the opportunity to do it all over again. But with a new Scarfer and a new Scarfee this time around. I am very sad to let my Scarfer go because she made the most beautiful and most perfectly colored eggplant purp cowl just for me. If you missed it, then I guess you haven't been missing my absence because it was kind-of a big deal. If you saw it, then I'm sure you're super jealous and hoping YOU signed up for Round 2: A Sense of Whimsy and were randomly selected to be her partner. But listen here: she is so sneaky and such a great secret-keeper that she still has not revealed her identity! I know, I'm impressed with her stamina too. Hopefully she'll give out soon and claim the purple masterpiece I wear around my neck with a camisole and yoga stretchy pants around the house at night. Hey, my dog doesn't judge, she loves unconditionally... and my husband chuckles and gives a quick-and-disapproving shake of the head and goes about his computer-clicky business. I was also lucky enough to have been assigned to a grateful Scarfee. As soon as she received my scarf gift at her home in Portugal she posted thanks on Ravelry and that really made the whole experience worth-while for me.

Now I'm looking forward to getting started on my next endeavor: Round 2. I mentioned in a thread of the group that I'll be posting little teasers and clues and hints about what I'm knitting and who I'm knitting for and what tricks I may have up my sleeve. I'm trying to keep the theme of "A Sense of Whimsy" in as much of the project as possible... and I find it to be a whimsical project, teasing other knitters about a project that may or may not be for them. So, be sure to check in on a fairly regular basis. I'm gonna be pretty busy on a couple of knitting projects, and sneaky... er, whimsical... about it to boot!

For now, the yarn has been ordered and is officially on the move. I found a lovely selection of handspun/handpainted yarns at Birds Nest Yarns on Etsy, and here's what's on its way to my house right now:

The light and fruity pastels are just lovely, no? Make you crave a cold sorbet snack, maybe? (I could definitely go for a lemon sorbet myself.) I can't wait to touch the soft handspun organic cotton tecture. And the rich, coolish-warm gray/teal/gold Merino looks yummy in its own handsome way, dontchathink?

Enough for tonight. I'll keep going on this topic once the yarns arrive on my little newlywed starter home doorstep.


Every day, since the 27th of February, I have been skipping out to our little rusty mailbox with giant hopes of opening the wobbly little hinged door and finding a package in there just for me. The New Year Secret Scarf Exchange (Round 1) ended on the 27th, and I could hardly contain my excitement while waiting for my surprise to arrive!

It pretty much broke The Hubster's heart every day, when I would come back into the house with hands full of sale papers, coupon papers, bills, newspapers, and magazines and sit down to the kitchen table and quietly open everything with the un-excitedness of an every-day mailbox visit. Leave the house hopeful and excited that a package may have arrived, and come back inside with nothing but bills! How could this not be depressing?!?

So, tonight The Hubs got home before I did. He left work a few minutes early with a headache, and I left the quilt shop a few minutes late because of a couple of lingering customers. I came inside, loved on little Vespa pup, and tended to Hubster's sore forehead. When, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a hot pink package in the seat of the Barcalounger and my heart jumped! I looked at The Hub and he just nodded at me with a smile on his face. Yup, IT WAS HERE!!!!!!!!

"Looks like you got Royal Mail," he said to me as I bounced and squealed for joy. I didn't even touch the package for a couple of minutes... like it was sacred or something, haha. I just looked at it and folded my fingers together, resting my face on the back of one of my hands like I was dreaming or something. Then I picked it up, squeezed it, jumped for joy and squealed with excitement for a few more minutes. It was like Christmas morning!

Then I looked at the mailing label. Sure enough, the parcel was actually stamped "Royal Mail" like the Queen sent it herself! Then I contemplated saving the package until later tonight to open.

Wait. What was that last thought? Craziness?!? I thought so. And so the package was ripped.

Here's what I found inside:

Ca-UUUUUTE little lamb letter from my "Secret Scarfer"

And this was the main event... BEAUTIFUL!!!

Here's a close-up of my Scarfer's beautiful handiwork. Please forgive the evening lamp light effects: it's a beautiful eggplant color, exactly perfect for me!

Here I am, happy-as-can-be, wearing my new cowl. Be jealous.

Husband's request #1: "Be sure to get a traditional MySpace photo shot!"

Husband's request #2: "You look like a ninja ready to strike at any moment. Show the camera a little bit'a judo chop action!" And so I did. Looks like you got the stink eye, too. (Please-please-please ignore the naked wall to the right, as it's the space above our sofa... we're newly-ish-weds who have just-ish moved into our first home and I don't have anything to hang there yet!)

So, there you have it. I got a cowl via Royal Mail and it's the most perfect shade of eggplant purp. And, what's that? What did you get in the mail? Coupons and junk mail and bills? Yeah, I judo chop in your general direction. Heh.

(But really, I value my blog readers, so I don't "literally" judo chop in your general direction. I'm just ensuring my superiority in this case, since I got a kick-ass cowl and you didn't. Love ya!)


Oooo, fancy pants.

Please excuse the gumbledy-gook and slight dizziness as I play around with a little bit of Flash/html/Javascript for my little Ravelry squares in the sidebar.

Thanks to sarahspins for the starter code!


Check it out

Something I read tonight really got me thinking.

My husband likes to joke around and tease me that I'm aging before his eyes as I sit on the sofa and knit. And as I exclaim, "Oh! Look at these sweet little apron patterns I can sew up!" But in the end, after his teasing at me, he really seems to love that I knit and sew and enjoy other home making crafts. He loves to peek over from his Barcalounger to check out how far down that Secret Scarf Exchange scarf I've gotten: "Only about a ping pong ball size amount of yarn left!" down to "Look! I finished the scarf perfectly--I only had 4" of yarn left over!"

I also work at a quilt shop, where home economics, crafting, home making, and other "olden days" hobbies are celebrated on a daily basis.

So, on to what I read tonight. Blogger Little Jenny Wren recently posted a blog entry that really hit home. We are special, rare, and important people as knitters. Appreciate yourself. Feel proud of yourself rather than "feeling crushed, feeling guilty, and a bit stupid." Knitting is a special talent and we should embrace it! Read the blog written by this knitter who lives in Tasmania (yeah, really!) and makes dolls, has a pet duck, and obviously embraces her crafting abilities!


All the way to... "???"

So, I finished my New Year Secret Scarf Exchange scarf. And I'm pumped about it. Like, so pumped that even though I don't even particularly like the color blue, I wanna keep the thing. I think she puuuuurdy. Here she is, in all her shriveled glory, about 24.7 seconds after I bound off. I modeled her on the white blanket under a white-ish lamp and grabbed my camera before blocking began.

Then I blocked, using my favorite SOAK scent (flora) and straightened, rolled, and squeezed the best I could into this towel:

Then, of course, I blocked. BLOCK, PEOPLE!!! Look at the difference in this and the following photos compared to the first two above. It's amazing how blocking TOTALLY MAKES your knitting pop!

Kick-ass red fingernails getting the job done right:

Pinned and ready to dry overnight:

Not sure why I look so sneaky with my perky little lips here. But the tousled hair and rosy cheeks are pure I-totally-just-woke-up material. As soon as I smooched Hubster goodbye for the day (I head to work after he does), I unpinned, wrapped, and photographed the heck outta this scarf. I love her, she's gorge! And I hope my scarfee, all the way in Scarfee-land does, too.


The palm of my hand is bruised, but...

(Whew, I was beginning to think that Blogger thought my knitting was too fug to allow any photos of it to be published. Turns out, it just takes FOREVER for my pictures to upload and I forgot about that since the last time I shimmy'd here at PurlyTwirly was about a week-and-a-half ago. Sorry, I'll be better! Please ignore the lighting by lamp. I wanted to write this tonight, which meant no natural light to show true color. But we'll get there as the projects progress, promise.)

So, I have been keeping myself really busy in my spare time lately with plenty of yarn on the needles.  Ysolda seems to be a bit of a muse for me. Aside from her lovely wavy blonde hair and timeless pretty face and charming bloggy wit, she's got a genius pattern planning brain. I have three projects in the works that are of her sweet, whimsical design. I should have just gone ahead and purchased her first book, Whimsical Little Knits, but I couldn't bare to wait for it to be delivered. So, I purchased the instant pdf download of her Poppy and got to work immediately. Now, I have two Poppys ready for their debut. But for now, just in case anyone who actually knows me in real life decides to be sneaky and lookyloo over here before these darlings can be gifted, I'll only be sharing a snippet. Here's the one (she's the blonde, for Miss Addison) who isn't packed away for the drive up for giveaway. I still cuddle on her. I'll still be sad when they're both out of my hands. She waves hi.

The third project by Ysolda is one that I've got on the plastic size US6 needles: Elijah the elephant. I can't wait to pick up the stitches necessary to make those big, floppy ears on the sides of that huge head! I love the yarn I'm using from my stash, Lion Brand's Cotton Ease in color 11 Lake. It's a great-looking muted grayish blue and I'm really happy with how it's knitting up. It's pretty firm and sturdy, which makes for a great stuffed animal yarn because his little stuffed animal guts aren't squishing through the loops (so sorry for the graphic nature of that sentence!).

And finally, of course, is an update on my New Year Secret Scarf Exchange scarf. Y'all. I am truly in love with this pattern, Branching Out by Susan Lawrence (and it's published over there at knitty.com). It's very pretty. It's growing (seemingly) quickly. It's just easy enough to keep me proud of myself for totally getting it, and just tough enough to keep me working at it, because honestly, I don't know what the heck I'm doing. To attend to my super-secret scarfee's preferences, I selected a heathered dark blue yarn, Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool in color 95. While it's not my favorite color, I will admit that it is a very lovely yarn. Indeed! And, yes, I bunched it up on purpose so that you couldn't really see anything. I'm very, very sneaky.

The palm of my hand is bruised because my genius boss (owner/mogul of SuzannesQuilts.com (check out the blog, SuzannesQuilts.com/blog! (yes, that was a shameless plug for the blog I keep at work, and yes, this is a TRIPLE parentheses, thankyouverymuch!))) decided that for Fat Tuesday, we'd have a "Buy 20, get 10 free" sale on all fat quarters in the shop. That means that for all of my Monday, all.I.did.all.day.long. was cut fat quarters! And, well, the rotary cutter, cupped in the center of the palm of my hand, decided to go ahead and bruise it while it was there. Have you ever had a bruise on the dead-center of the palm of your dominant hand? It sucks. Wiggle your thumb. Ouch. Wiggle your fingers. Youch! Pick something up. You guessed it. So I'm knitting a little slower than my typical slow knitter self, but I'm still truckin' along! GO TEAM USA!!!

What's on your hot little knitter needles?


Got it all worked out

For those of you who have been fretting, stressing, pacing the room, and worrying about that ugly little mess I recently shared... well, you can rest assured that things are gonna be a-okay. The emergency surgery took many hours to complete and there were two minor setbacks (the yarn broke twice while I was tugging at it not-so-ginger-like), but in the end the yarn was saved!

I'm a happy knitter now, lace-ing away on my Branching Out Scarf for my secret-secret scarfee.


New Year Secret Scarf Exchange

So, I am a part of my very first ever exchange, and I just sort of fell into a group that I'm absolutely loving. I'm really enjoying being a part of a semi-somewhat community. I like knitting something for someone who will appreciate the work that has gone into making it, and I absolutely love the fact that someone out there that I don't even know is making something just for me.

I was especially pumped to have found what I thought was the perfect color yarn for the gal I was assigned in the secret exchange--a dark heathered blue made of a wool and silk blend. It was soft, supple, and was knitting up beautifully. That is, until this afternoon. This yarn met an ill fate indeed.

You see, I got this great idea to suppress my PMS oh pitiful me feelings and make myself some brownies. I found a recipe here at Smitten Kitchen today that promised to make some good, rich, delicious brownies and decided to give it a try. Hey, why not? I already had all the necessary ingredients, plus plenty of milk to wash it all down with a smile.

Well, to get the recipe into the kitchen with me, that meant the laptop needed to come sit on the counter. And, since the battery didn't really want to cooperate long enough for me to finish the 20 minutes of cocoa and sugar and butter melting preparation on the stovetop, I needed the power cord.

Of course, I had been knitting on my secret scarf for my secret exchange buddy before I got up to make the brownies, and the laptop had the pattern pulled up on the screen. When the power cord was brought to the kitchen, the yarn (which had been resting on a portion of the cord) got tangled and mangled and incredibly discombobulated. It was enough to make any knitter sick. And, yes, I know that I should have rolled the yarn into a ball as soon as I unpacked it from the mail wrapping. But I just wanted to get started already!

So, this is what I am left with now:

A mangled disaster of fibers, all knotted up in a mess of I'll-never-get-this-untangled-ness. And a portion of a scarf that could have turned out beautifully. No-no-no, the yarn is too far gone. She has been taken off life support and we're just waiting for the trash pick-up Monday at 7:00am.

Now, I've planned a trip to Valdosta tomorrow afternoon, just a short 45 minute drive down the road, to buy some emergency get-back-to-it yarn so that I can officially get re-started.