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!