Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I swatched a lot yesterday, and finally decided to just knit the sweater (Vinelle, link here) on size 6's, even though my gauge was still only "close." That's right. I knit so much looser when knitting flat that I had to go down 2 needle sizes to "almost" get the right gauge. I could have gone down to a size 5, I think, but I didn't on principle.

Needless to say, after knitting for hours I may as well recycle the same pictures from yesterday because I have the exact same amount of knitting done for today.

Well that's not true; now I have two swatches.
I did get a little further on the lace repeat, though.
I am exactly 5 rows further than yesterday.
So that's the progress on the sweater. As I'm knitting with this yarn, I'm realizing that it looks terrible on my skin tone, so I think -depending on how it turns out- I might give it to my niece who is both smaller than I am and darker. If it fits me properly at the end, I might just over dye it. Which would be a shame because it really is a beautiful color.

At any rate, it's not all I'm working on today. I think I'm going to devote a lot of today to making this:
This is from a book I found in a thrift store. The book is from the 70's and this was in the "beginner knitting projects" section, which I find kind of funny because there is quite a bit of shaping and sewing involved.
I paid 75 cents for this book, and it's pretty awesome. If only for the differences between how books were written then and how they are now. I love reading old knitting books.
Anyways, I'm knitting "Pussy Cat" out of Lion Brand Wool-Ease and it's going to be a Christmas present for some lucky little kid in my family. (Or unlucky, depending on my sewing job.)
I really hope I can finish it today. I mean, if I knit Susan B. Anderson's little fairy in one day then I can certainly knit a garter stitch cat in one day. Right?
I have quite a pile of Christmas gifts laying around the house and am realizing I shouldn't have cast on a new sweater for myself right now...
I'm kind of scared that half the people I knit for won't even appreciate it. Does anyone else feel that way? This is the year where I find out who is knit-worthy, so it's kind of worrisome to me.

Anyways, that's it for today. Wish me luck on finishing the Kitty. The last thing I need is another half-finished project sitting around the house!

Check out more WIPS at the Tami's Amis blog

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I cast on for a new sweater yesterday. The free pattern, Vinelle, is from the VoolenVine blog and you can see details on Ravelry here, although for some reason I can't find the actual link to the pattern right now.
I'm using some lovely Cascade 220 Paints in "Flower Forest." I had to look up what it was actually called; in my mind I call it "unicorn pony." (Yes, really. Apparently just "unicorn" isn't enough. )

Generally when I knit a sweater, I cast on a sleeve first and I use that as my gauge swatch. So that's what I did. I cast on and worked away on it with size 8 DPNs, following directions for the size 36.
I got a good deal done. I had read on Ravelry that the sleeves ran a bit small so I compensated by adding a few more increase rows when I reached the chunkier bits of my arm. All was going well.

There was a scary gauge moment where I changed from DPN's to a circular needle and my stitch gauge changed from 19 st/4 inches to 17 st/4 inches, but I solved that by ripping and using DPN's throughout.

Then, I remembered.

Horror of horrors, the body of the sweater is knit flat! What if my gauge was dramatically different? And what about at the end, when I join it all at the top on a circular needle? What would happen then?What if the whole thing turned out wrong?
'Well,' I thought, 'Surely it will be fine.' and I cast on for the body. 160 stitches. And I worked on it for a good long while.
And, duh, my gauge changed. I measured it, got 4 st/ inch and kept knitting. Maybe I thought if I just kept going, miraculously my gauge would shrink down to 4.5 st/inch. Or maybe magically when I put it in the wash it would shrink instead of grow. I kept knitting, put in a buttonhole, got to the second lace repeat, and finally admitted that it was too big. The gauge was dramatically different from the sleeve, and Casacde 220 always grows when I put it in water, and I was going to have to rip.

Next time, I promise to do a gauge swatch.

For now, though, the sleeve has been blocked and is drying. I've frogged what I had of the body, but I'm going to try and use the sleeve as it is. After I drink this cup of coffee (and maybe work on an easy sock for a while) I'm going to knit up a swatch in the flat (probably on size 7's) and block that as well. And as for the end, when I reach the bit where I have to work on circular needles? I'm just going to pray.

Oh wait....
I just realized that at the end I won't be knitting circularly. It will still be flat.

Monday, November 28, 2011

FO: A simple hat (or two)

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it on the blog, but I have been on a yarn diet. It started when Mooncalf announced that she wasn't buying yarn until Christmas. I thought, hey I can do that too.

Well, turns out I couldn't. My lovely bf brought me to my LYS and... well there must be something wrong with me or something because I can't just visit the LYS and not buy yarn. I tried to just buy a magazine, or a darning needle, or a sweater shaver, but I couldn't not buy yarn! Something about how we should support local businesses. Maybe because since I moved to Stockton I saw 3 yarn shops close and I don't want it to happen anywhere else again, ever. (But if that were the case would I buy so much of my yarn online?) I don't know.

Anyways, I decided to pick out a super soft yarn so I could knit my son a hat that he would actually wear. I rummaged in the sale bin and found a nice ball of Rowan Cashsoft DK in white for a few dollars off. It was perfect: soft, squishy, on sale, and a yarn I've always wanted to try. But I decided to make a striped hat and so I bought one at regular price as well, in a nice grey.

From the second I put the two yarns next to eachother, I knew exactly what kind of hat I wanted. I love when you know exactly what the yarn is going to be. So often I find myself buying yarn just because it's beautiful or because it's cheap or because I can always use a ball of Cascade 220.

So, when I got home, the hunt on Ravelry began but there was no hat like the one in my head! So I just made it up as I went along, and you know what?
It's perfect.
He likes it!
It has quite a bit of stretch and I think he's going to be able to wear it for a really long time. Like, while I was knitting it I was afraid it was going to be monstrous, because it fit on my head!
I was concerned for a while.
But in the end it came out great.

I'm hoping I can find a little felt train at Michaels or something. He's much more likely to wear something if there's a train on it. I was thinking I could sew it on right above one of the ears of something so it's kind of off to the side.

With the leftovers I made another little hat, in about size 6-12 months. It's the same except that I used white for the ribbing instead of grey and I used size 3 needles throughout and for Vyvyan's I used 6's.
Mediocre webcam picture...
I'm going to sew a little felt heart onto this one, but I'm not sure who exactly it's for yet.

Oh, and while I'm here I might as well mention the yarn.
I loved it! I loved squishing it in the ball, I love squishing it in the hat, and I loved knitting with it. However, in one of the balls (the one I bought at full price, too) there were more than 4 knots! I was so upset. I kept having to untie them and join them in and then weave them in at the end. It was really frustrating especially because I thought Rowan was supposed to be sort of classy. Nevertheless, I will probably buy again. But only for hats and other accessories; I hear it pills quite a bit, and it's way too expensive to make a garment with.

Oh well. These little hats were a lot of fun! I'm glad I broke my yarn diet. Especially because now that both hats are done, there is very little evidence. ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 21... of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

This week's swatches were:
1) Woven Rib
2) Supple Rib
3) Lacy Rib

Week 21 swatches together

SWATCH 1: Woven Rib
This stitch is not stretchy at all. It does look like it is woven, though, and it would be quite pretty in a glossier yarn.
Woven Rib Swatch
 It was also very simple to do, although I imagine if you weren't paying attention you might forget that the yarn forwards aren't purls. Some of my knit stitches came out pretty loose, and I'm hoping this one blocks out a bit...

SWATCH 2: Supple Rib
I had to bring out the big guns for this one. After reading the directions, "K1, K1 but leave on LHN, yfwd, P1 into same and next st tog, ybk," about six times and trying once or twice, I had to give up and go online for a video, which you can find here.
Supple Rib Swatch
 I really didn't like the way this one came out. I'm not sure if it's the yarn, or if I should have used bigger needles or what, but it doesn't look as defined as the picture did. Or the video, for that matter. But I know I did it right, so I guess when I sew it into the blanket I'll stretch it out a little. It looks better like that.
This one wasn't stretchy, either. I guess because every even row was a plain purl row.

SWATCH 3: Lacy Rib
This one was a 4 row repeat, and it was a very simple lace stitch.
Lacy Rib Stitch
Of course, it kind of lays scrunched up and so for the picture I stretched it out really quickly, which is why it looks kind of wonky. I don't really like the criss-cross effect. That was done by alternating the increase and the decrease every other odd row. (So on row 1's I would do a YO, SKP and then on row 3's I would do a K2tog, YO.) I guess that's just how it's supposed to look, but I don't care for it.

So that's it for this week. I have run out of Fisherman's wool, so I'm not sure if I'll be doing a Super Stitches post next week. I'm kind of on a yarn diet, but I actually bought yarn two days ago to knit my son a hat. So maybe I'll pick up another ball before next week, maybe not.
At any rate, the next three swatches will be:
1) Openwork Rib
2) Raised Eyelet Rib
3) Blanket Rib

Raised Eyelet Rib looks really fun. :)
Happy Knitting!

(P.S. I did knit Vyvyan that hat, and I'll have him model it for you guys soon. I like to do outdoor pictures because my house is dimly lit and right now he's sort of sniffly and I'm keeping him indoors. It's really cute though, I promise)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Hello again! Today I've got two projects I'm equally enamored with, so I'm going to be working on both of them.
One is the Ski Sweater:
Because it is bulky weight yarn and the patterns are so fun, this is a very speedy knit. After I finish the second sleeve, I'm going to pick up and knit all the hems (in red!). After that it will probably go into hibernation for as long as it takes to figure out how to sew a straight line with that sewing machine I don't have....
So I'm hoping to get a few more sleeve patterns in today.

The other thing I want to work on is the scarf I started yesterday.

I found the video for this stitch pattern here and immediately wrote down the pattern and cast on. I really like it because it's reversible. The WS rows are relaxing, though, because you just knit the knits and purl the purls.
Still, because of its lacy nature, I'm probably only going to work on it when Vyvyan sleeps. (IF Vyvyan sleeps; the last few days he's refused to nap.)

I'm also going to be avoiding casting on Tiny Owl Knits' new pattern, which I bought immediately and have sworn not to cast on until after the Ski Sweater is done.
That's it for me, this week.
Click here for more WIP Wednesday posts.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 20... of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

I'm still working my way through this book. I can't wait to get to the eyelet and lace sections, but I have such a long way to go. Still in ribbings for now.

This week's swatches were:
1) Mock Cable Rib
2) Crossed Rib
3) Open Twisted Rib

Week 20 Swatches
Of the three I think my favorite was the Open Twisted Rib. It looks nice and was easy on the brain as well as fun for the fingers.

SWATCH 1: Mock Cable Rib
This one was very easy to do and though I like the way it looks, I hate calling it a "mock cable" because it doesn't really look like a cable to me. It just looks like a rib stitch with a stitch passed over.
Mock Cable Swatch
Which, of course, is what it is.
But other than my minor qualms with the name, this stitch pattern is fine and it's nice and stretchy and decorative. Also, it was very easy to do.

SWATCH 2: Crossed Rib
I love when cables involve knit and purl stitches. This swatch was done simply by working k1 p1 rib and then doing a cable every 5th row. (It was a 6 row repeat)
Crossed Rib Swatch
I really like the way this swatch came out, though it is not reversible at all.
It sort of reminds me of this hat pattern by Beth Kling. I don't know why, because it doesn't look the same at all. I think it's just that they both look nice and squishy.

SWATCH 3: Open Twisted Rib
My favorite of the three, this stitch pattern has decorative yarn overs as well as defining vertical lines worked by knitting through the back loop.
Though not done exactly the same (the swatch was knit flat) this reminds me of the stitch pattern found in Froot Loop from Knitty. Although in that pattern the lines of twisted knit stitches is replaced by a 2 stitch twist detail.
The pair of Froot Loops I made earlier this year

So that's it for this week! I am really enjoying working through this book. Since I only work a little swatch for each pattern, I never get too tired of the stitch pattern. And I only really work on them when I feel like doing something new, so it never gets boring! And (hopefully) one day I can put it all together and have a big quilt!

Next week's swatches are:
1) Woven Rib
2) Supple Rib
3) Lacy Rib

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

FO: Birthday Present

I'm not doing a Super Stitches Post today. I have a birthday party to go to, full of 6-year old girls and Hello Kitty stuff. And cake.
Yesterday I made the birthday girl, Sophia, a little present. I finished it up this morning and can't wait to give it to her :D

I'm sure you've all seen Susan B. Anderson's new pattern from Knit Simple, flora and fairies. It came out so cute; I love it!

I used lots of different odds and ends. I'm glad I decided not to throw away my tiny scraps that were too small for even hexipuffs! They were perfect for her hair, body and shoes.
The skirt, limbs, and flower were all made with a bamboo-cotton blend by Queensland. I found this yarn at Tuesday Morning and bought it with no real intention and it is nice and soft for the flower. I did, however, have to iron it to keep the petals nice and straight.

I love that the flower is a cute little fairy home. I would have loved this as a kid. Actually, I love it now and may have considered keeping it instead of giving it to Sophia. I know. I'm horrible. Especially because I could knit another one for myself.

I don't think I'll be making another one any time soon, though. There was an awful lot of sewing up, and it was all done with small needles, and oh my gosh all that hair! Not to mention I had to embroider the face on, which is not exactly my strongest suit.
Still, I think it came out really cute and I hope Sophia has lots of fun with it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winner Annoucement!

First thing this morning, I headed over to to pick the winner for my blogiversary giveaway.
And the winner is.....
Lorraine from New York!!
Thanks to everyone for playing.
Hopefully the rest of my day includes knitting the second sleeve of my ski sweater, but we'll see. If I get them both done I promise to include pictures in the next post, although it sure is hard to try on a sweater without armholes so it will be lounging on the floor.
Happy Knitting!

Friday, November 18, 2011

FO Friday: Hardcore!!

I spent all day doing the finishing on this sweater (see previous post) and after hours of weaving in ends, seaming and re-seaming, I was finally ready to pick up and knit the collar. I was looking forward to it all day: "I can't wait to do the collar. Then I just have to pick up the stitches and finally KNIT something. No more seaming...."
don't i look smug?

Well wouldn't you just know that the pattern calls for the collar to be knitted separately and then sewn on?
Yeah. I did the most simplest of whipstitch to sew that sucker on, and thank goodness you can't tell!

I am so satisfied with this sweater. It is nice and big and cozy, and it totally has a skull on it. It's like an upgraded version of the skully sweater which I loved in the pictures but didn't work out for me in real life.
Hrm, why aren't there pictures of the back?
Shhh... I don't know how to embroider so my mom is going to do it for me when she has the time. (What?! It says "knit or die" not "embroider or die"!)
See more finished objects at Tami's Amis!
The ends

Thursday, November 17, 2011



So much fun weaving in ends... for hours...

piece by piece...

whoooo sleeves

Right about here is when I realized the seams weres too bulky and i was going to have to re-do the whole thing in a worsted weight yarn....

happy nearly done dance
A million thanks to my sister for babysitting the chunky today....
There is a helluva lot of finishing involved in this sweater, but I think it will be worth it when I'm the hardcore-est knitta in town.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I don't know if you remember me saying something exciting was going to be finished by, erm, last friday.
Yeah... that didn't happen. But maybe by this Friday I'll have a finished garment.I'm talking about my Hardcore Sweater.
It been in the WIP pile since February...
The sleeves have been done for what seems like ages now, and then I finished the back in September and just barely did the front last week.
My goal was to finish it by July.
My new goal is to get it done before it's been in the pile for an entire year! But hopefully I can finish it before Christmas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It is a tube.
A tube with neck shaping, but still just a tube.
I should be able to get some work done on the sleeves today, bringing Cutting Day ever closer....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Works in Progress...

I finished my second swatch for the Ski Sweater a few days ago.
And set right to work on my sweater.

Final gauge was 4.25 stitches per inch- after measuring my 2 swatches very carefully probably 10 or 20 times.
So I cast on 160 for a total of 38" for a few inches of ease.
I haven't decided yet my rate of increases for the sleeves. In the original sweater, EZ increased every 4 rows up to 50% of the body number. However, in the Knitting Workshop she does a similar design and increases every 6 rows for a total of 1/3 of the body stitches. In the pictures I can't really tell the difference, so I guess I'll just decide when I get there how often I feel like decreasing!

Anyways, I'm nearly done with the body. Only five more inches or so, then I cast it right off. Can you believe I'm going to cut into this thing? I can't. It's pretty scary and I might make a point of buying EZ's Knitting Workshop DVD before I actually go through with it.
Also, it doesn't help that I actually don't have a sewing machine.

I really hope this gorgeous sweater doesn't end up being a tube and some arms because I'm too chicken to cut it up!!

Oh, and my novel? I missed a day because I was so convinced that the story was terrible and I shouldn't go on. Actually, I'm still convinced the story is terrible and I shouldn't go on. But I'm still writing, ang I guess that's what counts. (?)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FO: Swatch Cap

Still managing some knitting.
I swatched today for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Ski Sweater in Color Patterns. I managed a gauge of 5 stitches per inch, but I really want a bulkier looking sweater, like in the Opinionated Knitter so I'll have to swatch some more.
But at least I managed a cap, right?
A Christmas present, perhaps?
I knit it in Cascade Ecological wool, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will bloom during the blocking.
I used size 8 needles and the cast on was 72, but I increased 12 stitches after the ribbing.
That's all for today. Quick post; haven't written any novel bits today, yet....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 19....of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

Yes, I'm still going to be doing the Super Stitches project every Sunday. Even during NaNoWriMo. Although I am running a bit low on Fisherman's Wool, and I'm on an Absolute Yarn Diet until Christmas, so when I run out that's the end of Super Stitches until next year.
This week I had 3 exciting swatches:
1) Corded Rib
2) Rickrack Rib
3) Twisted Rib

Read on to find out why there are two mini-ones.

All three of these employed the stitch I like to call "twisty." It's actually abbreviated in the book as "Cr2F," but I think "twisty" is easier to remember. I've also seen it abbreviated in a Patons mitten pattern as "Tw2R," but again "twisty" is a lot better IMHO. Anyways the famed "twisty" stitch goes like this:
"Knit second stitch on left hand needle through front loop, then knit first stitch and slip both of left hand needle."

And I thought- having used it in both socks and mittens- that I had it down pat. Turns out, this project is teaching more than I thought! It turns out I was doing twisty wrong all along! 
Of course, by the time I found that out I had already done 2 swatches incorrectly. Seeing as it's NaNoWriMo I'm not going to correct them. I just did 2 mini-swatches with the correct technique.

Swatch 1: Corded Rib
My first impression when I cast off this swatch was "Not Worth It." As you can see in my first swatch (the big one.) the pattern is not noticeable and is actually fairly unattractive.

Swatch 1- incorrect

But then in the mini-swatch you can see that, when twisty is done correctly, the "cable" effect is much more effective.
mini-swatch, correct.

The fabric is nice and stretchy, though it is not reversible. I think it would make a good pattern for a hat, especially for those (like me) who can't stand to do an entire hat of ribbing. When you need a little bit of thinking I guess this would be an ideal stitch pattern.
Looking back at the big swatch... I don't know how I didn't notice how wrong that was.
I mean, look at the picture from the book.
It didn't look right at all, and I managed to blame it on the yarn. hah!

Swatch 2: Rickrack Rib
This is the swatch I was most excited about. As a matter of fact, back when I first began this project I privately marked as the beginning of the exciting stuff. Like, up until this point it was all stuff I was familiar with or fully capable of doing but from here on out it was new and exciting. Right?
Swatch 2- Rickrack Rib

Well, unbeknownst to me, "twisty" also has a brother. Or sister. Or surprisingly frustrating step-half-cousin. And that stitch is called "Cr2PB," and is done by Purling the second stitch on the LHN through the back loop and then purling the first stitch and slipping them both off. It was a real PITA and I actually had to look up a video of how to perform this properly.
The video is here for those interested. It was the only video I could find and I was very thankful to find it- especially since it showed me my front twisties were wrong, too! That really explained why my swatches weren't turning out exactly like the pictures.
I loved this swatch. I loved it because it was fun to do, because it is a unique look, and because I learned so much from it! I can't wait to see what I can use it for!
The fabric itself is not incredibly stretchy and, for reasons as yet unbeknownst to me, the area between the rickrack-y part and the knit stitch is very loose. I'm not really sure how to tighten that area up.
I'm going to put some tips now for people wanting to attempt this pattern:
1) do your front twisties loosely- it helps when you get to your back twisties
2) when you do front twisties you must bring your needle from the back to knit through the front loop (see video)
3) when doing back twisties just trust it. I was so scared i was doing it wrong that i kept trying over and over without actually bringing the stitch to completion.
4) i found it best to work 2 rows in stockinette first, because twisties on the cast on edge are an extra pain.

Swatch 3:  Twisted Rib
Having utilized this pattern in a pair of socks, this swatch went by rather quickly. It's just like a 2x2 cable pattern, only instead of using a cable needle or dropping a stitch off you just utilize your twisty stitch. Then you get the look of a cable for much less effort.
I like less effort.
Swatch 3- correct

The way I was doing twisty before was actually even less effort, but as you can see from the pictures, it doesn't look as good.
Swatch 3- incorrect
Maybe some day I'll post a video of how I thought you're supposed to do twisty!

So those are my three swatches for this week.
Stay tuned for next Sunday where I'll post:
1) Mock Cable Rib
2) Crossed Rib
3) Open Twisted Rib
I think "open twisted rib" is the same rib made popular in Kristi Geraci's froot loop socks, only adapted for working in the round. That's one thing I don't like about this book; I do a lot of knitting in the round and it never tells you how to adapt the patterns.

Oh well. Happy knitting!
I'm working on something really exciting, too, and hopefully I'll have it done for Finished Object Friday.