Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pea Wee Coat Progress

My first crochet garment is nearing completion:

Pattern: Pea Wee Coat by Vickie Howell
Yarn: Washable Ewe by Stitch Nation
Hook: H
Modifications: None, because I'm a freaking beginner at this. Well, okay I may have inadvertently made one sleeve far longer than the other but that was less of a modification and more of an accident with gauge. Oddly, it's the sleeve that looks short in the above picture that is actually the long one.
Other than the sleeves, the crocheting actually went quite well. Then, of course I reached that point where I was done creating the pieces and was just kind of staring at them like "hmm... now what?" 
I learned quite a bit in the last year about how to seam knit pieces properly and it was like I was starting all over again with crochet. Luckily I had bought that Craftsy course "Beyond Rectangles," and I logged on and watched the bit about seaming. You know what she suggested? Whipstitch.

The whole time I was seaming (and it took almost an hour to do this wee sweater) I was sitting there like, "Whipstitch? Seriously!? Whipstitch." but it worked. The seams are a little bulky but the blend in surprisingly well with the single crochet and it hasn't even been steamed yet! I still have to sew the collar on, though, and the pockets because a girl can only seam for an hour before starting to go completely insane. After that, though it's just about done once I find the right buttons for it.

I was so bummed because I thought I had the perfect buttons in my stash.

And it turns out they're only ALMOST perfect: They're too small and go right through the buttonholes. :(
So tomorrow I'll have to start hunting for some slightly larger skull & bone buttons. Le Sigh.

So that's where I'm at. And while I'm here talking about crochet garments let me just say that I am most likely never crocheting a sweater for myself. I'll stick with the knit goods and leave crochet for little stuffed animals and granny squares.

Hey! It's wednesday! Guess I'm linking up with Tamis Amis ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012


Today I found myself struggling against casting on something new. I kept thinking, "Sweater."
Thing is, I have a sweater on the needles already!
Remember this?
My Vine Yoke Cardigan has been sitting in a bag for so long that I actually lost track of where exactly it was. I looked for it in my WIP cabinet for a few minute, then dug around in my closet before eventually tearing apart the stash and finding it tucked in with a bunch of old acrylics.

Anyways, I settled down with the knitting bag- a nice canvas one with a poppy painted on it- I rummaged for the pattern which, like a good knitter, I had kept very good notes on. Pattern found, row ascertained, and then I pull out the knitting itself.

Strings hanging off in all directions, cast-on edge too tight and yoke too loose. I started to wonder if maybe that was why it ended up in the closet in the first place. I sucked it up, and tried it on:


Does tugging help?
Though I was knitting the size 30" and my gauge was smack on the money this sucker is so loose and yucky that it is an embarrassment to sheep. (um, alpacas, actually.)

I decided to let it go. Take the unholy thing off my conscience: I am no longer knitting a Vine Yoke Cardigan. I just have some yarn stored in a partial sweater state. And what does that mean? Freed up some needles and I'm ready to cast on a new sweater!

And ok because I am an honest knitter I have to admit it. Part of the reason I gave up on this is because...
 I THINK ALPACA IS ITCHY. I admit it. This yarn is Berocco's Ultra Alpaca but I've noticed it with every alpaca yarn I have ever tried. It doesn't really make me itch when I knit with it (except Bernat Alpaca which sheds like a beast and the little hairs always find their way up a nostril) but when I try to put it next to my skin it inevitably makes my skin crawl. I simply couldn't imagine owning a sweater made out of it. Even if it WAS a sweater I knit side-to-side. (A side to side sweater was supposed to be one of my knitting goals this year)

By the way the sleeves were way too wide as well, and the yoke puckered. If I had done pre-emptive Ravelry searches I would have learned that those two areas were the most commonly modified. Tsk Tsk, Cecilia. Next time listen to the knitting masses.

Speaking of which. Any ideas what I should do with the yarn? I have about 1000 yards.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

(Finally) Finished Object Friday

Remember that inch or two of black ribbing?

Yeah it was actually purple.

I managed to finish this Fair Isle Tam late last night, and it's blocking now. Though I brought the needle size down from a US 7(4.5mm) to a US 4(3.5mm), I still fear it might end up too large. I do have some elastic I could weave into the ribbing a la Techknitter if it comes to that... If it swings the other way then I've got myself an extra Christmas present.

Anyway, here's a picture of the guts:

And that's about it. My FO for the week, although I'll probably tune back in at a later date to model it for ya'll.
Joining in with Tamis Amis today.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Motion

This is me.
Tomorrow morning I go in to work at 8:45, it is 11:20, and I am knitting furiously.
It is, in a way, tortuous for me to work at Hobby Lobby. I am surrounded by crafty things, art supplies, creative people and ideas, and yet because I spend all my time working there I have no time left for those very things. Also I might possibly eat far too many pb&j's.

My son asked me if I "live at lobby lobby."
It feels like the answer is yes.

My shawl is hibernating temporarily because it has outgrown my lunch box and it's cake got a little tangly. Hence the new sock. (Patons Kroy, 64 stitches on size 1's- are you surprised at all?)

And that's me.
How are you?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

7 peaks

I've never added a lace border to a shawl before.
OR, at least not in this way. Usually I knit a triangle and then get to the bottom and switch from garter or stockinette to a lace stitch, knit in lace for a while and then cast off.
This is different.
Using advice from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Workshop, I selected a pretty lace edging from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury- I picked "Alpine Edging"- and cast on 17 stitches separately from the shawl.

Casting off at the bottom, EZ claims, has a "terrible effect on shawls," and so to avoid a cast off edge I am instead knitting the edging ON to the edge of the shawl. Here is a well-put explanation from page 115 of Knitting Workshop: "At the end of every second row, you will knit the last (straight-edge) stitch together with one of the stitches from the edge of the shawl- and thus nibble away at the un-cast-off stitches until you have traveled around the whole periphery."

The lace pattern I chose has a repeat of 24 rows, and so each repeat eats away 12 shawl stitches. I believe there were 276 stitches at last count, which means I will need 23 repeats total to finish my shawl's edge.

As of right now I have 7.

I think it's taking so long because I need to use a post-it note to keep track of what row I'm on. Also I work on it at lunchtime at work and sometimes I get too distracted by conversation with co-workers to keep up lace knitting. I'm thinking of getting a sheet of metal and some magnets to hold my place on my pattern because the post-it notes continue to lose their stick at the most inopportune time and then I end up spending all my knitting time trying to count stitches and figure out where exactly I am.

Anyways, just a quick update before work. Hope you all are doing well and knitting happily!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Fair Isle Tam in Patons Classic Wool
I've been knitting steadily along on my Tam which looks nothing like a tam.
Generally when I knit hats they come out far too large and so I took preemptive action and brought the needle size down from a 7 to a 4 for this hat. When I block it, the wool should grow just enough so that it it is a regular-size hat. But if not, I have nieces of all sizes and there's this thing called Christmas where you can unload your failure knit goods onto the world.

In other news I was all excited because I finished something! I was like "YES! I can post this on my blog because it's been SOOOO long since I finished anything!"
You know what it was?
Self-designed sock in Knit One Crochet Too's Crock-O-Dye
Joining up with Tamis Amis today.
Happy knitting!

P.S. My shawl is growing slowly but steadily; I knit on it only at lunchtime at work.

Oh hey I found a close-up!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A list, sort of...

1) My Yak hat is finished, and it actually fits on a human head. But I put it on a Styrofoam head for this picture because on my actual head you couldn't see the stitch definition. But it does actually fit, which is great news because I usually make my hats a size XXL.

I sort of just made up this cute trellis pattern as I went, and the top of the hat is just k1 p1 ribbing because I lost the attention span to make the pattern continue with the decreases.

2) I started knitting a new project- finally using up some of the wonderful yarn sent to me in a Tiny Owl Knits swap. Today I had to go to the county to take care of some business and earned myself almost 3 whole hours of knitting time!
 Everyone in line was all complaining and saying, "This line is horrible!" and I was just like "WOOT!" As you can (perhaps not) see it's just a plain ol' triangular garter stitch shawl. I'm planning on knitting up the entire ball (probably 350 yards) in garter stitch and then I have a second ball of plain white sock yarn that I'm going to use to add on a trim. I haven't decided whether to do a crochet trim, a fancy knit border, or just a ton of ribbing. But I have plenty of time to think on it.

3) I bought some yarn.
I headed over to The Urban Sheep in Modesto, had a nice chat with Molly, and picked up some Anzula Squishy. It really IS squishy. These skeins want desperately to be a Damask.
They had a back room full of $5 yarn as well and I couldn't resist taking home a chunky skein of this Naturally Alpine 14 ply which is reminiscent of Cascade Eco Wool but doesn't smell quite as sheep-y. There's 240 yards of it and I'm not sure WHAT it wants to be...

4) The needles I'm knitting my new shawl on are rosewood needles.
I got them on sale at Joann's for $2.97.

5) The other morning my son pulled my giant rubber maid stash container out from under my bed, rummaged until he found something he liked (it was a red ball of SWTC's Amaizing) and cuddled it saying, "I want to yarn it in the ballwinder!!" Trying to convince him that it was actually already wound into a ball did no good but it was very cute to watch, especially once he decided that he wanted to knit it instead and stabbed it with a pair of 7's for almost 20 minutes.

6) This.

I realize it may not look like much now, but it is going to be this.
And you can't convince me that's not awesome.

And that's what's going on over here. Hope you're doing well with a lovely beverage and a lap full of yarn.

Monday, September 3, 2012

August in Review

Wow it is already September? Sweater weather is arriving- can you feel it?
This morning before work it was chilly enough outside to don a hand-knit sweater, and the hat I finished this afternoon seemed useful and almost practical instead of ridiculously premature like the last few I made.

Anyway, knitting-wise not a whole lot got done this month due to working nearly (last week I was scheduled an infuriating 39.75 hours) full-time.

September Finished Objects
Links to Rav project pages
1) Nethergarments
2) Ribwarmer
3) Fairly Easy Fair Isle  (which, by the way, I decided to keep for myself)

 3 projects completed. 3 less than last month, but they were all larger-scale items and so I'm pretty happy overall. Especially since I started and finished the Fairly Easy Cardigan within the Project: Stash KAL deadline.

Techniques Learned
Hm. ... I practiced procrastination, does that count?

Goals for August:
1) Finish The Ugly Sweater
2) Learn Afterthought Pocket Technique
3) Crochet a baby sweater (Either the Pee-Wee or the Beyond Rectangles)
4) Swatch and start Calligraphy Cardigan (I want to KAL with Project Stash)
5) Sock Knit (Patchwork socks are ideal)

Just like last month, I didn't complete any of my knitting goals. But I think that's because these days my knitting goals look like this: Knit.
And if I do any of it that's good enough for me.

Goals for September
1) Work on Vine Yoke Cardigan

As for my IRL yarn purchases?
I bought an obscene amount of Patons Classic Wool.... somewhere around 14 skeins- none of which have been actually knit up and half of which are still in my trunk in case of a knitting emergency.(remind me to toss some needles in there, too.)
I also bought 7 skeins of Hobby Lobby I Love This Wool, and perhaps a few skeins of sock yarn.
And maybe some more sock yarn, and a few skeins of dk weight cashmere and also some Patons DK Superwash....

and also that skein of discount yak yarn. What? It was a stressful month!
P.S. I'll be reviewing the DK superwash soon.