Friday, March 31, 2006

Sock Attempt #3

I decided to give socks another go when I met a male knitter who was making a gorgeous pair using Mountain Colors. This yarn is lxurious and I figured my sweetie deserved some socks since I won't make him a sweater until after we are married.
I used the same pattern but the thing that made me love these socks, and in turn sock knitting, is that I decided to endure the tedium of 2x2 ribbing for 6 inches. These socks do not sag around the ankles! The color is great, too. It's a little darker than in this picture and that weird red flashing ends up on the bottom of the foot. Best of all, they fit Sam perfectly and he loves them.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Allison was lovely and let me drop by for some knitting help yesterday. We figured out an increase that we thought would work and I ripped back and got the yarn resituated on the needles. Sadly, I started the gusset between the wrong stitches, failed to listen to my intuition and didn't fugure it out until 4 rows later. I'm lucky that I was in Allison's presence- actually the gauntlet is lucky that I was in Allison's presence because now it it has lived to see another day. I haven't been able to look at it yet though so instead I am working on this:I can't wait to felt these!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I just want this to be over.

I have actually been doing some knitting. I am up to the gusset on the second gauntlet and now I am regretting not whipping this out right after finishing the first one. The problem? I don't remember what I did! You'd think that if you followed a pattern, they'd both come out the same. Unfortunately, the gusset uses two different increase methods and I'm not sure if I followed it right and now the second doesn't match. Grrrr... Here's the photographic evidence:

So the increases on the top gauntlet made a hole while the ones on the bottom make a bar (like a purl stitch). The two called for in the instructions are the backward loop method and the lifted increase(which I think is the same as an M1). The thing is, I was doing the backward loop on the bottom gauntlet because that's what I thought I used for the top one but it is making a bar like an M1 should, right? Does any of this make sense? I'm hoping so because I need HELP! Here are my two questions:
1) What increase should I use to match the ones in the first gauntlet?
2) What method should I use to frog? Pull out the needles and rip back because the yarn is pretty sticky and won't unravel out of control or stick neddles in the row I want to rip back to and then pull it out? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

New and improved

I know it may not look like it to you but it's really my fault as a photographer and not that of the yarn. Trust me when I say that the yarn is now a lovely shade of evergreen and I am really quite pleased with it. When it was wet it looked black and I got nervous but it is perfect. Since it seemed like a waste to dump out the dye, I decided to throw in some white shirts that had a few stains on them. I like the color but I probably should have done only one. They were kind of cramped in the pot and the dye is not very even. I may dye them again but I'll probably be lazy and wear them as is. I have been avoiding dyeing because it seemed really messy and time consuming but I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it is. It would probably take a lot of practice before you could actually get an outcome that you planned for but part of the fun is the adventure.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Bargain SEX*

I went to Wisconsin Craft Market the other day for a size 6 circular needle. I borrowed one to make the child's placket neck sweater and since I know I want to make more I decided to invest in my own. I so can't wait until the day when I don't have to buy new needles for almost every project! Anyway, turns out WCM is going out of business and everything is 20% off! Who knew? Of course I left with more than just the size 6's.
I got 7 skeins of grey Wool-ease. At less than $2.00 a skein, the price is right and even though it only has 20% wool, I still think it feels pretty nice. It's the yarn I used for my Knitting Olympics sweater. I grabbed the last 3 skeins of Bernat Satin in sage. This yarn is 100% acrylic but it's so soft and has a little shine to it. I think it'll make an adorable baby cardigan. Although the store is already looking pretty cleaned out, I did get the size 6's as well as size 4 circulars and 3 sizes of crochet hooks. I got some safety pins without the twist at the end so they are better for crafting (yes Sue, you can have some).
I also got some RIT dye and was inspired by all the dyeing by other Madison bloggers and dyed that fugly sock yarn today. It's still drying so here's a picture I took during the dying process. Come back tomorrow for the finished product.*Stash enhancement expedition

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fug this yarn!

I know there are bargains to be had when buying yarn online but I've stayed away from ebay and other sources because I don't want to be tempted into spending money I don't have and after my first (and only) online yarn buying adventure, I am very skeptical of how the colors will look in real life. Here's a photo of the yarn that fooled me.

I know. It's bad. On the computer this looked like gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn in shades of green and some purple. Okay, I guess the hand dying is the part I should have stayed away from. But the thing I can't understand to this day is that if you made something this ugly would you SELL it to someone? I'm thinking I'll re-dye it one of these days. I wish whoever made it had thought of that.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Happy accident

These mittens are from the first Stitch'n Bitch book which was the first knitting book I bought. Owning this book improved my knitting because it helped me learn how to fix mistakes on my own and it inspired me to move beyond scarfs. For these mittens, I used the yarn called for in the book (Montera and GGH).
One of these ended up in the wash and accidentally felted. I felted the second to match and I actually like them better now. The weave is obviously tighter so the wind can't get in. I had enough leftover yarn to make a neck warmer and I like it so much I tend to wear it around the house.
It appears as though I'm over my second item syndrome since I've cast on for both my second felted clog and the gauntlet. Sadly, I had to rip out the bunny/kitty hat. Even the lady at the knitting store couldn't figure out why I was 10 stitches short. It might be the pattern. Grrrr...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Crap yarn makes cute sweater

Like most knitters, my first project was a scarf. I picked out some Lion brand Homespun in a lovely shade of green and knit a huge stockinette scarf. Ha! I didn't know stockinette would curl so bad but it doesn't take long to figure it out and still I knit on. I have to say, the tension was good and I don't think there were any (many?) holes. I gave it to my mom.
My second scarf ending up warming my friend Jason's neck. Conveniently enough, he stopped by yesterday so I could take this photo. It's funny because most people would not still be wearing this ugly thing 4+ years later!

As you can see, I learned one lesson. That attractive seed stitch border kept it from curling too much. But I still hadn't figured out how to make a scarf look good on both sides. With this nubby yarn I should have stuck with garter stitch but it looks like I alternated blocks of ST st and garter- probably because I couldn't tell right side from wrong side until I started knitting! Seems so funny to me now.
I was recently at the craft store buying crochet hooks when I found a free pattern for a cute sweater using Lion Brand Homespun. I knew I had some left over from my early knitting forays. Here is the result:

I am definitely into my baby sweater knitting phase. It's so much easier to crank out baby clothes than actual babies and they're almost as cute!
So I was going to sew up the last bit on the sleeve with blue yarn but I kind of like them folded up like this. It would help if the little boy this is intended for could try it on but he's far away. What do you think? (Lauren?) To sew or not to sew?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Second Pair of Socks Syndrome

Yep, this is the second pair of socks that I knit (okay so it's just the one but there is a second I swear it!). The first pair was supposed to be for me but I made the mistake of knitting them at my sister's house and they live with her now. I figure it was worth it since learning how to turn a heel allowed me to be Zen during a family gathering for my nephew's first birthday.
The pattern (Ann Norling bought at the yarn store) is for a basic sock but the cool thing is that it gives instructions for fingering, DK and worsted so it doesn't really matter what yarn you pick. This yarn is Lang Jawoll superwash (don't remember the color). I learned several things when I knit these socks:

1) Funky sock colors are great but it's nice if you can think of at least one outfit that you can wear them with.
2) Basic sock patterns are okay but while the fit is perfect from toe to heel, they are bunchy around the ankles and I HATE that.

I was ready to call it a day on the whole sock knitting thing. I know people rave about them but I just couldn't see it. I gave it one more try and I was won over. Stay tuned for #3 socks...

Monday, March 13, 2006

FO's from yore

So maybe I don't knit enough to have a seperate knitting blog. I feel weird about posting pictures of my WIP's. When I have a few things going, they don't change much on a daily basis so it's not very exciting to photograph something with an extra inch of stockinette. I would like to only show finished objects. While I work on knitting fast enough to make this a viable option, I've decided to post pics of some of the things I've made that I still have. Maybe someday I'll even figure out how to do a knitting gallery...
Here's today's FO:

I decided years ago that I was not going to invest in furniture until I have a house. Since I left home for college I have moved on average close to once a year. I've lived in Seattle and NYC and half way in between. It's convenient that I can move with just a car. When I moved in with Sam, the first thing we did was chuck the couch that no one would sit on because his ex-roommate's cat used it as a litter box. In the basement we found a charming, ancient wood and crushed orange velvet couch. It's a hide-a-bed, although we've never found a small enough mattress, and it didn't smell half bad. Then, a strange thing happened. I brought home a new friend and she commented that she too had a crushed orange velvet couch AND she wanted to get rid of it. It's in pretty bad shape but it fits perfectly under our picture window and who could pass up the chance to have a maching set of crushed orange velvet couches?!!!
The problem is that neither of them are very comfortable. Cushions were in order but when I shopped for them, they were too expensive and didn't match anyway. I got some naked pillows on sale and figured I could make covers myself. I thought Indian sari fabric might work. It's not readily available in Madison, though, and what I did find was out of my price range. That's when I scored 12 skeins of off- white yarn for next to nothing and a solution was found. Knitted pillows, of course! The loopy pillow is a pattern from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. The other is from a book of quilt patterns (can't remember the name). They may not be the most attractive pillows ever but I'm happy when I look at them knowing that I made them myself.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I could just cry.

I'm very unhappy with my knitting since the KOlympics. I finished one clog but no matter how badly I want to wear the finished clogs, I can't convince myself to cast on for the second. This feels strange since I've never been known to have Second Sock Syndrome. I am working on gauntlets and finally slogged through and finished the 1st one this morning. I discovered I am not a fan of knitting fingerholes and while I am reasonably happy with how it turned out, I am not looking forward to the second one. Gaaaahhhh! Two unfinished sets! It's funny how your tolerance for mistakes is directly correlated with how many times you've already ripped it out trying to make it look better. It looks fine on my hand but I couldn't get a good picture.

In the downtime I have been swatching for multiple new projects (guess I learned my lesson after all!) and dreaming of the yarn I would buy if only I were richer. Note to self- it's not a good idea to browse internet yarn stores when even good deals on yarn are too expensive at the moment. It just makes you feel bad. As does knitting with crap yarn because that's all you have in your stash. Acrylic feels yucky. There's no going back.
I've also been dreaming of a career change so I can afford all the expensive yarn my heart desires (throw in some sheep and alpacas, oh and a spinning wheel too please!) I'll keep dreaming until my knitting becomes satisfying again. I guess that's all you can do...

Note to Sue- the orange yarn is for Emma's hat. The pattern is actually for a bunny hat but I don't think it'll be hard to modify the ears into kitty ears and the face looks more like a kitty anyway.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My iPod is cozy

I am in love with my new iPod. Isn't it cute? It's the size of a pack of gum, cost about a hundred bucks, has my favorite 220 songs on it and makes going for my daily walk a joy. I thought it deserved a new outfit. Maybe several.

Monday, March 06, 2006

knit 'n spin

This sits in the room we sleep in a my future in-laws house. I've done a pretty good job of ignoring it but it's starting to tease me. I'm trying to figure out how I can smuggle it out without them noticing. Do you think I could get parts to make it useable again? And a better question- Do I really need another hobby?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Check 'yer gauge

I haven't learned my lesson. I know that I am a tight knitter but I still refuse to make gauge swatches. I think it's because I've only recently started knitting things that need to fit. Who cares what size your scarf or knitted penguin is, right? I've also never felted anything before so I wasn't fully aware of how HUGE a felted item was supposed to be before felting. Luckily my friend Kristen was working on these clogs too and as soon as I saw hers I knew I had a problem. In the picture above, the one on the bottom fits my foot. I went up a needle size and the one on the top stretches from my finger tips almost to my elbow. Ha! I think it will only take a few more mistakes like this before I finally learn.
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