Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Almost a whole year went by!

Remember when Blogger first started with this stupid word verification thing?
I absolutely hate it and I'll be honest to all of you with it enabled: it lowers my probability of commenting on your blog. By a lot. Especially when I make a comment, and then have to type in gibberish 3 times before getting it right. By then I usually just give up.

But it IS there for a reason: to deflect spammers. And for almost a whole year I had no issue at all. But recently the spammers have gotten through. Blogger caught most of them, but I'm going to re-enable it for a little while. Probably like a week or so.

Sorry. I still hate it, but this will make me feel like I'm doing something about all these stupid fake comments.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Let's get something straight here...

I'm not crazy.
When I said I needed 40 gifts, I meant 40 GIFTS, not 40 knitted gifts. All in all I'll probably only make about 5 or 6 presents. Especially since sweaters are my favorite type of project, and this year I finally learned that no matter how much I want to give somebody a hand-knit scarf or afghan it's just not going to happen because I think they're incredibly boring to knit.

Speaking of sweaters, I've just finished the 3rd skein of my niece's sweater. I'm about ready to start the ribbing and then get to work on the sleeves.

A lot less portable now, but it's a very satisfying knit. I might have to take a few extra notes and make myself one with waist shaping. (I didn't do any for my niece because it's a surprise and I'd hate to give her a sweater with waist shaping much too high or too low for her body.)

Anyway, I just wanted to make sure you all knew that there's no way I'm going to knit 40 things for the people I love. Even if I love them very very much.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I'm working on Christmas.
That's right. Christmas. I have purchased 3 gifts, and I'm in the process of knitting 2 more. I worked out my list of people I want to have gifts for by December and it added up to 40 people. I figured if I could get 3 presents out of the way every month then I will be good to go. (Just so long as I don't end up giving said presents early, like I did last year.)
So what am I knitting this month?

Notice how I snuck my sweater in again?
I think I wear it every single day.
Fingerless gloves for my sister- she has rheumatoid arthritis and I've knitted her a pair of wrist-warmers for the last 2 years. Why break the tradition with so many lovely shades of pink to choose for her? This year the yarn (a self-striping wool blend) was a delightful surprise. It was a gift from my boyfriend, in return for knitting him a little bag (.... which I didn't actually knit yet.) and it's JoAnn Sensations Bamboo Ewe. The colorway makes me really happy, and I think after I finish these Simple Ribbed Handwarmers (The best free pattern for when you've started a sock and realized your yarn isn't superwash!) I might have to get a few more balls to make myself something too. But realistically I have so much yarn I should probably make some room first.

So I have one glove down, and the start of the second in my purse. It's just perfect for portability so I work on it on my lunch break, but 2 by 2 rib is so boring to knit! So I have a little side project at home next to the couch:

Knitted in Lion Brand Wool Ease on US 4 needles, this sweater is just being made up as I go. It's for one of my nieces, who is thankfully around the same size as I am. This is just a simple stockinette sweater with two ten-stitch cables running down the front together. It's perfect for unwinding after a long, stressful day at work. After adding the long sleeves I'm planning on adding a cowl or shawl collar. Definitely some kind of fun collar! But my dumb niece has a birthday coming up in February and I'm not entirely positive I can keep this one secret if it's done by then. It's supposed to be next year's Christmas gift but I'm AWFUL about keeping presents from their recipients. But Christmas has continued to be a failure from my end because I just can't get everyone a gift in the last 3 months. So hopefully I can hide it in the trunk of my car or something and forget about it entirely.

So that's what I'm up to- that and working a whole lot.
Do you feel like you have to get a head-start on next Christmas?

Friday, January 18, 2013

FO Friday: Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan

Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool, MC "Natural Mix"
4 contrasting colors are:
1) Taupe
2) Black
3) Grey Mix
4) Dark Gray Mix

Pattern: Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan by Elizabeth Zimmerman
My gauge was off by one stitch so I had a different cast on number, but I used the exact same charts. If I was a really particular and clever knitter, I would have gone through the trouble of centering the charts. But I'm not, and I didn't.

Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)

Gauge: 21 st/4" (I didn't bother to check my row gauge)

I steeked this the same as the last 3 sweaters I've steeked: using this video from knitpicks.

When I picked up the stitches for the buttonband I tried to make up for my hastily sewn steek by picking up a few extra stitches at the bottom left corner and in the end just made a wobbly mess. To detract from that I decided pockets would do the trick. Invisible pockets would be more functional but since I was trying to pull the eye away from the bottom button band I went with simple patch pockets.

They ended up being just what I wanted.

The buttons were from Joanns: I long for the day where I have a button stash but until then I'm just going to have to run to the shop every time I knit a sweater, carrying the finished garment over my arm and putting buttons up it and muttering to myself, "Ugh that's ugly," "Oh no that clashes way too much," and "Why don't any of these buttons have shanks?" And the like.

I wore this sweater all day yesterday, from the moment I weaved in the ends to the minute I went to bed. I took it off only long enough to sew on the pockets! All in all, I love my new cardigan. It has imperfections, of course, but it is very warm and very cozy and very wearable.

I got my tiger to model it for you guys.

That's it, I guess
I'm linking up with Tamis Amis today.
Happy Friday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm thinkin' pockets.


In case you've noticed...

I didn't finish my sweater.
I sewed the steek, I cut the steek, and I picked up the steek stitches.

I knit the button band, I knit the buttonholes, and I started to bind off.
STARTED to bind off.

Aaaaand I just didn't quite finish that bit.

It's been in a state of 75% bound off for about 3 days now.
I think it's time to get in gear and finish this puppy! Especially if I want to wear it tomorrow. I mean, it is my day off and all, so I get to wear my own human clothing instead of stupid blue slave shirt.

I think I'll get right on that! Sew on the buttons and everything. Really, I think I'm a chicken and I'm scared I'm going to finish the bind off and decide I hate the whole thing. But no fear! I mean, honestly, I made that sweater with my own little hands and so what if it isn't exactly perfect. Right?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Steek Prepared.

I did my hand-sewn steek this morning.
I wish I could cut it now and start working on the border, but alas. Work.
I'm afraid I might need to re-do the bottom left corner, because I was hurrying in order to finish in time to get ready for work. But more than likely I'll just pick up a few extra stitches there to compensate for the curl, and that'll be that.
I have tomorrow off- I hope I can get this done because it is SUPER cold in my house! I was wearing my coat as I sewed this! The chilliness is really helping me get this done.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

And now...

Most of the knitting portion on this sweater is done.

It does need a severe blocking at this point. No matter how hard I try to float my yarn loosely across the back, it never ends up being quite as loose as I need. Either that or it's too loose, which is really almost worse.

The next step is to weave in all the ends, give it a good soak and let it rest while I debate on just what kind of collar to give it. (I bound off right after the last yoke decrease, having only added 3 short rows for neck shaping earlier on.)

I will probably end up steeking it on Saturday morning or Sunday, since I work the days in between.

I'm quite sorry I decided to steek it (an irreversible decision since I started and ended the rounds at the neck front, where the pattern join is most noticeable) because I am very cold and it is incredibly warm and I really don't want to take it off.

Oh well. Experience has shown me that I wear cardigans more, and once this one is done I think it will be one of my most-worn knits. I kind of wish I had added a little bit of patterning at the bottom edges and cuffs, however.

We shall see how it all turns out in the end.
Happy knitting, all <3 <3

Monday, January 7, 2013

4 skeins in 5 days

Yes. It's true. I have been knitting up a storm.
After finishing Vyvyan's dino sweater (What? I didn't post a finished object picture? Could it be because I didn't actually technically quite sew on the dinosaur yet and it's still sitting on the bathroom counter "blocking"?) I cast on for a project I've been wanting to make for more than a year: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Seamless Yoke Sweater. Vyvyan's adorable dino sweater was all just a ruse: It was really a swatch.

I knit 2 skeins (Patons Classic, of course) into the body, and then started a new ball for the first sleeve. The leftovers from that ball went straight back into the body, adding a few short rows and bringing the length to 19". I like long sweaters, personally. In the Fit to Flatter class I took I learned that I should really cut the sweater length down for a better look, but I just can't do it. I just imagine my sweater lifting up with the breeze and a cold shiver running directly up my spine. And so, I always knit long sweaters. They take longer and they look stupid half the time, but better to have a sweater that I'll actually WEAR.

Today I started a new ball (the fourth) for the second sleeve, and then had a very tough time picking through all my Patons Classic Worsted for the fair isle bit. I actually have a total of 13 colors to choose from, mostly full skeins floating around in my stash. I ended up going for semi-monochromatic: oatmeal as the main color of course, black, dark grey, light grey, and brown. That way I can throw it over pretty much anything and not worry about clashing colors.

I've only got about four inches left on the second sleeve before I can join all the pieces together and knit the yoke. I love seamless sweaters. I truly do. I watched this lovely series on finishing sweaters today, by the author of Sweater 101. It was mostly things I'd already learned though there were some nice new ideas that I tucked away for later use, but in the end I kept starting at her thinking things like, "Wait... decrease in purl? Why would you even do that?" and "Yeah I guess you could go through all that trouble, OR YOU COULD KNIT IT IN THE ROUND!" And at the end when she says, "Only two little seams to do before you can weave in the ends, knit the neckband, and then it's done!" I'm like, ".... little seams?!" So it's quite obvious where my feelings lie on sweaters with seams. Let's face it, I live in California. I rarely wear my sweaters and don't much care how they fit...I just like to knit.

Alright I'll go now, because I'm starting to get into the part where I divulge that knitting is actually only a ploy to keep me from going insane and maybe that's a secret. Kinda.

I didn't really plan this post and so the only picture I have is of the sweater eating me.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ok so I lied.

I really, really thought Vyvyan's sweater would be done last night.
But as it turned out, my search for yarn took more time that I'd imagined.
And then, of course, we had to have lunch, and go to the park... at any rate, when I turned in last night the sweater looked like this:

After grafting the underarms and weaving in all the ends I had the boy try it on.

(Don't you just love how cooperative 2 year old models are? I told him to stand up and say cheese and this is what I got.)
 It fits him OK, but I'm disappointed by the neckline. After searching in vain for some kind of alteration for raglan decrease modified for children, I finally followed the EPS as-is. It comes up too much in the front, and kind of sticks out. I was hoping I could fix that with blocking, but next time I think I'll do the ribbing as short rows, too, and keep the bottom of the neckline plain. Maybe just one pick up round, and then just the ribbing at the back.

I don't know, but I like the modification I made last time around better. Not that it matters since that sweater is now a glorified piece of felt.

Anyways, after he tried it on (actually he's still trying it on, because I asked him if he wanted to take it off and he said no, thank you.) I fixed up the bit of felt for his new dinosaur. This time he wants a brachiosaurus instead of a T-rex, which makes me happy because I hate doing the same thing twice and the t-rex was a lot harder anyway. (Unrelated note: I have to mention right now that blogger's auto-correct is trying to tell me that brachiosaurus is not a word, and that I should change it to brontosaurus- which is not even a kind of dinosaur. *face palm*)

So I thought I'd share exactly how I did the little guy: all I used was tracing paper, one of Vyvyan's dinosaur books, an 8b graphite pencil and a bit of felt.

Easy peasy!

So anyways, what did I buy at the yarn shop? NOT Malabrigo, which was kind of what I was hankering for: apparently neither of the two shops within 30 minutes of my house carry it at all. (They both have an abundance of Cascade yarns, however.) At Knitique I walked out with the best stitch markers ever, and a book I've been meaning to acquire.

(You don't want to know how much I spent on these)
(but they were TOTALLY worth it)

Written by Alana Dakos
I read it to Vyvyan at the park and afterwards we did the puzzle and put stickers everywhere.
After Knitique we putted over to Anna's Yarn Shoppe, which has recently moved so that they are literally .4 miles away from each other. There, I ended up with 2 skeins of Merisoft Space Dyed- a deliciously soft merino I have used once before to make this hat.

I'm not sure if it will work for the BFF cowl, because it's not very solid in color I don't know about the stitch definition... But it's snuggly anyways, and I still have 2 shops to search in after all.

I have like 3 more pictures of Vyvyan's sweater but my computer is refusing to acknowledge them, and I suppose that's enough time spent on the computer on my day off anyways.
Happy knitting everyone- hopefully there will be pictures of a 100% done sweater here very very soon. :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"What are you doing to my sweater?"

My reply? "Um.... Knitting it."

I've just cast on the 2nd sleeve- this sweater should be a sweater by this evening.

If it isn't you guys can remind me that I'm doing my days off wrong.
I also plan on hitting up the yarn shop so I can get the yarn for the BFF Cowl I'm planning with Shelli of Mrs. Murray Knits! 
(I'm excited!)

Linking up with Tamis Amis today.
Happy Wednesday ^_^