Sunday, September 30, 2012

FO: Elefante

UMMM....  I always wondered why I didn't have an Elephante FO post.  I knew I wrote one and I just figured it disappeared somewhere in the vast internets.  Well, no, it turns out that it was just in my draft box.  Oops!  Wonder how that happened.  Anyway, I just found it today, so here you go... a few years late.....

 I knit this darling little elephant for my mom's birthday this year. She loves elephants and I thought this little guy would be cute in her office. I saw the pattern while I was browsing Ravelry and I was instantly attracted to all the bright colors and this guy's cute shape. Best of all, it was a total stashbusting project.

Here he is getting into my plant - I wanted you all to see his cute tail! I think that may be my favorite part of this project.

yarn detailsI busted out the acrylics:
Red Heart Super Saver in Pink
Red Heart Classic Solid in Parakeet
Red Heart Soft Solid in Tangerine and Navy
Caron Simply Soft Brights in Limelight
Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Ranch Red

black safety eyes (10 mm), polyfill, polypellets

project details
pattern: "Elefante" by Susan B. Anderson - it's free!
needles: bamboo sock needles in size 5
hook: E (for the ears)
yarn used: hardly made a dent in any of the skeins
duration: May 4th - July 14th (though maybe 10 hours of actual knitting?)

- Gauge & Needles: I wish I had knit in one needle size down and on metal needles - not the bamboo. This is knit at a really tight gauge and the bamboo needles just weren't pointy enough to grab the stitches with any sort of ease. I also wish I knit it at an even tighter gauge because on the end product the polypellets work their way out occasionally.
- Escaping Pellets: To fix the escaping polypellet problem I would line the pieces with old nylons or something next time. That's what I use to keep the catnip in Roxy's toys, and I bet it would work even better to keep pellets in.
- Jogless Stripes and Weaving as I Went: This was the first time I experimented with jogless stripes and with weaving in the ends while I knit. I used the instructions Stephanie Pearl-McPhee gives in her sock pattern Tiptoe Through the Tulips in the Spring Knitty. Parts of the body look really messy while I was learning the technique, but I think I finally caught on. Weaving in the ends as I went sure as hell was easier than doing it afterwards with a tapestry needle!
- Modification: I left out the plain knit row within the decreases on the bottom of the feet - it made them more flat, but in the end I don't think it really mattered because his feet are weighed down with the pellets, so he wouldn't fall over even if his feet were round.
- Yarn: This guy was supposed to be a stashbuster, but I ended up purchasing the red and turquoise yarns. The red I had in my stash was sport weight and didn't quite work right and the turquoise I had was bulky weight and I had the same problem.
- Head Positioning: People don't seem to like his head down with his trunk hitting the floor like he is pictured in the pattern (and below). We seem to keep sitting him upright, but it's a shame because that hides his darling tail! For the next one I might consider positioning his head higher and just weighing down the body a ton so he won't topple over. I can't quite decide. This picture illustrates that my Elefante doesn't stand quite as steady as Anderson's. His trunk is a little long and his back legs are a little short. If I decide not to sew the head higher, I will at least have to pay closer attention when I am pinning the head and legs on to make sure they all meet the floor correctly. It might even be a good idea to go ahead and shorten the trunk a bit.

(I've already got a second one of these little guys on the needles as a gift for a special little girl, more later...)

Reinforcements Have Arrived

Yay!  My Knit Picks order got here yesterday!  And look what they sent me....  a kitty!!

Ha ha, just kidding.  Roxy just LOVES boxes.  Here's what they really sent me:

As you can see, I'm now the proud owner of a pair of sock blockers.  I think that's my favorite thing in the order.  I also broke down and finally bought some Soak wash for my knits.  I usually just wash them with Woolite, but I've heard so many good things about Soak, and I like that you don't have to rinse it out.

... and what's in the back there?  Yes, I bought a set of foam blocking squares.  I love my blocking board because it has the measuring grid on it, but it's a pain when longer items like scarfs don't fit on the board.  The only problem now is that I'm going to have to figure out where to set these babies up in a place where Roxy can't get to them.  I know she'd just love to sink her claws into that nice soft foam.  Aren't kitties + knitting always a challenge?

Finally, I got the yarn for my brother's scarf and an extra cable and set of needles for my interchangeable circular set.  Funny story: I've had the set for at least two years now but I've never used the size 9 needles, until a few weeks ago when I grabbed them to swatch something and realized that KP screwed up and gave me two sets of size 8 and no size 9 in my kit.  Boo!!  I thought about contacting them to see if they'd give me some size 9 needles, but, honestly, it just sounded like more trouble than it was worth, so I paid the $5 to just get the size 9 needles and be done with it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Stinky Slippers!

Remember my ugly French Press Slippers?  Well, I just found a funny link party asking for our stinkiest projects ever.  So, I had to link up the slippers!  You can check out the party here.

Like Me?

I know I've been plugging my etsy shop more than usual lately, but I'm just trying to scare up some business to earn more money for rent yarn.  Anyway, here is a way you can help me grow my business without spending a penny: just like me on facebook!  (Even if you block me from your news feed, that's fine, I'd still appreciate the like!)

How does this help me?  Well, first, I'm trying to get to 30 initial likes so I can unlock the facebook analytics tools so I can see how people are using my page and use those insights to make it better for people.  So you'd definitely be helping me out in a huge way if you are one of my first 30.  After that, I'm trying to get likes because when people see my company and see that I have a bunch of likes, they are more likely to buy from me... it's sort of a peer-pressure approach to sales.

How does this help you?  After you like me, you can message me for a promo code which will entitle you to 10% off in my shop every time you order.  Also, you can see when I list new stuff and occasionally I will do a flash sale or one-day-only promo code that can lead to even more savings.

See, it's a win-win.

On another note, people often ask me why I don't sell any of my knitted stuff in my etsy shop.  It's always just seemed to me that I'd have to price my items so high to make up for the cost of yarn and the time spent knitting that no one would want to pay that much.  What do you think?  Do you ever sell your knitted stuff?  Think it's worth it?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Knitting on the Brain

I feel an extremely strong urge to knit right now.  Unfortunately, I can't knit because I'm at work.  :(  Boo!!  Once I had a job where we frequently had nothing to do and I they let me knit during the slow periods.  That was awesome.  I knit an entire pair of socks on the clock!  That was a pretty horrible job, but I look back on it fondly today....

My brother has been requesting that I knit him a scarf for quite a long time, and he made a particularly heart-felt plea for it again last week, so I finally decided I will do it.  I've been hesitant because I knit him a bag once and he didn't really like it, but I'm hopeful this time it will be different.  He requested a purple and black scarf that says "smokinskip" on it (that's his nickname).  I ordered the yarn this weekend, so as soon as it gets here, I'll swatch it up and then get to work charting out the color work.  I think I'm going to knit the scarf in the round as just a long tube - then I don't have to worry about keeping the wrong side neat-looking.  (I suppose another other option would be to try double knitting it, but I've never done that before and I'm not sure I want to start now?)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Update - Baby Blanket Edition

I spent the entire day yesterday knitting up a storm and marathoning season 2 of Buffy.  I have decided to go ahead with the baby blanket as planned.  I was a little unsure about both the color and the pattern, but I talked to the mom-to-be last weekend and she said that the baby's bedding is green, so the color would be okay.  As for the pattern, I still wasn't sure about it but I decided to knit on anyway.  Now that I'm almost half way through and the pattern has had a chance to develop more, I can see that it's really not that bad.  It's definitely not the best baby blanket I've ever knitted, but I think it's going to be cute and functional, and that's really all it needs to be.  And, yes, I know.  I still owe you a picture.....

FYI, the pattern is called "Treasured Baby Blanket" and it's a Lion Brand pattern.  It's supposed to be knitted in their cashmere yarn, but... seriously?  Who knits a cashmere baby blanket??  I'm using Knit Picks Comfy yarn in honeydew- it's a soft cotton blend that is machine-washable and perfect for baby gear.  I got to the half-way point in the blanket and decided I wanted it to be a little bigger so I'm adding an extra pattern repeat to the center.  I bought lots of extra yarn for this project, so I think it will be okay.

In other news, I just placed a huge order over at Knit Picks!  I can't wait for my new goodies to come!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weekend Update

I had a chance to do some knitting over the long weekend.  Because I'm still not sure about the baby blanket, I worked exclusively on my mom's stole.  After four hours of knitting I swear I only did like 5 rows. It's so frustrating how slowly this project is moving!!  I haven't even finished up the first pattern repeat... I think I'm on row 11 out of 28 or something pathetic like that.  Luckily, the knitting itself is fairly easy going.  Just slow.  I'm afraid this project is going to take me much longer to complete than I originally anticipated.

In other news, my mom is coming to visit this week (yay!) and she expects me to present her with the fan shawl that I knit her.  Unfortunately, I haven't blocked it yet.  I was going to do it this weekend but I totally spaced it out.  Oops!  Perhaps while she is here I will teach her to block and she can do it herself?  lol!