Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wip Wednesday

I have a great big list of things I'd rather work on than my Ringwood sweater. BUT since it's WIP Wednesday and i like to torture myself get things done, I worked on it diligently.

I worked on it at home.
I worked on it in the car.
I worked on it at the mall.
I worked on it at home some more.
it didn't grow very much, but it's nearly the size of the first sleeve.
You would think that would be encouraging.
It's not.
1) All the frogging this stupid sweater went through
2) Not the most flattering color in the world
3) I think the body is too big. (wide)
4) I think the body is too big. (long)

But. I must complete this sweater for these few reasons:
1) need the number 7's to complete my mom's xmas present.
2) Isn't the color perfect for a mr. fox stole?
I should have more than enough left over. :)

All that aside, I was so happy to stop working on this cursed boring sweater and get back to work on the Some Cloudy Day legwarmers I started last night.

Happy wip wednesday everyone ;)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Owl in a Cowl

I was working merrily along on my Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
I had mastered the microbobble, and learned how best to keep track of my broomstick rows.
The pattern was just barely getting boring, and my yarn ball was diminishing steadily.
The hand-dyed yarn was dying the tips of my cheap bamboo needles pink.
I was ever so pleased to see that it was time to cast off.
I did so with gusto.
Then, excited to have another finished TOK object, I carefully sewed up the edge. Perfectly executed mattress stitch, the seam was invisible.
Then guess what.
I looked at the pattern. Maybe if I had just not looked I wouldn't have had a problem. (Well, that's not true because the damn thing wouldn't have gone over my head anyways, now would it?)
Problem: The pattern says "Do this stitch pattern. Then repeat twice."
Obviously, that means do the stitch pattern THREE times, right?
Not twice?

So after unpicking the seams, and scooping all the stitches onto my needles I had a terrifying half hour where I seriously questioned whether that amount of yarn would do it. If the yarn didn't make it, I would have to dye more yarn. It would be difficult enough to get a close enough color to fool myself, but the real problem would be waiting for it to dry.

It's okay.
I had enough.
Anybody wanting to do this pattern with one skein of Berocco Vintage Chunky, you're fine. Even if you couldn't find your 9's and cast on using 10's.
i love it.

NOT fingerless mittens

I'm working on some slippers today.
yes i'm shaping them with maracas. freakin ingenious that's what that is.
The knitting went by super quick, but then the pattern suggested felting by hand. I did try it, but to be perfectly honest it is really difficult to hand-felt something while watching a one year old.
So into the dryer they went.

I wish I'd gotten a picture of what size they were before felting, because they were monstrous. For a long while there I thought they'd never go down to the size of my feet, and that I'd have to gift them to my boyfriend or his sister. Thank goodness, they did shrink enough. Admittedly one shrunk down faster than the other and had to be removed from the dryer first, but they both ended up just about right.
they don't really look this weird. it's hard to take pictures of your own feet from the front.
My mom already wants a pair.

My slippers are not done yet, however.
I still have to attach the ears.
(and eyes, tails and noses, of course)
You can make your own bunny slippers by buying the pdf here.
Also, this song is totally stuck in my head.
Deerhoof's Bunny Song

In other NOT FINGERLESS MITTEN news, I am working on a cowl,
Now I can just hear you asking yourself.
WHAT is with all the Tiny Owl Knit patterns??
There's been
1) Wear the Wild Things Are (which doesn't really count because i flubbed it up so bad)
2) White Rabbit Wristees
3) Baby Lamb Cuffs
4) Catching Butterflies
and now!
5) Hopsalot
6) Bedknobs and Broomsticks

What is with this? I will tell you.
Once upon a time, it was Stephanie Dosen's birthday. (This was in May.) And in the tiny owl knits group on ravelry, she threw a big birthday bash. Basically we hung out on the threads all day and waited for her to pop on and say "go!" Once she did that, the first person to reply to her would win The Motherload!! What is the motherload? All of her patterns! There was more than one winner that day, because she counts "sandwich" winners (people who spoke in between her saying go and the person saying me) but i was the first to reply.
SO yes, I won the motherload, and that is why I own every one of TOK's patterns.
And of course, they're all super cute so of course I'm going to knit them all!
Besides, I'm in the 11 in 2011 frolic, where we try to knit 11 of her patterns. I'm already more than halfway there! (err.... will be once this cowl is done. and the bunnies)
Oh, and if this free pattern stuff sounds interesting to you, join tokland on ravelry, and every friday you have a chance to win one of Stephanie's patterns. Even if you don't win, the people there are really nice and will sometimes gift you the pattern you wanted. Plus it's just good fun.

Oh and in other news, I got a package yesterday! It was my brand new short dpns that I bought to make up for those dreadful ones off ebay. I got these ones from Scottish Fibres and they came in about 6 days. I opened up the package and saw this:
I was super excited about the quality. Then I turned them around and saw this.
squeeeee pandas!!
So that was delightful. Here they are up close.
I got sizes 2 and 4. (2's so i can make toe socks!)

and about that fingerless mitten jag?
Don't think it's over yet!

Monday, August 29, 2011




To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true.

Sheep be true.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week Eleven... of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

So this week's challenges were
1) Mock Cables
2) Double Diamond Panel
3) Ridge and Furrow Panel

(Remember, I'm in the panel section so for the next month or so I'm going to have pretty wee swatches.)
SWATCH 1: Mock Cables
This swatch lays flat and is very elastic.
But I didn't enjoy working these at all. I think real cables are much much easier because you only have to keep track of which row is your cable row and the rest of the time you're just doing ribbing. In this stitch, you have to keep track of where your purls are going at all times.
Mock Cable Swatch
 Plus, real cables look better.

SWATCH 2: Double Diamond Panel.
How long has it been since I've found a mistake in this book? 3 pages ago? Yeah. This swatch looks basically like a seeded diamond in the book.
 then when you follow the instructions you get a diamond within a diamond, which is a lot more like what the name sounds like.
Double Diamond Panel Swatch
I worked this twice, so it was not a human error. Well, i guess it still was a human error.... but it wasn't MY error so that's nice to know.
Other than the fact that I liked the picture in the book better, there were no problems with this swatch. I imagine it running down the length of a gansey, or running width-wise around a hat. It was very easy to keep track of what row I was on with these. Even with a few extra selvedge stitches thrown in I was able to see the pattern forming and could follow along easily.

SWATCH 3: Ridge and Furrow
I was very surprised that this was my favorite swatch, both to work and to look at.
Ridge and Furrow Panel
The repeat is 15 stitches, 6 rows. It was so easy to work. The rows practically told you what number they were. Like, watch, okay? This isn't the whole pattern, just the bits in the asterisks.
row 1: p1,k1
row 2: k1, p2
row 3: p1, k3
row 4: k1, p4
row 5: p1, k5
row 6: k1, p6
1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6
It was so easy!
I wish I had made a bigger swatch of this, but I didn't feel like casting on 30 stitches. Now I see that it does pull in some and that it would have been just fine with 30.

So that's it for this week. Next week I have to do:
1) Ladder Panel
2) Steps Panel
3) Anchor Motif.

And in completely unrelated news, look at the yarn I dyed.

I first dyed it with Lipton tea to get an ugly skin color, then over-dyed it with dark and neon blue food coloring to get this subdued hue. Yum. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Knitting Term Defined

Knitting Jag (as defined by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in Cast Off)
With a knitting jag, a knitter finds a pattern she thinks is charming and knits it up and in so doing discovers more of its charms. In fact, each knitting of the item is as enchanting as the last. 
As a general rule, knitting jags occur with items that pay off quickly: slippers, mittens, scarves, hats.

Yessir. I'm afraid I've caught a bit of a fingerless glove bug.
This pair came from a single skein of Knit Picks Imagination in the colorway Wicked Witch. (I know you can't really see the color in the pictures and I'm going to blame the camera even though I know it's really because I took these pictures in a terribly lit bathroom.)
The free pattern can be found on Purl Soho's blog here.
(I'm making these next.)

Yarn Reivew- Kidsilk Haze

In case you don't remember, I recently acquired 2 balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze.
Now, normally I am not the kind of girl who shells out $14.99 for 229 yards. But, it was on sale and I had a free shipping coupon and I knew I wanted to make at least a few of my Beekeeper's Quilt puffs out of kidsilk haze. I ended up getting 2 colors so that I could crank out a pair of white rabbit wrist-ees as well. Now that I have finished those little wristees (really only about the size of a swatch) as well as knit up a few little butterflies, I think I've worked with this enough to give it a proper yarn review.
So first, the facts:
          -Manufactured by Rowan Yarns, based in England.
          -Name of yarn is Kidsilk Haze (obviously)
          - 2 ply lace weight
          -229 yards per ball (209 meters)
          -25 grams per ball
          -70% mohair, 30% silk
The first thing I noticed when I took the yarn out of the package was how light it was. I was surprised when I looked at the label and found that it was only 25 grams. (I admit that I don't use a lot of laceweight, and so I'm used to 229 yards weighing more like 100 grams.)

But I was super excited and busted out my #2's to cast on.
Now you can't tell because I straightened it out before taking the picture, but the first maybe 8 or 10 rows were too tight. It took me a while to get used to the weight and the fuzziness, and the fact that I was working stripes didn't help.
For one thing, the two working strands (as well as the cast-on tail) continued to stick together. I ended up weaving in the cast-on tail very early on to at least get rid of one end. I was carrying the non-working yarn along the left edge as I worked the stripes, and that side ended up being very tight for the first few rows as well, giving a bunched effect. I've never had that problem with any other yarn, but I blame it on my too-tight tension in the beginning.
As you can see, this yarn is incredibly fuzzy. It is also very soft, and warm. When I first put on these mitts, I found they were a bit itchy. That scared me for a minute because I expected such expensive yarn to be of utmost quality. Luckily, after a few wearings the itch disappeared. (Though, I admit I don't know if it's just because I lost my sensitivity)

Now, if you are not a knitter or if you are one who has never heard of Kidsilk Haze, I invite you to read the first comment on Ravelry's Kidsilk yarn page. This user literally sings the praises of this yarn. I had heard of this yarn long before purchasing. People have referred to it as "Yarn Crack" or "Heaven" in my presence and so I had some very VERY high expectations. Now to answer the ultimate question: Did Kidsilk Haze meet those expectations?

Not for me. I have discovered during this year that I am not one for fancy schmancy yarns. Artfibers did not impress me and I'll almost always grab the bulky undyed wool when hitting up the yarn shop. Plus there's the unfortunate reality of Mohair.
Now, I've read quite a few books on fibers so I knew before I began that you can't frog mohair. I was expecting that. But as I was working the second or third row on my mitts I decided to tink back to the beginning and discovered that even tinking was a b!*&^ with this yarn.
(Hello, my name is Cecilia and I make a lot of mistakes.)
No it is not impossible to frog this yarn. Supposedly all you need is good lighting, some glasses and a great deal of patience. But I find that I do a lot of frogging and would prefer a yarn that is forgiving in that area.
The whole time I was knitting I had to be pretty focused on what I was doing. (I was working plain stockinette stitch.) If only because the yarn was so fancy that I wanted to be absolutely positive not to mess things up. There was also the fact that the mohair fuzz can cause snagging if you're not careful.
Personally, I'd rather knit recklessly.

On to the seaming...If you're a longtime reader then you know I'm dreadful at sewing. Any kind of sewing at all: backstitch, running stitch, mattress stitch, any kind of stitch. (Except Kitchner stitch but personally I don't count that as sewing, I count it as magic.)
Add bad sewing skills to a fuzzy mohair yarn and..... well.....
I'm definitely knitting my next pair of mitts in the round.

However, the finished product is lovely.
purple haze?

Kidsilk is just perfect for butterflies- it's so lightweight and fluttery
So overall, I guess maybe it is worth it. Though I still think $14.99 is an awful helps a lot to not think about it.

Final note:
I would reserve this yarn for special occasions.  I think it worked really well as an accent on the catching butterflies, and would like to find more examples of Kidsilk used in this way.
Unfortunately it seems like most knitters are using it for lacy projects full of YO's SSK's and so on. I say unfortunately because 1) a lot of the pattern is lost to the mohair fuzz and 2) if this yarn is difficult to work in simple stockinette I can only imagine the trouble these knitters are putting themselves through.
But then, to each his own.
And if you ever find Kidsilk Haze for sale, buy buy buy. You have to at least give it a try. ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You can leave your friends behind!

my white rabbit wristees are finished.

WIP Wednesday

I love when a WIP Wednesday turns out to be productive.
This morning I worked on my Worsted Boot Socks.
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease from stash
 I bought the book "Teach Yourself Visually: Sock Knitting" when the Borders by my house closed. I think that was around April. And though I pored through it and even bookmarked some of the patterns, I didn't cast on a single thing until July. I was digging through the stash, and found some ancient worsted weight acrylic and needed something to do with it. I knit a hat, first, but had a lot leftover still. So I decided socks would be quick to knit in a worsted weight.
I wasn't counting on the short row heel being difficult. After knitting the first sock, I stuffed he bag with the yarn and the needles and the first sock behind my closet door. Where it lingered. Finally, I decided to reclaim my needles.

I'm going to admit, that the only reason I finished this up was because I need the size 4's to work on Hexipuffs and my hexipuffs were tired of sharing. Honestly though, I'm surprised I didn't just go buy more 4's. (that's what I usually do)

It really was a super quick knit. I finished the second sock up to the heel just watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Then this morning I whipped up the rest of it, changing the short row heel so there was only one set of wraps. They fit perfectly fine. :)
(Yes, I'm wearing them right now)

So, what else did I do today?
I bathed a baby.
And a dog.
Not surprisingly, the dog stayed cleaner longer.

Then later on, I realized that the super secret present I was working on is missing. Apparently, I hid it too well...

Finally, I got a squishy package in the mail.
yum yum yum
I'm probably going to cast on these tiny owl knit wristees today, and then use the leftovers for hexipuffs. So excited because it's my first time working with Rowan Kidsilk Haze and I've heard a LOT about it. Expect a review ;)
Oh, and in case my boyfriend is reading, I did NOT buy this at full price.

Happy knitting!