Sunday, March 30, 2008

On the Blocking Board!

I'm almost done with the back to school vest! I blocked it this evening - it seriously took me an hour to pin it all out! I had to put separate pins around all the purl ridges to keep them from getting stretched out - and everytime I pinned another section I would inevitably stretch the purl sections again and have to re-pin it. I will probably never make this vest again, but if I were going to, I would have pinned out the whole thing to dimensions, then gone back through and scrunched up the purl ridges and pined them then. But In a couple of days it will be dry and then I will be done!! Whoo hoo!!

It looks a little big, but these are the dimensions in the pattern. I imagine it will shrink up after it comes off the board because of the ribbing. Even if it doesn't, I can always use some positive ease because I'll be wearing it over another shirt.

The yarn is 80% wool and 20% silk, so I think it should respond well to blocking.

Cross your fingers folks! Maybe this vest can still be saved!

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Funny" Story

Until last night, all the cables (& four sets of needles) from my interchangeable needle set were in use and/or just chillin' in my project bags. So, last night I put away the needles I used in my socks & the vest. Why? Because I started the edging on the vest and I needed a size 5 circular. So far so good. After I finished edging the first armhole, I had a "d'oh" moment and realized that I was supposed to use a needle two sizes smaller for the edging and that I hadn't used the bigger needle size recommended in the pattern. "Oh well, it looks fine."

Brain taking a minute to process... "wait, did I go a size up or a size down? I can't remember." I open up the needle case and see I had put away size 6 needle tips. Cool, went a size down. Then I felt a sick feeling: something was wrong. I pulled out my needle sizer and yes indeed, I had two sets of size seven needle tips and no size six tips. It's all coming back to me: when I broke my needle/cable last month I just glanced at the pattern, saw the size seven recommended needle size and ordered sevens. FRACK!! This explains why my gauge was much larger than the swatch I made for the vest. I just assumed that I counted the swatch stitches wrong because I'm challenged that way and forged ahead. Why didn't I take time to think it through!!! LAME!!

So, now I have to place another order with Boye to replace the needle tips that were actually broken and I'm pretty pissed at myself for being so absent minded. But, on the upside, while all my cables were out in projects this past month I had been thinking that when I placed my first order I should have ordered some extra cables for when I'm rocking multiple projects. So, I supposed it's not a huge tragedy that I have to place another order, since I probably would have done so eventually anyway. But still, I'm pissed.

Also, this explains why when I swatched my sassy stripes sock my gauge was a little tight on the fives but huge on the "sixes" (which were actually sevens). Which is why I went with the fives but went a size up, which is partly why the sock is too big.

I'm telling you people, I have the worst knitting luck known to man.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I can't believe this: I just spent the whole day messing around with my blog template. Oh man, I'm in trouble!! Nevertheless, this blog is now converted over to new blogger so I can add widgets as I like. After I have now spent the whole day getting acquainted with the code, I can say converting the classic blogger template to new blogger actually wasn't that hard.

So, if anything FrEaKy happens with the blog, it's because of the conversion. Please let me know.

reflections on my sock

I think the problem with my fat sock is that the heel flap isn't long enough. The sock gaps around my ankle, which I think is why it makes my foot look fat and also why it is a bit loosey-goosey. If I had made the heel flap longer, then I think the gusset would be tighter around my ankle and the foot wouldn't look so fat. Live and learn.

Monday, March 24, 2008

this sock aint that sassy

I finished up sassy stripes sock #1 and I still don't like it. I feel like it makes my foot look fat. Also, it's a little big - like it's gappy around the ankle.

Roxy thinks I should frog it:
And before you say it's not that bad, observe the fat-effect on my foot:

FO: Roxy's Princess Bed

Poor Roxy waited a long time for her Princess Bed to be finished, but it is finally here! Now she can live like the little princess she is.

yarn details
Patons Carmen in violet
bulky weight
36% Polyester, 64% Nylon

machine wash
50 gram/64 yd. per ball @ $0.99 or $1.99 at Joann

Bernat Chunky in black
bulky weight
100% Acrylic

machine wash
340 gram/480 yd. per ball @ $5.99 at Joann

project details
pattern: "Princess Snowball Cat Bed" by Brenda Janis, pg. 228 in Stitch 'n Bitch
gauge: no idea
needle sizes: size 11 straights
time: I don't know, but at least half of it was spent finishing
yarn used: about 5.5 of the Carmen and 3/4 of the Bernat Chunky
total cost: ~$10
finished size: 19'' x 12'' oval and 5'' high (extra roomy for all of Roxy's fluff)

checking in

I had the flu last week and spent a lot of time in bed. I kept thinking I should use the down time to knit, but I couldn't muster the will to work on any projects. I just sat around all week with idle hands. I did a little work this weekend (but very little). I worked the foot of my sassy stripes sock up to the start of the toe and I swatched out the Soft Lux for Cressida. After my recent spate of gauge disasters I did a real swatch this time -- the whole four inch square. Two of them in fact!* I swatched out with the 7's and it was too tight, so I went up to 8's and they worked out. That is perfect because it turns out I only have a short pair of size 7 straights, for knitting dishcloths. There is no way I could knit a shrug on 6'' needles!

Counting my stitches is still a pain in the ass! I don't know why I have so much trouble with it. It seems I come up with a different number every time. This yarn was particularly bad because it is sort of thick & thin and it has the metallic thread running through that isn't visible in every stitch. It threw me off. Knitpicks makes a gauge ruler with a magnifying strip that I'm thinking about getting. That, or maybe I will just buy a magnifying glass at Staples. Something has got to give. I read somewhere about knitting along a contrasting color of thread in your swatch so it will be easier to count the stitches, but (a) I always forget and (b) I'm worried that will somehow mess up my tension. It would really be best if I could just learn how to count stitches like a big girl.

* I actually knit one long swatch, with a purl row in the middle to mark where I switched needle sizes. I'm sure in ideal-swatch world you are supposed to start over completely, but that isn't happening. I'm also going to unravel the swatch and use the yarn for my project. I know in ideal-swatch world you are supposed to save it and wash it and block it and stuff, but that isn't happening either. Breaking my poor swatching habits is just going to have to be a gradual process.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Baby's First Three Needle Bind-off!

I did my very first three needle bind-off tonight. Hooray! At least the vest from hell led to one good thing. All I have left to do is knit the border on the neck and armholes. I think the neckline might just disappear by the time I add a border. This thing has been such a beast.... But, hooray for my three needle bind-off!

Tyra Banks would not approve of what my left arm is doing in this picture.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Roxy warms up

Roxy finally warmed up to the cat bed:
Of course, nothing is big enough to accommodate her elaborate sleeping positions:

Sunday, March 9, 2008

And it's done!

I spent the whole day finishing Roxy's bed - and now it's done! Hooray!! Of course she won't pose for a picture, but here it is anyway:

Getting Back on the Horse

I took the day off from knitting yesterday. I watched 7 hours of TV and didn't pick up the knitting once. Instead I played Dr. Mario while watching a movie about a boy who builds an atomic bomb for the science fair, then the worst movie ever (Four Brothers, which I rented solely for Mark Wahlberg, who ended up looking fat) and then the most awesome show ever (Buffy, obviously). I played Dr. Mario on my DS to keep my hands busy, since I am now unable to watch TV without double tasking.

So, this morning I am picking up the knitting again - working on Roxy's bed. A whole morning of finishing! Yay! (sarcasm intended) I am still watching Buffy and pretending I don't have any homework or errands to run. But it's Spring break right? There's plenty of time to do the masses of work I have to do... you know, like two days before I have to go back to classes....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Vest From Hell

OK, it's official. The vest is from hell. What happened now? So, I started on the armhole shaping and got halfway through when I realized it was looking a little long. I tried it on. Observe:

It was time to begin the neck immediately! So, I stopped all the armhole work and skipped ahead to the neck shaping. Then, I got 3/4 through that and the straps were long enough that I had to stop there. Fun fact: I was supposed to end up with 18 stitches at the shoulder and I ended with 12. Amazing considering I never finished all the decreases. So, I figured it was a little thin, but good enough. So I went to the other side. I noticed there were 22 stitches I had reserved on the marker, but that was too many, I needed 18 if I wanted to end up with 12 at the end. So, I just decreased two and went on my merry way. At this point I am almost certain the damn thing is gonna get frogged that I don't even care. So, I knit to the end. What do you know? I have 14 stitches. What the hell? It was noticibly wider than the other side so I had to rip back an redo it. You know what? I din't even try to figure out what happened. I just randomly decreased away the extra stitches and said good riddance. I'm on track now to end up with 12, haven't finished. Bleh. Heres a pic with one strap slung over my shoulder. I actually think the thinner straps are kind of cute, but it's still a crap shoot as to what the finished product will look like.

Things I hate about this vest:
1. The yarn I chose is the wrong texture.
2. The ribbing is too tight
3. My gauge is off resulting in (some of) the headache described above
4. I keep dropping stitches and having other insane accidents (i.e. breaking the needle, i.e. pulling all the stitches off the cable when I tried it on, etc...)

I'm really down on my knitting lately. I just keep screwing up! Basically every project on my needles has been frogged at least once and it turning out ugly anyway. Or, it's waiting to be frogged. Or, I know chances of frogging are high. I just keep making stupid mistakes. It really sucks. Half the time I don't even want to knit anymore. It's too exhausting. Feel sorry for me please.

Monday, March 3, 2008

moving onto the foot of sassy sock

I turned the heel and worked the gusset of my sock over the weekend, so now I'm just knitting the foot. I've got to say, so far I just really don't like the way this sock is turning out. It just looks dopey. I'm still trudging on, because sometimes stuff looks dumb in progress, but then it looks cute when it's finished. I don't know. I am doing too much frogging lately. It's lame.

Anyway, here is a pic:

p.s. I'm blogging during crim pro not paying attention at all. I should have just gone home and knitted.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Casting on for Sheldino

Yesterday morning I was up for a little knitting challenge so I decided there was no time like the present to cast on for little Sheldino (the love child of Sheldon and Sheldina). Sheldino is going to be a real challenge because I have to resize the whole pattern. And this isn't easy resizing like changing the bust on a sweater -- this is the most complicated pattern revision I have attempted to date.

I am knitting him on size 2 needles vs. size 4 on the parents. That should shrink him by at least 10 percent to start with. As for changing the pattern proportions, I decided to start with the shell so I don't have to swatch out the honeycomb pattern a million times to get it to fit the body. This way, I'll start with the shell and use that as a baseline for the FO size, then I only have to swatch out stockinette, get all my math in order, and recalculate all the body increases and decreases. So that's the plan of action.

The original pattern makes the cells on the shell honeycomb pattern 6 stitches wide so I am making this one only four inches wide. However, I am still making the cells five rows tall like the original, so far that looks good, but if it doesn't work out I won't feel bad because I am mentally prepared for the inevitability of a lot of frogging on this project because it is so experimental.

Here is my progress so far:
I'm knitting it flat on circs. You know how much I hate doing that!! It turns out size 2 is the only size I don't have in straights. How sick is that? Especially since the exact same thing happened to me with the sassy stripes socks I'm working on -- I have all sizes of DPNs except size 5. So I had to knit those on circs too. Lame. (And now all my cables from the Boye set are in use, preventing me from

Anyway, I had an epiphany about why I hate knitting flat with circs. I was listening to an old Knit Picks podcast on the treadmill Friday morning and Kelley was discussing Continental vs. English knitting. I knit English style because that's just how I learned to knit. Kelley prefers teaching new knitters Continental because when you knit English style you actually have to let go of the right needle to use that hand to throw, and she thinks that freaks out new knitters -- she says it is better to let them keep both hands on the needles at all times. Kelly knits Continental and she also knits basically everything on circs. So, as I was knitting flat on the circs for Sheldino I realized that when I dropped the right needle it doesn't just just hang out there like a straight needle does. The cable on the circ sort of pulls on the right needle creating a tension that isn't there with straights. So there you have it -- now I know there is actually a rational reason why I don't like knitting flat with circs. I'm not just picky. I suppose this is one more reason why I should try to learn Continental. Or, I could just buy size 2 straight needles...

And now I have to do homework :(

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Progress Report on the Arm Cosies

Like basically everything else I'm knitting these days, the Cashmere Arm Cosies are about to get frogged. Why? They are HUGE!!!

That's a five inch ruler you are looking at on the the cozy (knit flat). The total diameter of the cozy is supposed to be 5.75'' in circumference. Uh... yeah. Problem. The strange thing is that my gauge is not off by much -- pattern gauge is 26 sts over four inches and my gauge is 28 sts. (More on gauge in a later post...)

So, this whole thing is getting frogged and I'm casting on with size 6 needles. I'll work a little bit at that scale and see how it sizes up. My wrists are so small, I think I need to get far below gauge to make these work out.

And as long as I'm starting over -- I'm knitting in the round now. A kind soul on Ravelry already did all the math and she was nice enough to share it with me. Turns out all you have to do is knit the foundation row inside out and backwards. I'm so glad I asked because I never would have figured that out!

The cables look nice. I tried working them without a cable needle but the yarn is too slippery and the stitches kept running. I'll have to save that trick for another project.

(note: the color in this picture is a close match to the actual color of the yarn)