Monday, March 31, 2008

Getting out of the sock rut

As you may have noticed, I knit a lot of plain stockinette socks. Mostly because they are easy and mindless and I don't have to think about them at all when I knit them. But lately, even I've been getting bored with having the same old thing on the needles all the time. So I've decided to branch out:

Sea Dreams Monkeys_01

These are Monkey socks, being knit with Claudia Handpainted fingering weight yarn (colourway Sea Dreams, being knit 2 at a time to avoid Second Sock Syndrome). Notice how one sock looks much darker than the other despite the fact that they're from the same dyelot (and notice Ravelry on the laptop screen)? I've experienced this before with other Claudia socks as well.

These have been a fun and interesting knit so far (I'm actually past the heel flaps for both socks now, I've been a bit behind with the blog posting), but if I knit these socks again I think I will try the "no purl" version to make them go faster.

Sophie hates monkeys.

Sophie 080321_04

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Getting it over with

After months and months of procrastination, I finished Greg's socks. These were originally intended as a Christmas gift, but after finishing the pair for my mom and dad, I just ran out of steam. So, we gave my brother some DVDs, and I promised him socks at a later date. So here they are. Finally.

Now on to more fun things...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I still have a bag problem...

Okay. I admit I have a problem. That's the first step to getting help right? All kidding aside, I thought I'd update you all on my bag saga.

Remember that beautiful Namaste Messenger from a while back? I've discovered that I've spent too long using totes, and can no longer go back to a messenger bag. While I love the bag itself for the beautiful colour, the fabric, and the size, I probably should have known that a tote girl couldn't become a messenger girl. And so, I've decided to ship it off to someone else so they can get some use out of it. I like that option better than letting it sit, unused, in my closet.

So this brings me to yet another bag that I'm thinking of. While I didn't quite like the Lady B, I'm thinking quite seriously about one of it's cousins: the Redondo. This bag isn't actually made anymore, so I'd probably need to decide pretty quickly. The fact that its price has been reduced is pretty attractive. Downside, I'd need to pay shipping to get it over here.

I seriously have a problem...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Retail therapy

I've been feeling a bit down lately. I'm not sure what exactly it is - if it's the weather, work, or something else that I can't put my finger on. But whatever it is, I felt that I deserved a little pick me up, and went for some retail therapy. I have to say that I was very, very good, and didn't buy any more yarn. After my huge trip during Lettuce Knit's sale, I have told myself that I need to use up at least 2/3 of that yarn before I get more. I let myself pet new yarn, and yearn for some, but I didn't get any. Here's what I got for myself.


The wallet on the left wasn't bought at Lettuce Knit, but in another store in Kensington Market. It's not that I needed a new wallet; it was totally an impulse buy. But I still love it, and have already moved my stuff into it. The book is pretty self-explanatory. I suck at finishing, so I thought this would help me out a bit. And I always wanted one of those shawl/sweater pins, so I gave in and got one.

I know retail therapy isn't really a good solution, but man did I feel happier after buying all that!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Instant knitting gratification

So, in light of the failed fong, I decided I wanted to knit something that would be a little less work in the thinking department, and would be a quick little knit. Enter Fetching.

Please forgive my wobbly hand. After I took the photo, I noticed that Dany had sneaked her way into the shot too!

I made them out of Berroco Alpaca; the same colourway that Adrienne used for her Bird in Hand mittens. Despite their relative straight-forwardness, I had a few 'huh?' moments, all of them coming when I was knitting my gauge swatch. In order to get the right gauge, I had to knit these on size 2 needles - a far cry from the size 6 ones that the pattern suggests. I was anticipating needing to use size 4's or something like that, but size 2?! The resulting wrist warmers fit me amazingly well though, but it makes me wonder if the gauge is listed correctly. I have unusually small hands, so if the fit is perfect for me, I wonder if they might be too small for other people.

The other thing is that the pattern says that there's just enough yarn to get a pair of wrist-warmers if you take apart the swatch. Since I got a yarn of similar length and weight, and managed to get gauge on the size 2's, I thought I'd be close to finishing the yarn. That wasn't the case at all. In fact, I could probably make one more pair from what I've got left.

I made some small modifications to the pattern too. In order to get more wrist coverage, I knitted two extra cables. I also added a few extra rounds to the thumb and to the straight body section of it. I'm not quite sure if I like the picot bind-off, but the end product doesn't look too bad, so it'll probably grow on me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Colinette Absolutely Fabulous throw in the Antique (#11) colourway, halfway done. Being knit at a rate of 8 rows per hour. Approximately 12 hours left to knit, not including fringing (I'm usually not a huge fan of fringe, but I think it is definitely called for in this case). That's a lot of Law and Order reruns!

Colinette Ab Fab Antique Rows 1-116

I'm really liking this knit so far. Some of the yarns are a bit fiddly to work with, and I've managed to mess up the pattern already (I added in some extra rows to compensate), but you can't tell at all and the final product will be very cuddly and soft and warm.

This is a present for my mom, I can't recall which occasion (birthday? Christmas?) it's supposed to be for. At any rate, it will get done this year. =)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Well, I dunno....

Here is the body of the Nothin' But A T Shirt, temporarily (and sloppily) seamed up.

Nothin' But A T Shirt body worn_02

It....sort of fits? I mean, it's the right size, I just don't know if I like the way it sits. I feel like I need to be better endowed or something, this yarn is soft and drapey and makes me feel somewhat flat and elephant-like. A problem I generally experience with drapey/clingy clothes.

Anyway, I'll knit the sleeves (eventually, I am experiencing some inertia) and attempt the neckline and see how I feel about it all then.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Failed Fong

I wanted to make The Fong so that I could wear it during dance classes instead of having to spend money on dance paws. I still think the idea is a good one, but it's going to need some more tweaking before I get it right. Behold, my failed version of the Fong.
Excuse the very non-pedicured state of my feet.

I basically needed to re-write the pattern because my foot is really narrow, so I pulled out my trusty measuring tape and got cracking. Now, I have to say that there are still some good points to be said about my re-write. It actually fits really well through the ribbed section, and even the thong part of it is pretty good (though next time I think I'll make it a teeny bit shorter). However, I bet everyone can see what my major beef with this is. Yup, it doesn't hug my foot as it approaches the base of the toes. I probably should have realized this would happen (especially since it's cotton) and put in some shaping or something. It's just that when I started working on this, I didn't really want to use my brain at all. After a long day at work, I was looking for some instant knitting gratification. But alas no; it was not to be had tonight.

The more I look at this failed attempt, the more ideas on how to fix things come to mind, so I think I won't frog it, and just use it at a reference for the next attempt. Some ideas that come to mind are to make the thong part a really skinny i-cord instead of a stockinette strap, maybe using more ribbing while making only the sole flat. I think there's going to be a lot more measuring of different parts of my foot in order to get this just the way I want it though.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Army Surplus Socks

The first socks of 2008! How very exciting. These were knit out of Apple Laine's Apple Pie sock yarn in the Army Surplus colourway. The yarn has wool, mohair, nylon and silk in it, and is very fun and squishy to knit with (me want more!). The yarn is greener than it looks in the photo (not so blue), my camera has issues with greens.

Apple Laine Army Surplus socks_01

Apple Laine Army Surplus socks_03

These socks took me two months to knit, starting from the first week in January. At this rate, it will take me approximately 4 years to knit through my sock yarn stash. Hm. Well, as long as we're being honest, half the yarn will probably never even make it to becoming socks since it's "too pretty" or "too discontinued" or "too not findable ever again (aka Koigu)" to be put onto stinky feet. I definitely suffer from not wanting to knit "from the Shrine of Precious Yarns" (as one discussion thread on Ravelry's "stash knit down 2008 group" puts it). The problem is, ALL of my yarn is precious!

Hm, that could be a whole other discussion, the whole hoarding-of-precious-yarns thing. To be continued.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Slightly spendy, but resolutely un-guilty

So I've REALLY fallen off the wagon this week. Since the yarn splurge last weekend, I've done a bit more shopping. I went back to the store that was having the moving sale (twice even, but once was purely just to keep someone company) and bought a bit more Noro and some Elizabeth Zimmerman books (gotta see what all the fuss is about, after all). The Yarn and Fiber Company was having a 15% off sale and I picked up some Kureyon colourways I had my eye on. I went to another yarn store to pick up a pattern. I saw some very very discontinued Silk Garden on eBay, made a modest bid, and won (to my utter surprise, I was completely expecting to be outbid).

Normally I might be feeling terribly guilty about all this, as though I were spending away my future or being totally reckless, when I had specifically told myself I wouldn't buy any more yarn until Easter. But really, it wasn't that much additional money, I am far from dipping into savings/credit to finance it, and all the yarn/books were on sale (well, the pattern wasn't). All the yarn is also earmarked for specific projects that I had in mind beforehand, not projects that I made up on the spot in the store.

I think I've gotten a lot better at not buying yarn on impulse, at not saying "oooh, here's some pretty yarn....quick, what could I make with this?", or justifying a yarn purchase by saying "I guess I could always just make a scarf out of this". I have a lot of "this is for a random scarf" yarn in my stash, and I'm tired of it (I love all the yarn of course, it's just that I and my family have a lot of scarves now). The Silk Garden is for a large-ish project-in-progress (I'll blog about it soon, I swear, but there's been a lot of other bloggable knitting these days), and the Kureyon is for a smaller version of a log cabin-y blanket that I saw on Ravelry (damn you, Ravelry!).

Anyway, I'm sick of looking at yarn now. Unless one or two very very specific opportunities come up, I'm more than done for now. =)

In other news, I've finished the front of my Nothing' But A T Shirt (I have no idea why the picture looks so weird and swirly, click to see the actual photo on Flickr).

Nothin' But A T Shirt body

Immediately after casting off the front, I threw both body pieces into a Eucalan bath and pinned them out. They are drying on the blocking board now, and once they're dry I'll sort of pin them together and see how they look on me. I pinned them out to the correct dimensions, but I'm terrified that the yarn will snap back and create a lot of body-hugging negative ease. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm no longer the underweight-to-the-point-where-people-were-telling-me-to-please-put-on-some-pounds girl that I was 6 months ago, and I'm not sure how flattering it would be. =)

I did the shaping for the neck using short rows, instead of doing the step-wise bindoffs (like I did for the back), and you can kind of see where the stitches look a bit wonky as a result. I hope that will disappear once I pick up the stitches for the neckband (I was kind of hoping they would even out with blocking, but it appears you can still tell).

Nothin' But A T Shirt neck

And on a completely unrelated note, I love that Daylight Savings Time is so much earlier this year. More light, hooray! I have a feeling that it will be hard to wake up tomorrow morning, though. =)

Monday, March 03, 2008

My first headscarf

I finally got around to finishing off the i-cord on my version of Quant, and here it is.
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden - 1 skein
Needles: Bamboo size 7

Except for the change in needle size, I followed the pattern exactly. The ending (green end) is a little weird, and I'm not sure what I think of it. You'll notice that it's not exactly a flat triangle. But, I figure that no one really sees that end anyway since it's tucked at the base of my head. The scarf itself feels kinda big. I measured my head, and it wasn't that different from the finished dimensions, but the ties don't really tie that well - it's like I have to tie part of the headscarf in too. I'm debating if I need to block this sucker. What do you all think?

So, I said I'd post a picture of what I looked like wearing it.
I admit I look a little dorky, but I don't think it's the headscarf's fault. I think that if my hair was a longer, the headscarf thing might be okay.

Just as a side note, I pretty much used up the entire skein of Silk Garden on this. At first, I was shocked because one skein is usually enough to make a hat, and here I was cutting it close with a headband. But, I realized the reason for this later - entrelac is a yarn-hogging technique because of all the picking up of stitches.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I had a little falling down today. You see, several yarn stores were having sales. You'd think that, being on a yarn fast, I'd know better than to even contemplate setting foot in a yarn store, but what can I say, I'm lacking in willpower these days (although I've managed to avoid buying yarn online, even though I nearly succumbed to the virtual sale bin at Purl).

The first store was having a massive moving sale. Everything at least 30% off. I bought an armful of Silk Garden (colourways 245, 247, and 255), a skein of Kureyon (colourway 95), and a skein of Colinette Zanziba (to be knit into a scarf together with any Zanziba leftovers from my mom's Ab Fab throw). The Colinette was 75% off, the Noro 40% off. How could I not?

Stash enhancement 080302

Aside from the Kureyon and Silk Garden, they also had Blossom and Cash Iroha and Iro and Silver Thaw, it was really really hard not to sweep entire shelves of Noro into my shopping bag (I won't even get into the Rowan and Manos and everything else). I may have to go back there.

Then at knitting group afterwards, we discussed the fact that another yarn store nearby was having a sale, so we packed all our stuff up and took a little walk. This store was selling Tulip Sweater kits, using some of the new Dream in Color colourways.

Dream in Color Tulip Cardigan Kit 2

I know I haven't even started my first Tulip yet, but I figured that this would be the most economical way for me to try out several Dream in Color colourways at once. These colours are mostly different from the ones in the kit I bought from Lettuce Knit.

So, so much for Lent! Ravelry will really be the death of me, that's how I found out about both of these sales. It's an entire community of enablers. =)

Banished from the stash

Have you ever woken up one morning and suddenly decided that you really really wanted a certain yarn in your stash to just be gone? Not that you don't like the yarn anymore, or want to throw/give it away, but the idea of all those balls/skeins sitting in their little tub doing nothing just drives you mad? Yes? No? Maybe you think I'm a bit crazy now?

A little while ago, I bought several balls of Rowan Calmer on sale. The yarn was destined to become a Nothin' But A T Shirt from Magknits, but I got gun-shy and never got around to starting it. One ball became a Shedir (Rav link), but the rest of the yarn languished in the stash. Every time I opened up that particular bin I'd pull out the yarn with the vague feeling that it was mocking me. And I got sick of staring at that particular pink colour.

So despite having knitted several failures in the sweater department, I finally bit the bullet and began my Nothin' But A T. I've got the back done so far, and I'm a bit worried about the gauge. My gauge is slightly tight (I used to be the loosest knitter in the world, it seems that I've tightened up some over the years, I could probably spend another post psychoanalyzing this phenomenon) so I'm wondering if it will end up being too small? But perhaps I could block it out? And this cotton is rather stretchy? And maybe some negative ease would be a good thing? Or maybe I'll lose some weight (please)?

Nothin' But A T Shirt back

For the shoulder/neck shaping, I tried doing short rows instead of the step-wise bindoffs. It looks like it sort of worked, I guess I won't find out until the finishing happens.

Nothin' But A T Shirt shoulder

At this point I'm basically knitting this thing to have the yarn out of my stash. Yes, I'd love to have a sweater that fits, but I'm also just happy that this yarn is being made into something. Of course, if it ends up being an utter disaster I'll probably still be upset and REALLY vow to never knit a sweater ever again. =)