Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

St. Paddy's chunky roll brim topknot hat

So after all my fuss yesterday over how many WIPs I have going, I put them all aside to knit this little thing up. It took about an hour-and-a-half (have I ever finished anything that quickly? I don't think so. I see more of these hats in my future!). I came up with the pattern after looking at several different ones and making some calculations and adjustments (I haven't found much out there for baby hats in bulky/chunky yarns). I had never done an i-cord as part of a piece before (in fact, I've only done an i-cord once, as the tie that runs through the Children's Cotton Hat). The yarn is a baby alpaca, from Fabulous Yarn , color is Candy Stripe Fern.

Anyway, I was pleased with the results. It's for the four month-old baby of some friends of mine. I gave it to them last night, and he looked so cute in it!

[Now back to my previously scheduled programming, er, WIPs....]

Saturday, February 25, 2006

And now for something completely different....

I'm knitting with "novelty yarn." I know, I know. It doesn't suit the fiber snob in me. But I really wanted to make this Elongated Stitch Scarf for a co-worker's birthday next week. In fact, it's been on my "to knit" list since about October (when I was going to do it for several Christmas presents and then didn't). I loved the way it looked in Numei's Stained Glass Yarn , as seen here . (Didn't schrodinger do a lovely job?)

So I cast on Thursday and have got about 3 feet done. I find ribbon yarn to be a bit tricky and slow to work with, but so far I am pleased with the results. It took me a few inches to get the hang of it, but I think I've got it now. The birthday is Thursday, and it should definitely be done by then.

Meanwhile, multiple projects are languishing:
  • my Year of the Sweater KAL sweater for me - Stitch 'n Bitch To Dye For pattern. I finished the back but then got absorbed in the Anniversary Sweater and haven't done a thing since January 16.
  • the Anniversary Sweater - did one underarm kitchener stitch seam, ended up with holes on either end. Still need to fix that, do the other underarm, and weave in multiple ends. Maybe I'll finish it while it's still cool enough to wear a sweater....
  • my Anthropologie-inspired capelet - I'm maybe halfway done. I want to finish this in time for Easter, to wear with a dress I'm planning on sewing myself (yeah, when am I going to do that?)
  • a baby blanket that was going to be for a baby who is now 4 months old and will probably be a toddler before I finish. It's a handwashable and I've decided I'm the only person I know who would willingly handwash a baby blanket, so I'm just going to keep it for one of my boys.
Even with all of these unfinished projects, my next priority really must be a pair of socks for my dad, whose birthday is March 15th. And I've been intending to knit the boys each a pair of the LTK Stripey Slippers (bought the pattern in December, already have the wool) and each a pair of LTK Picky Pants longies (bought the pattern and the wool in October). And I keep looking at spring sweaters and vests for them too. *Sigh* - sometimes I wish I could just knit all the time....

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why yes, officer. I was knitting at that traffic light.

So I didn't actually get pulled over, but I did knit furtively at every stoplight yesterday, frantically trying to get these organic cotton washcloths done for My Old Man's older son's birthday (tomorrow - not that he will get them then, since he lives in England!).

I love this Pakucho organic cotton - once it's knit. It looks great and feels great, and I really like the soft natural colors it comes in. But knitting with it was kind of a pain. A bit rough on the fingers.

I did three cloths - bamboo stitch (my first time with this stitch - I really like how it looks); Chinese Waves; and good ol' diagonal garter stitch. I added a couple of bars of Dr. Bronner's Hemp Pure-Castile organic soap, and I thought it made a nice little bath set.

Suki liked it too. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Just a sweet pic

It doesn't have anything to do with knitting, but it makes me smile. This is Little Buddha, seeking enlightenment - he's gone to sleep with a book in each hand.

In knitting news, I gave the Malabrigo socks to the Best Administrative Assistant today and she loved them. I was so pleased.

Monday, February 20, 2006

First socks - done!

Here they are, just in time to give them to the Best Administrative Assistant in the World, for her birthday. I'm really happy with how they turned out, though they are slouchier than I expected/wanted. They used less yarn than what the pattern indicated, which means I have Malabrigo to spare. Woohoo!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Anniversary Sweater: now in post-production

I am so excited to report that I finished knitting the Anniversary Sweater for My Old Man tonight! I still have to kitchener the underarm seams (12 stitches under each arm) and weave in the ends (which will take awhile, I'm afraid), but otherwise it's an actual sweater. My Old Man hasn't tried it on yet, but I have, and I was delighted to discover that it looks pretty much like a normal sweater.

I started knitting it one month ago yesterday, ran into two glitches in the pattern (including one today), had to frog the sleeves b/c they were longer than I wanted (that set me back at least two days), messed up the decreases in one place b/c of a stitch marker that slipped off while Tiny Dancer distracted me (and I put it back in the wrong place and knit 4 more rounds before realizing - and I didn't frog, I just left the mistake, er, original design feature, in), and I started the Knitting Olympics 10 days ago leaving the sweater to mostly languish. Given all of that, I'm pretty darn impressed with myself for finishing my first sweater in about a month!

Will post pics once I'm through with the finishing details.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

One down. One to go.

I finished my first sock last night! I love it and can't believe it went so fast. This morning I cast on for sock #2, and have done the first 3 rounds of ribbing.

This pair is going to be for The Best Administrative Assistant in the World, whose birthday is next week. I think when I make myself a pair, I will make them a tad shorter. This time I did them exactly by the pattern, which called for 7 inches from CO to heel flap. I'm thinking when I do my own pair, I'll do 5 or 6 inches.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It's like magic

Well, I've turned my first heel, and it just seemed kind of magical. Am I gushing too much about the sock-knitting process? Probably. But I can't seem to help myself....

Monday, February 13, 2006

a tad overenthusiastic

In my newfound sock zeal, I went too far. I had mislaid my pattern and didn't want to take the time to find it when I decided to knit a few rounds early this morning. I measured the sock and it was 7 inches from cast-on. My memory was that I was to do 8 and then start the heel flap. So I knit another inch and put away my knitting to get ready for the day (having already spent roughly 20 minutes on the Anniversary Sweater). Then I found the pattern and, much to my chagrin, discovered that the heel flap is to start after 7 inches. Argh! (It's the men's sock pattern that is 8 inches.)

So I'll be frogging an inch later today, and then I'll start my first heel flap ever. I hate frogging, because I'm always worried that I'll somehow mess up the work I've already done - dropped stitch, twisted stitch, or some other error. So I'm extra cautious which means it goes a little slow. But once I'm done, I'll be very excited to get started on the heel flap. Sock-knitting is so much fun!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I love socks

So the Knitting Olympics began yesterday; I cast on during the torch-lighting (I assumed the torch was lit based on the time, not on the fact that I was actually watching said ceremony, as we do not have TV). I have only been able to knit a round here and there, as things have been quite busy here this weekend. Anniversary celebration, sermon-writing, and the care and feeding of two toddlers while My Old Man is away all day teaching a seminary class. Still, I'm pleased with my progress. And just as I suspected, I LOVE SOCKS! Especially with this yarn, which is just so utterly delicious.

Oh, and thanks to my fifth anniversary, I now have an LYS gift card burning a hole in my pocket! Wheeee! My Old Man really came through - not only the gift card but a gorgeous little handmade jewelry set (lavender pearl earrings and necklace), made by our neighbor, who does fabulous work.

Friday, February 10, 2006

5th Anniversary (and the sweater's not finished)

This sweater project is like my love for My Old Man - it just goes on and on and on. ;)

In honor of my fella, here are the words to his song, by Joni Mitchell:

My old man
He’s a singer in the park
He’s a walker in the rain
He’s a dancer in the dark
We don’t need no piece of paper
From the city hall
Keeping us tied and true
My old man
Keeping away my blues

He’s my sunshine in the morning
He’s my fireworks at the end of the day
He’s the warmest chord I ever heard
Play that warm chord, play and stay baby

But when he’s gone
Me and them lonesome blues collide
The bed’s too big
The frying pan’s too wide

Then he comes home
And he takes me in his loving arms
And he tells me all his troubles
And he tells me all my charms

My old man
He’s a singer in the park
He’s a walker in the rain
He’s a dancer in the dark
We don’t need no piece of paper
From the city hall
Keeping us tied and true
No, my old man
Keeping away my lonesome blues

*sigh* I just love that song. And I just love My Old Man, the warmest chord I ever heard.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My son learned a new word.


I'm so proud.

Now if I can just teach him to say "Malabrigo," "Manos del Uruguay," and "Lorna's Laces," - and to whisper all this in daddy's ear when it's time to buy me birthday gifts - I'll be all set. And then we'll work on "Local Yarn Shop gift card."

Monday, February 06, 2006

I can't believe it's not butter!

My Malabrigo yarn has arrived!!!! Thank you, Kaleidscope Yarns. Oh, what heavenly goodness. Isn't it beautiful? I can't wait to knit my gauge swatch.

*Sigh*. I'm in love.

Knitting Nightmares

So last night I had two knitting nightmares, the first of which was waking and inescapable.

Knitting Nightmare #1. After nearly 3 weeks of work on My Old Man's anniversary sweater (deadline: February 10), I joined the body and the sleeves together, thinking I was in the home stretch now. Just a few more inches and some raglan decreases and I'd be done. Only after joining the sleeves, putting underarm stitches on waste yarn, and knitting one full round, I discovered something horrible. The sleeves are long enough for an orangutan!!!

I was distraught. My gauge was right on, and I followed the pattern to a T. A couple of weeks ago, I caught a mistake in the pattern and emailed the designed about it; she confirmed that it was a mistake (it's a raglan sweater in sizes infant to XXL adult, and only the adult sizes large and up had a small mistake with not small consequences). Now I'm thinking I should've clarified a little more how to adjust the pattern. That's the only thing I've come up with as the source of my extra-long arms.

At any rate, I spent half an hour this morning unknitting the round I had knit last night in preparation for frogging the tops of the arms. I will need to take at least 2 inches off and maybe make my own recalculations for the right fit.

The sad part of all of this is that I was sitting there all upset about the sweater when My Old Man asked me about a possible knitting project for another family member. In suggesting I go ahead and work on the other project he added, "Because that sweater you're working on is just for you, right?" If I had not been in such a state of panic about the sweater sleeves, I could've covered, but in my fragile state I broke. So now it won't be a surprise. Waaaah. I was so looking forward to the "reveal."

Knitting Nightmare #2. I can't remember the details of the dream now, but I awoke at 12:30 from a nightmare that had knitting all over the place. At the time I remembered all the details. But when I woke up this morning I could only remember one thing - in a state of desperation, I wondered if I could kill my attacker with my knitting needles (which, of course, I had with me). The only question was: Addi Turbos, or bamboo double-pointed needles? Of course I chose the dpns - they have much sharper points. And besides, I wouldn't want to get blood all over my Addis!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dreams deferred.

Every Olympian must face some challenges and setbacks along the way, and Knitting Olympians are no different. In my case, the challenge has come in the form of the dreaded backorder.

On Tuesday, I placed an order for my very first Malabrigo yarn. I have heard the tales of this exquisite yarn - its buttery softness, its rich hand-dyed hues, its vinegary smell. I must have it. So I ordered 6 skeins. Yes, I know a pair of women's socks only takes about 230 yards and 1 skein of Malabrigo has roughly 215 yards. That's neither here nor there. I need 6 skeins and that's what I ordered. 3 skeins of Indigo and 3 of Brown Berries, with the idea that my first pair would be in Indigo and would be a gift for someone whose birthday is coming up, and then I'd have enough for more socks in the future. Because I have a feeling I am going to *love* knitting socks.

On Wednesday, I placed the order for my sock patterns - I'm going to do the Knitting Pure and Simple basic women's socks. But since I was already paying shipping I decided to go ahead and buy the pattern for the men's socks and the children's as well. Why buy one thing when you can buy three?

With 9 days till the lighting of the torch, 6 skeins of Malabrigo on the way, and 3 patterns soon to be in the mail, I was able to take a training break and just enjoy my Olympic dreams. Well, that and knit feverishly on the anniversary sweater I'm making for My Old Man.

But it was not to be. On Thursday, I got an email saying the Indigo yarn was on backorder and wouldn't ship for 3 weeks. 3 weeks! The Olympics will be OVER by then! So I had to hurry up and order it from another source. And no, I did not cancel my shipment from the original vendor. I mean surely I can find another use for more skeins of Malabrigo Indigo.

Then later that day, more bad news. The women's sock pattern is on backorder too!! It's supposed to ship next week, so it should be all right.

Then today, I get another email from the company I ordered the Malabrigo from - the Brown Berries is out of stock too! What?!? How can it take the company 3 days to figure out it doesn't have any of this yarn in stock? Fortunately, my Olympic aspirations do not depend on Malabrigo Brown Berries yarn. From the 10th till the 26th, it's all about the Indigo. Which I intend to have in hand by next Friday, one way or another. However many companies I have to purchase from, however many skeins of Malabrigo I have to end up with, I'll endure it with grace.

So in the manner of Olympic athletes past and present, this Olympic hopeful has faced setbacks and challenges with grit and determination. She's just a girl with a dream. A dream to knit a pair of socks. In Malabrigo Indigo and nothing less. Her dream may be deferred, but she will not be deterred.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Year of the Sweater.

I'm participating in a Knitalong on knittinghelp.com - The Year of the Sweater. We are making four sweaters - for ourselves!!! The first one is for spring. I'm doing To Dye For from Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook. My yarn arrived today from Knit Picks - Suri Dream in Ocean. I love it! Will be casting on soon.

Wee knits

Look at my tiny toddler mitt. Is it shameful to love one's own handiwork? I'm smitten with this mitten. Of course I see the flaws. I had trouble with the thumb gusset. The top looks wonky. And for some strange reason the fourth mitten turned out much longer that the others, despite my meticulous tracking of rows. And, needless to say, my little fellas won't keep these things on at all. Still, I love them. And, in fact, the boys do too, even though they don't really wear them. They think they are puppets and so they fight over them.

I did this pair for Little Buddha and a pair for Tiny Dancer in dark blue with a light blue stripe. The yarn is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes (pure wool super cheap!), the pattern is Sivia Harding's Child's Simple Striped Mitten (siviaharding.com/Mittens.html). Love it.

Children's Cotton Hat Redux - a failed attempt

So after knitting two children's cotton hats (the blue one for Tiny Dancer and a red for Little Buddha), I realized the boys really needed hats without bows. So I tried substituting a stripe instead. I was somewhat pleased with how it turned out, only this time I followed the toddler size directions instead of the children's size, and the darn thing was too small. Tiny Dancer couldn't even get it on his head!

Then I made another red one for Little Buddha, this time going back to the children's size directions. I don't know what the heck happened, but it still didn't fit. As you can see, it is not so much a winter hat as a ridiculous looking bowler.

And I finally realized that Manos Cotton Stria was not the perfect substitute for the (discontinued) Mission Falls Cotton - for one thing, I should've knit it on smaller needles. For another, I should've checked my gauge (of course). And finally, what the heck was I thinking knitting cotton hats for winter time anyway?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Knitting Olympics


I'm in! I'll be doing my first pair of socks. I'm so excited!

Do vegans wear wool?

My first adult hat. I did this as a Christmas gift for My Old Man's older son. Halfway into the hat, I suddenly realized that if vegans don't drink milk, eat eggs, or eat honey, they might not wear wool either! Thankfully, it depends on the vegan, and it depends on the source (of the wool). He seemed to like the hat, and he even wears it. Yay!

The specs: knit in Manos del Uruguay wool, lava, one skein. Took about 3 nights.

My first hat.

This is the first FO I ever took a picture of. Believe me, you wouldn't want to see pictures of the other ones.

Unfortunately, it's a bit girly for my Tiny Dancer, but he still looks adorable in it, doesn't he?

The specs:
Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria, in Sky
Children's Cotton Hat pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Prayer Shawl

This project right here is what lured me back into knitting. My desire to knit a prayer shawl for my sister-in-law, whose husband (My Old Man's older brother) died 5 years ago this coming December 18th, which is also my sister-in-law's birthday. I think anniversaries are important and can be very difficult; I wanted her to feel held in love and prayer in the midst of grief. What makes a prayer shawl different from a regular shawl is that the knitter intentionally prays for the intentended recipient while knitting (see http://www.shawlministry.com).

The specs: started in September, finished on Thanksgiving day. Knit in Knit Picks Suri Dream, blueberry, 4 balls.

The Knitting Obsession begins.

I taught myself to knit in May 2002 from a book. Learning this way leaves something to be desired. I couldn't always tell from looking at 2-dimensional pictures exactly what was going on. Suffice it to say that I ended up with some idiosyncracies in my knitting style. I'm a continental knitter (I thread the yarn through my left hand), but I don't do it "right." I use my left thumb a *lot* and my left index finger and middle finger a little to wrap the yarn around the right needle (as opposed to "picking" the yarn with the right needle). I only recently realized this is not the way most continental knitters knit.

My first project was a tote bag. Yes, that is a stupid project for a beginner knitter. Dishcloth. Scarf. These are normal beginner projects. Square things that don't require anything but garter stitch. But Debbie Bliss had other things in mind for me, in her How to Knit - The Definitive Knitting Course. So I began the stupid tote bag. 3 years, 3 months later, I finished it. Well, sort of. I never did seam it up. Stupid tote bag.

For those first 3 years, I didn't knit very consistently at all. The tote bag project was frustrating, and I had other (non-knitting) projects going on. Buying a house, having babies, and the like. I did try valiantly to knit a baby blanket from a Suss Knits Kit. What a mess. A simple garter stitch blanket, but it took me 15 months to complete it (working very sporadically) and when I finished it, it looked just awful. And in November/December 2004 and January 2005, I briefly worked with intensity and attention on four scarves in a row. My first scarves and my first knitted gifts. Unfortunately, there was a lot I didn't really know about finishing - like weaving in ends. If I remember correctly, I just sort of knotted things and snipped. To Julie, Carol, Marcia, and Hillary - I'm sorry if the scarves unraveled. I'm betting they did.

August 2005. Enter knittinghelp.com. Amazing site. There are not enough words to praise it and its creator, Amy Findlay. Over 150 instructional videos to help a person learn to knit. Plus fabulous forums for asking questions and talking shop. Overnight, I became a real knitter. And a fanatic. Six months later, I'm still a freak about all things knit. Thanks, Amy! Thanks, KH!

Okay. I'm going to do this blog thing. Really. I am.

I'm gonna get serious about it from here on out. I'll post pictures, progress reports, yarn finds, and the like. Because I really, really want to keep a photo journal of my knitting life. And because you really, really want to read it, right?

So, starting today I am going to do some backposting of old FOs (Finished Objects) and then start discussing some WIPs (Works in Progress). I'll begin adding buttons for my favorite blogs and sites and just generally be a better blogger all around.

I won't talk exclusively about knitting, because I do think about other things, I promise. Like my husband. And my boys. And my church. And this gorgeous messed-up world we live in.

Like many bloggers, I choose not to name my family by their real names - since they are not the ones choosing to blog. So from now on, you will read of My Old Man (my husband, fondly named for a favorite Joni Mitchell song) and my twin sons Little Buddha and Tiny Dancer. Other family members may occasionally appear, at which time I will give them suitable monikers as well.

Let the games begin!