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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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I actually did it…

February 19, 2008

…I finished the sweatervest that I designed all by myself. Sure it isn’t the most complex or pretty thing in the world. You’d never see it in a magazine. But it’s just what I wanted. Something red, classy, and cute to wear that I made all by myself.

 

As for the technicalities, it’s three balls and change of Rowan Felted Teed in their beautiful red color on Knitpick Options size 7s. That central cable is from the Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns (Barbara Walker), and I sort of researched the basics of shaping and making a v-neck from several different vest and sweater patterns.

I can’t wait to block it. The last time I blocked a Rowan-yarn sweater it got even nicer, so I’m waiting to see what this lovely tweed will do.

I’m sort of between full-sized projects right now (debating if I should do another sweater or start some lace), but I will be picking up the new IK today. There’re like 8 patterns minimum that I’d *love* to make (I have a thing with cardigans and layers in general), but I want to clear out more stash before I buy another sweater of yarn.

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I have a bumpy head

February 15, 2008

But in a good way! I got through all the trinity stitch and bound of for a great looking hat a few days ago.

 

This is a really good pattern with a very clever four stitch decrease that is almost invisible on the hat itself. It blends perfectly without interrupting the pattern. Think I went to the straight up k2tog decreases a little early because the cap gets pointy and weird if I don’t lay it right. But when I do it looks very nice, is very comfortable and warm to wear, and best of all it fits my head snugly. Malabrigo is, as usual, fantastic and I feel like this was the perfect colorway for me to dip my toe in to the red-spectrum. Remember that song from the 90’s called “Blue?” My tastes are kind of like that, but without the repetative techno beats and French vocalists.

I’m also hard at work on the Hartshorn Vest. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but the result seems to be coming out vest-shaped so I’ll run with it. I’m about to start the v-neck on the front and still have the whole back to do. Don’t have a CLUE how it’ll fit, but if nothing else I’ll be able to say I made it all by myself with only the cable having been prewritten. Let’s just wait and see, shall we?

And socks are on the move as well! The pattern for Toujours Pur is beautiful. I pick that adjective carefully and really mean it. There are cool sock patterns, nifty sock patterns, clever sock patterns, cute sock patterns, pretty sock patterns and many many more. This pattern, when combined with the yarn, is beautiful. Like a pair of old fashioned elegant lady’s stockings. I’m already thinking of getting some elastic to sew in to the cuffs (which are a nice break from the k2 p2 norm, by the way) so I can make them nice and tall. I always end up with so much leftover anyway that I might as well try to get the most I can out of this.

Here’s the deal. I *love* turn of the century style. I like looking at fashion from when women wore pretty things and it wasn’t weird or “Ooo you must be going somewhere fancy tonight.” Victorian style had layers and an overall prettyness that I really appreciate…even though I can’t bring myself to come anywhere close to it. Chalk it up to not wanting to buck the social norm too much and laziness.

Along those lines, I treated myself to a new book: Victorian Lace Today. I’ve got some nice red-ish Zephyr and I’m going to make the Victorian Ruby scarf. I’ve read plenty of charts before, so once I figure out the actual grafting and turning techniques, I think I’ll be okay with it. It seems like half the battle with lace is figuring out how to read a chart. Or maybe I’m just trying not to psyche myself out too much. Whatever. I figure I’ll start the lace after I finish the Hartshorn vest, which seems like it might actually be in the near future.

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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)

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Abberant Behavior in Socks

January 29, 2008

The Goblet of Fire socks are looking great! Now that I’ve got one completely done, I have a feeling that the next is going to fly off the needles. I know that’s strange, but it’s more often than not the first sock that takes the longest, especially when I really enjoy making it. Somehow, having the number of pattern repeats needed for the right measurements makes a big difference in how fast I get through. Like I can tell myself “oh it’s just another three pattern repeats then I get to do the heel turn,” and suddenly it’s done. I’m also just *so* excited to have these as a full pair. The taller leg will be great in this cold weather and I adjusted my usual foot measurements and got a much better length on the foot. These’ll fit in shoes no problem.

AND the stashdown continues! There’s still quite a ways  to go on the Hartshorn vest, which seems to have stopped growing despite all the time spent on it. I’m really starting to get nervous about it, though, as I think I may have overestimated my body measurements when calculating the cast-on. While it’s good news that I’m not as big as I thought, it might well be this miscalcutaion that makes the sweatervest way too big. Thank heaven for blocking, right?

I also knocked out a quick, one-skein project out of gift yarn that I got two Christmases ago from my friend working in Japan. It’s pretty stuff, I just never knew what to do with it. But a little while ago I broke out Cats and Zig to wind up some old yarn and kind of rediscovered it and other neglected bits. Note to self: The Baruffa stuff is beautiful. Somehow the color shows up more clearly now that it’s in a cake instead of a big droopy hank. Makes me *really* want to cast on something daring, but no. First it’s what I have on the needles, with the occasional one-skein project to chip away at the small bits.

Lastly, I actually did some crochet! My best friend is teaching herself crochet as part of a grad school class she’s taking (trust me, it makes sense) and called the other day to check on something that she was doing (she had it just fine, but crochet really is quite different than knitting so the caution was reasonable) and as I crocheted along trying to match what she was doing on her end of the phone I suddenly wanted nothing to do with my pointy sticks and just wanted to crochet something. Anything!

More stashbusting ensued and in a few hours I made this nice little hat out of one-skein of Patons Devine in black and about half a skein of the same yarn in purple. I’m a fan. It’s kinda gothy…but to girly to really be so (patern from the “accessories section of Mr. Funky’s Super Crochet Wonderful).

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What I got

January 17, 2008

The attempts to knit from stash are going very well, I think. The Hartshorn vest is trucking along at a rate I’m really happy with. It looks like I’ll have leftover, but spare DK weight yarn isn’t a bad thing. I have a bunch of hat patterns that call for it. I’ve kinda mapped out that my focus is going to be on the big deposits of sweater yarn. Once I’m done with this vest, I have the Pastaza for the Cozy V-Neck all ready to go. Sock yarn is also getting a cleanout….mostly so I can buy new sock yarn. I’m also looking in to a way I can donate a lot of my old acrylic to Project Linus. I know I’m not a fast enough crocheter to make blankets on a deadline, but I do have the yarn for it, so it can’t hurt to try and donate the raw materials.

Getting in my way of stashbusting is sewing. For some reason I really really want to sew lately. I was at JoAnns the other day just to get a new cutting grid (my old one now has holes in it from bookmaking and will be used for such from now on) and ended up walking out with knife edge shears and 5 patterns. They were all just so pretty! And they were only a dollar each! $1!! And the shears were on sale! And the thing is I’m honestly getting better with sewing. My seams are straighter, I’m not as terrified of the machine, and the little brick of tailor’s chalk I got has been the biggest help of all.  For example, no matter how use less this little varient on the box bag may look, it contains some of the straightest stiching I’ve done to date. The patterns I got are mainly for SUPER pretty day-dresses and I’d love to start working on them, but with so many other pieces of fabric already cut out and waiting for some attention, They’ll just have to stay on the back burner for now.