Thursday, February 28, 2013

Super Swatch

If you're a regular reader you'll know that I swatched yesterday. Oh how I swatched.

I swatched and swatched and I sent a picture of said swatch to my boyfriend when I was 3/4 done with it and even HE said, "That's a big swatch."

YO's indicate needle size.

Ok so we all agree. The swatch is huge. It could clothe a small baby, because I knit it in the round. Actually, due to the varying gauges it made an interesting hat that tapered toward the top before I washed it and it grew.

I always have to drop down a needle size or two, always. But I honestly thought that Alana Dakos and I must have some intangible kinship- that my listening to her podcast since it began has somehow made me in tune with her and that my gauge was going to be spot on with the suggested size six's. Oh how wrong I was.

I was aiming for a gauge of 24 stitches and 32 rows per four inches with dk weight yarn.
Pre-blocked measurements of my swatch were:
(measured over 4")
US 6
21 st & 29 rows

US 5
21 st & 30 rows

US 4
22.5 st & 32 rows

US 3
23 st & 30 rows

And I WOULD HAVE KEPT GOING. If my interchangeable needle set had smaller sizes I might still be swatching right now, even though it was obvious I wasn't going to get gauge unless I knit so tight the fabric would stand up on its own. So then I washed the behemoth, because I'm a good knitter like that- and I must note that the Anzula Cricket did bleed a little in the wash- and set it out to dry overnight.

So this morning I re-measured.
(measured over 4")
US 6
19 st & 24 rows

US 5
21.5 st &24 rows

US 4
22 st &26 rows

US 3
22 st &27 rows

I measured this huge swatch to within an inch of its life.

The length is 24."
(I feel this is an appropriate mention to add that this swatch is in the round.)
 I have no idea why going down a needle size sometimes give me no discernible difference in stitch gauge. (This isn't the first time I've made an epic swatch like this)

So then at breakfast (I did do a search on Ravelry for 22st/4 inch gauge but something inside me is NOT GIVING UP on the Spring Garden Tee) I got out a pen and paper to do some simple arithmetic. I thought, maybe I could get away with doing the smallest size and my loose gauge would bring it up to my size.

Original pattern is 6 stitches per inch, my tightest gauge was 5.5 stitches per inch. If I did the smallest size that would give me a 30" sweater (too much negative ease) if I did the next size up it would give me a 34.9" sweater... which would probably be OK.

So that's an option.

But I'm still digging around on Ravelry. ;)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Hello. I'm happy to say I have the day off! My son is a little sick- just sick enough that he wants to snuggle up on the couch and do inside games like puzzles and stories.

So while we do that, I've been working up a little swatch with my Anzula Cricket from Stitches. It's such a nice yarn and I really can't wait to have a finished garment out of it.

I'm starting my swatch on size 6's (the recommended size for Alana Dakos' Spring Garden Tee) but from what I'm looking at so far I think I'll end up going down a few sizes if I want to knit that one. Which I think I do. I'm going to work a few swatches with different needle sizes and pick which drape I like the best and do a Ravelry search for that gauge, but I really like the neckline of the Spring Garden Tee and I like that it's just a touch of lace. We'll see what ends up happening. This is my favorite part of knitting an object! Swatching, imagining, and working out the math.

In other news, I finished my niece's sweater. I picked up and knit the neck last night while watching Dinosaur Hunters with the little man: I decided on a simple crew neck instead of the side split collar I was imagining. It turned out nicely, but I haven't taken a picture of it yet. (I want to send it through the wash before I do that.) I think I will do what I did with my brother's sweater and gift it with strings dangling at the wrists so I can easily adjust the sleeve length. Expect an updated picture of that sweater soon!

Happy knitting!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stitches loot & stuff

I actually made it out of Stitches West with very little yarn. Last year was my first time and so I was a little overwhelmed by all the booths: the pretty colors, the yarn fumes, and delightful accessories. So this time I had a little bit of an idea of what to expect, what to go for, and what to avoid.

I had a budget, which I carried with me in cash...I bet a lot of knitters do this, and that tons of robbers are missing out on the knowledge that these knitting events are a great way to get lots of cash. Anyway, that was sort of my "preliminary budget," and I still had wiggle room since I had my cards with me. But I had a secret strategy with me- the yarn I bought at Stitches West last year. It was in my purse- the sweater I cast on only a few months ago, a constant reminder that I don't really need more yarn.

So I only bought 4 skeins of yarn. 4 VERY pretty skeins of Anzula Cricket in colorway Madaam.

That's 1000 yards of DK I can do pretty much whatever I want with, but I'm leaning towards a plain-ish top. Like this one. But then part of me is like, DUDE you spent all that money on yarn, why not use up every last yard and get something with sleeves. Like this one. So those are the two contenders right now. I wound the yarn earlier this evening and I plan on making my decision after I swatch.

Meanwhile, I'm finishing my niece's sweater very soon:
Really it's just the weaving in and the collar. The sleeves are probably too short but I'm going to wait until she tries it on. I imagine that by then I won't be sick of knitting it anymore.

So I did get one other thing at Stitches (and still under budget! Probably because I kept reminding myself that my son might want to go to college some day.) and it is this:

Now this may look like a magazine to the untrained eye.
But it isn't. This is a free issue of Cast On that came with my membership to The Knitting Guild Association. I think I mentioned at some point that I plan on doing the Master Knitting program? Well I have long decided that for my upcoming birthday, what with me being a quarter of a century and all, I'm going to join the Basics Basics Basics course. The goal is to finish the entire Master Knitting Program by the time I'm 30, which until now was a kind of floating up in the air kind of goal. But now I shelled out and got the membership and it has to happen.

So that's it! I drove all the way to Santa Clara to go to Stitches and I came back with 1000 yards of DK weight and a magazine. But I had a good time, saw a few familiar faces, and basked in the glory of not being at work.

And then I got home and found this:
Yes! I love having a subscription to a magazine I love!

And that's that. I'm going to go and read The Little Red Caboose now for the 8 billionth time.
Good night.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I deal with problems in the worst possible way: I ignore them. I procrastinate. I pretend they never happened. You can imagine what kinds of disasters this causes in my personal life, but in my knitting it has never caused a problem.

I live happily among scores of abandoned knitting projects and they never judge me for abandoning them. Never do I receive a late fee for not frogging that sweater I swore I'd frog, and never do I get a second notice phone call saying, "Did you forget entirely about that sock with the funky cable?"

Knitting is great- it stays in the same state of completion until you're ready to assess the situation and deal with your problems. You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a while. The reason, dear readers, is simple: I had a problem with my current WIP. And working full time means I actually only have 1 (one) work in progress (for me, this is amazing miracle news) so it having a problem means I had absolutely nothing to tell you guys.

Except that I'm making stitch markers. But they're not done yet so Shhhh.

So the sweater.

The first sleeve is done. I finished the first sleeve, put the needle on for the second sleeve, assured myself that it was HORRIBLE and it wasn't working out at all and then put it in a basket for weeks while I lamented over the disaster I had created.

Do you know what I was freaking out over?

The sleeve.
I was utterly convinced that the body was extra fitted and the sleeve was glaringly, obviously oversized. I was also "sure" that the body was too short and I was going to have to snip a stitch and work downward at least one more cable repeat.

Well I tried it on today and um.... I made a mountain out of a mole hill. All in all, it's fine. I might go back and lengthen the sleeve another half inch or so, but other than that it's really fine.

I don't know why I freak out like that, but I'm glad knitting doesn't brew in it's basket and get worse and worse like everything else seems to.

In other news, I'm super excited because STITCHES WEST!!!
I can't even explain my excitement. Last year I went with some friends but this year I'm hoping I can go all by myself so I can wander all I like and go home when I'm tired. I'm still not sure if I'm going Saturday or Sunday. Seems like all the Tiny Owl Knits posse is going on Saturday so I suppose I'll try to meet up with some of them. And you know what I'm most excited about? Casting on something new to work on while I'm there! The only thing I'm not happy about, as far as driving there myself? Can't knit on the way. Boo....

Anyways. Quick update. Happy knitting!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Eggy Piggy

I started a new cute little project yesterday morning.
My boyfriend found Creature Crochet by Kristen Rask at one of our local used bookstores: the whole kit with all the original pieces and book for $6. He bought it for me because there's an adorable ensemble of Alley Cats that he knew I would want. There's even a pattern for the garbage cans they hang out in! The Ravelry link is here if you want to see all 12 of the cute animal patterns.

The one I chose to crochet first is the "Eggy Pig." I admit that the name had a lot to do with me wanting to make this project. "Eggy Pig" is like the cutest name ever.

And here he is, my fat little Eggy Piggy:

I know, I know, he's very cute.
But he's technically incomplete: The pattern instructs me to crochet two little piggy arms and two little piggy feet and then sew them all on. However, I hate sewing things up. It's possibly enough to make me decide not to give him legs at all. After all, like this he's far more aerodynamic. Which is important in a pig!

What do you think? Legs, or no legs?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


When Knitpicks came out with their inexpensive, limited edition, angora-blend yarn Sugarbunny, I enthusiastically bought 2 skeins and worked up a cute little pair of wristwarmers with them.
They were snuggly. They were soft. They were so warm.
I gave them to my sister for Christmas- this was in 2011.

Well as it turned out, I had some leftovers from that pair of wristwarmers. Just enough, thought I, to cast on a new pair. So I did. In October of this year. But after knitting half of the first one I got that nagging feeling. "You are going to run out," the feeling said. After every row I would look at my dwindling ball of yarn and think, "There's no way you're going to make it."
So I put it aside.
I didn't frog it, and I didn't forget about it. It just sat there on my dresser and looked at me for months. Months, it sat and stared.

Last night I picked it up and finished the first wristwarmer. It didn't take long- maybe 20 minutes. I didn't sew it together because I knew I was likely to run out of yarn. I cast on the second and I knit. And the niggling feeling got worse and worse but I ignored it for no reason other than, I didn't feel like having this stupid thing staring at me anymore. If I ran out I would frog it and if I didn't run out then the pair would be DONE.

I love that you can see that my gauge changed over the last few months. The first one I made was much looser. The pair is kind of uneven, but very soft and warm. The project is done, I had only a few yards leftover, and now I have a birthday gift for my aunt. Her health is fragile and so the large mitts will be perfect for her- she no longer has the hand eye coordination necessary to put on gloves with fingers and these will be easy for her to slip on and off.

I feel so glad that one of my WIPS is now completed. Well, this one was more of a UFO actually. With two finished objects under my belt for February I feel like I can get back to work on my huge gigantic project- the sweater.

PS. Today I'm removing the "prove you're not a robot" again. I hate that thing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This year...

I'm going to be ahead of the game come Christmas.

Pattern: Simple Ribbed Handwarmers
Yarn: Jo-Ann Sensations Bamboo & Ewe Patterns
Needles: US size 1 (2.25mm)

This was the perfect knitting pattern to keep in my purse. I seriously reccomend it for those of you who only get a few random bursts of knitting time like me. I normally hate ribbing, but since it was just a travel project I was done before I knew it.

The resulting wristees are very cozy and very wearable. I like that you can fold up the bottom half for extra warmth around the wrist.

I am working on my second Christmas present (the sweater for my neice) but it is proving to take a lot longer because... well, honestly I think I messed up. It's an easy fix if I did; I would just have to add length. But I want to finish the sleeves first to see if it's necessary and part of me KNOWS it is necessary and so I'm choosing to avoid the inevitible by not finishing the sleeves. What's sad is that I know this, and yet I still REALLY want to cast on something new and pretend the Christmas sweater doesn't exist.

I have been well, for those wondering- I realize I haven't gotten a lot of blogging time on here...But I do have some wonderful books to share! A new used bookstore came into town and I bought all their knitting-related goodies. My knitting bookshelf is getting pretty full at this time, but I know I'll be taking some time every few weeks to peruse their shelves for new additions. After I take some time to really read and review my new/used books (the best kind because they're rarely more than $5) I'll come along and tell you all about them.

Happy knitting!