knitting? yes. gauge? no.

I have piles of yarn. It’s stuffed into suitcases, totes, baskets and pieced out for nascent projects. I have a similar pile of patterns, although they are slightly more organised into a binder. None of these items seem to ever go together and that’s why I love the patterns that come along with the yarn. I can’t stand the guesswork of gauge making.

Can’t. Stand. It.

Mine never come out right and it doesn’t matter how many times or how many needles I try, it never seems to be right. But I just had to use wool to make a baby blanket for a dear friend in draughty olde Londontowne.

I purchased Louet Gems from a reputable yarn shop but was rather disappointed with the amount of knotted joins in the skeins. Some had two or three! I will not be using it again. Anyway, since I had random yarn I had to do a gauge and had limited success as usual. Figured what I got was close enough and it did work out in the end.


A nice close up of the extremely complicated pattern.

DSC_1579Here’s Zoltan getting a little rub off the blanket before it’s shipped across the Atlantic. He’s a Carpathian Bear.

cleo and blanketHere’s a shot of Miss C. enjoying the warmth.

Last but not least, here’s the free pattern from Bernat!


rock and roll needle roll

Remember me?

pre roll xxx

I’ve been completed and mailed on time!

This one is a little different to the Hawaiian Honeymoon Souvenir Needle Roll. First of all, look at this amazing stitchery of the turn it right side out hole. It’s so good I might have to redo the hole on mine. Avoid looking at the chalk marks. I’m confident they will rub off eventually.


Thanks to this tutorial over at Quilt Taffy, closing the hole with the ladder stitch is one more type of hand sewing I can no longer hate. It has lovely large pictures and simple instructions, which is just what I needed.

First we have the rock and roll.

rock and roll

I had trouble deciding how to design the quilt top. Swirly? Outline some ladies, or what? I’m pleased with what I came up with: a series of squares based on the red square in the upper left. I won’t be winning any Golden Needle Awards for the stitching.


Open it up to find a little Zen garden in which to relax and create.

zen garden

Ahh. Feeling soothed? I know I am.


There are only three tiers in this one and I made the bottom pockets large to accommodate circulars. The middle tier should work nicely for crochet hooks and DPNs. But Madam M can put whatever she wants in. Her roll, her rules.

roll rules

And a nice little needle roll cuddle. XXX


almost better than a jelly roll

Every time I want to knit something, I go up to the Loftorium and get the required needles and yarn to match the pattern. Then I make a stupid gauge, which I hate doing. Then I find out that the needles I brought down two flights of stairs are too big or too small. Then I have to creep back up, because the Loftorium is above Beastie’s room. This is when I discover that I don’t even have the size of needle I need. I’ve been waiting for a Michael’s coupon for quite some time and a few weeks ago I went crazy. Now I have a near complete set of DPNs. These will take their rightful place in a jumbled pile of straight needles, crochet hooks and my lovely interchangeable circulars (with ultra long extend-o connector) given to me by my Baby Daddy.

But maybe there is an easy solution for a fabric hoarder such as myself?

I was originally inspired by lupinbunny, but as a mathematically challenged human, I just couldn’t figure out the sewing down of the columns. It’s not even mathy, but it felt that way. I’m sure it’s easy enough and I love the different sized pockets it makes. I get it better now that I’ve made one and held it in my hand.

I finally went for nestingsticks’s tutorial-but what shall I use? [legs waggling out of the fabric bins]

In 2010, we took our honeymoon on Kauai and hit several quilting shops. There’s not a lot to do in Kauai. I bought a bunch of fat quarters that I never could find the right project for. Also, I had tons of leftover from the dress I made to wear on the island.

bike riding on the Coconut CoastNow, the original only had three pockets, as did mine, but I decided to add another to hold the teeny needles from my interchangeables thus losing my fussy cut blue hula girls. Whatever. I know they’re in there.

There’s going to be a lot of needles rolling around in this thing, so I figured a bit of batting wouldn’t be the worst idea. La la la, I pieced some chunks together, found some ratty old broadcloth for a inside backing thingummy (I’m sure there’s a name for it) and then I done lost my mind.

What if I were to HAND QUILT THE FLOWERS!?

quilted xxx

Things I have learned:

  • I just can’t follow directions. I always have to make some change.
  • Get some good quality curvy quilty safety pins. Again, I’m sure they have a proper name. The ones I bought from a fabric chain store were like trying to shove a chopstick through a steak. And they snagged my fabric. You can use dress pins. Count them occasionally.
  • Start in the centre, which I did, but also re-smoothenate your piece now and then. I have some puffy bits between the flowers.
  • Just creep up the two flights of stairs and dig out the embroidery hoop. Your nice flat quilting will thank you.

Now, I am just about ready to put it all together and, showing great restraint, I did not go into town to search out the perfect ribbon to tie it all together. Instead, I opened up this bag of worms worms xxxand found something that would work. However, after I cut the red ribbon I finally chose (an inch short while nicking my new table for the second time) it seemed like it wouldn’t be long enough to go around all the batting and needles and tie into a classy bow. Plain old white it is. The ties are each 18 inches long (72” total), basically the width of the roll. Easier to shorten than lengthen, as you know.

Instead of sewing the top and the side first to put the piece together, I pinned my ribbon in at 5 and 10 inches and then pinned the whole piece, leaving it open 6 inches at the top. Since there are 5 layers on one side and a quilted piece on the other, I thought it might be difficult to turn and hand stitch the seam if I made the opening at the bottom. pinned xxx

After sewing around from the edges of the opening (remember to backstitch, kiddies) I clipped the corners and zigzagged the edges. I fear ravelling. Always have.

Press, press, press and then stitch ‘er up! Although I do love a nice bit of topstitching, I’ve skipped it, mainly because I know how bad it will look once I do it. Also, you lose a 1/4 inch of pocket on either side. I fought for those pockets and I’m not about to lose them now!

I am some kind of pleased with myself. It’s been a while since I actually finished finished something. Now let us bask in the beauty that is The Hawaiian Honeymoon Souvenir Needle Roll!roll1 xxx

roll2 xxx

rolled2 xxxHere’s a preview of somebody’s (this is not a) birthday present. You will notice the colour schemery is much more delicious. Man is so much better at coloury matchery than I.pre roll xxx

Stay tuned. I’ve just figured out how I should quilt the top…

buy more wool

Of course you need to buy more wool. Don’t think you shouldn’t. You need the inspiration that only a fresh hank will get you. If you cut a few corners, I’m sure you can afford one little ball. What’s 50 grams anyway?

1. Use coupons. will mail them to your house. So will P&G. 50 cents here and there is a ball in your hand before you know it. I’m not one of those people who organises coupons into binders or anything. I am one of those people who does that with knitting patterns, though. Ok. Organise is quite a strong word.

2. Shop the flyers. I got a kilo of pasta for $1.50 the other day. Sure, there’s nicer pasta out there. Use it on a day when you have time to create a meal. Otherwise, just eat a bowl of spaghetti and sauce and get back to your knitting! Christmas is only 11 months away.

3. I have recently discovered the term destash. Not sure I should ever have done that. It is unlikely I could sell my wool off, but maybe you could. Couldn’t give it away either, although I’d like to go to the Knit Social Yarn Swap.

4. Go to the library. They have books on knitting. You may have to place a hold, but while you wait, you can knit. You just found some extra time to work on that project. Bonus.

5. Walk or take the bus. If you don’t have to concentrate on driving, you can dream up new projects. Hours of planning time! A tank of gas is close to $50 these days. Seriously, how much wool could you buy with that. Especially if Michaels has a 25% off your entire purchase coupon. Aw geez, that’s a lot of wool.

6. Join the Meatless Monday revolution. It can also take some time to cook meat and you should be knitting. It’s kinda sorta supposed to be vegan, but boiling all those grains can take time too. Shakshuka is a new standby at my house. Move your project out of the way because those tomatoes can stain.

7. Skip the dryer. I saw these beautifully colourful, hand-crafted wooden airing cupboards that sit over the heat registers. Can’t find them right now. That is my dream dryer. Instead I have a wire one from CT that will barely stand. I can only hang socks on it. Wool shrinks in the dryer anyway. And the washer. Whatever.

8. Lunapads. I haven’t done the maths on this, but if you start young enough I’m sure it will add up. Buy some for some African chicks too, so they can go to school and learn to knit.

9. Restaurants? Don’t bother. They probably won’t let you knit at the table anyway. I was never really in to restaurants, preferring to get drunk in a bar. Then I was lured by convenience. But sometimes it takes an hour for people to bring food to your house. Do you know what I could cook in an hour? Stirfry, freezer chili and rice, frittata. You know what I can cook in 10 minutes? Popcorn. Buttery, saltery popcorn. Now get back to your knitting. Restaurant food isn’t that great anyway, especially if it comes from a ‘heat-it-up-gourmet-premade-vacuum-packed-food-systems’ kind of place. That’s another lamb shank flavoured rant.

10. Stop washing your hair. Or at least just buy some Prell and get on with it. Use bar soap on everything. Make-up? You’re gorgeous already! Stop buying that stuff that makes your house smell. It’s weird, disgusting, and will probably poison you. Vinegar and water cleans quite nicely. You don’t need to use all the detergent they tell you to either, and your clothes will smell just fine. When felting, you don’t need detergent at all. Another bonus. Just wait until you see my giant sock. Giant. Sock.

Now you have 10 ways to save money for wool. I will be at Baaad Anna’s this Saturday, spending my hoarded pennies on wool. Maybe Sunday too. I just can’t resist a sale. As a bonus, there’s a play area for Beast, who was not happy when she wasn’t allowed to rip all the ball bands off at Michaels. Of course, you rip, you buy……….