Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dropped Stitches

I subscribe to the knit picks podcasts and I try to listen to at least the first half, but I usually skip the book reviews. The last episode, no. 22, was on dropped stitches.

I have to say, I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to the first part which was about how to fix dropped stitches, because I feel like I have an handle on that. (Although, seeing as her explanation was about 10 minutes long, I'm guessing that if I had listened I would have learned something.)

Then she started on an interested subject about how to drop a stitch several rows down to fix a mistake you might have made (vs. ripping out several entire rows to get back to the mistake). Then, she explained how to drop a whole segment of stitches when you realize that you have screwed up a cable. Hmmm... Now that's going to be useful some day. So, I'm noting it here.

The thought of purposely dropping stitches in an FO sounds a little scary. I think some day when I have extra time (ha!) maybe I'll knit up a swatch and practice dropping stitches to use some of her techniques.

Worked a bit on Sheldina's shell last night while watching a lifetime movie about an abused wife who shoots her husband (and that totally counts as doing homework, BTW, since I'm taking a seminar on domestic violence law). The shell is almost done, I think I just have one more repeat of the honeycomb pattern then I 'm done. Sweet! Then I need to reball my light pink yarn because it is really out of hand.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Flower Garden Afghan

I am seriously rethinking the flower garden afghan that I've been working on. I'm up to eight motifs and there are literally hundreds more to go. I tried to work number nine twice last night and had to rip it out both times. So I gave up. Truth is, I'm just really not that confident in my crochet skills and it is just a frustrating project for me at this point. The frustrating part is that I can't tell when I've completed a round, but I don't want to mess with a stitch marker every time because you have to use those little safety pin ones and it's just a drag. Also, I can't quite figure out where I am supposed to start at the beginning of the rounds. I feel like I have an extra loop that shouldn't be there. Right now I feel like all my squares are different and there are tons of split yarns because I have difficulty pulling the four cluster stitches through the last hook on the needle, so I have no idea what it's going to be like when I have to crochet them all together in the end.

....BUT, it is proving to be a great way to use up the white yarn.

Maybe I'll toss it in the UFO pile for now and begin looking for a different afghan to work on - maybe one that is isn't a granny square beast... for now.

five minutes later:
Yup. I've made the decision. It's a UFO. Bye bye hon!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

law student swag

So, one of the benefits of being a law student is that the two rival legal research engines try to woo you into becoming loyal to their databases. You see, using the engines as a law student is completely free, but when you become a lawyer and you run a search on one of these engines it will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $100-200 every time you click the search button (billed to your client, of course. Ha ha.) So, to lure you in, Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw give you lots of free stuff and you earn points when you search that you can trade in for stuff -- and in the case of Lexis Nexis, that "stuff" includes knitting books!! Yay!! And I have to say, their strategy works. I am a total LN devotee, primarily due to the fact that I prefer their rewards program.

Anyway.... I just ordered the book Knit Socks with some of my points. (And I'm saving up for Folk Style!)

I'm really excited about Knit Socks because I've heard it is really good to actually teach you about the construction of a sock and not just provide you with patterns. I'm sure I could just blindly follow a pattern, but I would much prefer to actually know what I'm doing - mostly so if I screw up I will have some idea about how far back I have to frog. Ha ha. When I knitted my beginner raglan in the knitalong ($5 in Prague) it was one of those things where knitting the sweater was more about the process of understanding how a top-down raglan is knit and not so much about creating a carbon copy of the sweater in the pattern. This knowledge has helped me immensely as I'm knitting my second top-down, bluebell, because I can actually make modifications and know what I'm doing.

In conclusion - Lexis Nexis may have just helped me in my quest to become an awesome sock knitter ... of course, depending on how frustrating I find sock knitting to be, they may have just turned me into a Westlaw convert. Ha ha.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I am Shetland Wool

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
Take this quiz!

internet explorer and this blog

BTW, this blog is still IE6 incompatible. I'm working on the problem but it is pretty far down on my to do list. Who wants to mess with code when you can be knitting? (or, when you could be knitting code...) Everyone should be using Firefox anyway. It is superior to IE in pretty much every way - and the people at Microsoft are fascists and deserve to be snubbed.

Bluebell: The Resurrection

I blew off all my homework last night and I watched Star Trek, took a nap, watched a movie, read a trashy novel, and took a bubble bath. Nice! More importantly, I worked on Bluebell! I'd say I'm now about 3/4 through the first sleeve. The sleeves are worked flat and they'll be seamed up later, which I'm dreading - but at least it's a sleeve and not an entire frakking cardigan (reference: Mrs. Darcy; and perhaps I shouldn't jinx myself by talking too much about sleeves?) Incidentally, this is the first time I've ever knit flat on circular needles. It's what the pattern says to do and I decided to just try it out. It's not that bad, but I think I still prefer straights. Though, I'm glad I tried it because I have every size of needles in circs, thanks to my fabulous can't-live-without-it Boye Needlemaster. So now with my new skill I'm never gonna have to buy straights again (or circs!) More money for yarn! Yay!

Anyway, I've made it past the first ribbing design above the elbow and I've finished up the increases for the bell sleeve - now I'm in the straight stockinette phase until the sleeve measures 15.5" [BTW, I hate that kind of instruction because I never know exactly how to measure those things - it seems like I can get 3 different measurements depending on how I lay it down!]

I stupidly stopped counting rows after my bell increases when the "knit to x length" instruction started, but about 8(?) rows in I realized I should be keeping track so the other sleeve will match! Duh! So, I counted my rows as best I could* and I'm pretty sure I was 8 rows in. I'm counting now. :)

I am still a little worried because I've gained weight since I started this project, but I am placing my faith in the miracles of blocking. That's why I love knitting with wool!!

*I'm sort of challenged in this respect because I can never tell which is the official first row after the little increase bump and I never know exactly how to count the last row up by the needle. I should really pull out the old reference books and review.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The game plan

OK, so I now have the rest of my Cascade 220 to finish up Bluebell, and I'm also chugging right along on Sheldina. I haven't even started on Roxy's bed and I have like a million other projects I want to start on!! Plus, I'm in this do something new knitalong and I've totally been a delinquent and have not done anything new yet. Then theres the afghan....

So, the game plan:
I will put away Sheldina and finish up Bluebell, then I'm going to put the cat bed on the needles and work on that simultaneously with finishing up Sheldina (I like to get some variety in). I'd like to get another sweater on the needles, but I think once I'm done with Sheldina and the bed, I should probably work on a smaller project before starting another large project - otherwise the small ones will never get done - and I'm dying to knit up my cashmere arm warmers!

As for doing something new - the problem is that nearly everything I want to try is going to require me buying new yarn, which I am strictly forbidden to do. Some new things I'd like to do are an entrelac scarf (SWS), lace (lace yarn), Kool-aid dying (bare yarn), and, obviously, the mitered squares method in the Modern Quilt wrap that I've been obsessing over (yarn yet to be determined). For Roxy's bed I will be knitting with an eyelash yarn for the first time, and I've heard that can be a challenge, so I'm going to count that as my new thing. Maybe if I hack away at the stash in the coming months I can buy all the yarn I've been dreaming about and get started on my new experiments in knitting.

What about the afghan? Right now it's sitting in a neat little box on top of my ottoman, where it will rest until I work up the energy to hook again. (Funny, yesterday's knitting daily was about the rift between knitters and crocheters and why we should all just get along. And ever since I've started crocheting I still keep thinking - man this sucks! What crazy person actually does this? Crocheters suck. ha ha. On the upside, it is far less dangerous to fling a crochet hook across the room in frustration than it is a knitting needle. In that way, crochet really is best when I'm having a temper tantrum.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WIP: Sheldina

I started Sheldina's shell last night. I guess up until this point I should have just been calling her "Dina".

As you can see, my yarn is all tangled up. Neither one of the "balls" is actually a ball right now, so it's just a bunch of loose yarn that I don't want to re-ball and it gets tangled all the way. I seem to recall when I worked on my Jayne hat I thought I could get away with knitting straight from the skein... and after I spent about an hour and a half untangling my mess I wished I had just taken the time to roll it from the beginning. Will I ever learn from my mistakes?

note: shine sport comes in a ball, but the light pink is down too far to work as a pull ball anymore and the hot pink, which I just started, was one of those situations where the yarn won't pull, so you yank on it and about half the yarn comes out of the center. I hate that.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Check out those gams!

Finished knitting Sheldina's limbs the other night. Man, those puppies are hard to get started!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mags Kandis on Color

I thought this excerpt from Monday's Knitting Daily might be helpful in the future when I am trying to pick colors for future projects. Here, Mags Kandis provides an exercise to learn the "language of color":
Here's an exercise I've found really helpful: Flip quickly through a book or magazine, looking only at the colors, not the content. Stop when a page speaks to you solely because of its colors— and then spend a few minutes studying the colors that spoke to you. Could you design a version of the Modern Quilt Wrap based on those colors? This exercise is a way of having a Color Conversation with yourself, a way of developing your own "ear" for the language of color. Practice these sorts of color conversations (could you knit a sweater to match a favorite photo?), and you'll gain more vocabulary for, and more confidence in, your color choices.
P.S. One of the reasons I keep this blog is just so I can save ideas and scraps of advice like this all in one place to look back on another time. This is one of those posts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Case of the Missing Yarn: solved

I just called my mom sobbing, hoping she could at least find an old label on the floor somewhere... and she found the yarn. Yay! Thanks mom.

The Case of the Missing Yarn

I still haven't found my missing skeins of Cascade 220 for Bluebell. I've looked pretty much everywhere I can think of, and it's just not turning up. I decided I better act quick to call the yarn store and try my luck at getting replacement skeins in the same dye lot.... but after searching high and low in all my knitting crap, I can't even find a label with the dye lot number on it. I am so frustrated! I always keep track of that sort of stuff. I could have sworn it was written on my yarn spreadsheet, but it's not. So, basically, I'm screwed. Just screwed. Thanks a lot, universe.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sheldina's Hot Bod

I finished up Sheldina's body on Friday night.

Here she is right before I stuffed her nose and sealed her up. I think she looks a little bit like Predator.

And here is legless Sheldina, looking a little like a jellybean.

Naked in front of Sheldon?! Sheldina is mortified.

He is such a good friend!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Tax Evasion

So, to put off reading the materials for my federal tax class, I spent a good part of last night organizing my stashbusting efforts for the coming year. I started on my Lion Brand yarn - I went to their website and looked up the yarns I have accumulated and the list of free patterns; here is what I came up with:

For Tiffany: Clever Stripes Scarf
As you may or may not recall, I picked up some Lion Cashmere Blend yarn on clearance over the summer to knit up some armwarmers with. (This is one of the rare circumstances in which I bought yarn with an actual plan for how to use it). What you don't know, is that a month later I went back to the store and the "sister yarn" to the cashmere, Tiffany, was on clearance. So I picked up two balls of the red Tiffany to match my red cashmere. I know this makes no sense, since I already know what I'm using the cashmere for, and there is no Tiffany involved, but I did it anyway. I can't resist a yummy yarn on clearance. So, Tiffany is a fuzzy yarn and I really hate it when I impulsively buy fuzzy yarns because, I very rarely use novelty yarns in anything. (Though, this never stops me from buying them).

This scarf is totally intriguing to me. The fuzzy yarn is only an accent, on an accessory, so I think I can deal with the novelty effect. And, I think the idea of mixing a felting yarn with a non-felting yarn is cool. I will need to pick up some black wool - but I promise not to do it until immediately before I knit the scarf, so as not to add to the stash.

For Moonlight Mohair: FuzzyTurtleneck
I have a Moonlight Mohair addiction. I just love the colorways and the texture and that fun bit of metallic running through it. But it's about $8 a ball which is a lot to spend on something noveltyesque (see above). My favorite color is rainforest, so once I bought two balls of the rainforest with a 40% off coupon and that's all I could bear to spend. Recently, the MM has been coming up on clearance everywhere, but never in rainforest. So I broke down and bought a ton of balls in another blueish color, that I'm not so in love with, but I still like the texture of the yarn. So my stash dilemma here is that I don't really have enough of the color I'm in love with to make much (I'm still looking for a small project), and I have too much of the other color that I have to make something large with it. I think I'll try out this tank, but I probably won't wear it as a vest like she's doing - just over a cami. It looks like a quick knit too. Should be good for some instant stashbusting.

There are also some fun little crochet birds in Happy Hooker that use the MM, that I plan to make - though they use such a minimal amount of the yarn it is hardly helpful in any stashbusting effort.... unless I made 100 of them.

For Incredible: Open Rose & Glittery Flower; houndstooth cardigan
Again, the flowers aren't going to do a whole lot of stashbusting, but they will at least give me a way to use this cool yarn - I can stick 'em to a bag or something. The houndstooth cardigan is awesome - it won't fit me since it's a plus size pattern - but I'd like to experience with that yarn combo & stitch pattern. I think I also have a pattern for a shrug made out of ribbon yarn somewhere, which is what I had in mind when I bought the yarn, but these options might be better.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Yarn Substitutions

I wanted to make note of this awesome article in Knitting Daily about yarn subbing for my future reference: Adventures in Yarn Substitution. I am linking to this not only because I am a serial subber, but also because it deals directly with subbing for the Modern Quilt Wrap, which I will definitely have to sub for since I am poor.

And speaking of yarn, I still haven't found the missing 220.

Monday, September 3, 2007

This scarf stole my heart too!

I absolutely must knit this scarf featured in today's knitting daily:
I am completely in love with it! The colors are totally great, although I could never afford 9 skeins of kidsilk haze, but I think I could make it work with some of Elann's yarns - maybe the baby lace merino, or possibly the highland silk. Really, I can't afford nine skeins of any yarn right now, but it might be a nice little gift to myself for making it back to school. And, I've never tried the mitered square method, so I could get a stamp for September in the Do Something New KAL....

By the way, this pattern comes from the new book Folk Style, which I am completely in love with! The colors and shapes in this books are stunning. I covet the cover project - the skirt - as well.

Addendum, 9/10: I am also considering using KnitPicks Pallette for this pattern; or possibly Andean Treasure. ... or Telemark?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sheldina's Booty

I finished up the increases for Sheldina's booty last night and now I'm decreasing for her skinny little waist. What a sex-pot. I need to remember to pull my stitches extra tight when I switch from one needle to the next. A couple of them are loosey goosey - and since they're all in a row it's sort of obvious. I'm not too concerned since this part will be under her shell, but I still need to drill it in my head. When I start knitting socks that's going to be really important.