Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Choosing contentedness

I haven't had much to post here lately, since I've been working on the same sweater since--I won't even look it up--about April, and messed it up more times than I can tell.

But I have done some things. I started and finished a cute little stocking ornament for an ornament exchange on my April 2000 Playgroup bulletin board (we were in an Expecting Club when we were all due in April):

Mini stocking

I also started and finished an ice cream cozy for a good friend who's going through trying times. (She also removes the lid to Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dasz and throws it away. I know.)

ice cream cozy

I tried it last night on some Haagen Dasz (I had to make sure it fit! and it was on sale. Coffee, and mint chip). Fit great.

And I did finally finish the sweater from ... well, I love it, so it's not from there. I think I do want to pick up stitches and knit around the collar and v-neck. It wants to fall off my shoulders all the time. But I was afraid I'd hate the color after all that blasted work, and... I adore it. Chilis and chocolate, it's called.

And me in it!

Hem looks a little weird in that photo, and yep, it's big, but I can wear it right now, and did you notice I got the sleeves to match? No mean feat there. By pulling out yarn from the balls to make the long repeats match, I now have like 10 small balls of yarn. And one full ball left. If you make it, you'll probably want to buy as many balls as they say, just to be safe.

I'm finishing up a rolled-brim hat for my son's Y-Kids teacher, my favorite one. And of course, she tells me last night that she was given a box full of knit hats. *sigh*! But I hope she'll like this one very much. It does seem her style and is a lovely teal. No pics yet; soon.

After that, I think I'll finish this tea cozy, after a pattern that's supposed to be a hat and more than half the knitters said it was big. Yep, it's big--much bigger than my teapot. I'm going to try to felt it down and cut steeks to let the handle and spout through. We'll see. I'm pleased with it anyway. It was my first attempt at Alice Starmore-esque stranding. I left the white as a solid and graduated through shades of red, with a splash of accent green, for the rest.

Inga "hat" cozy

The white is Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool, and the rest is sticky/itchy Rauma Finullgarn from our LYS that closed.

I also picked up some Patons Soy Wool Stripes at Micheal's and started making cozies for the coffee cups at church. They're quick (crocheted) and really pretty, I think. These are to discourage people from taking two cups, as the coffee is very hot and it's sometimes hard to hold your cup. They can use these and return them afterward. I think I've done four. Here's the first one:

coffee cozy

As for the title, I've been wrestling with "I don't knit fast enough!" and trying to get to the point of "however fast I work is good enough, and I love what I knit." I'm even looking forward to picking up set-aside WIPs and finishing them. I have 3 (maybe 4) balls of Cracksilk Haze for a Rowan shawl I've wanted to knit forever. The cast-on is 299 stitches and it's challenging, but I decided if I have to put stitch markers between every 8-stitch repeat, so be it. The grey of the KSH is so gorgeous and the silk adds such a lovely sheen.

And, after I finish the hat, that's IT for the due-on-Christmas knitting.

Unless I make soap for the other Y-Kids teachers and want to wrap them in dishcloths...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Not much news here

I had planned to take my fuzzy orange Merino Stripes sweater up to my sister's, all knit up and seamed, but my lack of brain cells got in the way of that plan. I have now knit the front approximately seven bajillion times. First, I knit it just fine but didn't carefully strand the wool when I added a new ball, so it had that horrid stripe across the front instead of a careful gradation of colors.

Then, after I ripped back and stranded a new ball in, I put the V-neck way over on one side. Ripped. Did it again. Ripped. Put the v-neck in the middle, knit the full depth of the armscye, held it up to the back, realized I'd knit only 8" before doing the armscye decreases instead of 13.5".

Sighed a lot.

Ripped back again, restarted, carefully centered the v-neck, not too low (I hope), knit up to the end of the v-neck decreases... 3 too many stitches on one side. Sheesh. Did a couple of decreases, knit, knit, knit... "I must be done by now"... lay it over the back, looked good. Thought twice, held both up... nope, at least another inch more.

Finally finished that inch last night, but didn't do the 3-needle bind-off or any seaming.

Seriously, do you blame me?


Good God. What do they do to the poor sheeps' bodies to make them into yarn?

100% sheep yarn

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Knitting at Holidays

As opposed to Holiday Knitting, of course--I'm knitting a hat for G's aftercare teacher and that is IT this year.

No, knitting at holidays. We're going up to my sister's this Thanksgiving, and I have to plan out what to take and work on. I hope to have my orange sweater done (holy cow did you realize it's NEXT WEEK? Good thing all I have to do is finish the V-neck, 3-needl3-bindoff the front to the back, sew the sleeves in, and sew the underarm/side seams!), so I'll bring that.

I also want to bring the grey FI sweater for my mom. I decided not to make it as a gift or even as a surprise. I want her to be involved, and to be able to say, after I do the waistband, 'Oh, that pattern doesn't appeal to me' so I can just rip back 4 rows and start over. It's also in a bulky yarn, so it should go quite quickly. It being a pullover (no steeks, no buttonbands, no buttonholds, no buttons) helps, too.

I also want to finish and bring (or vice versa) the FI tea cozy I've started. It is huge (as most folks found the pattern to be), but I'm hoping it'll felt right down to a good size. Or maybe she has a really big teapot.

Beyond that? Oh, I'm absolutely itching to start something new. (Whoah, big surprise, eh?) I'd love to start my Philosopher's Wool sweater, but I need to do more thinking on shape on that one. I was going to give it waist shaping, but then I realized that lots of folks in colder areas than this find their sweaters too hot to wear most places. This is due mostly to their method of weaving in the floats on every stitch. I could skip that, but I'm afraid that doing too much shaping will still cause it to have too much insulating properties. Also, I've heard the yarn changes after you wash it, so bummer! that I've already wound several colors into a ball, as now I have to re-skein it to prepare it for a bit of a bath.

In other fiber news, my beginning spinning class met for the first time last Sunday. It was great. I learned the long draw, over the fold. It is so much easier to learn this stuff firsthand than from a book or website. And so gratifying when you finally get. it. I had been worried that I would be too advanced for the class, having learned once (ha!) and spun off and on for over a year. The great news was that everyone else had at least spun on a spindle, so the learning curve was much easier all around. Yay! The teacher gave us Blue-faced Leicester to spin, which I'd been given a hank of before and found it harder than hell to spin (6" staple!), but spinning over the fold makes that long staple a benefit rather than a struggle. Our "homework" is to spin the rest of the 4 oz she had given us. Whee, homework that is fun!

Speaking of school, I went in on Monday and taught 10 third-graders, including my son, how to dye wool. The teacher allowed G to pick 9 others to dye with, and he chose all the boys! Agh, the pandemonium at times. But no one died or was strangled with wool, and they all seemed pleased with the colors going into the steamer. G said they rinsed and hung them yesterday and his was a very bright orange (should be, he used up almost all the orange dye liquid!). I had brought some backup Kool-aid packets, and mixed up second amounts of all colors, but they all got theirs dyed in the end, barely before the bell rang. Friday, the girls. We'll see how different. Wish I could find more colors of Kool-aid; the two huge stores in our city each have the same 5 flavors (including our behemoth $afe way).

Next, we'll knit!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm having a tough day

I just cried in the office's shower. Life is kicking me in the ass and the head today.

This morning was G's IEP meeting. Partway through, I thought, "I'm going to be sad after this," because I had that feeling coming over me. I realized that it wasn't so much the content of the meeting (more on that in a sec), but like the first meeting, it is just hard to sit there and talk for nearly an hour about my son's shortcomings. I have to be firm and strident about them if I want him to get help, which is a bit change from being upbeat and optimistic way I usually approach them.

And yes, I was sad afterward. What added to that was that he doesn't have an IEP, and won't for the foreseeable future. Ironically, he improved so much over the summer that the aggressive and unsocial behavior we saw so clearly last Spring is nearly gone--so much so that he doesn't qualify for help under Special Ed.

Bittersweet, eh?

My kid is doing so well overall that the help I wanted for his remaining social-skills challenges is just not going to happen, at least not through the school. They ever so earnestly encouraged me to turn back to Kaiser for the social-skills group they have there. And here's another kick in the gut: that group meets 3:30-5:30 on Mondays. Ah. "What do parents do who work?" I asked. "Um, they leave early from work," she replied. Nice. That's 3 hours of every week I'd have to make up in some way. Thanks for the non-support, Kaiser.

I inquired further, and Kaiser does offer a support group for kids with Asperger's Syndrome on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 (and as I write this, I'm wondering when those kids get to eat)... and that completely conflicts with G's martial arts. Well, he's been wanting to quit soon anyhow. Wish granted! Crud.

The IEP meeting ended with just me and the school psychologist, who had me in tears with a story of a boy who's now in college and "still has his quirks" (ah, thanks for that) but had challenges like G and got a lot better. The mother had said, "How can I send him out in the world? Who will love him like I love him?"


Her report was littered with phrases that, to me, highlighted his ongoing social-skills deficits: "little eye contact," "wouldn't walk with me in the hallway, but walked in front of me," "scowled when I came to pick him up for the testing," and the like. I was asked in the meeting what my concerns were. I'd thought about this ahead of time, and said that my concerns hadn't changed from the first meeting--I wanted him to have help/support with his social skills and some sort of special treatment in the case of expulsionable or suspensionable behavior. I was offered a 504 plan, which is the ugly stepsister of the IEP, but it's all I'll get.

And more bittersweetness: I should be happy he doesn't qualify for an IEP. The criteria for qualifying for an IEP under autism are pretty extreme:

(g) A pupil exhibits any combination of the following autistic-like behaviors, to include but not limited to:

(1) An inability to use oral language for appropriate communication.

(2) A history of extreme withdrawal or relating to people inappropriately and continued impairment in social interaction from infancy through early childhood.

(3) An obsession to maintain sameness.

(4) Extreme preoccupation with objects or inappropriate use of objects or both.

(5) Extreme resistance to controls.

(6) Displays peculiar motoric mannerisms and motility patterns.

(7) Self-stimulating, ritualistic behavior.

See? Bittersweet.

So I wandered out, teary and spent. Carted away the yogurts and pastries I'd picked up (I'd brought croissants and some other things to the first meeting, too, as it's a 7:30AM meeting and I do appreciate these folks taking time out of their days to get this done--and yes, I know it's their job, but 7:30am!!).

On the way back home to drop off my hockey gear that I'd been too lazy to unload the night before, I went past my polling place. (I already voted by absentee ballot.) But I was so, SO pleased to see five people on the sidewalks with signs saying "No on 8." I honked, did the thumbs up, honked again... and then did a U-turn at the next light, going back and double-parking so I could run across the street and give them the rest of the pastries from the meeting. They were so appreciative and I was babbling about how important it was to have this presence and got all teary (affected, I'm sure, by the morning's events) and they both gave me hugs! The guy was all smiles especially. Bless them and their hard work.

Back at work, I couldn't concentrate much. Futzed around with little things until it was time to change for swim class. Went to swim class with zero energy and sore muscles from last night's stick time. By the time we were done with some serious warm-ups, my shoulder, which had been sore and tight, was completely fine. Then the teacher drops the bomb: we're swimming the mile today. Well, I knew I wouldn't be able to finish in less than the full 50-minute class time, but that still meant swimming nonstop till we got to the end, with the teacher recording how far we did get (48 laps, maybe 1250 yds for me; she counts 66 laps as a mile). I was feeling so proud of my accomplishment as I got out of the pool and just barely heard the beginning-swimming teacher say, "Now, what's going on here?" and as I turned my head, the lifeguard dove in and brought up an unconscious girl. (The beginning swimming class works out in their 3' pool most of the time and moves over to the big pool, shallowest depth 6', later in the semester. Today was that day.)

One of our classmates was sent to the blue Emergency calling box to call 911 and we waited anxiously until the girl threw up and started breathing. I dressed slowly, hoping to wait until the ambulance arrived before leaving so that it would feel "OK." By the time I left, easily 10 minutes later, the ambulance still hadn't arrived. The campus security guard/cop was really fairly useless. He got the lock off of the big gate so the ambulance could get in, but gave up on opening the gate almost immediately ("It's rusted"). My teacher strode over and, with the help of a P.E. coach standing outside the gate, got the gate open with a little extra muscle.

While I was driving out of the lot, I saw an ambulance take the exit off of 880. If that was destined for Laney, wow. It probably took all of 15 minutes or more to get there. That's pretty scary.

Seeing that girl being brought out of the water unconscious made me feel like all my values are screwy, you know? I was so proud of doing better than 2/3 of a mile... while she was potentially losing her life.

I cried in the car at a stoplight on the way back, feeling emotionally ground under a heel. Then, as I drove into Alameda, spotted a "Yes on 8" sign (the first I've seen in Alameda), and then another, with a guy setting them up. Honked angrily and gave him the thumbs down. I couldn't get my window down in time to yell. Ugh.

After my shower, I found the Alameda Police non-emergency number and reported the signs being put up on public property. There were other signs for causes I support, but I'd rather see them all come down than tolerate one Yes on H8 sign. Families first, my ass.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A few done, a few gone, and (oops) a few started

Let's see. I've recently finished a 100% washable wool blanket for our minister's darling son in the 4 colors of Mission Falls 1824 Wool that I had on hand. I pretty much knit till I ran out, and did a seed-stitch edging of the remaining three colors. Turned out kind of dark/muted, but I liked it. Given to the minister (wife was home, sick, with son) on Sunday.

Saturday, I put two of my knit things (plus a fabric book) in the silent auction. Ugh. I'm done with that. The shawl, made from Great Adirondack 50/50 silk/wool yarn, went for $15, and the cowl, of Louisa Harding Grace silk/wool, for $20 (and that was a pity bid from my friend on my silent-auction committee). Both for far less than the yarn alone cost. Next year, a plate of brownies.

Well, I didn't think the Grace was a good color for me, and I had lost my liking for the G.A. yarn, so it's good that they're gone. (shrug)

I'm plodding along on the Shedir, in the repeat section. I just don't tend to pick it up. But I'd like to be done with it. The intended recipient keeps showing up to church in these bulky hats; it'd be nice to give her this more delicate options.

I had a hard time picking a project to bring along to two events recently, as Shedir requires a chart, as does Eli's Christmas Stocking, and the division for the v-neck for the Bell Sleeve Pullover wasn't done yet and was too much to bring for a simple project. I finally settled on the fronts of "The Very Thought of Him" (no link available), as they're mistake rib and pretty easy to do without looking, as long as you get the first stitch right. It worked well, after I started one ball for one side--I had tons of yarn barf and wound up the extras and then started. All this at a workshop for my son's school, on school safety. His teacher glanced at me a few times, so I asked her if it was bothering her, and she said No, it was fascinating that I was knitting without looking!

I also had the Chevron Scarf with me, at least at the Sunday-evening meeting, but the directions I'd scrawled down just didn't make sense (turns I'd read too fast, and they were wrong). I got it started at home later that night and I've done about 5" of it so far. I do like it, but my yarn choices are a bit unusual. Pics soon.

I got a shipment from Knitivity recently, of "Graffiti" and a Yuletide Affinity kit for the above-mentioned stocking. (I'd started one in Knit Picks Palette, which I adore, but not for this; the original greens are shudder bad and the reds are very pinky. I'd planned to shade through the colors in the stocking and see how it went, but when I got the Affinity kit, I tossed the Palette one aside and started a new one. I'm working on 2s but the fingering is marked "light fingering" with reason--it is very light. I may switch to 1s for more substance.

I had decided to knit NOTHING for Christmas presents this year, but I realized that one of G's aftercare workers would love a handknit scarf or hat, so I think I'll do that one thing and nothing else. I mean it.

And I just figured out what to get for G's teacher for Christmas, phew!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting projects done

I realized Saturday that while starting another project for our church auction was out of the question (the auction being Saturday and the deadline for items being Wednesday), I actually had to push myself to get the Pashmina Cowl completely done that night. It only had 2" left to do before the purl row (and 5 st st rows after that, plus a bind-off), so I got to it and finished it. I decided to do the k2tog, put the stitch back on the left needle, repeat to the end bindoff. It wasn't stretchy at first, but when I loosened my knitting, it was very stretchy and not picot-ish, which I've had happen for other bind-offs (such as Mom's Schrapnel Socks). I wove in the ends for it, and the Shetland Triangle, put them on hangers, and took photos.

Christmas Cowl

Shetland Triangle Shawl

Then I took a good look at my remaining projects, and although I really want to throw myself into finishing the Bell Sleeved Pullover, I really need to get the latest Shedir done. I worked hard on it last night and got through row 40, which is about halfway done.

Top-down Shedir

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On finishing, mistakes, and roadblocks

I have just started yet another project, but one which is a stashbuster and has an end date. It does, however, up my WIPs to 12.


Good number for the days of Christmas; bad number for WIPs. I tried to push myself to finish one or two before I started, but got hung up. One feltable project is liable to bleed, so I have to get together a load of dog towels to wash with it. The other one, argh, has a mistake: the long strip with a slit in the middle has a TWIST on one side that I have to snip and fix.

So, whaddya do? Cast on another project that is full of hope and promise and will never get screwed up. Right.

I seem to be hitting roadblocks left and right. My "Inga Hat," which I'm making to be a tea cozy with changing shades of red, looks great, but is so fuhreakin' huge. I considered abandoning the pattern and making it shorter, but I just can't handle that kind of mental gymnastics. So I may try to felt it down afterward. Argh.

Well, onward and upward.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moving slowly forward

I have had a bit of a problem with Creeping Startitis, as projects call to me, "I'll be quick! I'll make you happy! No midproject snafus with me! C'mon, you know you'll love me!" But at least they were from stash:

I started a Pashmina Cowl from Last Minute Knitted Gifts in Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool, four balls of which I bought in 2007 during my huge visit to WEBS. I had no plans but knew I couldn't leave behind this gleaming ruby yarn. Now that it's marinated in my stash for a while, I know that there were no projects calling to me for this yarn. Since my church's Halloween fundraiser auction is coming up, I decided to make the cowl out of this delicious yarn on spec, hoping someone will be excited enough to bid on it.

I also started a Log Cabin Blanket for my minister's baby out of Mission Falls 1824 Wool, which I adore. Soft as anything, machine washable, and great colors. I had four balls of, well, let's say "manly colors," and thought they'd make a handsome blanket for this handsome boy. It really was great fun. I thought I might hate it because of picking up the stitches, but honestly, it wasn't bad at all. I think part of it is that picking up stitches in garter stitch is easier, and perhaps, too, I got better at it as I went along. Hey, maybe this is training for Faina Letoutchaia's Forest Path Stole! My library got The Best of Interweave Knits and I'm so happy to have access to this pattern.

I have been knitting on The Very Thought of Him periodically, but it's still slow going on the fronts (two at once). And then I'll have the sleeves... maybe by next fall!

I've been thinking of picking up the Bell Sleeve Pullover and once and for all tackling the bust darts I want to add to it. I bought little hair clips at Target last weekend for the sole purpose of clipping together the pieces of sweaters for trying on. (Hey, I could also use them for simulating bust darts, come to think of it.)

I've had to set aside the Windowpane Socks because the tiny needles were irritating my tennis elbow, which is finally improving, phew. Of course, now I'm absolutely itching to knit socks.

The top-down Shedir is working quite well. I brought it to an autism presentation last week and found an error in my sketched-out pattern, but fixing it was very straightforward. I really need to get it done; we haven't seen Barbara at church for a month now. :(

I'm hoping to finish the baby blanket in the next few days (I'm doing a seed-stitch border with the remains of the balls of yarn) and give it to them, and continue the momentum with finishing other projects. Go, go, go!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All set for Stitch 'n' Pitch

I just bought our tickets to the local Stitch 'n' Pitch game, which will be on September 14. The Oakland A's will play... baseball. (Texas something. Lone Stars?)

The wonderful gal at my newly discovered LYS (11 miles away as the crow flies, 15.4 miles if the crow drives a Subaru station wagon) has discovered that we are definitely getting goody bags. This was a big selling point at home.

"You know, I bought us tickets to a baseball game."
"No. I don't want to go."
"It's called Stitch 'n' Pitch, knitting and baseball, isn't that cute?"
"So it's like knitting baseball?"
"Um, kinda."
"Cool. As long as it's not the A's."
"Um... it is the A's. But they'll have goody bags."
"Oh, OK."

Should be fun! Even if baseball is deadly boring to me most of the time. I hear they sell large beers. And we can take transit there. Plus knitting? Sold!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Oh, good God. I have just updated my stash photos again, and now have 219 yarns in my stash list on Ravelry. That's 219 types of yarn, not 219 balls. Holy cow. (654 total balls. Holy cowherd.)

I think I'd better get knitting!

Fortunately, the back of the purple "summer" sweater is finally going well. I'm within 2 rows of casting off for the neck shaping. And then I can move on with my life--perhaps with a pair of fronts!

The Windowpane socks are ready for heel-turning, which I may do during G's martial arts class tonight, after I've done a bit of shopping (TJ's is close by).

I'm still a little overwhelmed by the stash thing. My Ravelympics task was to organize my stash, which I have been doing, and taking photos and entering info is a big step toward that end (oh, I just realized I have many more balls of the Finullgarn downstairs, uncataloged. sigh. It's going to be great for stranded knitting, but it is a little defeating to consider!).

I do need to get all the sock yarn together in one place. It's now in at least three. (And yes, I have even more sock yarn than I thought I did. Can't wait for Ravelry to allow subsections of yarn, so I can sequester off the sock yarn and really know how much I have. I had never even entered in the Trekking skeins I have. And some "Hot Socks" that came from I know not where.)

But I am enjoying my projects currently (as they are currently behaving), and seeing a little teeny light at the end of the tunnel. And, as always, itching to cast on still more projects...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Serenity NOW!

Finally finished the back of the purple cardigan, up to the neck shaping--and it was as the Yarn Harlot has said, you knit and knit and knit and you measure and have made zero progress. Then you knit and knit, and you've actually shot past your goal. Well, I didn't shoot past it, but I did make it, and set out to do the decreases for the neck shaping.

Too many stitches. Damn. When I ripped back to make the back shorter, I bound off 8 stitches on each side (God forbid I look at the pattern to double-check) and continued on my merry way.

Small consolation: I should have bound off 11 on each side, and when I redo the top half of the back for the third time, at least it should go faster, as it will be on fewer stitches. (Yes, my math whizzes, 6 whole fewer stitches, but hey, it should go faster, right?)

I have already started ripping. I really want this cardigan to be done!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Here's to being transported

I just started the Windowpane Socks from the latest IK--not that I always pick out a project from the latest magazine and just cast on, but that the needle size & gauge matched the yarn I wanted to knit with, a chocolate-brown Opal 4-ply. The pattern calls for a solid and a variegated yarn, and when I spotted it, I thought of a mainly-orange-toned yarn I'd been given in a swap a bit back. When I got the yarn, I kinda cringed and stuffed it into my sock-yarn box.

But now that I'm knitting with the two, I'm enchanted, absolutely transported. The pattern itself is very simple (and could be more exciting, I think), but it really works so far.

I'm knitting them on two 2.5mm circulars instead of the dpns I was given at Christmas. I think I like it better, at least for stranded knitting.

But I'm looking forward to the solid-color heel!

Friday, August 01, 2008

When you can't knit

I have a hard time with my limited knitting time as it is. Makes me jealous, if just a little, of those who have jobs where they wait for the phone to ring, and kind of get paid to knit. I always want to get more done, more things knit, more things started and finished.

But now, with my lovely lateral epicondylitis, I'm even more fidgety. I knit two rows night-before-last before quitting due to that prickly feeling in my elbow. Dang it.

Maybe I can put my time to designing mom's round-necked pullover on paper instead.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shut up Shut up SHUT UP

Someone just posted on Ravelry that WEBS (not linked on purpose!) is having their summer sale right now. I did not need that!

Thank the goddesses who knit, there wasn't any yarn there that particularly tempted me. I had to laugh at their offering Dive' Zenith at a low price--lovely, soft yarn, great stitch definition, if you can get past the @#*$&ing splittiness. (Good thing I love my sister very. very. much.)

Between that, and the Duffster tempting me with her STR Mediumweight "Fire on the Mountain," how'm I supposed to pay off my sink this month? (And they only charge like $2 to ship STR from Blue Moon Fiber Arts! Damn them!)

Trying very hard...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July is Finishing Month--A Summary

The Ravelry group I started for this trend has done well. 16 knitters joined, several of them posted lists and then updates. I finished 6 items (yay me!), including 2 frogged ones (which counts as finishing in my book, with the added bonus of available yarn for some other project).

I did start one project during the month--my coworker has no sock/case for his iPod, and I had talked about making him an iPod sock and forgotten. Saw him take his iPod carefully out of its original box reminded me. I cast on and finished in a couple of hours a simple one in some leftover Mission Falls charcoal wool. Love knitting with that stuff. Soft and unfeltable.

I'm way too pleased with myself for starting a group and getting people to join. It has been a GREAT thing for me. I may continue to post as I clean up those WIPs I had posted at the beginning (including doing the hard work of planning and executing bust darts on my Bell Sleeve Pullover, and more planning/charting/trying things on my mom's stranded pullover).

But mostly? It's been a very good thing to be restricted to finishing. For one thing, I haven't bought yarn all month! True, Rabbitch did send me yarn, but she will attest, when appropriately soused, that I did not purchase it in July 2008. (Brewskies are in the mail, hon.)

Oh, and a hockey friend says she knows a certain Rabbitch who also knows me! A very cool small-world find.

Knit on!

My wordle art

I've been dropping by my friend FiberQat's blog, and found Wordle. What fun. (Click to, as they say, embiggen.)

I shall try to be a better knit blogger henceforth. (Why do I type 'sq' so very often?)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

July is finishing month

I declare July to be Finishing Month for me. I intend to spend the whole month finishing already-started projects. (Thank goodness I have a jillion started projects!)

Sounds like a good time for a rundown! But before I start, I did sew the buttons onto my Must Have Cardigan, crochet across the back neck a la Yarn Harlot, and weave in all the remaining ends. I love it more than ever. Yeah!

OK, projects in need of finishing:
0) Science Teacher Socks. I shall do my best to finish these by Friday, or next week at the latest. I've finished one and am past the wording on the second. Many inches of boring leg, endless heel, boring foot, and interesting toe to go.
1) Graham's stripey socks. Put aside in favor of the STSs. Partway through the second. I'll need to re-find this one.
2) Shetland Triangle in the cranberry bog lace. I think once I settle down with this one, I'll love it.
3) Birch in smoke Kidsilk Haze. Not sure I'll love this one, but I'm willing to give it another go. With about a million stitch markers.
4) Good behavior bear--the Baby Bobbi Bear in Sugar & Creme. I went down a needle size but fear it'll still be too lacy. We'll see.
5) Orange stripey sweater ("Bell Sleeved Pullover"). I've already changed it by adding waist shaping, but plan to also add bust darts and a v-neck. Not sure about those bell sleeves, either.
6) Mom's stranded grey wool sweater. I knit about 4" worth and hated the way the ribbing was folding up on itself. A wonderful reader (thanks Tamar!) suggested adding a bit of seed stitch in between. I'll try that this time.
7) Clapotis. Folks think this is boring; I find it maddening... maybe I'm just too stupid for this pattern, but I always, always ended up a stitch short or with an extra. And I never did learn the end stitches so that I could just do them by rote. When/if I finish, I do think I'll love it, though. The yarn is fantastic.
8) Socks in the caramel-colored Biagio sportweight. Not sure if I'll continue the Twinkle Toes pattern, but I do want to finish socks. And as they're on 4s, they should go fast.
9) Blue v-neck cotton sweater. It's an old Vogue pattern, and the decreases are just freaking odd. I need to write them down and ask for advice on Ravelry. I really want to finish it, as I still love the pattern.
10) Tubey. Need to do more and decide whether to do the front differently (higher? bust darts?).

There are a few more hibernating, but I think that'll keep me busy for July!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Updates on projects

Tiny update on the Must Have Cardigan: OK, I bought buttons. And embroidery floss with which to attach said buttons!

Yeah, that's it for that update.

I started and am nearly finished with Sock #1 of the Teacher Socks for G's teacher. My right wrist is sadly killing me, though, and school is done next Friday. I could maybe get the toe done tonight but man am I gonna have to knit fast to finish in time.

I got my orange fuzzy "Bell Sleeved Pullover" done up to the armpits, where I should do bust darts if I'm going to. And I'm chicken, so nothing has happened on it. (The back is done, so once I finish the front, it's on to the sleeves and get finished.) sigh Oh, I also want to do a V-neck instead of the slit neck. So I have to figure that out myself too.

I don't even know where my mom's stranded sweater is. I mean, I know it's in my bedroom, but I can't remember how far I got on the waistband when I cast it back on. Or maybe I haven't yet. Another sigh. I'm remembering how it was folding up at the waist. So freaking irritating.

I'm also contemplating a summer sweater to knit, one of my waiting choices in a cotton blend. I'm torn between The Very Thought of Him (link opens a PDF) and Rosemary's Swing Jacket. One is comfy, the other stylish. Feel free to ring in if you like.

Hm, other news... my sister, she who finally saw the light about knitting, is now saying she doesn't want a stash. And is accumulating a small stash. Hee hee. Revenge is sweet (for her exclaiming about the quantity of yarn I've amassed).

She's also saying she'd never learn to spin. Hee, hee.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I don't have enough yarn

(OK, in this case, I really don't!)

Previously posted on Ravelry, reposted here for posterity:

I just figured out I don’t have enough yarn for a project and thought I’d share my methods. Feedback welcome. (I’m sad that I can’t make it, but happy I figured it out now rather than partway up the front and having to quit _then_…!)

I had several skeins of Worsted Border Leicester/Corriedale in “Black Orchid” from Rabbitworks Fibre Studio. She had also thrown in a swatch/scarf she’d started in the wool, so my first order of business was to frog that, skein it, wash it, and hang it to get rid of the wigglies. Once I did that, I counted the strands at one end of each skein to get the yardage (my niddy-noddy measures 1-yd skeins).

So now, I had 84 + 76 (the two frogged skeins) + 60 + 130 + 130 (the labeled skeins) = 490 yards.

I grabbed the smallest skein, cast on about 5” wide in stitches, and began knitting for a swatch. A little more than halfway through the ball, I realized that it would be more useful to knit up the entire thing and measure it for my intended project, Boogie Vest. It knit up quickly on 8s, so I kept going, and the end product measured 8x12”.

Since we know 60 yards made 8x12” of fabric, we can extrapolate from that to estimate yardage needed for a vest.

I used the measurements from Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns to estimate fabric needed. I drew a rectangle for the lower half of the vest, and then modified rectangles for the upper part (narrower width on the edges to show the armholes, and a v-neck in the middle). For my size, I would have

lower rectangle 22 x 14 x 1 piece = 308 square inches (sq in)
upper rectangle, the square outer part 4.75 x 10 x 2 of these = 95 sq in
V-neck part consists of two triangles, so we can do width x height once
to get the area for both: 7 x 10 = 70 sq in
Total: 473 sq in for front

Roughly, one big rectangle
22 x 24 x 1 piece = 528 sq in

Grand Total: 1001 sq in needed.

My knitted piece is 96 sq in from a 60-yd skein, yielding 1.6 sq in per yard (96/60 = 1.6 sq in).

So my 490 yards at 1.6 sq in per yard would yield 784 sq in, more than 200 sq in less than I need.

Of course, this is all estimated, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation can certainly give you the answer you need (but don’t want): don’t even start it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Oh, and by the way...

Dude, I so love it. The Harlot says she lives in hers--and I wore mine for about the whole next week. Still needs buttons, but I love love love it.

And... on to the next sweater!

No appropriate project? Huh?

I went to a memorial service on Saturday. I found myself nearly frantic as I got ready to go--because I couldn't find a project that was A) portable (which ruled out my Bell Sleeve Pullover, now with waist shaping and V-neck), and B) simple (which ruled out G's sock, on which I needed to do toe shaping; the Teacher sock, which was due for the SCIENCE IS GREAT stranded knitting part; and my lace project, while small, which required a chart to look at each row).

Just realized yesterday, after the fact, that I could have brought my latest Magic Scarf, which has been started and is thus simply knitting around and around. And just now as I was typing the above, I realized I could have brought G's reward bear, which I've restarted in size 7 needles.

It didn't matter anyway--I didn't want to knit during the service, but rather during the sit-down period after, and by the time the service was over, I had to head out to pick up G after his tennis lesson anyway.

G's sock is done to the point where I need to Kitchener the toe. It turned out BRIGHT and very cute. I'll start the other one soon. That'll be the second set of leftover sock yarn from kid socks. It's possible I could even get two kid socks out of one skein, esp. if I did them toe up. I have been using Ann Budd's pattern from Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, which I love but is top down.

I had been itching to start a new project, and when G and I brainstormed on what to do for his wonderful teacher for the end of the year, we came up with the Teacher Socks: I chose a blue Trekking XXL skein that I had, as well as a skein of soft white Regia Silk. G came up with the words: SCIENCE IS GREAT! to which I had to add two hearts ("Those don't look like hearts" he adds helpfully. My charting is not the best.) Honestly, I think the letters came out terrifically.

After 1" of ribbing, I did the words on a st st background. Now I've started the seed stitch and side cables of the Spring Cable Socks that I've wanted to do anyway. I hope they are at least noticeable in the variegation of the yarn.

Now I have the lovely task of picking out which projects to take to Asilomar to work on there. My first time, I finished the Leaf Lace Shawl and was so happy with it. There are always meetings and they always seem to be of the type where I can knit and still concentrate/participate.

Lately, knitting has been such a source of serenity for me. Knit on, friends.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What do you do? You start more projects!

If anyone wants to email me a butt-kicking, feel free. Instead of blocking and finishing my MHC, I've started two more projects. Small projects, but still...!

The first is another Magic Scarf, for I Know Not Whom. I found some Patons Cha Cha in a yarn basket, bought I Know Not Where, and grabbed my ridiculously large Speed Stix and cast on 25 stitches. Slipped them onto my bamboo 16" size 15 circulars, and started knitting. The mindless project. Cha Cha is very soft and fluffy and the color, Soul, is a pretty brown.

The other is the pair of socks I'd threatened to start in my last post. I pulled out the yarn and started knitting. Love the bold stripes of color (5261)! But the ball I used had a strip of pink before any other colors, and with my loose cast-on that I do intentionally so the socks slip on easily, it looked like a little pink frill at the top of my boy's sock. Nope! Frogged, snipped that part off, cast on again. Much better. The yarn feels a little, hm, dry, but the red and green stripes are really nice. My boy had chosen this yarn himself; I think he'll like these. I'm done with the cuff on the first sock already. The two may even match--I pulled out the start of the other ball and it seems to be at the same place (sans pink).

On other fronts, the Merino Stripes (Chili & Chocolate) pullover I started has been frogged. It seemed very wide and I was afraid it would be boxy and unattractive. Serendipitously, this month's Vogue Knitting has an article by Lily Chin on waist shaping. I charted my own numbers and started over. I am much happier, but still have a few bundles of not-yet-reknit yarn, which makes me a little crazy, of course. I'll put in a normal V-neck instead of the slit neck they did.

And my poor Must Have Cardi sits, ignored... I hope to block it tonight and set the fan on it so it'll dry by Saturday. We're going to the Maker Faire and I'd love to have it wearable by the time I speak to the Harlot again. I bought her new book last night. It's sweet but kinda tiny!

In other fibery news, I'm making plans to teach G's class how to spin on CD spindles. Those bundles of white, two posts below? They're the 4#4oz of fiber I got back from the processor's last week. Very soft, still a tiny bit of vm, but very, very spinnable. (And clean, finally, which I could not manage.) I made one spindle as a test and it was quite easy and I managed to learn how to spin on it in an evening. Yay! (It helps to have had a spinning wheel already, and predrafting ROCKS.)

So I asked his teacher, and she is all ovah that. My water polo class ends in a few weeks and my Tuesday and Thursday lunches will be free then. Yeah!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mega Boots Stretch socks - DONE

Finito! I am wearing these socks as I type. They are comfy and beautiful. I'm terribly amused that I seem to be following the Yarn Harlot's steps (Mega Boots Stretch socks in an orangey color, Must Have Cardigan), and am fighting the urge to write her to ask what we'll be working on next.

I'm taking up my mom's stranded sweater. Chances are that damned Harlot will do something just the same, custom project and all!

These are patch-toe, toe-up socks. I'm glad I was able to knit the cuffs just as long as I'd wanted. Well, in the end, it was just as long as I could stand it. I had yarn left and could maybe have done another inch, but by God, I was done, done, DONE.

Next up, another pair for my little munchkin. Yeah, the one who's nearly up to my chin, bless his pointed little head.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Two posts within one month!

I wonder if I start a new project each time I blog. The latest one is that I started the Bell Sleeve Pullover from the 2007 (or maybe 2006) Pattern "A Day" Calendar in Merino Stripes in the "Chili & Chocolate" colorway. This was because I wanted to go to our LYS's knit night, and felt obliged to use yarn I'd bought from her. And I'd rather be working on a sweater than something small these days. (I do have some balls of sock yarn and some more Taos for felting left.) The other sweater-sized set of yarn I have from her is Plymouth Encore in a delicious charcoal grey (color 520), from which I plan to make the Charcoal Ribbed Cardigan (scroll down) from Interweave Knits (because I have no imagination and can never envision a sweater in colors other than those in which it's presented).

So I have like 3 rows done on the BSP and it looks... fine. I'm still mixed on the yarn. Is it too orange for me? It looks good next to my skin but I don't choose orange much.

Bell-Sleeved Pullover

As for other projects: The Must Have Cardigan is coming along well. I'm in the sleeve cap shaping now (YEAH) and it is close to being done--the knitting, anyway. I'm a little concerned about having a lot of sleeve to fit into a normal-sized sleeve cap opening, as I increased a lot to make it big enough for my arm size. I'm decreasing like mad to get down to the last 13 stitches, which all get bound off at once. Then it's massive sewing and the knitting of the button bands. I do need to find buttons for this one.

As TheAmpuT mentioned in the comments, I'm very close to being done with Captain Underpants. Here he is so far:

Captain Underpants

Am thinking of teaching G how to knit i-cord and set him loose on the arms. The Bernat Soy is really quite pleasant to work with. Not splitty at all despite its being very stranded looking.

And the Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch socks are nearly done! I had been thinking of knitting the cuffs till I ran out of yarn. I think they would be practically knee socks if I did that. I will probably finish them this week. They look great to me and feel even better. I can't wait to start another pair, maybe out of Rabbitch's yarn this time.

Meilenweit socks

Another reasonably active project is Tubey, on which I've started a second ball of yarn. By my calculations, the 10 balls I have should be enough (I'll still put the sleeves on waste yarn and knit them top-down last). It is a lovely yarn. I am still concerned that the front will be SuperSlut low on me with my high bustline. Maybe I'll massively modify the pattern with bust darts, waist shaping, and a higher neck. It is a cute pattern as is but... anyway, here is the fabric of the back (st st):

Close-up on Tubey

What's up next? Well, I do want to get my mom's pullover (top-down, round yoke, FI-style patterning with Noro Kochoran 34) done. Since it'll be on size 9 or 10 needles (as opposed to my Must Have Cardi on 7s), it should be quick. Also, I seem to knit stranded knitting lightning fast. I'll probably finish it by her birthday in early July. Perfect summer wear, eh?

Back to the knitting! When I'm done with this pesky work thingy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Couldn't be prouder

Tonight, I had an opportunity to go to our LYS's knitting night. G had said he wanted to make a dark blue scarf, so I got out the ball of Cascade 220 Superwash that I had, size 8 straight needles, and packed them up for him.

At the LYS, I cast on 18 stitches (he wanted a scarf about 4" wide, and the stated gauge is 4.5 sts/in) with a long-tail cast-on, knit the first row, and taught him. He learned fast. Got a little frustrated at times, but really caught on.

My boy knit two rows tonight!

Could I be prouder?
Does Rabbitch hide out under beds, cradling cashmere? Well, actually, she does...

Good Lord, I skipped March

Oops, no March posts at all. Well, there wasn't a lot to post. I moved forward on my car knitting, which was my pair of Meilenweit socks. I'm halfway up the ankle and still loving them. I challenge red lights with them. I say, "OK, I'm touching my knitting, light. I'm knitting a stitch." Usually, I just have to think about picking it up and the light changes.

I knit on them at Disneyland and OH was I glad I had it with me. We did well with lines, getting there early, but at times, it was a lifesaver.

I also knit way up the sleeves for the Must Have Cardigan... and then ripped them out completely. My beefy arms simply wouldn't have fit. Plus, as I was ripping down to the cuffs, I remembered that I'd forgotten to use the smaller needles on the ribbing for the cuffs, so riiiip, I started over. And increased much more rapidly. Tried 'em on a few inches ago, and they were comfy but a tad snug. Am hoping blocking gives me a bit more room. I'm not ripping them again. I shall have to wear it over turtlenecks if they're still a bit snug. I'm still loving the pattern, but more than ready to be DONE DONE DONE with this one.

I finished the first ball of Plymouth Suri Merino for Tubey. I measured it to calculate if the 10 balls I bought from DiscountYarnSale.com would be enough. I do think it will! I will, however, stick with my original idea of putting the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and knit them last, to whatever length they work out to. I am concerned that the construction of the sweater will mean the front is way too low for my high bustline. I do want to wear this sweater in public without looking like Busty McSlutty. I may knit the front higher than the back if necessary. I'm also going to knit the pieces separately and seam them, as I read someone else did; when she picked up the stitches, she said it looked sloppy every time.

I found the started "Captain Underpants" toy that I thought I'd lost at church one Saturday. I didn't care quite so much for my time (or the cheap yarn), but I did care about losing a set of the dpns from the Options nickel set my sister got me for Christmas. I was happy to find 4 of the 5; happier still to find the last one behind the couch. I finished embroidering the body (underpants stripe, face, and nipples), stuffed and finished knitting the top of the head. Now I just need to make arms, legs, and a cape, and I can move on with my life.

I did start the Baby Bobbi Bear for G during vacation. I love the yarn (Sugar & Cream from Beverly's on sale); the color is perfect and it's plenty soft. But the gauge is going to be pretty different. I had used the stated 8s, holding the yarn double; too thick and awkward. Started again holding the yarn single (I do think it qualifies as a worsted rather than a sportweight); the fabric is just too loose. I think the stuffing will show through. I'll try again on 7s and then 6s if need be. I found one gal who did it on 4s! That's a little too serious.

Hm, what else is there? Well, when I'm done with the MHC (seaming and button bands after I finish the sleeves), I'll start my mom's sweater for real. It'll be a pullover, perhaps seamless, with fair-isle type patterns in the yoke and maybe the cuffs and waist. On size 9 or 10 needles, and mostly st st, it should go way faster than the MHC, which is on its third month now. I've read of folks who aim to make 12 sweaters in a year! I hope to finish 4, and realize that's a lofty enough goal. Some day, I'll even get back to the tape-yarn sweater I started and then realized I hated the inverted "V" at the front. I don't think I even finished frogging that one.

I do want to finish more socks soon. I've been looking over my sock yarn and it is still quite extensive. Time to use up more!

Oh, and I did one row on the Shetland Triangle the other night, as G finished reading before bed. chuckle I do love lace, but I guess I'm much more intent on finishing other stuff these days.

At least I'm not starting on a new craft, like weaving, like some crazy hares I know...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Another project update

I finished the back of the Must Have Cardigan. I put the stitches on a holder but am heeding the Yarn Harlot's recommendation to crochet a chain across the neck to stabilize it. The fronts are started and I'm hoping the few changes I've made to the right front will make the cables mirror each other. (Just realize that if I have made the changes to the left front by accident, the cables will still mirror each other, just turn away from each other rather than toward.) I'm on row, hm, 9, I think, and it's going well. I'm using even more stitch markers than last time, setting off the 3-stitch wrapped-stitch column as well as Pattern Panel A and B and the moss stitch. I love doing both fronts at once, as it means I don't have to jot down any notes to make them match. And when I'm done with both, well, they're done. If you see the trend from the two-socks-on-two-circs thing. (Ditto for the sleeves. They'll be exactly the same length, too, another bonus.)

Still working away at the Mega Boots Stretch basic toe-up socks. Still loving (loving!) the colorway. I took these to Stitches West as my unthinking knitting project. I was tempted to bring the Must Have, at least for the train, but I forgot how much I enjoy talking and how talking and knitting anything complex are not easily compatible. My seatmate on the Stitch & Ride is the RPM designer--how cool is that? And on the way back, I chatted with some women who, it turned out, were from Alameda. The "Gail" they were talking about is Gail T from our somewhat new Alameda Yarn Company, our LYS that I hope will stay.

Still can't find Captain Underpants. Annoying! I do think I left it at church but haven't been able to find it anywhere there.

To document my haul from Stitches West:
I walked up one aisle and there before me was the guy from the Fair Isle book I have at home, and have drooled over many a time. In the Philosopher's Wool booth, surrounded by all those gorgeous sweaters. And knitting on one. And what I didn't realize: it's worsted weight! I could finish it within my lifetime. So lovely Carol in their booth helped me try on several sweaters to find the one I wanted. The first one just didn't do it for me. The second, even less so. The third had my heart racing (that's Carol modeling it). So beautiful. I whipped out my credit card and was given a lovely knitting bag with the kit and so much encouragement. They even said that if you finish your sweater and write them, they'll send you a pattern for a matching tam as a "congratulations." Apparently, there's enough wool for most sizes in the bag, so you don't even have to pick it out by size. It's big like a jacket, too, which is perfect, as the wool is certainly on the itchy side.

Next, I went by my friend Maia's booth, Tactile Fiber Arts, which was partnering with Brooke's company, A Verb For Keeping Warm. As I am into the dark, dark, dark these days, I was able to pass up plenty of spinning fiber that was just too pale, but she had some bundles of way dark wool in the back, and as she was writing up two of them, I reached out and felt a bundle of nearly black alpaca and had to add that in. Oh man, so soft. I managed to ignore the right-hand wall of beautiful handspun wool in lots of colors and fiber mixes. (so beautiful, my glance told me.)

Next, when I visited the YarnDogs booth for a Ravelry passport stamp, Lucy Neatby was there, in all her multicolored-hair, high-energy self. They had all of her DVDs for $9 off the usual $29 price, so I quizzed her on which one would be right for me. I settled on Socks 2 (but she did mention I could benefit from Socks 1 as well) and bought it. By the register, they had tiny sock blockers... and sets of tiny dpns (like 3" long, 0 or 00 or 000) to knit tiny socks with! Insanity. (I managed to resist, but just barely.)

The last purchase was at the Purlescence booth. They're all the way in Sunnyvale, so it's about an hour's drive for me. I wish I could patronize them, but it's hard to justify the gas plus the yarn cost in general. So when I saw yummy sock yarn, Claudia Handpaints no less, I went for it. Black walnut, so gorgeous.

Thankfully, I was given the pass to attend a free class, which prevented me from doing more shopping... my budget is grateful.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tips and Tricks for the Must Have Cardigan

Updated to correct row counts and pattern names...

The Harlot just posted that "The [Must Have Cardigan] pattern is intuitive, you'll have it memorized in no time at all."

Well, for bears of very little brain like me, it can take the entire back for you to 'get it' and understand some basic facts about this pattern that can make it much easier.

Step 0: stitch markers. Mark off each section so no stitches get misunderstood to be part of a different section. This made it much easier from the get-go.

Step 1: row counter. I couldn't easily do the patterns without a row counter. You have one pattern (Panel Pattern A) that repeats every 10 rows, with cables on 3 and 7. One pattern (wrapped stitch) every 4 rows--but the wrap happens on row 3 (so every 3 + multiple of 4 rows). And one pattern that has cables on every right-side row, with a total of 26 pattern rows. So very few of the pattern rows line up with one another.

Step 2: Copy your pattern and draw vertical lines next to Panel Pattern A and Panel Pattern B, and write down the row numbers for the repeats through 95 or so (depending on how fast you catch on; it took me through row 87, I think).

Step 3: Understand that the moss stitch is different for every right-side row (knit the Ps and purl the Ks), and same for every wrong-side row (knit the Ks and purl the Ps)... even within the crossing-cable pattern in Panel Pattern B. This helped me a lot.

Step 4: Pay attention to where you hold the stitches for Panel Pattern A's braid. If you put them back instead of front, ugh, frogpond time. I ended up writing "F" and "B" on all the cable crossings for both patterns. That helped a bunch.

Step 5: Realize that after each first twist in Panel Pattern B, when you knit the 3 stitches from the cable needle, the next stitch is always a purl. This works for the moss stitch because you're always increasing or decreasing by a stitch. If you understand that you're always going to be purling after the cable twist, you don't have to look at the pattern--just p1, k1 across till 1 stitch before the 3 knits (on the lower half of the chart) or right up to the 3 knits (on the upper half).

Step 6: Learn what the wrapped-stitch column looks like when it's time to do a wrapped stitch. Then you can stop doing math on the row numbers (hm, is 87 a multiple of 4 rows + 3?). Also, every row that Panel Pattern A cables on is a wrapped-stitch row.

Step 7: On the shoulder decreases, when you're doing 1 dec at each end for X rows, just figure out how many moss stitches you'll have left at the edges (2 sts for size L), put a stitch marker there, and forget the counting. Much easier than ticking off on paper how many decrease rows you've done so far.

I hope this helps someone.

Tips & Tricks for Two Socks on Two Circs

I had several people on Saturday's Stitch & Ride train comment and ask about the two socks I was knitting on two circular needles. I love, love, love knitting socks this way, because there is no second sock syndrome. When you're done, you're done. Period.

But as I chatted with them, I realized I have a few tips & tricks to share. First, the instructions--I found this to be the most useful set.

Beyond those directions, though, there are a few things that have helped me.

First, my Rule #1 of Knitting: don't panic. I never did (knock on wood) knit one sock with the other sock's yarn. But I have knit 3 sides of socks onto 1 needle. Blast! What I figured out after I shifted stitches to dpns and back was that it really is pretty easy to shift the just-knitted side back onto its needle. You transfer those stitches onto the opposite end of your free needle, and then use that free needle to place the stitches where they belong. (I'm going to have to make this mistake and take photos of fixing it to make this section more useful.)

Second, I've found it infinitely helpful, especially for avoiding the above calamity, to use two differently-colored circular needles. The Susan Bates circulars come in various pastel colors (pink, green, blue), and you can usually pick up one of each color for knitting. This helps to underscore that you always knit with one set of needles at a time, ignoring the other set. So, for my needles, always knit pink with pink, and green with green.

Finally, a mantra: at the end of each span of knitting, you switch yarn or needles, but not both. That is, either you switch from one sock to another, picking up a new strand of yarn, or you continue knitting on the same sock (same yarn), but switch needles.

I hope this helps. I love my new KnitPicks Options dpn set my sister gave me, but I do love me some 2 socks/2 circs/no-SSS method, too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What else can be humbling and exciting at once?

I am still working away at Patons' Must Have Cardigan. I have a few more inches of the back to do, and then I start the fronts. I am loving it. It is so beautiful in this rich reddish brown color:

Must Have Cardigan back

And even as I enjoy knitting on it and looking at it... it is so humbling. I have lost count of the number of times I've had to rip back a cabled section--one of them twice in a row (I finally got the twists on the correct sides, but held the stitches on the front/back when they should have been on the back/front).

I've also finished a crocheted chemo cap in some of the Lion Brand Chenille I picked up at Beverly's for $1 a skein, back when I was still deluding myself into thinking that I could make myself a bathrobe for it (yay, super soft and nice, $20 from Target, delusions gone!). So now I have like 8 skeins each of deep blue and deep garnet. Any ideas welcome. The hat did turn out nice, even with the random loops sticking out a bit. G of course loved it and wanted one of his own right away. Hm, maybe I can do his in stripes.

I got Captain Underpants done up to the point where I have to embroider his facial features, then I misplaced the entire project. The things I'll go through to avoid embroidery...!

I'm nearly done with the k2p2 ribbed scarf in Plymouth(/Indecieta) Baby Alpaca Brush. It's so close to 5' that I am tempted to wear it, knitting needles and all. Still lovely grey and soft.

I also picked up the Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch socks again. That yarn is so freaking great. I needed a mindless project for church and it totally fit the bill (knit knit knit around), plus I got into a discussion with another churchmember about the yarn after church was done. We bonded a smidge--that was fun.

I also picked up the Twinkle Toes socks again... and put them down again. Just isn't floating my boat these days. I may frog them and start something else. I did get it ready for socks for G at one point; at least his socks are super fast to knit!

I think that's it for my project update. I would love to be doing more on the lace project I have, but I also want to finish Must Have for Saturday's Stitches West (ha ha ha!).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Looking for an ass to kick

Anyone else see a problem here?

Monday, February 11, 2008

State of the UFO

My latest active project is the Must-Have Cardigan from Patons' booklet, Street Smarts. I'm using the stated yarn, Patons Classic Merino Wool, in a gorgeous deep brown-orange, Russet.

It took me a while to 'get' the pattern, as I haven't done a lot of moss stitch, and the cables are unfamiliar. One part of the X cable was just so messed up. I ripped the middle of it down twice, then finally ripped all of the stitches of the cable down 15 rows and knit it back up. What a difference! What was before a mass of weird bumpy stuff was now orderly, pretty moss stitch in the middle. I have 7.5" done on the back; less than 5" to armhole shaping!

I've also gotten quite a ways into a Captain Underpants for my son. I did the underpants in Red Heart (man, is that some awful yarn! No flex whatsoever), and was poised to do the flesh in an off-white superwash wool I have, but was at Michael's and found Bernat Soy on sale in a very pale pink. It's lovely to knit with--the soy gives it softness and a nice sheen. I'm at the stage of needing to embroider the face before I finish off the head.

The only other active project is my Plymouth Alpaca Brush k2p2 scarf. It's almost 4' long, so it's nearly done now (I'm aiming for about 5', since it's for me). I'll have quite a bit left over, as the first ball probably produced 3.5' of it. I wonder if I can knit a basic hat with the leftovers. It's soft and so pretty and I'm knitting the scarf on 9s. I wonder if 10s could work for the hat?

After lots of self-doubt on the sweater, I feel like I'm back in the groove again. Doesn't keep me wishing all my started projects were done and I was casting on the next ones, but it is still good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brave new world

Finishing things is so very exciting. I love to see items nearing 100% on my Projects list, and then get done. Of course, it doesn't always mean that the other items that are languishing will then get attention. Oh, no. It often means I give myself permission to start oneortwoorfive new project(s).

I always have projects waiting in the wings. G was waiting very impatiently for me to finish a project (yay, done last night) in order to get started on a Captain Underpants for him. His face fell when I read the materials list and thought I didn't have an appropriate yarn for it (I'll use aran in place of the DK and I think it'll be fine).

I'm headed out on a trip soon, and selecting the appropriate projects is always a bit of fun. I think I'll bring a pair of socks I just started, and a bit of lace. I live in fear of not having knitting available, when the reality is that it is certainly possible I will knit a total of 4 stitches on the four days I'll be gone. Which is certainly OK, provided that the knitting time is replaced by major fun.

Monday, January 21, 2008

This is a test

As usual, I have many things OTN at the moment. Unusually, though, many of them are close to completion. I could get rid of 3 WIPs in one evening! Wouldn't *that* be something?

I finished the second clog for G's teacher. They look great! I love that green color. And after ripping the first clog for me, I'm almost done reknitting it correctly (without the random stripe going off sideways and resultant odd shape). I may be able to take them to Vegas, which would be ironic, as they are quite Burninatoresque. Just have to get them felted and dried. I have plenty of time. Right?

I'm also working on a swatch for my Must Have Cardigan. I had someone ask if it was a scarf, which is too funny, as it is a boring Here's the test question: Does a certain Burninator actually read my knitting blog? strip of 5" rectangles of stockinette stitch separated by a few rows of garter stitch, so I can try US7 through US9 for this sweater, and maybe not have to modify it too much to fit me (as the largest size is 41" and my actual bustline is 42", and folks say it runs small). There is a set of instructions out there to size it to 49", but 7" of positive ease is too much for me. (I may modify those to have just a few added motifs on the back to make more width.) Well, we'll see, as I plan to actually go the distance and wash and block my swatch before measuring (well, I'm curious, so I'll measure it before as well).

I am using the Russet colorway of the Patons Classic Merino Wool, and it really is lovely. But a smidge scratchy. I think Cascade 220 does win on the affordable-wool-that's-not-scratchy front. Well, Ella Rae Classic might edge Cascade out, but not by much.

And the K2P2 ribbed Alpaca Brush scarf continues to grow as I wait for G to get belted in, the car to warm up, and some long red lights to go green. I am loving this yarn and wondering what a snuggly sweater in it would be like.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I finished!

About 15 minutes before midnight, I finished G's socks. They turned out super cute! He wore them yesterday afternoon... and woke up today with 'hot feet.' I hope to God he isn't allergic to wool! (Although his rainbow sweater is wool and that never seemed to bother him.)

I also finished the felted pig purse. Honestly, I think it took longer to finish than it took to felt. First, I had to cut open the top, stuff it with paper (and two saucers for the ends), and baste the top shut so it wouldn't flare. Then I had to pin the tail in a spiral.
Pig, drying
After it dried, I put the handles on (hand sewn with ribbons to hold them on), punched the feet through the bottom, cut and sewed in both pieces of the plastic mesh, tacked the ears up (they kept flopping), cut and sewed the lining (Pink Panther fabric, with special slots for magnets for the clasp), and then sewed it in.

She seemed really happy with it. I hope she is. It is still a big purse. But it is very cute.

I'm hoping to get some more near-FO's pushed over to the FO side soon, including the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport "Rainbow" baby hat, which has mere inches (and a curly tie) to go.
Baby hat
Hm, I never did hear what my stepmom thought of the Anemoi mittens. I do hope she loved them. I was very pleased with how they turned out.
Anemoi Mittens