Thursday, November 29, 2007

YAY!!

Knitting blues are gone! I got my little Thanksgiving present to myself in the mail today. Mom, stop reading now. I don't want you to know the extent of your daughter's addiction....

First, I went gadget crazy. I got: needle stoppers, yarn sleeves (assorted sizes), more row counters, a snag grabber, and a new cable needle.

Needle crazy? Yup. Two new sets of bamboo sock needles and a few pairs of straights to complete my collection of 10'' straights (up to 13's).

Yarn? Duh. Though, mindful of the pain it would cause my mother I only bought ONE kind of yarn, with a SPECIFIC PROJECT in mind. So, I got some of the new(?) Moda Dea Silk 'n Wool Blend in Pewter. (It's dark gray with tweedy flecks of a silvery gray mixed in) I'm using it for the Back to School vest. It sounded luxurious online, and it feels really great. I hope it is nice to work with!

And notions...? RIBBON!!!! and some lovely navy corduroy. Yummy!

stockinette blues

Whining alert.

I knitted last night in lieu of reading for tax. It was pretty unfulfilling though because I'm stranded in a stretch of stockinette on my socks and an infinite stretch of garter stitch on Roxy's bed. I worked on both projects last night but neither satiated my need to be creative. I didn't want to work on Danica because I was trying to concentrate on what I was watching on TV. (I know, TV is only supposed to be background noise for knitters, but sometimes I still want to pay attention).

Blocking Angst:
I need to block Bluebell, but I have nothing to block on at the moment. I don't want to use my bed because (a) it will take a few days to dry and (b) Roxy will lay on it. I'm probably just going to wet block it and stretch it to shape - I don't think I'll do any pinning or stuffing. I blocked Mrs. Darcy on a sweater drying rack my mom had. If I can haul my butt to Bed Bath & Beyond I will get one and start blocking. The problem is, I have other stuff to get at BB&B and I can't buy it all in one trip because (a) I can't carry it and (b) I like to use 20% off coupons. I'm thinking about just laying some towels on my kitchen table to block on. Roxy isn't allowed on the table so she shouldn't mess with it. Though I'm worried that it will never dry since it's so humid here. It would be better if it weren't on an absorbent surface. My mom is probably going to buy me a blocking board for Christmas. I think I'm just feeling whiny because I don't have it yet. Although, the board probably isn't really appropriate for this kind of blocking anyway. Maybe I should pin it out though, since I need to stretch it so bad. I'll see how it works without pinning and I can reblock if I need to. I don't know how many times you can block, but I think pinning down is really only necessary when you block before seaming. Speaking of, I had the horrible thought the other day that I should have blocked before I sewed up the sleeves. I'm going to have to stretch them out a lot and now my seam might keep it from stretching or at least make it bunch up. I'm not keen on the idea of trying to pick out the seam. What is it with me and sleeves??!! In my defense, I didn't realize how short the sleeves really were until after I sewed them up. And it didn't occur to me that the seaming might limit blocking. I've never read that anywhere. Maybe I'm wrong. It just seems like it would make a difference.

Enough stream of consciousness complaining.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

purl front and back

Someone on Craftster sent me this video of how to do a pfb, to help with my Danica questions. Here is the link so I don't forget...

http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/increases


(it's called a bar increase, worked on a purl row.)

Why I am Flunking Out of Law School

Last night I cast on for my second sock so I would have some mindless TV knitting and I did some major work on Danica while I watched a rerun of Bones. Did all this in lieu of my tax homework.

As for Danica I am presented with two challenges: first, I'm not entirely sure how one purls in the front and back of a stitch. I have tried many different methods and I don't think any of them look very good; second, I suck at picking up stitches. I always get a long piece in between with holes in it. I suppose this will at least be good practice since nearly the whole thing involves picking up stitches. Before I knit again I am going to do some serious research on both of these things and maybe practice on a swatch. Then I will decide if I'm going to frog Danica so far or just deal with a messy start.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Now What??

So, I finished Sheldina and Bluebell (sans blocking), I started Roxy's bed, and now I am free to put something else on the needles! But what to do?

You may notice I added Danica to my list of active projects. I bought that lovely SWS yarn when I was home in October and I just really wanted to try it out. Also, I'd like to learn entrelac. So, I'm gonna put Danica on the needles, but I don't think she'll be a high priority project for me.

What is high priority? That second sock!! I may or may not have already purchased supplies for the next sock project...

In further yarn delights, I want to knit my cashmere arm warmers by the beginning of next semester when it will be cold enough to really need them... and it is the only way to guarantee I get them done before Spring!

As for my next "sweater" to go on the needles, I think I will knit the U-Neck Back to School Vest from Fitted Knits. May or may not have already picked up some supplies.... Blue Bell sort of got me down, so I'm thinking the vest will be a welcome break because it's a wearable, but, no sleeves AND NO FINISHING! Ooh la la.

And.... Sheldino. He needs to get started, but I may need a petite Sheldon break. I have already accepted that the Sheldon army will not be ready to march by Christmas. It's OK. Turtles are slow. I'll just say they started the trip to Washington by Christmas, but they took the course slow and steady.

And, for another quick project: I want to get my second squatty sidekick knitted and maybe a cloche to felt when I am home at Christmas. Those will both be quick knits. I hope I have enough black wool for both. The cloche may have to end up blue tweed, or the ever-popular Mrs. Darcy orange....

I definitely just need to diversify what I've got on my needles. The last couple of months I've been stuck on really boring parts of projects, or finishing, and I haven't felt like knitting so much. With stress of finals coming I have to have lots of fabulous projects going so I can cheer up and calm down!!

I have a couple of gift knits I'd really like to make in time for Christmas, but the ever-wise Kelley Petkun says you need to be realistic about your Christmas deadlines, and realistically, I have missed the boat. There is at least one special project that I'd like to try to get done. It is small, but a lot of finishing will be required. Maybe I can at least knit it and do the finishing after finals. (On the plane? lol! I think finishing would probably freak people out even more than dpns.)

So, that's the revised game plan. Let's go team!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

FO: Sheldina

It's Sheldina! She's pink, she's sassy, and she's gonna take Sheldon for the ride of his life! (Sorry, been reading too many Harlequins....)



yarn details

knit picks shine sport in blush and orchid

sport weight

60% pim
a cotton, 40% modal
50g/110 yd per ball @ $2.49 each


findings
9 mm black eyes from Zims
(note: I am making this as a gift for my niece so I went back to Zims and purchased the appropriate safety eyes. Sheldon just has button-style eyes sewed on.
)
polyfill

project details
pattern: "Sheldon" by found here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTsheldon.html
needles: dpns in 3, straights in 4
hook: D
hours: shall we calculate this in months? FOREVER!
total cost: ~$5

notes:
- I planned to put a bow on her head, but it just looked stupid. There is really nowhere logical to put a bow. I don't want to be like one of those moms that glues a bow to her bald baby's head.
- Sheldina is a considerably smaller gauge than Sheldon. I have no idea why. I am positive that I used the correct needle size on her, so maybe I accidentally used larger needles on Sheldon. Or, theory #2: I am so stressed out in law school that the tension of my knitting has changed drastically.
- Placement of those safety eyes is key. Ones you snap those suckers into place they are never coming off.
- Still in love with the shine sport, although I am frustrated that it comes out of the center-pull in clumps and I constantly have to deal with it. I listen to Kelly Petkin's podcasts (founder of Knit Picks) and she said that the shinier/slipperier your yarn is, the less likely it's going to stay in a center-pull ball. She suggested typing a string tightly at the top to narrow the opening and help prevent a big clump from coming out. Maybe I'll try that next time.

P.S. Roxy hates Sheldina. I think she is jealous because she wants Sheldon all to herself. Little does she know there is a bun in the oven....

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bluebell (from hell?)

So, I seamed up Bluebell tonight. Words are not necessary:



Say a prayer to the blocking gods for me.

Shell and Tell

I finished up Sheldina's shell assembly last night and might I say it was from hell! ha ha.

First off, I crocheted (two rows) along the edges of the attachment panel to make the little body "bowl" and the bowl was so small! It wouldn't even stretch to fit to the shell. So I ripped out all the crochet stitches and did it again, determined to crochet looser, but soon I realized the same thing was happening. I got frustrated and flung it across the room and drank more wine. Then I realized I wasn't frakking single crocheting it! I was just pulling one stitch through the other - what is that, slip stitching the entire thing? I don't even know. But it's no wonder it was tight as hell. So, I frogged one last time & single crocheted my two rounds correctly and it made worlds of difference. Crochet!! My nemesis!

Second, I had been all excited to try the attached i-cord again but it had been so long since I had done it, it was just frustrating trying to figure it all out! After I was done, something happened and a whole section of the stitches connecting the cord to the attachment panel pulls out and I just sewed them back on because I didn't want to redo the whole damn thing.

Third, I waaay overstuffed the shell. When I tried it on Sheldina's body it was the most ridiculous thing ever - there was no room for her in that thing! I had to gut it big time by sticking a crochet hook in and dragging out the stuffing. It just seemed cruel. I think I ended up taking half of it out. I still might go back for more after I finish the whole thing.

Fourth, I compared Sheldina to Sheldon and she is definitely smaller. The gauges are dramatically different - visible to the naked eye. I double checked that the needles I'm using are the correct size, so the only thing I can imagine is that I must have used larger needles for Sheldon. But I have no idea why I would have done that. As far as I can remember, I had the correct needle sizes at the time I knitted Sheldon. I definitely wouldn't have changed the needles to get gauge - who swatches on a stuffie? Definitely not me. Anyway, I guess it is biologically appropriate for the female to be slightly smaller in stature than the male. I just wish I could figure out the mystery. I think I might like Sheldon's floppy look better.

All that is left is to attach her limbs and then I will post pics.

And in other news, do we think Roxy's bed will be big enough? Maybe she will have to curl up in it like a polite little kitty instead of kickin' it Homer style. All she needs is a can of beer resting on her belly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

100th Post!

Welcome to the 100th post on my knitting blog. Rock and Roll.

To commemorate this special event, I cast on for Roxy's Princess Bed! I'm using the Princess Snowball Bed pattern from Stitch & Bitch with Patons Carmen on the bottom and Lion Fancy Fur for the sides; I'm using a chunky Bernat acrylic yarn carried throughout. All the yarn was on clearance and my mommy bought it for her sweet little grandchild.

Here is Roxy enjoying the yarn:


And here is Roxy helping me knit. It is so cute! She's already in love with the project; she just sits there and kneads the yarn the whole time. Ha ha.


Some notes:
- It was impossible to check the gauge on this project! It is ridiculous they even gave gauge - ha ha! First, how the hell are you supposed to see the separate stitches with that crazy novelty yarn? And second, I don't even know how to check gauge on a garter stitch swatch.
- I had some trouble with the fur yarn getting tangled since a center pull ball isn't exactly functional with the furry yarn and I ended up pulling large clumps out of the center. Anyway, I ended up putting the blob of yarn in a zip lock bag all sealed up except on one side and it's going a lot better. (Also helps keep Roxy off the working yarn. She can knead the yet-to-be-knit balls.)
- And to ensure I will not forget later - I am using size 11 needles.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We Have a Shell

Last night I finished Sheldina's shell (after working lots on my homework, thankyouverymuch.) I think the seaming on the bottom is a little messy (ok, FACT: it's messy), but it doesn't really show once it's on her, so I'm letting it slide. I had to focus on watching How I Met Your Mother.
All that is left to do is attach the bottom panel of the shell and attach the limbs.... and add a bow. I've already knit the attachment panel and the legs, so it's mostly finishing work from here. You know, my favorite. Although, I am mildly excited to attach the bottom panel because you use a neat attached i-cord technique that I'd like to perfect - I (perversely) thought it was fun on the last Sheldon. Mainly, I'd like to see if I can make it "flip" down instead of up.

We're almost there folks!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What next?

I can't decide what to cast on next. (Look at me, I'm already antsy to start on a new project with four WIPs!) Obviously, I have to cast on for Roxy's bed. That's one of the WIPs listed and technically it has never been "in progress." Then I really want to start my cashmere arm warmers, but I also feel like knitting something on giant needles that will go quickly. And I want to make another squatty sidekick in black so I can felt it when I go home for Christmas and have a cute holiday purse. Then there is the second sock that needs to get going by the end of November if I want my N on the KAL. And I want to use my pretty plum SWS to make my Danica and try out entrelac. And I've been itching to try some lace lately. And there are a million cozy projects on the list. All my electronics are naked. On top of all that... NO TIME TO KNIT!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

closer to a shell

I knitted the bottom of Sheldina's shell last night. Screwed up and knitted half of it in MC then had to frog because it's supposed to be CC. I need to finish her up - I'm just not keen on all the finishing/assembly work involved with knitting stuffies. Maybe I should have thought of that before envisioning my army of Sheldons?? Nah, I'll get to it. I've declared war on my WIPs. I need an army to fight the war.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Finished!

BUSTED!! Roxy caught in the act kneading my knitting....

Now to the post.....

I finished up knitting Bluebell last night!! Hooray! Will I seam and block in a timely manner?

Here is a pic: It looks really sad and scrunchy. I'm basically praying for blocking miracles. I've been saying that since I started this sweater. If blocking doesn't work miracles I will have wasted a LOT of time...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

almost done!!

I'm nearly finished knitting bluebell - I just have to knit the design on the cuff of that second sleeve, then I'm done. (Then on to finishing... bleh.)

Note: I screwed up on this pattern instruction on both sleeves:
After you finish knitting stockinette until sleeve measures x length it says "end with WS row." For some reason, both times I have read that as "begin with WS row" and I've screwed myself up. So, just to clarify: It's end with WS row, begin reverse stockinette design on RS row!!

p.s. Last night Roxy sat on my knitting, on my lap, for about an hour so I didn't get a whole lot done. Though, seeing as she never sits on my lap, I let it slide. She also kneaded on the sweater a bunch, but I don't thing she did any damage. She was just being so cute and lovely, I couldn't stop her!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Progress Report

Well, I'm over my SSS with bluebell (second sleeve syndrome). I'm actually almost finished- I'm about 2/3 of the way through the bell on the sleeves and then I'll be done.

I was panicking last night because I thought I forgot to write down the number of rows to knit past the increases to get the correct length. I was very careful to keep track of this number when knitting the first sleeve, in an effort to avoid sleeve mishaps. So, I was panicking, then I found a tiny number "20" written on the corner of a post it note on the pattern with a whole bunch of my measurements and stuff on it - so I believe that was my number I wrote down. Nothing like putting it in a safe place, eh? I didn't even frakking label it!! (in my defense, I don't think I planned to be knitting the second sleeve a month after the first sleeve, so I must have assumed I would remember what that random number 20 meant.)

I need to start keeping track of stuff like that. That was the whole point of starting the knitting blog was mainly to keep track of my pattern notes! I suck...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

FO: Dana's iPod Cozy

Last month I made my pal Dana a cozy for her iPod nano for her birthday. It was somewhat of a hell project, so it got pushed to the back of my mind and never posted on the blog, but I just ran across the pictures, so here they are.

First of all, here is the hideous attempt #1 that I made with some self-striping Sugar 'n Creme. However, my project was apparently too small to stripe* - so it just ended up half & half and pretty gross looking. I knit it in the round and seamed up the bottom. Roxy hates it too.I wanted to make Dana something special, so I decided to try out the Fibonacci stripes technique - something I have never done before. (crap! why didn't I post it in the KAL?) Fibonacci is a number sequence where you start with 1 and keep adding the numbers together to get a number sequence; ex: 0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 5+3=8... creating the sequence: 1,2,3,5,8 <-- the sequence I used. So I striped 1,2,3,5,8,5,3,2,1,1,2,3,5,8... and so on. You can put the numbers in any order you want - I just went with that one. I really liked the Fibonacci method because you end up with stripes that are much more visually interesting. It also looks "random" - the big stripe in the sequence isn't always the same color and it's hard to tell there is actually a pattern.

Some problems I encountered:

1. Knitting one row for a stripe and then switching colors was a total pain! If I do it again I will leave out the ones and have 2 or 3 as my smallest number.
2. The stripes don't all start on the same side - sometimes you are knitting even numbers, sometimes odd - so you can't really carry the yarn along the side. I ended up weaving in 14 ends! Misery!! (but coincidentally, Dana's birthday is on the 14th... I didn't plan that)
3. I desperately wish I had knit this in the round so I could have carried the yarn. I knitted it flat because when you knit stripes in the round they don't match up and I thought on such a small project that would be really noticeable. However...
4. The seam up the side was pretty bulky and also noticeable on the small project, so it's a trade off. Perhaps next time I will try that Russian join. (My edges are always too messy to seam up the very edge stitch with no seam.)
5. I would have liked to put a decorative button or something on the flap, but my button collection is back in SLC and I didn't round up anything else because this was sort of a last minute deal.

Clever things I did:
1. I constructed it so I had to sew a bottom seam and a side seam. I loosely based this cozy on the cozy pattern in Stitch 'n Bitch which has you knit a long strip, then fold it over and seam up both sides. That method would have doubled the number of stripes I had to knit and I would have had to match up stripes on my seams on two sides instead of one.
2. I used that fabulous new iron on velcro for the closure so there was nothing to sew and you get a strong bond better than any glue. This product works great on cotton knits. I also used it on my hair-washing headband, which I use every day and trust me - that velcro is never peeling off of that fabric.
3. I knit it in cotton yarn to ensure there won't be any static electricity issues. I have asked around to tech people and Craftsters about whether you have a static problem with wool or acrylic cozies and no one can answer definitively. People knit them out of these yarns and no one on Craftster, at least, has had a bad experience. But since I didn't want to be responsible for ruining Dana's iPod, I stayed on the safe side. The yarn is Knit Picks shine sport - the darker colors I bought for my army of Sheldons. (You hardly use any of the dark color when knitting Sheldon so I knew I would have plenty left to complete those projects.)
4. At the top where the flap folds down I knit an extra row, then I reversed where I was in the stripe sequence so the stripes match up when it is closed. This may seem obvious, but I'm still proud of myself for thinking to do it.

Without further ado, here is the unfinished piece after I steamed it:
Since I ended up having to knit this second cozy last minute and I spent so much time weaving in the ends, I had no time to take a picture of the finished project. I threw it in wrapping paper the second I finished seaming it up and ran out the door to get to the party. Some day I'll get Dana to take a picture of it "in action" and get it posted.

yarn details:
knit picks shine sport in orchid, river, and grass.
sport weight
60% pim
a cotton, 40% modal
50g/110 yd per ball @ $2.49 each

findings:

velcro: $5 at Jo-Ann

pattern details:
pattern: my own
gauge: didn't write it down... but I obviously got one to calculate the number of stitches I needed for "nano size"... but I actually measured Sheldon instead of a swatch! Is that cheating?
needles: 3's, straights (almost positive! ... if I didn't use 3's that would have defeated the purpose of gauging out Sheldon, right? But knowing me, I might have figured 4's were close enough... I've got to start writing up these FO memos sooner!)
cost: probably $2, give or take (sorry Dana!)
time:5 hours, not including the first botched cozy, which only took maybe an hour.

*Yes, I did swatch it out. I just misperceived a color change in the yarn when there wasn't any.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Out of the Slump!

Last night I picked up the stitches for the second sleeve of Bluebell! ...I'll wait for applause... I knitted the first 14 rows in stockinette, then started the first purl band on the arm.

I was reminded the sleeves are knitted flat! :( I'm dreading sewing them up! And knitting flat on the circulars is really hard on those first few rows! The piece just won't stretch to the other side of the cable and I pulled the hell out of the side stitches - I hope I can fix the loosey-goosey look with seaming. If I ever knit this again I will definitely just use straights for the flat knitting parts. I appreciate Stephanie's desire to use one needle on the whole sweater - but I've got the straights so I might as well use 'em.

But the important thing is that I'M OUT OF THE SLUMP!! Bluebell will be finished in no time. I have tons and tons of work to do over the next week and I'm sure that with old bluey back on the needles she will become my choice vehicle of procrastination.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I should have knitted....

Spent Friday night moping, Saturday night drinking, and most of today reorganizing my iTunes library. Overall, I wish I had spent all that unproductive time knitting. Have I mentioned I'm getting too old to party like this?

Also, I'm getting DANGEROUSLY FAR behind in my classes because of moping and excessive napping. And knitting cheers me up! Why am I resisting it? Right now, however, knitting is feeling a little stressful. I have GOT to finish Bluebell and Sheldina. I still have Shedino and Sheldon, Jr. to knit by Christmas. Will it happen? Looking doubtful at this point. In addition, I store my stash under my bed and every night I can feel the shame wafting up at me. Maybe that's why I can't sleep? I've got to figure out another place to keep it. Or USE IT!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

FRAKKIN' AWESOME!!

Last night I was suffering from severe emotional distress, so I knitted until about 2 am. AND I FINISHED MY SOCK!! Whoo hoo!! Seriously - it is SO warm. But it's a little slick. I'm afriad I'm going to break my tailbone walking on my hardwood floors in those socks. Ha ha. One down, one to go!!