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hsks5 and the secret project

by Michelle on July 11, 2008

Yay, my spoilee for HSKS5 got her package today!! I’ve also had a report from my spoiler that there’s one in the mail for me now, too! Swaps are fun!

Since the veil of secrecy is now lifted, I can finally tell you about the so-called SECRET project! One of the requirements of this swap was to send a “handmade item” (a bag, a needleholder, or…something else, I don’t remember). It was not required that this be a knitted item, but since I don’t really have a place to put up my sewing machine and didn’t have any other great ideas I decided to knit my spoilee a bag. I ran across the HP House Fair Isle Pouch Bag pattern and fell in love, so I ran with the idea.

As it happens this was my first completed Fair Isle project, and also my first lined bag. I was a bit worried during the knitting because no matter how careful I was with the floats, it contracted into a bumpy tube once it was a few rows away from the needles. I just kept hoping that blocking would fix it. So when it was done, I washed it and blocked it rather aggressively. Thankfully, blocking worked miracles and it came out GREAT!

Slytherin Bag

(I didn’t put any fringe on the bottom. I finished the bag late one night and frankly forgot. Then I decided I liked it just fine without.)

Here’s one that shows the lining:

Slytherin Bag

And, since knitters always seem to want to see the wrong side of Fair Isle, here’s a shot of the inside before I lined it:

Slytherin Bag

I followed the instructions for this bag pretty faithfully–with the exception of the fringe. I did make one major change, which was to use worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220–I’ll have to look up the color numbers once I’m home again) rather than DK. I used a size 6 needle because I wanted the result to be pretty dense. Otherwise, I knit it as instructed and just let it turn out whatever size it wanted to be. I think it turned out around 11.5″ x 14″ post-blocking (Narcissa, can you verify that? I didn’t write it down and only vaguely remember from measuring it for the lining). I used less than 1/4 yard of fabric for the lining. I sewed the lining completely by hand, which is something I haven’t done for a long time (hand-sewing, I mean). I can’t say that I love sewing by hand, but I am definitely proud of how the bag came out and I’m glad I went to the trouble.

I’ll let you read about the rest of the swap kit over on Narcissa’s blog, but I did want to mention one more thing. I had our wonderful local indie-dyer, Sharon of Stitchjones custom-dye a skein of her fantastic merino sock yarn in Slytherin colors. Here is the beautiful yarn she made for me to send on to my spoilee:

Stitchjones 100% superwash merino

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one-day weekend coming up

by Michelle on June 28, 2008

After a “quiet week” that really wasn’t (due to many meetings and many phone calls–it occurs to me that I spent a significant amount of time this week helping people from at least three different departments, not even counting payroll), I get Saturday off and then have to work on Sunday. Working on Sunday isn’t all that unusual for me (it happens once every 8 weeks), but this time there will be a whole crew there helping out.

I think I’ve mentioned before that holidays aren’t really a payroll specialist’s friend…

  • they mess up payroll schedules: next Friday would be our regular payday, but it happens to be a holiday–so payday will be Thursday instead, necessitating that we move our Monday/Tuesday processing to Sunday/Monday
  • quite often we end up either working on the holiday or working on the weekend so we can have the holiday off
  • even though holidays cause us to have to work lots of extra hours, the existence of the holiday makes it unlikely that we actually get paid overtime for those extra hours (since we have to actually WORK more than forty hours–not counting the holiday time off–in order to get paid overtime)
  • holidays also add whole new layers of complexity to actually processing payroll accurately: we have to do extra audits to look for and fix problems; and also people often want to take time off to coincide with a holiday week, which causes a huge spike in data entry (for some specific reasons I could explain, but I don’t want to bore you completely to death)

My plan for this coming week is this:

Sunday: Work however long I’m needed, which will hopefully be from 7am until maybe 1pm
Monday: This will be my crazy long day this week, 6:45am until who knows (7pm if I’m lucky)
Tuesday: 6:45 to 3:15 (hey, I should be able to join the Downtown Knitters next week!)
Wednesday: 6:45 until…I’ll try to escape early, since I won’t get overtime for those extra hours I put in earlier in the week anyway; then I’ll probably run over to Twisted to check out their Anniversary Sale
Thursday: I’m OFF! Yay!!


The following week I’m on vacation. I cannot wait. Nik and I haven’t had an actual vacation since last October, when we went on our honeymoon. Depoe Bay, here we come!

Yeah, I’m getting a little excited and it’s still over a week away! 🙂

On the knitting front: the SECRET project is nearly complete! Just some finishing touches left (which have to wait until it’s dry). The flower hexagons for the scarf are blocked and waiting to be sewn together, if I could only figure out the best way to do it.

Anyone have any suggestions? I’ve tried a few things, but been a bit unhappy with each for various reasons. The problem, I think, is that they were blocked pretty aggressively to get that open flower look which caused the stitches along the outer edge to stretch. So when I sew through them, the stitches tend to pull the whole side tighter and at the same time the whole thing is kind of loose…

I tried to just slip stitch them together, thinking that would give them a little firmness but it looked kind of odd–and pulled in too much. It just occurred to me to maybe try the slip stitch again, but doing two slip stitches in each stitch. That might make it pull in less and also give them a better foundation. Hmm.

Guess that’s the first thing I’ll try in the morning. I think I’m just not accustomed to sewing crocheted pieces together, so I’m fumbling around a bit here. I’ll figure out a way to handle it soon, I’m sure.

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socks and flowers

by Michelle on June 24, 2008

The Summer of Socks 2008 KAL started on Saturday, so I decided to set aside the Atomic Toes socks (which frankly haven’t been getting much attention anyway) in favor of something that will actually count for the KAL. So Saturday morning I cast on for Ziggy. I’ve also been trying to get the “Secret Project” finished (getting close!), so I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on Ziggy yet. Here’s my progress so far:


I absolutely love how this sock is turning out so far, despite my inexperience with Fair Isle. If you look closely there are definitely flaws, but overall it’s looking pretty good. If I do say so myself.

Also, I LOVE how the colors are striping so far.

The other thing that’s been grabbing my attention here and there is actually a crochet project. I was talking to Shannon at Twisted last week and somehow the topic of crochet came up. I haven’t been doing much crochet in recent years, mostly because–in many cases–I prefer the results achieved with knitting. However, crochet is a lot of fun. It goes really fast, and you can make unusual things pretty easily.

Lately, I’d been sporadically looking for a somewhat specific project: a crocheted scarf, with a lacy, maybe flowery, look. Something that could be used in warmer weather than the rest of my scarves. I’d poked around Ravelry and had found some things that were kind of the right idea, but not quite IT somehow. I told Shannon about the idea, and she pointed me to the two issues of Interweave Crochet that were on the magazine rack.

There are a lot of cute things in those two issues! I was tempted to buy both, but settled on just getting the Spring issue. Because the Spring issue had THE PATTERN in it.

I think Shannon and another woman who was knitting at the front of the shop might have thought I was a little crazy, because I took one look at the Floral Lace Belt (Ravelry link) and said, “There’s my scarf!”

So that night I went home and did a test of one of the hexagon motifs and got this:

Flower Scarf

Pretty, no? This is leftover Yarntini from my Twisted Sky Socks–I just wanted to see what it would look like in fingering weight and a larger hook (I used an H for this one). Only problem is that the hexagon was way too big–the scarf would be super wide at this size.

Then I tried lace weight yarn and a G hook:

Flower Scarf

I liked this one, too, and I think it would block out nicely (I just pinned it for the picture), but it was really fiddly in a way that I knew would make me not want to work on the project.

Next try:

Flower Scarf

Aha! This one, I love. I love the colors, I like the size (the scarf might still be a bit wide, but not so bad). This is Claudia Haindpainted sock yarn in the “Oops” colorway, with a G hook. It’s also fingering weight, but it’s lighter than the Yarntini. Between the lighter weight yarn and the smaller hook (a G is a full millimeter smaller than an H), the motif came out to a pleasing size.

I have four hexagons so far (did three very rapidly earlier this evening–crochet is really fun sometimes!), and I’m thinking I’ll need 12 or 15. I’ll figure it out when I get there. 🙂

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i am so tired of this weather

by Michelle on June 1, 2008



(In better news, I just found out that I won the pattern for this cute bag. Thanks, Emma!)

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fun day!

May 31, 2008

I had so much fun this evening that I almost don’t remember work today. 😀 Twisted had a Lantern Moon trunk show this evening, which was a lot of fun. I’ve never seen so many people in the shop! They brought so much stuff, it was amazing. And beautiful. I coveted lots of things, but […]

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knitting firsts

May 25, 2008

Emma asked us to post a “first” in knitting, and initially I couldn’t really think of anything. I’m pretty adventurous, so there isn’t much I’ve *never* tried. Perhaps my imagination is failing me, though. 😀 However, I did recently learn a new technique which I used on my Twisted Sky Socks: knitting socks on two […]

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oops, i kinda forgot

May 23, 2008

Yesterday was the first time I’ve missed posting something during the whole month of May. Between just being exhausted and then being up late watching American Idol (I had to see if David Cook was going to beat David Archuleta!), I just lost track and went to bed without posting. Oh well, I’m still doing […]

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on the street today

May 15, 2008

Around 4:00 this afternoon, I was sitting at a table on the sidewalk outside of Grand Central Bowl, waiting for Nik to pick me up. (We went on a work outing, bowling and food at Grand Central. That place is NICE!) The weather was beautiful and I had 15-20 minutes to kill, so of course […]

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swaps, sock clubs & homework

May 14, 2008

I’ve had many, many opportunities to join sock clubs over the last few years, but have never succumbed. Until this one came up and I could no longer resist. I just joined and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to come up with! Another thing I’ve never done is participate in a swap […]

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today’s progress…

May 13, 2008

One complete Sorta Charade sock: One nearly-complete Lizard Square: A little bit of a baby sweater: (I didn’t actually work on this today, but I hadn’t shown any pictures of it yet, so…)

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