Saturday, December 31, 2011

Random Saturday Post

1) I have been ill so this post probably no sense-make
2) My mom shrank the vest I made her for Christmas.
3) My SIL gave me this awesome book:
and since I was in the area for Christmas visits,  I went to Lofty Lou's and picked out some monster yarn.  I got some Cascade 220 and some Berroco Vintage Chunky. Lovely yarns for monsters, I think.
4) I haven't yet finished a monster.
 Probably because I haven't actually knitted anything in 3 days. Which is a record for me this year. Do you know how awful it is to be in a hospital waiting room and be unable to knit!!?? (for those who are going to ask, it wasn't serious and I'm all better now. I just had to be re-hydrated and got to sit in a big uncomfortable chair- again not knitting- for four hours while getting fluids pumped into me.)
5) My mom shrank one of my socks. That I made for me. I don't know how she does this, but when the sock came out, it fit her perfectly. So now she has a new pair of wool boot-socks.
6) I'm beginning to believe it is unsafe to give her any woolies.
7) I really wish she didn't shrink her vest because it was so full of color work. But I might end up cutting down the sides and adding fabric so it at least fits her.
8) Happy New Year
9) I'm going back to bed because my whole body hurts.

Hopefully my first post in the new year will make more sense.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

The Horse is done!!!
And even more exciting, Remo's sweater actually fits him!!

I kept the ends just in case I had to add length or re-do the neckline. Turns out it fits great; I can weave those all in and heave a sigh of relief. I think I could do with adding an inch to the sleeves, though. I'll try to finish those up tonight so it still counts as a Christmas gift. ;)

Vyvyan's giraffe, sadly, is still missing horns and tail. (And 11 pom poms.)
 But he got some Thomas tracks and trains, so I don't think he minds.

The walrus is missing flippers and tusks, but I have until dinnertime to get him done.
Oh, he also needs a nose.

Final gift that needs completing, the cat hat. Still. I'm just going to recycle this picture since it's been in the exact same spot for weeks.
Yeah, uhm. It needs ears. That's all. I have no excuses. I know. But I don't see the recipient until Monday so my brain somehow thinks that's ages away.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day is full of JOY!!!!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

FO Friday:

This was one busy week.
There was:
The hat I made for no reason that turned out too small for me.
The duckling for Layla. (It has a squeaker inside)

Cowls 1, 2, and 3(which is just half of the first pattern because I ran out of yarn.)
Those two green cowls? ... I don't know why I thought I could get 2 massive cowls from 2 skeins of simply soft when it took 2 skeins to make the one grey one. Maybe I thought the fancy pattern used up THAT much extra yarn. At any rate, the two green cowls look different on.

I like the big one better, though... Not sure what I'm going to do with the little one.

But that is not all (said the cat) That is not all!

By the end of the day this little chica:

will be made to look just like this little chica:

and then the two of them will be sewn together to create a beautiful set of reversible sisters.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope ya'll got your holiday knitting done. And, er.... I hope I get mine done, too.
After all, I still have to complete a horse, a giraffe, a walrus, and a hat. Woo!! Wish me luck!

Check out more FO's at Tamis Amis.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Eeeek! The last WIP Wednesday before Christmas! I still have so far to go....
Today I'm shirking my Christmas duties once again and working on a simple crochet scarf.
The pattern is free, and is available here.
I'm using Caron Simply Soft again. I had originally bought the 4 skeins to make the $5 in Paris sweater, but slowly realized I was never going to get around to it. So I freed up some room with the big grey cowl the other day, and then decided I felt like using up the rest.
I'm using two strands held together and a size P hook.

Once this cowl is done I'll be turning my attention back to Layla's duckling, who is in desperate need of wings. And eyes.
And finally, IF I HAVE THE TIME. (which, let's be honest, I'm going to be trying to warp the space-time continuum as much as possible this week) I'll get to work on Nina's gift. Which will make this duo a trio.

Honestly, I think all of us knitters and crocheters should work as hard as we can at warping the space time continuum this year. I can't be the only one who needs it....

As always, visit Tami's Amis  for more WIPs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

IGNORING my Christmas knitting???

Today I knitted a hat. This hat.

Sorry I don't have a picture of it done. It has lost itself for now.
I'll try to get a modeled pic for FO Friday
It was fun and quick and I finished it before 7 pm. BUT it was pointless. It was knitting for knitting's sake and somehow that just isn't allowed in December.

Am I avoiding all the fiddly bits I have to deal with for presents? Do I think that by ignoring that heap of knit goods and wrapping paper that the elves will come and wrap all my presents for me? Do I think there is some secret knitting brownie that will come in the night and make 11 pompoms?

Who knows.
At any rate, I made the hat for myself. Now I'm a really loose knitter and all my hats come out too big so I compensated by using worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles and even casting on 12 fewer stitches for the ribbing. Guess what. Hat is too small. So maybe it was a present after all. After all, I sure haven't finished my son's giraffe....

Oh well.
I also went to a birthday party today. Gift?
Yay elephant!!! I'm so glad I added crochet to my list of skillzzzz.

Good night all. I'm going to be up late, crocheting a cowl that also has no point. I don't know why I do this; it is clearly December 20th.

A break from Christmas Knitting....

A few weeks ago, I was looking desperately for a big chunky cowl. I searched high and low before I found one on Ravelry. Why hadn't I ever seen that one before? Was it new? I clicked the link. Ah. It was crochet.
Take a peek at it here. It's free and super cute.
Usually I filter my searches so I only look for knitting projects. But, I thought, why not? Surely I could crochet a cowl, right? I read through the pattern and decided that I could learn to work a double crochet decrease over 7 stitches if it meant I'd get a cowl like the one in the picture.

The only problem was I didn't have a 10 mm hook. That's a size P. The biggest size I had was a size J and I only had that because once I ordered a big lot of used knitting needles on Ebay and a little kit of crochet hooks came with it. So I had to trudge through Michaels (not my favorite thing this time of year) and came out with a huge plastic crochet hook for $3.99. This thing is the size of a size 15 knitting needle!!!

But you know what that means? That means I crocheted up the whole scarf in one day! Talk about instant gratification.
 Astute crocheters among you will note that I did not get the pattern down until 2 rows in. (2 rows equaling about 2 inches.) The whole scarf is only 10 rows long. The pattern calls for a repeat of 4 rows, 3 times total. But I ran out of yarn and so only did 2 repeats plus half of the third repeat. It still turned out nice and cozy. Apparently I crochet really loosely though because it came out 10 inches longer than the one in the pattern. Which explains why I ran out of yarn....

That means that this project used up 630 yards of Caron Simply Soft in ONE DAY!!! Do you realize how cool that is????

Plus now I haz a scarf!!!

Picture party!!!

First try at a slip stitch seam.

so cozy

close-up of pattern

~~~~So classy~~~~~
Back to Christmas knitting today, though.
I have a few presents left to make:
1) Duckling (with feet not the rolly thing) for baby Layla. With a squeaker inside!!!
2) One more puppy for Layla's big sister.
3) Vyvyan's giraffe still isn't finished. I sewed the legs on yesterday, but he still needs 11 (!!) pom poms and a tail.
4) Emilio's Pony still needs 2 legs. Not to mention lots of seaming. (note to self: shame shame you're to blame!)

And if time permits,
My dad. Now I love my dad, I really do. But he is one of those people who NEVER tells you what he wants and doesn't appear to like anything in the world. So come Christmas time I'm always stumped. If I have time, I'm guessing I'll make him some slippers. Or somethin'.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week 22... of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

Hooray! I have made it to the "Textured Stitches" section! I have been looking forward to this for weeks! (Why, no, I don't have a life, thanks so much for asking)

This week's swatches were:
1) Long Bobble Stitch
2) Trellis Pattern
3) Gooseberry Stitch

 Each of these swatches had its issue, but all in all this was a successful week. I learned quite a bit, and I'm going to be a much more experienced knitter when I get through this section!

SWATCH 1: Long Bobble Stitch
I will forever remember that while I worked on this swatch I was watching Thomas & Friends "Misty Island Rescue." That is completely unrelated to the swatch and I apologize, but it's all I can see when I look at it.
Long Bobble Stitch Swatch
That and it looks like dragon scales. I totally want to use some bright green yarn (that I may or may not have in my stash from a ridiculous dyeing experiment) and knit up a little dragon thing for my son. I'd have to think about how to work the decreases in there, of course, but I think it would be worth it to have a lumpy scaly dragon.
This swatch wasn't fun to make though. The "long bobbles" are created by knitting back and forth on five stitches for a few extra rows. I made a pretty glaring mistake in this swatch, but due to the not-fun-ness of it, I let it go.

SWATCH 2: Trellis Pattern

I did a sort-of trellis pattern when I was working on the Nancy and Judy shawl (recently deceased). The one featured in that shawl was much more attractive, however.
Trellis Pattern Swatch
Not sure if you can see it in the picture, but halfway through the diamond created by the slanting Cr2F's and Cr2B's, there is a change in stitch. For more than half of the diamond, we see reverse stockinette stitch. Then at the sort of point area, it turns into stockinette.
I don't like that.
It's definitely right; the book shows it that way as well.
But I don't like it at all.
Let's see if I can dig up the ol' Nancy and Judy pics....
Much prettier, and it's not just the light. (Although I should apologize for the lighting this time 'round. It's cold outside today. Also.... my neighbors are sitting across the street in a big group drinking beers and I don't want them to think I'm completely nuts. I mean, they see me taking pictures of little squares on my front lawn every week but... today I'm wearing a lot of purple. I don't know why that makes a difference. but it does.) MOVING ON!!!

SWATCH 3: Gooseberry Stitch
This was my favorite swatch of the bunch. It actually reminded me of a hat from a magazine I tried to make for my niece one Christmas. It was the holiday Interweave from 2008. The hat on the cover, actually. I so desperately wanted to make it for my eldest niece and i had some pretty blue yarn and I wrote down every row and crossed them off when completed. I don't know what exactly happened.... I never finished the hat; I ripped it.
I wonder if it was lack of experience, or maybe gauge issues, or maybe the yarn (which was slightly variegated) was just wrong for the pattern. Maybe I should go back and make it now, with Fisherman's. The bobbles turn up really pretty in white...
Anyways here's my swatch:
Gooseberry Stitch Swatch
I think it's so pretty. And really squishy because of all the extra yarn in there. And surprisingly stretchy. I think it would look great as a hat. It was easy to knit as well, a few plain rows thrown in so you're not working too hard.

Anyways, that's all of my swatches for today.
Next week:
1) Slipped Granite Stitch
2) Linen Stitch
3) Trinity Stitch

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Finished Object: Mr Fox

Pattern: Mr Fox Stole (my heart) by Stephanie Dosen (aka Tiny Owl Knits)
     MC: Knit One Crochet Too's Camelino
     CC1: Lion Brand Jiffy (This is kind of fluffy for his chin and tail)
     CC2: Lion Brand Wool-Ease
     Safety eyes and nose
This pattern was much easier than I had thought. Instead of being worked on DPN's, the face is knit flat and then sewn together. In fact, you only need DPN's for the ears and to work the I-cord legs.
The seaming was much easier than I had expected and once he was all done I just wanted to give him a big hug.

I bought his plastic eyes and nose at Jo-Ann's. They were very easy to put on, but because they aren't attached with thread I wasn't able to make the eyes "sink in" as much as the pattern suggested.

Oh, and don't forget, the lovely ms Dosen has just come out with a new pattern and it is free. See here for pattern and knit-a-long!

Trip Pictures

Today is Will's birthday. To celebrate, we went to San Francisco and spent two days tromping around town.
No, really. We tromped. A lot.
My butt hurts from all the damn hills. And my calves, and shins? Basically all of my lower body is like "WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?!" Because apparently I'm a mom and all I do is sit on the couch knitting while I watch Vyvyan play with trains.

Now for lots of pictures, including.....
Will's butt as we climb the millionth set of stairs for the day.

Me climbing the very same stairs. (I was actually trying to get a picture of me with the Golden Gate behind me but apparently it's difficult to take a picture of yourself when you can't see stuff all good)

Awesome button we found at a used bookstore. It says "Raglan Sleeve" and is from an old dictionary!
Yes all pictures of me turn out this bad

We walked all day AND all night ;)

Visited my aunt who had an adorable 9-week-old puppy to share with us. (His eyes are 2 different colors.)

We stopped at a yarn shop BUT it was closed :(
And throughout all of this, I knit on the one thing I brought: A plain and simple sock out of the Opal sock yarn I bought in Sunnyvale.

Actually, I knit most of that in the movie theater. We went to see Sherlock Holmes (which was awesome) before finally, exhausted, returning home.

Anyways, that's where I've been. I haven't finished Mr. Fox, yet. I have sewing to do and fiddly bits like picking up his leg stitches etc and I think I'll work on that today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Today I'm working on...Mr Fox.
I've had the perfect foxy shade of yarn in my stash for a while now, left over from my Ringwood sweater.

It is Knit One Crochet Too's Camelino, which is sadly discontinued. I really liked it because it stood up so well to frogging, and is soft and sproingy. I did wonder for a minute if it was a bad idea to make a fox out of camel fur- would the other foxes laugh at him? But I decided, at the end, that I would love him and that's all that matters.
Because, yes, even though I have several Christmas presents on the needles I am making this stole for myself. Selfish, once again.
I'm barely at the middle of his body right now. One thing I wasn't expecting about this pattern is that it is almost all worked flat. The only exception being his ears! Even the cute little face is worked flat and then sewn up to be three dimensional.
So, yeah, I'm actually having a bit of difficulty with the straight needles. These ones are 14" which apparently is just long enough to bother me. I have been working so much on circulars lately...
Anyways, back to knitting. I'll just leave you with a picture of how he's meant to look when he's done:
My pictures are so tiny today because I got a phone for Christmas (a phone that takes better pictures than my camera does) and I didn't download them properly I just saved them small. Whoops. Oh, and it's a touch screen so my first thought was that now I get to knit this.

Anyways, as always, link back to Tami's Amis for more great projects!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 21...of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

Hello again!

This week my swatches were:
1) Double Rickrack Rib
2) Alternating Cable Rib
3) Feather Rib

And here they are, the last three ribbed patterns in the book:
I'm telling you, my bag of swatches is really starting to grow! I need to take another group shot, but I've been lagging because I hate weaving in the ends.

SWATCH 1: Double Rickrack Rib
Again, I had to look up the twist stitch just to be sure I was doing it right. I couldn't find an actual video showing me how to work the double rickrack rib, just the single. So I'm not convinced I did it correctly, after all.
The picture in the book shows this:
Top swatch is double rickrack.
See how it kind of looks like little O's?
Well when I knitted up a swatch I got this instead:
Reeeeeally not the same, right? I don't know what I did wrong, but if anybody actually knows how to do the double rickrack rib, I would encourage you to put up a video because apparently I need help. That or the directions are wrong, which has been a problem before with this book. Irritatingly, I can't find an errata page on the publisher's website to check. Clearly it's not the same as the picture, though.

SWATCH 2: Alternating Cable Rib
I loved the way this one looks in the book, and to my surprise it looked lovely in real life, too.
I imagine making a hat with this detail. I love the way the cables braid into each other.
Of the three swatches this one is definitely my favorite.

Working this swatch was easy, though I did end up frogging my first attempt because I didn't read the words "Repeat rows 3-6" and instead was working rows 1-6. Always a good idea to read the directions, right?
Anyway my advice for this swatch is to cable with a cable needle. Usually I skip the needle, but the nice tight effect was emphasized when I used a cable needle. (Cable needle, DPN, you know what I mean.)

SWATCH 3: Feather Rib
This swatch was a real pain to knit. Every single row had either a k2tog through back loop or a k2tog through back loop PLUS a purl through the back loop of a yarn over. Not fun.

It is pretty, though. And the reverse side is pretty in a different way. I think this stitch would look quite pretty as a cuff. It would sort of girly up a sweater if you know what I mean.

So that's it!
Next I will enter the realm of Textured Stitches and it looks really fun.
Next week's swatches are:
1) Long Bobble Stitch
2) Trellis Pattern
3) Gooseberry Stitch

The rest of the day will be spent knitting along on my new sweater. I finished the back piece yesterday and pinned it onto my shirt to realize that, though the waist shaping was perfect and lovely, it was far too short. I would never wear a sweater that short. I would never wear a SHIRT that short. Maybe on laundry day, when I've run out of bras. But seriously! I snipped a stitch and am now working downwards.
I'm entertaining the idea of grafting on the garter stitch that I already did.

But that idea is probably stupid.
Hanging onto it just in case.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fit to Flatter

So we drove to Sunnyvale. It took less time than I thought, so we arrived before the store was even open. After breakfast my mom took my son to an aunt's house- where I hear they had a very good visit- and I stepped foot for the very first time into Purlescence Yarns. Unfortunately I was so nervous I forgot to bring my camera with me, so I have nothing to show for my adventures. Well, except the picture Amy took for the class. And the yarn I may or may not have bought.

Purlesence Yarns is a nice, big, and open yarn shop. The entire right corner is devoted to spinning wheels and weaving looms, which you can see right away fro out front. So I was immediately excited about that. That entire side of the store was non-yarn. There were books on knitting, crochet, beading, spinning, dyeing, etc There were buttons, there was nylon thread in every color of the rainbow. Batting, needles, notions, you name it!
The yarn was on the other half of the store. There was quite a bit of Cascade. Cascade eco wool, eco plus, heritage silk, 220, etc. Honestly I felt the store was kind of dominated with it. Then there was Manos del Uruquay, Opal sock yarn, Lorna's Laces, Madelinetosh, Rowan, and more.
As in most yarn shops, there were a plethora of beautiful garments decorating the store. I was especially struck by a variegated grey/brown coat with a cabled cowl neck and beautiful waist shaping. I feel like such an idiot for not asking what pattern and yarn that was.
So anyways, the shop was great and I wish I lived (much) closer to it, but I guess the main thing people want to hear about is the class!

Some links first:
1) Amy's website
2) Fit to flatter group on ravelry- you can see when she's coming to a town near you.

The class was amazing! I don't know why I was so nervous, except maybe for the fact that even though she explicitly stated in her blog "I am NOT the what not to wear lady," I kind of still felt that way. And if I ever went on that show they would throw away my entire wardrobe and tell me I need to wear more grown-up things because I look like a little girl who dressed herself.

What did Amy tell me? She showed me a sweater that made me look like "a  little girl playing in puddles." It was this sweater and once I get enough money for the pattern (a collection for $21) AND the yarn (Malabrigo Twist, 8 skeins) I am making it! In other words it is way too expensive for me to ever make. But it looked SOOO good on me (yes even in that bright red-orange color) and it brought out my entire soul. Seriously. It made me really happy.
Which is very strange because I don't think I would ever choose that design (or that color) because it's asymmetrical.

There was so much sweater-swapping! Amy brought in something like 20 or 25 sweaters in average sizes (34-41) and we all tried them on. Plus a bunch of us brought our own hand-knit sweaters. The too-big ones we pinched at the shoulder-back to see how they would look if knit in the proper size. It was so interesting to see a sweater that looked terrible on one person that looked amazing on someone else.

It really showed that it's not that YOU are ugly, and it's not (necessarily) that the SWEATER is ugly. There are just bad combinations of sweater + shape.

I took plenty of notes and learned A LOT, but I think everybody has to do this class themselves. Because there is just so much information here, and the whole time you're listening for what applies to you. The stuff that applies to you, you squirrel it away. Everything else you think you'll remember but then as you keep learning it kind of gets pushed out of your brain. Because let me tell you, there was a LOT of knowledge crammed into that 6 hour class. Also let me tell you? That didn't feel anything like 6 hours.
Though by the end everyone's brains were a bit fried.

So here are some things I learned:
1) Waist-boob. What it is and how to avoid it.
2) Top-down Raglans are really not the best way to go because, though you can try on as you go, the WEIGHT to the garment is not there yet, and weight affects fit.
3) Cardis look great on everyone.
4) My shape is "proportional" and actually so was the majority of the other ladies there.
5) Base your size choice on your torso measurement, NOT your bust measurement. If your bust measurement is bigger than your torso measurement, simply add bust darts.
6) There are actually 2 types of bust darts and the easier one makes a lot more sense.
7) Knits are surprisingly stretchy.
8) I must have that Revere Jacket one day.
9) This whole time I've been knitting sweaters "a bit under armhole" and I've had no idea where that was. I could have been using my bra strap as a reference.
10) I am not a straight shape. ( I REALLY thought I was. I thought there was no way I'm "curvy")
11) Almost everyone in the class admitted that they had no idea what they really looked like!!!

P.S. Just so you know? That is NOT what I look like. I nearly never wear pants. And if I do, they sure aren't super tight leggins. Amy told us that these pictures do not represent US at all and we should treat them simply as data.

Youcan't see in the picture, but we then drew lines and measurements on the pictures.
It was a very hands-on class and we did take each other's measurements by hand. It was really helpful to have someone doing it for you, especially for the arm measurement and the vertical measurements.
But now I have a measurement sheet:
So when I want to modify a pattern, it is REALLY simple.

In fact, I have ripped apart Vinelle (gauge issues) and cast on a new, seamed sweater. (Amy said it was easier to work out the mods on a flat design and that we should do a seamed sweater next. She apologized, though, so I guess that makes me feel better.)
I chose a simple stockinette sweater, Marissa from the berroco design team. Only, when I'm done it's going to look a lot different because my mods are:
  •  Omit buttons
  • Add waist shaping at center back
  • Lengthen sleeves
  • Lengthen garter stitch hem
  • Deepen neckline
  • Add shawl collar
  • Add simple bust dart
Did you notice that "Lengthen sweater" isn't one of my mods? Usually it is. Usually I lengthen a sweater about 3 or 4 inches. Or even more. Unlike most people who do this because it "hides their hips" I do it because I love long cozy sweaters that go mid-butt. I hate when the wind rides up and I don't care what the hell I look like anyway (recall little girl who dressed herself statement). But I am going to give this a genuine try and see how it looks.

I had to buy some Opal because both Susan B. Anderson and Coop Knits have mentioned Opal on their blog recently and I could no longer resist giving it a try. I just keep hearing good things! Unfortunately, the Van Gogh colorways were not to be found. But I got this rainbow-girly color and I'm going to make some dandy socks soon. For uhm.... I'm not really sure yet for who.

Also I bought the new Interweave, because I always do.
So that's it for me today.
Super Stitches will follow tomorrow.
I plan on knitting lots of sweater today. 
(Last night I did all the math for the back of the sweater, eagerly cast on 68 stitches and knit the 2 inch garter hem and switched to bigger needles and started the waist shaping and then realized.... I was supposed to cast on 78 stitches. >_< )