Archive for the 'From the Bookshelf' Category

Quit ‘cher belly achin’!

Now, I ain’t one to sit around and bitch. That’s just not my style. Case in point:

The Walker Treasury Project. Yea, yea, the small black and white photos suck. But now, we can all work together and come up with a better solution. It’s teamwork darlins!

But now last night, I was knitting myself a dish towel. Something kitchy, somethin’ so ugly in color choices that only a mother could love ‘er. The stitch pattern that I picked out was from Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns. It was a good pattern, but it was a 12 row repeat. And the gol’ dang book kept flippin’ flipping closed on me.

Luckily, the pattern was pretty basic and after 2 rows I kinda figured out what I was doin’.

But still, the frustration demanded I do something about it. Behold:

walkerbooks 001

One of those things is not like the other!

What a perfect fix -and why havne’t I seen this before – I’d have done it long ago!

The details:

  1. Call up your local copy shop. Mine was in the library of my college. Ask them if they could take a soft cover book and make it spiral bound for you. If they say yes, you’re in luck!
  2. Take them your book. Have faith that they are not going to ruin it. That they are professionals. Know that when your book is returned to you, it will be way more useful to you than before.
  3. Walk away if you are weak. If you are strong (or curious, like I was) then watch as they chop the spine off the book. Gaze as they drill the holes along the spine (only a few pages at a time here). Look with wonderment as they spin a spiral through the holes – and make your book whole again!
  4. Pay. This cost me $3.60 – seriously. I do not know why I didn’t do this sooner.

Next up: My second treasury and my Knitter’s Handbook (which I never use because it never stays open!!!)
walkerbooks 005

Feel like swatchin’?

I’d like to announce a project that you should participate in. It’s called the Walker Treasury Project (WTP for short).

This was all my idea and it’s the big KAL that I hinted at in my 2007 Resolutions post.  Please, please get involved!  (Also, disclaimer – I have two co-admins right now and they’ve come up with some amazing ideas and stuff for the blog – collaborations are the best!)

“Every knitter knows that Barbara Walker’s Treasuries are indispensible. We use them constantly for designing, for help with a difficult pattern, and for pure inspiration. Sometimes, though, the mostly black-and-white and small pictures keep us from seeing the full potential of a pattern. That’s where the Walker Treasury Project comes in. We’re gathering high-quality, color photos of all the patterns in all the Treasury books and putting them on the internet as a visual aide to this wonderful collection. Help your fellow knitter by choosing a pattern from a particular book, working up a nice big swatch in a light-colored yarn, and posting it to our blog. We can help you label and categorize everything. Also, keep in mind that we’re not posting the pattern, just the picture!”

Get involved! Click the link below!

thewalkertreasuryproject.wordpress.com

Moving on….

I’m in my new room and it is mold free. I can feel my health improving in this new environment. I thought I’d post an update incase some poor soul found themselves in my situation. (You can find the previous post about the mold hell here if you’re searching posts individually or scroll down if you’re in the archives.)

I got a lot of advice about how to deal with the possibility of there being mold in my yarn. Overwhelmingly, the suggestion was to lay the yarn in the sun for a few days and let the UVA UVB rays do their work. Unfortunately, since I live in a residence hall, I can’t do that without having to baby-sit the yarn – and since I’ll be working 12 hour days for the next week and a half, that’s not really going to work. And my boyfriend (bless his soul for letting me vent on multiple occasions) would understandably be upset if the first weekend day we can spend together in a month was spent babysitting yarn (summer jobs= long distance relationship).

So this is what I did: First, I quarrantined the yarn. The yarns that weren’t already in rubbermaid totes (and had been exposed to the mold-filled air most of the summer) got put in some giant ziplock bags (these things are AMAZING! They hold up to 10 gallons of stuff!). As I did this, I did the ol’ sniff test and things look bad.

You see, since I’ve been working on my Mason-Dixon Log Cabin blanket all summer, the project and the yarn I have set aside for it had been stored in open air in a cardboard decorative box that sat near the chair I usually sat in when I was knitting. That just happened to be very near to where the AC blew. After I put the yarn in a bag to move it, I noticed mold on the outside of the box and on the inside along the cracks (I burned this decorative box ceremoniously – it was liberating).

Anyway, the yarn for the blanket does not smell good. It smells remarkably different than the yarn that had been in the closet in the totes. Tomorrow I’m going to (sitting in the lounge) finish the strip I’m on (only like 2 more rows), bind off completely and then give the blanket as it is a good soaking. I’m going to skein the balls I have left and then do the same with those.

Today, I soaked and washed my sweaters, scarves and winter hats. In the corner of my room, I have the tower of sweater racks. Later next week, I’m going to do the sock yarns. After that, things should be under control. To be safe, all new yarns are going to be separated and in new containers so that I know which yarns were or may have been “exposed to the mold” and which were aquired before the summer of mold hell (or that which I will try best to forget).

I just want to stop and interject with an enthusiastic endorsement. I’m using Kookaburrah Wool Wash (You can get it at Knitpicks) and I’ve always loved it, but my love for it only grows. I’m not crazy about the scent, but I don’t hate it either. Anyway, you don’t have to rinse it and it has tea-tree oil in it. I emailed the contact folks at Kookaburrah when I discovered the mold and they responded very quickly.

“There’s enough Tea Tree Oil in Kookaburra to kill mould spores in your yarn and washing it with our woolwash will certainly remove any spores and the will be enough residual TTO locked into the fiber to prevent mould from reoccurring, especially when your AC’s putting out dry air!…If you do decide to wash your skeins, I would think a good soak in 2 oz to 5 gallons water and no rinse. We had a series of trials run at WRONZ(Wool Research Org. of New Zealand) and found that one of the conditioners in the woolwash locks the TTO into the wool fiber, we don;t know exactly how yet! So that should give you protection in storage… in a dry place!” – Sincerely, Tony Maggi

And so now, tea-tree oil is my new favorite thing in the whole world. It’s going to save my yarn, I know it!  Thanks Tony!

There was also the issue of my books. They were exposed to the air (ie, not in a cabinet like they usually are) all summer and I’d really hate for them to start to mold. I can’t wash them and so my only real option is to keep them in as dry an environment as possible. My mom recommended these things you can get in the laundry aisle that suck moisture out of the air. I put one in the cabinet with my books. Hopefully that will control any growth.

Hopefully, this is the last I ever have to think about one of the most awful things that could ever happen to a knitter. A serious attack on a stash.

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and advice – it was really helpful.

Lazy Sunday Book Review Part Deux…

In today's post (from the knitting bookshelf), I'll be reviewing "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns."

What? You call yourself a serious knitter? What, you don't own this book? Why the hell not?

This book is amazing. Think of the patterns in this book as providing a skeleton and you choose the skin for your projects.

Say for example that I wanted to knit a pair of mittens (which I really should do before next fall). Now, like any knitter I have an obscene amount of stash and thus, it would be prudent (prudent, knitting, really Nicole?) to use some yarn from my stash, and there is two colors of worsted weight wool that I think would be particularly awesome.

Now, I know that I knit worsted at 4.5 sts per inch (size 8 needles), but I want my mittens to be tight so that when I make snowballs, I don't get wet hands. So, I try knitting the yarn with size 5 needles to get a nice, tight fabric and I get 7 sts an inch. Then, I use this number (7sts per inch) and the size I want to follow the pattern and knit myself some mittens.

This book includes patterns for knitting mittens, hats, gloves, scarves, tams, socks, a vest and a sweater at whatever gauge you want, with whatever yarn you want.

This is a perfect book for you if you are interested in basic and classic designs or if you are wanting to dip your toes into designing.

I've heard critiques that the way this book is written out can be confusing (pages can look like a big matrix of numbers) and true, it may be intimidating the first time you try to knit with this book. I suggest making copies of pages and highlighting the numbers that pertain to what you're knitting. You could also type the instructions out for more clarity. Or, you can do what I did (below, when I was knitting socks) and use cute post-it notes to mark the numbers that pertain to your particular pattern.  

The best justification of this book is that it will save you money. Buying a new pattern or book each time you want to make a pair of mittens with a different yarn would add up (and mean less money to spend on yarn). Using the basic skeletons provided in this book means that you can jazz it up or dress it down depending on what you prefer. This book is the first step in true pattern liberation.

The Final Verdict:

Patterns – Amazing, simple, beautiful
Techniques/explanations – Pretty clear if you have a basic level of common sense
Entertainment Value – This is practical. Not so entertaining.
Price/Value – worth every penny (especially if you get it 37% off at Amazon)


Howdy!

Welcome to the site! Look around. Grab a seat. I hope you brought some knitting. Feel free to bookmark the site - and at the very least, check back every once in a while (I'm a night poster). Oh. And leave me a comment!

email me at... nicole dot hindesTAKE THIS PART OUT AT gmail THIS PART TOO dot com

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Stuff on the needles – to complete, sometime.

Christmas Gifts to Finish
Mom's Sweater (the body is done)

Socks in progress...
Grandma's Socks
Koigu Scruncher
Monkey
Raindrop Lace

Other
Lace Leaves Scarf from Scarf Style
The Behemoth Log Cabin
The Swallowtail Shawl
Stupid Ugly Mitten
Felted Clogs

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