31 December, 2008

Happy New Year!

I'm ending mine frogging my project again and moving onto something else for the time being. JOY.

Hope 2009 treats everyone well!

27 December, 2008

Dear Gauge Swatch...

How do I loathe thee?

There are some that love you to the point of delusion, going on and on about your magical properties of making a project turn out perfectly EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. You make the sweaters fit and tension never change. You control the weather and make crops grow. I would not be surprised if you have been hailed as a fertility idol at some point in time. How your followers love you so, oh Swatch that Foretells the Gauge.

But to me? You are a pain in my side and lie to me every single time. I tried to do the RIGHT thing so many other knitters chastise me for neglecting. "Your sweaters will NEVER fit and you will have wasted money on yarn," they tell me over and over. Since I did not have an actual pattern to work off of, I knit you and with my normal tension (just ever so slightly tight). I got my gauge. I did my math--and I am good at math, none of this "girls can't do math" garbage for me, thanks--and in the banding of the sweater, I should have had zero ease and then gone from there. Things were looking good, but due to some errors and lack of thought about my lace pattern, I needed to take two day's worth of knitting off the needles to rip back to the band. It occured to me while I ripped that perhaps I should try the band on since the sweater was off the needles anyway. What did I find to my horrer? THE BAND WAS FIVE INCHES TOO BIG.

BOO to you, Gauge Swatch. BOO.

(And YES, I DID check my gauge as I was knitting as well. All your lovers would see this and proclaim that I had knit my sweater wrong. OBVIOUSLY my gauge was bigger then the gauge I knit you at. Not true. My gauge was spot on with the swatch.)

All my other sweaters have been knit without swatches and turn out fine. I do a swatch and you send me a sweater that is way too big? You are not worth worshipping and idolizing.

-A very disgruntled me that lost about 7-8 hours worth of knitting and has to start over

26 December, 2008

2OO8 wrap up

With the New Year being days away, I can safely say that all of my 2008 knitting projects have been completed and it's time to look forward to the next.

So what did I get done in 2008?
  • 7 Hats
  • 7 Adult Sweaters
  • 7 Pairs of Socks
  • 6 Knitted Toys
  • 3 Baby items
  • 1 Knit Bag
31 projects total

Not too bad for a year when I spent most of it pregnant and completely wore down. Sadly, I did not stick to my stash busting resolution as a result and ended the year with a tote that is just as full as when I started. (I couldn't work on all the pull over sweaters I had yarn for because starting at 7 weeks, my stomach popped out, making them impossible to do.)

So for 2009, I hope to do better.
  • Start a yarn bank and reward myself for each completed project: $2 for a small/easy project, $5 for a medium one, $10 for a large/difficult project. If I buy yarn that was not bought from destash money, gift money, or gift certificates at stores, I lose my bank and it goes to my husband. (I have one authorized buy for the first two weeks of the year that also will not count in this venture. *Shakes a fist at Sundara and her new policy about colors*)
  • Obviously, clear out the yarn in my tote and the left overs from previous projects either by destashing or using. At the pace I work, this could take as few as 5 months, or as many as 12. My guess is that by mid-year, I'll be needing some more yarn and can go back to buying some and hopefully only what I have a project in mind for.

I think those seem reasonable enough. :) No point in making a resolution I can't keep.

25 December, 2008

Two in one day!

Pattern: Purl Beret
Needles: US size 3 Circulars and DPNs
Yarn: Sock Pixie Raspberry Cheesecake

The Purl Beret is finished as well. Other then a small area of color pooling, this turned out lovely. You never know what you'll get when you work with striping sock yarn. There's another half a skein of sock yarn gone!
Because of lack of 16" circular needles, I cast this on some slightly longer ones and added stitches accordingly. I think I could have made it a bit larger still, or else increased needle size. But overall, I'm happy with it.
Time to move onto the next project!

Plum Rose is finished!

Pattern: Rose Red by Ysolda Teague
Needles: Size 7 circulars and DPNs
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Plum Blossom

Tuesday, my "emergency" second skein of Malabrigo arrived and I was able to finish my beret that night. It took awhile to get the pictures taken, though. (Our apartment is in a state of chaos since our closet had to be torn apart due to a burst pipe in the next unit. So pretty much everything we own is out of the closet and everywhere else. It's crowded in here.) The silk in my yarn choice made the beret more slouchy and gave it a different drape, but I like it that way. I would gladly make another of these in the same yarn. Malabrigo doesn't make any crimson reds in this line, so I'll have to look for another. I needed only 8 grams of the second skein of yarn, so now I need to figure out what to do with another 122-ish yards of Malabrigo...I may wait until I decide if I want to make a sweater out of it and save it for that.
Now I'm just finishing up a Purl Bee beret for myself and should be done tonight or tomorrow, then I need to decide if I'll finally cast on my Jaywalkers or work on my Anne Elliot Spencer sweater. I have yarn caked for both, it just depends on what suits my mood, I suppose. I'm not so much in a sock mood, so it's a safe bet that I'll work on the mini sweater instead.
Anywho, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all who read my blog! Time to get into gear for 2009.

20 December, 2008

Hats seem to be the name of the game...

...for now at least.

The Beret I featured in my last blog is on hold until a second skein of Malabrigo Silky Merino can make it my way. With any luck, it will be Monday. I'm 12 rows from the end--so close. Had I been paying closer attention and not still in newborn mode, I would have noticed that I had 100 fewer yards of yarn then the pattern called for. I'm sure I will not need that many, but I will need to use part of a second skein of yarn.

In preperation for my 2009 knitting resolutions, I've been contemplating ways to use up sock yarns and scraps that do not include knitting socks. So far, I have ideas for two patterns that I'll publish on this blog shortly; the first I just finished tonight. I have a bad habit of buying sock yarns, buying a single skein, and then not knowing what to do with them. ( I can't help myself, I am a color junkie.) Lately, I've been having zero luck destashing on Ravelry and they have to get out of my tote somehow! Thus, "Things to do with sock yarns and scraps," will be born. Though it needs a more brief name that doesn't trip on the tongue.

Tonight, I plan to cast on my second Purl Beret in an attempt to use up part of another skein of sock yarn. The stuff breeds like rabbits, I swear!

What is life without some pretty hats?

16 December, 2008


Needles: Knitpicks Harmony Size 5
Yarn: Wollmeise Sokenwolle

As of yesterday afternoon, it was finally done! I didn't hate this knit, but stopping part way through made me lose my steam. I'm glad I was able to resist the other yarn and projects calling my name to get this one done. Now I can be happy knowing I stuck it out. I'm happy with it and think I'll get more wear out of it then some of my other projects and now that I know how much yarn my size takes, I know I have enough to make one more. I don't plan to start it for awhile though. Modifications to the pattern include using the Large size for width but the Medium for height and then I subtracted 4 more repeats from that. Made as written, it would have been down to the top of my hips. We shorties need to be careful of that.

The Wollmeise was nice to work with, but not so nice that I'd stay up half the night F5ing to get my hands on more. I'd like more in the future, but I'll try to wait until the hype around it has died down and all the ravenous Wollmeise hoardes realize they no longer have room in their homes to stash another skein. Seriously, this yarn is treated like precious metal and gems by some who have so much they'll never knit it all. Good luck trying to buy it outright, you need more Wollmeise to trade for it. I lucked out and another user happened to see a post of mine and offered me a skein of hers if I promised not to reveal her identity. Wollmeise is serious business. (About as serious as Sundara whose lovers play the same dirty game: you want some, you have to fight them for it and grab any you can just to trade. It does not matter that you hate the color; you must have it solely to sit on and wait for a color you do like to come up for trade.) Forget hoarding cigarettes if the end of the world comes, grab all the Wollmeise and Sundara you can and trade for necessities later.

Anywho, a picture of my current project.

Malabrigo Silky Merino may be one of my new favorite yarns. MMMmalabrigo. I was afraid to get a sweater's worth so I bought a single skein to try out. It is lovely. And this shade of purple doesn't hate my skin, so I will be purchasing more in the future. I love purple, always have, but most shades do not play nicely with my skin, which is a shame. Plum Blossom, I dream of you as a sweater.

Now back to petting this yarn and marveling at how nice and squishy it is.

13 December, 2008

It's almost done...

It's almost done. It's almost done. It's almost done...

Yes, I do have to keep telling myself this to push through this knit. Doesn't help that I now have 300+ stitches of garter edging to pick up and then the arms. Though I will admit, I just learned how to do a 3 needle bind off and that is one slick trick. Definitely using that instead of grafting when I can.

It's almost done.

11 December, 2008

Note to self...

Do not lose it now on simple lace pattern. Would have been done with the first front side if we had not been forced to rip. Keep it together and soon, we shall cast on a new project...

Must not be distracted by other projects.

10 December, 2008

I am a monogamous knitter

And for good reason: if I dare take a break from a project before it is finished, its chances of getting dropped are almost 100%. I've only ever done this once, with my first attempt at the Central Park Hoodie, and I never could get back into it. I tried, I really did. The desire to knit it and see the finished product was completely gone by the time I returned to it. In the time I took a break from it, I fell out of love with the yarn and could find only annoyance with it. For that reason, I knit only one project at a time and until it is finished. I broke this rule to make my daughter's Xmas dress, and now I am having problems getting into my Shorty again. I'm moving on it, but my mind keeps wandering to other projects I'd rather be doing. Things do not bode well for you, my Shorty. I'm afraid if I give into the "other project" urge again, it will join my ill-fated CPH and never be completed. So I'm trying to get it done as quickly as possible and realizing I may never be able to knit fast enough to beat this need to move onto something else. It does not help that the Winter Knitty just launched or that I have so many books and magazines with wonderful projects singing their siren song to me. I'm looking at you, Twist Collective.

Things are going relatively well on the Shorty. I'm having to take a lot of length out of it--nothing new there--but having a hard time figuring out exactly where to take it from as I can not visualize how it will come together. For the time being, I'm doing the L size for width and the M size for height of the sweater. I really love the yarn I'm working with. Wollmeise is lovely on the hands and even though the colors are a bit garish when fresh from the skein, they blend together nicely in the knitting. If I can just get to the end of the back, I think I'll be OK. Right now, I'm about 1/3 of the way up the large back panel.

Must be strong. All you other projects, wait your turn.

07 December, 2008

Little Sister is done!

Needles: Size 2 and 3 circs
I wasn't sure I was going to make it before the day was done, but "stick a fork" in this dress. It is done. I had originally thought it would take a week at most and was sad to find out how mistaken I was. Overall, I'm very happy with it and think it's adorable. I did modify the bottom of the pattern to be more special and girly as well as add pretty pearl buttons to dress it up a bit. I liked this pattern enough that I would definitely make it again and play around with modding it some more.
This picture is more true to color then the other one. Not sure I'd use this yarn again though. The color is beautiful, but I wasn't fond of the yarn base. It was a little rough to work with and splitty. The finished fabric is soft enough and rather nice to touch.
Now, time to get back into the swing of things on my Shetland Shorty and then I'm off to Jaywalker land. In order to keep myself moving on projects, I'm starting to cake yarn and create a line up so I have a project or two picked in advance to battle some of this sock yarn. Solid colors are fine: I can make sweaters. It's all the varigated stuff I have that's the issue. So, Shorty, Jaywalkers, another Purl beret...and then a sweater again, I hope?

04 December, 2008

Before my brain turns to goo...

I thought I'd post a picture of the progress I'm making on the Little Sister dress. It is taking longer then I thought it would...who knew a baby dress in fingering weight would be so time consuming? Or how hard it is to take a decent up close picture of an object made of bright red yarn?
Anywho, I'm over halfway finished with another 3.5-4" to go and then I can do the fancy bottom I plan to put on it. If all goes well, I'm hoping to call it an FO by Sunday. We shall see I suppose.

Oh, and I just sent in my registration for a dyeing class hosted by Amy of MadelineTosh. It's the last weekend in April and the Mister suggested we make it an overnight trip. Should be fun and I'm beyond excited about it. I've started reading up on how to dye yarn, but to learn from a woman who makes gorgeous colors like this Jade I just received? (This was a quick grab from Sonny & Shear. Always a pleasure to shop there. )
If I can pick up even a smidgen of her talent, I'll be the happiest knitter ever. Never again will I have to search high and low for the perfect color or angst when I can not get enough to finish a sweater. I'm stoked right now and having fantasies of dyeing prowess.

01 December, 2008

Change of direction

It's rare when I'll stop mid-way through a knit, but I felt the need to make my daughter a cute knit dress for the Holiday season and our cards, so I'm working on the Little Sister dress for her in some yarn I already had stashed. So far, so good, and I'm hoping to pick up the pace and finish it faster so I can get back to my Shetland Shorty. I plan to alter it...I think the idea is cute but that the bottom is rather unattractive, so I think I'll add a ruffle to the bottom. We'll see when I get there.

30 November, 2008

I was tagged.

I usually do not post memes or things like this on my knitting blog, but since I was tagged by SusanB, I'll do it this one time. :)
1. I have slight obsessive compulsive tendencies, including a need to do things in groupings of five and all like objects must be grouped. If my knife handles are not all facing the same way, it bothers me until they're fixed.
2. My favorite pizza is pepporoni with pineapple.
3. I have an obsession with bunny slippers and am on a quest to find or make the perfect pair.
4. I love to read boring non-fiction books like textbooks. If I'm learning, I'm happy.
5. I will put bacon on anything...ok, almost anything.
6. Most days, I do not change out of lounge/PJ pants; I have a great dislike for jeans and will avoid them until I absolutely have to leave the house.
7. I have aspirations to be a pattern creator, yarn dyer and "great" internet blogger.

I won't be doing any tagging as the two people I know read this blog, already have done this meme or been tagged.

27 November, 2008

Thanksgiving Quickie

First of, I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving full of yummy food and lovely time with family!
Second, I'm making good--but slow--progress on my next knit: the Shetland Shorty in Wollmeise. So far, so good.

Yes, it really is THAT bright of a pink, red, and orange. Holy Bright Colors, Batman! So far, I'm really loving it next to green-ish blues and can't wait to have it off needles to wear. It's another stupidly simple lace pattern, so let's hope I do not muck this one up.

25 November, 2008


Pattern: Baby Bobbi Bear
Needles: Size 7 Clover DPNs
Yarn: I Love This Cotton

That went a bit more quickly then expected and my son seems to be happy with his "peanut bear."
I find it rather funny that it took me so long to make the knitting pattern that put the want of knit into me in the first place, but I've finally done it. I'm rather glad I didn't do it as a beginner, because I think it would have been a rough early project. I'm happy with the shape of the bear, but I think that the order of the directions stinks and I plan to tinker with it in the future to make the assembly easier. (It's knit all in one piece minus the arms which you pick up after stuffing...and it's a pain to knit them at that point.) As can be seen, I altered it from the get-go to be a panda rather then a plain colored bear. I bought some plain black felt for the eye area and used safety eyes rather then embroidering them on.
I'm particularly pleased with how the nose came out; it's very neat and nice looking for me!
I have found that I'm becoming spoiled by my Knitpicks Harmony needles: the Clover DPNs felt too blunt and clumbsy to me. I should look into getting a set of the Harmony DPNs in the larger sizes.

22 November, 2008

Alright, a picture

I'm finally starting to get my knitting groove back. The Green Gable is finished after one day shy of three weeks worth of work, I've started a Panda bear for my son, and I have yarn caked for my next couple of projects. Win all around.

Pattern:Green Gable
Needles: Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeables, size 6
Yarn: Cotton Fleece, color Rue

I'm still trying to decide how I feel about this one; it's not horrible, but it's not my favorite knit so far. I think the choice of neckline isn't the best for me and I won't be making a second of these. I'll have to wait until I'm done nursing to decide about a few of the other issues I noticed, but I think that is the main culprit for them. The top appears to be a bit short, although I checked it I don't know how many times when finishing it. Between trying it on when I finished it two days ago and today, the top seems to have lost about 1/2" in length. Mysterious. It also pulls up when I lift my arms. This is why I need to learn to do short rows in the bust area. Lessons learned? Short rows and I will be good friends because I will likely never lose enough bust to fit standard pattern sizing. I have to stop putting off learning how to do them. For some reason, they intimidate me a bit and my eyes glaze over when I read directions on how to do them. Must focus.

As for Cotton Fleece, not my favorite yarn and after I do my two Rusted Root sweaters, I likely won't use it again. It's a bit rough and when worn against my skin it makes me itch a little from the slightly rough texture. (A good Soak may work that out though.)
These are my yarn cakes. Soon, they shall be a pair of Jaywalker socks (YarnPirate BFL in Cupcake), and a Shetland Shorty (Wollmeise in "Sleeping Beauty"), respectively. Yarn cakes are so pretty. Now if only my son would stop running off with them and pretending to eat them.

After a few more Me projects, I'll need to start on the baby gift for my friend. So far, I plan to span at least two different crafts and it very well may be the Gift Package of Doom. What can I say? I get excited when my friends have babies.

15 November, 2008

"Evil" Plans

I just found out that a good friend of mine is expecting her third baby, and I have already commenced with plotting all the things I will smother them with depending on if it is a boy or a girl. I won't go into details here, since she might be reading this, but I'm plotting, oh yes, I am plotting.

(I'm also making slow and steady progress on my Green Gable and should have a progress pic soon: I'm finally to the waist on it and very happy so far.)

09 November, 2008

Small picture update

Thought I'd post up some pictures of my last pair of Monkey socks and my Green Gable--slowly but surely chugging along on that one. I'm finally past getting the sleeves onto waste yarn after more then a week. I'm not used to going so slow when I knit.

First the Monkey socks. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much I like the Bayfield Apple colorway. There was color pooling on the Gusset, but everywhere else, it did some beautiful striping.

And my "Green" Gable in Cotton Fleece; the color is Rue and very pretty dark French blue. I've been happy so far and as usual, am having to knit a weird custom inbetween size, but it's coming out nicely.

03 November, 2008

Minor catch up

I'm not dead, just learning to cope with having two small children home with me all day. It's cutting into both my sanity and my knitting time--my means for keeping my sanity with my hyper toddler o' doom in the first place. The newborn phase is almost done and I'm hoping that in the coming weeks we'll have a more solid schedule and everyone will calm down and return to something closer to what normal was.
Anywho, this is a knitting blog, so back to what little knitting I've been getting done these past six weeks.
The "Lady" sweater is finished: just needs to be blocked, ends woven in, and buttons sewed on. I'm not as happy with it as I imagined I'd be, but some of that may be from my irritation at the lace pattern and all those missing stitches. I think once it's fully finished, I'll be happier with it. Right now, I'd prefer not to look at it and leave it where it is for the time being.
Once the "Lady" sweater was complete, I broke out my new toy: a ball winder I was able to buy thanks to a 50% off coupon from JoAnn Fabrics. So far, it's been fun to play with.

That is my Yarn Love in Bayfield Apple I had been wondering what to do with. It became a pair of Monkey socks that took me over two weeks to knit, which was strange as I'm used to working so fast. (No pictures of the socks for now, I need to get pictures taken of the FO and do an FO post eventually here.) The socks took just under half the skein and I'm unsure of what to do with the rest. I guess I'll eventually make more socks, or I'll be on the look for anyone from Ravelry who may have an equivalent amount in another colorway. Honestly, I'm not sure where the figure that an average pair of socks takes 400yds of yarn comes from anyway: I think at most, my socks take 230-240yds, and my feet aren't even that small, they're average size.

Now, I'm working on my Green Gable after having the yarn for it sitting in my tote for about a year. I mucked up the lace a bit--what is it with me and these easy patterns lately?!--but it's not noticable and I'm not ripping back for that. If all goes well, I'll have pictures and another project in the near future.

13 September, 2008


Turns out, I only needed to do one more lace repeat and with the garter edge, it will hit where I like my sweaters to hit: just about the hip bone. One of the nice things about being short is how much less yarn it takes to make a sweater. The end is in sight.

12 September, 2008

Moving slowly but surely...

The "lady" sweater is still moving along, though not very quickly. I need to put it on waste yarn to take a new picture and see how much more length I want in the body. I have 6"-7" under the arm (based on eyeballing the measurement) and I shouldn't need too much more. Maybe 4 repeats and then the garter stitch edging. A good length for me in the body of a sweater is between 10" and 11" so this sweater should be done if I can keep myself working on it. I did have a good run on the gull lace repeats where for four I had no issues with lost stitches, only to have the next repeat give me trouble again. That one is the only one I know what happened though, as I missed a single YO and deemed it not important enough to rip back--let's face it, Malabrigo doesn't like to be ripped back and I don't like trying to convince it otherwise. I keep looking back through the sweater and still can't figure out what happened all the other times as nothing appears to be amiss with the pattern. It's been vexing, but nothing seems to be hurt so I'll eventually let it go and get over it.

I've finally gotten around to learning a bit more about how to update the look of this blog and have added lists into my sidebars. I need to continue to add projects to my queue as I have tons of yarn and an idea of what I'm going to use it for--I have quite a few varigated sock yarns that I think will become multiple pairs of Jaywalker socks so that they stripe. I'm hoping it will help keep me focused and moving on projects even after the baby is here and the want to refill my tote starts to hit again. Have to clear it in order to make room.

I'm hoping 2009 will be the year to add a few "non-selfish" projects to my list again. This year, I've focused on me and quite frankly, enjoyed it. I can understand wanting to make presents for others, but I have a hard time understanding the mentality of feeling guilty for wanting to use one's time and yarn on herself. (Why yes, I *am* a member of the Selfish Knitters group on Ravelry.) I have lots of little bits of sock yarns left over that would make wonderful toddler socks and I'd like to make both of my children cute sweaters for this coming year.

I'd also like to make DH a new sweater, but am having an issue with it--well, him, about it. If he had his way, he'd get nothing but plain, dark colored crewneck sweaters with no details or very minimal ones on them. The Manly Maze I originally made for him had to be altered to remove more of the maze pattern from the cuffs in order to suit his taste and since then, I haven't been able to bring myself to make him another sweater. Anytime I find a sweater that I think would be fantastic on him, even a simple one, he doesn't like ANY of the details which would make it interesting for me to knit and inspire me to do so. He's asked a few times why I haven't made him another sweater and so far, he's received a rather terse, "You can have one when you decide to wear some color or something interesting," in reply.

Honestly, is this sweater really that bad? I thought for sure he'd go for it since it's basically a ribbed sweater with one very minimal cable on it to add interest. I even tried to tell him that in a darker color and with the buttons matching the yarn that it would be even less ornate, but really, is that sweater ornate to begin with?! He won't go for it and says he'd refuse to wear it. I've been talking to him about it for months now while I wait for ShiBui to put out the pattern. I think it's so perfect for him that I can't get it out of my mind and just let it go. I'd kill to be taller and have a leaner frame and longer neck so I could wear a sweater like that. I think he'd be very handsome in it and I'm sure his mother would agree since she reads this blog.

I'd love to make him the above mentioned sweater, and may still do it anyway and make him just try it on. (he can be so stubborn only to find out, hey, he actually likes it...like collared polo shirts...I don't know how many times I had to ask him to "just try it on" before he finally caved and then decided he liked them so much, he bought a couple. Same with less baggy dark denim jeans. PICKY PICKY PICKY.) However, the new Fall Knitty has a promising men's pattern in it and I may see if I can't ease him into the world of allegedly fancy sweaters with Retrofit. I can already foresee his asking that it not be two different colors, but I may try to make him do just that, even if it's only a subtle difference between the two.

So if anyone has ever wondered why most of the projects I work on are for me, you now know why. I'm hoping my children will be much more gracious recipients of sweaters. Lovely, "FANCY" sweaters.

03 September, 2008


This sweater has been anything but a Lady and I'm growing frustrated for the first time in my short knitting career. Lace socks? No problem. Lace scarf? No problem. Stupidly simple worsted weight lace sweater? Problems up the wazoo.

Stitches keep disappearing--always in the same part of the sweater. Can not find them ANYWHERE. They're not dropped. No accidental p2 togethers. They keep disappearing like Jimmy Hoffa. Maybe they're keeping him company. Yo, Jimmy, I want my stitches back.

I am knitting so slowly right now, so deliberately, that this project will take forever compared to ones I've done much more quickly. There are not enough words to express just how vexed I am. I really wanted to get this done before my daughter is born, but at this pace? I might be done with the body by then, but definitely not the whole thing.
I am having a rare day where I wish I were a drinker.

25 August, 2008

2 in 2 days

I think that's a record for me on this blog. I do have ambitions to eventually blog on it weekly if not every couple of days...someday when I start doing my own dying and making my own patterns. Someday when I'll likely move to a different blogging service like wordpress and have my own domain name. So not today and likely not in the next year. But SOMEDAY.

Pattern: Sausage Dogs
Needles: US size 5
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight

Another finished object under my belt. Despite making this roughly four times the size the pattern calls for, it was still a two day knit including felting and sewing it together. Unlike the bunny, this one has been much better received and is getting plenty of love. I didn't do too badly trying to upsize it, could have made the legs a bit wider and longer; I think I did well on the ears and tail though. It's tricky to upsize a pattern like this because not all pieces could be done to the same proportion as the body or else they'd be the wrong size for each other. Strange, but that's how it worked. I have enough of the medium brown yarn left that I plan to pair it with some pink I have and eventually make a similar puppy for our little girl.

Being that I can not stand to be idle, I already have another project on needles. This time, it's my February Lady sweater which I'm using my stashed malabrigo for. Very yummy to work with and it's a lovely color to boot. Already had to frog it once, but that's alright: it happens. I usually knit a bit on the big side, this time, I'm knitting small and so much so that it would make a big difference on the finished size. So I've cast on a size larger needles and going to get a little further and check my gauge again before getting too far. Every project, I tend to learn a new little trick or something finally clicks. With this project, successfully doing M1 increases has finally clicked. I shall never avoid them again. (Now in my defense, most instructions I've seen for doing them in the past say to knit into the bar between stitches. They never were clear enough to say, pick up the bar from the back or front with the left needle and then knit into it or the back, respectively. Suddenly, there are no more holes. Go figure.)

23 August, 2008

Time for more finished work

Because all the other bloggers seem to do it this way, I'm trying a slightly different format for recording my own.

Pattern: Monkey
Needles: US size 2

Overall, the pattern was well-written and enjoyable. I can see why Cookie A is so popular with sock knitters. Definitely makes it easy to justify buying a pattern or two of hers in the future. Part of me balks at the idea of paying $6 for a sock pattern, but well-written ones I think I can make an exception for. It had so many elements that I'm used to seeing in other sock patterns, but a better way to do them. The last couple of patterns I've done have been that way--so much better then the ones SWTC puts with their TOFUtsies limited edition yarns. I'm wondering if I didn't do myself a disservice starting off with their patterns instead of ones like Monkey.

Yarn was also fantastic to work with. This and Lorna's will definitely be go-to sock yarns in the future. It's nice and sproingy. Has lovely stitch definition and subtlely stripes. I did not have any pooling anywhere on the sock this time. Was easy on the hands and felt nice to work with. Overall, lovely.

I forced myself to go slow with these and dragged them out an extra 3 days. On the one hand, it's wonderful to be able to knit so fast: I get a lot of projects done and accomplished. On the other, I go so fast that I run out of project yarn quickly and that enables me to overbuy more yarn. While waiting for this baby and being able to knit all the projects in my tote, I've had to buy lots of yarn to keep me occupied. The more I knit, the more I want to. Have to say, it is one of the better things I've been addicted to doing!

Now I'm working on the larger Sausage dog for my son and wondering where I'll go from there. I still have a lot of time to kill before I can think of starting those pullovers.

10 August, 2008

More August FOs

First, the bunny for My Bunny. I think it turned out rather well and the more of these I make, the better I get at putting noses on them. Still do not have embroidery skills to save my life, but they're improving.

Tonight's finished object is my Spring Forward socks, in TOFUtsies. At first the colorway reminded me of a washed out rose-themed color scheme, but upon closer inspection and thought, I realized it reminds me more of those fruity mini-marshmallows I used to eat as a child. Pattern is really easy to memorize and enjoyable and the yarn seems to work well for it. I'm not sure why TOFUtsies always allows me to make the foot of my socks shorter, but it does. Oh well, they fit and that's what counts.
Next I believe I'll be moving onto a birthday present for my sister so it's out of the way and then onto that larger sausage dog for my son. I have other things I want to blog about, but am lacking the focus to do so tonight. So this entry will be short and to the point.

02 August, 2008

Small update...a few pictures.

In celebration of our new camera, I bring you new and improved FO pictures. At least they're more color-accurate and I can use the fun tulip feature to get in closer so you can see details on my projects. Seriously, I haven't read the manual for this thing yet and still managed to take wonderful pictures on my own. Cybershot, your days are numbered, my "friend." I shall not settle for a yellowed out, washed out, too dark, too light, you-focused-on-something-that-was-not-the-subject, etc etc, picture again.Here they are, the previously mentioned Zombie socks in all their purple and black glory. (I love this colorway so much that I'm beyond a little tempted to purchase more of it and possibly in a larger quantity to make a tank top or light sweater of it.) The drop-stitch pattern was fun and easy to do. Also easy to memorize. I would love to do it again in the future, maybe next time in BMFA STR Raven of some colorway. I think the stitch pattern would stand out better in a yarn with less varigation, but a nice hint of color. I can't bring myself to use a true solid color yarn. This is the happiest I've been with a pair of socks I've made myself yet and I think I'm starting to get a really good feel for how to get a proper fit. I still have issues making my tension tight enough since I have this fear that ribbing isn't going to stretch. Silly, I know.

And here's a picture of my test sausage dog, also mentioned last entry. I finally stitched his face on and I will openly admit, hand-sewing and embroidering are not my strong suit. Regardless, he turned out rather well and I now know for sure that I want to upsize the pattern to make a version for DS, even went so far as to purchase new yarn to make sure the colors would appeal to him. I adore Blue Sky Alpaca's various yarns and their sportweight alpaca is no exception. It is so heartbreaking to live in such a warm climate that I can't use it for anything to wear! At least I can make cute toys out of it. They have such nice neutral shades as well; it can be such a pain to find a non-icky brown yarn. I'm debating purchasing a contrasting color to go with some sport weight I already have for DD's future puppy...though some of the current color line is just too pretty to pass up and makes it tempting to purchase new. I will likely work on another pair of socks for myself before I start on the larger sausage dog for DS: toys take such little time to knit that I may as well put it off a short while. And let's face it, I like variety. (And am a rather fast knitter.)

No pictures of my current project. I'm making yet another Jelly Bean Bunny from one of the first patterns I ever purchased. I'd argue that three uses in just over a year is not bad for a $3 pattern. I keep coming back to it because it is so easy but so cute at the same time. (Unlike that putzy Sheldon. Grrr...I still can't make another of those. Even thinking about it makes me twitch. Today I reasoned that by going up a needle size and using bamboo DPNs rather then nickel plated ones, he may not be so painful this time around and I can slightly upsize him.) I upscaled this pattern a bit to use some chunky weight yarn I've had sitting in my destash pile that no one seems to want to take off my hands. It matches perfectly with some tapestry yarn my MIL gave me that was left-over from a sweater she made DS. So, I'm making a manly little bunny for my bunny. There will likely be enough of both left over that DH has requested that he, too, needs a bunny. He seems to have some love for the homemade stuffed animals.

In non-project news, the new Twist Collective online 'zine was pointed out to me and WOW, is it impressive and pretty! It has taken me awhile to wrap my head around the idea that all the patterns are individually priced and have to be purchased as such, but it wouldn't exactly be the first time I've purchased patterns that way from a specific designer's site...so really, it isn't much different. I for sure plan to purchase Pam Allen's Come Together pullover as well as Cookie A's Lissajous knee socks. There are a couple other patterns I'm debating purchasing, but I'm assuming they won't take them down and I have time to decide for sure what I think and if I find it worth it to purchase. This 'zine has by far impressed me more then the fall previews of magazines I usually enjoy. For instance, there will not be a Fall Rebecca, Vogue, or IK in my home--unless IK has some seriously fabulous articles in it. Fall Knitscene is fab, but that's about it. Oh well, less to pile onto my queue from any of them. As if it needs to be flooded with tons more projects.

Speaking of my queue, it's about to get bogged down in items from Kim Hargreave's Nectar collection once I knit up all my Zephyr Gals patterns I have yarn for. After much searching, I was able to find a retailer that had the book in-stock and I went from wanting to make one-two patterns from internet glancing, to wanting to knit almost the entire book. I have a serious designer crush on Kim right now and I may have to see if finding back issues of Rowan is worth it. (She also has another collection that was previously available only online coming to a book available on Monday, if all goes well. *Crosses fingers* This time, I think I'll just pay the extra $10 and order from the UK rather then going through the hassle of finding a copy state-side. Of course it had to be another collection of hers that I'm a fan of and not one of the ones that I have little interest in.)

27 July, 2008

Put-off update...

I need to blog but have to get pictures of everything I've finished first. Per usual, I'm flying through small projects more quickly then I can write about them. (And thanks to pregnancy, I'm usually too tired to blog in the first place.)
Let's see, since my last update, what has changed? Tempest still needs buttons. I'm horrible when it comes to getting those sewn on. I still need to sew the last three onto my Wicked Cardigan as well. That lace scarf I mentioned ages ago has been blocked, but the ends are not yet woven in, so one of these days I'll do that and get to photographing it.

Made and finished a yoked baby sweater out of the aMAIZing yarn I purchased while back home. It was odd to work with. Never worked with a ribbon yarn before, let alone one made out of corn. Since my hands get sweaty, it got to be rather sticky. It also rubbed funny on my fingers as it was passing over. Can't say I'd work with it again, though it was pleasant enough, I suppose. I decided to leave out the contrasting color and the three skeins of the violet I had were just enough to make the sweater with mere inches to spare. (Try to picture the sweater without the ever-so-flattering fluorescent lighting upon it. The color is much more lovely in person and contrasts beautifully with the wood buttons I already had laying around.) I modified it to only button on the top and am not sure exactly what size it is as my gauge was off--ha, imagine that. However, it was a happy incident as it is large enough that I do not have to worry about it being too small for a newborn; though that's the size I made.

Other finished projects include a felted sausage dog that I need to take pictures of...there are plans to make two larger ones. One for DS and another for DD when she gets here. I've been trying to think of special things I can do for him to prepare for the arrival of his sister since so many things are coming into our house for her these days.

Also finished a pair of Zombie socks in the last of my Black Purl yarn from Lorna's Laces. They turned out really well...once again, no picture at this time. Will need to bribe DH with cookies and see if I can't get him to be sweet and take some for me.

My current project is another yoked baby sweater. Not sure if I'll leave it as-is or modify it. I think I want to add some sweet little frilly ruffles to it and girl it up a bit. And I believe, like with the first sweater, I will not run buttons down the entire front, just the top. With a newborn, why futz with all of those buttons? I'm already over half done with this current sweater, it's been a very fast knit, and am looking to finish some other small projects and clear some yarn out of my tote. I think spring forward is on that list, as well as another foliage for my sister with a beautiful alpaca yarn I purchased but is impractical for here. Then the two larger sausage dogs (already linked) and I'll likely knit some more toys.

I'm not sure I want to start my February Lady sweater before September and will likely wait a bit longer on her (I managed to score enough Malabrigo in Hollyhock for it, YUM), but I have plenty of yarn to work with for now. Had a bit of a buying spree for my birthday and my tote seems to be full again. I shall end this post with pictures of my favorite acquisitions of the spree; the ones I keep opening up my tote to pet and admire for their beauty.

First, the Malabrigo. Such a yummy color. One of the things I love about knitting my own clothes is the greater variety of color I can get into my wardrobe. My love of color is also tempting me to learn how to do my own dying so I can get exactly the color I want. One expensive and time-consuming hobby at a time!Second is this absolutely fantastic Elizabeth Bennet sock yarn by Yarn Love in Strawberry Shortcake I managed to score. It's a wool/bamboo/silk mix and it feels so silky and nice. The colorway is just beautiful as well. There's a subtle graham cracker color, lucious pinks, and it's topped off with a creamy color. There's another short sweater pattern I plan to make with this. It's just too lovely to make into socks.

13 July, 2008

Tempest is wrapping up...

This one has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, let me tell you. Between heavy altering, realizing my row gauge was way off, and some sloppy seaming that led me to think the sleeves were sizes too small, I've been through just about every kind of knitter's angst this week. As can be seen in the photos, I have ultimately prevailed and with limited problems and trouble to myself... so yay?
As can be seen in this photo, sometime between my first front piece and my second, my row gauge went off into a world all its own, causing me to wonder if I was going to have to frog the whole thing and restart. I had hoped that if I decided to finish off the cardigan with some garter stitch along the bottom to stabilize it instead of the recommended way in the pattern, it might fix the whole thing and make it as if it never happened. I put the garter rows on this morning and my thoughts were correct: one would never know that one side was so much longer then the other. (No pictures of the latest details, going to wait until I finish before posting more up.)Everything else has fit together very nicely and I've been many kinds of pleased. True, the cardigan is still a bit on the long side for me despite taking 4" out of the torso, but it's not so long that I look like a child playing dress up in my mother's clothes. I can't wait to get the button band on and the buttons and see what it looks like completely finished.
I also heavily altered the sleeves and took almost half the sleeve length out. As written, and with my row tension, I would have ended up with sleeves inches past my hands.
All in all, a good knit, I'd like to do another with the stripes I do believe, and I'll post up more on this when it's finished.

01 July, 2008

Tempest is moving along...

Much more quickly then I would have imagined, honestly. In less then two weeks, I've finished the back and the first front piece with very little time put into it.
It's been an interesting knit to say the least, I had to pull about 4" out of the torso and probably could have done with pulling out a bit more. I'm not sure who the pattern was modeled after, but she apparently has lots of torso. It's supposed to be blocked wider and taller--and I *am* knitting smaller so it could be blocked as it should--but it's looking like it honestly doesn't need it. Especially in the vertical.
I'm very much relieved that I didn't do it with stripes the first go round; I'm going to have to rewrite the entire striping portion of the pattern when I make another. And if this fits well, there will be another. I'm already imagining what colors to do it in as I should have quite a bit of Smooshy to destash and therefore, give me yarn money and room in my tote!
I don't believe it will take anywhere near the amount of yarn I originally imagined, either. It should have taken between 1100-1200 yds, I'm thinking I can do it all in 2 skeins of Smooshy which would put it in the 900 yd range.

The first picture is more color accurate, but this gives a better idea of the pretty varigations in the yarn. It reminds me very much of sea glass and it's quite lovely to look at.

18 June, 2008

Something Wicked this way comes...

Finished! Minus the three buttons I need to go purchase and sew onto the bottom. I thought 15 would be enough, but I'd be wrong, wouldn't I?

Overall, very happy with the results of this knit. It fits now--stretches a bit over the belly but that's fine as I won't be pregnant forever --and it's light enough that I should be able to wear it in the "cold" Texas winters. And it makes me smile everytime I try it on to boot. Which in my book makes it a GREAT knit. I'd like to do another one some other time, maybe in a more neutral color or just another color, period. It makes me feel cute. (Yes, I realize I'm not smiling in the picture, it's about the sweater, not me and DH didn't warn me he was taking it at that moment. HA.)

So onto the next project. I originally picked up 5 skeins of this super yummy Dream In Color Smooshy in Beach Fog to make a Thermal, but realized that once again, I will almost never wear it as Texas doesn't get cold enough. BOO. Now, it's becoming a Tempest from Knitty, which I think I'll get more wear out of and I can even work on it despite having a huge bowling ball in my stomach. The fingering weight of the yarn should keep me busy for some time as well...just wasn't in the mood for small projects quite yet so I thought I'd take on another cardigan before using up some random skeins of yarn. I got the first ball wound tonight, should cast on tomorrow, Toddler permitting.

08 June, 2008

More Wicked Progress

This is the point I was at last night, about two sets of increase rows before I put the sleeves onto waste yarn and started the body. Didn't get too much further along, about 6 rows before I called it a night. I haven't worked on the sweater yet today, but I think I'll hit the waist shaping no problem in a short time. My mind is starting to wander to buttons and what I should do about those, as well as sleeve length. In order to get the most wear out of my sweater now and in the near future, long sleeves are a no-go, 3/4 sleeves likely will not fare much better. I think I'll do a longer short sleeve so that I can wear my Wicked even in the balmy Southern winters.
Turns out I didn't need to increase past the L size for the pattern and I think I even came out a couple of stitches shy of that. Pattern really does run on the large size. (Good thing to keep in mind for my other Zephyr patterns I'll work on later in the year --> next year.)
Have a new sweater crush, strangely enough, from the same woman who wrote out how to convert the Wicked Pullover into a cardigan and seeing hers was what made me have to make mine. http://www.flintknits.com/blog/?p=151 She converted Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Baby Sweater on Two Needles,” from Knitter’s Almanac into an adult sweater, and what a sweet sweater it is! I think some Dream in Color in Happy Forest is in my future. Serious sweater crush happening over here.

06 June, 2008

Wicked Cardigan

(Picture was taken a couple of days ago.)
My wicked cardigan it coming along more quickly then I would have originally imagined. Been working at a pace of ~ 100 yards per day since the night I cast on--at this rate, I'll finish the entire sweater in the next 6-7 days. I am quickly finishing my third skein of the Artyarns Supermerino and almost finished with the ragalan increases. It is also becoming easier to work on and causing me less anxiety since it is looking like it will turn out lovely when finished. It's much easier to to use a treasured yarn when you know things are looking good for the final product.
I am very happy with the pattern so far: it's well written and easy to adapt and change if need be. Tentatively, it's looking like I'll be making a size somewhere between the L and XL; the beauty of a top-down is that I can do that and do not foresee any problems it will cause. There's an ~ 40 stitch difference between the two and I'm thinking I may need to do only a couple of extra increase rounds from the large size, maybe hitting the middle of the two numbers. The ribbing down the front gives enough extra stretch that I shouldn't need to increase to the XL size or else it may become too loose for my liking. (I'm also assuming the button band will give me just a little more give on top of that.) I'm liking this pattern so much that it makes me all the less anxious to use my other patterns from the Zephyr Gals--I'm liking this one so much that I may do it again in the future with another color. Now I just need to learn how to do shortrows for bust shaping so I can cast on for a size that will fit me correctly as their patterns are known to run a bit big.
So far, so good. I'm already trying to line-up what my next project will be and keep working on clearing out my tote. I may do another sock project or two as they seem to take about as much time as a sweater does...though I do have some fingering and sport weight yarns that I keep changing my mind about what to do with them. I bought some SWTC aMAIZing to make a sweater for DD due in September, but I'd like to wait on making her project until closer to her due date or right after she's born so I get a better feel for which size will get more wear out of it.
And because I'm always thinking ahead, I've already started on a project list for 2009. (Sort of had to as my pregnancy killed all my pull-over projects that I already had yarn for.)
Green Gable (Already have the Cotton Fleece for)
Rusted Root1 with collar mods (Already have the Cotton Fleece for)
Rusted Root2 with collar mods (Already have the Cotton Fleece for)
Cables and Os (Looking to buy some Knitpicks Cotlin for this one in a newer colorway)
Dinosaur Hoodie for DS (need to decide on fiber and app. amounts)
And I'm sure I'll have random small projects inbetween. I also plan to make another pullover for DH, but I need to give more thought as to which pattern I for sure want to make for him.

04 June, 2008

And then a month flies by...

No blog for May, whoops. Oh well, at least I'm trying to avoid four months without an update again. Had another vacation back home, which always puts a kink in the works for a bit. Well, back to updating, I've been busy even if I haven't been blogging about my projects.
I've been trying very hard to focus on clearing out pre-existing yarn in my tote and have had some success. Now I have quite a few partial balls of yarn rather then full project amounts--not sure what I'll eventually do with all of those. (Also had a very small yarn splurge while back home--it's a tradition, what can I say? We have no LYS around here and I like to go in even if I can't resist the temptation to buy a little something.--and added two new skeins of TOFUtsies and enough corn yarn to my stash to make a sweater for our little girl due in September. So really, much less was added then I'm using but I definitely have not been keeping my yarn diet resolution as I ought to. Dieting resolutions, regardless of kind, seem destined to fail.)

Finished my Minimalist Cardigan and am overall pretty pleased with it. It fits really well except in the shoulder area where the arm seams fall too far over my actual shoulder and make it look a bit schlumpy. This has been a chronic issue for me with sweaters as to get the bust measurement I need, the shoulder area is usually far too big. At least with a top-down I know how to remedy the issue, but I have to learn how to alter armholes for other sweater types. One of these days, I need to buy a good book on sweater construction and learn how to do more aggressive altering. As I said though, I am happy with it and can't wait for it to be a bit cooler so I can wear my sweater around more.

After finishing my Minimalist, I decided to finally use the skein of Jade Sapphire Maju Silk I purchased on one of my last two trips back home at MIL's shop of choice, The Knitting Tree. As I had only 85 yards, I made a modified version of Elizabeth Miller's "Little Green Clutch" from Interweave's Holiday issue this past year. I was pretty happy until I got to the actual finishing part. If I make the pattern again, I'm altering the finishing directions so that the ucky looking seams are on the inside where they belong and my bag has a more neat appearance. Also, I think the order given to sew in the zipper and lining should be done differently to make it easier to make it all nice and neat, rather then after the knitting was seamed to make the actual bag. As a small bag to hold knitting accessories, it works just fine. Not sure I'd buy the yarn ever again as it was shedding quite a bit as I knit and wasn't the easiest to work with. Very pretty though and I love to admire the sheen. Hey, I even found a use for a fat quarter of my quilting fabric stash that had a shade of teal that matched the yarn perfectly. Look Mom, I used fabric! Right before midmonth and our trip, I started the pattern for the first TOFUtsies yarn I purchased from Yarnmarket over a year ago. This is the yarn that started my obsession and love affair with TOFUtsies limited edition colors. It is all the more lovely in person, especially the stockinette sections of the socks. The first sock, I erred on the side of making it a bit too short again, but on the second one, I think I finally figured out where to start the toe decreases. As the yarn stretches with wear, I'm not worried and the two fit just fine. After they're on, no one is any the wiser. Working this pattern cemented an aesthetic philosophy for me: intricate patterns need plain yarn to highlight their beauty and beautiful varigated yarn deserves a more simple pattern to show off its colorway. Try to mix the two and you end up with a sock that you can't see the pattern for nor truly appreciate the yarn. Just my humble lil' opinion, but I think I'm going to stick to it in the future. I'd like to use this pattern again in the future, but in a plain yarn so you can really see the intricate pattern and the way the ribbing branches and the shapes it makes.

And finally, it's the yarn from the last post. Last night, I took the plunge and gathered all my courage to start my Wicked cardigan. Today, I had to fight with myself for almost a half hour to actually cut the yarn and start the second ball. I had some serious anxiety about it, as silly as that sounds. So far, so good and I'm already almost twice as far as the picture shows. Would have been further along, but I realized 4 rows after the ribbing that I had completely spaced bringing the three twisty ribs down the fronts where the button bands will be. Being the genius I am at times, I thought it surely could not take longer to drop all the stitches down four rows and pick them back up then it would take to rip everything out and reknit. Note to self: ripping would have gone much faster and had neater results. Lesson learned.

30 April, 2008

"Small update"...

Or how just a few thoughts can turn into a full length ramble. I'm really trying my best to get back on the knitting blog bandwagon here, so bear with me.

Finished my second pair of socks just over two weeks ago.

The picture isn't the best, but I had a very hard time trying to get a decent one of these for whatever reason. I used Knitpick's Essential and for as nice as it felt to work with--and the wonderful price--I can't say I'm in love with it. I found it to be even more splitty then the TOFUtsies and that says alot. The socks also do not have the same light feel my other pair do and I think I'm developing a fiber preference for foot garments. I did a basic ribbed pattern and probably could have done another two rounds before I had started my toe decreases. Overall though, I'm happy with them, but they're definitely not my favorite socks.

As hard as I tried, I still could not ressurect the Central Park Hoodie and I've reconciled myself with the fact that it's going on indefinite hiatus--if it's ever worked on again. When having a discussion with my husband last night, my true feelings about it finally came out: I really like how it looks and all, but learning more about the yarn I used, I realize that it's not practical for that knit and it's going to stretch and grow on me. I spent so little on the yarn for it as it was, that I can't really feel bad about using it as a practice piece. I was already trying to scheme ways to save most of it and not use it as a sweater. Maybe make it part of a pillow or something? I dunno, we'll have to see what the future holds for it. For now, I've told myself to just accept that I don't want to finish it and to stop trying to pressure myself to feel otherwise about it. You can't force a feeling.

On the 17th, I finally cast on one of my cardigan patterns that I have in my stash tote. Despite having to leave four pull-overs' worth of yarn in it, I can at least clear out the couple of cardigans I have yarn for. That way when I go to buy more yarn next year, I will still have room to accomodate a couple. Hehe, that's what I'm telling myself anyway: as long as it isn't more then the tote can hold, I do not have too much yarn. Hubby doesn't really agree with that line of thought, but one of these days I may scare him by showing him some of the monstrous stashes other women on Ravelry have...perhaps that would give him perspective and make him realize that having one small tote is by no means excessive. If we had the means, I could easily fill a small room or large closet with all the pretties I covet! But all in due time.

Learned an interesting lesson in a less-then-pleasant way about my knitting with this latest project. I was informed that I do not purl correctly and that is why my stockinette looks like this.

I had always heard the term, "twisted stitches" and never bothered to look up what it meant, because I assumed it was something more sinister and noticeable then what was going on with my own knitting. I always thought it was merely a tension issue and had even accepted it as it was. Long story short, I've corrected how I wrap my yarn to purl and my stitches are all nice and neat and as they should be and discovered my tension while purling is just fine.

That is part of my minimalist cardigan for myself. After thirteen days of working on it, I am mostly finished and need only finish the sleeves and then block the border.

So far, it is fitting me better then any other sweater attempt to date: for reasons unknown, I can make a sweater to fit anyone else just fine, but have me try to make one for myself and I can't make it fit to save my life. (Well, not entirely true, but may as well be: so far no sweater I've made for myself has been wearable in all parts of it. Usually, the sleeves are the guilty party. Dear pattern makers: not all women have thin arms. If you could find it in your hearts to include instructions on how to make them a larger size and how to alter the arm hole accordingly, you'd make me and a lot of others out there very happy.) My luck seems to have changed with this one and I'm so pleased about it. I'm using Cascade 220 Superwash in a lovely teal color and am very happy with the yarn. I will definitely use Cascade again. It's relatively affordable and comes in so many colors. It feels a little rough, but I suspect with a good soak it will soften right up. I haven't had any splitting issues with it, though as one negative I will say that the center-pull ball it comes in tangles and knots alot. Some balls have been fine, one was horrible and had a knot so bad it took me a half hour just to get it out so I could keep working.

At the rate I'm working, I'm tempted to say that in ten days' time, I'll be finished with this knit and well on my way to working on a few small projects again, including more socks. I can not wait to work with TOFUtsies and make myself another pair of socks from it. After that, I'm going to do my best and be brave and cast on for my second cardigan project. I may have jinxed myself by purchasing a yarn so lovely that I am scared to use it. (That and it's the most I've spent on yarn for myself to date. Definitely not as much as I could have spent and wanted to, but enough that I can't just laugh it off as practice like I did with the CPH.) The aforementioned talk with my husband is where this came up and he told me, in not so many words, to suck it up and work on it anyway: the yarn isn't doing anything sitting in my tote and if worse comes to worst, I can always buy new yarn and try again. Fair enough, dear husband, fair enough.

I will leave you all with a picture of the offending yarn: Artyarns Supermerino. Hopefully by this time next month, or soon after, it will be turning into a sweater. I'm making a Wicked cardigan, oh yes I am.

12 April, 2008

I'm a poor blogger, what can I say?

Warning: I am image heavy.

Life happened and I got swooped away for a bit. Still knitting, but had to stop on my CPH and haven't been able to get back into it quite yet. (I'm hoping to push myself to finish it after I finish my current project because I'm so close, why not get it done with?) This is why I do my best to be a monogamous knitter: I realize that if I stop a project, I'll have a hard time restarting and getting it finished. As I was saying, life happened. Went home and knit a cardigan for my mother, came back and had morning sickness that didn't allow me to knit for several weeks (Baby due in Sept :] ), had baby toys to knit for a friend to welcome her new bub into the world, and after that, became distracted. I am now on a sock knitting kick since my stomach popped out early rendering all my pullover sweater plans unable to be completed this year. Thus ends my stash busting resolution as well. I'm still doing my best to clear out what I have, but it won't be as extensive as it could have been. The best laid plans of mice and men, so they say.

Anywho, will do a small picture dump for today and do my best to update on a regular basis again in the near future.
First project I finished since last updating was a minimalist cardigan for my mother. (Interweave Knits, fall 2007) I really enjoyed knitting this and it was fast as well. Used a yarn from Elann for my first time and it was a positive experience: will likely order from them again. I have some Cascade 220 superwash sitting in my tote that will become one of these for myself when I decide I want to take on a larger project.
Another quick project I did while visiting back home: I owed my best friend a hat for a Xmas gift. It's another Foliage hat from Knitty. Had quite a few issues with this one because I was stubborn and didn't think I needed to use a stitch marker for the round. Mental note: using a stitch marker will prevent having to frog and restart half a dozen times in the future. They are your friend. Baby gift for my friend's new baby boy! Sheldon from Knitty. Gotta love Knitty when it comes to decent free patterns. This was a really easy knit, but tedious. The four little legs were killing me by the end and I wonder if there isn't a way to work the body of the turtle as one piece. This was the first project I tried to do while coping with my morning sickness. I have yarn to make a couple more of these, but I have to get over the disgust of knitting those small little legs before doing this again. My husband has also requested I make him one but zombify it. Could be interesting if I figure out how to work it. And I have ideas, oh yes I do.

Second new baby present is next up: it's the purple bunny on the right. This little cutie was for the new big sister to celebrate her baby brother. Pattern is Jelly bean Bunny from Amy Gaines on Etsy (She also has an amiguri book due out sometime here!). The white bunny was the first one I made shortly after I started knitting last May. It's crazy to see how much difference a little under a year can make in gauge and tension. The last part of the gift was a Purl Bee beret for my friend. I pulled some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock out of my stash to make it. (It was the only yarn purchase I've ever made that I didn't tell my husband about and I had a hard time giving it up, even for such a good cause and how great a match it was. I kept petting it and thinking, "But it's mine, all mine. It was so hard to find." But in the end, logic prevailed and the second skein is looking to become a beret to be worn on my head.)
After the beret, I decided to tackle a project using a couple of the lace yarns I purchased and had no idea what to use them on. I finished a flame lace scarf that I have yet to block and photograph. All I will say is this: I am not a lace knitter. It took almost two weeks at two hours a day to finish it. I give serious kudos to shawl knitters and the like because man, t-e-d-i-o-u-s. It took as long as a sweater and is tiny. Now I have to figure out what to do with the other skein of lace weight yarn as I am not sure I want to ever do that again.
Next up: my first sock project! I used one of my three limited edition TOFUtsie colorways that I've been hoarding. ( I have a problem with buying lovely sock yarns but with no intention of using them. I just love the colors and to pull them out and pet them from time to time.) I even used the pattern included with it--Oc-"toe"-ber socks: Fiddlesticks. There were quite a few errors in the pattern, but I made my way through and everything turned out alright in the end. I had enough yarn left over that I could make another pair, but I have plans to use my other two colors, see what is left and then do some funky striped socks. I would not have had so much excess, but even knitting the larger size, the socks wouldn't fit over my calves, so I made them a much shorter length which is what I prefer anyway. While splitty, TOFUtsies is so soft and if I want to make more socks with it in the future, I would definitely look to it as one of my first choices. It also had laddering issues in stockinette stitch, but by the time I reached the second sock, I figured out how to get rid of them: very tight tension for the first three and last three stitches on the respective needles did the trick. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I do not dislike sock knitting. I had a feeling I wouldn't like it, but hey, can't complain when life throws you a nice surprise now and again.
I then did another One Skein Wonder, this time out of a lovely cotton/silk blend I couldn't resist on one of my trips to the LYS with my MIL. I had to modify it quite a bit, but I was successful making this one fit. Ran out of yarn and couldn't fully finish the ribbing, but it works as-is. No pictures yet, been too lazy to get them of my latest projects.
Right now, I have a second pair of socks on needles. I picked up some Knitpicks Essential Multi and am giving that a whirl. I'm making a ribbed sock pattern based on what I did for my first pair of socks. So far, it's going well.
After this, I do plan to try and ressurect my CPH from the UFO pile and finish it up. It bothers me not doing it, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to get it back out and finish.