Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Update


I worked on the flowers for the head hugger last night and they were a total nightmare, following suit with the rest of the project. I frogged and redid the small one three times and the large one twice. Now they are done but I don't know if the purl side goes up or the knit side? I wasn't going to add the leaves, but now I'm thinking about doing it. I'm also going to tear apart the closet to find my embroidery floss. Maybe I'll just make the stamen pink or something with leftover Sheldina bits. I'm gonna finish up this biotch tonight because it is pissing me off and I want to get it over with.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Progress

I finished knitting the headband part of the Head Hugger last night, now I just need to make the flowers and I'll be good to go. The band is a little short for my head, but I think it will be fine once I block it. As for the yarn? Maybe a scratchy wool wasn't the best choice? This whole project is sort of pissing me off.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Casting On the Head Hugger

I've been working on my head hugger this weekend to the detriment of my other projects, but I'm already nearly half way finished. I bought the yarn before I left on break and planned to knit one or two of these over the holidays, but I ended up hardly knitting at all over the break. (With the exception of Pasha sweatshop knitting). Anyway, I'm giving the head hugger special priority now because it will be a quick project and I desperately need a new earwarmer right now. In fact, I'm looking out the window at this snow storm and I want to finish up the sucker right now before I have to walk to school tomorrow in the cold. Alas, I have loads of homework to do. (Which I'm clearly not doing anyway).

The pattern is from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, and I have to say that with all due respect to the author, it's not a very user-friendly pattern. I've already frogged 3 times. There is a shload of increases but she never provides benchmarks for how many stitches should be on your needles, which I like in a pattern to make sure sure I'm on track. (And I wasn't on track, in any of the incarnations - including the "keeper" - I ended up just knitted the extra stitch together with another one at the end of the increases and I'm hoping it won't screw me up too much when I get to the decreases.) I mean, I could have grabbed some scratch paper and gone through the whole increase sequence to figure out the benchmarks, but a good pattern should spare you from that kind of work.

There are also slipped stitches at the beginning of every row to make a nice neat edge - which I love as I design element, but I screwed them up many times and I partly blame myself and partly the pattern. In some sections the pattern tells you which direction to slip the stitch, and it others it is completely silent. That said, if I were a pro at slipping stitches on the edge (which I now am), it would have been obvious to me which way to slip it. Anyway, one edge looked totally yucky because I didn't slip correctly, but I didn't want to frog again. Then halfway through I decided it looked too yucky and since I planned to wear this I didn't want it to look shoddy, so I decided to start over again. Then...

I remembered in the dropped stitches podcast, Kelley Petkun said when you make a mistake on one stitch, you should drop that entire row and fix it rather than frog the whole thing. This sounded insanely scary to me at the time, but I decided here where I was about to frog a half-finished piece, I might as well try it since I had nothing to lose. So, I dropped all the stitches on the final row and went through with a crochet hook and pulled them up! The end result isn't totally perfect - the stitches are kind of big/loose because my mistakes had introduced a little extra yarn into the mix, but overall I'm really happy with it! The loose stitches look fine, they just don't match up exactly to the other side where the stitches are tighter. Anyway, I'm pleased because it's better than frogging the whole thing and WAY better than wearing something with a ton of mistakes in it.

Finally, completely due to my own stupidity I worked a quarter way through the WRONG pattern. Ha ha. I was knitting the neckwarmer instead of the earwarmer. I kept thinking it looked awfully skinny, and finally I looked back to make sure I increased enough and what do you know - I was knitting the wrong thing. Ha ha. Dear Pepper - READ THE PATTERN CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU START!!

And that is the end of the saga of my weekend with the head hugger. Here is a WIP pic, but I'm actually about 4 inches farther along now than I was when I took the pic.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Update

I worked a little on the vest last night - the ribbing is about 9'' now laid flat, which I thought was getting close to done. I tried it on and I was amazed that it only measured about 5.5'' on my body. It stretched out way more than I anticipated. I'm really glad I decided to measure it this way or I would have ended up with an idiotic crop top vest.

In other news, I think I'm getting sick. This is not a good weekend to be sick. On the plus side, however, sick days mean knit days! Do you think my note editor would let me turn it in late if the late paper is accompanied by a lovely scarf? ha ha. Unlikely.

Monday, January 21, 2008

oops! (almost) & avoiding future mistakes on the vest

I realized this morning that I forgot to check the erratta for the vest pattern before I started working on it. (Pepper!! You must remember to do this every time!!) I'm glad I realized this now because it turns out there are two entries correcting the pattern. Luckily I haven't gotten to them yet. [http://www.glampyre.com/fitted-knits-errata ~ corrections for pg 84 & 85]

More ideas to avert future mistakes:

the bottom half:

I am still working on the ribbing at the bottom of the vest. I didn't get a whole lot of knitting done this weekend because I was socializing with actual people. My therapist would be proud... ha ha. I am having a slight internal debate about the 8.5" measurement for the ribbing. Do I measure it laying down flat or should I stretch out the ribbing fully (as it will go around my beer belly)?

When you stretch it, it gets between 1-2 inches shorter. I ran a tape measure down right below my bust and I don't want the vest to be any shorter than 8 inches from there. So, in conclusion... I am going to stretch it out and actually measure the 8.5'' while I am wearing the piece.

the shoulders

I am trying hard with this project to think about the whole thing before I get started - you know, like an actual careful knitter. Planning ahead has made me decide I am going to try a 3-needle bind off or kitchener stitch on the shoulders rather than BO and then sew together later. I need to remember this so I can (a) remember not to bind off and (b) maybe end one row short to eliminate any stitch allowance in the pattern.

the pattern instructions

Further, in my efforts to plan ahead I actually made a copy of this pattern that I am using to write notes/reminders to myself and cross off rows as I complete them. No more trying to decipher millions of sticky notes that I leave in my book. Hopefully being organized will pay off.

the gauge

And going against the plan of planning ahead, I should admit that I only half-heartedly swatched this sucker. Hopefully it will turn out okay. This is the first time I ever swatched in the round and in pattern and it turned out into a big mess. My gauge was nearly double what it should have been - I think that is because it was insanely loose. But rather than go through the whole ordeal again, I just bumped down a needle size and am hoping for the best. I just now had the idea that I am going to put a lifeline at the top of my ribbing. Then if it turns out that my gauge is way off when I am knitting the bust, I can just frog back to that point and go down one more needle size (or up?).

Hooray for planning ahead! If only I could do that in my life as well as my knitting. As far as I'm concerned these days, any potential problem that could arise in my future school/career is future Pepper's problem and not mine. In knitting at least, present Pepper will take some responsibility for her actions.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

the blog!

You may have noticed some slight changes to the blog.

First of all, it is now internet explorer compatible. Joe and I have spent literally hours trying to fix this bug to no avail. We finally gave up, which is really unlike us. So, as I was playing with my progress bars this week, I noticed that my little picture slide show was aligned to the right. That bugged me, so I changed it to center alignment and it fixed the whole damn thing!! Arg! How could we have missed that? I am pretty proud of myself that I caught the error instead of Joe; he is afterall a professional bug-finder. Go me!

Second, I changed my progress bars to the Ravelry widget. Oh, how I love Ravelry!! Previously, to update my status bars I had to edit the template of the blog every time and re-write the tables. Then I also went to Ravelry and changed my progress there. That felt insanely silly. Then I was surfing knitting blogs and I found someone who had bars from Ravelry. I messaged her and it turns out that you can contact the web team and they will give you api access to make the bars. Hooray!

Third, for some reason my label list disappeared. I haven't even tried to fix this because I was messing around with all of this in the morning and I had to quit to go to class and I haven't returned to it. I don't care so much because the list was pissing me off. It's getting too long. I want to make it into a drop down, but I need Joe's assistance. Poor guy is so busy, there just never seems to be a good time to ask him. I will soon, though.

And for the future: I don't like the layout of my sidebar now that I have switched a bunch of stuff around. I need to rearrange everything. I will do that in a week after I hand in my note draft (thesis-type thingie for law school). More likely, I will do it in 6 days to procrastinate finishing everything up.... I'm bad.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Back to School!

Spring semester starts tomorrow! :( Back to all work and no play for Pepper. No matter. I resolve to knit more this season. It calms me down. Also, I gained at least 5 pounds over Christmas, so I have to get back on the knitting diet (as in, your hands are too busy to snack).

To commemorate going back to school, I spent several hours last night working on the Back to School Vest. It's knit from the bottom up, and I am now about 5.5 inches in. You are supposed to work 8.5'' before you start the waffle stitch for the bust. I can't decide if I will make it a little longer or not. I prefer my shirts longer, but if it's just a vest, you don't want it to be too long or it will look funny right? Maybe I need to put on a button-up and figure out exactly how much of the shirt tail will show.

Here's a WIP pic!
Also, I love my new ball band/keeper-together thingie. Look how the whole thing is shrinking as I get near the end. At this point, it would usually be a scraggly mess and I would have to stop and roll a center-pull ball. I was initially worried that the end of the mesh would snag my yarn, but so far nothing bad has happened, only wonderful things have happened. Yay for new gadgets!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

FO: My First Socks

I am so proud of myself for finally finishing my first pair of socks! They fit like a glove and since they are made out of heavy yarn they are SO WARM. Really, knitting socks wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I think the hardest part was picking up the stitches from the heel flap to start the gusset. In retrospect, I'm not too thrilled with the colors, but I still love my socks!


yarn details
Lion Brand Wool-Ease Heathers in Blue Mist and Natural Heather.
Worsted Weight
80% acrylic, 20% wool
Washing Instructions: machine wash warm medium cycle, tumble dry low, may be dry cleaned, do not bleach, do not iron
cost: $2.49/ 197 yard ball


project details
pattern: "Starter Stockinette" by Betsy Lee McCarthy in Knit Socks.
gauge: 25 st x 35 rows over 4"
needles: size 3 dpns (set of 5, bamboo)
hours: many! (but the majority was mindless)
total cost: $3.00

notes
- I got some ladders on the leg of my first sock, but I did much better on the second one. You just need to pull really tight between the needles! (I didn't try shifting the stitches around on the needles, which is also supposed to help.)
- These didn't take as much yarn as the pattern calls for. I used almost all of one skein of the blue Wool-Ease, very little of the Natural Heather.
- YARN WOES: The Natural Heather was a stash yarn, and it was pretty cool to use it up this way for the heel and toe. I had some of the Blue Mist as stash yarn as well and so I chose that color because I thought I would need more than one skein and I'm trying to shrink the stash, even though it wouldn't have been my first choice. Now I wish I had chosen the color I actually wanted since I didn't need to dip in the stash anyway. (p.s. I love the color of the blue yarn, I just don't like it for socks, for some reason.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

FO: Pasha

I have no money, so I wanted to make something special for Joe for a Christmas/Birthday present that would somewhat make up for the lack of pricey goods. So, he loves penguins and also is experimenting with Linux so I knew I had to make the Pasha penguin from Knitty.

yarn details
all stash-busting:
Wool-Ease in gold (minimal amount) random acrylics in black and white - both inherited

findings:
antique black buttons for eyes

pattern details
pattern: Pasha by Alexandra Virgiel, free on Knitty.com
gauge: not important
needles: size 6 straights
yarn used: very little - less than 1/4 skein of each
time: 7 hours(?) finishing took a long time!
total cost: free

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Update

Well, my gambling trip was successful, but more like Cascade 220 successful, not Malabrigo successful. All is well.

I have finished two projects since I last posted: my socks (yay!!) and my super-secret gift knit, which I can now reveal is Pasha the penguin. I haven't done my FO posts because I am too busy messing around on Facebook.... how is that for a lame excuse? But they are coming. I promised myself I wouldn't wait too long or I will forget what size needles I used, AS ALWAYS.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 Knits

I made a resolution yesterday morning to finish my sock. Instead a took a nap and only got through the heel flap.

My mom and I are driving to Wendover today (Nevada/Utah border casino town), so perhaps I will turn the heel and knit the foot in the car. Knitting in cars is sort of hit or miss for me. Sometimes I get car sick, other times I'm fine.

Wish me luck! Will I triple my 2008 yarn budget or be condemned to Super Saver until 2009? Tune in on Friday: same bat time, same bat channel.