Archive for the ‘Project Spectrum’ 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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The simplest things…

April 9, 2008

…often turn out to be the biggest pains in the ass.

Okay. Purl Beret. About as easy as a hat can be without being a roll-bottom beanie, right? Apparently I can’t do simple right now because I’ve had to rip the thing back to the end of the body THREE TIMES. One was me being completely stupid and trying to mess with the decrease pattern. Resulting hat didn’t fit at all and looked dumb, so I ripped it back to a three inch body (as stated in the pattern), and then proceeded to screw up the decrease order another two times. What the hell is the matter with me? I’d just say “screw it” and move on at this point but the Koigu is so pretty and so expensive and I’m SO stubborn. But now the hat just feels like it’s in the way sicne I swore I would not start the Flutter Cardigan until it was finished.

On the other hand, the knitted lace border is going shockingly well. My numbers are a little off on the side loops, but if I fudge the numbers I should get what I need out of it. And if the first corner is a bit off, that’s okay. I’ve never done anything like this before, so imperfection is to be expected and accepted. But now that I’m doing the border it’s hit me that this lace thing is really really fun! I picked up some Kidsilk Haze for the extremely popular “Melon Shawl” in a nice bright green that I think will go well with a dress I have for wearing to a wedding this summer. Sadly it took me two trips to get all the yarn for it. Victorian Lace Today apparently has a history of being a bit short on it’s yardage calculations and thanks to Ravelry I found that I needed 4 balls of KSH, not 3. I should have been able to figure that out with basic math (3 balls of KSH does not add up to 700 yard).

Speaking of Ravelry, I gotta say it’s a bit sad to see that the Drama Llamas have managed to make some of the more general boards a bit….well, dramariffic. But frankly, I still feel that there’s no one on that board trying to pull the kind of schoolgirl style Mean Girl Games most of us went through not too long ago. Seriously, all these people who are saying that the Ravboards have turned in to little vitriol fountains should absolutely NEVER go look at other bbs systems like Fark or Something Awful. The internet is predominantly for Haters, but Ravelry seems to manage a variety of sweet to balance the sour and even outweigh it to a point. Sure we like to focus on the bad, but seriously if you go anywhere off the big general boards you start tripping over good vibes. Maybe I’m just jaded from all the Fark reading, but I’m hesitant to all this any kind of apocalypse.

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Long term strategy

April 3, 2008

MAJOR dropoff in posts here, I know but I just haven’t had anything new to post about. I’m still making things of course, but the thing is they’re all rather long term and difficult to really see progress on.

 I started the Clashtastic Log Cabin blanket so long ago I feel like I can use the phrase “once upon a time” to describe when it began. The good news is that the end is finally in sight! This blanket will be done when I no longer have usable amounts of Lion Brand Homespun taking up space in my stash. I started with 8 colors and am now down to 6, which doesn’t sound like much of an improvement until you learn that the rest of the colors only have maybe about one stripe left in them. So, amazingly, the knit blanket is almost done! And what have I learned from this? That knitting blankets is inefficient and nowhere near as speedy and fun as crocheting them!

I have a lot of green and blue yarnOn that note, I finally decided what to do with my outcast natural fiber yarns: Babette blanket. It’s huge but the squares are super fast to make and the modular construction makes me really happy. Like I can put together squares based on color sequences and then find a way to make them fit in the big picture. For example, the purple-black-blue square in the picture looks nice and all, but I don’t think it looks so good next to the big prime square (the blue-green concoction), so I’ll just save it for later! I’ve never been particularly good at seaming crochet, but I guess I have to learn sometime and the crazy resulting blanket will be totally worth it. The trick to this blanket is that I *will not* buy yarn specifically for it. This will be made slowly over time of my leftover worsted bits, and maybe if I figure out some voodoo with the DK that can get rolled in too.  Considering I almost always over-buy yarn for a project, the materials shouldn’t be too hard to get 🙂

Lastly, the color cycle of Project Spectrum have changed over to EARTH. I am so all over this one. I have green yarn like you would not believe, with brown also heavily represented in my stash. Like Fire before it, this new cycle gets kicked off with a new beret (maybe even one to replace my sadly felted tweed one 😦  ) It’s the most basic beret pattern on the internet, but the specialness comes from the Koigu I’m using to make it. First of all, I can totally understand the hype over this yarn now. It makes a really bouncy fabric and the colors are amazing. This colorway reminds me of the very beginnings of spring when everything around here is, to be honest, more yellow than green.

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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)