Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Christmas Miracle

This sweater is my Christmas miracle... or rather the fact that this sweater is done on time. I started knitting this baby in late November, just before Thanksgiving. School was so busy that I was only able to finish one sleeve and get part of another done before winter break started. I had hoped to be well into the body by then. December 11th I flew home and in 13 days I finished the other sleeve, then the back, then the front. I worked on this thing from 8:30 am until 11:00 at night yesterday finishing the shaping of the V-neck then seaming then whole thing together. This is Twisted from the More Big Girl Knits book and it is a wonderful pattern. The yarn is Swish Worsted from Knitpicks. I love the finished product and now I want to figure out how to down-size it to fit me. I washed the sweater by hand last night then threw it in the dryer (gotta love superwash!) I pulled it out when it was about 90% dry and laid it flat over night. I woke up sneaky-early this morning boxed it, wrapped it, and got it under the tree. My mom has been seeing me knit this all break (too much to do to hide it from her) but I told her it was for me. She was totally shocked when she opened the box this morning. The sweater fits amazingly. I called my dad from school and had him measure one of my mom's other sweaters so I had pretty good numbers to start with. Here it is, the first two pictures are very accurate of the yarn color, the third is a bit washed out.

This project has been all-consuming so all my other WIPs are still on the needles. I just cast on today a pair of fingerless mittens that I'm going to mail up to my grandma but I only got about three rounds into them before I had to take a break from knitting. A few days of some other hobby are in order I think.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What happened to my life?

Wow... so I kinda fell off the map from September until what is it now... December! I blame my crazy term at school, in which classes and work have been coupled with law school applications... very busy. That does not mean that I haven't been knitting however. The study washcloths that I blogged about way back in early-September were finished way back in middle-September. Here's the last four that didn't appear in my earlier (much earlier) blog post, and then a group shot of them all after they had been washed and the stranding had a chance to even out.

It was a pretty silly project but it was kind of fun and mindless which is what I needed this summer and it was a fun gift for my brother before he went off to college. Strangely my brother demands more knitwear from me than anyone else I know... Though now that it's getting cold Andrew has been hounding me for some more warm wool socks... The other WIP from my last blog forever ago that is no a FO are my green socks.
These are impossible to photography such that the texture stand out. Really they look very nice. In the picture they're a bit fuzzy because I wear them almost every week. They have been washed and dried in the machine and they came out just fine... a bit fuzzy but nothing my sweater stone couldn't handle. The other three WIP from my last post Andrew's sweater, Swallowtail shawl, and Mom's socks are all still unfinished... SHHHHH

One last thing from my summer I dyed a really neat sock blank.
This blank was kettle dyed the base orange-y/yellow then I laid down cut-outs of leaf shapes that I printed from the internet and used a spray bottle to spray the blank with red and brown. The pattern is only on the top of the blank it didn't sink through to the bottom.

Since I've been at school I've completed several projects. I got all my Christmas knitting for Andrew's family done. For Andrew's mother there are some waffle-stitch wrist warmers.
These wrist warmers were a project I found when looking for something to do with half a skein of Malabrigo (which is what they're made from). The only think I don't know about them is that they're knit flat and then seamed. If I make them again I'll knit them in the round.

For Andrew's Grandma I used the other half skein of Malabrigo to make Tudora from Knitty.
I love this. It's so warm and snuggly. I want to keep it for myself. I really like that it only takes half a skein to make this project because it means you can buy one skein of luxury yarn and make something really pretty and it's not that expensive.

For Andrew's dad there's Koolhaas.
This is another project that turned out beautifully and that I want to keep for myself. It also took less than one skein of Malabrigo so it's pretty cheap to make as well. The pattern is pretty tedious. There are some rows where you have to knit 1x1 cables the whole way arround. I cable with a cable needle so it was pretty slow going, took me about one and half weeks of knitting which for a hat seems a bit excessive.

For Andrew's other grandma there's Branching Out.
This is made from a Classic Elite yarn called Miracle which is an Alpaca Tencle blend. The yarn is about the softest thing you've ever felt. I made the shorter version of the scarf, 27 repeats, and it's long enough to wrap around my neck twice.

The other small project that I did that I guess is technically gift knitting because I gave it to my brother are these convertible mittens.
The reason I hesitate to call these a gift is because my brother basically demanded them of me. They're made from Knitpicks Essential a colorway called Dune Twist the color is now discontined which is a shame. These are the Broadstreet Mittens from knitty and they took just over one skein of Essential but my brother had giant man hands. If they were made for someone with normal sized hands they would use one skein. Now that Adam has a pair, Andrew wants some so it looks like I'll be knitting another pair soon.

Finally, the last thing that I did was to modify the sweater I finised in the spring. The sweater had an A-line body and it kinda made me look pregnant because it poofed out at just the wrong place. Sooo, I steaked it. I sewed safety stitches with my sewing machine then took in the sides. Now it looks much more flattering.

Right now I'm working on a sweater for my mother for her christmas present. Its the Twisted pullover from More Big Girl Knits and it's made from Knitpicks Swish Worsted. I have one sleve and I'm about two thirds of the way through the second sleve. I have 19 days... We'll see. I'll post pictures after I have some more progress. Thats all for my knitting since the last post... I doesn't seem like much now that It's all laid out together but I've been really busy with law school applications as well.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finally (mostly) Back to Normal

Well I'm finally walking again. The Dr. let me start hobbling around on Friday, I'm still pretty slow and a bit shaky but it's walking and that's something. All in all I was on the crutches for 7 weeks and needless to say the muscles in my leg (small as they were to begin with) are considerably weaker. The best thing is being able to do things for myself again like get up, get a something to drink, and carry it to the family room all by myself--something that's difficult to do when both hands are busy with the crutches. It feels really nice to be able to do all the small stuff again. Also, I was able to finally get my camera and take some pictures of what I've been working on (again YEAH for free hands!) I wanted to knit Andrew's sweater for the Ravelry knitting Olympics and I got quite a bit done but not nearly enough to finish in time. In my defense I started reading a book by my favorite (living) author Chuck Palahniuk and then was unable to stop until I'd read four of his books so I basically fell off the face of the world for a week and didn't get any knitting done. With those extra six days I could have come really close. Here's how far I got:

The pattern is just called "Unisex Irish Pullover." I found the pattern on Ravelry when looking for something aran like to make. The pattern knits up surprisingly fast, I thought the body would take me forever but it was interesting enough to keep me going round and round. I'm making it from Cascade 220 Heathers in I really sharp brown/maroon color with little flecks of green in it. The body is about 2 inches short of the armpits and the sleeve is about 8'' give or take. I converted the pattern to knit in the round. It's a basic raglan shape so it should be easy to attach the sleeves and finish off... should be. The pattern was also written out completely in words so I got some graph paper and charted it out. The pattern is written so that the two cable panels on the side go the same way they aren't mirrored. Looking back I wish I had fixed that but that's just my random picky-ness popping up. Since I didn't finish for the knitting Olympics the project has had to go on hold since there are some projects for my family that I want to finish up before I head back to school on the 11th (very excited to be heading back by the way!)

The first thing I needed to finish were some slipper socks my dad asked me to make for him. The pattern is from The Little Box of Socks and it's called the "Double Basket Socks." It's a very easy knit/purl Patten done in DK weight yarn to make nice thick slipper socks. I was initially pretty unhappy that my dad asked me to knit him socks because during the school year I knit him a pair of fingering weight green socks and when I gave them to him he said "I only wear white cotton athletic socks wool is to scratchy and green doesn't go with any of my clothes." Needless to say I was a bit miffed but I let it go and gave them to Andrew who was a very gracious recipient and who wears them frequently. So, I bought The Little Box of Sock and was looking at it at home when my dad came up and started flipping through the cards. He held up the Double Basket pattern and said "These look comfortable, can you make me these for around the house socks? My feet are always cold and some wool socks would be so nice on the tile and hardwood." I glared at him and of course he had no idea why. When I asked him what color he wanted he didn't even think about it before he said "Well I really like green, how about that?" Dutiful daughter that I am, I didn't punch him. I did make him buy the yarn though and since I was placing an order with knitpicks for his yarn I may have added a few balls for myself to the total... After the socks were knit I sewed on some suede slipper pads to the balls and heels of the feet so he won't fall and crack his head on our slippery floors. I have already seen him wear them around the house so hopefully they will be appreciated.

The next project is a gift for my brother who is starting his freshman year of college this year at Portland State University in Oregon. I found this Pattern on knitty and thought it was cute and quick. They are seven washcloths (think days of the week) 5 say "study" and 2 say "party." The pattern calls for duplicate stitching the letters but I stranded them on so they're a bit more secure. It's pretty easy except that because it's a flat pattern I have to strand on the purl side as well. It confused me at first but I'm much better now. They're a bit wobbly as of right now but after I get them wet and let the fibers relax they should square up. I have three done and am about 1/3 of the way done with another. I need to finish by the 10th which shouldn't be that big of a stretch as it only takes about 3 and 1/2 hours to go from start to finish on each one. These are the three I have finished so far:

Way before the knitting Olympics I started the extremely popular Swallowtail shawl in some beautiful Malabrigo yarn but stopped for the Olympics then for the family knitting so I haven't picked it up in a while. It's took me quite a while to get used to the fine yarn. I didn't think it would be that hard because I'm used to fingering weight yarn for socks and stuff, but the lace yarn just feels so fragile I have to remember that it's OK to handle it. I've only finished 4 of the 15 repeats for the body of the shawl so I've got quite a ways to go. It's very hard to photograph this yarn the color almost never comes out right but it's a beautiful semi-solid golden color that screams fall. I love it:

Another family knitting project (that will probably not get done before I go back to school) is a pair of socks for my mom. At the beginning of the summer my mom said she really wanted to learn how to knit socks so I dug up an old ball of lion brand magic strip yarn and two circular needles and started to show her how to knit toe-up socks. She didn't even get past the toe increases before she decided she didn't like it and asked if I would finish them for her. Here's how far she got, I haven't had a chance to work on them but it's one more WIP.

This is probably my longest running WIP. I started these socks for myself during the school year but have kept putting them on hold to work on other projects. These are the infamous green socks that I've mentioned several times before. I have one sock finished I'm I'm working down the leg of the second one. The yarn is Trekking Pro Natura and the pattern is "garter rib" from the Sensational Knitted Socks book. I couldn't get a good picture of the pattern but for how simple it is it looks very nice.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Yarn Harlot's Dream

In the Yarn Harlot's latest book Things I Learned from Knitting (Whether I Wanted to or Not) she's got a bit about how she has a secret wish that she could have a semi-serious leg injury. Nothing excruciatingly painful but something that required no walking to heal. A knitters paradise...

She'd sure be jealous of me. One week ago I had to have surgery on my foot to correct a misaligned joint. My bones didn't line up correctly so the bone ground on the cartilage in the joint. The bone had to be cut and fused into the right place then secured with a screw. It sounds worse than it is but it means 8 weeks of no walking. The first 2 weeks are extreme bed rest, laying/sitting all day with the foot elevated above the heart. The next weeks I can move around on crutches but not too much. Week 8 is when I can finally put weight on the foot again. It has been boring. I've spent most of the time either knitting or practicing for the LSAT but as I'm also on percoset I'm much better at the knitting. Here's proof:

My modern baby blanket is finished. I just got it off the needles today. I was wondering whether or not I should put the border on because my edges were pretty straight as it was, then I thought to myself "it's not like I'm strapped for time..." I'm so glad I decided to add it it really pulled the whole thing together and gave it a professional looking finish.

I used the I-cord edging that Kelly Petkun demonstrates on her blog. Her videos of how to get the edging going, turn a corner, and weave in the ends were very helpful! The blanket has already been through the washer and dryer to fluff it up and get the dog hair off and it held up to washing very well. My only problem is I suck at weaving in ends when using cotton or acrylic yarns. Animal fibers I'm fine with because they felt a little and grab onto each other but cotton and acrylic ends never stay woven in for me. I've got them as under-control as I can but I wish I knew a better method...

I also finished two small projects that I stated while I was working on the blanket. The first was a simple hat for me that I made from yarn I dyed myself. I dyed the white Lopi Reynolds with Kool-Aid. I used Grape, Black Cherry, and Lemon Lime.

I knit the hat from the formula in the "How to knit a basic hat" video on the Knitpicks website. It's a very basic roll-brimmed hat. I added the pom-pom because I think that hats tend to look sloppy at the top where the decreases make them bunch up and the pom-pom distracts from the bunching. I know pom-poms are a very contested fashion decision but I think they're cute, especially when they're a bit disheveled like this one...

The second little project I finished is also a hat but it was for my brother. He found a picture on the internet and asked me if I could duplicate it. Just for fun I searched ravlery and the pattern was there. My brother went with me to Michaels and he picked out the yarn he wanted. He picks some cheap Lion Brand Vanna's Choice it's not bad for acrylic yarn it's pretty soft and easy to work with. Here's the hat I made:

The top "hat part is knit in stockinette and the beard and mustaches are knit in moss stitch. The hat and beard are knit as one piece and the mustaches are knit separately and attach to the beard with snaps. The patten is written so that the hat is a different color from "hair" but Adam decided that he wanted it to be all one color... I didn't complain--fewer ends to weave it. It's a very silly project but Adam really wanted it and I really don't have anything better to do so...

I still have the same WIPs the pink shawl and the green socks but that didn't stop me from casting on another. I like the socks alright but with all the time I've got on the couch I wanted something with a little more interest so I stated my first real lace project the Swallowtail Shawl. I love the pattern it's beautiful and it only takes one skein of lace yarn so I figured it was a good way to try out the new technique. I'm using some fabulous Malabrigo lace yarn it's a deliciously soft merino. The color is wonderful gold/orange semi-solid. I'm only one repeat into the pattern but it's already showing a lot of promise. I tryed taking a picture of it but from the couch I can't get good light and they all either look really shiny where the flash reflected off the yarn or too dark. When I get a few more repeats done I'll have my brother take it outside and get a few good pictures for me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two FOs and one giant WIP

So as I said last post, it only took me two days to knit up the Nintendo cozy but then I had to add the buttons... Which means I had to go to the store and find some buttons and then motivate myself to attach them. Needless to say it's two weeks later and the project is finally 100% finished.

This project was the perfect project for one skein of Noro Silk Garden. The yarn is so soft and beautiful. It would make a fantastic lizard ridge blanket, but the blanket would end up costing about $250. I may start it anyway and just do one skein at a time for a year or two until I have enough for a blanket.

The other FO I have is the baby sweater that I was working on. I got the pieces all seamed together, the button bands picked up, and the buttons sewed on. It's darling, I can't wait to see it on a baby.

So cute for a baby being born into a dedicated Packers family. Even better the baby is due right at the start of the football season, so I can see mom putting him in this sweater a lot this fall. To compliment this little sweater and to give me something easy to do while I watch movies, TV on DVD, and read I started a Modern Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. It's a beautiful looking geometric pattern where you knit blocks of garter stitch, cast off, then pick up stitches along the side of the blocks to add colors and length. Here's what I have so far...

The blanket is just made with Red Heart yarn. I don't love the yarn. The up-side is it's acrylic so it won't irritate sensitive baby skin, it's machine washable so no matter what the little baby puts it through it can get clean easily, and it's cheap which is nice since there's over 3 miles of yarn in this project. There's absolutely no way I could afford to make this out of yarn that's $5 for 50 grams. Like the sweater the blanket is also Packers colors--a light yellow and green and a dark yellow and green.

In other news I tried my hand at yarn dying for the first time about a week ago. The result was beautiful but unexpected. I used the Jacquard acid dyes and was trying to dye my yarn a sage green color with a semi-solid kettle-dyed look. The instructions tell you to bring your water pot to a simmer then add your dye and drop in your yarn. I wanted to play with the dye color and not worry about burning myself so I added the dye to the cold water and tested it until I got the color I wanted then I heated the water and added the yarn. Turns out if you let Jacquard dyes sit for too long the colors start to separate, so while my pot was waiting to heat up the colors separated into light and dark colors. The yarn turned out really cool looking but it wasn't what I was expecting. It variegates from almost black to a bright green.

This picture isn't great but it does show how it goes from very dark to much lighter. It's had to get a good photograph of something green. The yarn is lace weight merino, part of the Knitpicks Bare line. I really enjoyed dyeing and now really want to try hand painting. To do some more dyeing I ordered a couple of sock blanks from Knitpicks and started a dyed sock blank swap on Ravelry.

The last thing I did was knit a swatch for try #2 of Andrew's sweater. This time I'm doing the Unisex Irish Pullover a free pattern that I found on Ravelry. I think I figured out what I did wrong the first time but it's pretty stupid. I think I knit my swatch with the smaller size needles listed on the pattern when it specifically says do the the gauge swatch on the larger needles. I knit a new swatch for the new pattern (I can't bare to redo the Eden pattern right now) and I double checked about 100 times that I was using the right needle size. I'm not going to start knitting the project right now I think I'll save it and try it for the knitting Olympics in August. Here's my swatch...

According to the swatch I'm on gauge so we'll see... I haven't worked at all on the pink boucle wrap as if that's surprising.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Patience is not my strong suit

Patience is not a virtue that I was blessed with. Even though the tragedy is over and I know exactly where my Knitpicks harmony needle set is (namely Wisconsin) I am still not a happy camper because it means I have to wait for my roommate to first take them to the post office and then wait for the post office to deliver them to me. I have tons of needles that I could use... a full set of straights, a full set of double points, and two of the Boye circular sets from before the Knitpicks ones came out but I've grown picky and now I really only like the harmonies. In general I'd probably be perfectly happy to knit with the other if the harmonies were tied up but because I can't have them right now they seem like the only thing worth using.

The Nintendo Cozy that I cast on for two days ago is all but finished, all I need to do is get some buttons and add them.

I used about 3/4 of a skein of Noro Silk Garden and loved it. It was quick and easy but there was enough pattern to keep my interest as well. Now I have the most stylish Gameboy around.

In darker news I frogged Andrew's sweater the other day. It took less than 45 minutes to undo hours and hours of knitting. I can't bring myself to try the pattern again so soon so I found a new patter and will try it. Here's what's left of the sweater...

I washed the yarn and re-balled it so it's ready for another go... as soon as the harmonies get here. That's about all the news. The baby sweater is still waiting to be seamed and the shawl is in perpetual hibernation.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Tragedy struck as I moved out of my dorm room and took the long drive home from Wisconsin to New Mexico this weekend. My parents came to help me move and while I was taking my last final of the year they packed all my boxes into the car. I had left a pile of things that needed to be packed close to the top for easy access and told my parents to let ME pack that pile. When I got back from the final my mom told me that she had packed it very carefully and put it all close to the top. We got in the car and got on the road and low and behold my Knitpicks Harmony interchangeable needle set is nowhere to be found. Worse, I keep many of my most used notions in their pouch with them. My mother was certain that she packed them and insisted that I would just have to wait the THREE days until we got home to find them. Not as terrible as it sounds. I had two projects with needles in them, the baby sweater, and Andrew's pair of socks that he gifted me for the summer. I finished all the pieces of the baby jacket but couldn't sew it up because my darning needles were in the Knitpicks case. Still OK because the sock got me through the rest of the trip. When I got home and went through everything... no Knitpicks needles! One of my roommates still hasn't moved out yet so I'm praying she find them but she hasn't answered my message to her yet and I'm unreasonably worried.

In other tragic news, the sweater that I'm making for Andrew is WAY too big WAY.. as in 5 inches too big! I swear I swatched. I must have been under super stress that day because I know I was on gauge for the swatch and now the sweater is suddenly a 42'' chest... Andrew is stick skinny. The whole thing has to be frogged and I'm going to look for a different pattern because I can't bring my self to start this one again just yet.

To comfort myself I just cast on for the Nintendo Cozy from the Stitch n' Bitch page-a-day calendar. Hopefully it will help take the edge off.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Not sure about this blogging thing...

Since I'm already on Ravelry and have a hard enough time keeping projects updated there I'm not entirely sure that I'll be terrific at this blog business. However, there are so many knitting blogs that I enjoy reading that I thought I might just give it a try and see what happens. Also, who doesn't need another distraction from studying for finals? Politics and Human Nature BAH! Temporal Monarchy, Autonomous Collective, Representative Democracy... who needs it. Any way don't expect any sort gushy life details in this thing it's going to be purely about knitting... with the occasional complaint about school thrown in. And anyway my life doesn't have any gushy details to share so bugger off if that's what you want.

Now knitting.

I have three (maybe four depending on how you count) WIPs.

The first and most urgent is the Baby Baseball Tee from Knit2Together. It is for my boss who is preggers so there's kind of a time line on finishing. So far, the back is completely finished, the pocket lining is finished and knit into the front (but not sewed down) and I'm up to the decreased on the front. I am very happy with this as the baby is not due until September. While I could care less about the Green Bay Packers the mother is a huge fan I mean HUGE and the baby is a boy, so I'm knitting the sweater in Packers colors, gold body and green sleeves. I'm knitting it in Plymouth Encore which is 75% acrylic and 25% wool so it's machine washable, cheap, a baby skin friendly. I'm not a big fan of acrylic and like I said don't care about the Packers so the yarn/color scheme isn't too appealing to me but it makes me happy to knit something for Jenny because she's a good boss and cool person.

Second WIP is going on a full year now. It is an acrylic and nylon blend boucle wrap/shawl/wide scarf. The yarn is fun to look at and touch but terrible to knit with--it's splitty and impossible to frog; the stitches might as well be glued together. It Jo-Ann's Sensations Rainbow Boucle I like the fabric that I have so far, but I'm only half way done. The pattern needs 36 4-row repeats over 80 stitches and I have 20 done. It's not at all a hard pattern, it's a simple drop stitch patter--basically a way easier version of the Clapotis. It's boring and fussy which is why progress is slower than a snail's pace. Hopefully I will like the finished product as I like the bit I have now. Otherwise, I will cry bitter bitter tears of sad regret for my wasted time. Obviously it needs some blocking...

The last WIP is coming up on a few months shy of a year now. It started out as a sweater for my brother who is pretty skinny but 6'8'' tall and makes me look like a rag doll when I stand next to him. I quickly realized that even though he's skinny I would not have enough yarn/time/sanity to finish. My dad said he hates wool because it's scratchy after glaring at him and making him hold my softest merino sock yarn until he admitted that it's not too bad gave up on him. I thought about just wearing it myself since I had cast on for a 36'' chest anyway but then my boyfriend said hey that's a cool sweater who's it for. I told him if he liked it is was for him and the darling accepted. Sweater curse be damned. It's in Cascade 220 wool and is a pattern from the Rowan Pure Wool Collection: Eden.

The last WIP is sort of not mine, but really it mostly is. It's a pair of socks out the Trekking Pro Natura done one-sock-at-a-time, cuff down, on two circs. It's supposed to be Andrew's, he said he wanted to learn to knit. (OK maybe I pushed a wee little bit but he agreed to learn in the end.) He didn't want to buy any yarn In case I don't like knitting, instead he wanted to knit out of my stash. No problem, I love the kid so I went through my stash and laid out before him all the things I was willing to part with for him to learn on--of the two balls of sock yarn he chose the green one and not the pink, green, purple, and yellow striped one... go figure. Now I know that socks on size 1.5 needles is not the most encouraging fist project but he didn't want to buy his own yarn and that worsted weight already has a project assigned to it damnit. And just so I don't come across as selfish, that sock yarn was supposed to be my first pair of Monkey socks... now that's sacrifice. Andrew dutifully learned to cast on, do the knit two purl two ribbing and the simple garter rib pattern for the leg. The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks The sock is on Knitpicks fixed circs which I love because they are very pointy but Andrew has no knitterly blisters yet and his fingers start to hurt after one or two rows of 72 stitches per row. I frequently pick up these socks and work on them when I'm in his room because it's knitting and it's there so I've probably done more of the knitting on them than he has... but it's still his project right...

Alright I'm going the "publish" this now and then try to figure out how to go back and add links and photos... we'll see...

ETA: Success! I'm a natural born blogger.