Sunday, December 30, 2007

Commission done!

So, I finished the hooded scarf for my co-worker. However, no photos yet. Also, I wanted her to see it before I called if 'finished-finished'. I was a bit stupid when I was making it. The pattern suggested using size 11 needles, and for some reason, I thought I didn't have any. Even though they were pretty much staring me in the face. So I knit everything quite loosely on 10.5 needles. Hopefully it'll fit. If not, I'll just make another one - the project only took just over 1 skein, and she bought 3.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Experimental hat

Guess what I did this afternoon (before meeting up for dinner)? I knit a hat! I had two skeins of Queensland Uruguay DK that I bought on super-sale at Webs, and I'd always wanted to try the fair isle part of the Cheesylove pattern (without actually knitting the whole sweater of course!), so I thought I'd use the opportunity to put the two together.

I've knit enough plain stockinette hats now that the recipe is pretty much automatic, so I knit a small gauge swatch, cast on 96 stitches, knit some K2P2 ribbing, switched to stockinette, knit the fair isle pattern (bordered by some stripes), and decreased for the crown.

Cheesylove hat_02

After my experience with the Main Street Fair Isle, I figured that I should probably knit the colourwork fairly loosely as I expected the hat to have to stretch a decent amount (my head is 21-22 inches around, the hat was knit to be 18-19 inches around unstretched) and I didn't want to risk the fair isle part being too small. So I knit VERY LOOSELY. The floats were VERY LONG. Too long, in fact. Why is it so hard to get the tension just right? The inside of my hat now consists of a lot of loopy bits. And there are a lot of loose stitches on the outside. Not the most attractive.

Another thing was that I decided that the ribbing was too long after having completed the entire hat, so I had to cut the yarn and unravel all of the ribbing so I could do it over again (from top down). Not a horrid thing, but a bit inconvenient.

Cheesylove hat_03

Will I wear this hat? Who knows? It will probably be relatively warm due to the brim and the fair isle floats, but I may not be brave enough to wear this in public with all of its imperfections. Maybe a good blocking would fix it some?

Sophie doesn't really have an opinion, she pretty much hates hats in general.

Cheesylove hat Sophie_02

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Very Predictable

Ever since I learned how to knit, I've knit my dad winter accessories for Christmas. Usually a scarf, sometimes with an accompanying hat. And this year is no different.

Jaeger cabled scarf_01

This is a modified Irish Hiking Scarf (2 cables instead of 3), knit out of some pretty brown Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Chunky, which has been sadly discontinued. I was originally planning to knit both a scarf and a hat, but I miscalculated when I bought the yarn (and since it's discontinued, it's not like I could easily find more) so he's just getting a slightly longer scarf. Ah well.

Maybe next year I can come up with something different. One can only have so many brown/gray/black scarves, right? =)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Socks for Greg

Originally uploaded by hweishien
So, I've started the socks for Greg, and while they're progressing, I'm finding that I'm getting sick of knitting socks now. I mean, this would be my third consecutive pair! I'm thinking of telling my bro "Sorry, but I just wasn't able to finish your socks in time." I think I just need something different for now. I'm really not feeling motivated to finish these. And besides, I think they might be a little too big for his foot. I'll have him try them on when I see him. I might actually have to frog the whole thing anyway.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow day!

Today was spent indoors since the weather outside made it very undesirable to venture outside. Long periods of time spent indoors = knitting, and that allowed me to finish the socks for my mom, and start the ones for my brother.

I didn't take a photo of the ones for my brother yet. They aren't at a very interesting stage yet :D

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Musings on Ravelry

So I've had a Ravelry account for just about 2 months now....and I've done virtually nothing with it. Initially it would drive me crazy when someone would refer to something on Ravelry on their blogs and I would be unable to see just what they were talking about. It seemed like a cool idea to be able to type in a pattern name and see pages and pages of photos without having to troll through the results of a Google search. And then there was that whole aura of "hey, here's this cool club that you're not a part of yet!" So I put myself on the waiting list, and obsessively checked my spot in line every few days or so. I passed the time by uploading a bunch of old FO photos to Flickr in anticipation of massive project-updating activity.

And then my invite lands in my inbox during a relatively hectic time, and it just sits there for several days. I make several halfhearted efforts to come up with a username that wasn't stupid or already taken (adrienneknits was the final decision, which is terribly unoriginal but meh, whatever). I poke around in my "notebook" and make a stab at adding some projects. I add some books (I also have trouble remembering which books I have, as they are all in boxes at present). I wait for the crazy obsessive feeling that so many other knitters have experienced to take over me. seems like I just don't care that much. The thought of spending even MORE time updating this additional knitting-related database just makes me feel tired.

I know some people seem to have this inexhaustible energy for blogging, for reading and commenting on other people's blogs, for participating in this whole crazy knitting "community" that exists out in cyberspace, but it seems like I only have so much patience for it. I mean, I've gone months without knitting, and months without touching this blog. Knitting is fun, but I don't necessarily want to be doing it 24/7. Looking at and reading about everyone else's knitting is also enjoyable, but sometimes I'm just not that interested.

Anyway. I'm happy with this little blog that we've got going here (and which we've maintained more or less for a pretty long time!), and it's ok that we don't really advertise it or have a bevy of adoring readers. Sometimes I wish it were different, but most of the time I'm content with just doing what pleases us and not feeling pressure to be constantly producing beautiful knits to serve as blog fodder. And I guess it's also ok that my Ravelry account just sits there most of the time, I suppose it will come in handy someday, and maybe eventually I'll even feel like doing something with it. =)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

ALL for me!

I guess it's my turn to show off my purchases, huh? Unlike Karen, I was not nearly so generous with my shopping. Everything I bought was for ME. Me me me. =)

Socks That Rock Lightweight in Count Cluckula:

STR Count Cluckula

Dream in Color Tulip Cardigan Kit. I love this thing. I didn't buy it with a particular baby in mind, and I will probably never ever give this away. I will knit it up and it will sit in storage forever, and I will look at it and admire it and pet it periodically. Unless for some reason I end up with a baby girl, then she will be dressed up in it and photographed extensively.

Dream in Color Tulip Cardigan Kit

C'est tout. I was pretty restrained and only bought what I was initially planning to. Progress!

Monday, December 10, 2007

One for me, one for you...

And Karen totally fails at stash busting.

Today, the fabulous Adrienne and I met up at Lettuce Knit and had a fabulous time playing with all sorts of beautiful, beautiful yarn. Have I ever mentioned how much I love that store?

Here's what I came home with in terms of yarn:

Believe it or not, I've got projects pegged for all of that. Two of them will be gifts, and two of them will be for me. The green Dream in Colour (Spring Tickle) is slated to become socks for my brother. The dark brown is going to be yet another Baby Bobbi Bear. The blue Malbrigo is going to become a Koolhaus hat (bought the Holiday Knits issue with that pattern too), and the Socks That Rock (in Jasper) is probably going to be a Swallowtail shawl.

Once home, I tried to split the green into two even balls so I could do that 'knit two socks at the same time' trick again. And I fail.

Oh well. I'm sure I'll be able to fix it when I get closer to finishing the socks.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Main Street Fair Isle!

The Main Street Fair Isle is done! Hooray! Cue the trumpets and release the confetti!

This sweater, while not a difficult knit at all, was a relative pain in the ass. I've documented the gauge issues with the sleeve here and then with the body here and here, and then I was worried that the fair isle part would come out too tight. The last time I blogged about this sweater I hadn't knit the neckline yet, it was to be a relatively painless K1P1 rib, no problem right? I originally knit the neckline as directed using the US8s that I used for the body, I figured that since I had done a whole bunch of decreasing just after the colourwork that the neckline probably wouldn't be too loose.

WRONG. In actuality it turned out all floppy and faintly resembled a pathetic turtleneck, totally unacceptable (sorry, no photo!). So it was ripped and reknit on US6 needles by my mom, who knits way tighter than I do and probably gave herself hand cramps trying to be as tight as possible. Several attempts were made at a tubular K1P1 bindoff but they all turned out horribly due to the soft and yielding nature of the yarn (mostly alpaca). So we had to resort to a regular bindoff which my mom has previously characterized in the past as being ugly.

I think it looks ok.

Main Street Fair Isle done_03

Overall, this sweater required a lot of reknitting. But the final result fits! And the recipient is happy!

Main Street Fair Isle worn_03

Of course, not one to waste yarn, she promptly cast on for a ribbed scarf to use up all the leftovers:

Main Street Fair Isle leftovers scarf

I should have taken a photo of all the scary ends that had to be woven in.

This sweater was the 4th sweater project that I've embarked on, the 3rd sweater that I've actually finished, and probably the only one that will get any regular wear (and not by me!). Maybe I'm getting a bit better at this whole sweater thing, I've certainly been learning about how different sorts of yarns translate into actual knitted garments (I haven't always made the best choices), and it's gratifying to look at the final product and think "hey, I made this whole thing!", but I still don't think I'm really into knitting sweaters. Then again, a girl can only have so many scarves, and I'm so terribly vanilla with all my sock knitting (oooh, more stockinette, how exciting!), and I've grown to hate buying sweaters in stores because they're all so expensive (ha! irony) and most of them don't fit properly maybe there's something to be said about this knitting-sweaters-to-fit-one's-size-and-shape thing. If only I could cultivate the patience.

Final thoughts:
- The pattern was relatively easy, but I felt that some of the numbers for the size that I knit (the smallest one) could have been better. For example, starting a sleeve with 28 stitches at 4-4.5 stitches/inch in 3x1 ribbing ended up being way too tight, so I increased it to 32 stitches. I also have a feeling that I could have done the fair isle on more stitches since it ended up being a smidge tight, but I don't know how much of that comes from my own tension and how much from the pattern itself.
- The yarn (Valley Yarns Lenox) is very very soft and comfortable, but as a result the sweater doesn't really have much structure. We're ok with this because the sweater was meant to be more for comfort than style, but just something to think about.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Knitting logic, or lack thereof

Why is it that I'm personally unwilling to spend more than $4-5 on a pair of store-bought socks, feel squeamish at the thought of wearing $12 socks that someone else bought for me, but am perfectly happy to put on a pair of handknit socks after spending $20+ on the yarn and 8-10 hours knitting it up?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Half Finished!

The Modern Quilt Wrap is half-finished. Here are blocks 1-36, taken outside in the snow:

Modern Quilt Wrap Blocks 1-36

The colours are a bit weird probably because it was too bright outside and I don't know how to play with my camera settings very well (or to mess around with editing software -- I'm so lazy!).

The second half is exactly the same as the first. I must admit that the prospect of knitting the entire pattern again is a bit daunting because of all the colour changes and ends to be woven in, but I really want to wear this scarf this winter so I'd better get cracking!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A little advice

I need some advice. I've finished the foot part of the socks for my mom. I didn't do anything fancy with this part because I know she hates odd bumps and what not on the foot part of her socks. Here's what it looks like so far.

Not too bad, despite the kinda random striping. I'm going to turn the heel tonight, but after that is what I need some advice on. I remember musing that I might put a cable or something on the side. However, now that I can see the way the colour knits up, I'm not totally sure if I should add that cable on the side or not. In my head, cables look kinda funny if it's not a solid colour, but maybe I'm just not experienced enough with cables (all the cables I've ever done just happen to have been on solid colours).

So, what do you think?? Help, please!!

Oh, and on another (rather random) note, here's a photo of how much yarn I had left over after finishing up my dad's socks.

Is it sad that I take great pleasure in knowing that I used up as much yarn as possible for a project?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Almost FO

Okay. I'm pretty much done the socks for my dad. All I have to do now is to cast off. I haven't done it yet because I'm going to see one of my patient's tomorrow, and his wife wants to see what I meant by knitting two socks at the same time on a set of circular needles.

So there they are. I didn't do a very good job photographing them, and it looks kinda weird all squished up cuz of the ribbing. But I think they're pretty good on the whole. Hopefully they'll fit.

With Dad's socks pretty much done, it was time to start Mom's socks. Finished the toe of yet another set of toe-up socks, and realized that something I feared was starting to happen.

Yes, that is the start of striping. (Insert scream of despair here.) However, I'm continuing to knit the foot section and am finding the colour alternating just about every round. Unfortunately for me, the change isn't happening at the sides, but I guess that means I can put that part as the sole. I'm not sure if the end result of this will be just a jumble of purple, or actual stripes. And who knows if I'll be able to get the other sock to behave the same way. Ugh. I was hoping it wouldn't do the stripe thing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fun with Fair Isle

I can be a bit paranoid sometimes when it comes to Christmas knitting. I generally start thinking about it in the late summer or early fall, and planning/collecting yarn/searching for patterns often consumes a great deal of my mental energy (only because it's so fun!). I am always scared that I won't have enough time to finish everything, and as a result I'm usually finished well ahead of time.

When it came to the Main Street Fair Isle, however, I was afraid that perhaps this project would sit on the back burner for a while, well beyond the Christmas season. I just wasn't all that motivated to work on it. First I had all those gauge issues with the first sleeve, and then I had to start the body 3 times (with more gauge problems), and I was getting tired of looking at all that maroon.

I decided to pick the project up again after finishing my sister's socks, and to try knitting the second sleeve starting with more stitches. This solution was deemed far more acceptable, and before I knew it I had 2 finished sleeves! Then I figured that I should finish the main part of the body and at least attach the sleeves, and soon I had reached the fair isle part. Who knew that a couple nights of tv would suffice to get all that accomplished?!? Clearly I have been doing way too much knitting on teeny tiny needles, or with fiddly annoying mohair (read: Kidsilk Haze).

So, fair isle! I'd never done it before, but how hard could it be, really? Then I realized that parts of the pattern called for 3 colours to a round. Ah, crap.

Main Street Fair Isle colour_02

Green, blue, and purple on one round (at the left), and then maroon, blue, and green on the next round (at the right). That calls for a lot of floats in the back!

Main Street Fair Isle colour_03

Also, I put in a lifeline in case I screwed things up beyond repair. This part of the fair isle turned out fairly well, but there are parts where I think I could have been a little looser with the floats (I tried my best). There is a bit of puckering here and there, but on the body the sweater lies more or less flat so it's not too bad. I think a good blocking should also even things out a bit.

The fair isle got much easier as I went along, mostly because the later rows only called for 2 colours per round (another lifeline couldn't hurt, though).

Main Street Fair Isle colour_04

A photo of the colourwork along with the raglan decreases.

Main Street Fair Isle colour_05

The sweater should be pretty much done soon, way before Christmas! I'm going to make my mom do the bind-off at the neck, because she's probably better/more experienced at doing a sewn k1,p1 bind-off than I am. So she'll get to participate in the making of her own Christmas gift, beyond providing commentary on the gauge/sizing. Oh, and she paid for the yarn, too. =P

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One down....

One Christmas present finished! These are some socks for my sister (hopefully she doesn't check this blog) that I will be sending across the pond soon. The yarn is Sunshine Yarns sock yarn, in the Neapolitan self-striping colourway. Don't they look yummy? I'm glad that they more or less match in terms of the striping, I generally try to restrain myself when it comes to buying self-striping sock yarn since trying to make the socks match perfectly has the potential to trigger my anxiety issues (see also: Noro sweaters). =P Anyway, I love how these turned out!

Sunshine Yarns Neapolitan socks_03

P.S. There are the ONLY gift socks I'll be knitting this Christmas. =)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Avoiding second sock syndrome

(Oh man...I've always wanted to say that ever since Mr. Seshadri did)

Socks for my dad are now underway.

Please forgive the crappy photo.

As you can probably tell, I'm making 2x2 rib toe-up socks for my dad. This time, I got out my size 4 addi lace needles with the insanely long cord so that I could knit both at the same time using magic loop. It takes a little getting used to, but I've got the hang of it now.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering - yes, I did cheat a little. I knit the increases of each toe on dpns first, transferring the stitches to the circular once I had all the stitches I needed. I haven't quite thought out the physics of how I'm going to do the heel, but I figure it'll become, as Mr. Rice would say, 'intuitively obvious' once I get there.

(and tonight, I'm dragging out all sorts of high school teacher expressions? What's wrong with me?!!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Start of Christmas knitting

I've decided that everyone in my family is going to get the same thing this year: knitted socks. I was originally thinking of giving my mom those blue ones that I've been knitting (and I really should take a picture of those soon. I'm so bad with pictures), but I just love the colour blue too much, and will probably wind up keeping them.

So there's the yarn that I've set aside for my parents. I don't think I need to mention who's getting which colourway. The purple stuff is some Lorna's laces that I got a long time ago. It looked very, very different when it was in a skein - half dark purple, half light purple and looked like it basically had no transitions. However, once wound, it looks much nicer. The grey/brown stuff is Koigu Kersti. Highly addictive.

I'm starting the pair for my dad first. I came up with some rather strange logic for that choice too. I figured that the closer it got to Christmas, the more pressured I'd feel, and thus the more knitting I would do. So, I'm starting with the project that I think I'll like better so I don't procrastinate in my knitting. Most people would say that I should leave the faster project for later, but I think this will keep me knitting constantly instead of in a huge rush at the end.

Okay...feel free to tell me I'm crazy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My first commission!

So, a rather nice lady who works at the hospital with me approached me the other day about doing a commissioned project for her. She was so cute about it too; she said she wanted to hire me to make something for her. She had tried knitting something for herself in the past, but it didn't turn out. What she wants is essentially a scarf with a hood on it.

I'm thinking a little bit about possibly designing my own, but I did find a free pattern for something similar to what she wanted. It's the Hooded Scarf from Knit Picks. I'll run it by her to see if that's the sort of thing she wants, and if so, I'll look over the pattern and decide if I want to make any design modifications. She's quite particular about the type of yarn, so it's likely that the gauge is going to be off anyway.

In other knit news, I've turned the heel on one of those blue socks and will be looking to finish it really soon. The crochet blanket is growing still, and I've realized that crochet really does work up faster than knitting.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

22.2% complete

Progress on the Modern Quilt Wrap continues. I love this project, but I wish it didn't take so long to finish each square.

Modern Quilt Wrap Blocks 1-14

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WIPs versus UFOs

One potential hot-button topic when it comes to discussing UFOs is the issue of "when does a WIP actually become a UFO?" Because, you know, the term "UFO" can have a slightly negative connotation to it, as though you had given up on the project, didn't have the willpower to finish it, let a technical issue halt your progress, got distracted by other things, are afflicted with a hopeless case of startitis, what-have-you. UFOs get stuffed into the bottoms of knitting bags, shoved into the backs of closets, are hidden away from prying eyes.

Whereas WIPs can be proudly displayed, photographed, blogged, and shown off in general. "Look at this fabulous thing I'm knitting! It will become the most beautiful thing in the universe!" WIPs are filled with possibility and promise, and are evidence of industry and productivity. Funny how a simple label can change one's perception, isn't it?

So Karen, I think when you look at your list, it looks like you have at least 4 WIPs and maybe only 2 or 3 UFOs. Doesn't that sound so much better? =)

As for myself, here's what I'm working on right now.


1) Modern Quilt Wrap. I have now knit up to square 18, 25% done! Hopefully I will continue to plug away at this one.

2) Main Street Fair Isle sweater for Mom. I think the main body is just about done, and I have to cast on for the second sleeve. The first sleeve may need to be reknit. I got sidetracked by the Modern Quilt Wrap, but need to get back to this one.

3) I just started a pair of socks for a Christmas present. Will blog about this later.

4) This is a fairly long-term project, I'm working on a mitred square afghan in Noro Silk Garden. I haven't blogged about this one yet, because I am a lazy bum and also maybe because I don't want to jinx myself somehow by writing about it. It's the biggest thing (read: most expensive) I've embarked on, so thinking about it too much gives me the heebie-jeebies in a strange way, clearly I have some latent (or actually rather obvious) $$$ issues lurking around (also now that I've got this cat who likes to vomit on things sometimes and use inappropriate things as scratching posts, I have this depressing thought that maybe I'll just knit it and then keep on a shelf in my closet where she can't get to it). Well, I guess it's out now, I should write more about it some time. =)


1) I started another Child's Placket Sweater in blue and orange, for a potential-baby-to-be-adopted-who-turned-out-eventually-to-be-a-four-year-old. Oops. I've knit the body but haven't started any sleeves yet, and since there IS no baby I haven't had any reason to continue with this one. Perhaps it will be frogged. But then I wouldn't know what to do with the yarn. It's not something that I necessarily want just hanging around in the stash, the colours are a bit too bright for me, but who knows, maybe it will come in handy someday.

I think that's all I've got on the needles right now, which doesn't seem too bad. Perhaps the next topic should be things-we've-got-in-the-queue, or things-we're-planning-to-knit-that-we-haven't-gotten-around-to-starting-yet, which would truly be quite embarrassing, at least in my case. =)

(Sorry for the lack of linkage, I'm way too exhausted for that right now....)

Of course UFOs exist!

After reading Knitting Daily for the past little while, the whole discussion there about unfinished objects made me think about my own UFOs. I thought it might be a useful exercise for me to list them all out so I knew just what the heck I had going.

1) The Dollar and a Half Cardigan from the Spring 2007 Interweave. I think I started this one somewhere around July, and so far I've only knit the back. I need to get moving on this one. I believe the yarn I'm using is Telemark, from Knit Picks. I'm knitting them on my size 5 Lantern Moon rosewood circulars, which I just love.

2) Yet another multi-directional scarf. I'm using that Cherry Hill yarn that Adrienne sent me many, many moons ago on size 3 bamboo needles. I kinda wanted to make it for autumn, so I could have a transition scarf before the weather got cold enough for my Clapotis. But the weird weather was so warm up until last week that I didn't need a scarf, so I lost motivation for really working hard at it. And the all of a sudden it got cold, and I had to break out the Clapotis! Ha ha!

3) A lacy scarf/throw made out of Blue Sky Alpaca's organic cotton. I made one of these already for a friend, and have since decided that I wanted one too. I've almost finished one skein and will be moving to the second one soon.

4) Duh. How could I forget that crochet blanket. My current major project considering babies don't really wait for the gifter to finish. 'Nuff said on that one.

5) Remember those blue socks that I was knitting using magic loop and two at a time? Well, the cord on my needles wasn't quite long enough to do magic loop AND two socks comfortably, so I moved one of the socks to some dpns and have been working on that. Still haven't gotten to the heel yet. Really, I fail at this.

6) Remember that disastrous green sweater that was all messed up? Still haven't frogged it or fixed it.

7) Long ago, I started a shawl out of some Shimmer from Knit Picks in the Morning Mist colourway. This has been sitting for so long now that I'm thinking of frogging it. But even if I did, what would I do with the yarn? It's this lace weight, variagated stuff that doesn't really lend itself to much except a shawl. I think I just don't like working with lace weight, or relatively fine stuff, so I keep finding other things to do instead.

And that would be my list of UFOs. Just looking at it kinda makes me feel like I've been totally failing at keeping up with my knitting. Somehow, I need to really keep my motivation to finish rather than getting distracted by the newest, pretty object.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Playing with colours

As you may have figured out by now, I am a sucker for pretty colours. I am NOT by any stretch of the imagination an artist or even knowledgeable about colours and how to use them or put them together in a pleasing fashion. I just like to look at them. Someday, I would love to be able to be creative in assembling colours together to create beautiful projects such as this blanket or this quilt or this yarn, but for now I will have to make do with taking what other people have created/designed and appropriating it for my own use.

Which brings me to my next knitting project. The Modern Quilt Wrap from Folk Style. When I saw this pattern featured on Knitting Daily, I fell absolutely head over heels. The colours! The drapeyness! The Cracksilk Haze! Now, I've never actually worked with Kidsilk Haze (except as an accent stripe in my ill-fated first sweater that didn't work out and which we will not speak of now), but it has definitely been on my list-of-things-to-try for a long time, I was just waiting for the "right" project (I've also had my eye on this Trinket scarf for a long time, it's just expensive as a kit and also from across the pond (not that that's stopped me before of course), and also I have trouble deciding on colours). At first I thought "9 skeins? Holy crap that's expensive". But then I thought "Hey wait, I don't have to knit Christmas presents for a certain person (or his mother) this year, why not buy MYSELF yarn instead?" And several weeks and several trips to the LYS and several eBay purchases later, all the required yarn had been assembled.


Kidsilk Haze_02

Kidsilk Haze_05

I've replaced a couple of the colours with ones that I already had in the stash (substituting Pearl for Drab and Candy Girl for Blushes), but I don't think it makes too much of a difference to the final pattern except for making it a bit brighter (brighter is better, yay!).

I started knitting the first squares while watching the Red Sox in the ALCS, and it was VERY slow going at first. The yarn is so fine and slippery that it made joining new colours and weaving in ends difficult. And because this project generates so many dangling ends, I decided to weave the yarn in as I went, following this tutorial. Which in turn meant that I had to learn to knit with the yarn in my right hand (I normally knit Continental). Which slowed things down even more.

Because there was a learning curve associated with this project, I had to knit the first 4 squares twice. Here's my second attempt, which is actually sort of square like it should be:

Modern Quilt Wrap Blocks 1-4

Here are blocks 1-6:

Modern Quilt Wrap Blocks 1-6

I've actually knit up to block 9 now, but I don't have a photo (perhaps this weekend when I can get outside with it during daylight hours). Here's how long it's taken me to knit all these squares (Pardonnez the super-crap Photoshopping):

Modern Quilt Wrap Blocks 1-6_mod

3 playoff games, 9 blocks. Each "large" block is taking me around 2 hours to knit. There are 36 of these blocks in the wrap. Do the math! This will take me a while to finish (but I want it now! I want to wear it this winter!), but I think it will definitely be worth it in the end. Provided that the mohair around my neck doesn't drive me absolutely batshit crazy. The bra test resulted in a bit of itching, but nothing too horrible. Tolerable, methinks. =)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hooking for a change

Well, I thought it was about time to try my hand at a little crochet. Remember that kit I bought a while back to make a crochet baby blanket? Here's my start of it.

I apologize for the terrible lighting of the photo. the colours don't look quite that...uh...yellow and sickly. And just as a side note, the completed dark row is actually navy blue, while the dark row that is still in progress is actually black.

All in all, I'm enjoying my crochet experience so far. My tension is a little flaky sometimes, and its' taking me some time to be able to 'read' my work the way I can 'read' my knitting, but I figure it just takes time and practice.

Sweater update

Because I am ridiculously paranoid, I took the sweater off the needles last week and subjected it to a nice soak in Eucalan. After removing the sweater from its bath and laying it out of my blocking board, it seemed very slightly wider (35-36" around instead of 34-35") and considerably longer (16-17" long instead of 13.5"). The sweater took several days to dry (mostly because it was being covered with a towel to prevent feline-associated accidents), and as of yesterday it is about 34-35" in circumference and 15" long. Which means that my stitch gauge didn't really change with blocking, but that my row gauge got a bit bigger.

All in all, not too bad. I think the next step is to knit sleeve #2 while trying to keep my gauge loose, and see what happens. Perhaps ripping out sleeve #1 will become necessary. Then there's the Fair Isle part that I'm a little nervous about, having never done it before. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Next up, yet another new project on the needles that I'm really excited about. This is sort of a biggie and will probably take some time to finish, but I think it will be worth it. More when I get off my lazy butt and upload the pictures!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gauge issues

This post will be sort of word-heavy, because I didn't have the presence of mind to take pictures. Even if I had taken pictures, you'd just see a bunch of purple blobs anyway, so maybe it's better that I didn't subject you to the boredom of seeing essentially the same pictures over and over again.

Anyway, I've been having some gauge issues with the Main Street Fair Isle sweater. Remember the too-tight sleeve? The jury is still out on whether or not the sleeve is in fact too tight. I'm going to knit the second sleeve looser, and see if we like that better. In the meantime, I started on the body, because at least that should've been easier. Or so I thought.

I started out on US8 needles (one size larger than recommended), cast on in the round, and knit for a couple of inches. Then discovered that I had TWISTED the stitches (Grr, there's always a first time). Hooray for the mobius strip! So I had to rip it all out. Cast on again, made sure that the stitches weren't twisted, knit for maybe 8 or 9 inches while incorporating waist shaping. The sweater was subjected to obsessive measuring (mom) and gauge-checking (me). Here's what happened:

CO 144 stitches
4 stitches per inch = 36 inches around
4.25 stitches per inch = 34 inches around
4.5 stitches per inch = 32 inches around

My gauge was around 4.25 stitches or 4.5 stitches per inch, depending on who was measuring, and the sweater persistently measured about 32 inches around. With the waist shaping, the circumference became even smaller. The sweater was quickly deemed much too tummy-hugging, and I was ordered to reknit it sans waist shaping. So out it came again, and I started over a third time, this time knitting VERY loosely.

This photo is of the (second) with-waist-shaping attempt, the sweater is reclining luxuriously on a small patch of grass in front of my apartment.

Main Street Fair Isle body_01

Currently the gauge is between 4 and 4.25 stitches per inch, and measures approximately 35 inches around. Based on my swatches, the gauge should expand ever so slightly after blocking, but who knows what will happen? Should I have been knitting it tighter all along, ignoring the persistent cries of "it's too small!"? We are happy with it for now, but what if the sweater expands monstrously and transforms into something tent-like?

This is why I don't generally knit sweaters. I need to cultivate patience and letting-go-ness. Socks and scarves and hats are much more forgiving. Afghans too.

And speaking of afghans....behold the latest yarn purchase!

Colinette Ab Fab Antique_01

It's a Colinette Absolutely Fabulous throw kit, in the Antique colourway. I have been wanting to knit one of these for YEARS, because I thought it would look really fabulous in my parents' living room. I remember sending my mom some colourway photos a couple of years back asking for opinions, but I never heard back (no wonder, it's hard to judge from small digital representations) and the idea was shoved aside for "later". But after seeing a few of these kits in person at Patternworks, it was clearly time. Not sure when I will get around to starting this, but I'm so glad that I've finally got one of these kits in my greedy little paws!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And we have a teddy bear!

Flush with inspiration from seeing all the stuff Adrienne's been posting up, I decided to finish Bobbi Bear up while baking an apple pie today.

There it is, with no face yet. I actually had some trouble getting the ears on.

And there he is. I don't know why I just decided that it's a he either. I've realized with this project that I suck at laying details over top knitting. Maybe next time I do this, I'll build the colour change into the knitting.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Earlier this summer, I knit a Shedir cap for a friend's mom who was undergoing chemotherapy. The first time around I knit the chart completely wrong (i.e. backwards, I don't know what was wrong with me) and it looked like utter crap. But after some ripping and reknitting, the pattern started coming together, and even though it looked super-complicated it was actually really easy to get into a groove. I love knitting cables, the Rowan Calmer was a dream to work with, and after it was done the hat looked so lovely that I really wanted to keep it for myself! Of course I couldn't have done that, so naturally the solution was to knit another one for myself:


Does the yarn look familiar? It's this yarn reclaimed from the swatches I knit 3 years (!!) ago. Since that time I had bought some more Calmer in the same colour (totally unimaginative I know, but they didn't really carry any other flattering colours at the time, mostly pastels, and I CANNOT wear pastels) for another pattern (Nothin' But A T Shirt from Magknits), so this hat was knit out of two half-skeins. Probably different lot numbers, but I can't tell the difference yet. =)

Here is a looking-in-the-mirror shot! Ignore my bathroom crap in the background please. =)

Shedir worn_02

I knit one fewer repeat of the main cable pattern (4 instead of 5) to make it a bit shorter, and I like it (maybe it could use a few more rows of ribbing, though)! This will make a fantastic fall hat. I may need to make yet another one....

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Hey, it's October! How on earth did that happen? That means that there are 2 more months until December, which means less than 3 months before Christmas! And Christmas knitting.

In the past I've usually been pretty good with the Christmas stuff, last year I knit 4 scarves, 2 hats and a pair of socks, but this year the recipient list will be limited pretty much to my parents (since my sister is out of the country). I've got some pretty brown Jaeger Extra Fine Merino (Aran? Chunky? I can't remember) to make some winter accessories for my dad, and the Valley Yarns to make the Main Street Fair Isle Pullover for my mom (also by Valley Yarns).

I started knitting a sleeve on US7 needles, but discovered that my gauge seemed too tight. It was also a smidge too tight on my gauge swatch, but even tighter on the sleeve (probably because the former was knit flat, the latter in the round). So I went up to US8 needles, figuring that that should solve the problem. Here's the sleeve as it is right now:

Main Street Fair Isle sleeve_03

Sorry for the crap photo, it's hard to take pictures of yourself! The sleeve is STILL smaller than it "should" be, and I'm worried that it's still too small. I think it's fine up past the elbow, but it's the wrist circumference that I'm concerned about. It's like 6 inches around there, and while my mom does have small wrists, such a snug fit may not be comfortable. She's coming down to see me pretty soon, so I'll wait until then to have her try it on. I may have to either 1) reknit the sleeve on even larger needles, or 2) rework the pattern to start with more stitches and fewer increases. I hates the prospect of reknitting, I'm so lazy!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


More socks! I've had a lot of phone time lately, and these are the perfect mindless talking-on-the-phone project.

The yarn is Fearless Fibers merino sock yarn, in the "Mint" colourway. I LOVE this green colour, these socks are almost too pretty to wear! Of course, I sort of feel that way about all of my handknit socks, but these ones especially.

Fearless Fibers merino mint_01

I knit these socks using 56 stitches on US0 needles instead of my usual 60 stitches since this yarn seemed a bit thicker than the yarn I normally use, but these socks turned out a bit snug. Still totally comfortable and wearable, but it seems that I'm not really all that great at estimating gauge without a swatch. =)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Things you find on vacation

So, while I was in Vancouver, my cousin took us to this store called Daiso where everything was $2 or 2 for $2 depending on what it was. Lo and behold, here are some knitting goodies that I found.

Those are probably the first pair of straight needles that I've ever bought, but they were blue and big. I don't really have anything to do bulky knits with, so that should be fun. In addition to the stitch holders, that thing on the left that I got is a bodkin. I heard from someone that they can be used to pick up stitches that are dropped without you knowing it, and you've continued knitting for a ways.

And on a random note, here's where I am with the Bobbi Bear.

Actually, I'm a little further along, but just haven't taken a pictures of it. I didn't work on it while I went away cuz I was afraid I wasn't going to be allowed to fly with it and didn't want to risk having it confiscated or anything.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More socks....

Hey, guess what? I knit another pair of socks! Yet ANOTHER pair of generic, toe-up socks. I am such a one trick pony when it comes to these things. But honestly, I just couldn't be bothered to get all fancy with them. I see all these lovely textured and lacy socks out there in knitblogland, and they are beautiful to look at, but I just don't really see myself wearing them. Or knitting them. My socks are my (very) mindless knits. Even heel flaps and gussets are too much thinking for me most of the time. Height of mental laziness, huh?

Generic toe-up socks with short-row toes and heels, using Claudia Handpainted sock yarn in the Blue Terra Cotta colourway. Pretty yarn!

Claudia Blue Terra Cotta socks_01

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Pictures as promised

Okay! Photos!

Because I like little gadgets, I couldn't resist these pom pom makers.

This is the yarn I got for the Bobbi bear. It's Blue Sky's dyed cotton.

The super soft cashmerino that's going to become a baby blanket of some kind.

Please excuse this horrible photo of a photo, but that should give you an idea of what the pattern is supposed to turn out to look like. Depending of how frustrated I get with crocheting, I might use a feather and fan knit pattern instead.

Another bag option for you?

OK, I wasn't exactly looking for knitting bags, but I came across this while making the rounds of fun online yarn stores (I do this far too often for my own good, it's a good thing that I have little money to spend and even less storage space or else I would be in serious trouble. For now I mostly just look). I have never heard of this bag before, this "Ultimate Knitting Bag", but it seems like it is being discontinued and here is Colorsong Yarn offering them up for a big big discount. Still a bit pricey, but much less pricey than it was!

Big leather knitting bag discounted to $99 from $275. Look at all that needle storage space! And it fits huge projects. And a laptop too? Is this like magic carpet bag or something? Seems a bit intense for me, but I thought I'd just pass along the info in case it interested you. =)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Happy wedding day, Kim!

So hey, today is Kim's wedding day! Hooray! It's such a bummer that I can't be there in person to celebrate with her, but I thought I'd use the occasion to post about the very small knitted component of the wedding present I sent her and Aaron. Dishcloths!

Dishcloth blue multi

Dishcloth blue yellow

Dishcloth yellow multi

These are the ballband dishcloths from Mason Dixon Knitting, knit using Sugar'n Cream cotton. They were an extremely fun knit, and I loved knitting with all these fun bright colours, I definitely want to make more someday!