Friday, May 31, 2013

Craftsy Love! I'm at it again!

I just signed up for two more Craftsy classes!  Well, technically, these are "workshops" not "classes."  The difference is that a workshop is just working through one pattern with help from the designer, whereas a class is more about teaching you a general skill and sometimes has a few projects to work through.  Anyway, I signed up for Stacey Trock's Nelson the Owl workshop!  Yay!  I also signed up for the July Mystery Knit Along.  I was a little nervous about that last one, but my coworkers convinced me that it would be fun.  I don't know what I'll be knitting, but the designer is Stephanie Japel, who seems pretty cool, so I'm sure it will rock.  (BTW, even the yarn is a mystery! They are shipping it to my house as we speak!)


The workshops on are sale right now, so you should go check them out!  I got in on Nelson the Owl for $7.99 and the Mystery KAL for only $14.99 (including the yarn... but, plus $5 for shipping).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yay!  Today is my birthday.  (The Big 3-0... sort of depressed about this....)  Anyway, I bought myself a little gift to celebrate: my very own niddy noddy!  Cool, huh?  No more winding a skein on the back two chairs for Pepper!  Nope!  I'm gonna do it the civilized way from now on!

In related news, I also bought a bunch of new yarn!  Mostly acrylics for some stuffies I have planned, but I got a few "nice" balls too.  I bought some lovely Gloss DK yarn for the headband I am making as part of my Craftsy class on double knitting.  I also got more sock yarn... but I honestly needed it!!  I want to knit a nice pair of socks for my dear Aunt Carol and nothing I have in my stash was quite right for her.  I picked out a lovely grey tonal color and it's going to be perfect.  Now I just need to pick a pattern!

In further related news, I believe I failed to report on this blog that I took up spindling back in February.  I'm not very good at it, nor am I quite sure that I even like doing it.  It's still up in the air whether this will become a legitimate hobby of mine.  Nevertheless, this is the primary reason I purchased a niddy noddy.... I promise to report more news on this front in the near future.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tess Progress

Well, I promised you that I would work on finishing up Tess during my period of unemployment, and I want you to know that I am a woman of my word and I have made a lot of progress!

I knit and sewed on the button bands, knit on the neckband, and I have set in one sleeve.  Check it out:


I'm really struggling with this one guys!  I HATE finishing!  Boo!  Setting in that sleeve yesterday was pure torture.  Anyway, it's almost over.  All I have left to do is set in the other sleeve, then seam up the sleeves, then add the snaps and buttons for the closures.  Oh, and I have to knit the little tie that goes around the waist, though, honestly, I might just skip that part since I'm not a big fan of waist ties.  Though, on that note, it doesn't look like this thing is even going to fit me anymore after my weight gain in the past year or so, but I want to finish it anyway. I have grand plans to lose the weight, then Tess will fit, hopefully in time for Fall, which would be perfect timing!  (Wow!  That last sentence had a lot of commas!)

By the way, I didn't realize this thing had a snap closure with "faux" buttons on the outside until I knit the button band and couldn't figure out why they didn't have me making any button holes.  Funny related story: the pattern says to make the closure with "press fasteners"... after searching the internet for a while I had a hard time finding stores that carried them.  Well, stupid me, turns out "press fastener" is just British for "snap."  lol!  So, I ordered some from Joann and they are on their way as we speak.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tiny Monster Alert!

I'm back at Craftsy again, taking Stacey Trock's class on how to design your own amigurumi monsters.*  (I freakin' love her, by the way!)  Anyway, I haven't done anything too crazy with all the info I am learning from the course, but I did make this teeny tiny ball monster:


Cute, right??  He's about an inch and a half tall.  Perfect height for a baby monster.

I crocheted him out of sport weight yarn with an E hook.

* That's an affiliate link up there, if you buy a class using it, I'll get a little extra yarn money!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

FO: Smokinskip Scarf

My brother often asks me to knit him things and I usually say that I will, but then I never do.  Well, this time, I did.  Here it is, the Smokinskip Scarf:
Smokinskip Scarf by the Spicy Knitter



 


yarn details
Knit Picks Brava in Eggplant and Black
Dye Lot 6072 (for both)
worsted weight
100% acrylic
machine wash/tumble dry low
100 grams/218 yds @ $2.99 each

project details
pattern: CO 66 stiches... winged it from there.
needles: size 9
gauge: I'm sure I wrote it down somewhere... but where?
yarn used: 268 yards (1.22 balls) of Eggplant and 618 yards (2.82 balls) of black
finished size: would you know, I forgot to measure it?
duration: September 30, 2012 - March 15, 2013


notes

  • This is knit in the round, as a giant tube, 66 stitches in total.  I knit it magic-loop style with 33 stitches on either side.
  • I charted the pattern using excel.  Basically, I got my gauge, then adjusted the grid on my excel spreadsheet to match the gauge.  Then I typed up "smokinskip" in photoshop, saved it as a jpg, then set it as the background to my excel spreadsheet.  Then I went in and colored in the appropriate cells.  There is probably an easier way to do this, but I couldn't think of one...
  • Because I knit this in the round, I couldn't really do proper intarsia, so I tried some techniques on how to knit intarsia in the round, but that didn't work out.  Also, I gave up on true intarsia and started stranding in the back.  Finally, I decided the only way to really do this was to start a new strand of the purple yarn at the beginning of each row and snip it at the end, but I wasn't willing to weave in that many ends, so I used the technique of weaving in the ends while I knitted, which produced a slightly bumpy texture to the fabric, which I'm not very happy with, but Scott didn't seem to care.  In the end, it looks great from far away, but not super great up close.
  • Lots of things I would have done differently if I tried this project again.  But... I won't be doing that any time soon...

Double the Fun!

Several weeks ago, I talked about how much I would like to learn double-knitting.  Well, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and I enrolled in a course on Craftsy called Adventures in Double-Knitting!*  Yay for me!  I took my first "lesson" on Thursday and I made this awesome swatch:



Totally awesome, huh?  I'm so proud of myself!

I'm really glad that I decided to go the Craftsy route for this one.  I typically teach myself new techniques by reading about it in books and maybe catching a few clips on YouTube, but this stuff is pretty darn complicated and I'm glad I had the extended video lesson.  I got the course when it was on sale for $19.99 and I'd say it was worth every penny.

This swatch was knit flat.  The next lesson in the Craftsy course is how to double-knit in the round, so I'm looking forward to that one.  First I need to pick up some new yarn so I can follow along with the project he will be demonstrating, so I need to wait to get started on that.

Wish me luck with my double-knitting adventures!

* That's an affiliate link up there...  That means if you buy this class through my link, I'll get a little extra yarn money!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Forge ahead or turn back?

The Tropical Clutch by Scarlet Taylor is a project that I have been excited about knitting since I first spotted it on the cover of Knit With Beads over five years ago.  In my usual slow-poke fashion, I let it sit in the Ravelry queue for several years, then finally bought the supplies to make it about six months ago, and I am just now getting started on it.


So far I have two observations: (1) Knitting with beads is sort of a pain in the ass.  (2) So far, my clutch looks very little like the lovely one that graces the cover of the book.  So, here's the question: do I start over, give up, or just forge ahead?

Here's the problem:

This is what the book says the beaded fabric looks like:


And here is what mine is looking like so far:


Do you see any resemblance between the two?  Because I don't.  That's not to say that mine isn't going to be cute, but it just doesn't look like the picture which I have loved all these years.

In favor of starting over: I think there are possibly two things I could try differently.  First, the pattern recommends a size 6 needle, but I needed a size 7 to get gauge.  BUT, the author has you test gauge in stockinette stitch, but that stitch doesn't appear anywhere in the project, so, really, my gauge swatch is sort of worthless.  Maybe I'd be better off with the smaller needle?  The second thing I could change is that the instructions for the stitch pattern are kind of vague as to whether you are supposed to wrap the yarn around the needle once or twice.  I chose to do it once, but I could go back and do it twice and see what happens.  Though, I really don't think that is the problem.  I think it may be the gauge issue.

In favor of forging ahead: I've already got a good portion of it knitted up, and it doesn't necessarily look bad, just not like the picture.  No one who sees the finished purse is going to know what it was supposed to look like.... right?  (But *I* will know!!)

In favor of giving up: So far, it's not a super fun knit.  As I already said, knitting with the beads is a pain in the ass and this is also going to require a lot of extraordinary finishing work down the road, which we all know how much I love to do.  But I HATE the feeling of being a QUITTER!!

What to do, what to do!!??

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's Knitting Time!

Today is my last day of work for awhile and I'm super excited about having a bunch of free time to knit now that I'm a woman of leisure!  YAY!  Obviously, I'm going to work on what's on my needles right now, but, I also have big plans to FINALLY finish Tess and the Hexacomb Cardigan.  (Or, at the very least, just Tess). I may also knit a cat.

On the non-knitting front, I have plans to make my very first quilt.  Well, sort of.  I'm going to make a T-shirt quilt out of a bunch of my old shirts from college that I rescued from my mom's storage bin last month.

In other news, I somehow fractured my foot and it's very ouchy.  I have to wear a special shoe that is SUPER sexy for the next month.  Luckily, I will be mostly home-bound, knitting and quilting, and no one will ever know (except for you).

p.s.  I know, I owe you a couple of FO posts.  It will happen!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Maybe Monday: Thigh High Stripes

Welcome back, Pepper!  I've been on vacation but I'm back now with another Maybe Monday for you.

Check out these AWESOME stripey socks by Deborah Newton in Ann Budd's book, Sock Knitting Master Class.  This book looks awesome and even comes with an instructional DVD.  Neato.  But, anyway, I'm in love with these socks:


How super cute are those?

Why I might knit them:  First, I am in love with the colors, so if I knit these I will definitely go with the recommended yarn.  Beyond that, they are just cute, cute, CUTE!

Why I probably won't knit them:  Looks like a lot of work.....