1. Full participation in a knitalong.
  2. Finish Juliet sweater.
  3. Make more socks for me. Finishing my first pair of small gauge socks for myself. Had to get them checked by my friend Melissa to make sure they were still on point and I didn’t have to frog. Still good! Maybe I’ll be able to start the heel before Jan. 1.
  4. Start the master knitter program. Big dreams, long process. Probably after the summer.
  5. Start another sweater. Either the Viking fair isle one, out of Cascade, or a top down one. Bottom  up is not my thing.


The whole reason I started knitting for myself was because I wanted the finished project, not because I liked knitting. I knew going in that there weren’t going to be a whole lot of things I would make myself because they took longer than three days (my threshold for making crochet projects).

I have accepted that things I want to make aren’t necessarily going to be warm (shawls). I have accepted that the majority of the sweaters I fell in love with on Ravelry will have to be admired from afar, because I prefer faster knits where great fit is not required. And that I may only have two handknit sweaters in me over my lifetime.

One idea that took a lot longer to die, though, is that all socks, regardless of yarn weight or foot size, should be knit on size 3 needles or larger. (My knitting friends have been laughing their heads off for quite a few years about that one.)

I made myself some socks on 2’s and 3’s, and while they met my “good enough’ standards, I want the ones I make from now on to fit me well and last longer. So I sucked up the unfairness of it all and asked my friend Melissa to show me how she knits socks.

She pays attention to her knitting, pattern instructions, and things like details. She knits socks that fit, and her sock fabrics tend to be closer knit than mine, because hello, she uses size 0 needles or whatever’s called for, versus, say, size 3s.

After she stopped laughing, she showed me how she starts the toe ups and looked at the toes I had started already. The ones on size 1s or 2s were too loose (dammit. I’m a loose knitter, apparently.) So I started another pair on size 00s. She thought the fabric on those came out much better.

Since that afternoon, I did my usual 2 or 3 restarts, and I have about an inch and a half of dense sock toes to my credit. I’m up to 60 stitches and hope that will be enough for my narrow feet without being too many.

I don’t usually mind the 00s knitting, but every now and then I’ll have my “irritated knitting” fit and have to put them down for a while.

I’m not sure where the irritation comes in. Maybe it’s how I feel like I’m knitting a section more tightly than the others and it drags across the needle in a weird way. Or worry that I have too many or not enough stitches, and I won’t know for sure until I have enough foot to try them on.

Anyway, here’s what they look like right now.


So far, so good. I think it’s a good use of the JL Vinca yarn. I tried knitting this yarn as a couple of other projects, but they didn’t feel like a good fit for the yarn, so I frogged them all and put it back in the stash.

Came in here to add on that I wasn’t going to fix an error I’d made in it earlier, and decided to just do another post while I was at it.

I came across this gorgeous poncho on the Testing Pool forum on Ravelry. That is a prolific kind of place; it seems like 20 or more new designs a day pop up in there for people to test, usually for free, with restrictions on yarn used and a time limit to finish the pattern.

I am not a great test knitter, and I have to constantly quit trying to be one. My ego keeps telling me “You can do eeettt!!!” Experience tells me, “Would you freaking stoooooopppp lying to yourself and designers before I do a Lady Mary and commence to ‘slapping you about the head and face?'” (Experience has a point there.)

I now tend to just tell people to earburn me when the pattern is ready. That way I can plug it elsewhere on Ravelry, and maybe in here. Over the past couple of weeks I requested a lot of earburns on sweater test knits so that I can post links to them in the sweater inspiration group I started on Ravelry.

The poncho thread is “Open – Knit: Girl’s Best Friend Poncho,” and the designer has just started looking for test knitters.

I love it! It’s like a lace mesh diamond design with garter stitch neckline and borders. It may even work with some of my worsted weight stash. I’ll keep an eye on it.

Japanese Garden Shawl

Original yarn picture from juliespins.etsy.com

Feb. 21, 2015

March 22, 2015

May 10, 2015

May 16, 2015

I hope that’s what the center spine (on the right) is supposed to look like.

When I was taking the picture, I noticed an error where I purled instead of knitted. I’m not sure I want to go back and correct it.

When you drop a stitch with this yarn it tends to run itself down the row like a stocking if you don’t put something in there to stop it. There’s also a mix of K2tog stitches in there I’d have to keep track of. I’m going to put it in time out while I think about it some more. (Later: Nope, didn’t put it in time out. Not going to correct it. Just kept going.)

Here’s the back. Knitting the wrong side is like an eight-stitch repeat from purl stitch to purl stitch. It took a few rows before I caught on that it’s seven stitches then a purl across the back. I occasionally have to catch myself and go back a few stitches.

Juliet sweater, front, bottom up

Feb. 9, 2015

May 10, 2015

May 16, 2015

About 25 more rows to go until I start the bust increases.

For a pair of toe ups. Using Wendy Knits toe-up slip stitch heels for high instep. (LOL if I heard the person use some other term and got it mixed up with “high instep.” I’m hoping that if they fit me, they will fit her okay, but won’t know until I’ve turned it and done a little more work.)

* * *


Changed the plans and went with Blossom Knits’ video tutorial. Had to frog it back down some because it was a little too long, but I like how it looks like a more traditional heel flap.

Cold sheep goal status:

  • STARTED – knit the Japanese shawl by Wendyknits.
  • STARTED – design sweater for that yarn using Custom Knits and the Shirley Paden book, and the Top Down Knitting book.
  • knit one of the mitten patterns I bought.
  • only buy more yarn if needed to finish a pattern or supplement other 400-yard yarn in stash.
  • purchase one sweater-quantity of yarn this year for a personal top down challenge
  • STARTED but frogged – knit the Brandywine shawl.

A week or so ago I cast on for the Japanese Garden Shawl created by WendyKnits.

The main reason I wanted to make this one is it is one of the few shawls where you start with a huge amount of stitches and work your way up it to the next. The hardest part and longest rows get done first, which seems like giving myself a giant break!

I’m using the Juliespins Euro in Monet for it. It has quite a bit of variegation (and is thinner than I expected). but the colors in it are so gorgeous. I don’t know how much the pattern will show, but that’s not something I am concerned about this particular go round. I needed a pick me up and this yarn color is definitely helping!

This is one of a few projects I have set as my cold sheep goal through this summer.

I am also continuing work on my sweater (about 1/8 of the front section is done); and have plans to finish a pair of socks, knit the Brandywine shawl, and start designing a sweater for a sweater quantity of yarn. (If things go my way, I hope to buy some Juliespins fingering weight from another Raveler.

Mini-me pics

A couple of years ago, my roommate helped me make a dress dummy using instructions from the Custom Knits book by Wendy Bernard. You can also do a search for “dress dummy instructions” or “dress dummy duct tape” for free how-tos.

My dress dummy needs to be repaired a little. The back where it was cut down the center to be removed and placed on a hangar has come apart. I plan to mark a horizontal waistline on there at some point as well.

This is the back:

This is the front:

It’s a little messy, but it serves its purpose. Here it is with the Juliet sweater back clipped to it.

I was on Ravelry a couple of days ago in the Cold Sheep section. In the “Goals for 2015 part, TangledThread was asking people, “What worked for your cold sheep goals last year? What didn’t work?”

That got me to thinking, and I signed back up for Cold Sheep again with a few exceptions.

What didn’t work was that I barely had any goals set for 2014. Usually, I know of a few projects I’ll be able to get to by summer, things I really fall in love with and want to make.

Instead, I was trying to finish UFOs that were mostly achievable, a few that were lofty, and some that I wasn’t sure how to proceed with, so I really dreaded them.

Most of my favorite knitting is done or started in the summer too, it seems like, when it’s warmer and I feel more like doing stuff.

To that end, I have set myself the following Cold Sheep 2015 goals. I may add more when I’m feeling more into it.

  • purchase one sweater-quantity of yarn this year for a personal top down challenge.
  • design sweater for that yarn using Custom Knits and the Shirley Paden book, and the Top Down Knitting book.
  • only buy more yarn if needed to finish a pattern or supplement other 400-yard yarn in stash.
  • knit the Brandywine shawl.
  • knit the Japanese shawl by Wendyknits.
  • knit one of the mitten patterns I bought.

I started swatching for the Brandywine shawl last night, but I need to go down a needle size and can’t find my Knitpicks set right now. lol.

Other knitting

I finished the fair isle part of the gracious cowl, but I am having difficulties getting the i-cord edging to look good. I am probably doing it wrong. I intend to do another round of stitching on a smaller needle, then use the same smaller needle to do the i-cord bind off.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll bind the one row off and seam the edges together.


I haven’t looked at the sweater for a few weeks. I frogged what I’d knitted on the wrong size needle, casted back on, got 3 rows into the edging and put it down.

I got a little tired of carrying it around, too. lol. I will get back to it someday.

I guess companies get bored with the same old same old and change things to see if anybody’s paying attention. They may even figure that if they make a change and nobody gets pissed off about it, they must not be doing well.

Or that making it easy for people to update their blogs and log out means less clicks for WordPress, “So screw you bloggers!”

Being pissed about not being able to find anything, or log out (!!!), is not helpful in my case, so I’m making a list on how to get to where I need to go from the section shown below.

I will try not to whine about it anymore in this particular post.

The three links under the Stringing Me Along “plate” in the upper left hand corner are:

*View Site – takes you to the front page of your site within WordPress. Does not log you out.

*WP Admin – takes you to the Dashboard section.

*Stats – self-explanatory.

How to get to one of your other WordPress sites under the same username, from the log in window:

  • Down the left-hand side, under the name of the blog you’re currently logged into, hit the “< Switch Site” link and pick the one you want to work on.

How to work on widgets:

  • Click WP Admin.
  • In the gray sidebar, hover over Appearance and choose Widgets from the popup menu.

How to edit the links in the Links Widget:

  • Click WP Admin.
  • In the sidebar, click Links.

To change your header or look of your blog, go to WP Admin/Appearance/Themes, or WP Admin/Appearance/Customize.

How to log out:

Oh wow, they may have actually updated the “Sign out” issue.

  • The longer way: From  the “My Sites page, click on your Gravatar icon (mine’s the little green circle).
  • Click “Sign Out” underneath the giant Gravatar icon on the left.

The shorter way:

  • If you’re still in Dashboard, hover over your Gravatar icon at the top right and click “Sign Out.”

In progress:

  1. scarf – a mix of two yarns, with a bead design pattern from the Out on a Loom book.
  2. gracious cowl
  3. socks – green ones
  4. juliet sweater


  1. light blue washcloths
  2. Tumbling Deco shawl
  3. East Meets West bag
  4. Jultomtar gnome (doesn’t quite count since I never actually got started)
  5. Marcasite Mehndi Wrap
  6. Lady Eleanor wrap
  7. shirley paden design (generated from Ravelry group challenge). I can’t really call this a project. It’s something I’d like to do eventually.

Only 11? There’s not as many things on this list as I thought there was. I guess it’s a good thing that I mostly stuck to the “not casting on anything new until I finish _______ ….”

Right now, I will keep working on the scarf and the gracious cowl. I really don’t want to have to buy Ravelry stash to finish it.

Last week I found the red mini swatch I did for it (about 15 rows of 40 stitches). I also found a bigger red yarn swatch that I think came from the same ball, probably for when I attempted the Arcade Mode Fingerless Gloves. I think it’s enough red to finish the project, and if it looks obvious that it’s not, I can wear that part on the inside.

I hate I read the pattern wrong on the gloves. It made my project not look as randomly cool as the designer’s before I even got halfway done with the first one, and that really irritated me, so I frogged them.

I feel like I don’t have a handle on my knitting anymore.

I used to be able to say with some certainty, “I know for sure I’ll be working on this project sometime this year,” and be able to add in a few more small or short term projects on top of those.

These days, I don’t seem to have a plan.

For a while there I was ready to give up knitting completely. I didn’t love it when I started and I get aggravated when a project doesn’t go like I thought it would. The main things it’s given me are awesome friends and (not so awesome) I-want-itis and yarn addiction.

Now, I like it, but I have things that are on hold because I don’t want to frog and fix what’s wrong with them. Or I love the finished project, but I don’t want to actually do the knitting involved. Or the project’s big, and I’m knitting it, but there’s no way I’m going to finish it in the next year without giving it some serious attention.

I may need to take a real time out…no knitting until say, March. Then list it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly; put it all away and revisit it a few months from now. Form a plan then when I have a little distance. And do the same with the spinning. I have two braids coming in January, and I think that’s going to be the end of my spinning stash for a pretty good while.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Photos of finished projects



Victoria Braids Wrap

Second Gail Shawl

Headphone covers

Black hat

Bathroom set

STASH DASH Project List 2012 - incomplete, but marking it done. I have officially given up on the Stash Dash list. I finished 80% of the projects I had on there. Canceled the gift shawl altogether. My cousin's scarf is still on the to-do list though.


UF pillow

Felted nightstand mat - couldn't fix ruffled edges, cut up and sent away.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.