Archive for September, 2007

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Special something

September 28, 2007

I think I’m about to go on another sock kick. I recently looked through my stash to see that I actually have a whole lot of sock yarn. Much more than I thought. I know it’s gonna be nothing compared to what most knitters have, but to someone like me, having yarn for at least 5 more pairs of socks is kind of a big deal. I like to use things up. I like to be able to say “There! All gone!” like a kid who cleans their plate at dinner.

Even with all the lovely sock yarn, my Harry Potter Cover Sock Yarn Club had to come first. It’s special yarn in a lot of ways. It’s the first time I’ve bought through an independent dyer, it’s my first sock club, and it’s inspired by a book that’s very special to me. I wanted to do something special with it. The included pattern is nice and I’m sure I’ll use it on some of the other sock yarn I have, but it’s very simple. For these, I was thinking lacey…

Just look at this! The yarn is so pretty all knitted up and looks great on this pattern! I’d kinda had this pattern at the back of my mind for awhile after seeing all the people (more often than not Ravenclaws) getting these Eagle’s Flight pattern socks in the Hogwarts Sock Swap (is it weird to oogle sock swaps that I’m not involved with at all? I hope not…). I liked the theme of the included pattern, which was called Hedwig, so I stuck with the birdy-ness. I’m so so SO happy with them and can’t wait to be able to actually wear them. The lace is really stretchy so I think it’ll fit nicely, too. And honestly? They’re just plain fun to make. Since I’m unoriginal but can’t just do as I’m told, I subbed out the plain heel in the pattern for a slipped stitch one. The heel flap is cool because it puts the colors together in a way that they aren’t on the cuff. Purple with orange, bronze with white…Mixes it up a bit 🙂 Have I mentioned I love the colors? Never would have thought of them together, but they look great.

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Satisfaction

September 24, 2007

I apparently develop super-completion-powers when I get sick.

I’ve been sick with some kind of flu/cold bug since Saturday and the fog that comes with it has made me want to sit back and finish the things that are already on my needles so I can start some fresh projects. First thing  was the last bit of sewing on my Festival Print skirt. All I had to do was finish up the hem by Saturday and I’m pretty sure I actually got the hem straight.

 This last one’s a little blurry, but it shows the length.

And if we’re talking about things that need to get finished, Trellis was it. It had to go. It’s been causing me so much worry that I needed to at least be able to say “Well that’s over.” So I sewed it up, finished the collar, then proceeded to try and block it. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Used all of my T-Pins and the tiny cardigan looked like it was auditioning for the Hellraiser remake. If anyone ever makes a “lolknitting” site I’d like to suggest a caption for this pic:

“O hai. U needz moar T-pins”

It’s just the flash on that photo that make it look like the cables aren’t even there. There’s a better photo on my flickr. But now that this isn’t using up a 7 circular, I can swatch for the Back to School U-Neck vest.

Then I wanted to start my first sock club socks, but I had to make sure those size 2 dpns were going to be free…Well to do that I clearly had to finish that second Endpaper Mitt in one night. After all, it simply wouldn’t do to start the socks only to realize I needed those smaller needles to do the ribbing for the top of the Endpapers! So the Endpaper Mitts are done. I absolutely loved this project. It’s quick, easy to follow, and has some really great new techniques to learn (the tubular cast on is my new best friend). It also gives you plenty of confidence when it comes to color-work, which I’d never done before. It was a project way out of my comfort zone and I had fun with every part of it. So if anyone out there is looking for a way to get in to stranded knitting but doesn’t know where to start, I highly recommend the Endpapers.

Lastly, I think as a reward for making something cute for a family member, Mommy took me out to the yarn store in Montclair and I got some gorgeous Rowan Felted Tweed in a super pretty red for a sweater vest that I’ll probably think up off the top of my head, and some Lorna’s Laces in a colorway that I think is called “Gold Hill.” It’s a beautiful fall color variegated that I think I have just the pattern for…but first, my super cool awesome Harry Potter colorway 🙂

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The pointier needles

September 18, 2007

Sometimes you just need to know when to pack it in on one craft for a little while and work on another. And after that day of failing miserable at all of my knitting WIPs, I was lucky enough to be able to turn to sewing…which was terrifying.

Let’s be clear. I didn’t call this blog “Art Class Failure” for nothing. I’m not good at most traditional “artsy” things, but when I’m put to a craft that produces something of obvious function, I’m usually pretty good: Knitted hats – you wear them, Crocheted blankets – you sit under them, Tatted Lace – ….Okay I’m still working on that one but the point is I’ve always felt sewing was my big exception.

I can cook, I can knit, I can crochet, I can TAT, I can make friendship bracelets…but my big Home Economics final project mishap of almost 10 years ago haunts me to this day. I tried to make a dress. My mother fondly remembers making her first dress at about the same age I was…Mine was a disaster. My seams were practically zig-zag, the material was bunched up and I EVEN managed to sew one of the pattern pieces to the material. I got a B for effort on the project (most other people in class had just made another apron), but I got it in my head I’d never bother with a sewing machine again.

Fast forward to these years in academic limbo (trying to get in to law school), yet unable to stop learning new thing. I decided to give sewing another shot. After all, there was some pretty cool material out there. Why not make some skirts? And then I got on the “need new apron” train of thought and the deal was sealed.

I already blogged the cutting out process, but last night I got down to the actual sewing. I picked the easiest possible pattern to start with: A skirt that consists of two pieces of fabric sewn together with a little tube at the top for an elastic waist. After spending the whole day consulting the internet for tips (google searches for “I am terrified I’m going to break my sewing machine just by looking at it” returned nothing useful), my mom taught me how to use her old Singer. It’s a great machine. Winding the bobbin is easy and even threading the needle wasn’t so bad.

The pinning of the fabric was a little rough. I stabbed myself twice, but never drew blood (the same cannot be said about my knitting or my tatting). But I must have gotten the pins in mostly straight, because seaming wasn’t bad at all…after I got finished nearly breaking the machine, of course. I went to backstitch at the beginning of the piece and made a royal mess of the thing. Eventually got it squared away, but the act of nearly killing the old warhorse within 4 seconds of sitting down at it (not an exaggeration) made me queasy.

Still! The pieces are all seamed together and I’ll be doing the sewing on the elastic case this evening before I go out to dinner. Sewing is fun! And soon I’ll have my Yellow Rick-Rack Nightmare Apron! Mwahahaha!

Lastly, here’s a look at the pretty fabric I’m making the skirt out of:

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Good intentions

September 16, 2007

I really should have listened. My Mother said that the Trellis looked too small…Melissa from Inner Child Crochet said to listen to advice like that… Even my friend who doesn’t knit pointed out that the sweater seemed to be scrunching in on itself.

 And yet, like Homer Simpson defending the edability of his airborn roast pig, I kept assuring people “It’s still good! It’s still good!”

It’s not good. There’s no way it’s gonna fit a one year old boy, which is how old the intended receipient would be by Christmas. I’m not even sure it would fit him now. I’m only one sleeve away from finishing the different pieces, so it’s way too late to turn back now. It *will,* however, fit little Ryan, who will only be 6 months by then…but I was already making her the Baby Suprise Jacket. So she’s gonna get two sweaters? Oh man. That means I have to really pull out all the stops for the *new* sweater I knit for Matthew. Maybe I’ll make him a sweater and a Sheldon. Toys are pretty awesome.

Between this crushing knitting defeat and the fact that I haven’t actually completed anything in what feels like months, I’m in a pretty bad funk as far as knitting. All I worked on yesterday was my Log Cabin Blanket, but knitting a blanket is sort of the unfufilling in that kind of “endless project sort of way.” I’ve also got a nasty headache and had a big letdown yesterday when  a family meeting decided that we were not ready to get another dog, no matter how precious the beagle/coon hound mix puppies my mom and I saw at the adoption drive were. Bad weekend.

I’m gonna cast on for that second Endpaper Mitt and grab a beer. I’m so done.

 UPDATE: I had no beer and ended up with the wrong amount of stitches after doing the entire cuff. Had to frog. Yesterday was not a good day for knitting.

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These aren’t even my kids…

September 14, 2007

Trellis is creeping toward completion. I’m a few inches away from finishing the first sleeve, and then I get the pleasure of making another one…and then I get to graft everything together…and then I get to pick up the collar stitches…and then I give it to the family and the little guy might wear it once before it stops fitting him. Maybe knitting for babies will be more rewarding when it’s my own kids but man alive I’m losing my willpower to finish off this sweater.

For the other little one I’m making a Baby Suprise Jacket. This one’s been a much more pleasent experience since I can stripe are will, am using very soft smooshy yarn, it’s just garter stitch, and it’s the kind of design that the baby can get quite a bit of use out of as she grows in to it. This’ll also be my first time following an EZ pattern. I’ve got a bunch of her books and use the techniques and tips she provides (I *love* the sewn bind off), but I’ve never quite gotten up to making a project from one of her books. Once I get past all the Christmas knitting and the pre-made sweater patterns I want to do (hoping to get the yarn for the Fitten Knits Cozy V-Neck Pullover soon), I’m gonna try an EPS sweater with that pretty fair isle yolk from Opinionated Knitter…

…this is of course assuming that I ever finish my Christmas knitting. Haven’t started on the scarf, the mittens, or all those hats…so.many.hats…

In personal knitting news, one Endpaper Mitt is done! Yay! Colorwork is so much fun! And these look so cool! I want to start on the second one right away, but I’m barganing with myself that I need to at least finish one Trellis sleeve before I get distracted again. This is how I roll, making personal bargins with myself: working hard on one thing before I can do something fun. Hey. Got me within spitting distance of graduating with honors from University (3.48 cumulative gpa…I coulda died right there in the mailroom when I got that last report card but that’s a story for a different blog)

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Appropriate Responses

September 10, 2007

Scenario: You head downstairs to have a little chat with your daughter before dinner, as is customary. After a quick conversation, you begin to head upstairs for dinner when she shows you that the rather complex baby sweater she is knitting for a relative as a Christmas gift. She is in a cheerful mood and visibly proud of what she has accomplished in only a few days of dedicated work. What is your response?

(a) “Wow! That’s looking great!”, (b) “You only just started that, didn’t you? That’s going by fast!”, (c) “How cute! It’ll look adorable on Matthew!”, or (d) “Are you sure that’s going to fit him?”

…For some reason my darling mother selected choice d…

I’ve been steamrolling through the Trellis sweater with all possible speed. After about 5 hours of working only on this thing, I stop being able to accomplish the chart and make dumb mistakes, so I end up having to stop and work on something else so the sweater doesn’t end up looking a mess. That and the yarn is absolute murder on my hands. I’ve been using the Malabrigo on My So Called Scarf as a sort of yarn therapy to recover from the trauma. From bumpy plastic to snuggly merino wool…mmmmm…

The reason my mom’s comment got to me so much and actually killed my desire to do any more work on this project, is that I’ve been worrying about this the whole time. I think it’ll be okay, though. The yarn and fabric are very stretchy, so even if it fits kind of close, I think the little guy’ll get some use out of it….please, God, let them get some use out of it…I’m not doing this for my health, here. Frankly I want to be done with this sweater so I can mess around with the Baby Suprise Jacket…

Seriously, though, of all the responses my mom could pick…

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Christmas in September

September 8, 2007

Last time I blogged, I mentioned all the holiday knitting I’ve suddenly realized I have to do. *Thankfully* I took that list to heart, and started work on the first of two baby sweaters.

In a matter of about two days, I’ve ditched one idea and switched little Matthew’s sweater from the rather plain pattern I’d picked before to the much more fun Trellis. I’m using Siridar Snuggly Tiny Tots to make this, and despite the fact that it’s acrylic to the max, I think it looks great with this pattern. Sort of like a tweed aran for a baby…despite the fact the the yarn is not tweed and this is not, technically speaking, an aran. The deal I’ve made for myself is that I don’t get to start the U-Neck vest that I want until I finish this. How’s that for rationalizing, eh? 😛

I just hope it’ll fit…babies grow so fast, but the pattern and the yarn are both very stretchy, so hopefully it’ll make it through the whole winter. The other baby sweater I’m going to make is the Baby Suprise Jacket, and hopefully I can size it up so the little one will get some good use out of it. Plus I think they’re gonna have more after this one 🙂

Not that I’ve completely stopped knitting for myself. Still have some stuff on the needles for when I need a break from the acrylic. The Endpaper Mitts are coming along much much better than expected! I had a little bit of confusion about the pattern when it came time to work it in some crazy mirror fashion, but I’m over that now. I hope they fit, though…Oh! And my blanket is growing! It covers my lap now, but it’s just too hot to work on right now.

Lastly, is it weird that I kinda miss making socks? I mean, I have *more* than enough yarn and plenty of patterns I want to try…but I have so much on my plate right now that socks are just not on the agenda. I’ll of course pretend I didn’t just type that within the next week or so when the  first shipment from the sock club I joined comes in. Yeah. I signed up. I’ll find the room somewhere, especially since I’m using up all this yarn on the baby sweaters.