Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I don't act my age...

You Are 18 Years Old

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

What can I say? I like cake, ice cream, and toys too much. I suppose acting 18 is better than looking 18. I'm rather happy that I haven't been mistaken for a teenager in several years. It's pretty annoying to be reprimanded for being in the school hallway without a pass when you are a 30-year-old high school teacher. I was even used as a model for high school textbooks when I was in my late 20's. And yes, I always had to pose as a high school student:

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In Other News...

Peter won his age group in a race this past weekend. I'm proud of him no matter how he does in races, but it is much more exciting when he places. However, I did put a lot of pressure on him to do well in this race because I wanted him to win a trophy. This race gives great trophies.

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That is a huge marble block with a bobble-head Toro doll mounted on it. Toro is the mascot of the Houston Texans football team. Not that I'm a fan of the Texans--I could care less about the team. I just think a trophy with a bobble-head doll on it is pretty nifty and unusual.

Oh yeah, knitting!

The baby blanket is in the home stretch--about 7-10 inches left to go. I should finish it this week.

I finished the front and sleeves of the Candace baby sweater. I'm now working on the back--SNORE. Thank goodness it's straight stockinette. Because I don't have to look at my hands, I can knit while reading and doing work.

I also re-swatched for the X-Back tank. I'm going to go down a needle size because I want a tighter fabric. But now I'm not sure which sweater size I should make. I'll think about it and measure my swatch and my soon-to-be-frogged X-Back version 1 multiple times before I decide.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Everything's Coming Up Roses

As noted earlier, I redesigned my blog so that it would be cleaner. The previous format was just to fussy and I'm not really a fussy kind of person. I also played around with my pathetic Paint software and attempted to make a button. It did NOT look good. I'm not an artist. I can tell you what looks good, but I can't make things look good.

Anyway, here's a photo to celebrate the new look--fresh flowers for a fresh template.
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I realized that the last two finished objects that I displayed had fit issues of one type or another. I hope you don't think I normally have problems with fit. To prove it, you can gaze at the happy summer sweater that I made last year (just in time for fall...)

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Pattern: Arrowhead from Knitter's Magazine Summer 2004 (I think)
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Glace in Poppy
(please ignore the unmade bed in the background)

Ribbon X-back Update
I decided that I will frog my baggy x-back tank top and reknit it. But for now, I want to work with normal yarns. When I do reknit, I'm going to use a much tighter gauge. The holes in the sweater were just too big for my taste. They were large enough to prevent me from wearing the tank without anything underneath. Anyway, once I decide on a suitable gauge, I'll choose whatever size will give me at least three inches of negative ease. The whole negative-ease concept is new to me. It never occurred to me that I should make anything smaller than me.

The X-back debacle has taught me several lessons. In addition to negative ease, I've learned:
1) I hate ribbon yarn.
2) Try on stuff as soon as you can.
3) Don't rush into trying new patterns. Let other people knit things first and learn from their mistakes. (Personally, I blame Peat for starting the KAL and getting me excited about knitting quickly. And she hasn't even started yet!)

One more thing:
I love Monkee with or without chicken pictures.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A new look

It's still me. I wanted I cleaner looking blog. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Grr! Ribbon X-back

My first foray into ribbon knitting did not go well. I'm pretty much finished with the ribbon x-back from Knitty and it's awful. I'm not tiny (34-inch chest), so I made the size medium, which is supposed to have a finished measurement of 35 inches. Well, it is WAY TOO BIG. Huge. And I'm pretty certain that my gauge is correct (I swatched before starting and re-measured my gauge after finishing the tank). Is it because the fabric/yarn is too stretchy? I don't know. But look at these pics as evidence.

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In this photo, you can sort of see that there is so much extra fabric that the straps in the back do not form an X. Instead they just pull in and create a big fold in the back of the garment. (I haven't done the three-needle bind off yet--so all the yarn bits are still hanging off.

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This photo shows just how much it's hanging off my body. And you can see the fold in the back better. I'm wearing a pink halter top in these photos to keep the photos from revealing too much. I'm pretty irritated. I hated working with the ribbon yarn and the fat needles and I'm so unhappy that this is unwearable. I'm not sure if I will reknit it or not. If I do, I will try a smaller needle and perhaps a smaller size. Right now I just don't want to deal with it.

(entry cross-posted on Ribbon Xback KAL)

Friday, April 15, 2005

Knitting or Objects d'art?

My brother and his sister-in-law have recently taken up knitting. Neither of them seem interested in making anything of substance, but they both are intent on gaining a basic proficiency at the craft. Their creations so far have been limited to small rectangles. (Or rather small trapezoids because they tend to add extra stitches while knitting.) However, I'm proud to say that both of them can cast on, knit, purl, and bind off. And they are experts at frogging (hee hee).

Unfortunately, I don't live near my brother, so I can only give him knitting advice over the phone or via email. Just for fun, my brother sent me photos of his knitting. He calls this photo Persistence of Vision.

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So what do you think? Is it art?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Bunch of Firsts for Me

I'm starting to break out of my shell and doing new things. It's frightening.

My First Swap
Earlier this month, I flashed my tiny yarn stash. I included a photo of an old unfinished sweater that I knew I would never finish. I mentioned that I had plans for some of the yarn, but not all of it. Well, Helen saw this comment and said that she would be interested in swapping for the brightly colored lace-weight yarn. So we arranged a swap!

My First Trip to the Frog Pond
I've never frogged anything substantial before. In the past, I have only ripped out a few rows to correct a mistake. Well, I had gotten up to the armholes on the back of my poor unfinished sweater so I had some major ripping to do.

I learned this: Frogging is fun. Frogging and untangling FOUR strands of yarns knitted together is very un-fun. It took me 4-5 hours to frog the dang thing.

My First KAL
I joined the Ribbon Xback Knit Along. Now I'm waiting for my yarn to arrive so I can get started!

My First Encounter with Rowan Classic Yarns
I went to Yarns 2 Ewe over the weekend and had the pleasure to pet and drool over the new Rowan Classic Yarns. I can't believe how soft they are. I must make something from this yarn! I'm not a big fan of the patterns Rowan has put out for these yarns, but I'm sure I can find something!

My First Nutria Sighting
Well this is not a knitting related First, but it made me excited in a strange way. I had heard that nutria are common around here, but I never saw one until this past weekend. It looked like a cross between a beaver and a rat.

No new knitting photos to entertain you with. But here's a great photo of Scout after she learned what a bathtub is.

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Baby Time!

No, I'm not expecting a baby. I've just moved on to knitting more baby things. I've decided that baby things are good to knit. Babies don't care what they look like and baby clothes are small. Unfortunately, one of the baby things I'm knitting isn't small. I'm making a baby blanket for a coworker whose baby is due in June. I'm a little more than 1/3 of the way finished. (Warning: the following photos were taken in an extremely bright patch of sun to show off the objects' true colors.)

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A closeup of the pattern:

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I'm also working on Candace--a baby sweater for my little niece. Like Devan from Knitty, it is made from self-striping sock yarn. I've never used self-striping yarn before so knitting it up is very fascinating for me. The small gauge doesn't bother me as it bothered PumpkinMama, but she made the 2-3-year-old size and I'm making the 1-year-old size. Also, I haven't started the extremely boring, plain backside of the sweater. Here are the front panels just before the armhole shaping:

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Meanwhile...the Spring edition of Knitty was published yesterday. Lots of cute stuff. I think I'm going to start with the Ribbon Xback. I want to do this pattern because (1) I have never made a tank top, (2) I have never used ribbon yarn, and (3) it's made with bulky yarn on fat needles so it should knit up quickly. But what about poor Moni? I can't start her until Candace is done and the size 4 needles are free again.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Most Perfect Disaster Ever

I finally finished Peter's sweater. It is easily the most perfect sweater I have ever produced because I really went out of my way to use the best knitting and finishing techniques. I made complete swatches and washed the swatches. I tested cast-on edges to find the perfect edge. I measured while knitting to make sure that my gauge was consistent. I knitted both sleeves at the same time to ensure that I use the exact same increases and decreases. I blocked everything perfectly to the correct dimensions. I seamed using a mattress stitch to make nearly invisible seams. I carefully counted the stitches I was picking up for the neck and planned out exactly which to pick up and which to skip.

When all was one and I presented my piece of perfection to Peter, he put it on and said, "It's too long." *CRY!* But actually, the sweater is NOT too long. It's the right dimensions according to the pattern. However, the sweater is too long for Peter's taste. Peter is too dang skinny. The bottom ribbing doesn't touch his body so it doesn't "grab on" to keep the hem of the sweater up where he would like it to be.

I will not frog this sweater just to make it the correct length. I'm thinking about adding elastic to the ribbing to see if I can get it to pull in. If worse comes to worse--I may cut out one of the diamond-patterned repeats and graft the ribbing to the sweater body. But I'm so very bad at grafting and the cabling will make grafting harder than ever. I'm not sure that I can undo the cast on edge and knit back down because the ribbing uses twisted stitches that continue up through the body.

Full length:
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Neck detail:
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Saddle strap detail:
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