Monday, October 6, 2008


(The Epic Garter Saga continues...)

I could smash my head against a wall for not thinking of this sooner, but hey, maybe if I write this down instead of self-flagellating, I'll do better next time I have some complex lace to knit.

ALWAYS USE A LIFELINE. Here's a Lace knitting FAQ - halfway down the page are instructions on how to use a lifeline.

Right now I'm using dental floss, so the garter might have a minty fresh scent after all is said and done.

The stupid thing is, I've used lifelines before. And the amount of times I've ripped back this garter and started over... if only I had just used a lifeline to begin with, I could have had it in the mail by now!

I guess I should stop typing - I'm actually taking a mandatory rest for my wrists before I get back into the knitting. I am hoping to have it blocked out and drying overnight. Cross fingers, knock on wood, etc.

Swatching: The Final Frontier

What is the one thing that every knitting book stresses over all others when tackling a new project?

Swatch, swatch, swatch.

I know this. I understand, fundamentally, why it is so important. Yet, because I usually never work with delicate fibres or knit anything that actively requires blocking, I tend to skimp on the mechanics of swatching. If I'm about to try out a new sock pattern I'll swatch to make sure I have the right amount of stitches per inch for the needles I'm using, to ensure a good fit, but that's about it.

I have never really thought about why it is important to swatch in a particular pattern, nor have I really given any thought to actually blocking said swatch, until this weekend.

As you might recall, I am knitting Eloping for my friend Jo for her wedding. The wedding that is a little less than three weeks away. I have been trying to get it done for so long, but I keep running into walls on it. Part of it is my inability to knit back lace, especially lace so fraught with double yarn-overs (I will get five inches into it and then drop something and not be able to find my way back, for e.g.), and part of it is my fear of working with beautiful fibres. It may even have something to do with fear of accomplishment. And because I can't go to the wedding in person, this garter is standing in for me - I want to make sure I have contributed something beautiful, like nothing else I have ever been able to do for my wonderful friend. I want her to know how much I love her and her husband-to-be, through my handcraft. So this Saturday I finally sat down and knitted all the length I thought I needed, according to the pattern (1" less than leg circumference). It was incredible: not one mistake! I took little breaks to ensure my wrists wouldn't tire and my morale wouldn't sag. I kicked that garter's butt! Then it was time to block.

The garter grew SIX INCHES after a brief soak and a very gentle roll in a towel. I panicked. After I put the measuring tape over it I literally clutched my hands to my mouth and stared at it in horror. I couldn't speak. I couldn't tell my husband what was wrong when he looked over in confusion. I took a deep breath. I made some measurements on my craft foam and tried to pin it out as best I could, but it was so obvious that, even taking the vertical measurement into account, it was going to be way longer than needed. It looked bunched up and awkward. To my credit, I didn't cry. I didn't throw anything (as I have been known to do in moments of knitting-related distress). I just left it to dry and thought about what I could do to fix it, if anything. Nathan suggested booking a help-session at the LYS; maybe we could tear it back with their help. I think this was a wonderful idea, but I wanted to start over, even with all of the start-overs I've already had.

So tonight I swatched up. I did two - one that measured 2" unblocked, and another one of 4" unblocked; that's 5 and 10 pattern repeats, respectively. I blocked them out and they both blossomed an extra 1" per 5-pattern repeat. So I now know, definitively, how much I need to knit. I also practiced threading the elastic and the ribbon through. So I'm all prepared for that stage of the process. My sincere hope is that if I work hard tomorrow (I have the day off), I can have it in the mail on Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest. Express mail, because I have to send it to Australia!

Wish me good luck and Godspeed, fellow knitters. And rest assured that through all of these gaffs and the many times I have now knitted this lace, I have absolutely, 100%, learned the value of swatching and blocking a swatch. Don't let this happen to you, my friends! Swatch, swatch, swatch AND BLOCK!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Little Notes From The Procrastinator

...heh. Right now I'm procrastinating on my exercise. I'll get there, I just have to blog first. Urgently!

1. Yesterday was me and the man's 7th wedding anniversary. !!! We had a pretty sweet day. He is off on vacation and I requested the day off, so we had a late lunch at a Mexican place, a couple of drinks from Sonic during Happy Hour, a leisurely nap in the early evening, and then dinner at our favourite Greek place. A lovely way to spend the day. And, of course, there were gifts - I got him the complete series of "Spaced" on DVD (a Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright production from about 10 years ago, which we have wanted to watch, but been denied a Region 1 release... until now! Also, is the origin of the phrase "fried gold"), and he picked me up a couple of knitting books - "Knit Aid" by Vickie Howell, and "Super Stitches Knitting" by Karen Hemingway. What can I say, the dude knows me ;) ♥

2. New knitting mag: Debbie Bliss Magazine. Of course I bought it. It has a very pretty layout, lovely colours, a scone recipe (!!) and some very promising patterns. As soon as I can find a yarn I like in both colour and quantity for a project bigger than a scarf/socks/armwarmers, I will totally make one of the shrugs/cardigans. I've even been sketching some ideas for my own shrug, though it might take me forever to get around to the actual construction. Anyway, I've only really skimmed through the mag but I already think it's a winner. I'll post on it in more depth once I've read it through.

3. Visited Hobby Lobby today on the spur of the moment during my lunchbreak, to see if there were any copies of Vogue "Knit.1" magazine (are they even still making it? My brief web search really didn't tell me anything). Well, they didn't, so I went forth to look at yarn. And knock me over with a feather, but they've started carrying sock yarn! I saw cotton/elastic blend (can't remember the brand), and wool/nylon in Lion Brand and - gasp - Red Heart. Yes, real wool, from Red Heart! And the colour selection was really very nice. The Lion Brand comes in a skein big enough to knit an actual pair, for $9.99, and they even had a variegated yellow (my dream right now is to knit yellow socks). Since I splurged on the magazine I didn't buy any yarn, but I'll be making a trip as soon as it's financially viable. It's a good thing I didn't totally write off Hob Lob as a knitting wasteland!

4. Sending out good vibes to anyone in the path of Hurricane Ike. Be safe out there, kids.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The Fall issue of Knitty is up...! If you're reading this, then you probably know. But I've been anxiously checking every day to see if it had arrived yet... and today it has. Huzzah! I'm so excited...!! :D

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yarn Talk, Plus Bonus Sushi

From top to bottom:

1. The Crystal Palace Yarns "Bamboo Silk", in denim, with which I will be knitting Jo's garter
2. Close-up of the yarn yumminess
3. Plate of sushi enjoyed last Wednesday night at the delightful Fuji restaurant in a neighbouring town

I have actually started the garter - but due to improper storage techniques (that is to say... the way things get randomly jostled in my knitting-bag-slash-handbag, even when projects are safely stored in their own ziploc bags) I lost a couple of stitches. I also thought about how I haven't knitted on it in a while and thought that my gauge might get all effed up if I continue along. Sooooo... you know me. But I did it after careful consideration. It wasn't "woe is me, I shall frog instead of being rational". I decided that I'm going to devote part of my Saturday to nothing but sheer knitting madness and get it all done in one fell swoop. I only had a couple of inches to show for my progress, and Eloping knits up fast, y'all. So I'm prepared to knock it out of the park. Watch this space for updates!

The special sushi treat was to celebrate my mum. It would have been her 62nd birthday last Wednesday. Love ya, mum.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More Photos: Part Three!

From top to bottom:

1. Feet... in socks
2. Feet... in socks again
3. Close up of the heel
4. My blue sock making its soccer game debut :P

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Okay, now I'm going to bed. I braved the scary technological bit by getting my photos onto the computer (I think all the sock-knitting is turning me into a Luddite!). Stay tuned for more pictures of the blue sock. I hope to have it finished tomorrow. That's a lot of hope for such a small sock.

Recent Knitting Photos: second part of last post

From top to bottom:
1. Sock on Boodie
2. Sock on my lap
3. Close up of sock pattern
4. Socks on my feet, in weird light



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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Quick post for Sarah!

I finished the second of the "Spring Forward" socks on Saturday night (08/30/08) and promptly took pictures, which have not been pulled off my camera yet - but I'm heading upstairs to do that right now and hope to edit this post with an image! (Or just, you know, flood this blog with image posts, haha.)

I'm currently working on finishing another sock - ribbing for the whole tube, then ribbing on top of the foot and I'm trying an idea called a "princess foot" for the sole, where you do the sole in purl so the inside of the foot is stockinette, and is supposed to feel smoother on the skin. I picked up this sock Sunday - I'd already done about three inches in ribbing but forgot all about it until I needed my size 2 dpns for another sock project, and I thought I'd ribbed too far to give it up, so I'm following through. Sunday afternoon I knitted on the sock while watching the Arkansas women's soccer team trounce Oral Roberts University (go Razorbacks!). I also earned a wicked sunburn because my stupid ass forgot to put on sunscreen. Heh.

New book in the library (I succumbed to peer pressure at work and bought something I've had on the hold shelf for months on account of never having any money): "101 Designer One-Skein Wonders", edited by Judith Durant. This morning I was looking lovingly at the pattern for a Dogwood Blossom Wrap, made of a very fine silk. I was completely into it until I realised the recommended silk is FIFTY-TWO DOLLARS A SKEIN. Erm... no thanks! Maybe when I'm a BAZILLIONAIRE.

Poor knitters unite! :P

Monday, August 25, 2008

Finished #1!

Finished the first of my "Spring Forward" socks. Have already cast on for the second and done about three rounds of ribbing. Amazing! :D

Pictures will come soon - I even took one of the sock laying on Boodie. Not that she was particularly happy about an impromptu "Stuff on My Cat"-style shoot, but whatev!

Socks Ahoy

I am really into socks right now (well, again). I had this gorgeous red/pink-themed sock yarn sitting around (it also has hints of grey/purple/blue/brown/orange, but it's mostly red) - and I don't actually remember where I got it from because evidently, at some point in time, I wound it into balls and then misplaced the band with all of the relevant information on it. I want to say it's a Kaffe Fassett yarn, but I could be wrong. Anyway, I finally decided to do something with them. We had a bit of a social gathering on Friday evening, and since I've been sick (I am finally feeling better!) I didn't want to do much but sit and knit. So I camped out by the snack table in the kitchen - where there was light - and began working on Spring Forward. By Saturday afternoon I had the heel turned and the gusset stitches picked up (most miraculously of all, I picked up exactly the right amount of stitches on each side - omg). I'm in the home stretch now, I just have to remeasure my foot to make sure that I knit to the right size. I have tried it on as I go and wonder of all wonders, it actually fits! And the lace looks pretty darn sweet! I'm excited about it.

To be honest, I felt a bit dull knitting and drinking tea while I was at a party. But there were a few folks there who weren't partaking of the usual party stuff either, and I had a good time chit-chatting with them and grooving to funk music while I got used to the lace pattern. I can totally see myself doing that again. I might earn myself a reputation as a fibre-obsessed weirdo, but I'm quite alright with that.

So here are some more socks I'm desperate to try:

Diamond Waffle
Broad Ripple

As an aside, I'm desperate to try some of Anne Hanson's lace. Her work is so amazing and intricate and beautiful, and though I know it would take me a thousand years to make a shawl, I just want to get out there and knit it!

In other WIP news, Eloping is going swimmingly. I popped by the LYS on Saturday afternoon and bought some sock yarn for Ben's socks (Jo's beau) - I got Brown Sheep Company Wildfoote in a very manly black-grey. I did drool (not literally) over the rest of the sock yarn in the sock room, but I'll save that for later (if anyone wants to get me 100g of Noro sock yarn, though, you're more than welcome... haha). Anyway, while I was checking out I showed off my progress and confessed that I have no idea how to block. The ladies, as ever, were quite helpful and told me all I need to know. Can you believe that the first time I ever stepped foot into Handheld I felt intimidated and like I wouldn't really ever go back because I had no idea what I was doing? HA! I love the place now. Had I more cash I'd be in there every week!

Alright, I have a sock to finish, and yes, a second sock to cast on immediately. If I'm lucky I'll have a pair to show off by the end of the week! Adios!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WIP: Eloping

Back to "Eloping": I now have the "progress" part of "work in progress"! Yesterday I paid a visit to my lovely LYS (Handheld) and picked up a skein of Crystal Palace Panda Silk (in Denim, though it fits the bill for Jo's preference of light blue). I also scored four back issues of "Knit Simple" for fifty cents apiece (I'm so happy about it, you have no idea), and sought advice about how to properly make use of my swift and ball winder as I was concerned that I might be stretching out my yarn. (Joy is a blessing and a fount of knowledge - thankyou for your help!)

Practicing the lace pattern for the garter was another issue altogether. I had to look up how to do a yo before a purl stitch (it's the little things that trip you up, isn't it?), but once I got that sorted out, I managed to find my way through the pattern. It helps that it's only a four-row repeat. Also, weirdly, I can follow the written instructions a lot better than the chart, and usually I'm a chart person. Whatever works, I say. So far I'm practicing with mercerized cotton on slightly bigger needles than the 3.25mm ones called for in the pattern before I get going with the Panda Silk. It's tricky and I have to announce the stitches to myself before I do each one, but I had to do that for the Lacy Hug-Me-Tight lace, too, until I got the hang of it. I'm getting there.

Photos soon! I actually bought batteries for my camera today, so I hope to start posting pictures again.

Back to knitting!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So-Called Scarf: Take Two

So, I made some kind of mistake while knitting on the My So-Called Scarf... and since I can easily repair mistakes and dropped stitches in stockinette but not in slip-stitch or lace knitting, I just sighed and tore it back, wound back my yarn, and picked out a different set of needles. Yes, the fabric was stable and sturdy, but it was a little too thick for my liking, so I decided to try again on size 13s. So far, so good... knock on wood.

In weekend movie rental news, we watched "The Eye" (Jessica Alba U.S. remake) - not bad, not as scary as I thought it would be but still a little unnerving, with a decent ending and completely unfathomable music over the end credits; "Doomsday" - a crazy post-apocalyptic pastiche, borrowing bits and pieces from "Mad Max 2", "28 Days Later", and "Gladiator". It is bizarre, action-packed, badass, and totally unashamedly glorious. It's gory and explicit in parts, but a fun thrillride nonetheless.

Right now, we're watching "In Bruges", which came highly recommended from my friend Pierce. Still formulating my thoughts on it, since it's not yet over. But I'm enjoying it. The scenery and filming is beautiful, and I love a movie where the dialogue is jam-packed with swearwords!

Speaking of movies, I've been holding out for a two-movie repackaging of "Grindhouse" - "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof". I really thought they'd sell both of them in one awesome set, but as of now, they're still sold seperately (except overseas, and my all-region DVD player gave up working about six months ago). I really loved "Death Proof" and watch it whenever it's on TV. It's a great knitting-to film (I believe I even mentioned in a post a few months back). Some people take issue with the wordiness of Quentin Tarrantino's dialogue, but I rather enjoy it. I also like watching a movie where the ladyfolks are talking about stuff other than fashion and shoes. (The more I watch "Planet Terror", the more I enjoy it, too. Just "Death Proof" was my favourite of the two from the start.)

Alright, enough chatter, back to knitting! I want to get this scarf finished sometime before fall... and note to self, go to LYS tomorrow to get yarn for Jo's garter, so I can have that done and mailed off sometime before their first wedding anniversary!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mindless Knitting Corner

My husband asked me to make a scarf, and I was toying with a textured stripe pattern (seed stitch for an inch, stockinette for an inch), thinking that balancing out the stockinette with something else might prevent the usual curling effect you get with stockinette... either I'm too impatient for blocking or it was never going to work! So I went on the hunt for other stitch patterns that would be ever-so-slightly fancy, yet understated. Since I've been on Ravelry lately, I checked out my queue and found the My So-Called Scarf from ImagiKnit. At first, not having looked at the pattern for a few months, I was a bit intimidated by the instructions - but I practiced for a while and eventually figured out what I was supposed to do. It creates a stable, herringbone-y sort of fabric, and already feels like it's going to be quite warm. Now it's a lovely bit of "mindless" knitting... perfect for my lunch break at work or while watching TV at night. Plus I'm really hoping to make one for myself in time for fall, and maybe use the stitch pattern to create squares for a totally sweet blanket. I'm using KnitPicks bulky Wool of the Andes on size 11 needles, so it's knitting up very cushy. Can't wait until I'm finished so I can do it in another colour!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Magazine goodness!

Bought two knitting mags at work today - "VOGUEknitting", fall 2008, and "Creative Knitting", September 2008. I'm already eyeing a slouchy beret with reverse stockinette ridges from the Vogue mag and there's a cool "Dolly and Me" pattern in Creative Knitting - a dress and hat for a little girl with matching items for her favourite dolly. It would be perfect for my little niece, T.! (I promised her I would make some blankets for her dollies, so I think this would put it a step above.) The difficult thing about living in the northern hemisphere is that by the time it would be practical to knit winter-y type things for my nephews and nieces - for Australian autumn/winter - it's just getting to spring and summertime for us, and I'm all about knitting with cotton or just not knitting much at all. I really have to get my arse in gear to figure this out before they're all pushing 20-years-old and don't want their dorky auntie to knit them anything anymore! (Especially not, say, a scarf that looks like a dragon. :P )

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Knit Musings

I feel like I spend a lot more time thinking about knitting and pining over yarn than I actually spend knitting! I always want to spend my evenings trying out a new pattern or designing, and sometimes I actually get there... but other nights, like tonight, I just sit and wish I had the money for, say, a skein of Koigu or other similar yarn (so I can make the beret I mentioned in yesterday's post), or I think about a Rolling Stones logo knitting chart I need to print or copy so I can make my friend Cassie a sweet beanie - though we haven't decided what kind of hat she'd like, maybe it would suit a beret style better with the logo in the front? And should I be worried about copyright infringement? (Yes, those are the thoughts that go through my head: design first, copyright second, haha.)

I think about the purse clasps I have and how I'd like to knit a little clutch to fit into the frame - but I don't know how to attach the knitting to the hardware. I think about hat designs and Christmas presents and the two new knitting magazines that are on the rack at work, but I can't buy them yet because I'm broke.

I think about the big box of Pewter-coloured, bulky Wool of the Andes I bought from KnitPicks when I was intent on making Cheesy Puffs for my father-in-law, but then winter fell through to spring and then spring gave way to the brain-meltingly hot summer, and the last thing I want to do is knit a sweater, so I've been using it in other projects, and I wish I didn't have so much grey because even though I love grey, I'd really like a blue or a red or something jewel-toned to create with right now, and even if I went back to the original sweater idea I a) don't have enough yarn left now anyway and b) I would have no idea how to modify the neckline how he wanted it!

I think about the cardigan pieces I have laying around from Christmas when I was knitting my mom-in-law a cardigan I have yet to sew together, because I was knitting with a slubby acrylic and I didn't think to include a selvage and anyway, the pieces got all big while I was kntting them so I don't really need a selvage, but how am I going to figure out where to do my seaming when the yarn is so big and fluffy?

And then I think about how much knitting-time I'm wasting thinking about the could-have-knits and should-have-knits when I could have been knitting... and lo and behold, it's time for bed already. And I was at work until 8pm. No wonder I feel like I never have time for knitting!

P.S.: Found this entrelac scarf tutorial today. Can't wait to get a few different colours of yarn and try this one out! I really want to master entrelac but it just seems so scary and difficult.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Knitting Magazine Rant!

I am a knitter. Because I knit, I buy knitting magazines - frequently. It doesn't matter if I'm not intending on making the items in the magazines right away, because I like to look at the pictures and be inspired, and I usually end up referring back to them when I do need a pattern for, say, a short-row clutch purse.

I understand that knitting and crochet are linked - both are yarn craft, using a tool or two by hand. I also understand that a little bit of crochet has its use in the world of knitting: stabilising a neckband, adding a bit of detail, picking up a dropped stitch with a crochet hook, etc. I am not upset that the two go together.

What does tick me off is when a knitting magazine features a pattern - one, sometimes more - that is comprised entirely of crochet! Like the most recent issue of "KnitScene", where a pretty little hoodie is all crochet. I was looking at it with much enthusiasm until I realised that one needs crochet skills to craft said hoodie. I don't crochet.

I haven't much experience with the world of crochet magazines, but I imagine they don't feature knitting patterns... because their craft is crochet. Is it too much to ask that knitting magazines stick to knitting patterns?!

Ok, not much of a rant, but seriously. Knitting magazine: all knitting. Crochet magazine: all crochet. Just for the knitting-only crafters' sanity! Please!

P.S.: Can't wait to make this beret I found at! It looks totally sweet.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cute Corner: Apple Sweater!

Courtesy of "I Think I'm Gonna Purl" (what a great blog name!), a pattern for an Apple Sweater! I really can't wait to make this :)

Works In Progress Update: I have several repeats of the Lacy Hug-Me-Tight lace done, finally! After putting "knit on G.'s shrug" on my weekly to-do list for about two months, I finally got somewhere. The last time I attempted the lace I dropped a bunch of stitches and couldn't figure out how to fix my mistakes, so I was procrastinating somewhat... I was scared I would eff it up again. I have been hypervigilant this time! Cross fingers, knock on wood, etc. I am putting the lace aside for the next week or so until I can get some measurements and best figure out how to modify the length of the shrug to fit my friend.

I am also working on a fun, not-so-difficult project - a scarf for my husband. He actually requested one - I didn't think he would wear one but I'm only too happy to oblige. All he wants is for it to be wide, so I'm doing textured stripes - a stripe of seed stitch, a stripe of stockinette, etc. It's a nice relaxing project.

Okay, I've been up way too late already (my work had a new release party for Stephenie Meyer's "Breaking Dawn", and I got to help out with the festivities!), so ciao, knitters!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fave Fibres

When I started knitting, I began with acrylic, because it was cheap and came in a load of fun colours. I was also drawn to fuzzy and eyelash yarns, which I'm really not a fan of anymore (I prefer something smooth that lets me see what I'm doing). Of course, while acrylic has its merits - in my experience it makes a fairly decent blanket - it's not the greatest, especially if you crave definition and want to do fun things like lace and intricate stitch patterns. It can't really be blocked, so if shape is an issue, it's not really the best choice.

I still like cotton, but I've realised that while it is good for some things, it's not for everything (again, see definition and shape issues; also, elasticity). I'm learning how to use it to the best of its ability (for e.g., I was thinking of using it to make a Caliometry, but when I realised that it would be floppy and not really hold shape, I gave up the idea. However, it worked for the Lana and Clark ascot, though probably not as well as it would have with the recommended fibre).

Which brings me to wool. I think I still have a holdover from my youth, where I think of wool as an itchy, annoying thing that overheats me and makes me feel yucky when I wear it. The more I work with it, though, the more I love it. It shows stitch definition, it's springy and elastic, it's lovely and warm, and it's just so very, very cosy! (Sometimes there's some residual itchiness but I'll imagine that it's more psychological at this point than actual.) Sure, I also love alpaca and other protein fibres, and I haven't really had the experience with plant fibres that I want to have, but for now I'm going to boldly go out on a limb and declare myself a wool woman. I reserve the right to change my opinion, but at least for today, I ♥ Wool!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Long Time No See!

Hi, blog-world. It has been approximately forever since I posted here, though I have still been knitting fairly steadily (or at least trying!).

Here's a list of stuff I've made lately:

* two Calorimetries - one in varigated blue wool for my friend Stephanie, and one in grey wool for myself. I remember when I first saw the pattern - pretty much every knitting person I knew online had crafted one, and all I could think was "what the hell are short rows?!". If only I had realised that it was as simple as following the instructions and not being freaked out by the small holes from the turns! Well, I know now, and I hope to make several for my friends for winter.

* Vickie Howell's Lana and Clark Ascot, in green/white cotton, for my friend Bre's birthday. I opted out of the picot edging (I found it a little tricky on my practice piece, and I didn't want to wreck the real thing in order to try it), though I hope to give it a whirl soon. I was pleased with how the seaming turned out when I sewed the two pieces together - I've never really understood "mattress stitch" - but it worked out! I intend on making another one in the suggested fibre - bamboo/silk sounds so luxurious. I might try wool, also.

Here's a list of stuff I have attempted to try lately:

* entrelac

Entrelac looks glam and exciting, but in execution is a difficult pain in the arse. I will not be deterred! I know it can happen. I was using this tutorial, though I had difficulty understanding the instructions. I am going to try again with the scarf pattern Danica. One way or another, I am going to get it!

Here's a list of upcoming projects:

* the Lacy Hug-Me-Tight from Mel Clark and Tracy Ullmann's knitting book, "Knit 2 Together". As mentioned in my last, long-ago post, I showed the pattern to a co-worker who was looking for something small and lacy to wear over her dress at her son's wedding, and she fell in love with it immediately. I translated the written instructions in the book into chart form, and after a bit of practice found the lace easier than it looks (not so easy that I can do it without the chart, though!). Here are the specifics of what we settled on:

Modifications: after much discussion about fibre, and my swatching with actual alpaca silk, we decided to go with mercerized cotton - it is much cheaper and while I had my doubts about the feel of the finished product, it is actually softer than expected and holds the shape of the lace well. Also, she decided that she wanted the body of the shrug to be much shorter than shown in the pattern, which shouldn't pose too much of a challenge.

My problems: I need another long circular needle for the body of the shrug - and I'm not sure what size needle I need yet. Also, I don't know how to back up and fix lace when I drop a stitch. There is also the small matter of knowing how long to knit the lace, since I am modifying the size of the body of the shrug. If I can ever stop procrastinating (she needs the shrug for October), I'll figure these minor details out!

* Eloping for my friend Jo. When we talked about what I should knit for her late spring/early summer wedding, we went over the option of having me knit a garter. I was sure I could probably design something, and then I visited recently and lo and behold, I found this delicious little confection. I have to ask her what colour and find the perfect non-handspun (since I don't actually spin... yet?). I'll put that on the to-do list.

Here's a list of things I want to make:

* How awesome does Seascape look? It's so beautiful! I have no idea if I can pull it off, but it's definitely on the "dream list".

Here's a list of knitting books I have seen recently and coveted:

* 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant
* Kitty Knits: Projects for Cats and their People by Donna Druchunas
* Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together by Larissa Golden Brown and Martin John Brown

...and that, my lovelies, is all for now. I think I'm going to stop procrasting and learn some entrelac!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Where Does The Time Go?!

So, I haven't really written here in a while. I would say the main catalyst for this was when I broke my left hand back in... February? It's easy to forget once you've healed up and started taking twice-daily calcium supplements. Well, the short version is that I was running over to my register in order to take care of a customer, and I whacked my hand against the counter-top. This is an ordinary occurence - inanimate objects tend to get in the way of my path of energy, heh - but this time it was significantly harder and I could swear I felt a crack. The pain was excrutiating. I managed to get in to see my doctor that day and had an x-ray, and lo and behold... yes, it was broken. I saw an orthopaedic specialist and got all splinted up for the next month. I managed to hold it together and work with one hand, but knitting was nigh impossible. It was especially frustrating as I was getting really into lace and had just placed special orders at work for "Arctic Lace" by Donna Druchunas and "Victorian Lace Today" by Jane Sowerby. After I had successfully healed up it took me a little while to get back into knitting and I have all but abandoned my Ravelry profile since there weren't any projects to enter in. I hope to rediscover the fun of Ravelry, but I at least have been tackling small projects and getting back into Properly Obsessed With Pointy Sticks Mode.

Here's what I've been working on:

- The Lacy Hug-Me-Tight from "Knit 2 Together" by Mel Clark and Tracy Ullmann. I showed the photos to a co-worker and she loved it immediately. She wanted something light but warm to accompany the dress she wants to wear to a wedding later in the year. I spent about a month practicing the lace pattern before I bought a skein of the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk and swatched up properly. Oh my STARS. That yarn is so super soft and so beautiful! It was a joy to knit with and produced a beautiful fabric. However, I'm looking at trying a cotton blend for now (understandable; the alpaca silk is quite expensive). The slight skein I bought was definitely not a waste, though!

- the Foliage hat from I had a lovely ball of Lamb's Pride bulky in a vareigated pink, and it was just right for this hat. Unfortunately, I misplaced the right-sized circular needle for it (I have since found it and put it in a safe place!) so when I got to that point in the pattern, I sighed and undid my knitting. I ended up knitting a plain beanie with about 2" of ribbing at the bottom, on DPNs. It only took a couple of hours over the course of a weekend, and at the time (a couple of weeks ago) it was totally appropriate because the weather was playing up and going from warm to cold at the, well, drop of a hat. Now it's warm again and we're gearing up for summer. At least I'll have something cute to wear when fall rolls around again.

- Socks! On my birthday yarn binge (see the yarn bought in the two previous points!) I also got some On Your Toes in the Carousel colorway (pictured). Until I started knitting with it (last Tuesday) I didn't realise that it was self-striping/patterning. It's amazing and so soft! Last night I finished the first sock and cast on right away for the second. I stayed up until about four in the morning (they were showing the entirity of "Grindhouse" on Starz... knitting + schlock horror = awesome) and got halfway through the heelflap!! I would be even further along if I hadn't caused myself some problems with decreases and increases (I was trying not to have slouchy socks; when I went to increase back for the ankle and foot, my increase caused holes, so I ripped back to fix it. Added about an hour of finagling to my progress, argh). I rented a couple of promising looking titles yesterday ("Cherry Falls", "Terror Tract") so I'm confident that I will at least be done up to gusset decreasing by the time I have to go to bed tonight!

I actually have some plain sock yarn I bought from KnitPicks in order to dye myself with Kool Aid. I hope to get some of that done really soon so I can make yet more pretty socks. My goal for 2008 is to get as close to perfecting my sock knitting as humanly possible!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wonderful News! (Also, An Opportunity To Increase Knitting Skills)

My best friend back home, J., and her lovely boy, B., are getting married...!!!!! I am so excited for them I could just cry, but instead, I'm going to commit myself to laceweight and tiny needles and attempt a wedding shawl. I know there are books out there, so I'm going to take a look and consult with the ladies at my LYS and see what I can find. There's really nothing in the knitting world that I'm afraid off (except deadlines, and that applies to everything in my life, really) so I am totally going to take it on.

Watch this space for more information - and congrats to my lovelies :D

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2008: Ready, Set, Knit!

At least, that's how I'm looking at the year. I don't really have a whole lot by way of knitting goals, though I want to:

* sew up the cardigan I knitted for my mum-in-law for Christmas;
* knit the sweater I promised my dad-in-law for Christmas (I have ordered the yarn and picked a pattern! That's a start!);
* knit myself a sweater or cardigan;
* get all of my Christmas knitting done by the end of November;
* figure out all the maths so I have sock knitting down to a science.

That's a pretty modest list, right?

More later when I have access to my own computer and photos and an update on my works in progress! (So far for 2008: I'm in the middle of a thick-yarn cosy beanie as a birthday gift for a friend. I'm also expecting some dye-your-own sock yarn to show up in the mail any day now.)