Friday, February 20, 2009

SSK

I used the nifty version of SSK on my cozy and it looks SO MUCH better! Yay ! I wish I'd done this sooner.

Monday, February 16, 2009

decreasing and podcasts

I used to listen to Kelly Petkun's Knit Picks podcasts all the time while I worked out, but since I sort of dropped the ball on working out over the last 10 months or so (bad!) I haven't really listened to them. I'm not sure if she actually does them anymore because the last one my computer downloaded was in August. Anyhow, today I finally listened to one while I was waiting for the train: episode 21, decreasing.

She had a lot of cool ideas about how to place decreases in your pieces, so I thought I'd make a note of it here so I can go back to the podcast next time I'm in a decreasing bind. One thing I especially want to note is that she suggests making a flatter SSK by slipping the first stitch knitwise and the second purlwise (vs. the traditional instruction of switching them both knitwise.) I'm pretty sure I've heard this before, but I always seem to forget it. Anyway, I'm never really happy with the look of SSK decreases, so I've got to try this. I'm using them in my cashmere arm cosies, so I'll do it next time I pick that up. I still keep meaning to make myself an increase/decrease play swatch to get a feel for all the different methods. One of these days....

p.s. visited iTunes later tonight - it turns out they are still podcasting, but apparently iTunes hasn't been downloading them for me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Day!

My Spring issue of Interweave Knits arrived today! YAY!! YAY!! I'm almost sad that I have plans tonight because all I want to do is kick back and bask in its loveliness.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

FO: Koolhaas

Yay for hats! This is by far the most beautiful, awesome hat I have ever knit! I love the texture and it was fun to knit -- not so easy you get bored, but not so complicated that you can't work on it while you watch TV, etc. This is definitely the first of many!

yarn detailsLion Brand Wool-Ease in Dark Rose Heather
20% wool, 80% acrylic
worsted weight
machine wash cool and tumble dry low
85 grams/197 yds @ $2.50 each (on sale)

project details
pattern: "Koolhaas" by Jared Flood, Interweave Knit Gifts 2007, available for purchase online at the Knitting Daily pattern store for $4.50
needles: size 5 and 7 circulars and size 7 dpns
gauge: try as I might, I just can't count out a gauge in the lattice pattern!
yarn used: 132 yards (about 70% of the skein)
finished size: about 15'' in diameter (on brim), 8 inches tall
duration: January 24 - February 11, 2009
cost: about $2.00, plus $4.50 for the pattern

notes
  • I don't think this was a good yarn for this project. The color is beautiful, but it's a heather and that means it is kind of furry. It's not the kiss of death, but I think a solid colored yarn that gives more stitch definition will really make things pop!
  • When I joined to knit in the round I did that thing where you switch the places of the first and last stitches. I feel like this made the join less obvious, but it might not have made a difference.
  • I used the "skimming method" to weave in the ends. Loved it!
  • I used a random needle tip from my Boye set as a cable needle. This made everything go so much more smoothly. I was hoping to try cabling without a needle on this project, but I think the stitches were pulled too tightly on the circular for it to work - they always unravelled themselves.
  • The pattern calls for size 6 & 8 needles, I goofed and used 5 & 7. Everything worked out okay, but next time I think I'll go with the recommended needle sizes.
  • I originally did 4 pattern repeats (for the women's size) but the hat ended up being too short for my liking, so I frogged back and did 5 repeats. Perhaps if I use the correct needle size this won't be necessary.
  • On all of the knit stitches on this hat you knit through the back loop and I'm pretty sure that I forgot to do that on a bunch of random stitches, just because it is so counter-intuitive. It still looks good, but maybe it isn't as neat as it could have been. Next time I will be more vigilant about it and see if it makes a difference.

FO: Bite Me Pillow

There's nothing quite like a cynical candy heart pillow to get yourself in the mood for Valentine's Day.

It's a key accessory to make my bed a welcoming place for potential lovers:

yarn details
Lion Brand Chunky USA in Cherry Blossom
100% Acrylic
bulky weight

pattern details
pattern: "Valentine Candy Pillows" by Jennifer Stafford on pg. 105 of Domiknitrix
needles: size 10 straights
size: final dimensions were 7.5'' x 8''
yarn used: 108 yards
time: February 2008 - February 2009

notions
red felt
Unique Stitch fabric glue

notes...
  • I started this project last year but when it came time to embroider the letters I had massive problems and I got so frustrated that I tossed it in the back of the closet for a year. In that time, I decided to accept the reality that the letters weren't going to happen and made the plan to just make the letters out of felt.
  • I think did a good job outlining the letters for the embroidery, but it was just impossible for me to fill them in a way that looked remotely nice.
  • The felt letters are Arial Black, 175 pt. and I glued them down with fabric glue after I already assembled and stuffed the pillow.
  • In general, I'm pretty unhappy with this project. I think the felt solved my lettering issue, but the heart shapes are just not very pronounced and don't really look good. Also, the way she has you do the seaming is really strange and it looks kind of messy. If I had wanted to spend more time on this project I would have used an attached i-cord to outline the heart shape, at least on the front. But, it's just a fun little decoration to pull out once a year, so I'm not going to lose any (more) sleep over it.

FO: Button-Tab Hat

It's been a long time since I've knit a hat but I wanted to make one for my friend Christina's birthday this January. I queued this pattern on Ravelry months ago because as soon as I saw it, it reminded me of her. I bought this yarn when I was in SLC for the break. Again, as soon as I saw it, I knew that it was the yarn for this project! I forgot how much fun hats are! Yay! It's too bad Spring is almost over because I want to go on a hat knitting spree.

The hardest part of this project was choosing what buttons to use! I have a huge collection of vintage buttons that I inherited from my grandmother and it was just so hard to decide whether I wanted to do one button, or two, or three, and whether I wanted color or a neutral, size, shape, etc. Oh my! If I had been making the hat for myself I think I would have gone with buttons that were a contrasting color, but I thought Christina is a little more laid back and would like this wood-looking set.

Here's a close-up of the buttons:
yarn detailsLion Brand Wool-Ease in Avacado
20% wool, 80% acrylic
worsted weight
machine wash cool and tumble dry low (however, buttons are not machine washable!)
85 grams/197 yds @ $2.50 each (on sale)

findings
vintage buttons, o.75'' in diameter

project details
pattern: "Button-Tab Hat" by Marcie Nishioka - free at http://i-like-lemons.blogspot.com/2008/01/button-tab-hat-pattern.html
needles: size 8 circulars & dpns
gauge: 19 st and 24 rows in stockinette
yarn used: 112 yards (about 60% of the skein)
finished size: when laid flat - about 8.25” tall and 8.75” wide but 8-8.25” on the ribbed brim
duration: January 6 - January 20, 2009
cost: about $1.50, plus the buttons which are priceless....

notes
  • I initially tried doing a chain edge on the flap, but it looked way too loose, so I frogged and just did the regular stockinette edge according to the pattern.
  • The buttons are not functional. In fact, I decided to completely sew the flap down because it was looking a little unruly. It made it look a lot better - definitely worth the extra step!
  • I had some trouble with the Wool-Ease being splitty. Lame.
  • FYI: this project was listed as "Mystery" on my projects status bar on the off-chance that the Christina looks at this blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Spring in the air!

Also in honor of today's lovely weather in Boston, IK has posted the preview of the spring issue! Yay!!! I must knit the Zickzack Tunic the moment the magazine arrives!

Irony

It's a beautiful Springy day outside! Yay! It's so warm that I didn't even want to zip up my coat! So what did I do? I finished knitting my wool Koolhaas hat! Ha ha. I always do this! I start projects and then by the time I finish them, they are rendered moot by the weather. At least this time I'm pretty sure the heat wave won't last. Sadly, I'm sure Koolhaas will get a chance to make her appearance.

However, on that note: I must finish those arm cosies!!

(p.s. OK - maybe this is only ironic in the eyes of Alanis Morissette...)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Wool-Ease

I've used Lion Brand's Wool-Ease a few times in the past and I liked it, but I've knit two hats out of it this year and I've found it to be intolerably splitty! What gives? On the plus side, the colors are gorgeous.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bite Me

Last year I started making one of the valentine candy pillows from Domiknitrix and I got up to the embroidery part and got so frustrated that I threw it in the back of my closet for a year. So, as Valentine's Day again approaches, I decided it was now or never to finish this thing. Except this time, no embroidery. I'm doing it old school: felt and glue.

So, I spent the whole night seaming up this biotch. Not fun.

Went from this:
To this:

Hooray! Now that I have a fabulously cynical pillow, the real question is: what will my Valentine's Day be like?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A short story about Koolhaas

I finished my Koolhaas hat on Monday. Whoo hoo! Except, when I tried it on, it was too short. Boo!
It doesn't really look bad, but I like a hat to cover my ears, so it wasn't as functional as I would have liked it to be. I was just going to leave it and remember to make the next one longer, but then I thought, "No, Pepper. There is no point in having an FO that you aren't going to wear." So I decided to undo the bind-off, unravel all the decreases, and add in another pattern repeat.

The decreases are only done over 10 rows, so it seemed silly to live with a hat that I wasn't in love with all for the sake of 10 rows. But let me tell you: unraveling those 10 rows was not easy! Sure, ripping them back was easy (and perversely fun), but it was really hard to find my place in the cable pattern for where I was supposed to start the new repeat. I'm not super familiar with the construction of cables yet, so they still seem a little magic to me - which makes it difficult to understand where I am in the pattern just by looking at the stitches on your my needle. But I learned. Anyway, I finally got it back to where I need to be to start the extra pattern repeat, so I should be finished in no time.

For the record: I did try the hat on before I started decreasing to check the length, I just underestimated how much length the decreases rows would add. Of course, if I had checked my gauge I probably could have made a more precise estimate. I imagine this shortcoming (pun!) was due to my mistake of using smaller needles. Live and learn.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sore Thumbs

A long time ago I made myself a cotton headband to hold my hair back while I washed my face at night and I used some iron-on velcro pieces for the closure. I was initially a little worried that the iron-on adhesive wouldn't stick to the yarn, but I was actually pretty pleased with the results. However, as the years have passed, most of the velcro has pulled off or become really loose. It started the first time I washed it and sort of went downhill from there. For probably six months it has been holding on by one little piece of velcro until this morning when I finally decided that enough was enough and I was going to sew the velcro into place.

My thumbs are throbbing from (a) pulling the needle through the thick backing of the velcro and (b) handling the pokey side of the velcro. Even using a thimble and a gribber thing for the needle didn't offer much relief (though they did a good job at slowing me down).

Let me tell you: this took a hell of a lot longer than I ever anticipated!! I was only going to sew down the pieces that had fallen off, but then it became clear that the stronger hold on those pieces was going to pull off the weaker holding pieces on the other side in no time.

So, here is a picture of my handiwork. I used the obnoxious green thread because it was the only heavy duty tapestry thread I has in my kit.
You can see here on the flip side that I did a pretty good job of hiding the stitches, but by about the third hour I started getting much more careless.
Despite my complaining, I'm glad I finally took the time to do this. This is probably the most practical thing I have ever knit - I use it twice a day - so it deserved a little extra care to make it sturdy and happy.

p.s. In the interest of preserving trademarks, let me assure you that this was Velcro brand hook and loop tape. There, now this post counts as studying for my intellectual property class. Sweet!