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.