Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dr. Watson Sweater

This sweater is on my needles right now.
After finishing the Central Park Hoodie, I needed something cabled and pretty for when I'm not working on the incredibly boring black stockinette nightmare for my brother. Technically the Central Park Hoodie still isn't done, since I need to sew on a zipper, but I detest sewing intensely so I'm giving myself till the end of the month.
I found the yarn for the Watson sweater at WalMart. I was going to use Patons for it, but I knew that waiting to save up 40 dollars would be too long and I found some "promo fil" 100% polyester for one dollar a ball.
One dollar a ball! I bought 12.
I do wish I were working with wool. The polyester isn't good on such tiny needles. Also I worry about the warmth, but the color is so beautiful that I'm forgiving it everything. It's just an off-white, but it looks great with the cables.
I swatched 3 times and only got gauge with size 3's!

Also, the mittens are done. One is bigger than the other. Like more than an inch bigger. I don't know why or how this happened but the gauge is looser overall as well and it makes me hella mad. I was thinking the difference in gauge might be because one of them was made 2 months earlier and had time to felt up nicely. At any rate the difference is much more noticeable when you're wearing them.
Here they are in all their glory.

Here's the start of my Watson sweater. I can't wait to wear it. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

CPH is DONE!!!!

Hell yeah that's the only picture I have of it right now.
But don't worry. For spring break I'm going to the chilly-weathered Rescue to spend time with my 'babydaddy' and his family and I will make him play photographer and I'll do a nice little photoshoot in the beautiful outdoors with my cutie hoodie.
That, hopefully, will have a zipper by then.
Which means Wednesday is the day.
Which means I have to buy a zipper.
Which means I have to measure my hoodie and figure out how long of a zipper I need.
Which means I need to find a measuring tape.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Can you believe....

...I got to write an essay about knitting in my english class?
Here. have a first draft.

A Knitter's English
There are several different languages in the knitting world, and each one serves a different purpose. There is “knitspeak,” the abbreviated language found in every pattern book. Secondly, there are the charts: a symbolic representation of lace and colorwork that was invented to save space. Lastly, there is “knitease,” which is the jargon used to weed out the wannabes from the true knitters.
Knitspeak is defined by knitting author Andrea Price as “a combination of words, abbreviations, numbers and punctuation that is terse, truncated and unintelligible to non-knitters.” It is in this language you will find the incredibly useful sentence “K1.P1.Tw2R.(P1.K1tbl) 8 times. P1.” Though this may look at first like gibberish, is simply a way to shorten words often used: K for knit, P for purl, K2tog for knit two together. Likewise, Tw2R is shorthand for “knit into front of 2nd stitch on left hand needle then knit into front of first stitch, slipping both stitches off needle together.” It is probably obvious right off the bat why knitting magazines use Tw2R instead. The authors were quick to realize that the less words to print, the less expensive it is to do so.
Because of printing costs and space constraints, and because writing lengthy descriptions over and over again is monotonous, words were created for popular base stitches. For example, to imply that every odd row will be all-purl and every even row will be all-knit “continue in reverse stockinette stitch,” will do nicely. Actually, to put it even simpler most patterns would say “cont. in rev. st st.” and use even less space with no loss in comprehension. This language is not pretentious, nay it is necessary. It is logical to shorten things as long as everyone is on board with what the abbreviations are. That, however, is where the problems begin.
There are deviations in jargon between Continental and English knitters with certain abbreviations. PSSO (pass slipped stitch over) and SKP(slip, knit, pass slipped stitch over), mean the exact same thing depending on which the country the author lives in. If a knitter finds a pattern that uses SKP when they are familiar only with PSSO that knitter might have a minor freak-out about learning a new stitch before realizing that it's just a different term. I speak from experience. Another example of words that differ between countries: Gauge and Tension. These both represent the number of stitches a knitter gets per inch, and can be used interchangeably. The longer a person has been knitting, however, the more likely they are to understand patterns even if they are from a different country.
Different countries aside, there are still issues within the knitspeak system. Namely, there is no standardized abbreviation list. For instance, usually YO means a “yarn over,” but a knitwear designer can write YF for “yarn forward” with no serious ramifications. Sure, the people trying to knit her designs might have extreme frustrations but there are no knitting police. The fact is that new abbreviations are turning up all the time. It is generally understood, therefore, that if a designer is using an unusual term (such as the aforementioned Tw2R) they have to include a key explaining it. In fact, to avoid any miscommunication, it is advisable to explicitly state what the common “K2, P2” means for the absolute beginner knitter. After all, the knitspeak system was designed for simplicity, not for confusion.
The most advanced level of absorption into the knitting community is the language of the chart. This is also the least standardized language. Each designer, each yarn company, each knitting magazine has its own version of symbols for the chart. The only thing that is common between all is the way the charts are read: a knitter must read a chart from right to left. Also, unlike reading the page of a book, the knitter must start from the bottom of the chart and work his way up. Many a new knitter ends up with an upside down picture because this knowledge is unwritten. Ask me how I know.
Since the symbols used in charts are not exchangeable, one might wonder why knitters use them at all. Again, chart-writing was derived from the lazy and penny-pinching knitting magazines. Writing each line out row-by-row is time-consuming and cramming all the same information into a chart is much easier on the pocket. In the case of charts, there is always a key explaining what each symbol means. While it's true that a “-” usually means knit and a purl is generally “|” and “o” often represents a yarn over, there is no room for misunderstanding because the key is always in plain sight. This is one reason a knitter might prefer charts to looking at a jumble of country-specific abbreviations. In fact, if the pattern for a design is written in Japanese but includes a chart there is still a chance an English-speaking knitter can reproduce it. The chart transcends words, and that is the main reason for its existence.
Now “knitease,” on the other hand, has no instructive value. Indeed, if there is any aspect of knitting that is intended to make knitters feel like insiders, knitease is it. Knitters only slip into knitease when talking to other well-experienced knitters. Some examples of these are LYS(local yarn shop), SEX(stash enrichment experience), KIP(knitting in public), UFO's (unfinished objects), WIP's(works-in-progress), TOAD's(trashed objects abandoned in disgust), SABLE(stash acquirement beyond life expectancy) and the ever-dreaded SSS(second-sock-syndrome) in which after finishing one sock the knitter cannot stand the thought of beginning the second one. Other common words are “frogging” and “tinking.” If someone is “tinking” her work, she is un-knitting or knitting backwards to fix a mistake. Frogging, on the other hand, is the act of undoing a large amount of knitting by pulling on the working yarn. A non-knitter might hear of someone frogging her sleeve for the third time and think she is putting amphibians on it when, in fact, she is ripping it out. (Get it? Rip-it, rip-it? Frogs? No? That's why we leave you out of it.) Knitease is the language found in blogs, SnB's (SnB means stitch n bitch/knit nights) and yarn shops. If a knitter is fluent in knitspeak they have entered the world where knitting is no longer a hobby, but a lifestyle.
Each of these languages serves a different purpose, and each is contest to the fact that the knitting community is its own world. This jargon reveals a group of people that wants to help each other: why else would they try so hard to make patterns clear and free of error? It also reveals a group of people who are opinionated: patterns often include both charts and written instructions because chart-knitters will not entertain written instructions and those who prefer written instructions turn their noses up to charts. Also revealed are the political differences among a community, charts being one example of many. Finally, all the abbreviations and jargon reveal a cliquish sense of belonging and a community that is, forgive the pun, tightly knit.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I think I may be addicted to knitting socks...

This picture (of the first Monkey sock) was taken a few hours ago. I knitted the whole foot today and, because I didn't want people looking at me like that, I grafted the toe in the bathroom.
It is beautiful and fits great and I love it. Too bad I have to give it away.
Also, I'm pretty sure that the second sock is not going to match at all and it's going to bother me forever.
Weather's terrible.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Got distracted from the fishy plan....

With these socks!

In case youc an't recognize them (which, i wouldn't be surprised due to the self-patterning yarn) they're Cookie A's Monkey Socks from the Winter '06 Knitty. The first thing I thought after one pattern repeat was that it looks an awful lot like scales....If it wasn't for stuffing showing through the yarn overs I'd have something to go off of here.
Anyways, I'm using Joanne's ghetto sock brand: Sensations, bamboo & ewe. It's perfectly lovely. One sock nearly done. Baby demanding attention

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fish Design #1

Well, I worked pretty hard to make this ugly little guy. I used short row shaping on the tail, although about halfway through I realized there was a better way to go about it.
I'm going to want to remeber what I did, so here's some general guidlelines:

What I did was, after I knit the straight bit, decreased SHARPLY. (remember that?)
So the way I did that was to do a double dec left slanting, then a double dec right slanting again like a toe, but sharper. Then, After I got down to I think 14 stitches, I separated the stitches and used a new needle to make each half its own little tube for the fins. I used ribbing, which I decided I won't do next time because it looks  stupid and with all the M1s it gets weird. So i increased steadily to create the fins, then did the short rows, then bound off all the middle stitches and then bound off the fin stitches with the 3 needle bind off. I picked up the other fins pretty normally, shaping the top fin a lot and shaping the other two very little. I picked up 6 st with the side fins. 2 rows plain, k2tog, k 2, k2tog one row, then another 2 plain then BO. The top fin was k1 p1 ribbing and i would decrease by 1 at the purl side and then bind off one or two at the RS until abotu 4 were left then I bound all those off together.

Fish Design 2 is coming up soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exactly how much yarn does Cecilia have?

The main stash.

The leftover bits pile

And I had a picture of the (beautiful) sock yarn, but i have been trying to upload it for more than an hour and I've given up on it. WIPs

In this pile there are 3 sweaters in progress, a pair of socks, a hat, a pair of mittens, a mitten garland and a scarf. Not so bad, I don't think. I'm doing far better than I'd been imagining. Unless I left some things in the closet... I'm not entirely sure because it was hard enough gathering this much with the fatboy on my hip.

I've been invited to table at the Steelhead Salmon Festival on May 1, and I haven't yet decided whether I should or not. It costs $25 dollars for a table, and I severely doubt I have $25 worth of merchandise. I'm trying to design a knitted fish anyways, just in case. I thought it would be kind of a cute little keychain type thing: a little knitted fishy from the salmon festival. Seemed cute to me, I don't know. I"m having difficulties with the designing because I'm using DPNs and I'm not very good at planning the increases.
Also, those socks I started?

This is how much of it I had when I decided they weren't working out and had Lauryn frog them. I took a picture of that, too, but I already went over the whole blogspot not wanting to upload things for me today.

So that is the yarn I'm now using for the fish design #1
Which so far goes something like this:
CO 8 st over 3dpns
*k1, inc1* 1 round
1 round plain
*inc in each stitch* 1 rnd
1 rnd plain
inc only at the first and last of needle one and on the first of needle 2 and last of needle 3 (like a sock)
1 rnd plain
and continue this until your fish's head looks big enough
This is where I currently am.
the rest of my pattern goes like this:
knit straight a while, maybe an inch.
decrease SHARPLY for the butt end
PU st at top and sides for fins
and I kinda don't know where to go from there.

Fish design #2 is going to be a lot like my purse "Harrison" and "Paco."
Basically that means I'll knit a shape of a fish twice and then seam it up. This one would need some embroidery and I think the inca sportlace. Paco lives inside of harrison and I think a knitted counterpart would be too much work. Then I'd put an I-Cord inside harrison #2's mouth and give him a little drawstring type thing. This would be rad, but I doubt it's going to happen.

I might not do the Steelhead thing at all. It depends on the cuteness of Fish Design #1, which I'll post immediately upon completion.


So randomly it decided I'm allowed to put up my pictures. Also, I put a video of Lauryn ripping out the sock. She was really excited about it, not that you can tell. And the reason the camera goes all wonky at the end is because my kid demands my attention. Also, it put the video up twice. I did that on purpose. So you can watch it twice. Because it's that important.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I am Julia Julia Julia

I have decided that I'm going to pull a Julia whatever and knit one swatch from my Super Stitches Knitting book each day. I haven't decided when I'm going to actually start doing this. (The indecision probably stems from the first three swatches being Stockinette Stitch, Reverse Stockinette Stitch, and Garter Stitch. Not to mention I have no yarn to spare, in spite of having a lot of yarn.)

Speaking of yarn, here's some now:

I actually spent a good chunk of time with my swift, winding these into glorious little balls of goodness.

Yep. That's my swift.
(The yarn is Valley Yarn's Huntington for some upcoming gift socks)
Also, although I'm barely posting about this now, I actually did this quite some time ago. You can tell because my (really tasty looking) solo hank of crock-o-dye has already gone through this transformation:

These are a pair of Tadpoles that are actually going to make it to the Christmas Present Pile. The last pair I couldn't resist and are in my drawer right now. I should have held out for this pair: they have silk.
However, it is a fine feeling to know that I have 2 Christmas presents done already for March.

Oh? I didn't tell you about my other Christmas present? Maybe that's because it turned out so hideous.

I really don't know what to do with it. On one hand the Hurricane hat base pattern is truly lovely and will complement the recipient's skin color perfectly and she loves big flowers a lot too. But on the other hand that flower is really flippin' big and looks, from the side, like someone just shot a bullet through the wearer's head and it's the grotesque blood splatter you'd see if you stopped time right at that moment. But all that aside, it's still DONE. Which is better than not having an early present. Besides, the flower is made of wool and maybe I can get away with sending it on a trip through the washer and dryer. If it is utterly ruined then I can take out my (dreadful) sewing and put something else on there. I mean, hey, they sell big flowers at Michael's right?

As an aside, that is my face without makeup and by that I mean that is my I-just-finished-a-hat-what-the-hell-does-it-look-like-on-a-head face. And by that I mean it's also my I-have-to-get-to-class face. And by that I mean it's just my regular face so that's actually a damn good representation of what I look like. Except I don't usually have a giant flower on my head. It's really too big, isn't it...So I don't know. I'm really on the fence with this one.

  • A photo of all of my WIPS. I plan on digging them all out of their hidey holes and setting them up in good lighting so I can remind myself with this one photograph that I need to get to work lest they overwhelm me entirely.
  • A photo of all my yarn. That's right, I'm totally playing Flash Your Stash 2011. I figured since I'm putting it on Ravelry I might as well put it here too. It's going to be kind of embarrassing, like if you're at a party and everyone's showcasing their Victoria's Secret bras and you're wearing a stained sports bra. Also, all my good stuff has been ripped from the glorious hanks and tags and been made clumsily into tightly wound balls. I'm just saying.
  • A photo of me slicing a nice sharp pair of scissors through my beautiful fair isle. It's true. I'm going to steek. I'm going to steek something very small, but I'm going to steek nonetheless. Is it odd that I actually procured wool for this very purpose? But, I have to learn and I'm going to do it. I've been spending a lot of time with Alice Starmore's Fair Isle book, and Meg Radcliffe's colorwork book as well and  it is looking more and more interesting. I still cringe a little at the graphic photos in Mrs Starmore's book. Honestly, they make me sick. But I can imagine myself doing it. Although I'm admitting freely that it might take me a really REALLY long time to finish the knitting itself. I'm going to make a little tiny vest or something. It helps that I have a kid, otherwise people might think I'm crazy: knitting a tiny vest so that I can cut it up... Maybe I am crazy.
Also, I've cast on for a new pair of socks. But you'll have to wait and see how they look because I am too lazy to get a picture and besides, I have already given you 6 pictures today. So there!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Wonky Piece of Crochet, and other news

I feel it is important to note that I have no idea what I'm doing. Also, that I have a 9 month old who is very intent on me NOT going on youtube to find out what I'm doing wrong. Also, I have no crochet technique books so I'm going off my knitting books which, understandably, say very little on the subject.

I think, after I've finished this tiny leftover bit of red heart, that i'm going to sew this thing together up the sides and make a kind of headband thing. Then I'm going to pick up the stitches along the top with a circular needle and make a hat-like object and keep  it forever. I really highly doubt I'm ever going to do another piece of crochet again. Maybe if I buy The Happy Hooker. It only seems right that if Debbie Stoller taught me to knit back in 2004 that she should be the one to teach me how to crochet.

God everytime i scroll back up i shudder inside. I can't crochet. I've said it before and here is my second peice of proof. Maybe one day I'll figure it out. I'm going to keep trying, i remember my first peice of knitting. It was pretty bad too.

1) It is March 13th and I only have 13 days left to finish the Central Park Hoodie.
2) I cannot, for the life of me, start knitting the second Guitar Man sock.
3) I bought more sock yarn, and then I bought more sock yarn again.
4) My son is very sick with  fevers.

So yay! That's my life.
Also, my dad's home for the weekend and the weather is ugly and i'm stuck indoors. It is most unpleasant. Usually I would put the chunky in his stroller and we could escape, but now he's sick.
What's even lamer is that I just bought him a bike seat and a helmet and we can't even go on a super-happy-fun bike ride.
But I put him in it the other day.
He didn't like his helmet anyways.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It starts...

I bought a crochet hook.
I'm gonna freakin' do it....
Maybe tomorrow. Or this weekend.