Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I kept knitting and telling myself this, but I was doubting. Then today I was watching "What Not to Wear" (my guilty pleasure TV) and there was a gal with similar coloring. Heathers completely washed her out.
So I ripped out the hat and returned it to the stash for another project. But now what?
I do have a skein of the yarn in a lovely green that would be much better on Allison, but now I'm running out of time, and I'm not sure that I should give the same thing to her as I did to her sister. So I'm thinking that maybe I'll work on the Bijouterie earrings instead. They should be done in about an hour.
Ack, the last of the Christmas knitting, and I'm not sure what I want to do!!!
So, post in the comments: Should I knit the hat, or the earrings.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
and then this hat just kinda flew off the needles:
Yeah, I think I need to make one for me. Slouchy Copy Cat Hat in Ultra Alpaca, with some modifications to make it more beret-like.
And I caught the Bijouterie bug and ordered the wire (sorry, I think I got the last of it from the supplier), and am on the hunt for the rest of the findings.
Gift knitting left? One more Monteagle bag, and something for Allison...not sure what.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Yes, Addi (zooom!) turbos. Blessed be the Addis.
But let's go back to the beginning. A couple of months ago I bought several skeings of Fibranatura Flax -- three skeins in lemon, about 7 in a pretty sky blue. I decided to save the blue ones for a lacy tank top similar to the one at the top of the blog. The yellow ones I wanted to turn into market bags for Christmas gifts.
Luckily, I found someone on Ravelry who made the Monteagle Bag from Mason-Dixon 2 with just one skein. Added everything to the queue in September, having downloaded the pattern from www.masondixonknitting.com.
Then selfish knitting intervened. I've been working on the log cabin afghan, which is very, very close to being completely done (one strip to sew, ends to weave in, and final blocking!). I knitted a nice pair of socks, and a scarf to go with a hat that I knit last year.
But then I realized I do like knitting for others, just not all the time. The fact that the Inca Gold that I've ordered special from Marin Fiber Arts for a lovely cardigan has not come in yet has nothing to do with this, really! So, I started a dishcloth set for my cousin, Marie -- and it's pretty much done, except for some weaving of ends and sewing on of buttons.
I culled the queue on Ravelry (down to five projects, now that I've discovered that I can favorite something and put a keyword in to find it later), and the Monteagle was calling to me. So, last night I started.
First, I decided that it was time to use Judy's magic cast-on instead of the sew-uplater version. So, I grabbed the Boye needle set (thinking that my Knitpicks needles in the size 9 I'd need -- I'm a loose knitter -- were in use on another project, and the 20 in length is in the Boye set), put on the cables and started, then realized that I'd be better off using two circular needles at least at the beginning. I rummaged through my circular sets and found two 16 in circulars -- a Susan Bates coated set, and Plymouth wooden ones.
Ah, here's the rub of circular needles. They are all so different from each other. The Susan Bates are flexible, have a relatively easy "jump" from the cable to the needle. They are slightly sticky, and blunt-tipped. The Plymouths have a better point, but they are like molasses to move stitches over, and, to my mind, have one feature which will ban them from my hands forever, a small BULB right at the base of the needle. This is not a mistake, in like "gee, we goofed on the design." No, it's an intentional little bulb, which will impede the progress of any yarn from the cable to the needle.
Back to the Monteagle bag: I got the cast on done, knit the three rounds of stockinette, and then started with the "twisted cross stitches" which are really mock cables with extra wraps. Not a big deal, except I'm knitting flax, which has NO give, NO bounce. What you see is what you get.
The experienced knitters are now saying, "No, you didn't." Yep, I did. I put all those twisted cross stitches in flax onto the Plymouth circular needle. And everything came to a grinding halt. I could not get the stitches up over the "bump" (read -- boulder beyond any knitter's understanding). Unfortunatley, I could also not "tink" the stitches back, because I couldn't get them back over the other side.
One little thing that I forgot to mention is that the pattern I'm using will use every inch of the Fibranatura flax. There is no "excess" according to what I've read on Ravelry. I couldn't just cut off what I've knitted and start over and have enough to make a bag.
I pondered...and then it hit me. I hate this Plymouth needle. There is no way I'm gonna use it again. And it would be totally unfair to impose this needle onto some newer unsuspecting knitter who doesn't know crap and will get discouraged and think they are a bad knitter.
And so, I cut the cable. (A picture will follow.)
So, I pulled out my Knitpicks options binder, I realized that my Size 9 tips were not being used. I put a 40 inch cable on them, and am magic-looping my way, feeling virtuous and victorious over my Plymouth circulars.
And yes, it is finished:
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I am now blocking the biggest thing that I have ever blocked:
Yes, Isadora was intrigued as well. I was a bit off my mark too, the fiber goodness of a whole afghan/blanket made me swoon:
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
So, without further ado, some lovely socks:
Yes, they are especially knit for me -- extra stitches to accomodate my high instep, and a favorite yarn from chasing rainbows! They are almost dry -- and ready for a fun time in December.
And another FO is blocking. It's the Inside-Outside Scarf -- free on the XRX website, and a great way to use variated yarns. There are some good extra directions on the WEBS site by Pixie that provide some helpful extra thoughts. Here's a not-so-great photo of the blocking in progress:
This is actually way better in person. If you have a couple of balls of varigated yarn in your stash, you too can have a wonderful scarf. Actually, if you have only one ball of slowly repeating varigated yarn, you can make a scarf just like mine!
The afghan is now in strips, but I have not had the space to do some blocking before I sew the strips together (my mom is visiting for the week). Photos soon.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Log Cabin 4
Originally uploaded by skatfantoo
The selfish knitting continues. I did fall off the wagon a bit by making a couple of pairs of mittens for Afghans for Afghans, but I'm now back to completing my own afghan -- the first I've done for myself since forever.
The kitties did their inspection of all the log cabin squares last night, and approved the layout. I've now put together two strips of 4 squares, with three more to go. Trying to decide if blocking the strips is the best way, or wait 'til the whole thing is done.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Seriously, if people who managed to squander other peoples' money in buying a house by simply having stated their incomes on a form without any documentation whatsoever, then I freely confess the following:
1. I have bought yarn without showing any ability to pay the credit card bills within the year. My LYS (aka "my dealer") freely pushed onto me fibers and yarns with words like "silk","hand-painted" and "handspun" knowing that my ability to refuse such fibers was impaired. I was sucked into the vortex of "doesn't it feel great!"
2. The spirial soon started. I bought yarns, tools, and patterns, and began to haunt online websites like Knitty to feed the illusion that I would actually knit all the yarn that I was buying. The stash bubble began to grow.
3. My transformation into a fiber victim was twisted yet higher by the introduction of the truly seductive and seemingly innocuous website called Ravelry. Oh, yes, Jess and Casey profess to be community-minded small business owners running a start-up, but have you noticed that their mascot, Bob, never smiles? Yeah, he's the brains behind the whole operation. They provide the ability to check out patterns and ways to use any yarn in your stash, so I bought more and more yarn with the thought "I'll figure out how to use this on Ravelry." Any reason not to buy yarn was effectively and efficiently eliminated. Yarn piled higher and higher. Who needs a mortgage when one is buying yarn?
4. Since September 15th, the value of my stash has declined by over 50 percent, meaning that my fiber 401k is now in the tank. I hear from fiberconomists that it is because my sister knitters have also bought yarn that they have told me that they could not afford and do not intend to use until at least retirement. This "fiber bubble" has now burst and we spend our evenings touching Kidsilk Haze and crying, "Why, why!!!" Soon, the fiber eviction notices will come, our yarn will be sold at auction to unworthy knitters who will be taking advantage of our circumstances and we will be reduced to acrylic "pound-plus" yarn from Big-Box stores. Our knitting community will wither and die, and friends and family will be asking us to go get anti-depressants. It will not be pretty.
I therefore plead with our elected Representatives Truly, the only solution is in a yarn bailout. I need it now, but can you ask FiberFannie Mae wait 'til I finish my UFO?
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Needless to say, there was more than a bit of partying. Alcohol was imbibed, family members were called and screamed to. Even the cats got overcome by the fiber fumes:
Yes, Brandy was a little overwhelmed by the news.
We are recovering today. But I'll always have this for a memory of this time:
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Yet, I'm still anxious and nervous. The last two elections have made me a bit paranoid.
So, thank goodness for garter stitch. You can watch TV with garter stitch, and since I've knit for more than 30 year, so I don't even need to watch my hands all the time. In the last two weeks, I've knit these:
I finished the one unfinished square in the middle row and there's one more completed since the photo. Given my excitement, there's no telling how many will be done on election day.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
See, here are some socks that I'm working on:
Yes, wild crazy colors, and so fun for the feet.
and I've started on a big project for me - a log cabin afghan. I'm estimating that I'll do 20 squares so that it ends up being about 42" by 52". A nice mindless knit that will use up worsted scraps! Fortunately, Isadora approves:
And I had this totally interesting thing happen:
What? You say that you can't see anything? Let's take a closer look:
They look different sizes, but they are not. The sock on the left was caught at the bottom of the laundry bin, and then was washed by hand with other socks with shampoo (the cheap Trader Joe's stuff. The sock on the right was put into the washing machine and dryer -- it's Regia, it can handle it.
The left sock is relaxed and happy, the fibers are soft and pliable. It feels nice. The sock on the right is tighter (the result of the dryer, my guess) and a little scratchier. Not hopeless or unwearable, but there is a difference. Quite a difference!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I kept ooohing and aaahing over things, to the point that I was probably going to walk out. While I love the yarns, the colors aren't to my liking, and I don't have the dying skills at this point to try something out.
But I did get some Patois - a lovely alpaca, silk and nylon tape that is sewn down the middle. A whole cone of it, and I'm hoping that it's enough for a scarf and a hat (it should be).
Then I found a free Annie Modesitt pattern called Netty, a cowl pattern, but one that is knit side-by-side, so it easily translates into a scarf. And see what I've got with about 20 minutes work?
This is fun!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
This is Libby, who was less shy than her mates:
And this guy was a comic:
There were fleeces of all colors (natural) and roving, as well as yarn from the national Alpaca co-op, and locally produced fiber.
I bought yarn from Vicki of Alpaca Shire, which is local fiber spun in southern California, and then she kool aid dyed it yellow and aqua:
On the knitting for others front, here's the update: This sweater, I am happy to say, is completely finished:
and was a fun knit. I stumbled into using good color theory on the sweater, and I like the outcome.
The other sweater, the Ariann, had yet one more trial. At Knit Night, as I thought I was finishing the collar, Lisa helpfully pointed out that the bands were unfinished. With a sinking heart, I looked at the pattern, and yes, I was supposed to have included the button-band stitches in the collar. So, another frogged piece (but this time, fortunately it is garter stitch!), and I reknit it, sewed the small seams under the arms, wove in the ends, soaked it, spun it in the washing machine, and now it is blocking. Only buttons to sew on!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I am almost done with the much-frogged Ariann Sweater for my little cousin -- only the collar to finish in garter stitch, weaving in ends, sewing on buttons and blocking. I'm doing another percentage sweater for A4A and almost at the point where you do some short rows at the neck before the neck ribbing. That's two sweaters more than 90 percent done.
And then I realized: I am tired of knitting for others. I haven't knit for myself since (quickly checking Ravelry) July 1st (not counting the pair of mittens I knit, since it hasn't been cold enough to wear them). I am weary of all this "big project" knitting" as well. Next-up: a couple of smaller, selfish projects.
I think I'll get the sweaters done soon -- I'd like to, and I need to finish one of them by the middle of October to mail.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Then I had a teensy-wheensy problem with the next set of decreases. Exact same dyslexia problem of reading the pattern wrong, but this time I figured out the problem with just 1 1/2 inches knit. Frogged it, and knit back. I went further on to the neckline decreases, and noticed a small problem -- the stitches on each side of the front were off. I counted, not one, two or three stitches off -- seven stitches off. Yep, more than an inch.
With dread in my heart, I looked further down, and realized that the fronts were all off. The decreases in the lace pattern, which should match, did not match at all. And so it repeated, like the plagues that that long ago Egyptian Pharaoh had to endure -- a river of frogs all the way back to the armholes.
I am putting the sweater in time-out. Clearly this is not working the way that I need it to. I need to get all OCD and count all the stitches where the sweater is now and be sure that I count every other @#$#@ row. But this is not the time.
In better news, I finished the socks I've been working for for Afghans for Afghans:
And if you have any knitting time at all the youth campaign is in need of your knitting, if you can do something by the middle of October!
Me, I started a new sweater for this project, and it is a relief to be working in the Elizabeth Zimmermann world:
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I'm knitting the Ariann cardigan for my little cousin Rachel, and I had finished the body (knit in one piece) up to the armhole, the sleeves to the same point. I joined the sleeves and body and began knitting the yoke. The decreases looked a bit odd (not as much like the pattern as I thought they should), but this is my first time knitting this pattern, so I went along with it. Knitting denial had set in. I reached the point where the decreases for the neckline decreases begin.
Then in looking at the pattern, I realize that the pattern seems to indicate a lot of rows of decreases yet to come, with hardly any more rows in which to accomplish them. Dang pattern!!! But doubt creeps in. I'd found the knit-a-long thread on Ravelry and no errata were mentioned, and the designer is even there. The pattern is a pdf download that can be corrected quickly and easily.
With a bit of dread in my knitter's heart, I go back to the pattern, and realize that doing decreases "every RS row 6 times" is not the same as decreasing "every 6 rows 6 times."
And yes, those decreases started 7 inches back, just about to where those sleeves and body got connected. All the knitting I'd done during the Republican convention (yep, I'm blaming this on the RNC, why not?) had to be ripped out and done over. This is the biggest knitting mistake I've made in a couple of years.
So, with denial over, I ripped it out and am about 1/2 back up the yoke. Yes, it looks better and more like the pattern.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
But I had yarn leftover, and yarn this good should not be left alone. So, since it was sock yarn, I sensibly started a toe of a sock:
I love this toe. It's a variation of a sock recipe by Merike Saarnit, who has not published it to my knowledge. My variation incorporates Judy's magic cast-on for a completely invisible toe.
On the side of the sock, you can just bareley see that cute little cable along the side? I wanted to have that as a fun small zing for the sock. But as I knit, I soon began to realize that my plans for two socks out of the leftover yarn was not going to happen.
I took a look again at that toe. A toe is another name for the top of the mitten, right? And hands are smaller than feet, so I figured, hey, I can do this. And then I realized having a set of a scarf and mittens makes a lot more sense than a scarf and socks! I'm onto mittens, great idea.
Well, I still wasn't all that sure that I had enough sock yarn, so I stopped the first mitten at the end of the hand, and then did the other hand, and realized that I was right, I didn't have enough yarn for the cuffs. I pulled out some nice Opal wool yarn and finished the cuffs. Here's one of the mittens.
But as I was playing around with the cuffs, I realized that my method of doing the thumbs (based on Kate Atherley's mitten recipe on Knitty), leads to having the thumb in the line of the mitten. What would happen if you decided that you wanted to have that cute little cable running down the front of the mitten so everyone, including the wearer, could see them? What would that look like? Well, if you put the "left hand" mitten on your right hand, the mitten looks like this:
And it totally, totally works like a mitten. Now this is a small, probably already-discovered discovery. An unvention, to use an Elizabeth Zimmermann term. But I have to tell you, it was such a lovely discovery, and I felt as though I was channeling Cat Bordhi as I did it.
And I really like having a pair of mittens to go with my lovely scarf!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
So, I frogged back to the toe, added more stitches, and I think it'll fit a kid with a slightly smaller foot than my Ladies' size 6. One sock done, started a bit of the toe on the next.
But now back to the cardigan. I've wondering how to finish this -- I think I'm doing navy seed stitch at the bottom and for the bands. We'll see now much navy is left for the neck and cuffs, but I've got more grey, green and yellow, so I'll have options. In addition, since we are halfway through the Ravelympics, the feline judging has started, and I think she's gonna be tough as those gymnastics judges:
She says that I need to add a bit more length, and to stick the edging!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Then the mens gymnastics team has to totally blow my preconceived notions that any talk of a medal was ludicrous. Wow! They looked SO good that it's hard to realize that a couple of these guys were last minute alternates. NBC fails me again -- while I understand that the East Coast times are live, we on the West Coast could have this all start one hour earlier with no problems, and I would not be going to bed at 12:15 am still not having seen the end of the gymnastics comp.
Well, there are some knitting distractions too -- I'm in a lovely Kitty Toy Swap on Ravelry. I sent off the items to my partner, but we are also knitting toys for a cat shelter in Minnesota, and I couldn't see sending a couple of toys to a shelter, so I;m knitting and stuffing 10 (at least) fish cat toys like these:
The observant among you will see a mouse -- I created that myself with self-striping yarn in crochet for the last Kitty Toy Swap this past spring -- may have time for a couple of those. I stuff these with premium cat nip, and this time I'll include a bell in each as well.
and then because I go to an office now, it's just not practical to bring the two sweaters I'm working on (yeah, I am crazy), so I've got leftover sock yarn for some great socks for the Ravelympics.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Well, we knitters know a secret -- that you can always rip and frog(except when felting or using really fuzzy yarn). After all, plans for an item can change.
So, after showing the pattern for the youth sweater for Afghans for Afghans yesterday (which I may still make for myself someday), I decided I wanted to use another simpler pattern. I remembered that there are some unpatterns published on the web and found the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan recipe. Lovely pattern, very easy to follow, and even has a cardigan option. I'm good to go. (And I heard about another recipe that I'm tempted by on the new Knotions magazine website - check it out.)
Then I had to figure out the stripe pattern. Again, memory bells rang to say that somewhere there are stripe-generating tools on the web. I found this one, and it worked like a charm -- you click on the colors you are using, enter a number for the rows you'll be working the stripes. Then you hit enter until you get a randomly created pattern that you like. Then you simply print out the pattern or save it as the instructions show.
I'm past the neckline, and doing the increases down to the armpits -- it's going a bit slower with the color changes for the striping, but I'm really liking the yarn (Wash-Day Wool by Reynolds, which I'm doubling for warmth), which I got on deep sale in So Cal.
Friday, August 8, 2008
My first and biggest project is a top-down raglan cardigan -- I'm kinda following this pattern from Cosmic Pluto -- but I'm sure I'll make adjustments as I go along.
For training, I swatched the yarn (doubling it)
Now I have gathered the yarn and the pattern (still need to get the Knitpicks options put together), and I'm ready to cast on today!
But before I do, I need to watch this again for the proper inspiration:
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
But the project total is 110 so far!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Ok, this Ravelympics thing has gotten way, way out of control. Over 4300 knitters signed up, over 11,000 projects and not everyone has signed up yet. That's a lot of butts sitting in front of TVs over the next couple of weeks. Well, sitting somewhere.
You see, one curious non-rule is that you don't have to be paying attention to the Olympics, I mean, the TV doesn't even have to BE ON, and you don't get fined, or anything. You could go to Antartica and ignore the whole thing, and the knitters would be fine as long as you turn in your FO on the right thread of Ravelry. So, while it claims to be a part of the Olympics fever, I am not convinced. I think it is a subversive way for knitters to take over the world. The knitting is what matters.
Me, I ended up as a serf (team captain) for Team Afghans for Afghans. This means that I spend a lot of time in the Captains' Lounge thread trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing (there's no job description -- this is VERY Beta), and trying not to fight with a former therapist who kept harping on people who mostly had managed to miss-tag their projects as FOs. She's now left because we weren't playing her game, and I'm hopeful that peace is breaking out in the Spirit of the Ravelympics.
But back to being Captain. This mostly consists of me trying to track down people who have mis-tagged their projects in a bunch of different ways that will keep them out of of the fun unless they change them before August 6th. Sometimes they post to the right thread that they are there -- these are the easy ones. Others I have to use more sophisticated searches, then send them polite messages that they need to get their acts together.
On top of this, two slavedrivers named Kay and Ann have this little blog called Mason-Dixon Knitting, and they posted about our team there, increasing my work by three-fold. You know, now that they've published their second book, and have this fancy-schmancy column in the new Twist Collective, they think that they can simply get people to knit for incredibly good causes and there be NO CONSEQUENCES AT ALL. As if the world is needing their assistance to provide warm sweaters to children in Afghanistan...sheesh. I mean, ok, there will be at least 60+ sweaters or afghans knit because of them. But, overlooking that little thing called being a generous knitter, they really have stepped over the line...
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I love Elizabeth Zimmermann. The woman was a genius, and my only regret is that only recently did I find her books and start into her wonderful world. I can't figure out how, having knit for so long, I managed to miss her.
So, I've been plugging away at a sweater for afghans for afghans for a while. I used her percentage system, and while the first one I did came out a bit squirrly, this one is going beautifully. You knit bottom up, in the round, do the sleeves (which I did at the same time on two circulars, so that they would match for once), connect it all together for the yoke. Brilliant, the woman was brilliant!
I changed the bottom ribbing from this
because the ribbing didn't go with this yoke that I created (notes on this are on my Ravelry project page):
I have to say that I really, really like how this turned out, and since I'm not a yoke-sweater kind of girl, this is saying a lot!
When you cast off this sweater, the best part is that it looks like a sweater! The only "seams" are a total of two small sets of stitches to graft at the underarms:
and then all I have left is weaving in ends (yes, some of it occured in the knitting, but not all of it).
Next up, a sweater for my little cousin it's Ariann (ravelry link) from Chic Knits in Berrocco's Ultra Alpac. I knit her sister Allison a sweater for her birthday, and now it's time for Rachel to get one. She picked this pattern out of three cardigan patterns that I gave her to choose. I may make one for myself after I finish hers -- it's cute! Now I have to get her on the phone to find out her bust measurement to know what size to make...20 somethings can be hard to reach. Anybody know how to text?
The other project is part of the Ravelympics -- I'm captain of the Afghans for Afghans team, and I'm entered in the sweater sprint with another sweater for Afghans for Afghans -- I got some wool superwash when I was down in LA on one of my trips at the San Marino store A Stitch in Time.) I think this one will be a top-down raglan cardigan in the round.