Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gimme A Hand...

It's been freezing cold lately. I gave away the fingerless mitts that wore on a daily basis. I was out of town, visiting friends & one of the gals really liked them, and they looked great on her... and well, it just seemed like she should have them. Mind you, when i forked them over I was in SoCal & the weather was much warmer. So I am back on the glove kick again. This time I am doing them in sock weight yarn. And this particular pair, to replace my mitts, are going to be real fingerless gloves...

You see, there is a difference between a glove and a mitten. I hear people refer to fingerless gloves all of the time, but when I look, it's not at all glove on their hot little hand. Gloves have 5 separate tubes for each finger/thumb. Mittens on the other hand... HAHAHA "on the other HAND!!" Anyway. Mittens have 2 separate tubes, one for your thumb, and one large one for the other four piggies. (can fingers be piggies? or is the term piggies just for toes?)

So my point is that when someone says fingerless gloves... there should be 5 separate tubes for the fingers/thumb, with the tips open of course. Otherwise they are talking about fingerless mitts. Or maybe all mittens are fingerless because they don't have tubes for your fingers... hmmm...

Yarn is Claudias Handpaints Fingering (HA! fingering.. glove... ok, I am done) in colourway "Eat Your Veggies"
Needle is Addi #1/2.5mm
Pattern, I am making it up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sweaters For Geek Babies!

First Elizabeth Zimmermann project... DONE!! And it was an awesome good time. It was a quick and easy knit for the most part. All things considered I will say that I am 98% happy with the final product. I would have been done with this in far less time, but I put it down a couple of times to work on other stuff... and just procrastinate in general. I have swatched for the me-sized February sweater. I will be knitting it along with a friend... Knitsonya and I will be casting on together next week. I will be using Rowan Cocoon... see three posts ago for photos of said luscious yarn.
Notice the vast span from neck to armpit....
First issue: in her "pattern" she says to knit the yoke in garter stitch for however long... then "change to" lace pattern... add buttonholes (which despite reading other people gripe about it... i screwed up the first time around). Then it says at 4 1/2" divide for sleeves. Now the part that grabbed me by the girly gonads was 4 1/2" from WHERE? 4 1/2" from the beginning? 4 1/2" from the lace pattern? 4 1/2" from the Moon? I looked and looked... Ravelry, Zimmermann blogs, all kinds of resources... I Googled my ass off and couldn't find anything. I asked around and a few people suggested that it would be 4 1/2" from the lace pattern. Now the rough part here is that my instinct told me that it should be 4 1/2" from the beginning edge. I feel super silly now when in retrospect I think how simple it was to figure it out.... duh... measuring from the neck edge to the armpit... on a baby will not be more than 4 1/2". My sweater ended up being almost 7" from neck edge to armpit... which is more than the measurement from my neck to pit. Lesson learned. And what was the ultimate lesson? It sure wasn't anything to do with knitting... but to listen to my own instinct. So the sleeves look like they were designed for a baby with flippers instead of arms. I should call this the Geek Love Baby Sweater.

Issue Numero Two: Row # two of the lace pattern! Could this lace pattern BE any easier? Probably not. I am not sure what in the heck the deal is, but row #2 tripped me up almost every time... for a while at least. Eventually I worked out a system using a stitch marker every 3rd repeat of that row. I did feel better after talking with others who had similar experiences with good ole' row # 2 of the gull stitch pattern. Because of my struggle warming up to row # 2 there is an off-set to the lace pattern on the back. It's not really that noticeable so I left it.

despite this photo, taken pre-blocking... the yoke DOES line up.
There is NOT a jog in the color change.

This yarn was pleasant enough to work with. I would definitely use it again. No complaints, no excessive fuzzing, no splitting... just super dooper lush-ness. It held up very well to me frogging the yoke a bunch of times before I was happy enough to move onward. I do like EZ's pithy way of writing. I enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out what in the F**K she means when she is less than vague. Today I bought the Knitters Workshop, came directly home and started knitting the Heart Hat. I guess I am an EZ girl at last.

The little details of this sweater make me smile!
  • Yarn: RYC Baby Alpaca DK
  • Pattern: February Sweater from Knitters Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann
  • Needle: US # 6 & US # 8 (bind off)
  • Cast On: 2/22/08
  • Bind Off: 3/20/08 (ends woven in & buttons on 3/25/08)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fourteen... and counting

#1. I am in love with these buttons. They make me smile.... plain and simple. I bought a bunch of them about a year ago, & I used a couple on a project back then. As I was knitting this project, I wondered what buttons I might use. It was a clear match when I was looked through my button stash (yes, that is correct. I am cheating on my yarn stash with a button stash... please do not tell my fabric stash about the buttons and the yarn). Don't you agree that these buttons really suit the rustic nature of this yarn?

#2. I am in love with Brioche stitch. I was all up in my head over it for a month or so. I wanted to knit this pattern, I read the pattern, and it didn't sound like the Brioche stitch that I had heard people bitching and complaining about all these years. So I pulled out my Barb Walker books, did some online research and found that the pattern is actually written for Fisherman's Rib, which from what I also understand is very similar, if not identical in appearance to Brioche. One and one half dozen the other... or something like that. So the one consistent thing that I found in all of my glorious research is that everyone does Brioche stitch a little differently... or that there are many variations on Brioche stitch. So being the good little over-analyzer that I am... I let my brain stew and cook... bubble bubble, toil and BLAH. I cast on and gave it a feeble attempt. Even though I knew that it wasn't that difficult and that I have done more complicated things... it was still too much for my brain. So I just put the whole idea of this super fun and quick painless project aside. LAME. Last week my neck was cold and I really wanted to work with this yarn.
So I went back to this one website... it made the most sense and was overly thorough... which i like. As usual, once I just climb down out of my head (a scary and confusing place) and just do it... anything is not only possible, but pretty damn easy... and fun. I was concerned about the edges so I chose a Brioche stitch with a selvedge stitch. There were three to choose from on this site. I went with the one labeled "my favorite". It sounded like a good choice. And a good choice it was. The stitch is really cool, so thick and dense, but it still has a touch of drape. I had so much fun knitting this scarf that I wanted to knit another.
For a a little over a month now I had been wanting to put the Lamb's Pride colors, Sunburst Gold and Rosado Rose together. I was obsessed with it. I would look at the two skeins everyday. I went out and got some sunburst Gold in worsted so that I would have the two in the same weight. I had worked with the Sunburst gold in the Prairie Boot pattern that i did a couple of months ago, and had the left overs laying out on the craft table. Rosado Rose is one of my all time favorite pinks and it's always laying around. The two were destined to be together... but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to make with them... stripes are awesome, I love stripes... but it didn't feel like a stripey project that I was after. Holding the two colors together was the path that I was on. For this pattern two strands of worsted would not be thick enough, I would have to add a third strand. Frank Ochre, of course. It was a gorgeous mix. I cast on. I knit. Two hours later I had a Fourteen finished for my friend Sunnie who was visiting from out of town.
The first version is with Malabrigo Aquarella in the color Palamar. Needle size 13. Cast on 15 stitches. This yarn is super slubby. I am very happy with the end result but after knitting the second scarf in the lamb's pride mixture I realized that super slubby yarn does NOT showcase the Brioche stitch. The second version is with the above mentioned worsted weight yarns, size 13 needle, and cast on 11 stitches. I used the same selvedge edge stitch for both... in the second
though you can really see the rolled edge and the details of the brioche stitch. I think I may have to replicate Sunnie's version to keep for myself.

Home on the Range...

Another project done. These were actually finished last month. It was a button thing keeping them from total completion. Why is it always so difficult to find the right darned button for a project? The pattern is the Prairie Boots from the fabulous cocoknits. I called mine the Home on the Range Boots, they were made for a friend. The yarn in Lamb's Pride Bulky in chocolate souffle for the soles, autumn harvest, and sunburst gold for the uppers. When I started out on this project I had no intention of gifting them to anyone... I wasn't even intending to make them for myself... for some odd reason I just wanted to make them. Julie's patterns are always so damn enticing. I am looking at these going, "I would never wear those, not even in my house. Those are silly, they look too much like UGG boots," a fashion statement which I do not have an appreciation for. The days roll by and I come across the pattern again, and I think, "they look fun to knit. I kind of want to make some...they look like they might be comfy." So I say to myself, "what the hell, I'll make a pair!" I decide to just use leftover yarn and piece it together, I'll surely have enough. So I cast on and knit. As I am knitting along It begins to wash over me... "Wait... I kinda like these." Great, Now I am invested in the damn project! So I knit on... and as I am going I realize that I will NOT have enough yarn. Turd! I have to hunt for more yarn. Project on hold....
A couple of weeks go by as I locate more Sunburst Gold Lamb's Pride Bulky. I get the yarn... I continue to knit... and "Wait! These are awesome, super cute... I cannot believe that I didn't love these from the beginning. I'll wear them all the time!"
I finish the boots. There was something a little wonky with the soles... not sure if it was because of my not paying attention or if it was the pattern. I met a gal who had the same experience as me... but it still could be a user error. Basically the number of stitches I ended up with was between the small and medium, so when i went to pick up stitches to start the upper part of the boot there weren't enough. I tried them on and they didn't fit my foot or my calves. I don't have particularly big calves, I don't have a hard time shopping for tall boots. Just a heads up... measure your calf and count your gauge. I should have increased more to fit my calf. I have a friend who loves orange... done deal. She LOVED them and they fit her.

I am making a second pair for myself. I am using Lamb's Pride Bulky Again, in deep charcoal for the soles, lime green for the uppers, with just a touch of lemon drop somewhere in there. I will pay better attention and see what happens with sole. Also... sewing buttons on back to back, especially when one is a four eye and the other a two eye... was a challenge for me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

February/March Sweater

I DID start the February sweater in February! But being me, i had to rip out 2 1/2 inches of the yoke 3 different times. The first time I just didn't like the cast on edge (that was only about an inch of yoke before ripping). The second time i forgot the buttonholes... even though I read through the entire pattern AND read, on ravelry, everyone else bitch about forgetting the buttonholes. The third time I didn't like the way buttonholes looked, they were too close to the edge and too loose and floppy. So I got through all of that... which actually only took me a day and a half to reknit it three times...
The next saga was me swatching for the lace pattern. Also a me trait is to want to alter the hell out of anything that i do. I wanted to use a different lace pattern. So I hauled out all of my Barbara walker treasuries and my Vogue Stitchionary and found a couple of lace patterns. I found one that i loved. Did I swatch for it? nope! I just picked up my yoke that had been reknit 3 times and went for it.
I knit a couple of repeats of the lace pattern (a 6 row repeat) and it just didn't look right. So I ripped it out and did it again.... It just looked HORRID in that yarn.

So on to look for a different lace pattern. This time I would be "smart" and swatch first. I found one and I thought would be perfect, swatching I a went. I knit a few inches of the swatch before it donned on me that the sweater is knit from the top down.. and the sweet little heart lace that I chose would be upside down hearts and in actuality would look like butts. So I gave in and knit the gull stitch pattern that EZ used. Aside from the the one row where i screwed up the lace, it's offset a little, it is looking great and I love it. I have another inch to go before I start the sleeves.
I have already purchased the yarn to make a punkrawkpurl sized February Sweater. It is Rowan Cocoon, which is only the dreamiest yarn ever. OK not EVER... it's just the dreamiest yarn ever... for this post. The color I had envisioned using for this project, Crag, was not available at AP. I thought about the color Polar... which may be pretty on me... but i can just see me knitting a white sweater for months to spill grape juice on it. I don't actually drink a lot of grape juice, it just provided the most dramatic scenario. So I looked at a couple of the tan/beigey colors, everyone agreed that they were too similar to my skin tone and looked gross on me. So I went for Mountain... it's darker than i wanted, but it is gorgeous. A friend said that it was too close to my hair color, another friend said that she was concerned the lace pattern would get lost in yarn that dark. So I added the color scree to the mix for the yoke to break up the separation of my hair and the Mountain color. Besides I will just plan to always wear my hair up with a white shirt underneath... problems solved. I am going to squish the numbers, swatch, cast on and just go! Itching to start before I finish the mini version.
Saturday night speedyneedlefreeman, wondermike, Kim-Chi Crafts, Knit Ya Ya!, and special guests KNITSONYA came over. It was a knitting food fest. We had red velvet cake, an awesome bean salad, roasted potatoes, fancy cheeses and breads, homemade pizzas, thin mint girl scout cookies... yummmmm! hizKNITS was sadly missed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rock Me Ladybug!

I want this!! How flippin cute is it?! I have been toying with getting a new set of ipod speakers for awhile. i am not an audiophile... i do not need anything fancy. No mega woofers or tweeters necessary here. I just need to be able to hear the music at high volume. Sure I can hear the subtle differences between good and awesome speakers... it's just not that important to me. Am I going to get it? I don't know. I have to grapple with the decision of which color... ladybug red
or sexy silver.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Toe To Toe

It's been a month. I swear that I want to be a good blogger. I swear that I love to blog, and to read other people's blogs... knitting blogs of course. Once again I am going to try really really really hard to be better about blogging!!!

So in the last month what has happened....
There have been some ups and downs for me. The downs have been dealt with so there is no need to go there. Lets talk about the ups...

I taught another fabulous class for the fabulous Sile at knit one one. This time around I was so lucky to co-teach with the super adorable Knit Ya Ya. We taught Beverly Galaskes' Felted Clog pattern. It was a full house. And as usual we had amazing students. Just look at those color combos!

Other exciting news... knit one one has a sexy new location. We can now have multiple classes at the same time. It is warm and spacious, and exciting. These photos are form the grand opening weekend.

This weekend I will be teaching the mega awesome Kent's Moss Stitch Beret at knit one one. There are still some spaces left. You can see photos of this wonderful beret in my previous post.

Other news... hizKNITS and I had Pedis today! It was FABU! Look at our pretty pretty toes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I Got Class...

Yesterday I taught the "Leafy Lace Scarf" class at knit one one. It was a full house, and super fun. As usual it was a great mix of people; school teachers, tax specialists, swim coaches, structural engineers for the Bay Bridge, new moms, retired moms... And as you can tell from the photo above, we had some gorgeous Leafy Lace Scarves... Joan used an amazing variegated green bamboo that is going to make a breath taking light weight spring time scarf. And Kimberly used my all time fave fiber... yup, she used a sport weight alpaca in a lovely mauve-y color. They were all gorgeous, and I was very proud of every one's progress. Learning how to do yo's, psso's, k3togs, SK2P's and all that good stuff amongst a large group of chatty people... not the easiest task.

Next Class... Felted Slippers!! Let me correct that... The BEST Felted Slippers ever! Knit extra giant and then felted down to fit, these slippers are heaven for your hoofs! They are knit with two separate soles for double the cushiony goodness. I have worn the same pair every single day for two years!! When they start getting a little ratty or stretched out... just pop them back into the washer, and they are good as new!
The beauty of this class is that you will get two fabulous instructors for the price of one. The lovely and super talented Carrie will be by my side to demystify the mysteries of short row shaping, three needle binding off... and quite certainly more.

And then the next class after that is Ooooh La La... Berets. Just look at that bevy of beautiful berets! Keep an eye out on the knit one one class schedule for the beret class. The dates are February 16th and 23rd, two Saturdays, at 1 P.M. Save the dates!

And now I will present one finished Purple Tweed Tudora! The pattern was super easy, and super quick. Cabling without a cable needle was fun. But I must say that I was not pleased with the fit. I don't think that I have a short stubby neck, but it is just too tall and curls inward at the back of my neck. Also, the bind off edge is a little too tight. It was fun to make... I will make another and experiment with the sizing and bind off looser.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cable Me

Out of pure necessity... okay! okay! It was out of pure laziness combined with impatience I finally performed the ridiculously easy task of cabling without a cable needle. I had always "known" or understood the concept of the deed, but for some reason I had just never tried it out. I am a tschotze gal, I live for my accoutrements, my tools, my thingy-ma-bobbers, and so on. So why on earth would i not want to lug that big bulky cable needle around with me while I am working on a project with cables?!
Last night at work I started working on Tudora and after casting on 112 stitches I realized that I did not have a cable needle with me. So rather than just working on one of the other three projects I had with me & waiting 45 minutes until I was home to begin cabling... I said "Flip it all anyway! I am going to just cable sans cable needle". And I did. And it was super easy. Many people say that it is much faster to cable without using a cable needle.... I don't know if that is the case for me. Sure, it is nano seconds faster than shuffling that cable needle around from between my pinky and ring finger, but I never really felt that a cable needle was slowing me down.

But anyway.... what about Tudora? I am excited about this simple little project. I love having a cozy scarf wrapped around my neck! I have had some serious problems with my neck in the past and find that keeping it warm makes a huge difference in my general comfort. So even when it's not terribly cold outside... I tend to have at least a little something wrapped around my neck. (same as my wrists... and my super cute cuffs).

The pattern says that it will be approx 17 inches long... mine is 19 inches. And there is still a button band to be added. I am using the yarn which she recommends as the substitute yarn; Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed. I just happened to have a ton of it laying around that I have had no plans for. I made a beret out of this same yarn. I must say.... I am not a fan of this yarn after working with it twice now. It is a little scratchy, which for the beret was not a big issue, I lined the brim with squishy soft malabrigo. But for this neck warmer, don't know what was thinking. The other issue with this yarn is that it is somewhat brittle. It is super thin in some areas and when cabling.... comes dangerously close to breaking.

Speaking of berets... it's my new pastime.

Last month I made three of Kents Moss Stitch Beret. This hat is soooo popular! I had never made a beret before, I really wanted one to wear, I really wanted to make one, and I DO love me some moss stitch. So I made one for myself, figured that if I liked it, it would make great gifts for a few special folks in my life. I had so much fun knitting it. There where a couple of wonky instructions in the pattern. I emailed Kent to verify that what I had thought he meant was actually what he did mean... he was so sweet and replied to me toot suite!

The decrease section is where it is a bit wonky. my interpretation of it (confirmed by Kent) is as follows:
divide into 8 sections (17 stitches in each section) & place markers the beginning of each section. Every other round you will decrease the first four stitches after each marker as follows; {slpw, K1, psso} then {K1, slkw, psso}. Ok... so that second decrease is the wacky one. you will need to {K1, slip one knitwise, then slip BOTH stitches back onto the left needle, now you can pass the second stitch over the first, and then pass the knitted stitch back onto the right needle}.

I made two more, a red tweed one for Sile, and an olive green malabrigo one for Kate. They are such a hit! And you are in luck because I will be teaching it (with Kent's blessing) for knit one one in February.