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.