Look what I bought!

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Aren't they pretty? Three skeins of beautiful Italian wool. I have no idea what possessed me, other than the ambiance of the store I visited yesterday with B. Called Kindred Threads (note: website is a bit neglected, I think), the store has the kind of yarn I knew existed but couldn't find at the -mart stores. Organic cotton, home-spun alpaca, you name it. You walk in and enter a true knitter's wonderland. It has more than yarns–there are looms (the huge kind you make blankets and rugs on), crafts, and lots of beautiful felted items for sale. I bought these skeins imagining I may buy myself a sock loom someday and make a pair. Or maybe a hat. Or a scarf. I've even imagined making a slipper on the blue loom and felting it down, but the thought of wrecking this yarn upsets me. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying the bright, spring colors amongst my rather earth-toned yarn selection. (I bought a skein of pink a few weeks ago and it stands out like a sore thumb. Now, it isn't so lonely anymore.)

So here's what was strange. I told the owner I was a beginner, but left off the word "loom." I was a bit hesitant, amidst all the beauty, to admit I'm using those big, plastic looms. You know, the ones you buy at Wal-mart?

She told me of one other yarn shop closer to my hometown, but when we drove past it later, it was closed for the day.

I think I've found every single yarn shop in the area and I always find something to buy. There are yarn cutters that make me think of a weapon, and there are special darning needles and carved cases. I've been tempted by beautiful sterling scissors shaped like cranes, and lots of other things.

Bag

Although I didn't follow it today when I bought the blue and green yarn, I have a rule that I shouldn't buy yarn I don't need but just purchase it as I go. In other words–no stockpiling.

So, how come after only three weeks using the KK my knitting bag is stuffed, I have a wicker basket piled high with yarn, and I even have a mostly-filled plastic bag on the floor? This is a very addicting hobby.

The Mysterious Expanding Slipper

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You learn things every day. What I learned today: Yarn stretches. Yes, I know. I should know this, but it must have escaped my mind somehow.

My dad had requested slippers, so I traced his current slipper on a piece of paper to be able to size them correctly. I was really excited about making these, because I came across Isela's pattern for ribbed socks (PDF) using the blue loom, and it would be my first try at a toe that didn't get drawn up with one thread like the top of a hat. (Note: I didn't make this pattern exactly, but it helped me understand increasing and decreasing on the loom–her pattern keeps those pesky holes from appearing in the heel.)

So, my dad has size 10.5 feet. Keep this in mind. I started with Lion Brand Thick and Quick in "wood" (yes, I must expand my yarn horizons) by knitting ten rounds, drawing up the bottom row, and knitting off to make a cuff. I then jumped right into the heel, and was pleased to find it went smoothly. When I started the actual foot, I carefully compared the growing sock with the tracing of my Dad's slipper. 10.5. Remember.

I knitted 28 rows and then knitted the toe using the flat stitch. I took off the whole thing using a flat panel removal method, like Isela recommends. And here's the result!

That's ONE HUGE SLIPPER!

B came home, took one look, and burst out laughing. What happened? It matched the paper tracing exactly, right up until the point where I took it off of the loom. So… the moral of the story is: yarn stretches, sometimes mysteriously so.

This story has a happy ending. Yes, I could have "frogged" it (I've learned that means Rip-it, Rip-it!) but it just so happens my husband's foot is size 12 so guess who's getting a pair of slippers? Sorry, Dad!

Scarf

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Another first: a scarf! I think if someone gets a KK for Christmas, they probably make a hat and a scarf. I try to make as many different things as I can, but I guess someday, you just look around and realize you need a scarf. I used the purple loom and Lion Thick & Quick and knitted a scarf using the entire skein. It took me about 1.5 hours, and I used the figure eight wrapping pattern to cast on, and then I used the zig-zag pattern after than. Super duper easy. The only problem that I encountered was that I thought the scarf was too wide and short, and when B laid eyes on it, he said, "Hey, I'll use that!"

So, I'm still scarfless. Oh well. It's about 50 degrees out and until the next snow, I won't need one. Next project: Slippers for Dad.

What’s on the purple loom?

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A newly-started afghan–a people one, not a cat one. I bought about eight skeins of some cheapie yarn, Red Heart, and dove into the biggest project I've undertaken. The purple loom makes about a 12" wide panel and I'm planning on alternating squares of blue, brown, cream, and a multicolored blue-brown-cream.

I'm using the zig zag stitch with two strands of yarn. It's a bit airy with spaces between the stitches, but I think the overall size will make it warm. I like doing this type of thing because I don't have to count much. I don't like doing it because it's a little overwhelming with how long it can take. Also, I'll have to stitch panels together which is something I haven't done. Maybe I can crochet them? I'm planning on three panels of five squares each which, hopefully, will give me a 36"x 62" afghan. Another adventure!