Saturday, January 31, 2009

Koolhaas Progress

I'm making excellent progress on my koolhaas hat. It's really fun to knit, so I've been cruising through it. I was hoping to try cabling without a needle, but that's not working out. I'm using one of my short little needle tips from the Boye set as a cable needle and it's not slowing me down much.

Two notes: (1) I don't think this was the best yarn for the project. I used a Wool-Ease heather and it's really "hairy" which is competing with the texture of the lattice pattern. (2) I think I need to be knitting this on shorter circs. I'm using the smallest from my set - which is supposedly 20'', but I'm convinced it's closer to 16''. Still, it's pulling the stitches a bit tight. I think those two factors are creating problems for cabling without a needle. No worries because I love the pattern so much that I'll have plenty of chances to try again under more amenable circumstances.

So, here are progress pics. I'm almost ready to start decreasing:

Super close-up!

Friday, January 30, 2009

FO: Sassy Stripes Socks

These socks were one of those projects which you really hate but you keep knitting it anyway. You know that feeling? Anyway, it turned out that a week before Christmas my mom saw them and loved them. Alas, the poor, ugly, sassy socks found their purpose in life: to be my mom's Christmas present.

yarn details
Moda Dea Sassy Stripes in "Rave"
100% acrylic
DK weight
machine wash cool and tumble dry low
50 grams/152 yds @ $3.95 each

pattern details
pattern: "Knit Socks - LM0131" by Grace Alexander (free)
needles: size 5
size: medium
yarn used: just under 2 skeins, 268 yards
time: Feb. - Dec. 08
total cost: about $8

notes...
  • I loved the colors in this yarn at first, but the more I kept knitting, the more obnoxious they got. I especially hate the variegated part. Also - the 100% acrylic was just nasty.
  • The thing I didn't like about these socks was that they made my ankles look fat. I know that sounds silly, but that's how it looked!
  • In the future I'll avoid knitting all ribbed socks on such large needles - I also think a longer heel flap might have helped a bit. Live and learn.

Mommy's Little Helper

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fighting the spread of SCD

Last night I casted on for my second arm cosy to ensure that it wouldn't fall victim to SCD (second cosy disorder). I forgot how amazingly wonderful this cashmere blend yarn is! Yay! It was such a treat to rediscover it.

I had a brief panic because I lost all the notes I made for myself about how to do the decreases (which I said I would post here and never did). Then I found the notes in a stray yellow pad in my magazine stand, so all is right with the world.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mindful Stitch Markers

I’ve always wanted to try making my own stitch markers, but it’s one of those things that I just kept putting off. Mostly because I don’t have a whole lot of jewelry making experience and also because I just couldn’t think of a terribly creative idea other than sticking a pretty bead on a headpin.

So, while I was at home I spent a lot of time at all the lovely chain craft stores we have in the burbs and I found some darling charms that weren't too expensive at Michaels that say “Be”, “Here,” and “Now.” (Made by Heart & Soul). They are the perfect size for stitch markers and I love the message because it reminds me to be more mindful while I knit. I bought some small jump rings to attach the charms and some larger rings to use as the actual stitch marker and figured I’d give it a go. (Of course, I knew damn well that all these supplies would probably hang around for a year or so until I got around to making the markers!)

As I was working on my koolhaas hat on Sunday I needed a bunch of stitch markers so I just grabbed the larger rings I bought and started to use them (without the charms) and it turns out that they were absolute hell on my hands! It turns out that I bought split rings instead of smooth jump rings and the little ridges on them hurt my hands since the markers are placed every 8 stitches, so I was always touching one. So, I went back to my standard little set of red and blue markers and they were rough on my hands too – because they aren’t smooth on the edges. (In fact, that's always bugged me about those markers!) I was getting frustrated. So, I decided that I would make my stitch markers there and then just using the charms, the smaller jump rings, and some 26 gauge wire. I even had some pretty beads in my stash so I threw those in as well. I shaped them for a size 10 needle. I suppose necessity is the mother of invention.

I think they turned out really pretty! Here’s a pic.

I ended up making 12 of them… overkill? I don’t know. I like them. I'd like to take a wire wrapping class at the bead store down the street so I can learn how to wrap that wire above and below the bead correctly. I sort of just winged it on these and I think they look fine, they just aren't totally uniform.

Monday, January 26, 2009

my head was cold!

You may have noticed that I CO'd for the Koolhaas hat over the weekend. I feel kind of guilty because I already have so many WIPs, but it's been really cold here and I need a hat! I keep giving away the ones that I knit. I love the way it's turning out. Here's a pic, I tried it on to make sure it fit, so it looks like a sweatband right now, with really crazy bling (stitch markers)...


I've already screwed up on it twice.

First, I meant to use size 6 needles for the ribbing then move up to size 8 for the pattern, but once I finished the ribbing and went to switch needles I realized that I had used size 5 intead of 6. D'oh! (seriously - how many times do I have to do this before I learn to double check my needles!!). Anyway, I'm forging ahead and using 7's for the lattice part. Luckily, when I tried it on (see above) it fits fine, just a little snug.

Second, I screwed up one of the cable crosses in row 4 and 5 (of 8) and didn't realize it until I started the second pattern repeat. I decided to try dropping the stitches to fix it, but the way the lattice pattern is set up, I ended up having to drop about 16 stitches. As you can guess, I fiddled with it for two hours with a crochet hook, trying to pull up the stitches and then finally ended up frogging it all back to the third row at about 1:00 am. I need to learn that when I screw up that bad to just frog back and not try to just drop the bad stitches!

That link takes you back to the time I did exactly the same thing with my cashmere arm cosies. Speaking of those cosies, I've got second cosy syndrome. I need to CO for the second one soon because it's in danger of being abducted by a UFO. Unfortunately, right now I am totally consumed with this hat.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pie in the Sky?

I am in love with Knit Picks new featured pattern: the Jacquard Vest! OK, here: I'm going to rip off their photo, may my IP prof. forgive me:

I really want to knit this, even though I've never knit fair isle before (other than my brief flirtation with the binary scarf). I'm worried this will be a little ambitious for a first fair isle, but it's only two colors and maybe since I like it so much, I will have an incentive to stick with it? (Unlike my mild interest in knitting endless ones and zeros...)

Of course, this breaks two of my knitting resolutions:
1. I am supposed to knit from stash (but yarn cost is only $15!)
2. I am trying to focus on the process of knitting instead of knitting just because I want the FO, which is really what's going on here. Would this be a frustrating project or will it be fulfilling to learn a new skill?

Also, I already have so many things on my knitting queue! Sometimes I think I like planning knitting projects almost as much as I like knitting them. Maybe if I spent less time cruising Ravelry and more time knitting, I'd actually get some of those WIPs finished, no?

So, we'll give it some time and see if my infatuation with this project fades. If it doesn't, maybe I'll go for it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Dose of Reality

OK, let's face the facts: Sheldino is not a WIP. I doubt I've even looked at him in a year. Sorry buddy, you are officially going into hibernation. Sleep well!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Speed Demon

One day soon I am going to post a little list of knitting resolutions for 2009, but a little sneak preview is that I want to learn how to knit faster. (I think I already mentioned this a few days ago).

Several days ago Knit Picks sent out an email talking about speed knitting and they posted a video of the world's fastest knitter. Holy crap! She is amazing!! I don't aim to knit anywhere near that fast, but I'd like to pick up the pace. Here are some of her tips:

1. Knit continental style (boo!)
2. Keep all your movements to a minimum (her hands barely looked like they were moving at all)
3. Practice by setting a timer for three minutes and see how fast you can go
4. Keep your arms relaxed

She also had kind of a special hold, you can see it in the video, if you are so inclined. Here it is:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Experimental Swatching

So, we all know my love for swatching for gauge (said with sarcasm), but this morning I was forced to knit a swatch to test out some edge stitches and it was actually a little fun - sort of like making a sampler. I really should swatch more to practice my basic skills - I sort of skipped that part of learning to knit.

Anyhow, I'm making a project with ribbing on it and an exposed edge so I am worried about making the edge stitches look nice. It's a 2X2 ribbing that starts and ends with knit ribs (so I start one row with knit stitches and the next row with purl stitches). I started making the project with a chain stitch edge (?) - where you slip the first stitch of every row and I thought it looked kind of bad, so I made this swatch. It actually looks much better without the slipped stitches though. I was worried I would get that knotty edge that looks kind of messy, but it's not so.

Here are pics from my lovely lesson:

This is a view of the edge. On the left side is my chain stitch border and on the right is just the regular stockinette edge. (The messy bit in the middle is some garter stitch I threw in to mark where I switched between the two.) As you can see, the chain stitch looks a little better, but the regular edge doesn't look bad. (Yuck! I need a manicure!)

So, this is a view of the front of the piece. See how the chain stitch looks all gappy, but the regular edge blends in with the rib? That's because the chain stitch only has one stitch for every two rows but the rest of the ribbing has the normal amount of stitches, so it's a little wacky.

And just for fun, I bound off part in pattern and part the regular way (all knits). The left side is regular and the right side is in pattern. I never realized what a difference binding off in pattern makes until I saw them side by side here! Amazing.

So, that was my little swatching adventure. I plan to do another one with all the increases and decreases. I think that will be interesting. Of course, that will mean putting off my pretty massive list of WIP's that I've got going. Maybe I'll save it for a rainy day.

p.s. In my research on chain stitches I read somewhere that if the pattern doesn't always start and end with the same stitch, you should add one stitch to the beginning and one to the end of the rows so you can do the chain stitch edge. Also, there seems to be a debate about whether you should hold your yarn in front or in back when you slip the stitch. I don't remember what way I did it in this sample, but I would guess the back, since that sounds like the most natural way.