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.