Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review

I started making a list of all my knitting accomplishments in 2008 and I realized that I've really done a lot more than I thought I have! This makes me feel good. :)

So, here are some knitting highlights (and not-so-highlights) of 2008.

Production:
  • projects completed: 12
  • projects started but sent to hibernate: 2
  • projects that hibernated all year: crocheted afghan, binary scarf, Danica
  • favorite project: my headhugger
Stash:
  • skeins/balls stashed: 62
  • balls that were purely speculative: 20
  • total yards stashed: 9,511
  • evaluation: showed significantly more restraint than in 2007; I give myself a B
Skills Developed:
  • russian join
  • jogless stripes
  • weaving in ends while knitting
  • three needle BO
  • experiments with glue
  • knitting lace
  • yarn reclamation from a terrible FO
  • knitted appliques
  • knitting from a chart
Misc. Accomplishments
  • bought most of my yarn with specific project in mind & knit a lot from stash
  • became Ravelry editor
  • started a Ravelry group (but sort of abandoned it...)
  • knitted a lot of gifts
  • traded yarn
  • bought my own yarn ball winder and swift
  • used polypellets to make stuffies (and learned how to make them child-friendly)
  • cataloged all my yarn and projects on Ravelry
  • subscribed to Interweave Knits and Knit.1
  • wrote 121 posts on this blog!
Goals Not Achieved :(
  • didn't finish Sheldon army for the niece and nephews
  • didn't crochet at all
  • have been slow with posting FOs on the blog
  • abandoned my plan to rewrite the Sheldon pattern
  • didn't learn how to do entrelac or mitered squares like I resolved last year

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sore fingers

Last week-ish TECHknitting posted a cool article about how to stop stabbing your right pointer finger with your left needle while you knit (resulting in a very ouchy finger after long knitting sessions!)

This used to happen to me all the time, but the more I think about it, I don't think I do it anymore. I must have subconsciously modified my technique - sort of a survival-of-the-fittest deal. Except I think I still do this with my bamboo needles, which is basically all of my DPNs. I like the bamboo DPNs because the needles don't slide out of the stitches in storage as easily as metal needles do, but that also means that it takes a little more pressure to slip the knitted stitches off the needles. I'll have to try to keep this technique in mind next time I work on socks. Although, it is really hard to change the way you knit, don't you think?

One of my new year's resolutions is going to be to learn continental style knitting. This is basically my new year's resolution every year and I never do it because it just feels so foreign that I get frustrated with it and revert back to throwing. I guess there's nothing wrong with English style, but I would really like to increase my speed. One of my favorite parts of knitting is having beautiful FOs and I'd love to be able to have even more! I find that when a project is going really slow I tend to get mad at it and just stop knitting for days/weeks because it's not relaxing anymore. I wish I were more of a process knitter, but I tend to get preoccupied with production. Maybe that will be another one of my goals this year?

p.s. TECHknitting rocks! If you don't already read it, I suggest you give it a try.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Scott's hat

So, I've been trying to get started on my brother's hat the past few days but I'm having nothing but problems. First of all, the pattern totally sucks. I'm using the rasta hat pattern that was featured on Knitty Gritty but it is really poorly written. It has you using a smaller needle size for the ribbed band on the hat and a larger needle size for the actual body of the hat, but when it gives gauge it doesn't say which size needle that's on or whether it is supposed to be in st. stitch or the ribbed. Also, it doesn't give the finished size of the hat, so I'm basically in the dark about what the hell I'm supposed to be doing.

I've been fiddling around with some gauge swatches but since I don't really know what I'm aiming for, that's been a pointless exercise. Last night I decided to just go with the recommended needle sizes and see what happened. I did a little swatch of the ribbing on size 6 needles and I got 7 stitches per inch, with the ribbing totally relaxed. The pattern has you cast on 96 stitches which would only give me a circumference of 13.7'' (a little more than half of Scott's desired circumference). But, that size would only be if the ribbing was completely relaxed - I have no idea how much it is supposed to stretch, so I thought maybe having the ribbing double wasn't completely implausible, so I just cast on the stitches and knit about an inch of ribbing and I could tell that it was going to be way to small. It fit my head nicely, but definitely not his.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that 26.5'' is a huge head circumference and there is no way Scott's head could actually be that size - I had to have measured in the wrong place. I just measured across the brim of his other hat, on his head, so it was kind of a diagonal measurement - that's probably the wrong way to do it. When I measured him I should have just taken off his beanie and measured the circumference of that. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

So, in conclusion, I think I'm just going to have to sit down in a quiet room with some swatches and the calculator and adjust the pattern. I'll have to increase the amount of CO stitches and make sure it works with the increases, decreases in the body of the hat. I hate that kind of math! I think I'll do the band 3/4 of the desired circumference, so the ribbing doesn't stretch out too much, and I think I'm going to estimate the actual size of his head somewhere around 20''. If I see him before then, I'll measure his hat like I should have done in the first place. If anyone has any thoughts about how much ribbing should stretch, I'd love to hear them. He likes a loose fit.

Unfortunately, I have a paper due in 5 days that I haven't even started on, so my intense math session will have to wait. I should be writing the damn paper right now instead of blogging, but I figured it was best to get my thoughts down now and then they won't be clouding my head when I write. Right? I think it's a good excuse.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas!

I finished the sassy stripes socks last night to give to my mother this morning. I wrapped up each sock separately under the tree so she would have more presents to unwrap - after she unwrapped the first one she put it on and it was so warm that after a few minutes she went searching under the tree for the second one because her other foot was getting cold. I'm really glad she likes them! My brother agrees that they are pretty ugly... ha ha.

Incidentally, I would have finished the sock several days ago but I made the cardinal mistake of attempting to do kitchener drunk and I messed it all up so I had to pick out the failed graft, unravel back a few rows (to fix mistakes in my drunk toe increases), calm down, and then reknit. This process took several days.

So, another Christmas has passed and all my good intentions to make knitted gifts never came to fruition - except the socks, which I never intended as a gift in the first place. Maybe that's the trick?

Also, I finally measured my brother's head to make him his hat. I have "given" him this hat for at least one Christmas and one birthday the past couple of years, but he has been dragging his feet on picking out a yarn and getting me his measurements, so today I ambushed him and got it all. He will finally get it this year! I promise myself I'm going to finish knitting it before I go back to Boston.

Here's his info:
- head circumference: 26.5'' measured over a kind of chunky beanie he already had on (he likes his hats loose, so measuring over the other hat will probably be a good loose measurement for me)
- the beanie he was wearing was 8'' from the top to the brim - he likes that size
- he chose the dark brown Main Line yarn

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One man's trash is another man's treasure

I was working on my ugly sassy stripes socks the other night and my mom saw them and fell in love with them. She thinks the colors are beautiful. I tried to talk her out of it, but she tried on the sock I already finished and it fit her so I'm going to finish up the toe on sock #2 and wrap them up and give them to her for Christmas. I'm surprised they fit her because I sized it for my own foot and she's 1.5 shoe sizes bigger than me. It's a Christmas miracle!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

pinstripe pullover gallery

I hope to knit the dainty pinstripe pullover from the Winter 2008 Interweave Knits the next time I allow myself to buy yarn for a new project.

This week Knitting Daily posted their gallery of staff members modeling the sweater, so I thought I'd just make a note of that here so I can get ideas for what modifications I will want to make on mine when I get started on it. Here's the link: http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/galleries/archive/2008/12/05/winter-knits-2008-gallery-dainty-pinstripes-pullover.aspx

I really like these galleries. Seeing the pieces on all the different body types really gives you a lot of ideas for places that you are going to want mods. (Or which patterns would look so bad on you that you shouldn't even bother to knit it). I haven't done a full analysis of the fits yet, but at first glance, I want to make sure the ribbing stops more like where it does on Annie and definitely not as high as on Stefanie.

in-flight knitting

I worked on my second sassy stripes sock on the plane ride home to Utah and I got pretty far - I'm done with the gusset and now knitting the foot. I have a burning desire to finish these socks just so I can put them behind me. I hate them. I really just dislike this yarn. I had hoped to cast on for my new pair of socks on the plane (the classy-not-sassy socks), but I didn't get around to it. Mostly because the pattern is in a book and I didn't want to juggle the knitting, the book, the headphone cord all while squishing up my feet so I didn't kick Roxy under the seat. So, I think I'll finish up the ugly socks in the next few days and then get started on the (hopefully) pretty ones.

I already did a gauge swatch for the classy socks and I'm going to go with size 2 needles. I think the yarn I chose is a little more fine than the yarn recommended in the pattern, but I figure that will just mean the socks are a little thinner, so I'm not worried. The pattern is from the book Knit Socks and the designer makes all of her socks at a super tight gauge; for example, my first pair of socks were made from worsted weight yarn and knit on size 3 needles. So even if these are a little "airy" because of the lighter yarn, I think they'll still be sufficiently solid. Worst-case scenario, if I think the fabric is not working out once I start the socks I can just frog and pick a different pattern.

Hopefully I will actually get some substantial knitting done on this trip! I always pack a ton of projects and have big plans, then I end up never knitting the whole time. Wish me luck and happy holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2008

$#@%&**!!

I just realized that I have been knitting sassy sock #2 in size small and sock #1 was knit in size medium. FRAK!! I had to frog the whole damn thing! And why didn't I write my strange size choice down anywhere?? Stupid Pepper!

At least I will have plenty to do on the plane...

2 minutes later: oh crap, I did write it down somewhere. Well, I'm still stupid.

Update

Big Sock Progress!
So, I'm already 5'' into the second so-called sassy sock - I went to visit Christina this weekend so I had a ton of time to knit on the train. I hate this yarn, BTW! It is so scratchy and nasty. And the colors are hideous. They looked cute when I bought the yarn, but now I just think they look obnoxious.


Facing the Music on Cardigan Finishing
Also, on Sunday morning I picked up all the stitches for the neckband on the hexacomb cardigan. Can you say headache!! Oh dear - it took me an hour and a half - most of that was doing the math to figure out how to space the stitches evenly along the neckline. I ended up picking up one stitch for every horizontal stitch and then 3 out of every 4 on the vertical stretched. The way I had it all calculated, I would have ended up with 120, just like the pattern called for. In reality, I have 112 stitches: 20 on the right front, 24 on the right shoulder, 28 on the back, 21 going around the left shoulder, and 18 on the left front. Those numbers were supposed to be 19, 26, 30, 26, and 19. Nevertheless, I think it still looks even enough, it's laying flat, which is probably the most important thing.

New Sock Project
I bought some new sock yarn today at Windsor Button. Nothing fancy, just Berroco Comfort Sock, but it felt really soft! It's gray. I prefer not to go color-blind this time around. I'm going to knit the Classy Slip-Up socks from Knit Socks! (I thought since sassy wasn't working out so well, I'd try to go the classy route). This is the same book that I got my first sock pattern out of and I think those turned out great. I'm leaving for Utah tomorrow and I thought it would be nice to have a pair of socks to work on during the flight (a pair that I don't hate, that is). That way I won't have to lug a big project on board.

FYI: this is the first time I have bought yarn in 118 days! And I stopped shopping after I picked up the one ball I went to buy. Hooray for being stash-conscious!

I think that's all my knitting news to wrap up the weekend. It's been so nice to have a chance to knit now that finals are over! Yay! (I should be packing tonight, but I suspect I'll be swatching for the new sock project...)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas for Knitters!

I just saw this darling yarn ball wreath on the projects page on Joann.com!! If I weren't going on vacation for three weeks I would be crafting this thing up right now! As it stands, I don't think it's worth it to make a Christmas decoration that I will only be able to appreciate for 2 more days... Next year? Definitely!!

p.s. once again, that's the stock image, not my creation... sadly :(

Sassy Sock #2

This morning I started the second sock. I'm knitting this one on DPNs rather than on 2 circs - because I thought that technique was kind of a pain when I did it on the first sock; and I now own size 5 DPNs, so I might as well use them. I realize this will probably change my gauge, but I don't really care, because I think these socks are kind of ugly in the first place. They will definitely only be for wearing around the house!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Can they be sassy?

So, last March I was working on my second pair of socks using self striping yarn, and I finished the first sock and was very disappointed. It just made my foot look fat. Since then, the sock has been sitting in my UFO bin and I've been trying to decide whether I should knit the second sock or frog and try a different sock pattern.

I just made an executive decision: I'm going to knit sock #2.

I've decided that maybe I'm being a little paranoid about my overweight foot... also, the truth is that I'm not totally in love with this yarn, so if I'm going to start over on a whole new pair of socks, I'd rather use wool than this acrylic. (Moda Dea Sassy Stripes). But, the yarn isn't so bad that I should trash the project all together. So I'm knitting the next sock. At the very least, it will give me more experience for my next sock knitting experience in which I am going to pick a truly awesome pattern! (Not a crazy ribbed-make-your-foot-look-fat-in-all-the-wrong-places pattern).

Oh, and my final are done! Woo woo!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

torture

I want to go hide in my stash, curled into fetal position, and nap. Maybe the professors won't find me there?

Finals are over tomorrow - then I can knit to my heart's delight! YAY!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Resisting... the urge... to knit!

Once again I find myself playing the role of the grasshopper in that story about the ant and the grasshopper. I played (moped) all semester while my ant-like classmates were studying, and now finals have come and I have no food saved up for winter. Well, you get the point.

Of course, now that the pressure is really on to study my ass off, all I want to do is cast on new projects! Arg!! It is sooooooo frustrating! I keep thinking, "maybe I can take just a 20 minute break and just cast something on." Reasonable enough; but then my thought continues, "then maybe just knit the first row, or maybe the first pattern repeat... " I know I can't start, or I won't be able to stop.

My thoughts are naughty for knitting reasons as well as school reasons: I can't cast on for anything new without swatching!!! It is going to be my New Year's resolution to break my bad swatching habit (or, rather, my bad lack of a swatching habit).

So, if I let myself take a break from studying, then it can only be a break to swatch, which is no fun, so there is no point in taking a break anyway.

All this logic is getting me nowhere. I still really, really want to start a new project!! Now!

p.s. I can't even knit any of my WIPs. I'd have to cast on for the second arm cozy, the cardigan is awaiting finishing (bleh! worse than studying!), and Sheldino needs to be frogged. Lame!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

FO: Piggy DS Cozy

The first time I opened Stitch 'n Bitch Nation I absolutely loved the Mobile Monsters cosies. I've had it in the back of my mind to knit the little piggy one for some electronic device for a long time, but I've put it off. I eventually decided to knit one for my Nintendo DS and I found this yarn on sale last Spring so I decided to go for it. Like many projects, it sat around in the back of my mind for half a year before I cast on for it. Then I knit it in like a day, but it took me a whole month to buy the damn button for the nose. (Actually, I'm impressed it was only a month and not another half year!)

I think it turned out darling and now my DS is going to be protected from scratches! Form and function. Can't get better than that. Here's a booty shot:


yarn details

Patons Be Mine in Plushy Pink
dye lot 175407
100% Nylon
bulky weight
machine wash
50 grams/89 yds @ $3.99
purchased 3/08

findings
pink button, 89 cents at Windsor Button

pattern details
pattern: "Mobile Monsters" by M.K. Carroll in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, pg. 230
needles: size 5 dpns
gauge: 4.4 sts x 7.5 rows per inch in garter stitch
size: 3'' wide x 5.25'' tall x 0.75'' deep
yarn used: about half the ball
started: October 2008
finished: November 2008
total cost: about $3

notes...
  • Cast on 33 stitches and knit in the round until piece measured 5.25''. Then I just freehanded the head flap. (It retrospect, I wish I had taken notes on that process...)
  • I didn't add the pocket or felt tongue, but I took some creative license and added a tail! I just chained some stitches using a crochet hook - that made it look a little curly. (Same method I used to make the tail for the pig from hell).
  • I used black yarn and made french knots for the eyes rather than use buttons.
  • I'm considering adding a snap or velcro to keep this piggy closed

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FO: Lace Ribbon Scarf

Lace! Huzzah! This scarf was my first major attempt at lace and I loved working on it. It was definitely a learning experience - I had to frog and start over several times, and there are still a few mistakes in it. But once I got the hang of it, the pattern was really easy to memorize and I was able to knit most of it when I was commuting, waiting, and doing various other mindless tasks. Now that I'm initiated into the ranks of lace knitting, I'd like to knit something beautiful with an actual lace weight yarn so it is really light and airy.

Here's a pic - featuring me with a super shiny face:


It only took a month for me to post this....

yarn details
Knit Picks Gloss Sock Yarn in Cosmos
dye lot 36893
70% Merino Wool - 30% Silk
fingering weight
hand wash/dry flat
50 grams/220 yds @ $3.99
purchased 5/08

pattern details
pattern: Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery, Spring 2008 Knitty
needles: size 5 circular
gauge: ?
size: 10'' by 60'' (but see notes)
yarn used: just under 2 skeins
started: June 2008
finished: November 2008
total cost: about $8

notes...
  • The yarn is really soft and it withstood frogging well, but it's not holding its blocking well on the vertical part. The finished scarf is supposed to be 60'' and it looked to me like the lace pattern needed to be stretched a bit to look right, so I stopped knitting at about 55'' and stretched it out to 60'' while blocking. After a few wears, it shrinks back up again - but if I hit it with my fabric steamer it lengthens out. I'm thinking about picking out the CO edge and adding a few more inches. We'll see.
  • I knit this on circular needles and I think that was a mistake - it was really hard to keep an even tension. Next time I do lace I'm definitely going to try straights. Although, the circular needles made it very portable.
  • I joined the yarn with a Russian join and it worked out really well. Totally invisible!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Big Cozy Day

I finished my right cashmere arm cozy tonight and earlier today I finally sewed the face on my DS piggy cozy. He's so cute!! I've got pics up on Ravelry, I'll post them here ASAP.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A nose

I went to Windsor button today and bought a nose for my piggy DS cozy. I'm not super happy with it. I would have liked a larger button, but this will do for now. Maybe someday I will find the perfect one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

All Thumbs

Last night I got up to the thumb gusset on my cashmere arm cozy! Unfortunately, there have been problems... I am converting the pattern from being knitted flat into knitting in the round. This is the first time I have done this and I have had many, many, many problems. It's definitely been a learning process.

Anyhow, in the original pattern there is a selvage stitch on both sides, which I eliminated for knitting in the round. I also spaced out my wrist decreases into a gusset-like decrease instead of having all the decreased rib columns converge in the center. This completely messed up my counting for where to start the thumb gusset. I correctly did the math to compensate for the decreases but I neglected to factor in the missing selvage stitch! D'oh! The pattern says to start the gusset 18 stitches into the row. I figured out it needed to be 28 stitches in with my mods. That has me starting the gusset in the middle of a rib, but I was watching DS9 and didn't put the thought into it that I should have. So, I knitted along until my gusset had expanded from two stitches to 8 stitches when I realized something funky was going on and that I needed to shift the whole thing so that it started at 27 stitches in, between ribs. I didn't want to frog back 16 rows, so I decided to just drop all of the stitches in that portion and draw them up with a crochet hook. (BTW, recreating a K F&B with a crochet hook is a challenge I was very proud to conquer!) This fix probably took me longer to do that it would have if I had just frogged back, but it's always hard to predict that kind of thing in advance.

So, I knitted along until I had 13 stitches in my gusset. Frak. It's supposed to be an even number. I scanned down and saw clear as day that I had randomly knit into the front and back of the stitch in the middle of the gusset! Something really exciting must have been happening on the TV for me to make such a stupid mistake! So... not learning my lesson from the previous evening, I again dropped the offending stitches and pulled them up with the crochet hook. Unfortunately, taking that extra stitch just left too much slack and the stitches were way too loose. Part of me was tempted to just say "good enough" and forge on, but I always get mad at myself when I do that and end up with a FO has such an obvious flaw in it. This time I just frogged back the whole damn thing to the start of the gusset and started over. So, after probably 5 hours of messing with everything, I'm now back to right where I started. C'est la vie, I suppose. Just think what a breeze the left cozy is going to be now that I've made every possible mistake on the right one!

I've been making a lot of really dumb mistakes in my knitting the past several months. I think every project I've got on the needles right now has involved massive frogging at least twice. I've been an emotional wreck since July, I guess it's not surprising I can't focus. Maybe if I make more of an effort to really focus on my knitting it will rub off onto other areas of my life? My professors sure would appreciate that. It's settled. I must knit excessively in order to improve my studies. What a lovely epiphany!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Magic Loop...

Don't you hate it when you know you read something somewhere on the internet but when it comes time to use it, you can never remember where it is? Anyway, Sarah posted a really good review of the best needles to use for magic loop on her blog ages ago and I decided I wanted to put the link here so I will have it in the future if I ever want to try magic loop and I can access it just by clicking "magic loop" in my little tag clous. I've thought about doing magic loop before and fiddled with it a few times, but I just feel more comfortable with dpns. Someday I will probably bite the bullet and try it for real. So, here is the link, for posterity:

http://knittingarchaeologist.blogspot.com/2008/09/needles-for-magic-loop-review.html

Thanks Sarah!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Getting an armful!

I am finished with the wrist decreases on my right arm cozy. Now to bed.

p.s. No matter how hard I try, I just can't pull off graceful hands in photos. Tyra would be pissed.

Hrmph!

The lace ribbon scarf spent the weekend scrunched up in the bottom of my backpack and now needs to be reblocked. Lame. I think I'll try steaming it and hopefully I won't have to pin it out again.

I still need to post FO pics of it. The silly excuse is that I'm really broken out and I don't want to take a close-up of my face to show off the scarf... I know, I'm vain. When I get a chance, I guess I'll take the pic and then photoshop out all my shameful marks. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wake Up Arm Cosies!

I took my cashmere arm cosies out of hibernation this weekend. I forgot how wonderful this yarn is! It's so soft - a pleasure to knit with.

I spent hours and hours frogging and reknitting a lot of the stuff I did last year to make the wrist decreases work for knitting in the round. I'll post all the nasty details later.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Blocking Fun

I finished up my lace ribbon scarf yesterday. My bind offs are usually pretty tight, so here I tried an SSK bind off, which I've never done before. It looks pretty nice, though it's almost a bit too loose. The scarf is on the blocking board right now -- I've got it all pinned out to 10'' by 60'' and I think the lace looks really nice.

My board wasn't quite long enough, so my friendly bath towel stepped in to help. Hopefully it won't leave a funny bump in the last foot of the scarf.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The deed is done

OK, I un-grafted the shoulders on the cardigan and replaced the graft with a three needle bind off. It looks SO much better. I'd post a picture, but I'm feeling too lazy. Essentially, now there's a seam.

And now it's finishing time. I'm dreading it. Can I just let the whole thing hibernate for a few months?

p.s. This was my first 3-needle bind off. Yay for me!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Moment of Truth

I finished knitting the sleeves for the hexacomb cardigan tonight:


Awe, aren't they cute? Now comes the moment of truth: I have to decide whether to leave the messed up shoulders the way they are or bite the bullet and rip them out. I'm leaning toward the latter. But I think rather than try to match the pattern, I'm going to ditch the grafting and maybe do a 3-needle bindoff or just sew an actual seam. Having a seam on the shoulder might match the set-in sleeves better anyway. Probably. I must go off to bed now... sleepy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Checking in on the Lace Ribbon Scarf

I've been working intermittently on the lace ribbon scarf and I'm almost done. It's a little difficult to tell because I'd like to make it the 60'' length recommended in the pattern, but I'm having a hard time calculating for myself exactly how much this thing is going to stretch when I block it. Of course, If I had been a proper knitter and (a) knit a proper swatch and (b) blocked it, then I would know. But of course I didn't. It's a scarf for crying out loud!

It looks like I'm not going to need the third skein of yarn, which is sort of irritating since I already balled it and everything -- plus, it's one more single skein in my stash that will remain unused for ages, making me feel guilty about all the money I have poured into yarn that I don't use. The thing is, I buy yarn when I really love it and usually when it's on sale but since I don't have a project in mind, I never know how much to buy so when I find a project that would be perfect for the yarn I inevitably either don't have enough, or I actually had the good conscious to buy enough of the yarn to knit something large and the project I'm thinking of won't use it all, and I don't want to break up the collection. I'm just in a cranky mood because I can't afford to buy new yarn so I have to pick projects based on what I've got in my stash instead of what I feel like knitting. Also, almost my entire stash is composed of worsted weight yarn and far more acrylic than I wish, so I'm seriously limited. I've recently been told that the stories I tell are too long, so I suppose I should summarize the point of this whole paragraph: I wish I had calculated the yardage I would need for this project better because my stash is too large and I am broke.

I bet the scarf will be finished this week... and now back to my homework.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

DS Piggy

I've been making a little cozy for my Nintendo DS - a slightly modified version of the "Mobile Monsters" pattern in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. It's been a really quick knit - so quick that I haven't even mentioned it yet! Anyway, here is a picture of the cozy -- all I need is a face. I went through my massive button collection but I could only find a small pink button for his nose which might be cute if I gave him a little scrunched up face. I think I'll go to Windsor Button and see if I can find a bigger button first. Why not take advantage of living by a kick ass button store, right?


Also, I decided to get creative and add a little curly tail. I'm not sure if I'll keep it or not.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back to School Vest makes its public debut

I wore the Back to School Vest out in public for the first time on Wednesday. I haven't worn it out before because I finished it last spring and I thought it was a little formal for school with a long sleeve business shirt, plus a sweater vest isn't exactly springy. Then, over the summer when I actually wore business clothes, it was way too hot to wear a wool vest but I did end up buying a couple of short sleeve button-up shirts. Anyway, the past few weeks it has been very mild weather in Boston, so it occurred to me that this would be the perfect time to wear the vest with a short sleeve shirt, which would be a little more casual. It was really cute! I'm happy with it. It also kept me really warm in the air conditioned building. It always amazes me how a sleeveless vest can keep you so warm. So, in conclusion -- fall weather is perfect for wearing this vest. Maybe that's why it's called Back to School? I guess I should have taken the hint.

Here's a pic:

And just for fun, here is a picture of Roxy interfering with my use of the camera's self timer. Isn't she sweet?

Politics

I have to admit, I missed the presidential debates. Luckily, I can now reenact them and be sure the candidates address the issues I care about. For the first time this election season, I am inspired.

Thanks Lion Brand:
Obama Finger Puppet
McCain Finger Puppet

I'm also reminded of a pattern I saw in one of my vintage knitting magazines, McCall's Needlework and Crafts, fall/winter 1972-73:
Nothing quite like yarn and politics. (Insert pun about politicians spinning yarns)

(just to clarify - I didn't knit the finger puppets - the pics are from the pattern)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I am a genius!

Sometimes when I use my interchangable needle set I forget what needles I have out in various projects and when I go to put needles away after I'm finished with a project I always forget what size they were, then I have to pull out the knit check, and it's a big pain. So look what I did:

I wrote the color of the needles on the little plastic sleeve that holds it into the case. Now I can easily see what size needles are out in projects and be sure I put them back in the right place. I feel so smart. Go me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Roxy!

It's my baby kitty's third birthday today! They grow up so fast! I knit her this darling little toy - a catnip kick pillow. It's based on a project in 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders called the "Catnip Kick Pillow." Basically, it's a little pillow stuffed with catnip that kitty can hold with her front paws and kick at with her back feet. (Incidentally, this is exactly how Roxy plays with my shoes...) Brilliant idea!

So, I used some of my (ugly) variegated yarn and knit up little 4x6-ish pillow on size 6 DPNs in the round - then to decorate it I knit an attached i-cord all around the edges. Roxy really liked the i-cord - it gives her something to bite. She really loves this pillow - I'm so happy! I recommend this project to all cat lovers.

Here's a pic:
And now a pic of the pillow in use:And, because I love you, a video of the pillow in use:



BTW, the yarn is TLC Essentials Multi in the "Surf & Turf" colorway. When I bought this yarn I thought it was so pretty, then every time I take it out to use it I'm like, "yuck." But Roxy doesn't mind, and this is actually a good project to use a variegated yarn - which is good because I almost never knit with it. It's just not my thing.

The stuffing has a nylon stuffed with catnip and polyfill at the core of the toy with more polyfill stuffed around it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Problem of Escaping Pellets

When I made the Elefante stuffy for my mom's birthday it was the first time I had used poly pellets to weigh down the limbs (etc.) of stuffed toys. I really like the weight it gives the toy. For example, I really wish I had known about these when I knit Joe's Pasha - I would have filled up about half his body with pellets so he would sit up straight! The only problem is that the pellets seemed to work their way out of the little holes in the knitted fabric. It's not like they were pouring out or anything, it just bugged me. So, when I was commissioned to make a second elephant for a four year old, I decided I would try lining the pieces to keep the pellets from working their way out of the limbs and into her mouth (they're non-toxic, but still, toys for 4 year olds probably shouldn't leak).

I decided to use old nylons to line the pieces. (Like any proper cat lady, I have to replace my nylonds very frequently!) I only lined the pieces, I didn't acually construct little bean bags, so theoretically, I suppose some pellets could work their way out of the lined part, up through the stuffing and out through the fabric, but I doubt that will happen.

I tried three methods to do the lining: sewing, fabric glue, and hot glue. Here's the scoop:

Sewing:
I lined the trunk first and I decided to turn it inside out and sew the nylon in. I cut a square of nylon big enough to cover everything, wrapped it around and used a little whipstitch to seam it around the trunk, then I just stitched around the top and bottom to tack it to the knitted fabric. This worked really well - probably the best out of all the options because the fabric remained totally natural - flexible and stretchy (and not stiffened by glue). BUT, it took a long time and I am slightly worried than sewing into the nylon might have started a run that could eventually grow into a hole? I geuss only time will tell if that happens. Here's a pic:(BTW, I tried taking this picture several times to make it look a little less phallic, but there was simply no way. It seems a little NC-17 to me...)

Fabric Glue:
I didn't want to sew the nylon four more times into all the legs, so I got lazy and decided to use glue. I pulled out the Unique Stitch fabric glue and spread over the (inside out) leg and then wrapped the nylon around it. I was a little irritated because it wouldn't stay at all (not tacky enough in its wet form) and I got glue all over my hands. But, I grabbed a clothes pin to hold everything down and let it dry for about an hour, then it held fine. The pros of this method are that it didn't take as long to put the lining into place and at the end the knitted fabric was still flexible, but just not stretchy anymore. The con was that it was messy and I hated waiting for it to dry! Pic:
Hot Glue:
After doing one leg with the fabric glue, I got impatient and decided to turn to the tool that everyone turns to when they have grown frustrated - the hot glue gun. This involved turning the legs inside out, cutting out squares of nylon, then just putting a line of hot glue at the top and just holding on the nylon square for a second while the glue dried. It was so easy and I finished up the other three legs in about 5 minutes. The down side is that the ring of glue that hardened around the top altered the fabric so it was stiff at the top. This wasn't that big of a deal with the legs (because the top got sewn to the body anyway) but it would have been a problem on the trunk, for example (because his face starts there). The obvious pro is that it was fast. I will definitely have to put a lot of thought into using this technique again, because it really can mess up the "flow" of the fabric and probably wouldn't be appropriate in most situations. Pics:
Here you can see how they look a little mishapen:
Conclusion?
It looks like you get what you pay for. Sewing is the best way to go, but if I had to line a bunch of things (like for an octopus?) I would probably go for the fabric glue and just plan ahead that I will need drying time. Hot glue should be reserved for times when (1) the stiffness from the glue won't show in the end project, (2) you absolutely need instant gratification or are in a serious time crunch, and maybe (3) you are knitting under the influence (because hot glue always seems like a great idea at those times.)

FO: Emma's Elephant

My father showed one of his clients my knitting blog after I posted the pics of the elephant I made for my mom's birthday. Well, apparently this woman's four year old daughter saw the picture and fell in love with the little guy. She made her mom print out a picture to hang in her room and then another one that she could carry around with her! Darling! So, of course I had to make her one. It was a bit tedious making a second one of these so soon after I had made the first (much like the tedium of my Sheldon army...) But, it was a really great chance to make all the changes that I wanted to make after I knit the first one. I think I made a lot of improvements this time. Hooray! Pics:

yarn details
Red Heart Super Saver in Pink
Red Heart Classic Solid in Parakeet
Red Heart Soft Solid in Tangerine and Navy
Caron Simply Soft Brights in Limelight
Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Ranch Red


findings
black safety eyes (12 mm), polyfill, polypellets, old nylons

project details
pattern: "Elefante" by Susan B. Anderson - it's free! http://www.knitterella.com/SusanBAnderson/ElefantePattern.pdf
needles: size 4 DPNs (set of 4)
hook: E (for the ears)
yarn used: hardly made a dent in any of the skeins
duration: August 26 - October 3, 2008

notes
- I got to make the major changes I wanted to make from last time: I knit on size 4 needles instead of size 5 for a tighter gauge and I used metal instead of the bamboo. It was a lot easier with the sharp points - I only had a set of four so I had to spread all the stitches over 3 needles, but it wasn't too bad.
- This time I made the trunk longer so his nose would hit the ground when he stood up. (I knit it to measure more like 1.5 inches rather than 1.25) (In my original notes, I said I wanted to make the trunk shorter, but upon thinking about it - it actually needed to be longer).
- I lined the pieces with old scraps of nylons to keep the poly pellets from escaping. This worked out well (details in today's other post).
- This guy has size 12mm eyes rather than the size 10 eyes I put on Mom's. No real reason, I just thought they seemed cuter.
- I used jogless stripes again, but this time I didn't weave in the ends as I went - or at all. I just tied knots. It took a little while to learn to tie the knot at the right tension, but I caught on.
- I'm not super happy with where I placed the legs. They are all too close together - I wish I had spaced them out more. I had trouble sewing them on for some reason - It was like I put the first two on, and then all of a sudden there was no room for the others, and they looked crooked and all sorts of crazy stuff.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sleeves Part II

Bleh - sleeve drama:

The sleeves of the hexacomb cardigan are knit from the cuff up, with a garter stitch border followed by stockinette with increases placed every 10 rows until you have a sleeve that is 8 inches long at which point you start the sleeve cap. I did all the lovely math and this turns out that you are going to increase 6 times over about 60 rows. So, I was going along my merry way and I was up to about row 47 when I realized that my sleeve was damn near 8'' long already and I still had two increases (20 rows) to go. I pulled out the tape measure and what do you know - I'm at 7.25'' inches. So, to knit the sleeve caps I am suppsed to have 59 stitches on the needle so I just squeezed in two increases in the next 8 rows. I'm mad at myself for not doing the math beforehand and figuring out where to place the increases so they will be even. My row gauge was a little different than the pattern calls for -- I got about 24 rows over 4 inches and the pattern got 28 - but my plan was just to stretch while I blocked.

So, whatever. Live and learn - I really need to train myself to study the whole pattern before I start knitting and pay attention to that kind of stuff. I always get myself into pickles like this!

So, all I have left to do is finish knitting the caps of the sleeves... and then the small tasks of setting in the sleeves and picking up all those stitches to knit the neck and button band... with button holes. You know, no big deal. Ha ha! Arg! I'm dreading it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

For posterity...

I realize that I never recorded the info about the gauge swatches I made in July for the hexacomb cardigan. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to use as a notebook to keep track of all that kind of stuff, so here it is:

Knit Picks Shine Worsted

Size 7 needles:
pre-wash gauge is 18 st over 4''
post-wash/block gauge is 16.5 st over 4''

Size 6 needles:
pre-wash gauge is 21 st and 24 r over 4''
I didn't wash/block this swatch, don't remember why... I ended up using the size 6 needles.

Sleeves

I've decided to knit the sleeves for my hexacomb cardigan flat, like the pattern calls. I think the set in sleeves will look nice (as laiane suggested). Anyway, I've also decided to knit them at the same time, to avoid second sleeve syndrome.

I'm knitting them on the same needle, from two different balls of yarn. This is the first time I've done this, but I'm loving it so far. Every now and then I screw up and turn before I'm supposed to, but it's mostly going well. And I'm psyched to know that when I'm done they will both be done and I can get to the finishing! (yay! and nooo!!)

p.s. I finished up the little elephant for Emma this weekend, I'll post some pics and notes soon!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Progress on the elephant

Yesterday I had every intention of doing many productive things, but it rained all day so I knitted and watched Deep Space Nine all day. I've been moping lately. It needs to stop. Today is my super productive day - I am only taking a wee blog break here!

So, I am almost finished with the elephant head! I am ready to start the decreases to close up the top of his head. Before I do that I need to stuff what I have so far, which takes me back to the part of stuffy knitting that I hate. His whole trunk needs to be filled up with pellets, so I think I'm going to go ahead and fetch the needle and thread this time and sew nylon to the inside kind of like a lining. I'll just tack it down, nothing big, but I think that will be the best way to go.

I hate getting to this part because you partially stuff the whole thing then you have to keep knitting while the thing is full of stuffing so it's just really awkward. I'd love to finish the head tonight, but as I previously mentioned, I need to be super productive on the homework front. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I made his trunk and head a little bit longer than I did on my mom's elephant. I'm hoping that will make him stand up a little straighter.

p.s. here is a picture of Roxy helping:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rain & Elephants

It's been raining for 2 days, which means I don't want to do anything but knit! Yesterday I was feeling pretty sick so it gave me a chance to finish up the body of Emma's elephant. I started on the head (knit from the trunk up), but I was having trouble tying the knots of the color changes so they didn't show through on the other side and I got frustrated and quit.

When I was stuffing the body I put all the poly pellets in the foot of an old pair of nylons and tied a loose knot at the top. I wanted to sew it up so no pellets could escape, but I didn't feel like getting off the couch to fetch a needle and thread. But I'm hoping it will hold. Since I'm making it for a 4 year old I just don't want any little beads to come out of it. But I guess worse case scenario: they're non-toxic and too small to choke on. All of the pellets are supposed to be at the bottom of the body (to weigh him down) and the bad thing about the "bean bag" method is that it made it hard to keep the weight at the bottom because stuffing kept wanting to go under there. I don't know why I knit so many stuffies? Whenever I get to the stuffing/assembling stage I always get irrationally angry. I guess I just can't resist an FO with a face.

Monday, September 22, 2008

digital failure

I have a super painful ingrown fingernail on my right index finger and I haven't been able to knit since Thursday. The doctor told me all I can do is soak it in hot water and hope for the best, so god knows how long it will be before I can knit without yelping in pain.

Today is the first day of fall and I had to wear a fleece hoodie to school to stay warm. Damn! Looks like I'm not going to get to wear the hexacomb cardi until Spring. Poor me.

I really want to knit the New Pea Coat from the new Interweave Knits (Fall 2008), but sadly, I'm in a dire financial situation and don't think I can buy the yarn & I don't have anything that will work in my stash. I think it is going to be a stashbusting fall. (Thankfully I have ample stash, 110-ish balls).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Life

I was totally depressed this afternoon so I decided to ignore my homework and knit. So, I tried to work on the sleeves of the hexacomb cardigan only to get about two rows in and discover the mother of all knots in the center of my ball. It took me an HOUR to undo it, and that's only because about 45 minutes into it I just decided to cut an end really short to undo all the twists. The problem was that when you get a lot of friction with this yarn the fibers rub together and sort of create a little belt around the two pieces of yarn sticking them together and creating a big mess. I absolutely love knit picks yarn, but this isn't the first time I have had a big knot lurking inside my center-pull ball. Lame.

All of this is yet another piece of evidence in support of my thesis that life sucks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baby's First Russian Join!

I just did my very first (successful) Russian Join to join the new ball of yarn in my lace ribbon scarf. Yay! It is beautiful. Completely invisible! My new favorite!

I used the instructions on Knit Picks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Illustrations

So, I think an illustration is in order to show the botched shoulder on the hexacomb cardigan:
You can see how each of the hexacombs is about an inch, then right in the middle there one extends for almost two inches. (Also, I appear to have a couple of twisted stitches in my graft?) As you can see - it obviously isn't right, but at the same time, it's not really that bad. So, I don't know what I'm going to do about it.

And just for kicks, here is a progress pic. I could quit now and have a hexacomb vest! (But I won't). The color in this pic is more accurate than the one above.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Finishing Considerations on the Hexacomb Cardigan

I finished the body of the hexacomb cardigan on Sunday. I joined the shoulders using kitchener stitch instead of binding off and sewing them together later. (And hooray to me for planning ahead to do this!) I toyed with the idea of doing a three needle bind off so I would have a seam, but I ultimately decided that a seamless shoulder would be a little sleeker and that's the look I wanted to go for.

The pattern instructed me to end the shoulders of the front and the back on the same row in the pattern - for me that was row 8 (out of 12). I'm not really happy with how that turned out because I ended up having a huge, elongated hexacomb on the shoulders. To my credit, I did actually consider this before-hand but if I'd knit up to the corresponding rows for each to continue the pattern that would have ended up adding an extra inch to the shoulder - or I would have had to take away almost an inch because either way I would have had to add or subtract a full pattern repeat. So I decided to go for it. I'm seriously considering taking out the graft and adjusting the knitting somehow to make it look better - I just don't know how. Maybe if I had gone for the seam on the shoulders this would look better? Then again, it still might look bad and be even more noticeable because it would be sticking up. I don't really like how it looks now, but objectively, it doesn't look that bad and it is better than having too-short or too-long armholes. I just strive to have everything look as nice as possible. With all the time I put into knitting the thing, I don't want it to look amateur. As an avid believer in the miracles of blocking, I'm thinking about going the route of cutting one of the repeats out and stretching it during blocking. I guess I should really knit up a swatch and see how far it will stretch before I rely on that. I really hate swatching though and I want to finish this quickly before the fall really sets in. The blocking gods tend to be pretty merciful for me.

My second consideration is the sleeves. The pattern has you knit them flat, from the cuff up, and then seam then and sew them into the arm holes. I've been debating picking up stitches at the armhole and knitting from the shoulder down, but I'm not sure if I'm talented enough to reverse the shoulder shaping instructions. Maybe I will still knit them in the round, but from the cuff up. I think it's probably within my ability to convert the shaping from flat to circular knitting. Still... I wonder if there is a reason the designer has you knitting the sleeves the way she does? Maybe having the seam along the bottom of the sleeve looks better? Thoughts?

One thing I am very proud of myself for is that I have been weaving in the ends as I go through the whole project! I have either been using my fancy new knitting in the ends technique or just stopping the knitting every now and then and weaving in the ends with a needle. That way I am only weaving in one end at a time and it doesn't seem so horrible vs. the sheer hell of weaving in every single end while finishing. I'm also dreading finishing much less. It's funny how one little step can make such a huge psychological impact.

OK, I think that pretty much summarizes my thoughts/plans for finishing this garment. I am putting off thinking about what I will do when it's time for the button holes. That can be a whole other post. I'm never happy with the look of my buttonholes so I'm determined to seek out a better technique.

Now I really should start doing my homework or I will never have time to knit! (I already don't think I'll be able to find any time today or tomorrow and I'm very sad about it).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Update

So, I haven't been knitting a whole lot lately. I got some cool new games for my DS, then I got a wii, and you know how it is.... ha ha. But I've been feeling the itch this week so I've been working on the hexacomb cardigan. (I'm also realizing that it's going to be too cold to wear it pretty soon. Lame.) So, I've knit the front right side and I'm almost up to the neck increases on the back. It's looking good.

I have been working intermittently on my lace ribbon scarf. Here's a picture of the progess there. I've made it through one skein of the yarn and I'm just about to start the new ball. I think I might try a russian join.

Finally, I cast on for another elephant. The four year-old daughter of one of my parent's friends saw a picture of the one I made for my mom and she just fell in love with it. She made her mom print up a picture of it to hang in her room. How sweet is that?! So, I'm making her one. I've got all the legs knit and about half of the body so far. I'd like to finish it up soon before she falls out of love with the little guy. (You know how kids are). And that's the update. I'm feeling sort of down lately. Mostly I'm just lonely, and as much as I love knitting, it just reminds me how I'm going to become an old maid with my cat and my knitting needles. Sigh.

In happier news, when I was home in Utah last month I stopped by my favorite LYS and bought a bunch of clearance yarn and a few back issues of Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting. That was pretty sweet.

Monday, August 4, 2008

!@$#% Lace Ribbon Scarf!!

I ended up frogging out about 10 rows, picking up the stitches I could, then unknitting until I had all the stitches in the right place. Phew! Then I spent a whole night knitting and got at least 3 inches done. THEN, I realized that I had SCREWED UP big time with the stupid border around the scarf that is supposed to be garter stitch but which I had STUPIDLY been knitting in stockinette for the past SIX inches!!! ARGG!!! I tried to drop the last two stitches on the rows to fix it, but (a) picking up stitches in garter stitch is a headache when you are talking about doing it for six inches, and (b) picking up stitches off the edge of the row is possible but also a HUGE headache. So, I once again had to frog the whole thing back to before my mistake, try to pick up the stitches and unknit/reknit losing several more rows in the process. Now after all this mess I'm back to where I was about 3 wks ago. Yuck.

(and I haven't even mentioned the giant knot that is my yarn ball)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Overdue Update

1. I can finally reveal what the mysterious "surprise" project is: a darling striped elephant that I knitted for my mom's birthday. I'll make a full post with all the great details soon, but here is a teaser picture:


2. The weekend of the 19th I cast on for the Hexacomb Cardigan from the Spring issue of Interweave Knits. It's about time, considering that I bought the yarn way back in April!! It's actually going pretty fast, but I think that finishing is gonna be a bitch because it's knit in pieces and I've gotta attach a button band.. and buttons... sigh. So here's my progress, I've knit the whole bottom and the left front:


3. I occasionally get a chance to knit two rows on my commuter scarf during the bus ride to work. So, there is progress but it's still only about 10% done. Unfortunately, last night I chose to work on the scarf while drinking wine and completely messed it up by missing one of my YOs in every pattern repeat for a few rows. I hope the knitting police aren't monitoring this blog or else I'll certainly be cited for a KWI (knitting while intoxicated). The judge will probably sentence me to hard time doing garter stitch and finishing. To make matters worse, after I messed up the scarf and after I poured another glass of wine I decided that I was going to fix my mistake by unknitting the past several rows. Yeah. Turns out that unknitting lace it pretty damn hard. Then I tried dropping the stitches down to the point where there was supposed to be a yarn over and then I suppose I imagined I would magically have enough yarn slack to pull multiple yarn overs out of thin air and not mess up the lace - which is a pretty damn stupid thing to do whether drunk or not. Eventually I recognized that I had to stop torturing the poor thing and I set it aside and read a fashion magazine instead. Tonight I will see what I can do to mitigate the damage, before I drink any wine. Here's a pic of where I was a couple of days ago:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Knitting Bags

Check out my fabulous new knitting bag!


I'm starting to realize that I have a minor obsession with knitting bags these days. I can't get enough of them! The sad thing is that I never take my knitting anywhere so keeping it all in a cute bag is semi-pointless, but it makes me happy and it also makes my many WIPs easier to manage. This is more of a "travel" bag. My true obsession is with clear project bags so you can glance at the project and see exactly what's in the bag. For example, this awesome one that I've got my (hibernating) cashmere arm cosies in.


So my new bag is actually a purse that I got at this cool uber-cheap clothing store at Downtown Crossing (Tellos). It was only $14, which I am extremely happy about, considering that the knitting bag I most covet is $40 (the lime green Total Tote).

My new bag is tall enough to hold 14'' straights and it is wide enough to hold 6 balls of red heart/simply soft size yarn balls. Plus, it's got deep pockets on the outside to hold accessories (I pushed all the notions up to the top in the pic for artistic effect, but actually they are completely buried in the pocket). The only think I'm a little worried about is that there is zippered pocket inside which could potentially snag my yarn on some unlucky day, but I felt the zipper track and it's pretty smooth, no rough edges, so I will just have to be mindful of making sure the zipper itself isn't caught in the yarn before I yank a project out. I suppose if I wanted to be uber careful I could glue a piece of fabric over the whole zipper section, though I kind of like having the extra spill-proof pocket inside.

Anyway, I think it's darling! Here are more pics:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Update

I finished the first chart repeat on my lace ribbon scarf on the train to Quincy today. I finally went to the cape for the first time since I've been in Boston. I'm totally wiped from a day at the beach, but it was fun. So, yes, I'm onto the second repeat on my scarf. It's looking cool. Unfortunately, the yarn is getting tangled and I'm not super happy about it. I also need to weave in the end because it is making the tangle situation worse.

I'm working on a special little project for my mom that I think I will finish up tonight. I'll post more details when she gets it!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vintage Knits Galore!

One of our family friends sent me a big box full of vintage knitting magazines! Check it out:


They span from the late 60s to the 70s with a little 80s in there too... I spent the whole day today pouring over them and took a ton of pics of the stuff that I liked and the stuff that was too silly for words. I'll have to share them with you periodically.

For now, here are some selections from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1968-69:

These shifts are really hot - my favorites are the one on the right in the first picture (knit with metallic yarn!) and the one on the left in bottom picture (with the bobble stitches). Stacey and Clinton from What Not to Wear would say there is sheen and texture, so go right ahead... hopefully! Ha ha. I haven't read the patterns yet but I pray to god they are knit in the round. If not, I guess I will have to convert them if I decide to give them a try.


I just don't know if I can pull off a knit suit. Stephanie Japel has one in Fitted Knits, so I guess they're not totally a thing of the past, but I just don't think I could ever wear it with a straight face. However, I really love the jacket on this blue suit. The placement of the buttons is really cool and the tie at the waist gives it a good shape. If I knit it out of 100% wool I bet it would be warm enough to work as a fall/spring coat. (I didn't check to see if those stockings are knit as well - those are totally sex on a stick, baby!)


Thanks Miriam!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

FO: Little Sweet Baby Blanket

I know I was so worried I wasn't going to get this blanket finished before the mom-to-be left on maternity leave so you will all be pleased to know that I made it in time. When I gave the blanket to her it was the sweetest thing ever - one of my best knitting moments to date. Tears welled up in her eyes and she just couldn't believe that I had taken the time and effort to make a handmade gift for her baby. It's not that often that the recipients of our knits truly appreciate all the work that went into an item, so I was just so touched and joyful that she appreciated all the love that went into that project.

I'm also happy that she loved the blanket as much as I did! It really turned out super cute. The yarn is SO soft and it knitted up into such a cool multi-dimensional fabric. The drape is a little heavy for it to be something you would actually wrap a baby up in, but it will be perfect to throw on the floor for the baby to play on because it is really cushy.

As you can see, my model Joe Cow likes the blanket for cuddling and for playing, and he never once complained about the color pink threatening his manhood. He is such an enlightened soul - much like his namesake.



yarn details

Bernat Denim Style in Weathered Rose
70% Acrylic - 30% Soft Cotton
worsted weight
machine wash cool and tumble dry low
100 grams/196 yds @ $2.97 each (clearance)

pattern details
pattern: "Big Bad Baby Blanket" by Lisa Shobhana Mason on pg. 187 of Stitch 'n Bitch
needles: size 9 circulars
gauge: 15 stitches and 22 rows over 4'' in stockinette
size: final dimensions were 33.5'' by 34''
yarn used: just under four skeins - about 750 yards
time: May 1 - June 26, 2008
total cost: about $12

notes...
  • By the time I started the third ball I decided to use a new technique of weaving in the ends as I knit. This was really awesome and I plan to do it all the time.
  • Wrangling all the ends was tricky because the fabric was reversible so there was no "wrong side" on which I could leave a little tail at the end of my weaving or any way to prevent the end from unweaving itself if I cut it really short. I had the crazy/brilliant idea of using a little bit of fabric glue to secure the last little end of the yarn inside the stitch it was weaving out of and then cutting it really short. It worked really well - I wish I could fast-forward several months after the blanket has been used a bit and see how the ends are doing. I guess I will have to try this trick on one of my personal projects to see how it stands the test of time.
  • The pattern calls for holding two strands of fingering weight yarn together throughout, but I just substituted a worsted weight yarn. The yarn the pattern recommends is totally ridiculous - it's a hand-painted fine wool, which is gorgeous but completely inappropriate for a baby blanket. I looked around a lot for an acrylic/cotton to use instead but I was disappointed because I couldn't find anything that was quite as pretty. The stitch pattern is about as simple as it gets, so I really wanted to use an interesting yarn. So, I was flipping through my stash page on Ravelry and I remembered that I had this cool yarn which I bought on sale a year ago that would be perfect because it is like two colors twisted together so it has a lot of dimension. Luckily, the baby is going to be a girl, so it was also the perfect color. So, this project had the added benefit of stash busting, which is icing on the cake.
  • Overall, this was a great sort of mindless project that I really enjoyed. I'd knit it again if anyone else I know is silly enough to have a baby, ha ha.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update

Today marks the first day that I actually knit during my commute. I only got 1.5 rows done on the bus ride because I had a little trouble untangling everything when I took it out of my bag, but I'm still excited I finally got a project going. I need to learn how to knit standing up and also how to ride the T without holding on for dear life so I can knit on the train as well as the bus. Tall order.

In other news, Cressida and the cashmere arm cosies are being put away for the summer. The yarn is just too wooly-warm and I don't want to ruin it with my sticky palms. Besides, it's not like I'll be wearing either any time soon. Though, I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed in myself for not having finished them by now. My knitting funk lasted pretty much all Spring and it's depressing that I still have winter projects on the needles. Now I'm worried I won't have any of my summer projects done until winter and it will be a horrific cycle. I must not let that happen - if for no other reason, because I have to use up my stash!

My bf dumped me this weekend and all of my friends have moved to New York or are about to move there to start their awesome new lives as high powered attorneys. And when I say "all my friends" I'm not being dramatic - I never made any friends in my class year at school so everyone I ever associate with has graduated and fled the Red Sox Nation. So it's just me and Roxy from here on out. But to look at the silver lining, at least this means more time to knit. And knitting makes me happy. And yarn shopping is better than sex, don't deny it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ready, Set, Go! It's a Commuting Scarf

I cast on Sunday for the lace ribbon scarf from this spring's Knitty. It's my little project to work on during my 40 minute commute to and from work every day. Unfortunately, I'm usually packed in the train like a sardine and couldn't possibly knit, but once I transfer to the bus I usually get a seat and will have a few minutes to work. And, you know, since it's already going to be in my purse I suppose it's conceivable that I might accidentally work a few rows under my desk at work. Ha ha.

This is my first time working from a chart and I already have the lace pattern memorized. Whoo hoo! The WIP looks pretty damn ugly right now, but I guess that's just the way lace is. It will look fabulous once it's finished and blocked. My faith in blocking never waivers.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Finished! (Almost!)

I finished knitting the baby blanket last night. Here it is in all its glory:


Now I just need to weave in all the ends which I am sort of dreading (in excess of typical finishing dread) because the blanket is reversible, so I've got to be super stealthy with it. I think what I'm going to do is weave in the ends and then just put a tiny dab of glue on the last bit of weaving before I cut the end off. That way the little end won't pop out during baby play or washing. I tested it on a swatch and it makes a slight hard spot where the glue goes but I think that's going to be less noticeable than having the ends start poking out after the first time this thing is washed.

So, I've got to weave in the ends and then I'm going to steam block it into a perfect little square, then it'll be ready to go! It's more of a floor blanket to lay down for the baby than it is a blanket for the baby to snuggle in. It's nice and heavy and soft so it will be perfect to use as a little play mat.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Race Against the Stork

I'm still not finished with the baby blanket but I'm very, very close to being done!! I was originally going to give it to the mother-to-be last week after I couldn't get it to her the week before that but it wasn't done in time. Then I knew I would see her today, so that was my new due date, but alas, I missed it. I tried staying up all night to knit yesterday but my body simply wouldn't cooperate. But, by a lucky stroke of fate, it turns out I get to see her early next week so I have been given one final extension to finish this thing this weekend. I'm confident that won't be a problem. I would like to blog more, but my body simply won't cooperate. Off to bed.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Knit One, Sip One

Check out the awesome knitting flask I got for my birthday:

Who knew they even made such a thing? As you can see, it slides right into the knitting bag and will always be there when I need some courage for frogging. (Or when I'm about to create a situation that will require frogging in the morning....)

p.s. Yes, that's the baby blanket in the bag - I'm only about 60% through it right now. I was supposed to give it to the mom-to-be last Friday because I saw her for a chemical peel, but it turns out that I have a follow-up appointment next Thurs or Fri, so it absolutely, positively, HAS to be done by then. Moral to the story? Don't drink from the flask quite yet...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Time Travel

So, back in April I finished up my Back to School Vest and my little mice for the kitties and I never posted FO posts, but I have since gone back and posted FO posts but I back-dated them to the original date that I finished the project because I keep this blog as a way to track all my projects, so I didn't want them showing up in my June archives and then I would be confused. I never got around to taking better pictures of the vest, but I decided I should write the post before I completely forgot everything. (And it turns out, I have forgotten most of it. Maybe no so much "forgot" as I blocked out the mental trauma).

In conclusion, the two pretty poorly written FO posts are posted back in April:

http://spicyknitter.blogspot.com/2008/04/fo-back-to-school-vest.html

http://spicyknitter.blogspot.com/2008/04/fo-mice.html

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Baby Blanket Progress

The baby blanket is almost half-way through. I was a little worried I didn't have enough yarn, but I realize now that I'm going to be just fine. What a relief!