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. :)