Saturday, April 26, 2008

Will she wear it?

Guess what? I finished (more or less, I still have a few ends left to weave in) my Nothin' But A T Shirt!

Nothin' But A T Shirt done_04_edit

It looks like it fits, doesn't it (sorry about the pyjama pants)? Sort of? Well, at least it does in this posed photo which doesn't involve my moving around at all. The yarn is very soft and is fantastic for next-to-the-skin wear (mmm Calmer), but it is also rather unforgiving of any lumps and bumps or tummy poochiness (and bra outlines, it appears!). I think I'd look just fine in this first thing in the morning or immediately after Pilates, but I don't know about the end of the day after I've had my 3 meals. =)

For the most part I'm relatively happy with the finishing, with the exception of the front neckline. The pattern involved binding off the stitches in the main colour, and then picking up stitches in the contrast color to knit the hem. The first time I did it I used the same size needles as I did for the rest of the sweater (5 mm, US8), and it turned out flare-y and funny-looking. So I ripped it out and redid it on 4 mm (US6) needles.

Nothin' But A T Shirt neckline

It looked much better, but as you can see the neckline is not 100% smooth. I had to go back and do a lot of duplicate stitching to get it to this stage, and it's still not perfect. I wouldn't really mind so much except that this area is directly under my face and therefore rather obvious. Little irregularities under the arms wouldn't bother me nearly as much.

So, will I be wearing this in public? I'm not sure yet. It needs another light blocking to get rid of any finishing irregularities, and then I'll try it on again. It's funny, I have plenty of store-bought sweaters that, while possessing very even stitching, don't always fit in the most perfect and flattering of ways (if only!), but for a handknit I feel like the "standards" are higher. Even though we all know that just because we supposedly made something to fit our measurements doesn't mean it always turns out that way.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cowl finished!

I got this out of the way as quickly as I could so I wouldn't have it hanging over my head anymore. Haha! It actually went by super fast, and I'm wondering if it just felt that way because after finishing a sweater, everything else seems quick. I've decided not to block it because the Mobius twist thing would just make it all weird anyway.

I have no clue what it is I want to do with it since I'm not really a cowl wearer per say. I do have to admit that it's very nice and light, and warm to boot. Maybe I'll pack it away and see if I can think of anyone to give it to in the future.

On to my Monkeys! I've cast on for them, and will be attempting a knit-along with my friend Becky. However, her sister-in-law is in town and wants to learn how to make socks, so Becky tells me that she needs to get to the heel turn before her sister-in-law leaves. I'm not sure I can catch up! But, I'll give it my best shot. And if she finishes a whole sock before I get past the leg of mine, I can at least console myself with the fact that she has to do the second. =D (Psst...don't mention the fact that I'll have to knit a second one too!)

Oh! And just to bring closure to things, I gave my brother his socks this weekend. I totally overestimated how long his foot was. For some reason, I thought his feet were about Jamie's size, but a bit wider. They are indeed wider, but it turns out that they're smaller! Oh no! But Greg was happy with the socks anyway, and said he'd wear them around the house.

Both a blessing and a curse

You know the common complaint about Kidsilk Haze (aside from the fact that some people find mohair really itchy), that it's nearly impossible to frog due to the sticky grabby mohair? Well, I am extremely grateful for that fact today. See, I was washing (well, Eucalan soaking) my Modern Quilt Wrap before putting it away for the summer, and as I was laying it out on the floor to dry I discovered something.

Modern Quilt Wrap dropped stitch_01

You can't see it in the photo, but those two pins are marking a dropped stitch. I thought I had caught them all, but apparently one managed to get away from me. I have been wearing this scarf for 3 months, and after all this time it never actually dropped any further, but stayed just where it was. THANK YOU, sticky grabby mohair!!

Of course I will be fixing this ASAP, once the scarf dries. =)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pooling, the good kind

My Pooling Colors scarf (Rav link) is one of my favourite knits ever. Not only is it knit out of beautiful yarn (Schaefer Anne) in my favourite rainbow colours, the construction is ever-so-clever in the way it takes advantage of the way the yarn is dyed.

I have to admit that every time I see some Anne in a LYS, I dig through it all looking for another "perfect" skein with which to make another one of these scarves. I haven't found one yet. I've seen a lot of pretty skeins online, but I know that a LOT of people had trouble with the pattern due to the yarn not being dyed quite right for the scarf to work so I wasn't about to take any chances. The other day I was exercising my new ball winder (yay!) and winding some sock yarn, including the skein of Socks That Rock (Count Cluckula -- I love the name, so silly!) that I bought in Toronto over Christmas. I put the yarn on the swift and realized something:

Pooling yarn edited

This is a stitched together and heavily edited and resized image of the yarn laid out. See how the colours stack on top of each other? This is just what you want for Pooling Colors. I'm a bit socked-out right now, so I figured I'd cast on for the scarf and see if I could make it work. A few false starts later, I managed to get it to pool!

STR Count Cluckula pooling

There's a huge garter stitch selvedge at either side (I had to add 1 extra stitch at either side to make the pooling work) that I'm not a huge fan of, but it can't really be helped (unless I wanted to find another stitch pattern, of course. Which I don't. Because I'm very lazy). I think the colours in this skein are really interesting, it's not my standard "oooh, pretty rainbow!" but I think this pattern is guaranteed to show this yarn off well, versus socks which may or may not pool/flash (and I know STR has a tendency to do that).

Since the last photo was taken I've actually made significant progress with this, and it should be finished relatively soon. I am a little worried that the scarf won't be long enough, but it will have to be blocked out first.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Remember these?

Well, after my plain toe-up sock spree for Christmas, I am now quite sick of them. So, when I picked up these to try and work on them, I just couldn't do it anymore. They're on size 0 needles, and I have decided that I will never knit anything on size 0 dpns ever again. For one thing, the needles themselves warp when I use them, they make my hands hurt, and I just plain don't like them.

I decided to frog the two socks that I had going, and start from scratch. I'm going to pick a different sock pattern, and use a bigger needles size. But, since the yarn had been in a knitted state for so long, it was all kinky and wavy when I frogged it. Following some instructions from Knitting Daily, I wound it into a ball, and then used my swift to turn it back into a skein. Let me tell you, reverse-winding is strange, but at the same time, kinda fun.
After a good soak, my two skeins are drying and straightening nicely. I'll wait a couple days to make sure they're totally dry, and then I can start having some more sock fun!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Peer pressure knitting (aka Karen is neurotic)

Two posts in one day! Must be a blue moon out or something =D

Have you ever been kinda peer pressured into knitting something? This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Here's my story about it. Through Ravelry, I participated in a Knit it Forward exchange. For this exchange, we didn't have to make a finished item - rather, we were to send yarn and a pattern. I received a lovely, lovely package, and stored it away for later knitting.

That is, until I checked the group a couple days ago, and people are starting to post pictures of things they knit from their packages. All of a sudden, I wondered if my package giver would think that I was an ungrateful recipient if I didn't start on the project she had sent me.

And so, I cast on 108 stitches to make the lace cowl pattern that she sent me using the fluffy Red Heart Symphony she also sent over. The pattern itself is nice and simple, but I am reminded of why I don't usually like working with fuzzy yarns. Still, it's knitting up so airy and light that I think I can forgive it.

I added a slight twist, literally, to this project. I always wanted to try that Mobius type scarf/cowl thing, so I intentionally twisted my stitches when I joined in the round. We'll see how it turns out.

Out of curiosity, do any of you know how to block a lace item knit in the round? I've only ever blocked flat lace items.


Today when I got home from work, I found a cute little tag stuck to my mailbox informing me that there was a package waiting for me. I squealed with delight (okay, I only did that in my head, but that was cuz other people would have looked at me funny otherwise), and rushed to pick it up.

Lo and behold, my package from the lovely Adrienne had arrived!
The bag really is quite lovely, and I'm so happy that I was able to get it at the sale price. And thank you so much Adrienne for sending it over. But you'll all notice that there is more than just a bag in the photo! Being the generous soul that she is, Adrienne tossed in some goodies for me! A super yummy skein of Malabrigo in Indigo, and equally yummy cookies! Seriously, what a way to celebrate Monday.

In other news, here's the promised photo of me wearing my sweater.
The photo is very un-flattering, and I feel like I look as big as a house, but oh well (oh man...what if I really am as big as a house?!). I have to say that I learned a lot about drape and sizing with this project. Next time I make a sweater, I'm going to put some shaping in. But all in all, this is a great sweater for around the house when I'm a little chilly.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lorna's Laces tour and sale

One of the perks of being a member of the Windy City Knitting Guild is the privilege of being able to attend their annual Lorna's Laces tour. Not only do you get to see where all the magic happens and see a dyeing demo, but part of the event also included a mill-ends sale. Whee, sale!

The sale started at 10 am, but people got there good and early. Only 20 people were let into the sale at a time (space issues, it's really hard to believe that ALL of Lorna's Laces comes out of a few not-particularly-enormous rooms), so everyone got a number in the order of their arrival. I didn't manage to wake up early enough and got there at 9, so I was #40. To be in the first 20, I would've had to get there around 8, or maybe even earlier.

The sale was....rather overwhelming. While waiting outside for my turn I saw all these people walk out with bags stuffed full of the most beautiful yarn. By the time I made it in there, most of the stuff was pretty picked over and it was hard to find sufficient quantities of colours that I liked (i.e. lots of single sock yarn skeins, argh!). Which was probably a good thing, I went in telling myself I wouldn't spend too much money and I did manage to stick pretty well to my budget.

So, what did I walk away with? 4 skeins of Shepherd Sock in Child's Play and Glenwood, and 3 skeins of Shepherd Worsted in Aslan. I LOVE the Aslan colourway, and the Shepherd Worsted is the softest yarn ever. I have no idea what I'll do with it, perhaps yet another Clapotis?

Lornas Laces mill ends

We also got to see some yarn being dyed in the Lakeview colourway (which I must get some of, since that's where I live after all!), here's a rather bad photo of the yarn on the dyeing table.

Lornas Laces tour_02

And after the yarn is baked and rinsed, all the skeins get hung up to dry.

Lornas Laces tour_03

It was a fun morning, although the weather left much to be desired (cold, rainy). Spring, where the heck are you?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Finished sweater

My sweater is done! Yay!! The top-down raglan that I cast on rather spontaneously back in January is finally done. I procrastinated on this one big time, but it's finally finished.
Here it is in its unblocked state. Dany seems very interested in it. But, I didn't like the fact that some bits were curling here and there, so I gave it a good soak, and lay it out again.

It's going to take a while for it to dry completely, so I won't be able to take any pictures of how it looks on me until then. I did try it on periodically as I was knitting it, so I'm not worried about the final fit.

Forgive the crappy photos =D

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Yay, my Monkeys are done!

Sea Dreams Monkeys_02

I love they way they look with this yarn, this is Claudia Handpainted fingering in the Sea Dreams colourway (I may have to get some more, I love the blues and greens). The knitting-two-socks-at-a-time was an interesting strategy. It was a bit of a pain to carry both socks around with me all the time, and the knitting did feel like quite the slog sometimes, but I likely would have experienced Second Sock Syndrome with this pattern if I hadn't knit them both at once. I was getting good and tired of knitting the motif after I finished the first foot (so after both legs and heels were done).

I wasn't sure how I would feel about having patterning on the foot part, it doesn't feel too bad just on the feet but I'll have to test it with shoes to really tell.

I finished the first sock at knitting group, and Katy was good enough to kitchener the toe for me. She also taught me the magical trick of turning the knitting inside out to tighten the stitches, it really works amazingly well and makes things so much easier.

Sea Dreams Monkeys Toe_01

So now that these socks are done, what next? I'm not sure, maybe another pair of boring old stockinette socks? Or maybe I'll look around for another fun pattern to try.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Best knitty pal EVER!

About a week ago Karen emailed me to ask if she could ship a package to me. She was ordering a little something from Webs, and said that she saw something else that she wanted to send along to me, so could I receive her package for her, take out the surprise, and forward her stuff along to her? Well, when put like that, how could I ever refuse? =P

I was expecting something like a cute set of notions or a funny tape measure or a pretty skein of yarn, so I was COMPLETELY surprised to pull THIS out of the box:

Ball winder

Holy crap, a ball winder!

I have a swift, but have been meaning to get a ball winder for a long time. It's not that I necessarily mind winding all those balls by hand, but it's the rolling around and onto the floor part that gets irritating sometimes. Whenever I've knit from a yarn cake, I always marvel at how it just stays put and doesn't move. So well-behaved!

I immediately set it up and wound some yarn. These are most of the balls from my half-finished Ab Fab Throw (there are two more balls of mohair that I just didn't want to deal with). It took about 5 minutes. Wow, that was fast.

Colinette cakes

And look, yarn cakes are much easier to balance on kitty heads!

Sophie 080405_02

So now I will be tempted to do nothing but wind cakes of yarn, instead of "useful" things like laundry or my taxes (procrastinating much?). I can't believe I went all this time without one of these devices. Thank you so much Karen! You are the very best most super-awesomest of friends. =)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

End of the yarn fast

Today, I fell off the wagon and bought myself some yarn.
It's some more Dream in Colour Classy, and I've got it pegged for Talia, from the Spring issue of Knitty.

It's been a trying few days with the cats, so I felt like I needed a pick-me-up. One of them peed on our entranceway rug, and they've just been a pain, which is a bit out of character for them. Then one day I came home to this.
And two very not hungry cats. Grrrr....