Archive for October, 2007

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Now that’s more like it

October 31, 2007

The little sojourn in to sewing did good things for me. Now I’m back to knitting happily and making things that I think are coming out nice.

First off, I am so super proud of the second Monkey sock I made. I wanted to try and make a full pair of socks before the end of Socktober…and I won!

Three days of solid Monkey only work. When knit in the proper gauge, Lorna’s Laces feels great. Too tight and it’s like leather on your feet, but this is just right for me. Size 2’s are pretty much my magic needle for sock gauge. So much so, in fact, that I didn’t feel any buyer’s remorse over picking up two small circulars in size 2.

Knitting socks on circular needles is really…different. I got so used to all the stop and start of DPNs that I’m getting a little lost on these circs. It’s faster, no doubt about it, and I think I’m really getting the hang of it. Not that I picked a great pattern to try this brand new technique out on.

Here are the second Potters Covers socks so far. The toe up thing has been pretty fun, and the Coriolis shaping is nifty…but confusing. I’m getting a bit nervous about how long these are going to be. The pattern looks perfect for my foot length, but I’m worried I messed something off and I’m not increasing at the right rate or something. That being said, the snakey cable going around the gusset is really entertaining to me. I’m thinking about jazzing it up a bit once I get to the leg (adding some extra twists, things like that).

I’m also still working on Christmas gifts. I have three rows left on the BSJ that I can’t seem to make myself do. It’s three freaking rows! Not that hard! But I’m being all weird about it because once I bind off, I need to learn applied i-cord…::shudder:: Maybe I should have saved the breaking of new ground for a non-gift project…probably won’t fit the kid by now, anyway…. But the other gift I started is wonderfully easy, and also comes courtesy of EZ. My cousin Mike asked for a black scarf for Christmas. I don’t think he was serious, but I said “sure” and I meant it. I gotta say that the Prime Rib stitch is like magic. It even made the rather limp Paton’s Shetland Chunky I’m using feel thick and full, plus it’s a fun stitch to do. I kinda want a scarf for myself in this stitch. Maybe I’ll use up some of my noro to make a stripe scarf in this stitch. Mindless enough to go quickly, but still looks pretty cool.

Lastly, I’m back in love with Odessa. Sure, I messed up on the beads a bit, but effect of the hat is still intact. This picture does not do the color justice. It’s more of an icey blue, and with the little pearl beads (huge pack of them cheap at Michael’s) I think it looks great. The RYC Cashsoft is so nice, too…

Knitting is fun again!

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A Change of Tactics

October 26, 2007

I can’t knit anything. I’ve been an absolute failure at everything I’ve tried over the past two days: Work, law school essay writing, sewing, EVERYTHING. I hate it when this happens. It’s not often that I catch a case of fail, but it’s often enough.

Basically since I can’t knit without messing it up. I even managed to muck up the garter stitch BSJ. Add to that an Odessa hat where I skipped a plain row and added the beads too early (which is going to look really weird on the hat), losing two of the original five needles my Monkey sock was on (it’s on new needles now), and the immense failure of a scarf I started for my cousin, I’m pretty down on my knitting at the moment.  I have no fiber to spin with, so I turned to sewing…because heaven forbid I not be making or doing something. The Rick Rack Nightmare Apron was close enough to completion on Wednesday night that I just decided to go for it.

 Heheheheheheh…..This thing is great. Don’t mind the vacant expression in the picture. I was distracted by a ladybug in my room just as the camera went off. It’s a functional apron, but also completely blinding and tacky. The pockets are basically useless, but they add to the overall “wtf” of the apron. My parents were in the kitchen when I went to go put it in the pantry for future use. My mom was amazed that it looked as good as it did (the pattern was *not* easy) and my father approved of my finally getting a new apron after nearly ten years (“Not exactly something I would have chosen, but it looks like it’ll do the job”)

But that was Wednesday. What was I going to do last night? Well sewing seems to have been going well, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit to another big project. Lucky for me, I found a two random fat quarters of fabric in one of my baskets (my mom went through my yarn and rearranged everything while I was away last weekend…the horror… the… horror…) leftover from when I needed one of them for something at school. I know that’s vague but I honestly cannot remember why I had them, exactly. But here they were and I was bored. Since I read Momma Monkey all the time, I remembered her linking to a tutorial that used just two fat quarters, some interfacing, and a zipper to make a little bag. ‘Hmmm…,’ I thought, ‘a little zip up pouch might be just what I need to keep my socks from hemoraging DPNs.’

In one night of work and a whole lot of screwing up (the first time out I put the zipper in the fabric the only way it possibly couldn’t work. I’m cool like that), I got this.

 

The pattern includes a handle but I forgot about it. C’est la vie. It’s a fun, noncommital little project with good results and a really high utility factor. Now my Monkey sock is safely held away from the rest of my knitting bag. I will not be held responsible for more fat quarter purchases at JoAnne’s today…no…that certainly will not be me…. 😉

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All new fun

October 23, 2007

I may not have gone to Rhinebeck, but in terms of yarn related fun I’ve had a pretty awesome few days.

I went back out to my alma mater, Bucknell University, for Homecoming weekend on Friday, getting back yesterday. Now I had all sorts of serious stuff to do there in addition to fun, but I’d brought along my Monkey socks for sitting around time (which I knew there was going to at least be a little bit of), so I knew I wouldn’t be going an entire weekend without knitting. When dropped my car off downtown, I decided to take a walk in the pouring rain toward my friends’ house…not really thinking of the fact that I was literally on the opposite end of town and I hate being out in the rain. About halfway there, I was looking for anywhere I could pop in and waste time just to dry up a bit. What do you think I found?

A yarn store. There was a freaking LYS in my college’s town, and I find it two years after I graduate. Fantastic. The really interesting thing is that it’s more of a spinning store than a yarn store. Not sure we even have one of those out here where I live. I went in and saw all the pretty roving and tops on the wall and I got that spinning curiosity back again. “Why not,” I figured. “It’s just a little drop spindle and a handful of roving. It’s not gonna break the bank.” The woman who owns the shop was great! When I asked about beginner spinning kits, she offered to give me a quick crash course with the roving she was working on. She dealt with my hang ups about the whole “omg the spindle is spinning must keep up while maintaining a death-grip on the roving” and the dog that hung out with her was very cute and chill. She was a really good teacher, and eventually I ended up with this:

 “Look, ma! Beige Kuyeron!”

That would be my snarky way of saying that my width is a mess. I go from embroidery thread to Burly Spun in less than 2 inches…but is was so much fun! As soon as I figure out how to get the above shown “yarn” off the spindle, I plan on doing some more practice with the little ball of roving I picked up along with the spindle. The owner sells roving from her own sheep. How cool is that!? The roving I bought and the stuff on the spindle is from a sheep named Karma, who has very soft wool and has gotten a little lighter with age apparently (the yarn on the spindle is older than the roving I bought). Mad About Ewes in Lewisburg is definitely going on my list of “places I have to go whenever I visit school.” Man…now I wanna try spinning again…

BUT! There is much else to discuss. Tops on the list is the fact that I got my newest sock club yarn shipment. The Chamber of Secrets colorway is very cool and I found myself so stoked about the pattern that I had to cast on right away. It really didn’t feel like a choice so much as a necesity. Kind of like breathing. Maybe I should have waited, though, since I didn’t have the called for two circs to make the toe-ups. But I’m stubborn and didn’t think there was anything that I couldn’t do on my DPNs, even if it was going to be my first time trying toe up socks…

In hindsight, the really long DPNs might have been a poor decision….

And yet I did manage to turn this pin-cushion in to a toe. And, while I’m at it, an instep. The pattern uses this crazy snaking increase and there’s a cool cable pattern that follows it. Very fun to make, but with one Monkey done I really need to focus on that pattern so I can get a full pair done before the end of the month…

 …but I want to spin…

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Two Paths Diverged

October 14, 2007

I have two knitting roads I can choose right now.

 One is the more prudent path. It says “Wow you have a lot of stuff on the needles. The best thing to do right now would be to focus on what’s already been started and finish that off. You’ll feel better and you’ll have actual knitted objects to wear.”

The voice on my other shoulder is something more to the effect of…..

 “MOAR! MOAR PROJEKS! MOAR SOCK YARNZ! MOAR!”

It’s been very hard to choose, but I’m kind of striking a balance. I actually have two new FOs: The My So Called Scarf that took much too long to finish off and the Back to School U-Neck.

The thing is, I liked making this scarf a lot. It’s just that….well…It’s a scarf. A scarf in one stitch pattern forever and ever amen until you run out of yarn or patience. But this was Malabrigo. Sweet, sweet Malabrigo. And the stitch pattern makes a beautiful, thick scarf that look really sharp.

And the sweater-vest. Wow. Am I ever surprised with this one. It was another one of those projects where I was like ‘man this is gonna look dumb and probably won’t fit it seems so big on top…’

It fits great. It looks even cuter in person than it does in the photo. It really is nice to finish things. I ought to keep this up.

As for the “MOAR!” screaming in my brain, it’s partly spurred on by how gorgeous my new sock yarn is.

Look at that! It’s even better looking in person than it is on dyer’s Etsy! I wanted to cast something on with it right away, but my sock-fu is apparently not at its best. I tried on the Waving Lace Socks last night and found that they didn’t fit at all. I seem to just have really bad luck with Lorna’s Laces. I didn’t want to be discouraged, though, so I cast on some Monkeys. Good ol’ Monkey. There’s a reason everyone on the internet seems to have made a pair. Intuitive stitch pattern that makes great use of really variegated yarns. The colorway is still very My Little Pony, but it’s all good. I’m looking forward to these…

Also going to give in to my inner moarCat and pick up some more size 2 DNPs (my magic needle for sock gauge, it seems). I’ve got more sock yarn coming from the Potter’s Covers Sock Club…can’t just leave that sitting around…and nothing says I can’t have more than one pair of socks going at once….

Just leave me to my rationalizations or I’ll send ceilingCat after you. And he doesn’t play around.

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So bad it’s good

October 8, 2007

Okay so designing socks is a bit harder than I thought it would be…

I tried mocking up the lace pattern I wanted to use in the round, but it wasn’t working quite right I haven’t figured it out yet. And since this is going to take more experimentation and time, I decided to cast on another prewritten pattern of socks…because heaven forbid I stop making socks right now.

I call them my Pretty Princess Socks because honetly this is the girliest colorway ever. EVER. And the super femme lace pattern leaves them looking double girly. But I like how it’s turning out. Sometimes you just need to feel Pretty. They’re the Waving Lace socks from Favorite Socks using Lorna’s Laces I’ve had sitting around for like a year, knit on size 1s (of which I have two sets). This makes me very happy because it leaves my 2s free for another pair. Frankly I need more DPNs, but I think it would be wise to hold off on that Knitpicks order until I figure out how much of last week’s paycheck is still left after paying my parking ticket and my latest Etsy purchase.

Let me just say that I tried really really hard not to buy more sock yarn. Frankly, I don’t need it. I still have two pairs’ worth of Knitpicks Essential, another pair of Lorna’s, two things of Pallette that I can use for socks, and the next sock club shipment should be coming in a week or so. I do not need, by any stretch of the imagination, more sock yarn.

So clearly I bought enough for two more pairs.

I’d been drooling over the stuff at Shelby’s Designs for awhile, but managed to restrain myself…until last night when I suddenly found my check card in my hand and a printed receipt in my printer. If I had completely lost my mind I probably would have bought like another three (these colors are seriously beautiful), but I managed to make it out of the store with a bill that was less than my parking ticket (grumblegrumble). For the rationalization portion of the post, won’t Grindylow look awesome as a pair of Pomatomus? As for the Dolores Umbridge colorway…what can I say? I really want a pair of offensively pink socks 🙂

Speaking of questionable fashion decisions (see what I did there?), I got back to sewing last night. There’s a new book out called Bend the Rules Sewing that I picked up the other day and it got me really excited about tackling the sewing machine again. It’s the kind of book that tells you “calm down, it’ll all be fine, people have been doing this for over a century, and look at all the fun things you can make!”. I needed that. So without any help at all, I put some rick rack on my skirt apron pattern that I’d cut out over a month ago.

    

Isn’t it beautiful? And by “beautiful” I mean “hideous.” And by “hideous” I clearly mean “awesome.” I can’t wait to wear this sucker for Thanksgiving ❤

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Sock Madness

October 6, 2007

Must. Knit. More. Socks.

I finished the Owl’s Flight socks early this morning and they are beautiful.

I love the colors, I love the yarn, I love the pattern and I love how they feel. These socks are more than enough to cement in my mind that I love knitting socks. Just look at these! It’s a hand knit object that I can wear every day! That really means something. It’s not always cool out enough to wear a sweater or a hat or a scarf. But socks? I wear socks all the time, year round (I have a hang up about being barefoot. It’s a really long story, but suffice it to say the only times I’m barefoot by choice is in the shower or down the Shore). And you know what? If I’m going to wear socks all the time, why not make them special. I’ve used that term a lot with these socks, but it’s the best description for them. I wish you could see the lace pattern a bit better, but since my camera sucks, I’m afraid I can only really show you the pretty pretty colors that Carrie put together. Aren’t they great?

This pattern proves to me that knitting is something I’m actually good at. I read my knitting, I repaired dropped stitches, I followed a lace chart, I compensated for my choice of a different heel, my kitchener stitch toe is great. I’ve really found something I’m good at, enjoy doing, and can make something great.

And since I cannot stop making socks now, I’m gonna wreck myself against a difficult task: I’m gonna design my own toe-ups. I’m swatching tonight and using the Universal Toe-Up formula from Knitty. Since I don’t want to make these too plain, I’m going to incorporate a little lace pattern from the first Barbara Walker Treasury. The one I picked has a nice little story to it (I love storytelling, but that’s for another blog). It’s a lace pattern from a pair of stockings worn by Queen Elizabeth the First, and since I’ve always had an interest in my namesake I think it’ll be cool to try and knit a pair of socks with “her pattern” in it.

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Busy Busy

October 4, 2007

Man. I’ve been doing a LOT of knitting.

Work has been pretty stressful lately, so when I get home at the end of the day, all I really want to do is make a cup of tea, watch my dumb TV shows, and knit till my fingers ache (that’s what the glucosamine tablets are for). For some reason I find police chase shows and Mythbusters to be very conducive to covering distance on full garment projects.

The thing is I love all of the projects I’m working on right now, so it’s making it really hard to stick with one long enough to get real progress made. The Baby Surprise Jacket is doing just fine (it’s a *really* simple pattern and nowhere near as pink as it looks in the photo), but now I’m in a bit of a jam. I just got my Amazon shipment and now I’ve got too many new ideas in my head. The mother of the Baby Surprise’s future owner *actually* has some idea of what goes in to knitting and how tricky certain patterns can be, so I know she can appreciate a more complex gift. That said, I really really really want to make the February Baby Sweater from Knitter’s Almanac for the little girl. It’s *so* cute…Maybe I can justify it because (a) the BSJ is *sooooo* much less complicated than Trellis, (b) I can make it as a size up from what the BSJ would cover and (c) I’m gonna have a ton of the Pure Merino left over.

Speaking of Baby Knitting, Trellis went off to it’s intended recipient this past weekend when my mother went to a small family get together. I couldn’t give it to the boy in person since I was sick and therefore skipped the family event, but I hear it was a big hit along the lines of “Oh my God, she *made* this!?” That feels good to hear.I’m also happy to say that  I’m finally over my sizing bitterness and have some good feelings about that little sweater. I think putting buttons on it helped.

And I’m already up to the bust darts on the U-Neck Vest. It’s been awhile since I just did something in plain ‘ol worsted weight wool. And it’s such a pleasing purple! I really really really want a sweater vest for some reason, too. I guess it’s my inner preppie trying to get out. I’m also starting to mock up plans for a sorta self-made sweater vest in this lovely red Rowan Felted Tweed that I’ve got to get a picture of one of these days. Also in that Amazon shipment were the first two Barbara Walker Treasuries and there is a certain cable in the first one that I think will look great in this yarn.

Lastly, there are my babies: The Owl’s Flight socks.

 

I’ve got ZERO second sock syndrome on these. On the contrary, now all I want to do is make socks. Specifically these socks but since I’m nearing the end it looks like I’ll have to keep the little DPNs occupied with some of my other sock yarn. Since I’m on such a sock kick, I’m just gonna go ahead and throw myself in to the full Socktoberfest line of project planning. After the Owl’s Flight socks I think I’m gonna try some toe-ups. No time like the present to learn, right. Plus I think I’ll fancy up the cuff with something simple from one of the new stitch dictionaries. That’s right. I’ve got a Walker Treasury and I’m not afraid to use it!