Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Finished Object: Gathering Intentions

Excuse the wonky colors in photo. The colors in the photo below are more accurate.*

Pattern: Gathering Intentions from Inspired Cable Knits, smallest size +
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease (50% cotton, 50% acrylic, 100 g) in pink, less than 7 balls used. Yarn was a gift from Barbie.
Needles: US size 7

1. I wanted something between the smallest size and the next size up, so I added a few stitches to the fronts and back. Then, I adjusted for the extra stitches in the shoulder shaping.

2. I did the set up rows as described for the back on the front and both sleeves. I asked Fiona Ellis (the book author) why she didn’t include the set up rows on the other parts of the sweater and she gave me a wholly unsatisfying answer. If you want to know the details, email me.

tie.JPG3. Instead of making two I-cords for the hem and sewing one to the inside and one to the outside, I made one long I-cord and threaded it through the knitting. I did the same for the I-cord tie at the sleeve.

4. Adding stitches to the front and back and using short-row shoulder shaping created a mess at the shoulder seams. Normally, I decrease two stitches across cables when I reach the end of the cable, but this didn’t look quite right. After much messing around, I ended up doing cable crossings on my 3-needle bind-off row. The word fiddly is an understatement. I needed to grow at least one more hand. Unfortunately, the nuclear radiation from my smoke detectors was not enough to cause a spontaneous mutation and I had to forge ahead with just two hands.

Bone-Head Move: As you can see, only the left sleeve has a tie. I knew that I wanted to put the tie on the left sleeve because I’m right handed and a tie on my right sleeve would be sure to end up in any food I ate or cooked while wearing the sweater.

Naturally, when I started setting in the sleeves, I didn’t bother to look at the sleeves because, as we all know, sleeves are interchangeable. That’s why most patterns say, “make two.” You see the flaw in my logic, don’t you? I did a great job sewing the left sleeve to the right side of the sweater.

General Comments: I love this sweater already. Wearing it is like wearing a comfortable old sweatshirt. (The ties are reminiscent of the shredding cuffs and hem of the sweatshirts that I refuse to throw out.) A cotton sweater is much more practical in Houston than wool sweaters. However, if I did this sweater again, I would make the body a bit longer.

I'm not playing with the I-cord, says Scout

* It's interesting that this photo looks greenish on one of my computers but looks okay on the other computer. And the sweater looks practically fluorescent on the first computer and just find on the second. Oh well. It's not a scary pink sweater.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and . . .

The Good

Good StuffBliss had a contest recently. It was one of those contests that I like entering (just leave a comment!) but never rarely win (random drawing). Amazingly, my named was picked. I think it was fate. The prize was sock yarn, but not just any sock yarn. No! This sock yarn is the exact same yarn as the yarn with which I made my only pair of adult socks. Does this mean that I have to make the same socks again? I hope not.

Anyway, my prize arrived yesterday and it made me squeal in excitement. Bliss sent more than just the sock yarn! She sent a little pattern booklet, a Pop Top needle holder thingy, and chocolates! I had to take this photo right away because I wanted to eat the chocolates. *burp* Thank you so much Bliss!

The Bad

Last time I was here, I promised to do some complaining. You see, lately, I haven’t had much desire to knit. At least I haven’t had much desire to knit the projects that are currently on the needles. Perhaps ripping Lotus three times was starting to get to me. Perhaps knitting pink cables is starting to get boring. (That can’t be true!) Who knows why I have the knitting blahs? For days I’ve been poking at Lotus and Gathering Intentions hoping that they would either magically finish themselves or magically turn into something that I want to knit.

Bad Vibes

The sad part is that I don’t know what I want to knit. Or at least I didn’t know what I wanted for days. Just the other day I realized what I want to do—I want to knit some plain boring stockinette. That’s right! I want to knit without looking at my hands! I want to knit without thinking about what I’m doing! I want to knit something so quickly that it amazes everyone around me!

I think this is the first time I’ve ever wanted to knit nothing but stockinette. And that, my friends, is a problem. I have yarn for a couple cabled sweaters. I have yarn for a couple of lace sweaters. I have yarn for a few lace shawls. I do not have yarn for a stockinette sweater. In fact, I don’t even have any stockinette sweaters in my “to do” list. Sure I could find a nice stockinette sweater pattern and the buy the yarn, but my stash is so out of hand right now. It needs to be knit down.


I can’t abandon my current projects. That would not be good for me. One of the biggest motivations in my life is the act of finishing things. And I can’t start a new project. With two large works in progress, starting a new one would drive me batty. So I’ve decided that I have to push on and finish up Gathering Intentions. Perhaps finishing something will give me a knitting high.

Bad SeamingSince the last time you saw this sweater, I’ve finished the front and most of the sleeves. I already attached the front and the back together because I was messing around with the getting the cables looking good with the shaped shoulders. FYI—cables, short-row shoulder shaping, and the 3-needle bind off is not a good combination. Much fiddling happened. (Perhaps that’s why I’m not so thrilled about this sweater anymore?)

With any luck, this sweater will be completely finished next week.

The No Longer Ugly

Not UglyI ripped and reknit the offending rows on Lotus. Then, I duplicate stitched the flowers. I know some of you thought the previous flower didn’t look so bad, but don’t you all agree that this flower is millions of times better?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rip, Rip, Rip Little Stranded Sweater

First, listen to this. (At least the beginning of it, okay?) That’s where the title came from.


Well, I was sailing along on Lotus for a good while. Naturally, that fact meant that I was due for another session of sweater ripping. I had reached a point where two not so good things were happening. First, the spaces between the brown stitches were getting long. In other words, the brown floats were getting long. Secondly, the pattern required me to use three colors in a single row. And to paraphrase what Theresa said here, knitting with three colors is much harder than knitting with two colors.

So I came up with one of my brilliant-in-theory-but-ugly-in-practice solutions. I would do a quasi-intarsia-stranded knitting thingy. (“Thingy” is a very technical term. It is similar to that other highly technical term, “stuff.”) The idea was that I would cut a strand of the brown yarn, use it to knit the narrow brown section, drop the brown yarn, knit around the sweater repeating the process. Then on the next row, I would carry the brown yarn backward from the end of the brown section back to the beginning of the brown section and knit across again. Brilliant, no?

I reasoned that these “backward floats” would not look much different from the regular floats AND, if I was successful in keeping the floats loose, the knitting would look no different than regular stranded knitting. I was correct on the first point, but not correct on the second point. Although my backward floats were sufficiently loose enough, the knitting looked weird. A little pinched. See? (Again, if you don’t see it, just pretend that you do.)


Now I know that it’s not THAT bad, but I can tell and if I leave it that way, I will forever glare at that section of the sweater and will always imagine that it is much more pinched than it actually is. So the offensive section has to go and I have to decide on how to rework these rounds.

My options are these:
1. Duplicate stitch those brown sections.
2. Have long brown floats AND somehow make 3-color stranding work for me.

I’ve decided to go with the easy way option 1 first, particularly because I already have strands cut to the duplicate stitching. Also, if I decide that I don’t like it that way, ripping out the work will be a lot less painful. If I were to do option 2 and then NOT like the way it looked, I would be cursing loudly as a ripped each and every triple-stranded stitch out.

Tooting my own horn

By the way, did you all see my “Extreme Weaving” in the most recent Knitty? Scroll down! That's the wrong side of my Moni. I believe that Theresa thought I was a bit touched in the head for doing that much weaving. But then I give everyone lots of reasons to think that I'm touched in the head. Why should this be any different?

Tune in next time when Laura complains about being in a knitting funk and attempts to resurrect the stalled out Gathering Intentions.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Partial Meme

Barbie and Valerie did a Christmas meme and I thought I’d join the cool kids and play along, too. However, as I was considering the questions, I decided that one question in particular would make a much more interesting story than the entire meme would. So here’s my answer to:

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:

(Well maybe not a “favorite” memory, but certainly a very memorable memory.)

When big brother and I were young, we played a lot of “let’s pretend” games. One of our favorite games was Fort. We didn’t have a permanent playhouse or anything like that, so we had to construct a Fort every time we played the game. Our Forts were sometimes two chairs with a sheet over them, sometimes the space behind the couch (with the couch cushions pulled up to provide extra walls), sometimes old boxes, and sometimes the tree in the front yard that we liked to climb. Basically anything that we could get our hands onto could become a Fort.

Like all forts, our Forts were in constant peril. Occasionally we had to defend our Fort from heavily armed unnamed attackers. Other times we had to survive a long brutal winter on meager supplies. Or perhaps we had to fight off wild animals while exploring the surrounding wilderness and living off the land.

One afternoon in December, big brother and I were left alone to amuse ourselves. Dad and gone out somewhere and Mom and gone to lie down because she had a headache. We were instructed to stay inside the house and keep quiet. (No, don’t call CPS on Mom, we generally didn’t get into trouble.) Big brother decided it was a good time to play Fort. I was either four or five at the time and big brother (as always) was a year older.

Back then, our family had an artificial Christmas tree. It was one of those old style trees with branches that had to be inserted one-by-one into the tree “trunk.” If you’ve ever seen one of those trees, you know that they weren’t full and lush like the artificial trees that you can buy today. You could see through that tree.

You know where this is going, right? Well, big brother took one look at the Christmas tree and declared that it would be our Fort that afternoon. We were rather small, there was a gap between the tree and the wall, and lots of space under the tree—it was perfect. Soon we were well established in our Fort and began the daily chores that residents of all Forts had to perform. We were cooking and cleaning and repairing the crumbling walls of our Fort.

Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. TIMBER! We surveyed the damage: the tree had landed on the coffee table, the lights and the paper chains were still on the tree, but tinsel, paper “snowflakes,” and odd-shaped ornaments made by childish hands were scattered all over the floor. Some of the tree braches had even come out of the trunk. We were horrified. No only did we destroy our Fort, we destroyed Christmas!

I started to cry. Santa would never come now! Where would he put the presents? Why would he even bring presents to a pair of bad little children? But big brother grabbed my hand and bravely marched down the long hallway to Mom and Dad’s room. We crept in and climbed on the bed. Big brother nudged Mom and said, “Mommy? Mommy? A disaster happened!” (Yes, those were his exact words according to Mom.)

I don’t really remember what happened after that. Mom probably helped us clean up our “disaster.” I’m sure we were scolded and punished. But Santa came anyway. Perhaps he knew it was just an accident.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm Stranded

btn_strandedkal_raspberry.0.jpgBelieve it or not, I’ve joined another KAL. But don’t worry, I’m not becoming a joiner. Like the other KALs I’ve joined, this KAL is one that happened to coincide with my knitting schedule. I’ve joined Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge. So here’s the first bit of KAL-age:

What are your projects for this knitalong?

Dale of Norway Lotus. I think that will be enough of a project for me. After all, I’ve frogged the entire thing once and frogged back several rounds a second time.

The second frogging incident was a result of my laziness. I had read all about yarn dominance and began my project with the yarns held in appropriate hands: the background pink in right hand and the dominant white in my left hand. All was right in the world. Then, I reached a transition point in the pattern—white becomes the background color and pink becomes dominant.

Of course, this transition doesn’t happen in one round. Oh no! That would be too easy. The transition happens over about five rounds and in those five rounds, part of the pattern repeat has white dominant and part of the pattern repeat has pink dominant. To keep the appropriate colors dominant, I would have to switch the yarns back and forth in my hands several times as I worked the rounds. Naturally, I found the switching annoying and didn’t do it. I simply picked a round in which to switch hands “once and for all” and knit on my merry way. Bad choice.


You can plainly see where I switched hands. Looks bad, doesn’t it? Okay, I know you’re all thinking that I’m being crazy and seeing things again, but humor me. Tell me how awful it looks. Don’t worry, I’ve frogged the offending rows and reknit and all is right with the world again.

Is this your first colorwork project? If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?

My first colorwork was also my first knitting project ever—a Sweater Curse sweater. I have no idea if the sweater is still around. I’ve done other colorwork since then, but Lotus is my first project involving steeks.

Random Knit Blog-age:

The fate of the Swallow Tail Shawl has been decided. Rachel offered to send me replacement yarn in exchange for the shawl. I’m sure it’s no secret that I’m a process knitter. Why else would I knit a gazillon wool sweaters that are horribly impractical for life in it’s-too-hot-here-Houston? So, I jumped at Rachel’s offer. Weee! Now I get to knit with cashmere AGAIN! To show my gratitude to Rachel, I won’t link to a goofy photo of her (like I did here) or remind her about how she’s a failure at being an apathetic sock knitter.

Cat Blog-age:

Sammy!I never quite understood why so many of you accused me of having a stuffed cat (or a drugged cat) whenever I showed a photo of Scout mugging for the camera. That is, I didn’t understand until now. I went to my parents house for a visit at the end of last month. While I was there I tried to take a photo of my “other” cat, Sam. Sammy was my cat until my mother decided that she liked him and wouldn't let me take him to Texas when I moved here. Considering the fact that Mom has never liked any animal before Sam*, I allowed him to stay with Mom. While I was home, I tried to take a good photo of Sam. I particularly wanted show off his pretty blue eyes. He didn’t seem to understand what I wanted.

Pretty KittyYes, his eyes were open and he was looking at the camera each time I pressed the shutter button! After chasing him around with a camera for a couple days, he had enough. But anyway. See the bit of blue carpet next to Sam? That’s the color of his eyes. Although Sam and the house were obtained separately, they are a matched set. I tried to talk Mom into letting me take Sam this time. Dad was ready to pack him up and toss him on the plane with me, but Mom said, "Sam is used to being an only cat." I guess that's a no.

* Mom has to be in the running for the Best Mom Ever for her tolerance of all the pets that big brother and I had. Mom really doesn't like pets at all. When big brother and I were growing up, she wouldn't interact with our pets and flatly refused to touch them unless absolutely necessary (such as when they were bothering her). Officially, big brother and I had one dog, two cats, three rabbits, two hamsters, two chicks, and a bunch of fish. Then there were the countless number of animals that "followed us home." These "foundling" animals were usually dogs but we ocassionally found cats and I once found a feret. (The feret was immediately sent packing by Mom.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

FO: IK Swallowtail Shawl

. . . and I'm back! Okay, I came back home last week but I've been extremely busy since then. As a result I have lots to say, but I'll limit my blatherings to knitting.

Swallowtail Shawl

It's my shawl, says Scout

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits Fall 2006
Yarn: Belisa Cashmere in pink (100% cashmere, 500 yards/ball), less than one ball
Needles: US size 4, 3.5 mm
Finished Dimensions: 57 inches wide, 25.5 inches tall


Tip.JPG1) I cast on for this project because I needed airplane knitting. Lugging big sweater pieces on airplanes was not my idea of a good time. Plus, my sweaters are on long metal circular needles, the possession of which would have marked me as a terrorist when going through TSA security. If I hadn’t been flying, I probably wouldn't have made this shawl at this time.

2) I’m not terribly excited or pleased with the way the shawl turned out:
I still have 9 grams of the original 50 grams. That means a whole 90 yards of this delicious cashmere is going to waste.
The gauge is a bit too big for the yarn. But going down a needle size would produce an even littler shawl. Plus, I only have one TSA approved set of knitting needles and they are size 4!
Horse Blanket versus Scout Blanket The shawl is pretty tiny and it’s bigger than the dimensions given in the pattern! Scarf would be a better name for it. Here’s a size comparison between the Shaped Triangle Horse Blanket and the Swallowtail Scarf. The Horse Blanket doesn’t even fit on the bed. The Scarf, on the other hand, is a good size for a Scout Blanket. (In fact, Peter calls this shawl Scout’s Shawl.)

3) Is the Swallowtail Scout Blanket destined for the frog pond? Maybe. Probably. I’ll keep my eyes out for a better pattern. I know what I’m looking for now: a rectangular lace scarf that has a very short row repeat and no border so that I can use up every last bit of cashmere goodness. Yes I’m serious about frogging it—I didn’t even trim the ends so that I could pick them out when the time comes.


Friday, November 17, 2006

See you soon!

I'm going on a short vacation starting tomorrow. Internet access may be spotty. I'll answer emails and such when I return at the end of next week. Scream at me if you want special attention.

Happy Turkey Day to all!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Paying penance for sins against the Fair Isle gods

For give me Fair Isle gods, for I have sinned . . .

LotusPhoto.JPGSome of you may remember that I purchased a kit for the Dale of Norway Lotus sweater waaaay back at the beginning of the year. I had intended to knit that sweater during the spring and summer figuring that it would keep me occupied during my long “no buying yarn” months.


As all of you probably noticed, I did not knit the sweater over the summer. In fact, I didn’t even take the yarn out of the bag until this past weekend. What took me so long? Well, honestly, I was a bit fearful of starting the sweater because I did not want to swatch for it.

Normally I am a very dedicated and compulsive swatcher when it comes to working on pieces where size matters. (When size doesn’t matter, I pretend that I don’t know what the word swatch means.) I knit good-sized swatches, I wash them, block them, and then measure them. If a swatch is not up to snuff, I repeat the process.

Now that I have sung my own praises about my excellent swatching technique, I have a confession to make. I don’t swatch in the round—not even for pieces that will be ultimately knit in the round. I know the swatch police would like to arrest me for this practice, but they shouldn’t. I have learned, through experience, that my flat-knitting gauge does not differ from my in-the-round knitting gauge. So no problems! Usually.

Lotus is obviously a Fair Isle sweater and, like all Dale of Norway Fair Isle sweaters, is knit in the round. Now I may think that I’m the most perfect even stockinette knitter in the world, but I am not foolish enough to think that my gauge knitting Fair Isle flat is exactly the same as my gauge knitting Fair Isle in the round. On the contrary, I know without even trying that my gauge knitting Fair Isle flat will be drastically different from knitting it in the round. That’s why I didn’t start Lotus sooner—I didn’t want to swatch Fair Isle in the round.

But over the weekend I bit the bullet. I started swatching for Lotus. And I really, truly tried to swatch it in the round. I tried the long-float-across-the-back method and the knit-tube-to-cut-open method but both methods were so fiddly for me that I was sure that I wasn’t going to get an accurate gauge measurement anyway. Plus the swatches looked like crap. So the swatches were frogged and I knit the dang swatch flat. Shame on me.

I know that I was asking for trouble but I felt that the troubles that I was inflicting on myself for knitting the swatch flat would be equivalent to the troubles that would happen if I depended on the gauge from an ugly swatch produced by an overly fiddly method. And, I reasoned, at least if I knit the swatch flat, I wouldn’t be irritated making the swatch. I’m sure many of you would tell me that doing Fair Isle on the purl side is rather fiddly as well, but at least it’s a fiddliness that I have dealt with before and that I can manage without wanting to throw the knitting across the room.

So I knit the swatch flat. Initially the gauge was a bit tight, but a nice bath and overnight air drying caused the swatch to bloom to just the right size. I cast on with only minor anxiety.

I knit the bottom border. Hmmm. Seems a bit too wide. Oh well, you can’t really measure a narrow piece like that on the needles. La de da. After knitting the border, I measured the length of my needle—it’s supposedly a 40” Addi, but it’s really a 38.75” Addi. Cheaters. But at least that explains why the piece will fit on the needle when joined in the round. Perhaps the piece isn’t too wide after all. La de da. I started the Fair Isle bit. I knit and knit and knit. 270 stitches + 6 cutting stitches every round is a lot to knit.

LotusStart.JPGThen, for some reason, I felt compelled to measure my gauge. It is TOO BIG. Imagine that. It’s off by one lousy stitch over four inches, which is close, but as my junior high history teacher always said, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” One lousy stitch over 270 stitches is 1.5 inches. That’s 1.5 inches of extra ease on something that will already have about 3 inches of ease. Also, that gauge was measured before washing and blocking so the final gauge is probably off by more than one lousy stitch. Nope. It isn’t going to work.

It shall be frogged. I will go down a needle size. I will measure my gauge again and hope and pray that it will be right.

One shining point in my sad trip to the frog pond—I’ll be able to replace the ugly, curling mesh border pattern with a simple, sturdy, non-curling garter stitch border.

What does one do after she’s offended the Fair Isle gods? Go pay homage to the Cable gods, of course!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Baby Aran and Ruffles: Two FOs for the Price of One

I finished two projects last week but never got around to blogging about them. I guess I was distracted by the bobblectomy. Without further ado, I present a sweater and a scarf:

Baby Aran


Pattern: Heirloom Aran Baby Set (but just the sweater, not the hat) from Interweave Knits Spring 2004, size 12 months
Yarn: Rowan 4-Ply Soft in color 370 “Whisper,” 100% merino wool, 191 yards per ball, 3 balls used
Needles: US size 3
Recipient: Nephew Loganberry
1) I didn’t do any modifications to this sweater. I didn’t even use a 3-needle bind-off for the shoulder seams because the sweater has saddle shoulders.

Oh the indignity! says Scout2) You’ll notice that Scout is not modeling this sweater. Putting a cat into a pullover and getting her to pose for photos is much harder than draping a cardigan over her back. Unfortunately for Scout, I still tried to get a torture modeling photo anyway. Yes, that is the only photo that I managed to take before she started trashing around. I had to get the sweater off her FAST.

3) I still need to find some good buttons to put on the button placket. However, I find the button placket position to be a bit weird.

See button placket.
What a nice place to put buttons!

See saddle strap covering up entire button placket.
What the heck?!

Uh, aren’t you supposed to sew buttons onto the button placket? If I did that, the saddle strap wouldn’t sit straight. I’m confused. Should I sew the buttons right where the placket meets the front of the sweater? Is the placket there just so that one doesn’t have to sew the buttons right on the top edge of the front?

What are you doing with my toy?

Pattern: Ruffles scarf from Scarf Style
Yarn: Handmaiden Silk Maiden in Berry, 50% silk, 50% wool, 300 yards, 1 hank
Needles: US size 7
Finished length: 56 inches, a decent length for a “decorative” scarf
Cat: Scout (I love it when she cocks her head like that)
Peter’s Sarcastic Comment: “Wow, it looks so warm!”
My Comment: I washed the scarf and now I wish I hadn’t. The yarn became much more drape-y and my nice tight fusilli spiral is now floppy. *sigh* But I still love it because it’s soft and curly and red.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bobblectomy Tutorial

Instructions on how to remove unslighty bobbles.

Remember my bobble-ful Serenity sweater? I threatened to cut off all the bobbles when I got the sweater back from Yarntopia. Well, the sweater is still there, but I decided to try some practice bobblectomies to see how annoying it would be.

So here it is, just for you, my first bobblectomy!

(click photos for biggie versions)

The starting swatch. I made a few practice bobbles (just in case I screwed up) and then started the Serenity cable pattern. I'm using some very bright, leftover Encore.

First, anchor the stitches above and below. This will prevent the stitches from dropping and will give you some guidance after the bobble is gone. Leave the stitch markers in place until you're happy with your work.

Put a stitch marker in the stitch below. This bobble was started by k1, p1, k1 into one stitch. So here's a marker in that stitch.

Put a marker in the stitch above. Note that the marker goes through both legs of the stitch above! This bobble ended with sl1, k2tog, psso. The big-ish stitch below the marker in the photo was the last stitch of the bobble.

Find the middle stitch of the bobble. I put a marker in just to show the stitch. You don't have to find the stitch exactly in the middle, but you should be close. CUT one of the legs of the middle stitch.

Unravel both ends. The bottom will unravel easily, but the top will need to be picked out. When you're done, you should have one end on the right of the hole and one end on the left.

Now you need to replace the bobble with a stitch—in this case a knit stitch. I'm starting with the end on the right of the hole. First, thread the yarn up (from back to front) through the stitch below (your stitch marker should still be there to help you).

Next, thread the yarn through the stitch above—go through both legs of the stitch! Again, use your stitch marker for guidance. (Your needle will go down through the right leg and up through the left leg. Photo shows both happening at once.)

Finally, thread the yarn down through the stitch below.

Tada! A new stitch where the bobble used to be! I removed the bottom marker but left the top one so you could see where the new stitch was created.

Now thread both ends to the back of the work and weave the ends in opposite directions. The end that was to the right of the hole should be woven to the left, and the end that was to the left of the hole should be woven to the right. Use this article by the s'wonderful Theresa for help in weaving ends.

Weave through a few stitches in each direction, making the back of the work nice and tidy. Trim ends.

And here's the cable pattern with one bobble removed. I followed the same technique that I showed above except I replaced the bobble with a purl stitch.

The whole process worked as I anticipated it would, but I'm not sure I would want to repeat it so many times for the sweater. Plus, the thought of cutting all that beautiful yarn into short bits makes me cry.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happiness is . . .

. . . meeting your friends for the first time.

Last night was a spectacular night at the Central Houston SnB. I finally met two Houston knitbloggers who I have been dying to meet: Drew The Crochet Dude and Elizabeth of a Mingled Yarn. Of course, I didn't have my camera with me to take photos. Perhaps I’m not a dedicated enough knitblogger. Some day I will learn to drag my carmera wherever I go.

Drew had a surprise for me: he brought the final proofs of Men Who Knit & the Dogs that Love Them so that I could see them! The book is amazing. I can’t wait to get my own copy—I’m sure that some of the dog sweaters could be made Scout-sized.

. . . Fuzzy Feet!

Warm toes, warm heart

Pattern: Fuzzy Feet by the fabulous Theresa available at Knitty
Yarn: Patons SWS in Natural Plum (70% wool, 30% tofu), two balls
Needles: US size 11 DPN
Comments: I purposely tried not to have matching stripes on the slippers. I figured that if I tried to make them match and they didn’t match I would be much more annoyed than I would be if the stripes didn’t match at all. But look! The stripes tried as hard as they could to match up anyway.

The texture of the felted fabric looks sort of like I knit with boucle yarn. I suppose it’s the unfelted tofu soy part of the yarn. The soy part certainly didn’t interfere with the felting process. This stuff felted fast!

Some random photos:
My what big feet I have!

On Scout:
Why does she do this to me?

Yes, her paws are really in the slippers. After the last post of Scout some of you to accused me of having a stuffed cat and/or drugging poor little Scout. However, neither is true. Scout just helps me out with these photos. Sometimes. She didn’t want to put on the Fuzzy Feet at first.
I'll get you Mommy!
“STOP it Mommy! I have teeth
and I’m not afraid to use them!”

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An Announcement and a Reid FO Report

Recently, my old former college roomie took up knitting. I have been watching her progress with great interest and have been quite pleased that she never stooped to knitting a garter stitch fun-fur scarf. Anyway, she just produced her first ever sock. See it here and tell her what a wonderful job she's done. She even grafted the toe closed!

I'm so cute, says Scout

Pattern: Reid from Knitty, 2 year size
Yarn: Patons Grace in pink (4 balls) and blue (part of a ball)
Needles: US size 5 and 6, crochet hook of an appropriate size (Size gray in my own personal crochet-hook sizing system. I can never remember the real sizes.)
Recipient: Niece Eva
Cat: Scout

Picots Modifications: I started working the picot edging as specified in the pattern: work a round of single crochet then work a round of single-crochet picots. But when I finished, I thought that the edging looked too clunky—it needed something more delicate. So I ripped the picot round and tried a slip-stitch picot round. The combo of single crochet then slip-stitch picots looked nice, but alas, I found doing the slip-stitch picots very awkward. So I ripped out all the single crochets and did a single-crochet picot round directly onto the sweater. I think it looks good now—and it’s a lot faster.

(Don't let all this fancy-schmancy crochet talk make you think that I know something about crochet. Everything I know comes from the big fat Vogue Knitting book.)

Oh and I did a 3-needle bind off for the shoulder seams. Do I really need to say that again? Maybe I should just tell you when I DON’T do a 3-needle bind off.

The perfect gift for a long-armed baby Oopsie(?): I knit the sleeves as directed (“work all rows of upper sleeve chart, etc.”) and I probably shouldn’t have. Or I should have dry-blocked the sleeves to see how long they were after working the sleeve increase chart. But I didn’t dry block and when I actually blocked the sleeves to the size specified in the pattern after binding off, I didn’t think that the lace pattern was open enough. So I made another one of my brilliant snap decisions: “I’ll just make the sleeves longer! That way Miss Eva can wear the sweater for a longer time.” Um, yeah. Perhaps if Eva is part Neanderthal she could wear it. (No, I’m not saying that my brother or my SIL are Neanderthals. It’s a joke about having long arms. It must be a bad joke if I think I have to explain it.)

General thoughts: Overall it was a nice, quick knit. The lace pattern is easy to memorize and the results are cute. Just dry-block those sleeves to check the length, okay?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Nip in the Air

Well, grumpy blogging didn’t go over too well, now did it? I’m over my whininess and am bouncy and cheerful as ever. Now I’m just busy as heck with work--I have a “another freelancer flaked out on us and this was due two weeks ago so could you bail us out now” project. Yes, much fun. But at least it’s work. Anyway.

Burr!The other morning, I woke up and felt cold. “There’s a nip in the air!” I told Scout. So, Scout and I scurried down the stairs to look at the thermometer. Burr--54ºF! Is it really true? Obviously, it must be time to make some winter accessories. (For now, we’ll forget that it warmed up to nearly 80ºF later that day and then went back to summer for the rest of the week.)

So what’s on deck in my knitting line up? Well, I have some nice yarns in the stash that have been waiting to be knit up. First up, Some beautiful Silk Maiden (50% merino 50% silk) in the Berry colorway from Handmaiden Yarns. I bought this yarn a few months ago from Yarntopia with a plan:
I wish it was real fusili, says Scout

Yup that’s the much overdone Ruffles scarf from Scarf Style. Yes, I’m well aware that it’s a bit of a cliché and that it’s boring as all get-out to knit. But I’m knitting it anyway because I always wanted a fusili scarf. Something about the corkscrew that’s so whimsical that I can’t resist it. Sure it won’t keep me warm, but who cares? It’s cute and I live in Houston. At least I’m using my knitting backward technique to save myself some aggravation.

I wish it was a real bunny, says Scout Next, a furry hat that will clash nicely with the curly scarf. I guess I won’t be able to wear the two items at the same time. I’ll be making Wendy Bernard’s Last Minute (not) Purled Beret with this pink fluff. The pink fluff is the 100% bunny yarn that Valerie sent me earlier this year. I’m not going to turn the hat inside out because I don’t want a purled hat. I want a knit hat.

I’m hoping that this project doesn’t turn out to be a disaster. First of all, angora is not known to be a resilient fiber so it may not have the “spring” needed to make a good hat. Second, I don’t have that much yarn and frogging is not so easy. But I’m going to try anyway because I don’t know what else to do with the yarn and I want a beret, dang it! However, if it’s not looking good for the beret team after I work the ribbing. I may abandon the project.

Just brilliant Finally, I need some new Fuzzy Feet. The first pair that I made wore out and my feet are cold. I have some Patons SWS that I think will be perfect for the pattern. I knew that this stuff felts, but I wasn’t sure how much. Being the brilliant person that I am, I knit up a swatch, carefully measured it, and tossed it in the washer. Still being a brilliant person, I decided to let the swatch go for the whole cycle so that I could see the “maximum” felting. I wanted to be able to figure out exactly how big to knit the Fuzzy Feet so that I could have well fitting, THICK slippers when I was done. So what’s the “maximum” felting that can be done with Patons SWS? More than you would ever want for a pair of slippers. Believe it or not, that wad used to be a 5 x 5 inch square. Now it’s a blob x blob inch square. Uh. I guess I’ll just have keep an eye on the felting process. Let’s hope that I don’t screw that up.

Why wasn't Scout in that last photo? Because she was too busy playing with her fish from MonkeeMom! "Hi MonkeeMom!" says Scout. "Cleo really loves the chicken-feather toy that you gave us!"
I wish it was a real fish, says Scout

Friday, October 20, 2006

Call me a loser

Hi! Remember me? I'm back from reclusing myself away from the knitblogging world. (I know reclusing isn’t a word. I’m following the great American tradition of creating verbs from nouns by adding “-ing”.) I'm touched by the concern that some of you expressed over my recent lack of blogging. Nothing is seriously wrong over here--just a case of the blahs and a bit of a writer's block.

I had a cold a couple weeks ago and, as usual, I sat around and felt sorry for myself. I'm such a baby when it comes to being ill. As a kid, I didn't get ill very often (perfect school attendance from 5th grade until high school graduation!) so I got the short-end of the stick when it came to the attentions of Dr. Mom. In fact, my parents didn't believe me the few times that I actually was very ill. And yes I vividly remember being dismissed as "lazy" and "bratty" when I complained about not feeling well.* So now that I'm an adult and don’t have to wait for a parental unit to declare me sick, I milk it for all it's worth. "Pity me, I'm sick!"

PatheticKnitting-wise I've also been a loser. I started working on my Christmas gifts: Reid for niece Eva and Heirloom Aran for nephew Logan. Now you can see that Reid is basically finished. Seamed together, pink yarn ends weaved, picot edging worked. But notice that the ball of yarn for the edging is STILL ATTACHED to the dang sweater. It's been in that state for a week now. Pathetic. I'm just pathetic.

While the nearly finished Reid languishes in my knitting bag, the Heirloom Aran is clicking along nicely. What is it about working cables in fingering-weight yarn that I find so attractive? I was mighty disappointed to discover that I had to go up to a gigantic size 3 needle (3.25 mm for you metric types) to get gauge. There was much grousing when I put away the size 1 needle (2.25 mm). Suddenly the entire pattern was less interesting, but I cast on anyway. What else was I going to do with the yarn?

WhineThe back and the front of the aran are finished and I just started the sleeves. But now I don’t want to work on it simply because the sleeves have increases on the wrong side of the work. That’s right, I’m being crabby about having to increase on the wrong side. Why? Because not only am I a pathetic loser, I’m a whiner too. whine

So now you’ve gotten a dose of me in a foul mood and you can see why I didn’t feel like blogging. I’ll keep working on hauling myself out of this slump. A visit this weekend from Monkee and MonkeeMom should help with that.

*(The incident most deeply burned in my memory happened during a family vacation to San Francisco. We were in Chinatown shopping. At that time, Chinatown was very exciting and important to my father because Chinese Anything was impossible to find in Iowa. I started feeling bad. I told my parents. I could barely stand and couldn't bear to be inside the stuffy stores. My dad yelled at me. Called me selfish. After an hour or so of moping and yelling, he dragged me and the rest of the family halfway across the city to eat at a non-Chinatown restaurant because he thought I was complaining about being in Chinatown. But I just wanted to sit and do nothing. I couldn't eat the sandwich that he bought for me. More yelling. Finally, they took me back to our relatives’ house where I promptly began showing the less-pleasant symptoms of the stomach flu. Of course, my brother came down with the same illness the next day and my parents had to spend the rest of the vacation tag-teaming over who took care of the kids and who got to go sightseeing. Thankfully, I was nearly well by the time we had to fly home. Big brother was not so lucky.)