Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February in Review

February Finished Objects
(Links to rav project pages)

  1. Catching Butterflies
    for myself  ^_^
  2.  Crocheted Dishcloth
    all four are going to my mom in a set.
    they're not in my project pages because, well...
    it's 17 stitch single crochet till big enough to make a square.
  3.  ""
  4. ""
  5.  ""
  6. Windowpane Hat, Orange
    made to test pattern, now on Etsy
  7. Granny Square Cowl
    for myself  ^_^
  8. Baby Blanket
    for a niece.
  9. English Pastry Socks
    for myself ^_^
  10. Valentine Maryjanes
    for myself ^_^
  11. Black Maryjanes size 6/7
    for a friend
  12. Black Maryjanes size 7/8
    for another friend
  13. Cecil the Computer Monster
    for my nephew's birthday
  14. Crocheted Owl Hat
    for Vyvyan
  15. Knit Owl Hat
    for the fun of making a pink owl hat, will soon be on Etsy
  16. Some Cloudy Days
    because who can resist a knitalong? for myself  ^_^
  17. Koolhas Hat
    for Vyvyan
So out of 17 knits(err and crochets?), only 5 are selfish.

The baby blanket is probably my proudest achievement, not because it was complicated (stockinette rectangle with garter stitch border) but perhaps for the exact opposite reason. It was insanely boring, the yarn wasn't pleasant to work with, and it went on and on and on forever. This is the only project from this month that was from last year. I still have 4 projects carrying over: The Mara Shawl, The Hexipuffs (which don't really count, because I expected to have them on the go for a year anyways) The Ski Sweater(which is totally hibernating), and my Calcetines Azules which at least I have been working on.
I figure if I tackle them one at a time, I can eventually only have WIPS from this year. Though, hopefully by the time I do that it isn't already next year...

Techniques Learned
1) Granny Squares
2) Learned to knit 2 at a time
3) Crochet Magic Loop
4) sc3tog
5) dc3tog
6) EZ's Sewn Bind Off
7) Duplicate Stitch
8) How to publish a PDF on Rav. ^_^

Last month's 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

So obviously I only got half of those done, but I decided to switch out the baby blanket for the Vine Yoke Cardigan and since I got that done I'm feeling pretty accomplished. I have been working on the Calcetines Azules (Blue Socks, but who wants to call them that?) and am nearly done with sock number one.

So March Goals look like this:
1) Finish Calcetines Azules OR Guitar Man Socks (I know, you're like WHAT guitar man socks? They were supposedly frogged in mid-august but they're actually still in a bag in my closet. They're just naked of needles. I have one sock done and half of the leg of the second) 12 socks in '12
2) Finish the Holden Shawlette (which I just cast on yesterday; I'm so excited!!!)
3) Knit Bear Mittens
4) Sleeping Beauty Cowl- 12 tok in '12

Oh, and about the yarn-buying goals.
I made a goal this year to buy most of my yarn IN-PERSON. Which, so far, is holding up nicely. However, I am going order online next month in order to buy one more skein of "Whatta Skein" in the Luna Granite colorway to knit the Calligraphy Cardigan.
Just thought I'd admit that here. ^_^

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kool Kid

So maybe I had to force it on his head.
Expression of horror.
Maybe in order to show off the cabling I had to pretend there was something amazing outside.

But danggit, the hat is finished and it fits him great.

I guess after he saw the pictures he decided he liked it because he started putting it on by himself.
And since it is yellow he is actually a fan of it, and was very happy to shout out "Yellow hat!" throughout the whole photo shoot. (The color is the reason I didn't make this hat for myself. The yellow makes me look sort of like a zombie.)

Pattern: Koolhas
Yarn: Artfibers Yurt from my San Francisco trip last year. It's sort of a weird yarn because the strands are littered with little felted beads. But it is very soft, probably because there is a bit of alpaca mixed in, and it shows the texture surprisingly well. The only bad thing is that it smells sort of vinegar-y.
Mods: CO 80 sts, still did 4 repeats before crown shaping.
It's quite stretchy so it should fit him for a while.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Yellow Yarn

Busted out the dye book again.
I've been saving onionskins for so long I figured it was time to test them out.
I didn't bother sorting between red and yellow onions.
After a half an hour or so, the onionskins came out and the yarn went in.
I had quite a bit of yarn and some hanks got a more concentrated dye bath.
Still, I now have quite a bit of yellow yarn. And I have completely forgot what exactly I was planning on turning it into...
No idea.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I can't even words.

Yarn I bought:
Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein, color: Luna Granite
I have a thing for HUGE skeins of yarn; these boast 560 yards each. This might become the Merryall Cardigan.* In spite of having noticed that I gravitate toward neutrals, having nothing bright or colorful in my stash, and completely intending to remedy that situation, I once again bought a "boring" color.
I did fully intend to make up for this by buying another skein, something bright from Anzula. I had my eye on Cricket, which- along with the wonderful colorways found in all of their yarns- was super incredibly wonderfully squishy. Instead, I ended up buying a book I've had my eye on for a while.

*OMG after I wrote this entry I went and saw Susan B. Anderson's most recent update and now I totally want to knit the Calligraphy Cardigan instead. But it calls for 1350 yards and I have 1120 and.... I seriously think that I would buy a 3rd ball just to have that cardigan. Is that completely insane? I mean, I would have like 330 yards left, which is totally like a full skein. It's not insane. Is it?

Book I bought:
Whimsical Little Knits 3 by Ysolda Teague
Yes I fan-girled and got Ysolda to sign it.
Aside from wanting to knit the Not-So-Tiny Slippers for ages, loving Ysolda's designs and needing something for her to sign, I also bought the book for these WONDERFUL Narwhal mittens. Did you know they were lined? I didn't. When I saw the sample knit I just had to have the pattern. Narwhals on their own are pretty rad, but inside of these sport-weight colorwork mittens, there are fingering weight mittens. Lined= super squishy and super warm! Which.... I didn't think about it until hours and hours later but I totally live in California. Whatever. Still makin' 'em.

What I wore:

Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky
I think the most fun about stitches was seeing all the wonderful hand-knits everyone was wearing. I saw some amazing patterns, some I recognized and some I made a note to look into. It was such a blast.

What I was knitting:

Some Cloudy Day by Tiny Owl Knits
I had lots of time to knit in the car, and we had a mid-day knitting break as well so I did manage a few repeats. Really, though, the conversation was so engaging that I ended up messing up the pattern and having to tink back a row or two. So not as much knitting as to be expected, but the first legwarmer should be finished by tonight.

Money I have left:
US Currency
(Well the other all had links!!)
I'm just so glad I brought along only the amount I was allowed to spend and not a penny more.
The only thing I regret is that I forgot to bring chapstick. (Seriously. If you saw me at Stitches, I was probably rummaging through my purse for chapstick.)

I didn't take any pictures there- it's a phone battery conservation issue- but the group I was with will have pictures up soon and I'll be sure to linky and perhaps steal a few. ^_^

So much fun.
If you get the chance, go to Stitches.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FO Friday

A few FO's to share today...

1 and 2: More Crocheted Slippers.
The two pairs basically look identical (the second pair has one extra row) but here they are together just as proof.
Proof doesn't have to be pretty.
These were done with Lion Brand Wool Ease for ease of care. I used up the last of my cutesy La Mode buttons, but I think I might yet make more of these slippers and will want to pick up some more cute buttons the next time I hit up a craft store. I saw some that were shaped like hippos and can't help but notice there is some coordinating purple wool in my stash...

3. Owl Hat for Vyvyan
I knit my son hats. I think to date I have made him 7 hats. He has worn none of them. Not even the one made out of Cashsoft DK. I specifically fondled EVERY skein of yarn in that shop to find the softest thing I could afford that I could knit up into a hat for his precious little head. I designed the pattern specifically for him and the kid has done nothing but pry it off his head every time I put it on him.
He does have a hat that he wears. It looks like this:
His dad bought it for him at Target and every time we get ready to go for a walk, Vyvyan wanders around the house calling, "Dog hat! Where are you?"
I know. Why mess with a good thing? But the kid loves owls and I love creating. Enter a quick and free crochet pattern and some stash yarn in the exact colorways needed:

I realize he doesn't look very excited about his hat. That's because he's watching an engaging episode of Thomas the Tank Engine at the moment, and something serious is happening. (Something serious is always happening on Sir Topham Hatt's railway. Man should be out of business.) But yeah once he realized that it was an owl hat, he became very interested in my project. Once the eyes and beak were sewn on, minus buttons, he put it on and refused to take it off. I had to wait until he went to sleep to sew the buttons on! The next morning he carried around both hats lovingly, saying "Dog hat. Owl hat." And eventually getting frustrated, presumably because he couldn't wear them both at the same time. But we'll see if he continues to favor the dog hat. It does, after all, have a felt lining...

4. Owl Hat for Me
The disaster did have a happy ending after all. It involved frogging the whole thing, but sometimes I feel like that's good for the soul. Like a phoenix, maybe?
After re-knitting the whole hat and then adding in all the details with duplicate stitch, I felt like I had a right to be proud.
That's right. Them's owls.
 5. Cecil the Computer Monster
I don't know why Cecil languished in the closet as long as he did. (I cast on January 30th) When I pulled his project bag out and dumped him out on my bed, prepared for a long few hours of finishing work, I was startled to see that he was very nearly finished. Except for his legs, he was complete. So less than 10 minutes later, I had an FO.
A bit lumpy, but still lovable.
I think part of the reason Cecil languished is that I wasn't sure why I was making him. I learned no new techniques and the stash yarn I was using took up much less space as 2 skeins than as a huge monster. Plus I had difficulty with the stuffing I used; it kept bunching up and looking bizarre. I think I stuffed him like 8 times before I eventually just gave up and let him be lumpy. But once I remembered I have a nephew turning 7, it all came together, and he'll be a welcome gift come March 10.

That's it for me.

In other news, tomorrow I am headed to Stitches West and I am so excited I think I might pop. Just completely explode. I may have dug out all the change I've been squirreling away in order to buy a few special skeins.

Check out more fabulous finished objects with Tami's Amis.

True story.

Have you ever seen the Bear that Wasn't?

That was the first thing I thought when I ripped out my sad little hat and realized I would have to present The Blog with this:

The Hat That Wasn't.
The fact is, with all the blocking, tugging and re-arranging in the world, this hat just wasn't working out.

I had hoped that once I put the pom-pom on, the weight of the pom pom would miraculously make the hat endearing. Make the sewn bind-off a better choice, make the twisted ribbing less constricting, and make the abrupt decreases less awkward.
Luckily, I hate making pom-poms and did not waste the yarn to find out.
Rippit Rippit!!!
     ( __ )
     ( uu )
At least now I have pink yarn in my stash...
Pink yarn..... that would make an excellent hat.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Everyone is fond of owls.

So I realized I have been crocheting a lot. Fellow Ravelers noticed, saying "you've caught the crochet bug!" My ex-boyfriend, after I noted aloud how much he's changed, laughed "I've changed!?" And he pointed at my crocheted slippers.

Something had to be done: I decided it was time to cast on something new.

Perhaps the reason for my stagnancy with knitting was not because crochet was too clever, too quick and too fun but because my current knitting projects were not clever enough, not quick enough: boring.

So I decided on something small, cute, easy and fast: a hat. I wanted to use the charts from these fingerless gloves, so I did some simple math and cast on.

Then I knit and knit for a while, and felt very happy about my bubblegum pink yarn. I thought about how much I would love my hat when it was done, then I watched a very engaging episode of Star Trek while I did the charts, and then....
It was probably about at that point where I realized my colorwork was a bit tight.
And I thought to myself, "Cascade 220 always blocks out nice and big; It will be fine."

And I kept on going. Yep. I kept going along and I did the decreases and I closed the hat and swished it in water and I waited.

I'm sure you can guess what happens next. The dumb hat is far too tight in the band of colorwork and in spite of it being very cute it Simply Does Not Fit.
CHUBBY owls :(
The tightness in the middle plus the extra-floppy ribbing at the bottom made for a very strange fit,  so my WIP for today is FIX THE HAT!!!

I have a few options:
1) Cut above ribbing, decrease by 12 stitches, do ribbing on smaller needles: make hat for a toddler
2) Cut above ribbing, continue knitting in stockinette for a few inches before doing ribbing on smaller needles: make a very strangely slouchy hat.
3) Frog back and fix the problem area by knitting owls on bigger needles.

I am lazy: I'm going with option 2. (The only thing preventing me from choosing option 1 is lack of toddlers who abide wool in my life- also I really want to wear this hat.)

I figure if I could add some length in between the colorwork and the ribbing, the owls will no longer be squeezing my brains. The less brain-squeezing the better.  And then I'm hoping if I add a giant, floppy pom-pom it will look like the slouchy thing was totally on purpose.
Or something.

Anyways, check out more WIPS at Tami's Amis.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week 26...of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

This post is a bit late because I had some difficulty with some of the stitch patterns.

This week's patterns were:
1) Risotto Stitch (reversible)
2) Waffle Stitch
3) Clam Stitch

SWATCH 1: Risotto Stitch
This is a cute little stitch pattern. You can probably tell where I made some mistakes in this swatch; it isn't very difficult to tell where you are in the pattern but I found that when I did make a mistake it was difficult to fix. 
Risotto Stitch Swatch, RS
I wouldn't call this stitch reversible, because while it does look similar on both sides, one is clearly the purl side.
Risotto Stitch Swatch, WS
 In addition, it curls quite a bit and had to be blocked aggressively to get these flat pictures taken.

SWATCH 2: Waffle Stitch
From this swatch, I learned that sometimes you just have to trust that you are doing the right thing, keep knitting until you have an inch or two and THEN compare it to the picture. After my first attempt (only 2 rows) I was sure I was doing it wrong and put it aside for another day, when I swore I would look it up on the internet.
It turns out that all the videos I found for "Waffle Stitch" were demonstrating a different stitch pattern entirely. So I went back to work at it, and sure enough when I got an inch or so done the pattern was obvious.
Waffle Stitch Swatch, RS

I love this swatch. I like how it looks like stockinette, but doesn't curl as much. I liked how easy it was to see what row I was on, and how it was an 8 row repeat but felt like a 4 row repeat. It is incredibly stretchy, and when stretched I can see all the interlinking chains and it makes me feel clever.
Waffle Stitch Swatch, WS
 The only thing I don't like about it is that I cast on too many stitches and bound off before it was a complete square.

SWATCH 3: Clam Stitch
This swatch was a disaster.
NOT Clam Stitch Swatch
As you can see, I gave up early on. Somewhere in the instruction "*K1, sl5 to RHN dropping extra loops, pass 5 sts back to LHN, (yfrn, K1, yfrn, P1, yonK1) twice) into the same 5 sts tog, rep from * to last, K1" I just got lost. Probably in the "into the same 5 sts tog" bit. I have never done that before and it wasn't clear to me what the author meant. I decided to look for help elsewhere.
 After looking on youtube to no avail, I finally searched on Ravelry and found this forum from 2 years ago. In post 8, rav user Bookcase Hat puts forth a wonderful photo tutorial. I will try this stitch out again another day, because for now I am just sick of looking at it. :(

In my search to find out how to make this stitch, however, I did find a cute cardigan. You can see it here.

Better luck next week, I suppose, with:
1) Overlapping Leaves
2) Bamboo Stitch
3) Woven Ladder Stitch

Of which Overlapping Leaves looks the most impressive and cute.

If I take forever to get the post up, just know that it's likely because I am having difficulty rather than because I am a slacker..... Hopefully.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It came, it came!!!!

Well today we went to my sister's house for a big birthday bash for 2 little princesses (One turning 1 year old and the other turning 15). We had cake and we jumped in the jumper until we felt sick, and we hit the pinata and it was a blast. Vyvyan didn't want to come home. He could have jumped forever.

But alas, we did go home, and when we got home I found a big surprise waiting for me!
That's right! The book I pre-ordered on a whim in June of 2011 (probably as a birthday present to myself) finally arrived. I have heard so many things about this book, but with it previously selling for 200 dollars and up, I figured I would never have a chance to read it. Then when I heard they were revising it I was so excited. I ended up paying a little more than $25, and this book is huge.

Like it is a textbook, no kidding. 700 pages, serious.

When I think back on my college text books and how much I paid for them, I realize what a steal this book was. Especially since I'm going to be using this book for the rest of my life, not for one college semester. Like the time I bought a $190 Business Administration book? I rarely used it throughout the course and then the school refused to buy it back and I haven't touched it since. It wasn't half as big as this book, either.

Anyways, I have barely had a chance to flip through it but I can say that it is PACKED with information. Luckily, Vyvyan fell asleep on the way home so I might have a chance to read a bit of it right now. Yay!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blogger's New Word Verification

Sorry for the rant, but I figure if more people speak out about it the more likely it will change.

When it was just ONE "word" to input in order to comment, it was all fine and dandy. Put in some garbled letters, make a comment. Now?

Am I alone?? It says Please Prove You Are Not a Robot!
I can't read it; I can't comment.
Does that mean I am a robot?

I have disabled the word verification for my blog and for now all I can do is hope others do the same, so I can continue commenting.
I wish we could have the option of ONE word verification or the "Extra Safe" two word verification.
Rant over.
Back to regularly scheduled knitting stuff tomorrow.