Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm Adventuresome!

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer. You are through those knitting growing pains and feeling more adventurous. You can follow a standard pattern if it's not too complicated and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've started to experiment with different fibers and you might be eyeing a book with a cool technique you've never tried. Perhaps you prefer to stick to other people's patterns but you are trying to challenge yourself more. Regardless of your preference, you are continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as well you should since your non-knitting friends are probably dropping some serious hints, these days.
Take this quiz!

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm up in your stash!

Whoa. So yesterday I went "over the hill" for Felt Club XL and spent way too much money. Since I was already in Hollywood, dealing with traffic from hell, I figured why not check out a few of the yarn stores I've wanted to go to for a while? I hit the Suss outlet on Olympic and then I decided to head to the regular Suss store. I have to say, I liked the prices better at the outlet! Every single skien - $4!!! I did pick up some pretty yarn at the regular store, which I'm planning on making into something for my mom. And I saw Gina Torres there! Yeah sure, Standoff and all that, but to me she'll always be Nebula from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Yes, my childhood consisted of Hercules, and little else :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Frustration, and swatching

I've been out of it for a while - I was visiting home for Thanksgiving, and I just started a new job that's literally kicking my butt. To top it off, I'm in the middle of swatching for one of my three remaining Christmas gifts, and I just can't get it into gear. Finally, after more swatching than I can stomach, I found a pattern that's perfect for the intended recpient.

I'm so out of it I'm worried I won't be able to finish all my gifts by Christmas :(

I promise to put lots of pictures up soon...I no longer have hours of free time at work, which somewhat hampers my blogging ability.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Heart Sachet - Confidence Booster!

Two updates in one day!

I'm halfway done with this project and I'm so excited: Heart Sachet. It's for my grandparents, and I'm alternating a cream wool color with the wool I dyed myself a bit ago (first dying project, ended up with mottled blues and greens and purples).

It's a huge confidence booster, because though I've been knitting for about a year and a half now I'm still just a baby in many ways. Watching this thing come alive (correctly!) is so exciting, not to mention realizing that I can figure out how to pick up stitches and learn a new cast on method. I've been doing the art yarns email tutorials on short row shaping (make different types of triangles, etc) with mixed results. About every third one I try is screwed up for no reason, so I was beginning to doubt my ability to follow a pattern. And not just any pattern - this sachet pattern is a chart! *insert applause* Ok, so it's my first chart and I'm excited.

Although now that I've been staring at this pattern online (and not the black and white copy I printed) I'm beginning to wish I'd used a variagated yarn instead of the two colors. The picture is so pretty!

At My Wit's End - Razor's Edge Poncho

Now that it looks like I have a job lined up the day I get back from Thanksgiving (yay for crazy tv industry schedules!) I'm going to have to take a whole Saturday and dedicate it to finishing this darn poncho. I'm 3/4 done with it and I can't get this one row completed. I've frogged and finished more times than I care to remember, and I can't take it anymore. I'm hoping that by spending an entire day just focused on one project (no ADD!) I'll leap over this hurdle and complete the darn thing so I can actually wear it while it's still cold. (At least in Los Angeles it's colder for a few weeks longer than back in Florida!)

Here's a pic of it when it was a small baby poncho. Now it's so big I really can't take a picture of it without spreading it on my (dirty) floor. I'm at the portion where I rejoined after the neck, and the pattern changes to absorb the one extra stitch they have you put in before the neck (to keep the lace pattern even on the front and back). But every single time I do the k3tog, it's wrong. My lace pattern is messed up for the row, and the "ridge" formed by my psso's (which is what I use as a visual reference to see if I've screwed up) gets shifted by one stitch. Yet if I ignore the extra stitch and just do k2tog like on every other row, it's even more off. I've posted this frantic cry for help on Livejournal's "Knitting" community, and on Craftster, and despite quite a few well-meaning attempts at help, nothing's working. Any advice from you guys, or should I go with plan B?

*Plan B is the sucky plan: do the row screwed up and then continue in (correct) lace pattern. Sure, 1/2 of one row will be wonky, but I can always make that the back of the poncho :) I dislike this option, because I'm trying to make a real effort to do everything right and stop trying to cover up my mistakes, but if I continue hitting this brick wall I think I'll have no choice!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Woes of Finishing...

Psychologically, I'm having issues finishing my sweater. Not finishing as in completing, because it's actually 100% done (yay!) but finishing as in sewing up holes and weaving in ends. The past two nights I've picked it up, weaved in one end or sewed one hole, and then put it down again. I'm just itching to knit, in the purest sense of the word, and anything involving a tapestry needle bores me.

Hopefully soon I've have final pics of the sweater online. I made a major modification to the neck - I made it a faux-turtleneck instead of the full-blown cowl it was supposed to be. I can be a boring person sometimes, and the idea of making a neck that was 5 inches "tall" scared me :)

I'm also using Patons SWS for the first time on a small project for myself. After hearing so many rave reviews (namely that it's the "best yarn you can buy at a big-brand store") I'm having a so-so reaction to it. I love the colorways (I'm using "Natural Earth") and of course the feel. Like everyone else in the blogosphere, I'm noticing it has splitting issues, but the most annoying feature of the yarn is the piling. I've knit about 10 rounds in a hat, and it already looks like I've worn it repeatedly. I think this yarn would make great felted items, because it wouldn't pill as obviously.

**By the way, has anyone checked out my WIP section recently? I'm beginning to think I'm a canidate for ADHD or something. I need to learn to concentrate!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tree Sweater

She made a tree sweater for this poor scrawny tree outside her apartment, and now it's a worldwide phenomenon. Read the whole thing if you have the time - it details the whole Tree Sweater saga, and it's great :) Now I want to find a tree to warm up!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Swatching - AKA Why am I so impatient??

I can be a very impatient person, especially when I have mounds of gorgeous yarn waiting to be made into something. That said, the class I just took really helped me realize the usefullness of swatching both to check my gauge and to see how a certain yarn or pattern looks. Especially because a lot of my Christmas gifts this years are creations of my own imagination; I picked a yarn and a stitch pattern or an idea but I don't really know how it'll look. And there's nothing worse than wasting a $12 skein of misti alpaca (insert obligatory *drool* here) on an idea that doesn't work. So the last two days all I've been doing is working on my sweater and making an endless supply of swatches to try out new ideas, and ripping them out and starting over. In my heart of hearts, I know this will save me a lot of grief later, but it's very disheartening to spend a whole night knitting and have nothing to show for it.

And as for the I've been reminded again why it's important to really THINK about changes before you make them. Guesstimating has no place in garment design, and I need to remember that. Now I'm at the neck portion, and I have 35 more stitches than I should, so I need to frog and do more decreases. I tried it on last night and was sorely tempted to just make it a boat neck and forget the cowl, because I love the way it looks so much.

And I won't even mention my Razor's Edge poncho right now. We had a spat a few weeks ago and we haven't made up yet. I can't pick it up again until I know I hold no anger in my heart. Or until I figure out what I screwed up. :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Top Secret Sweater: A "Making of" Saga, Pt. 1

As sick as I'm getting of working on one project 24/7, I have to say I'm very excited to finally see my efforts taking shape...

Saturday was my last "Make Your First Sweater" class, and I attached the sleeves to the body (see left) and began working on the chest/shoulder area. I chose this project as a first sweater project because it's all in the round, with minimal seaming (just three needle BO under the arms). All I had to do was attached the live stitches at the tops of each sleeve to the appropiate places on the body (leaving a set # of stitches for the 3 needle BO) and then I just began knitting like normal.
As I pointed out in an earlier post, I had difficulty with casting on my sleeves. The first one I did was extremely tight (probably because it was my first time using dpns in a while and I was tightening a lot to make sure there would be no ladders) and the second one is the same gauge as the rest of the sleeve. I only hope blocking will fix this!

As I mentioned earlier, I modified the sleeves somewhat, so they wouldn't be huge and ballooning but rather a bit more subdued and somewhat form-fitting. I accomplished this using the highly technical process of trying them on while knitting them and looking at myself in the mirror. :) Somehow, in the midst of this highly technical process, one of them ended up lumpier than the other. *Sigh* I still don't know how, as I did take notes and measurements while adjusting the first (and more lumpy) sleeve. Once again, I'm looking to blocking to help me here... (sensing a theme, are we?)

Here's a pic of how it all looked pieced together, before joining all the pieces and working the chest. Hopefully sometime this week I'll post the pics of the whole thing on my needles, so stay tuned!
Look - Emma's "helping" me take pictures (by getting in the way).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Impatiently Waiting for a Winder....

At least twice a day now I'm checking for updates on my yarn winder which I ordered with a 50% off coupon (score!). Last night I spent most of Lost and half of The Nine winding a ball of Noro Korchoran (see below) by hand. *sigh* Not fun. Once I get my winder I'll be able to wind yarn super quick-like, although I still have no idea where I'm going to put the darn thing. Oh well.

One of the reasons I really wanted this winder (besides the fact that a nearby lys was going out business and not winding any more balls!) is because I recently bought some (super cheap!) yarn on and there's no way I'm winding 1,000+ yards of wool by hand. Check it out here - it's the last color on the page. I found a great v-neck sweater that I plan to use it for, after the Christmas rush, of course!

Knitty's "Top Secret" Sweater

I've been taking a "Knit Your First Sweater" class at my lys for the past month. This Saturday is the last class and I have to have both my sleeves done. So as you can imagine I've been in knitting overtime - I think I did a good six inches last night on sleeve #2. Tonight I can't knit because I'm going to a concert (Jamie Cullum!!) and I still haven't found the time to put together my Halloween costume for Saturday. Argh! Knitting on a deadline definitely makes me want to stop knitting - or at least switch projects. I bought some Misti Alpaca Bulky (softer than a dream!) and I haven't been able to start working with it because of this sweater.

But now on to the sweater. I'm doing Knitty'sTop Secret in Noro Kochoran. I've made a few modifications, like shortening the whole thing so it fits a petite person such as myself. I've also lessened the "bell" look of the sleeve - I reduced the number of cast-on stitched to 36 and reduced two stitchs at the wrist, and then increased 8 sts as the sleeve goes up the arm, in order to make it look a bit more fitted.

This is my first sweater, and I'm learning some harsh lessons about making sleeves. Namely the lesson that they each need to be exactly the same. Somehow I cast on the first sleeve EXTREMELY tightly, and then loosened up after the inital inch of purling. The second sleeve is totally normal, stretchy cast on and all. So I'm hoping (and praying!) that if I block the cuff of the first sleeve way more than the second, somehow they'll look fine. I just don't have the discipline to redo a whole sleeve, especially on a deadline!

So Saturday I'll be putting the body and two sleeves on my circs and beginning the cowl/neck/chest part. I'm actually really excited about this because that'll be the first time it'll look like a real sweater!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Psychology of Knitting 101

Strange title for a second post in a brand-new blog, I know. I haven't been knitting for as long as many people have, but I have to confess that the whys and the hows of knitting fascinate me. Why do people knit? How do knitters approach knitting?

I've stated this before, but I love to knit because I feel as though it allows me to be creative using a medium that is easily accesible. I can't draw, or compose music, so while I feel like I'm a creative person, I'm not able to use my creativity within the confines of many of the established art forms. This brings us, in a roundabout way, to the art vs. craft debate; craft (supposedly) being something that is created with a useful purpose in mind, and art being something that is created for it's own sake. I don't quite agree with those definitions, because I believe a purse (whether or not it's cabled, fair-isle, or plain old stockinette stitch) can be both a work of art and a useful object.

How do knitters knit? I don't if I'm unusual in this, or it's a symptom of my stash illness, but I almost always tend to buy the yarn before I have a pattern in mind. It's sort of like an "Ooo - Shiney!" response, and then later a "Hmm....maybe a hat?" reaction. I'm very haphazard in planning for projects (although I'm trying to be very good about swatching, especially now that I'm approaching projects where that really matters!).

One thing I hear a lot from experienced knitters is the desire to not be bored while knitting. They don't want to do a simple st st scarf or 2x2 ribbed hat, but instead seek out patterns that keep them engaged the whole time, like complex cabling or lace. See, I'm different there. What I enjoy most is watching the finished object emerge from the end of my needles. There's nothing more exciting to me than starting out the night with 36 cast on stitches, four dpns, and some Noro, and ending up with half a sleeve for a sweater. So I guess I enjoy quantity and finished objects more than the creation of them. I'm not in it for the ride, only the desitination :)

Although, part of the reason why complicated patterns aren't a "must" for me probably has to do with the copious amount of television I watch while knitting. I'll post more about this pattern later, but I have to say it sucks to be on a groove with the Razor's Edge poncho from SnB:Nation only to find I skipped a yo because something exciting blew up on the tv.

Next entry, I promise, will have pictures!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


In order to see the evolution of this self proclaimed "novice knitter" it seems important to see where I've come from. Technically I've been knitting for around two years, but the first 3/4 of that time consisted of half-heartedly attempting two scarves. Now that I've got the basics (and technique!) down, I'm just flying along. On that note, I present to you a partial gallery of my FO's (finished objects).

First, my new purse. Originally meant to be a yarn tote, by the time I finished I just loved it too much. Made of NZ wool (little known fact: the title of this blog would also work if I happened to move to New Zealand. Just sayin'...) I put a felted flower on it because every purse needs a felted flower.

My next bag, which is actually a yarn tote. And it has a flower too! Though not felted, it's made of yummy Paton's Rumors in the Heather colorway. I still can't decide what else to make with it because I love it so much. Make sense? Of course not.

And my cutie little mp3 player bag. One of the first "real" things I made, hence the design defects.

My very recent handwarmers. I found a pattern online that showed how to knit a rectangle and then seam it up, leaving a hole for the thumb. Using that idea, I grabbed various shades of Noro and messed around with broken ribbing and striping. This picture, and the ones above, prove to me that I need to take better pictures, and more closeups, when my goal is to put them on this blog.

Maybe someday (when I'm not at work) I'll post some other pictures of my first structured needle-felting attempt, and some crafting projects I've made.

*Also, ten points if you know where the inspiration for the name of a blog came from? Anyone? Ok - check out The Lucksmiths "Cat in Sunshine" - LOVE that song. It's off their first album ever, entitled (appropriately) "First Tape."