Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Progress & Knitting Surgery

So my yarn came in Friday. I hit the door from work at 5:00 on the dot Friday to try to make it to the Woolie Ewe by 6pm - apparently lots of folks had Friday afternoon off because I skated down the tollway with no problems & made it in 20 minutes flat. I even had time to scope out buttons there - which naturally I don't own enough of- can you believe I don't have 7 of any kind of button that will work for this sweater?!?! That is SO another story.

So here is the long awaited yarn:

I was all excited because we had no real plans for the long holiday weekend which gave me all Friday night plus three full days to get a chunk of this sweater knocked out. It has not been without issues. I knit the ribbing plus about 5 inches on the back (9 inches total) & then measured the back - it was about 30 1/2 inches wide. Uh, I know I've put on some weight, but dude, it doesn't need to be that big. My swatch was a big fat liar! So I took a deep breath & pulled the whole dang thing out.

Sunday morning I started all over again. I liked my gauge so I just adjusted the number of stitches in the reverse stockinette sections & moved right along. Early in the afternoon I noticed the worst thing I could imagine - I missed a cable twist! I thought of just moving along & pretending it didn't happen, but I just couldn't, it was more than obvious. Can you see it?

Of course not - the yarn is too dark. Trust me when I tell you, it was there. It wasn't ALL that far back, really only about 10 rows, but that included 2 cable twist that I'd have to wing. I had 2 choices - rip back those 10 rows or drop down those 4 stitches for 4 rows & hope for the best. Option #2 it is! I figured if I couldn't fix it I would have to rip it out anyway, so might as well try, right? This was the ugly scene:

So after about 20 minutes & hands shaking like crazy, I had dropped the stitches down & worked them back up with the help of a crochet hook, 2 DPNs, and a cable needle. Thank you Knitting Fairy for the excellent instruction - I mean, I've only taken her Don't Despair, Repair class twice.

Now I am back on track & have knit about 4 inches past the armhole shaping. I have some time off & am hoping that I can knock out some more in the next few days as I figure my knitting time while in Louisiana visiting my family will be limited.

This is one thing that I knit while waiting for my yarn to arrive - my very first stranded project. I LOVED it & it matches my winter coat perfectly. The pattern is Opus Spicatum and I knit it up in Knitpicks Swish Worsted. Adorable. I still wish I looked better in hats, but hey, it's functional.

So that's the news - I will update you when I have something more exciting to say than "I'm still working on this sweater"!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Typical Mind Changing

So even though I just posted the story about the Celtic Icon & choosing the right yarn about, that really went down about 2 weeks ago. In the mean time, I have completely changed my mind - so typical of me & a new project, particularly a new sweater.

When I was looking for the perfect yarn for Celtic Icon, I came across this yarn:
Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed in color #156. I loved it. I searched for a DK weight in the same yarn but my LYS didn't have it. I looked for another gray yarn that might be an acceptable substitute but....you know. It wasn't the same. I got the other yarn & tried to forget all about it but....you know. So I have been in the obsessive mode of trying to find a sweater that I want to knit that matches that yarn. I spent hours & hours looking & then DUH - it hit me. My number 2 choice of sweaters to make for Stitches fit the bill. So instead of Celtic Icon I will be making October Frost (it's the one in the middle).I loved that sweater the instant I saw it in the book & that's it. I very well may change the collar on it because I'm not sure how I'm feeling about it, but I can change that when I get to it if the mood strikes me.

I finally broke down & called Woolie Ewe to see if they had enough in stock for my sweater. They had TWO BALLS LESS than I needed. So they ordered the yarn for me & I'm very impatiently waiting for it to come in so I can cast on. So impatiently even that I went in there yesterday on the off chance that I could get it. No such luck - which is kind of a good thing since I started 2 new projects since Saturday.

So there you have it - decision made. I will post photos of my yarn & keep you up to date on my progress when I make some. For now I'm working on a baby sweater for a shower Saturday (what, it's only Wednesday!), a Magic Shawl, and a lace shrug out of some ridiculously tiny black yarn. That shrug was making me hate knitting & I was a bit grumpy about it so I put it down.

That's all for now - later!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I adore you, really, but are you a match for me? - or Choosing yarn

I'm going to pretend that I didn't skip 5 months of blogging, are you in? Instead of trying to play catch up & showing you 27 things that I've made, I'll just tell you where I am right now this instant in the world.

I've really been a slave to knitting lace and shawls. I have completely abandoned all sock, sweater, and accessory knitting. Now, once again, I'm all about making a new sweater.

Here's my news: for my anniversary my husband got me a free ride to a big knitting event of my choice. So of the events coming up in the very near future, I chose to go to Stitches East which will be in Hartford, CT Oct 22-25. For those of you who don't know, Stitches is a huge knitting conference with tons of vendors, classes & all around knitterly activity for a full weekend. I am signed up for 2 great classes, my hotel & flight are both booked. Now you know good & well what I need - new clothes!

I have no idea why this phenomenon exists, but when I go on a trip, I must purchase new clothes. Nevermind that I have perfectly acceptable clothes in my closet that no one where I am going has ever seen. I want new new new new new. Want to guess what this means for a knitting trip? I MUST KNIT NEW STUFF FOR STITCHES. My goal is to knit a new sweater, because I have some awesome new shawls hot off the needles & I'm satisfied with their newness level. Wanna see?

Aeolian is posted.


For the past week I have looked at every sweater that I have ever thought that maybe I wanted to knit to chose something that I find acceptable for such an occasion. My final decision? Celtic Icon by Fiona Ellis from the book Inspired Cable Knits. I love it. Now I'm on the quest for the perfect yarn.

You know, this might be my very favorite part of the knitting process, the plan. I love deciding on a new project, choosing a yarn, choosing a color. So I went to the Woolie Ewe & purchased ONE BALL of a few yarns to try out. This is a new approach for me - I usually throw caution to the wind, buy a full sweater's worth, knit it up into a sweater, or worse, promptly find out that it doesn't work for my project & stash it for another day. This is why I have 12 kinds of sweater yarn in my stash that don't work for any sweater that I want to knit ever (I'm working on this, don't judge me).

These are the yarns I bought, and perhaps won't be the color of my sweater, I just wanted to try them out:

Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - I have been trying to use this yarn for a sweater for ages, we just don't seem to get along. I bought 2 & figure I'll end up making a scarf from this after the swatching project.

Queensland Collection Rustic Wool DK - it is more of a semi-solid with slight color variations & I am digging that right now.

Queensland Collection Rustic Tweed. Sigh. My friend Dawn bought this yarn for a sweater & boy did I fall in love with it. Hers is a most gorgeous pink but I just can't bring myself to want this sweater in that color. I am going to try this but some of the reviews say that the color variations from skein to skein are pretty brutal & frankly, I'm not all about carrying 2 balls of yarn to make it work out - I find that to be a great big pain in my ass. So while this is my favorite, I'm going in cautiously.

So...come with me on the crazy journey of choosing yarn for a project. Who knew it was that much work, huh?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wanna see something pretty?

My very first real lace shawl with beads & everything. I went to my friend Sherilyn's yesterday & she helped me block it so it would be gorgeous. And well, if I may say so myself, it is.

Aeolian Blocked

It's still drying at her house, but it's not like I'll be wearing it anytime soon. I really really love it though & it was fun fun fun to knit.

Aeolian from Knitty.com in Handmaiden Sea Silk Chocolate.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Cutest baby stuff

Man, I love knitting baby items. They take no time & they are SO freaking cute.

February Baby Sweater for my sister's sister in law (got that?) I took this to Target & put it up against other clothes to figure out what size it came out. It seems to be a 6-9 month sweater, which will need to be short sleeved for a Louisiana baby in August to November. I love these buttons:

This is the Baby Kimono out of Mason-Dixon Knitting. I have no idea why they didn't include button holes (or why I didn't think of it in the middle of the project) because that would have been SO much easier than sewing ribbon. Bleech. I have had the knitting done for 3 months but just got around to sewing that ribbon. As a matter of fact, this was for a baby that has since outgrown it so it's going to Patrick's nephew's baby Logan who was born the end of January. It really is cute & I'd knit it again in a second.

I have a few more baby things on my list but haven't started any yet so this will have to do for now. I hope the mommies love them!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Chipping away at projects

Man, I finished a lot of projects in January! I finished 3 scarves, my Clapotis shawl, and two hats. Plus Cheryl finished that bag for me so I count that as well - that makes 7 finished things last month. Dang! Amazing the number of things I get through when I'm not working on something really big like a sweater. So what did I do? I cast on for a sweater! Every sweater I have made so far has been a cardigan. I live in Texas & really, even in the winter I get HOT inside. I find the winter so frustrating because indoors people crank the heat up & I always wonder about that. We are dressed in winter clothes, it doesn't have to be 75 degrees inside! So cardigans really make sense for me because I can layer them over a tshirt & be ready for the weather & the warm temps inside.

But lately I have been on the search for the perfect pullover. I actually own some store-bought pullovers & I do wear them, so I figured it was time to make one. I had about 10 picked out & some that I truly loved - but I had to come to terms that some of them really just weren't going to be flattering. It's one thing to try on a sweater in the store & decide you don't like it. Try spending weeks of your time plus a fair amount of money on yarn only to realize it's not the shape for you. I got lots of great advice from my friends, had it limited down to two, then I got the new Berroco newsletter & they had this:


I had some great black yarn that is a silk/viscose/nylon blend that makes a great fabric in my stash so I started it the same night. I am making pretty good progress but am scared to death it's all going too easily. We shall see.

In between this sweater knitting I did finish my scarf for DC - I bought a red coat with black & grey plaid lining in the hood, so low & behold, not even one scarf I own will go with it. I made this really quickly & will probably whip out a black or grey hat between now & then.

That's all for now - finishing up some of the cutest knitting ever - baby sweaters! Pictures to come soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Can't Stop Casting ON!!!!!

I recently realized that since I have joined Ravelry (really nerdy knitter site) that I haven't been sharing my knitting as much on my blog. So, do you want to see what I've made in the past few weeks?

Cashmere Neckwarmer (that is the name, I used Cascade Baby Alpaca) & hat to match:

This is for Patrick's stepmom for our February trip to Washington, DC. I still have to block it & sew on the button.

Green Chunky Scarf - so easy, seed stitch, 7 stitches, fringe. I love chunky yarn & size 17 needles. I haven't done that in a really long time.

Asymmetrical Hat as a birthday present for my stepmom:

Remind me not to knit anything else "asymmetrical" - it really messed with my head.

Plus my Clapotis (see previous post). I don't know what it is about January that makes me cast on a ton of projects, but it always seems to bring it out in me.

This one is finished, but I can't really take credit for it. I finished knitting this Tovesta bag in March 2008. I took a bag lining class in May, and what that taught me was that I need to pay other people to line my bags for me. I had that fabric cut out & ready to sew in, so my sweet friend Cheryl sewed it in for me & gave it to me this week. I love it so much & she has a cool goodie coming her way for helping me.

It looks like small instant gratification projects are the theme of this month! Off to pick out something ELSE to cast on. See, this is why a stash is a smart idea.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Race for Clapotis

So here's the story. I made a Clapotis for myself back in the summer of 2006. Here's a picture of it:

Let's just say that I don't have fond memories of knitting this shawl & it has been one of the least used things that I have ever knit. Very disappointing.
This one has a lot of things in the con column:
* Why oh why did I make it that color? This was back in the day when I didn't really think through the finished object & rather it would be practical & useful.
* I used an acrylic yarn - although I have to say, I've used this blend several times & it wears well, is easy to care for, and the fabric is pretty dang good. Plus it's cheap & comes in a ton of colors. (Erdal Laser)
* Even as a beginner I knew this was a boring knit

Fast forward to December 08.....I went to run around doing errands before Christmas & it was freaking cold here. I really needed something more than a scarf, but what? Oh yeah, let me throw on my Clappy. So I did & I literally fell in love with it. The construction of it going from shawl to scarf is so freaking clever that I couldn't believe it. I could take off my heavy jacket & use it as a shawl - it was a perfect companion. Now my issue - it was acrylic & perhaps not as warm as I had in mind (I know I live in Texas & everyone thinks it's so warm here, it's a "warm" 29 this morning). It was solid colored, and not even really a color I would normally chose. I cut it one repeat short because I was afraid I'd run out of yarn. I wanted one that was gorgeous & varigated like the ones that everyone else & their grandmother have. But....I'd have to knit it again.

I began to think about it (obsess about it?) a lot & I went through so many options of yarn that I had in my stash. I finally gave up & asked Liz to tell me what yarn to use. So she did - Brooks Farm Solo Silk in the Cary that I got on the retreat last year. I credit 2 things for the completion of the Clapotis in record time:
1) This yarn - it kicks ass. It falls into the deserted island yarn category - if I had a chose a few yarns that I had to knit with forever, I'd be fine taking this one.

2) Liz just finished her Clapotis after TWO YEARS. When I told her that I figured out that I could do a straight row repeat in an hour (maybe an hour 15 min) & that at this rate I could finish by the end of the week, she told me if I finished mine in a week she'd hate my guts. I know she can't hate my guts but I'd have the "I finished my clappy in a week" ammo in my knitting bag forever. So basically she accidentally threw down the gauntlet & I accepted in a crazy way. On top of that, I was really afraid that if I put it down for even a day, it would languish in my not-finished-objects for 2 or so years.

So in a week, people, I knit myself this gorgeous Clapotis. I cast on during The Bachelor (don't you judge me! That Jason is adorable) & I bound off during The Bachelor the next week. I can't take it off - it has been everywhere with me since.

Now go knit one!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

But I Don't DO Christmas Knitting!

In years past I have stressed myself out over Christmas knitting. I have been knitting all the way up to the wire & every year I tell myself I'm not doing it again. I have learned that I am NOT good under pressure, the knitting becomes un-fun, and I knit all kinds of evil thoughts into the item & that isn't good for anyone. So why oh why did I do it again? I do it to myself, too, no one asks me to, I just do.

So what did I make this year? Only 2 things.

My Mom asked for a Christmas green scarf, so I finished it just in time:

I didn't even get a photo of it done - can you believe it? But it looks like this, only longer & not on the needles. This is Palindrome, but I did it in a DK weight yarn, which I don't recommend since it took for freaking ever.

Patrick's Grandma has been saying she wanted some fingerless gloves for quite some time & I got inspired to make her some Dashing:

These literally took me 2 days of off & on knitting to finish. I mean really, they are so pretty (designed for men, but throw in some pink & nothing looks manly).

That is the end of my Christmas knitting. I still much prefer to just knit stuff & surprise the recipient at some odd time (sometimes in the heat of summer) but both of these were well received & I was glad I made them.

Some people plan ahead & start their Christmas knitting right now! How in the world do you hold stuff for that long? I have news for everyone - if I finish knitting you something in February, you are going to get it in February. If it's done in June, you have a random June gift. I'm so terrible about that! Do you knit / buy gifts ahead & actually wait to give them to the giftee? Give me tips if you manage.