Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Addicted to Entrelac

I know I should really be working on finishing that sweater of mine, but I just couldn't help myself. I think I've been bitten by the Entrelac bug. After finishing that dishcloth, I couldn't stop thinking about what it might be like to do Entrelac with Noro. So, I couldn't resist any longer, and decided to start my version of Quant.


I'm really enjoying this knit. There are probably some places where I've been a little inconsistent about the way I've been picking up my stitches, but I think I can live with that. I think as far as knitters go, I rank pretty low on the 'anal' scale. (haha!)

I'll post again when this is all finished!

Seeing the light

Well, after wearing my Bird in Hand mittens for a couple of weeks, I am announcing that I am now officially a Mitten Convert. These are the warmest things ever! We've had several days of absolutely frigid weather (when even my apartment gets cold, that means it's REALLY cold outside), and while my toes felt like they were about to fall off my fingers were pretty much always toasty warm (of course they were in my pockets most of the time, but still). Stranded worsted weight alpaca knit on itty-bitty needles = knitted fabric that is impervious to cold. It's like magic!

So now I need to plan for the next pair of mittens! I think I'm pretty much done with the winter accessories for this winter, but there is always next year and beyond. These Fiddlehead Mittens look very yummy (Ravelry link). The kit itself will probably be impossible to obtain, but this version knit using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (sport weight version of the Ultra Alpaca used to knit the Bird in Hand mitts) and Kidsilk Haze for the lining looks particularly cozy (Ravelry). Time to put it in the queue!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New toy!

Now, living in a small-ish condo, one wouldn't expect Jamie and I to have a membership to a place like Costco, but since I get a discount through work we got one, and do crazy things like buy entire cases of chocolate once in a while. Well, we went this weekend, and not only to have I have a big box of Twix to call my own, I now have this...
Yes, I am now the proud owner of a digital scale! When I first picked it up, giving Jamie the patented 'can we get this please' look, he thought it was for measuring ingredients for baking, or something like that. I laughed at his naivety and replied that it was, in fact, for knitting. He gave me a look that said 'I think you're confusing your hobbies', but simply nodded and said okay. So I plopped it into our shopping cart. I haven't used it for anything yet, but it's still exciting!


Doesn't Sophie look like she wants to kick my ass here? Poor kitty, being tortured with the yarn all the time.

Colinette Ab Fab Antique Rows 1-44

Knitting this Colinette Ab Fab throw is also torture, in its own way. Lots of mohair, lots of p2tog, lots of purling back across rows, lots of switching yarns. Each row takes forever, even though this is being knit on ginormous needles. It's pretty, though. I figured I should try to make as much progress on this as possible before the weather starts getting warmer (which probably means I should have a good 3 months).

Heh, I'm complaining a lot about my knitting these days, aren't I? Or maybe it's just the mohair. =)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bird in Hand Mittens

The Bird in Hand Mittens are done!

Bird in Hand_04

Pattern: Bird in Hand mittens, by Kate Gilbert
Size: I knit the smallest size (8 inches), on US1 needles
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, colours 6294 (teal) and 6205 (brown)
Modifications: Cuff modifications by Alice at Kathryn Ivy

As you can see, I tried my very best to block out the left mitten (on the right in the photo) to the size of the right mitten (on the left). It's still a wee bit smaller, but much better than before.

Here is the birdie on the right thumb:

Bird in Hand_02

And the left thumb:

Bird in Hand_03

Do you think they actually look like birds? I redid the embroidery over and over again, but it never looked quite right, especially the little birdie legs. I really need to get better with the sewing somehow.

I wore the mittens today, and they feel sort of big (I think the hands are ok, but my wrists are much smaller than the mittens are). As though they'd fall off if it weren't for the thumbs holding them on my hands. Maybe I just need to get used to them? I'll wear them for the rest of the week and see how I feel about them. The alpaca seems pretty warm, though. And fuzzy. =)


By the time I read the comment from knitted gems, I'd already finished off the dishcloth. In retrospect, Marie, you are totally right. I could've just bound off the last triangle and let it wobble. But here's what I ended up doing:
I guess it worked out okay in the end.

esoteric knitter, don't be intimidated by entrelac! It's really not bad at all. If you can do short rows, you can do this too! To everyone out there that's not sure about entrelac, I highly, highly recommend that dishcloth pattern. It's very low pressure - any mistakes get hidden really easily, it's a small item, and even if you wind up with holes in it, it'll still serve as a perfectly good dishcloth! If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Learning something new

I thought I'd try something new today - I decided to try and learn entrelac. I figured a nice harmless project would be a cute little dishcloth. It's the garterlac dishcloth. I have to say that I really like this technique. It can sometimes be a little awkward at the start:
See? Kinda twisty looking, but it turns out really nicely as you keep going.
It's actually been a nice fun knit.

I'm so close to finishing, but I've run into just one teeny, tiny problem.
That is all the yarn I have left, and I have to finish two triangles. Bleh. I only got one ball of that yarn too. Since it's a dishcloth, it's not such a big deal, but it's going to look really funny when there's a totally different colour in there. Oh well.

All in all, I'm enjoying this knit, and the whole entrelac thing. I'm looking forward to doing it with some pretty, pretty Noro!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Two hands, no birds yet

I'm not sure that I'm a huge fan of Fair Isle knitting. I've done quite a bit of it lately (my mom's Christmas sweater, the too-large Cheesylove hat, now these Bird in Hand mittens), and I must admit that I'm getting a little tired of it. It's not hard with two colours, but all the stopping to pick up strands (I suppose I could learn to do it with one colour in each hand but that would require work and practice) and all the staring at the pattern and counting stitches is starting to drive me a bit mad.

I've finished both hands and am now starting to work on the thumbs. This should be the climax, where I finally get to make the little birdies, but I just want them to be finished already! It is also even harder to knit fair isle in the round on 22 stitches.

Bird in Hand progress_02

Notice that the right hand (on the right) is noticeably longer than the left hand. I knit the latter first, and got worried that I was knitting too tightly, so loosened up a bit for the second hand. I like the looser tension better, but now I have uneven mittens. Do you think that my right hand could be bigger than my left? I mean, the fingers on the right hand are slightly thicker....maybe I can block them out to be the same size, but I sort of doubt it will work.

On another note, here are my two favourite vices sitting next to me. Chocolate (peanut M&Ms, which I have been craving all day long) and yarn (Patternworks catalog). I've decided to abstain from the yarn shopping this year, which means I can't order any of the Koigu that they've got on sale (but you can! Koigu for $11.99 a skein!). But I'm still free to get fat eating chocolate. Hmm, maybe I picked the wrong thing to give up. =)

Lent, Day 2

Monday, February 04, 2008

New bag!!

Remember way back when I was having that dilemma about bags? Well, even though I stopped talking about it, I guess I hadn't really stopped thinking about it. And so, thanks to Ravelry, I am now the proud owner of a Namaste messenger bag that I purchased off rainwomanknits. I have to say that I feel kinda bad about it because she only charged me $40, and that was including shipping (which I learned today was around $20, and hence my guilt).


I love the colour, and the bag is so nice and roomy! I'm going to get some Scotch-Guard for it before I start using it for real though.

In knitting news, I've been chugging along on my sweater.
That photo was taken at the point where the instructions recommend you take it off the needles and try it on to make sure the sleeves are big enough. Everything looked good when I tried it on, and so I have now put the sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn and am plugging away at the body. I'm about 2" past the sleeve openings now. Hopefully I'll finish it in time for that transition from winter to spring.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

You Make My Day!

So, it's my turn to post my 5 blogs that I'd like to pass the award on to.

Pursuits of Happiness
: My friend and fellow dancer/biomedical engineer/knitter Becky's blog. I love reading about how things are going with her house, seeing pictures of the latest wedding cakes she's made, and now that she's just had a beautiful baby girl, I'm sure there will be fun stories about motherhood coming.

cosmicpluto knits!
: I'm always amazed at how quickly Laura starts and finishes projects. I've learned a lot of neat things from her and her blog to boot.

Knit Sisters
: Ellen and Sarah take such nice pictures, and not just of their knitting: doggies, scenery, and whatever else they encounter. Plus it's a fun read!

Simply Thrifty: I like saving money. In fact, most people I know like saving money too. While I can't take advantage of everything she writes about (the whole 'offer not good outside the USA' thing), there are a lot of nice tips and resources.

Yarn Harlot
: I know, I know. There's probably a million people who read it, but the truth is, I really enjoy how human it makes me feel.

And that's my 5! In my rather web-protocol stupidity, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to pass the award on to them. Is the idea that I'm supposed to comment on their blogs to let them know that I've given them such an award? If so, am I supposed to give them the link to this blog so they can 'pick up' the award?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Look what we got!

Hey look! We've been honoured with a You Make My Day award! Shannon over at Minerva Turkey (whose blog I love, and whose knits are super-beautiful) was sweet enough to bestow one of these on us. How exciting! Thanks so much, Shannon!
(Edited to add: I just found out that Marie over at Knitted Gems has also passed an award onto us! When it rains it pours! Thank you so much Marie! And thank you for reading (and commenting)!!)

So part of the deal is to pass the award on to 10 bloggers who bring us joy. The rules are to "Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times."

So I will post 5, and you (Karen) can post 5 if you want. I'm not going to let them know though, I would feel a little silly about that, especially since most of these folks have no idea who I am. =)

Yarnstorm: Knitting, baking, quilting, gardening, and all manner of other lovely domestic things. I love all of Jane's fantastic (and yummy-looking) creations and beautiful photos. I am waiting for The Gentle Art of Domesticity to be published in the U.S. Maybe I'll order it from the UK anyway, for the British spelling. =)

Kathryn Ivy
: Alice and Grace are so prolific! And knit such pretty pretty things! So inspiring!

Posh Yarn: I've only ever bought their Lucia sock yarn, but I love looking at all the colours that they dye up every week, it's some of the most beautiful yarn that I've ever seen. Someday when I have more $$$ I'll order lots and lots of luscious cashmere.

Pink Knitter: She doesn't have a blog, but I always enjoy looking at Sherry's knitting and her sweet animals via Flickr.

Superhero Designs: Love her jewelry and the concept behind it (I want them all!), she also takes pretty pictures and has a very cute baby.

It was hard to pick just 5!