Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

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Stash Audit

May 5, 2008

Chugging away on a minimum of three different projects right now, but somehow I’m managing to make good progress on all of them. Doesn’t hurt that my “At computer” project is one of the speediest things I’ve ever made.

Here’s the first in a set of Filigree gloves from Knitting New Mittens & Gloves. I’m the first on Ravelry to have a picture of the elbow length version up, and I have to say I was a little worried about how they’d turn out. First of all, the directions for that lovely openwork stitch pattern at a bit confusing when you first get a look at them. I remember starting the first glove, finishing the purl row-knit row-purl row cuff, looking at the stitch pattern and literally blinking at it in confusion like a cartoon character. I set the glove down, made a cup of tea, and sat back for a few minutes looking from the glove, to the directions, back to the glove. First few tries were pure failure, but now that I’ve got it right, I feel kinda stupid for not getting it right away. Something about the wording must have set off the “lol wut?” part of my brain.

As to the yarn I’m using (Rowan Handknit cotton) it’s, as usual, a substitution, but the yarn called for is also  100% cotton, so I figured it’d be a justifiable substitute. I was nervous about how well the mitt would hold its shape in the cotton, like if it would stretch out so bad it’d end up around my wrist, but it seems to be gripping nicely. One thing I could do without is that they *really* seem to have overestimated the yarn amount. It took my less than 1 skien to make one elbow length mitt. Whit any luck the nice yarn store will let me return the third skein I know I’m not even going to touch.

Speaking of yarn without a prupose, it’s become a serious issue for me. In terms of wool based yarn, it’s not much of a problem. I’ve got at least a general idea for, I’d say, 90% of it. If there’s no pattern in mind, it’s going to the Babette blanket…but what about all this crappy acrylic? Please note that I said “crappy” acrylic. There is some fine acrylic out there…this isn’t it. It’s old Red Heart Super Saver from at least 8 years ago before they “reformulated.” It’s rough and squeaky. I’m hesitant to even make toys out of some of this stuff. Making a blanket is right out. I’d LOVE to find somewhere to donate it, and there’s a nursing home right in my town that might find use for it in a craft class or just as something for the residents to pass the time with. It’s not useless, I just don’t want it based on the colors and the feel. I can only use so much waste yarn for invisible cast ons and stitch holders. The last thing I want to do is throw it away, but I don’t think anyone would even want to trade for it.

On a final note, I finally found the pattern for the Toujours Pur socks! My mother decided to “clean up” my desk over a month ago meaning I lost about 25 pieces of paper that I needed ranging from several printed out knitting patterns to important flight information about getting to my friend’s wedding in North Carolina. I will never see those things again, but I guess the thickness of the paper on the sock pattern made her hold off on just tossing it out. So now that second sock (which has been languishing since March at least) is getting a little attention again. At this rate I may finish it before August. Weee!

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Burny progress

April 30, 2008

Knitting is, in my mind, sitting calmly in one spot and working on your fun little project be it challenging or mindless or in between, but things have just been so crazy lately there was no time for me to sit down and work on the sweater I started *or* the new shawl…

Well my problems with lack of knitting time were solved this weekend after I got a really really bad sunburn on the tops of my feet while I was in Delaware. To give you an idea of how bad, my feet swelled up to twice their normal size, I couldn’t walk so much as stumble flat-footed and in immense pain, and now four days after the initial burn my feet are still deep cherry red with a lovely complement of blisters on the right foot near the toes. It’s pretty gross, but the fact that I was confined to whatever chair I could fall in to means I got a bunch of knitting done.

This is the Flutter Sleeve Cardigan for the Spring Interweave. I’ve actually been working on it since the beginning of the month, but as busy as I’ve been, bloging’s gotten shoved down the priority list. I’m knitting it in Rowan Handknit Cotton, a yarn that doesn’t seem to get much use in full sized sweaters if my skimming of Ravelry is any indication. But so far I’ve got nothing but love for this stuff. It’s got a good hand and shows texture very well. Plus it comes in like a billion colors.  I’m also really enjoying the pattern itself. The “kimono construction” is really neat and I’ve never done anything like it before. I am, however, concerned about how well my short-rows are concealing themselves in this yarn. A good blocking should cover up the little gaps (I’m hesitant to call them holes). Then there’s the ever popular “I sure hope I’m reading this pattern right..” paranoia, but that’s nothing new.

The other really active project is the Victorian Lace Today Melon Shawl. I really need to get trucking on this one since I want to be able to wear it to a wedding in early June. Sure the wedding is in North Carolina and the last thing I’m going to want is some fuzzy whatever stuck to my shoulders, but it’s always good to have something like a shawl on hand just in case. This is a gorgeous pattern and deserves all the raves it’s gotten. Super easy to memorize and execute, it’s surprisingly good TV knitting.

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Soft but pointy

April 14, 2008

Lace is really something. You work and work and work on this thing that’s basically just a bunch of holes held tenuiously together by a substance as thin as dental floss. When you’re done it looks sad and crumpled like pantyhose thrown in the hamper.

But dunk it in some water and magically…

…you have a lovely, opework scarf with discernable points around the border!

Now that it’s all done, I’m super excited to do more. I think I’ll get a ton of mileage out of Victorian Lace Today before I need to go around looking for more lace books. And there’s plenty of materials in my stash! Let’s see, I have the bright green Kidsilk Haze, the ultra-lightweight Cashwool, that malbrigo I bought once-upon-a-time ago…

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A need for focus

March 11, 2008

I was so proud of myself for finishing the Wishbone sweater. It’s big, it’s warm, I can tuck my legs in to it if need be…it’s exactly what I wanted out of this sweater! Since I finished it a few days ago, it’s been serving as  nice alternative to freezing my butt off in the basement. No “in action” shots yet because I was such a mess this morning when I took the pictures. No one needs to see medusa hair and red eyes on a knitting blog.

My guilty bit comes from the fact that, instead of finishing the sweater and buckling down on the lace scarf or the second sock that has been languishing, I cast on for (surprise surprise) another hat. But in all fairness it’s a really really cute one. The pattern for Gretel is, as usual for an Ysolda pattern, phenominally well written. It’s amazing just how much quicker a project goes when you have a detailed set of instructions to work with. I’m already lapping the “regular sized” version and headed in to the slouchy.  Moreover, this project lead me to learn an all new tublar cast on that I’ll probably be subbing in on any future hats. It makes a great edge that looks very clean. The yarn is also new to me: Rowan Kid Classic in a stormy blue that I love. It’s also much softer than I expected.

So there we go. This hat will be a happy diversion at which point I will devote time in front of the TV to that lace scarf (not even halfway through the center panel and the edging is nowhere in sight), and the sock will get done on the usual schedule of “when I’m on the go/away from my TV project.” Kinda sad, though. I haven’t had SSS this bad in a long time…

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Eureka Moments

March 7, 2008

I was really jamming myself up on the EZ Wishbone Sweater. I finished the second sleeve and promptly thought to myself ‘Well now what the hell do I do?’ The instructions are to “put all stitches on the needles”…well la di da how do I do that? Do I use magic? The sleeve stitches can’t just suddenly *be* part of the sweater stitches…

…Or can they?

Eventually I came to the conclusion that, as usual, I was waaaaaaay over-thinking things. Just put the sleeve stitches in with the rest of them.  That’s all there is to it. So what is the simplest solution? That’s usually going to be the correct one. Well…I guess just…like…knitting the sleeve stitches from the beginning of the armpit gap going up and around to the other side and then just trucking on across the body? I mean…I could kinda picture how that might result in shoulder-slantiness and basically attached arms…

 

Well what do you know? Just knitting the damned things on seems to have worked (although I’m not entirely comfortable taking out my lifelines yet). Once I quit freaking out about the new construction that I’d never worked with before, it made perfect sense to just attach them by, shockingly, knitting them. Occam’s Razor wins again! Now I just need to get past my NEW mental roadblock of “keep decreasing until there’s 32 stitches total before adding more decreases? no way that can’t be right that’s way too small…” Hopefully by the time I’m done this will be a minimum of 5 balls of yarn I’d never use otherwise out of my stash.

But before I go…I will use this blog as a confessional. I haven’t knit a sweater in ages. This wishbone is the first I’ve done since the disastrous “what does ‘DK’ mean is that like a brand name or something I’ll just use whatever the hell I want and not compensate on gauge” Lamb’s Pride and Mohair cardigan (which I still wear around the house all the time, for the record). But now…I have newly bought yarn for two more sweaters…that’s a total of 3 unmade sweaters sitting the stash…up from where I was at the end of last year….and I bought more sock yarn…But it was on sale! No seriously there was a 20% off sale at Anglefire this past weekend and they had pretty colors for sweaters and Lorna’s Laces in a blue that I LOVE and Dream in Color Sock in a pretty dark purpley-ish spectrum and I’ve never used this kind of yarn before….Wow. I’m a damned spaz when I feel guilty about spending money…but before the sale I was doing so well at clearing out…

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Can we fix it?

February 27, 2008

Of course! Probably my favorite thing about knitting is that if you just look closely enough at the fabric and know the basic mechanics of what it took to make that fabric, you can fix just about any problems. Or at least that’s how lucky I’ve been so far. My crochet-hook-fu has been getting stronger and stronger to the point where I can fix a mixed up knit/purl ten rows down and not totally ruin the sock. I like fixing little problems.

 Sadly, I ended up with a pretty big problem when it came time to do the toe on the Toujours Pur sock. The pattern includes a standard toe, but *once again* my standard toe came out silly looking and ill fitting. The sock itself is gorgeous so there was no way I could let it lanuish with a terrible toe. I went through all my reference books (I’m obsessed with reference books like dictionaries and encyclopedias and how-to manuals) and discovered the “round toe.” After some creativity with stitch count, I got the sock down to 64 total stitches and followed the instructions in More Sensational Knitted Socks from there. One can never have too complete a reference library, if you ask me.

One place my reference library *can’t* help, however, is with my ginormous house sweater. I’m using some old Wool-Ease Chunky in Charcol to make a quick pullover for around the house. The gague of 2.5 sts to the inch is *killing* me. I ended up on 17s to make this beast. But the fabric is coming out just how I’d hoped and I’m up to the part where I need to make the sleeves….And here’s where the problems come in. First of all, I don’t have another set of 17s I can work a 20 stitch cast on from. There’s the addis I’m using on the obdy and that basically has surgical tubing for a cord…not so much gonna happen with the magic loop, and I’m not even sure size 17 dpns exist. That’d be quite a sight…But I’m gonna give it my best seeing how the 17 tips and 40″ cords I just ordered for my Options do. If that fails…I can use my hated bargin bin 17s with the gnarly plastic cord of doom and do a two circular trick. Yuck.

Even if I do manage to knit the sleeves there’s still the matter of attaching them; a process spelled out only in the vaguest of terms in “The Opinionated Knitter” and not much more clearly in the Hurry Up Last Minute pattern from Knitter’s Almanac that I’m using. I’ll do some more internet detectiving before I throw in the towel and annoy a message board with my plees.

Lastly, I’m making a lace…thing. It’s the ultimate in simplicity but it’s really teaching me the structure of lace. The pattern itself consists of a mind boggling 132 repeats of faggoting (I feel like I need to apologize to a couple of friends just for typing that), after which you attach a simple border. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff, so even though it’s not exactly the more eye catching of lace pieces, it’s a valuable learning lesson…one that, clearly, I haven’t gotten very far with. Picked the red while I was in a Project Spectrum-y mood and I still like it. I don’t own enough of the deeper, hotter end of the color chart. The icky pink acrylic (it actually squeeks!) making an appearance in this pic and the house sweater above, is not meant to be included. It’s just my least splitty, most easily visible waste yarn. I made some regretable choices as a beginning knitter.

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Breathing Fire

February 6, 2008

Goblet of Fire socks are done!

The pattern worked perfectly and the few alterations to size I made in terms of foot length made a huge difference in how well they fit under shoes. I got probably a third of the sock done just during the Super Bowl (Go Giants!), and finishing them off on Monday was a cinch. One thing I’m less than pleased with is the toe. I wish I could figure out how to get my top-down toes less square and more rounded. It’s not that they’re uncomfortable to wear, but I feel like they look a bit strange. Still, good socks and I cast on for Book 5’s socks right after the last end was sewn (mmmmm…silky blue awesomeness….)

BUT, I’ve been sidetracked. It’s Project Spectrum season and I’m getting started with the FIRE. That cabled vest is still on the needles (it’s a big project in DK wieght yarn, okay?), but I wanted some more red…something firey…and a hat. It’s been more than a month since my last hat and that’s just not kosher in my world.  I didn’t buy new yarn for the ENTIRE month of January! Just stash! It’s awesome! Clearly I could go buy new now! I know it’s a pathetic excuse but seriously it’ll be going right back out of the stash asap. Malabrigo Chunky in Amoroso seems like the perfect set of Fire colors to really kick in this band of the spectrum. The pattern I chose was the Trinity Stitch Beret from Craftster and I would just like to chime in that Trinity Stitch is the DEVIL. Only my Options Needles’ pointyness is the only reason I can get three chunky stitches all purled together. Still, it looks awesome and I’m looking forward to getting some pictures up.

Oh and the Hartshorn vest! It’s still being worked on. In fact, I fudged my way through some bust increases recently, so the split should be coming up in about an inch or so. My biggest worry is that it’s going to be weirdly big. Not only did I factor in about two inches of positive ease with my calculations, but I’ve also been losing weight. Pilates classes are fun, but they can muck with your knitting calculations.

Lastly, I’m a moran and missed the fact that I got tagged by the “7 Facts Meme” again at the end of January! I gotta pay more attention to stuff like this. So here are my 7 facts:

  • – I am capable of keeping a secret unto death
  • – One of my favorite things to do in my free time is aquire new skills. I collect skill sets like some people collect baseball cards. I collect basic foreign language skills, hobby skills, and life skills. Of each of these catagories, I still want to learn German, embroidery, and how to tie good knots
  • – I have never once been on a calorie counting diet plan
  • – It pretty much takes spitting in my food in front of me and then calling someone around me a nasty name to get me to be unkind to waitstaff.
  • – One of my biggest pet peeves is when people who don’t know how to use a piece of technology will not ask for help and instead keep flailing and failing until they break something.
  • – No matter how little makeup I’m wearing, I always worry that it’s too much
  • – I have a compulsion that causes me to lock things a minimum of twice before i can securely walk away from them. This has lead to me driving well out of my way to double check house-locks and hitting my car lock button keychain thing a record 10 times.

STILL don’t know 7 bloggers 😦 but I *can* tag..

Melissa (though she’s probably still busy with the big move)

Jody (who got me the first time)

And of course, Marie! (who I finally noticed isn’t in my blogroll making me realize just how stupid the whole “use the internet explorer history link” thing is)