Monday, February 26, 2007

Resisting the urge to spin's striking again. The urge to learn how to spin. What brought forth this sleeping desire? The Yarn Harlot's latest blog entry.

Can you imagine starting with this beautiful stuff:

And creating this beautiful stuff?

I feel it calling to my soul!

The main problem with taking up a new craft? The same problem I always have: Space. Or lack thereof. Maybe when I move I'll be able to buy a drop spindle (the joke here being that they don't take up any room at all) but that's it. And I think I might go roving crazy - it's bad enough that I know how to (barely) needle-felt. This roving is calling to me like mad - it's saying "I know you don't really know what you're doing, but buy me anyway! At least you'll be able to look at me and pet me occasionally! Maybe even rub me against your cheek when no one is looking!"

It's like those old cartoons where the character has the devil and angel version of himself on his shoulders urging him to get the roadrunner, or leave the roadrunner alone. Only I don't have the angel on my shoulder, just the devil, telling me one more craft can't hurt ;)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lelah: The Venus of Our Times

Every time I look at her, I fall in love all over again. *swoon* Alright, I'll stop gushing. Overall I'd say Lelah took a little over a week to make, so it's the perfect short project - I'm definitely tempted to make some modifications (different lace pattern perhaps?) and make another one. There's a very inspiring thread on craftster where knitters have posted their FO's, some with really neat modifications.

I used Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in #620, Fern which surprisingly knit up to the same gauge as the pattern's wool did. I also lucked into the perfect ribbon in the $1 bin at Michael's - I actually wanted more of a copper color but couldn't find it. Throughout the knitting I was freaking out about the bust - not that I have much in the area of boobage, but still, exposure is not an option. So I measure very careful and cut the elastic very carefully and it somehow (magically?) ended up being literally perfect.
I don't know if you can see from the xcu on the left, but I was actually upset at how much pilling there seemed to be with the cotton. The bottom half of the lace (where I had frequent frogging and lots of handling) doesn't look as clean as the rest of the top, and I actually used a pair of scissors to cut away the worst bits of dangling fluff.

One weird bit: The pattern says to use a bindoff (forgot the name) where instead of lifting one stitch over the other, you lift two. This created an extremely tight, gathered edge (I hope you can see it in the pic on the right) that is hell on your hands and fingers. After doing it for about 5 inches I decided to continue in regular BO fashion and just use the special bit on the back. Once completed, however, it wouldn't even fit over my head. After sighing and breaking out the scissors, I ripped and cut out the offending BO section and then reknit & bound off again normally. This worked just fine, and I'm not missing the gathered look at all.

Next update: My fair-isle camera case!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Because I think you guys are slightly more likely to understand this, here's a little something cross posted from my Livejournal. "I'm currently adapting the "City Shrug" pattern from last yr's Knitscene magazine for my thinner cotton yarn. As I'm doing the math and checking my results, all I can think of is Farscape: "Right Side, Wrong Side, Right Side, Wrong Side!" It has to do with Starke from Farscape and the mechanics of Stockinette stitch....ok, I've lost you all. Sorry."

Anybody? Starke? Farscape? Maybe I've lost you guys too ;)

As for the City Shrug, now that I'm nearly 2 inches away from finishing my Lelah (two very...very...very boring inches of pure stockinette) my fingers are literally itching to start another project. For some reason I've felt an incredible urge recently to actually make clothing items. My Top Secret Sweater is currently on the needles again for revisions, but other than that I've never made clothing, just lots of accessories and bags. My recently discovered love of Knitscene Magazine (I now own two of the three issues) led me to the City Shrug - I'm in love with lots of garments at the moment, but this one fit three important criteria:

1) I already have yarn I can use
2) It's a simple pattern
3) It's a fast knit

The problem is, I'm making lots of modifications. I'm using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece instead of the recommended yarn, which is a different weight. Time to break out SnB:Nation and a calculator! I've figured out my stitch & row ratios, and now I'm trying to rework the decreases/increases, which is too much math for me right now. And I'm making bobble changes, because when I swatched (and made bobbles for the first time!) I didn't like the look of the bobbles just two stitches apart. I'm increasing that by three stitches, and since the yarn I'm using is smaller than the yarn in the pic, my bobbles are smaller and less obvious. Since I generally don't make anything flashy that calls attention to me, small and less obvious is key :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Patience, Young Padawan

If you remember, "learn to be more patient" was one of my 2007 knit resolutions. How am I doing? Very poorly.

Case in point: The new love of my life, Lelah. I'm determined to make this out of some of the yarn I bought at the All Yarn No Football party at Unwind in Burbank (50% off the back room, 30% off the front. It was beautiful). So I sat down and swatched, maybe not as thoroughly as I should have, but I obtained gauge and decided to start my top. (Using Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton in a dark khaki green, if you're interested) Two abbreviated nights of knitting and 8 rows later, I realized I had twisted the stitched when I joined. *sigh* Isn't that rookie mistake? Shouldn't I be over that by now? Oh well, so I frogged it and began again. Only then I realized "Wait a sec! I bought two skiens of the dark green, not three! This patterns requires three! What was I thinking?" So now that we've established that I'm a moron, I decided to use my Lamb's Pride Cotton Fleece in Sedona Red instead. After swatching with that (with a little Hercules therapy in the background to calm me down) I realized I liked the bulkiness of the green cotton more. *sigh* So my current plan is to hit up Unwind sometime this week and hope they still have some of that dyelot left.

Another resolution is coming along nicely - "Learn fair-isle." On the left you can see my sample swatch for my Endpaper Mitts. I'm very pleased with how it turned out - ignore the bottom few rows, because that's where I was figuring it all out. I've figured out a rudimentary way to knit with yarn in both hands, though I have to confess this swatch took me an entire hour to do. This doesn't leave me filled with much hope as far as finishing the darn mitts goes. A part of me wonders if I should just hold off until I get better at not just fair-isle, but also knitting with such tiny (fingering weight) yarn on such tiny (size 3) needles. I'm a bulky/worsted weight kinda gal. On the right you can see the K1P1 ribbing that I'm supposed to do for 18 rows. Excuse me while I peel myself off the floor from the shock. I'm thinking of changing it to a K2P2 or something just so I don't lose my mind. I ended up doing those few rows with the wrong needle size, which explained why it wouldn't fit over my hand. So, right now my endpaper mitts are merely a swatch and a dream, to be resumed shortly ;)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

2007: A Year of New Techniques

A kitty in repose (on my yarn!)

Since I finally have a bunch of FO & WIP pictures, I think I'll ration them out over a few days. After learning how to do cables with "Fetching" (did I post those FO pics yet?) I decided to use my lone skien of Patons SWS in Natural Denim for the cute cabled hat in the SNB:Nation book. I decided to go for the pom pom, because really life's too short to live in fear of pom poms, as I have done in the past. Making the darn thing was much more difficult than I thought it'd be - don't stores sell pom pom makers? If so I'll have to buy one, because cutting my own of out cardboard got really old.

Behold my beautiful cables! I blocked this hat over two bowls in my kitchen - a smaller bowl set over a bigger one, which approximated the shape of the human head well enough. Thankfully Emma didn't decide to mess around with "that strange thing on the kitchen counter" since the bowls were balanced very precariously. I don't think picking glass shards out of wet wool is anyone's idea of a good time.

In case anyone's interested, I still only cable without a cable needle, and it's worked well thus far. After my first disastrous attempt with an actual cabling needle I wrote off cables for months and months, until I learned of this technique and decided I simply had to make a pair of Fetching.

To continue making this an SWS-only post, here's the beginnings of my Danica scarf, inspired by this lovely knitter, who's created quite a splash in blogland with her version. I'm rather annoyed - ok, VERY annoyed at the way the SWS is behaving. The pic on the left shows how much I was able to get from one skien, and though it's supposed to be a three skien scarf I'm a little worried. Not to mention the girl who's scarf is in the photo swears she didn't cut her yarn to make her squares solid colored, but for the life of me I can't get it to work. As you can see in the closeup, almost all my color shifts occur smack dab in the middle of a square. And to make matters worse, my first skien contained three (3!) knots and was missing an entire color. This colorway (Natural Earth - my favorite!) transitions into this really awesome deep navy blue, and instead all I got was a washed out dark grey. *sigh* Of course the second I joined my second ball, what color shows up? The navy. If this end of the scarf looks funny because of it I swear I'll chop it off and reknit it with a brand new skien. I keep consoling myself with the knowledge that very few people will notice any of this once it's done.

On a non-whiny note, I'm really getting a good short row workout. I've done them before in the artyarns tutorials, but it's amazing how easier it is to remember once you start. You don't even have to really count stitches, because you either decrease or increase one every row so you can visually keep track of where you are. I love seeing the entrelac come to life - you work a triangle, a square, another square, and a triangle, and then repeat backwards till you're back on the same side of the scarf you started on.

Ok, enough for now. I probably should get back to work :) Next update: I tackle fair-isle! Do I come out on top? You be the judge!