Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January in Review

January Finished Objects
(Links to rav project pages)
  1. Toothy Joe
    late present for Nicholas
  2. Gabby the Garden Monster
    random present for Vyvyan
  3. Opal Socksknit for myself SooOOoo selfish. (fulfilling 12 socks in 12 months goal)
  4. Raccoon Mittens
    knit for Zoe, but she didn't wear them. Also to try out raccoon design.
  5. Fox Mittens
    knit for etsy shop. have yet to list
  6. Mouse Mittens
    knit for etsy shop. have yet to list
  7. Convertible Owl Mitten
    knit for me. SooOOoo selfish
  8. Spiral Fingerless Gloves
    knit for me. SooOOoo selfish
  9. Windowpane Hat
    knit for me. SooOOoo selfish. Though, I guess it could become a Christmas gift, since I don't actually wear hats very often... will reconsider.
  10. Heartfelt Ring
    knit for me. SooOOoo selfish
  11. Crocheted Washcloth
    made for mom's birthday. I want to have a 3-piece set. Her birthday is in April.
  12. Crocheted Beanie
    made to fulfill "crochet a hat in 2012" goal. 
  13. Lapghan
    made for aunt marina's birthday in February.
  14. Heather Hoodie Vest
    knit for me. SooOOoo selfish
So out of 14 knits, 6 are selfish. What a greedy person I am!

Oh well. I will put the Windowpane hat in the long-range planning box and it will turn up in someone's Christmas stocking.

What's really sad about this list of 14 finished objects is that they were all but one cast on in 2012. So far, I am not meeting my 2012 goal number 9: "Finish 5 UFO's...the ones that are just sitting there." (Out of the 13 from yesterday's post I think about 9 or 10 of them are in that category.)

I have, however, cast on for the Vine Yoke Cardigan, which is on the list.

February Goals:

1) Catching Butterflies (my THIRD pair!!)- counts toward 12 tok in 2012
2) Cecil the Computer Monster- knit for gift. either for upcoming birthday OR to be saved for xmas.
3) Vine Yoke Cardigan (though running out of yarn is an understandable excuse)
4) Calcetines Azules- 12 socks in 2012

I should really add something like the baby blanket or Mom's Mara to that list, but... but I want to cast on for a Shalom. And the baby corn dress from Superstar Knitting. Or the Empire Strikes Back dress.
There is no hope for me. Really.
I have no self-restraint.... BUT the only yarn I bought in January was the necessary Wool-Ease to complete the prototypes for my mitten design. So far the knitting from stash idea is coming along. We'll see how long that lasts.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Brutally Honest UFO Post

It's time to admit what a fickle knitter I am. I long to be the type of person who can work on one project until it is done, but it will never be. Here is what is on the needles. (Oh, and some of these have not been touched since I last took a picture so I'll be recycling a few photos.) I have included where each project lives, just for fun.

1) Cestari Stripes, Cast on 1/27/12

Yarn: Cestari 2 ply sock
Pattern: n/a
Where this project lives: In a small green bag atop my jewelry box.
Notes: I cannot explain why I cast on yet another pair of socks. No, really.
The plan is to make very tall tri-color stripey socks. Notice how I don't even have one stripe done yet. This project has been sitting exactly like this for 3 days already.

2) Catching Butterfiles, Cast on 10/22/11

Yarn: Pingouin Laine Nylon
Pattern: Catching Butterflies, by Stephanie Dosen
Where this project lives: For a long time the solo mitt lived in a purse under my bed. Since I found it and cast on the second, this has been sitting on my dresser to remind me to work on it.
Notes: Made the first of the pair in October. When I made the second they did not match and I had to make a third mitt. Now I am finally trying to match the gauge for that first mitten. Forcing myself to knit tightly is not very fun.

3) Calcetines Azules, Cast on 8/30/11

Yarn: Lion Brand Sock Ease
Pattern: Los Pequenos Relojes de Arena
Where this project lives: In the green bag atop my jewelry box, accompanying the Cestari socks.
Notes: Not enjoying the pattern because it is not as mindless as a normal sock. First time attempting toe up socks. Do not like the yarn so it is very slow going.

4) Hexipuffs, Cast on 8/1/11

Yarn: Various- lots of Koigu, Happy Feet, and Crock-O-Dye
Pattern: Beekeeper's Quilt by Stephanie Dosen
Where this project lives: This project sits in a basket on top of my dresser. The stuffing, needles, and current puff live in a small green pouch that generally sits with the basket. Except when I feel like bringing puffs with me. It is a very portable project.
Notes: Not knitting very often on these. Want 100 by the end of the year. I have 50 now.

7) Ski Sweater, Cast on 11/11/11

Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool
Pattern: Ski Sweater in Color Patterns by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Where this project lives: Black tote bag in closet, where I hear it sobbing every night.
Notes: I don't know how to use a sewing machine, otherwise this would be done already. All I need to do is machine stitch and then steek. :(

8) Crazy Pants, Cast on 1/9/12

Yarn: Schoppel Wolle Zauberball
Pattern: Nethergarments by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Where this project lives: In a Buddha bag between my bed and my nightstand. I take it out at night while Vyvyan is winding down. These crazy pants have watched a lot of Blue's Clues.
Notes: I love these. They are going to be so warm and comfortable. I am keeping notes for the second leg in a composition notebook that stays in the bag, along with The Opinionated Knitter, the other 3 Zauberballs, and a pen.

9) Mom's Shawl, Cast on 6/8/11

Yarn: Bryspun Kid n Ewe
Pattern: Mara
Where this project lives: In a Great Gatsby bag in the closet. In the Depths of the closet.
Notes: See that ball of yarn in the middle there? That entire ball was already worked into this shawl when I noticed a mistake and ripped back. That is why this project is in prison. That and the fact that my mom recently shrunk 2 pairs of socks AND a fair isle vest I made her.

10) Baby Blanket, Cast on sometime in 2011. (Whenever I found out Lauryn was pregnant.)

Yarn: Bernat Baby Boucle
Pattern: n/a
Where this project lives: In the hall closet. With all the cotton. (I really only open that closet to get my swift)
Notes: I think this has been sitting in a closet since the day I cast on. It's okay though. The baby ain't coming out till March. Hm. March is pretty soon. Maybe I should start working on this again....

11) English Pastry Socks, Cast on 1/20/12

Yarn: Angels and Elephants "Mansan"
Pattern: n/a
Where this project lives: In my purse. Proper place for a sock, i think.
Notes: 50% Alpaca 50% Merino. Not sure why I decided that would be a good idea for socks, but they are feeling SoOoOOooo soft.
I started it in the movies (The Artist, in case you are wondering) and my gauge was nice and loose. Then I tried working on it at home (covered in baby) and my knitting tightened up a lot. Not sure if it's enough to merit ripping...

12) Vine Yoke Cardigan, Cast on 1/26/12

Yarn: Berocco Ultra Alpaca
Pattern: Vine Yoke Cardigan by Ysolda Teague
Where this project lives: In a cute black bag with poppies on it. The bag lives nowhere. It's sitting on a chair right now, but is just as likely to be on the couch, by the door, on my lap, or on the kitchen table.
Notes: Scared to keep knitting on this because I'm afraid I will run out of yarn. Although it sounds retarded, it is technically true that if I never work on it I will never run out of yarn.

13) Cecil the Computer Monster, Cast on 1/30/12

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease
Pattern: Cecil the Computer Monster
Where this project lives: This one is sitting on my vanity, next to my hairbrush. Not sure why I put it there. I guess I intend to finish it soon because I haven't given it a bag, yet. His ears are in a completely different location... Perhaps they should meet up.
Notes: I just wanted to knit this one because my name is Cecilia. ;-) Well, I guess also to get rid of some of the stash.

13 projects.
That is a lot. Luckily I recently went through my WIPS and frogged the ones that weren't working out. Well, actually that is a lie.
I just saved the needles.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

FO Friday

Pattern: Heather Hoodie Vest, $5 pattern
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool, from stash (1.5 skeins, approx)
Needles: US 10, 29" and 16" Circulars
Modifications: I shortened the hood by an inch and a half. I picked up fewer stitches for the sleeves (45) and for the button band. Otherwise I kept straight to the pattern.
The buttons you see here do not match at all and I intend to replace them someday.
I really want long sleeves on this. I sadly do not have enough yarn. Though I would if the hood wasn't so enormous. Which it is, even with knitting less of it.
There are some button band issues (there always are- that's why I hate button bands.)
  • I picked up stitches unevenly so the hood is half floppy.
  • A lot of the button band is pretty floppy, actually.
  • Since I picked up the button band on 29" needles and it was HUGE, I couldn't see that the right and left fronts actually have a different number of stitches and, therefore, ribs. This means that the buttonholes on the right front are perfectly spaced, but the buttons are not. I'm not sure how noticeable that is, but I am far too lazy to fix it.
 Overall I am very happy with it. For one thing I have more room in my under-bed stash box and it actually closes now. Also I think it is pretty cute. I don't wear vests very often, but maybe having this wardrobe addition will change that.
The hood really is huge though:

I know a lot of people used kitchner stitch for the hood, but I used a 3-needle BO just like the pattern said. The reason was that my Central Park Hoodie has a 3-needle BO and I like how it turned out nice and pointy. With this project though, I think I should have gone for the kitchner because I don't think I'm going to be wearing the hood up very often and when it is down the seam is just glaring. Luckily it's on my back so I don't ever have to look at it. But I feel bad for whoever is waiting in line behind me!
Many people on Ravelry noted that the hood was so big it felt heavy. I don't really notice it at all. It just makes my back extra warm. I'm all for warmth. In fact, ravelry user yards-of-yarn added some gauntlets to her hoodie and I think I may take a page from her book. I should have enough yarn left over for that. Who knows, that may be my FO next friday!
But really. The hood is huge.
so huge it is scary
My head isn't down in that picture either. I am looking straight at the camera. I would love if Debbie would add a "not-quite-as-voluminous hood" option, because the hugeness of the hood pretty much renders it unwearable. Like, I truly could have had sleeves.

 But it is still a nice quick vest. It took about a week, and that's with a few frogging incidents and me putting it aside one day because I was sick of looking at it. I was planning on making a Shalom next, but now I'm looking forward to knitting something NOT out of Cascade Ecological Wool.

I love how invisible mattress stitch is! I have only made 4 garments that require seaming: The Central Park Hoodie, The Hardcore Sweater, The Cable Car Coat, and this one. With each one, I gain more confidence. Now I won't shy away from a pattern just because it is knitted flat. I still love knitting in the round, but I also love how working flat means your project stays portable for a longer time.

I did finish one other object this week: A heartfelt ring, to replace the ring my (now ex-) fiance once gave me.
This project was at the suggestion of one of my owlie friends, who said " I think you should make a heart felt ring to remind you that we all love you!" when I turned to them with the news. It really does make me feel better. It is great to have such a loving community, especially when something like this happens. The heart looks a bit wonky because, well, I made it at like 2 am because I couldn't sleep. But it's okay because my heart is kind of wonky right now anyways.

That's it for this week. I'm going to be knitting up a storm for a while, I think.
"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises," and all.

As always, check out Tami's Amis for more FO's.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I started a new project on the 19th, and I'm really hoping to have it done by Friday. I've been (very nearly) monogamous with this one and for good reason: It is in Cascade Eco Wool so the knitting is quick, and it has cables so it never gets too boring.
Progress as of Jan 22nd

It is called the Heather Hoodie Vest, and though I do not usually wear vests I thought it would be a good way to use up that spare ball of Eco wool.
I'm using a size 10 which gives me a slightly looser gauge. So though I'm knitting for the size 35", I might get a 38" or so, which would make it an ideal gift for my Sister in Law.
I'm hoping to get most of the seaming done today and then have all of Thursday to work the "voluminous hood."

My mom is trying (desperately) to talk me into knitting sleeves. She says it "looks stupid with a hood and no sleeves." And maybe she's right, I don't know. She even offered to buy me a spare ball of yarn- until I told her how much it would cost! At any rate, sleeves aren't happening. I saw some neat projects where people did add sleeves but I just won't have enough yarn. Even if I drop the hood in favor of a shawl collar. So this sweater will be just like the pattern, and hopefully it turns out cute.
Left front already joined using 3 needle BO.
Right front needs one more repeat.
I did have some trouble where I was mis-crossing cables. Only one of them required much more frogging than a few rows.
I don't know how I missed that one, but as you can see it is right after the ribbing. I had to pull about 9 inches out of that one. Ouch. Again, lucky thing it's bulky yarn!

As always check out more at Tamis Amis

Monday, January 23, 2012

Incompetent Pansy?

Okay, so it has been established that I'm a pansy. That was clear when I chickened out on my intarsia sweater and left it in pieces behind my closet door for almost an entire year. More proof? When I left my ski sweater in a bag for 3 months when all it needed was the armholes cut out and the sleeves sewn in.
But I'm not really a pansy. After all, I did finish that intarsia sweater- even if it did take a year.

And today I sat around for an hour doing what can send chills down a knitter's spine: Cutting into knitting. I practiced on my swatch hat. Remember my swatch hat?
 It looks like this now:
Yes, I spent an hour of my time transforming a decent (if a bit too-large) hat into this:
I'm sure you have questions.
1) What method of steeking is this?
I decided to try a crocheted steek, under the impression that it would be less troublesome than working a machine stitch steek.

2) Why bright red?
I used a bright contrasting color because that way it would be easier for me to see when it was time to cut. After the steek is done, the crochet stitches are tucked away and hidden so a bright contrasting color would be acceptable in the final garment as well as just for practice.

3) Why so many cuts?
I actually did a few different methods here.
First time round, I used a slip stitch to work up the hat and then turned and worked straight back down. This was incorrect.
don't work crocheted steeks like this.
It looked really bizarre when it was done. Also it didn't work because I accidentally picked up some floats along the back, and with a bit of friction it fell apart.
totally wrong. way to mis-read directions.
So, the next time around, I read the directions a bit more carefully. Also, instead of doing a slip stich, I used a real single crochet for each stitch. With this method, first I worked from the bottom of the hat up to the top on the left side of the center stitch, then I worked from the bottom to the top on the right side. So I used 2 separate lengths of yarn. That much is correct.
Unfortunately, It still didn't work out. In fact, it held even worse than the slip stitch crochet sample did. I was taking care not to pick up floats, but I suppose some might have slipped in. At any rate, here is a picture of it's holes after a bit of rubbing/friction.
So I tried again. This time, instead of doing what every tutorial told me to do, I just experimented. I said to myself "WHY do you have to do it with three stitches? Why can't I just do 2 straight rows of single crochet and cut in between them?"
And the answer is I don't know. It seemed to work as well as the others, actually much better. It is the sturdiest of all of them, but I imagine that's because I stayed in the ribbing and couldn't possibly have cut any floats on accident.
Finally, I did one more slip stitch steek, following directions to the T and checking after each stitch to make sure I didn't pick up any extra floats. I took super extra care. I promise. And yet:
I'm not sure if you can see those little brown cut stitches hanging out in the left side of the picture. BUT those are floats that have been cut. Look what happens with friction and time:
The horror!!! Thank goodness I chose to practice on a swatch, first! If this was in my sweater I would be hyperventilating!

4) Why aren't you just doing a machine stitch steek?
Good question! That's what I'm going to do now!
But my reasoning was:
      a) I have never used a sewing machine before in my life
      b) I don't have a sewing machine
      c) I don't want to make a mistake and end up unpicking machine stitches
      d) I don't trust the machine to not eat my sweater whole
      e) If I know so little about sewing machines that I harbor a belief that one can, in fact, eat an entire sweater, I probably shouldn't be messing about with one.
Unfortunately, it looks like I'm going to have to learn how to use one, because this crocheted steeking thing did NOT work out.
 I am currently working a swatch at a finer gauge to see if it is simply because of the bulky yarn. After all, Eunny Jang did mention of crochetd steeks, "This isn't particularly appropriate for superwash wools, plant yarns, or synthetics, or for anything at a large gauge. Without tightly woven floats or a firm base fabric, the tightest crochet won't guarantee hold."

5) Don't you need "steek stitches"- a section of stripes?
Nope. But it sure would be easier. If you have vertical stripes, you can just pick up one leg in one color and one leg in the other. My new swatch is knitted just like that, so when I do the next steek post I will have lots to show. :)

6) Why didn't it work?
I DON'T KNOW!!! This is one of those cases where I wish I was a really cool knitter and was like "voila here's how you do a crocheted steek! by the way, doesn't my complex fair isle cardigan look great? And don't all my pictures look professional?" or whatever, but the fact is I'm an incompetent pansy.

7) Is steeking scary?/hard?
Not on a swatch. It's fun. You should try it! I know I'm going to do some more experiementing. I have a whole ton of yarn that I could knit up and cut to pieces, and I bet you do too!

8) So what did you learn?
I learned that sometimes it's best to just dive right into things. If you have no idea what you are doing, it doesn't really matter because at the end you will have gained some knowledge. And if you learned nothing at all you don't even have to tell anyone! You can stuff your hideous ex-hat in the closet and pretend you never experimented with steeking. Not me, though, I am going to use the other half of the hat to practice machine stitch steeks. And while I'm waiting for my mom's sewing machine to get that part it needs, I'm going to knit a bunch of swatches and steek those too! Yay!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 Goals

 I'm working on my list for 2012. Right now it looks something like this:

1) Steek armholes for a sweater (Ski Sweater)
2) Knit one of Ann Budd's designs (probably Mock Cables and Lace Socks or the Toe Up Travelers from Sock Knitting Master Class)
3) Watch a DVD from Elizabeth Zimmerman's PBS television series
4) Knit with Cashmere
5) Knit a sweater from side to side (Vine Yoke Cardi- have pattern and yarn)

6) Go to 3 Knit Nights
7) Learn EZ's Sewn Bind Off
8) Knit mainly from stash (Only buying for specific projects)
9) Finish 5 UFO's (You know, the ones that are just sitting there. ... ....)
10) Make it to 100 hexipuffs. (Dang I am slow on these... I have 49 right now.)
11) Continue Super Stitches Knitting Project
12 ) Create a PDF pattern for Ravelry download

12 goals in 2012
Can I do it?

Week 24... of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

This week's swatches were:
1) Plaited Basket Stitch
2) Trellis Stitch
3) Pebble Stitch

I expected to have quite a bit of difficulty this time around, but that was not the case.
Week 24 Swatches

SWATCH 1: Plaited Basket Stitch
 This two row repeat was quite easy. The woven appearance is unique for a knitted fabric and it really does look like a woven basket. I tried to look up a video of this stitch for you guys, but only found this one from Jimmy Beans Wool. Though my book says to cast on an even number of stitches, the video instructs you to cast on an odd number. There are a few other differences as well, but the result is the same.
Plaited Basket Swatch

The swatch has a little lengthwise stretch, and width-wise hardly any at all. The swatch you see here is barely 2.5" x 2.5" because I did not realize how much the stitch pulls in. (I cast on 22 stitches)
I am working on a larger swatch for use in the blanket and have cast on 34 stitches (which is turning out a bit large.)

I guess it's sort of difficult to guess how many stitches to cast on, and if one were using it in any design work there would have to be lots of swatching going on.
One thing I had problems with- you can see I left the mistake in on the row third from top- was forgetting the first Purl stitch on the 2nd row. Once you do make a mistake it is a bit difficult to put the stitches back where they go, because every row involves Cr2Bs or Cr2F's.
Still, I think it is a very pretty stitch, which has the benefit of being surprisingly sturdy.

SWATCH 2: Trellis Stitch
 This swatch really surprised me. The only type of trellis I have ever done is the one worked in the Nancy and Judy shawl (which I frogged due to it's complex nature and my.... simple one.) so I was expecting a very hard time. However, the stitch was very easy to work, and in fact most of it is a basic k2, p4 rib.
Trellis Stitch Swatch

The cables employed are T3L (slip 1 st onto CN and hold at front. P2, K1 from CN) and T2R (slip 2 sts onto CN and hold at back of work, K1, P2 from CAN) and they were quite easy to perform, even without a cable needle.
An attractive stitch pattern I imagine at the bib of a sweater.

SWATCH 3: Pebble Stitch
Yesterday I was pretty sure I had done this stitch wrong. Though for the life of me I can't see if and where I made a mistake- I followed the patterns directly, of course- it just did NOT look like the picture in the book.
Pebble Stitch FROM THE BOOK

Then this morning, I found this video which shows that I was doing it right. Perhaps the Fisherman's Wool is just a bad choice of yarn for certain stitch patterns. And mine doesn't look like the one in the video either. It must be the yarn.
Pebble Stitch Swatch
My swatch is quite holey, and it leans on the bias and isn't altogther attractive. I can't really see a purpose for this pattern. I thought about using it as a cuff for a fingerless glove, but remembered that the edge curls. I thought about a brim of a hat, but it's so airy it wouldn't provide warmth. It is not reversible so scarves and blankets are out. I don't know, but the swatch in the book is a lot prettier than mine, and that is kind of really disappointing.

Anyways, that's all for this week.

Next time:
1) Ridged Slip Stitch
2) Tucked Stockinette Stitch
3) Gathered Stitch

Wanna see how many swatches I have?

Oh yeah. I am dreading the finishing on this puppy.
Happy Knitting!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2011: A Year in Review (AKA very wordy post)

I learned the basics of knitting in 2004, knit a sweater or two and cranked out a hat every few months. I didn't really get hardcore about it until late 2010, when I was pregnant with my son. That means I learned quite a few techniques and had a very busy year.

I started thinking about this today because I recently acquired The Knitter's Life List. It's a wonderful book, and I've gone through the whole thing and marked off the things I've done, places I've knitted, or techniques I've learned. I've been writing down the ideas that really speak to me, and I'm going to sort through them in the next few days to make some new goals for 2012.

For now, let's look back at 2011.

On Jan 25, I wrote down the following goals:
1) Knit a sweater that actually fits
2) Knit the Central Park Hoodie
3) Go to 3 Knit Nights
4) Keep track of yarn purchases so as not to go Hog Wild again.
5) Knit 3 wearable sweaters

Then in February, I added:
6) 12 pairs of socks

And, shockingly, I met all of those goals but one. The one I didn't meet? Number 3: Go to 3 Knit Nights. I blame this on the fact that I don't actually have a car and my SnB meets on the opposite side of town, but it could just as easily be blamed on my reclusive-ness. Or my baby. Whatever you want. I'll roll that goal over for this year.

Next we'll look at techniques learned. (I am sort of shocked at this list.)
  • Provisional cast on
  • Tubular cast on
  • Cable cast on
  • Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off
  • Picot bind off
  • "Hexipuff" cast on (I'm sure that is actually a thing with a name.)
  • Cabling without a cable needle
  • Mattress stitch (PROPERLY)
  • Knitting in the round on 3 DPNs
  • Magic Loop
  • Intarsia
  • Modifying for waist shaping at sides (Thank you, Stephanie Japel)
  • Modifying for waist shaping at back (Thank you, Amy Herzog)
  • How to crochet: sc, dc, hdc, rudimentary increasing and decreasing
  • How to dye yarn: natural dye stuffs, kool-aid, food coloring
  • Adding elastic to keep legwarmers up/hats on/socks up
  • Adding length by cutting into your knitting
  • Afterthought heel
  • Short row heel
  • Knitting a sweater in the round (Raglan and Yoke)
  • Use EPS to design a sweater
And this list is NOT including all the stitch patterns I learned from the Super Stitches project! My mind reels when I think of all the things there are to learn in knitting. Steeking, entrelac, brioche- and all the yarns I've yet to try!!

Some notable yarns I used in 2011 are:
1) Malabrigo Rios
2) Koigu Premium Merino
3) Rowan Kidsilk Haze
4) Knit One Crochet Too's Crock-o-Dye (still my favorite)
5) Berrocco Vintage Chunky
6) Curious Creek Fibers Tsavo

Keep in mind that before 2010 I hadn't really knit with much else than acrylic and acrylic blends. Most of my projects were made with yarn I bought at big box craft stores, though I did make a few online orders and occasionally I dished out for something good at an LYS. Looking back through my project journal from 2004-2007(Awww it's actually a paper notebook. How cute! It's like Ravelry didn't exist yet! ....Oh wait. It didn't)I can only find 3 projects using wool! My stash now is enviable indeed.

Which brings me back to goal number 4: Keep track of yarn purchases so as not to go hog wild again.
Did I do that? Yes. I have every receipt from every online order and LYS transaction. Both for yarn and for knitting paraphernalia. This goal will not roll over because the second half does not apply. I'll have to find a way to re-word that one. Maybe when I do a "Flash your Stash" post, my embarrassment will cause me to think about knitting some yarn up before I go buying some more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

FO Friday

This week, I finished a few pairs of mittens you (probably) already know about. I already posted pictures of the mouse mittens but I thought I'd try to get a modeled picture of the baby raccoons.

My son, desperately ripping the mittens off his hands.
Yeah that didn't happen. Meanwhile, the foxes are in a half-done state, because I don't like knitting with the 100% acrylic. So that's the mitten progress. Some bears are next, for those who are wondering.

I also cast on AND bound off this little monster on the 16th. I used the leftovers from the contrasting color of Toothy Joe.
For a minute there I was worried I was going to run out of yarn, and thought I'd have to skip the ears altogether. I'm glad I didn't, though, because the ears really add to his personality.
Though, I guess technically it's a girl? The pattern is Gabby the Garden Monster, from the Big Book of Knitted Monsters I got for Christmas.

For my last finished object of the week, I finally completed the second sock out of the Opal sock yarn I got at Purlescense yarns in Sunnyvale. After an unfortunate incident with a banana, (I will not recount it here) I had to start the second sock over once. While I was at it, I re-wound the ball to reverse the colors. I quite like them.
The colorway is 5147, Joan d'Arc. I was very pleased with the colors, but not with the texture. At least before washing, the socks feel scratchy and not very soft at all. Also, I generally knit 64 stitch socks on size 2's and it gives me a good-fitting sock. With this yarn, however, my socks came out quite loose. I think I could have gone down to a 0, and even then I could have dropped the stitch count to 60.

As always, check out more FO's at Tami's Amis.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Hi Knitters! Today I'm still working on my new mitten design I started a few days ago. The mousies are done.
So once those were done I was very excited and went off to Michael's to get some more Wool-Ease. Then came the startling discovery that they stopped carrying it!! So I bought some Vanna's Choice, and that is where the trouble began.
Apparently my gauge with Vanna's Choice is quite looser. Whether that is because I don't like the feel of the yarn (it feels like plastic to me) or because it is slightly thicker yarn, I don't know. But I ended up with mittens that fit my boyfriend a lot better than me. And while it's a good thing that I will have some larger sizes, I'm not sure how many men are into wearing cutesy fox mittens....
I also tried to make a baby size mitten, but it turns out I'm not as good at proportions as I thought I was because they really didn't fit the intended recipient. It doesn't help that babies aren't keen on trying on mittens when they've got needles poking out this way and that. (Seriously. You should have seen my son's face.) The baby mittens still came out cute, though, so I'm posting a picture of the whole family of mittens ^_^

 And of course I have loaded up on Wool Ease for the other animals. ( I had to go to the other side of town to JoAnn. In other sad craft store news, Beverly's in my town has closed down.)

There is still much work to be done on these little guys before I have anything like a pattern done. I'm still not sure how I should format it, and I haven't decided if I am just going to post it to the blog or make it a Ravelry download. What do you guys prefer?

As always check out Tami's Amis for more wonderful works' in progress!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 23.... of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

This week's swatches were:
1) Woven Brocade
2) Blackberry Stitch
3) Spine Stitch

Week 23 Swatches

SWATCH 1: Woven Brocade
My fear of this stitch pattern is what caused the week's delay for this blog post. The texture looks quite advanced in the book, and it has a 10 row repeat that didn't look easy.
Woven Brocade Swatch
Of course, once I cast on (22 sts- I didn't realize how small it would turn out) it ended up being a very easy pattern. In fact, more than half of the stitches aren't even worked! The way this pattern works is you yarn forward and then slip 3 stitches. Then when you bring the yarn back to it's normal place, you have carried that strand of yarn across the front of those three stitches. The zig zag effect is created by moving the slipped stitches over every row for 5 rows, and then the last 5 rows you move them back.
It is an interesting texture, and an easy effect to pull off, but it is not my favorite look and I don't think I'll be using it again any time soon. This stitch pattern would look best, I think, in a smooth merino/silk blend.

SWATCH 2: Blackberry Stitch
Similar to Trinity Stitch from last time, this is a bubbly stitch created by increasing stitches in one row and decreasing them in the next.
Blackberry Stitch Swatch
A simple 4 row repeat, this swatch went by quickly. I like the look of this stitch pattern, although I think the trinity stitch was easier because every even row was a purl row.

SWATCH 3: Spine Stitch
It took me a few rows before I got this one right. You can't tell because it's curling up at the bottom. (which is also why it is thumbtacked down- ghetto, I know, but that's how I roll.)
Spine Stitch
But once I did figure it out, it made a pretty little pattern. It kind of reminds me of fishtail braids, or overlapping upside down hearts. It is only a 2 row repeat, too, which is a definite plus.

That's it for this week! Next time I'll be working on:
1) Plaited Basket Stitch
2) Trellis Stitch
3) Pebble Stitch
Of which Plaited Basket looks the most exciting and Trellis looks the most troublesome.

I still have quite a ways to go into this book: I'm on page 97 out of 247. It is really taking a while and when I look forward in the book it is intimidating. On the other hand, when I look back at the pages I already did I feel a sense of accomplishment AND familiarity with the stitch patterns. It's really nice knowing which of these patterns I like and which ones I feel are too fussy to be worth it.

I've been kind of slacking on this project, I think because the stitch patterns are getting harder and I'm sorta kinda chickening out. Plus my pile of swatches that need ends weaving in has grown to monstrous proportions. It jumps out at me when I open the closet! I really have to spread them out and take a picture sometime; I'd like to see how much of a blanket I've got here.
Well, 'til next time:

Happy Knitting!