Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year in Review

Since my favorite reason for having a blog is cataloguing my work, might as well start up a list of everything I've knitted in the past year. What fun!
  • Go-Go Garter Stitch Cat Blanket, acrylic, completed Jan
  • Big Bad Dishcloth, cotton, completed Feb
  • Mary Janes, Encore DreambabyDK, completed March
  • A few random baby hats, Dreambaby DK
  • First socks, Encore DK, completed July
  • 3 Christmas stockings, wool and novelty yarns, completed Nov
  • Umbilical Cord Hat, Baby Bee Little Britches, completed Nov
  • Bow-Top Toddler Hat, Rowan Calmer, completed Nov (yes!)


  • Dad's Socks, Plymouth Sockotta, started Nov
  • Peggy's Bear, acrylic, started Dec

It looks like hats and socks topped the list! After I got going, it seems I was always on double-points. No wonder my hands are starting to hurt so much.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sock it to me

I still am working on the socks. Only now, they're not DH's anymore; they're my dad's. I got halfway down the foot and realized: "these look way too big for my husband's ankles." Sure enough, they were! I tried them on my dad today, though, and they fit him much better. The only major drawback is that now I can't surprise him next Christmas with hand-knitted socks. But he had lots of fun with the needles tickling his feet and standing on a sheet of paper so I could measure his foot so I can get a custom fit. :)

I procured some nice new yarn to try again on DH's socks yesterday. It's Trekking Natura (75% wool, 25% bamboo.) And it's ni-ice. To obtain a better fit, I can:
  • Knit the women's size. (shh, don't tell!)
  • Use smaller needles.
  • Try Magic Loop (which my SIL says avoids the laddering you can get with DPNs).
  • Incorprate some sort of ribbing pattern.

I will ponder my approach as I work on what-are-now-dad's-socks. I may do some or all of these things.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Teh Cuteness!

This might make me want to learn to crochet. I found it on an "Amigurumi" group on Ravelry and that stuff is amazingly cute.

I'm still working on DH's socks. Knitting socks with skinny sock yarn sure takes a long time. But I think it's pretty cool because it looks like "real" knitting (whatever that means.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Cheated.

I bought some knitted mittens for my daughter. I feel so guilty because I could have made mittens myself! But, I didn't want to knit mittens. Now that I'm a knitter, will I never be able to buy knitted things without feeling guilty?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Knitting Photography

One of the things I really love about Ravelry is that I can meticulously catalog all my knitting projects. I'm just that sort of person; I want to see everything I've done all lined up so I can quantify my accomplishments. It's like having a list, which is so very satisfying!

But, as I started happily uploading pictures to my account, I realized that I wasn't pleased with what I saw. My photographs of my knitting are embarrasing! I have absolutely no photography experience and no clue how to use my camera and it really, really shows. So, I found this group on Ravelry called "Yarnographers" who are dedicated to the discussion of photographing yarn. I poked around on their group and learned a few things just by doing that. So now I am on a mission to improve my "yarnography!" My first improvement was to this picture of my most recently-started project:

The second image is far from amazing, I know, but it's an improvement! I had bad lighting, but I actually turned on the macro setting and then futzed with the color balance in PSP. And, of course, the composition is more interesting.

Since I don't have tons of projects yet, I will try to re-photograph my FOs and make better pictures. My true test will be to try to make my very first project, which is uglier than homemade sin in real life, look good. ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Calmer, now.

It's done! I'm so proud. It's sort of my first design: it was based on another hat pattern I found and I made (many, many) adjustments to the number of stitches because my gauge using Rowan Calmer was so different. And I came up with the idea for the i-cord bow. So here's the result!

It has a double-rib brim for lots of stretch and the ribbing is extra long so it can fold to accomodate a growing noggin. And the bow is girly, so hopefully I can field fewer comments about my "sweet little boy." I hope The Pumpkin will get lots of wear out of it.
I'm a rock star!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don't make me any Calmer!

I don't want to knit my Calmer any more!

I just needed to get that out.

Back to my Calmer.

The Saga of the Calmer

I bought a ball of Rowan Calmer yarn a while back. I got it to knit a hat for a friend's baby-to-be. Her first baby had very sensitive skin so I was directed to this yarn as being quite gentle. It's a cotton microfiber blend, and yes, it feels quite soft and nice.

I knit the umbilical cord hat from Stitch n Bitch on size 7 DPNs (as the pattern calls for). It had lots of uneven stitches and was way too small. I frogged it, thinking I'd try again on 8s like the yarn label calls for. Then the baby was born 11 weeks early and, ironically, I needed a small hat--only smaller than the one I'd already knit. I didn't feel like trying to adjust the umbilical cord pattern, so I went with a preemie hat I'd already knit before in the yarn I'd already knit it in (Encore Dreambaby DK). I still planned to knit a reguluar-sized baby hat for the baby in Calmer.

But, it got cold upon occasion here and my own daughter's head needed covering. I had a supercuteOMG! hat that my SIL had knit for her (complete with bunny ears!) that still fit a little, but it's cotton and I don't want The Pumpkin's big noggin stretching it out too much. So, now the Calmer is being re-purposed for a hat for Pumpkin. I designed a little hat in my head: a long section of double ribbing on the bottom (that will be ultra-stretchy and foldable to accomodate a growing head), then a few inches of stockinette, topped with two strands of i-cord to be tied into a bow (so it looks girly). How adorable!

Calmer, I was told, is a worsted weight yarn and I found an online pattern to base my sizing on using worsted weight. And since the Calmer label suggests size 8 needles, that seemed to make sense. But, the umbilical cord hat had been pretty small, so I cast on a few more stitches to accomodate. After a few inches of ribbing, I realized it was way too small for Pumpkin's head (sense a theme here?) Frog #2. I started over with a LOT more stitches. I knit 4 inches of ribbing and 2 inches of stockinette in denial over the fact that the hat was too big. Finally, I tried it on my head and it fit. *sigh* Frog #3. I cast on less stitches than last time, but more than the time before, and now I think it's right. *sigh of relief*

But the yarn is not all that easy to knit with, at least, not for a relative newbie. I had a big problem with gaps between the DPNs, but I finally got mean with yarn as I turned corners and yanked the fire out of it and fixed that problem.

But now, I'm on the i-cords. I've done i-cords on other yarns without problems. But the Calmer... just does not lend itself to i-cord. I spent my entire evening last night knitting practice i-cords on the other end of the ball trying to make one that looked nice. I yanked the yarn as I brought it back over to the right one time, I yanked the yarn as I made each right-hand stitch another time, I slipped the right-hand stitches off and yanked the yarn then (as suggested on, and I yanked the yarn on the second stitch like I usually do in flat knitting (as suggested in Stitch n Bitch), and finally I tried not yanking the yarn so much because maybe this yarn just doesn't like such violence. The i-cords either aren't tight enough, or they come out with uneven stitches poking out. *sigh* I-cord, you cord, we all scream at the blasted i-cords!

That's where I am now. I doubt I'll ever use Calmer again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Running with stockings

Pattern: Twirl Top Stockings at Knit Picks (The pattern seems to have been taken down)
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky # 17018
& Yarn Bee Highland Thistle # 201

I finished the last of my three stocking set! DH, Pumpkin, and I all have stockings based on Knit Pick's Twirl Top Stocking pattern. I used different yarns for them than the pattern called for, however, and I think it turned out just fine. Well, I'm almost done... I still have to make the loops. Once I do, though, and I buy stocking holders, I will hang them on the mantle with care and take a festive little pic.

I loooved working with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky on this project. Is her name really Bliss? Because that yarn is bliss! The cheapo Highland Thistle I paired with the cashmerino was quite trashy by comparison. But it suited my needs. It was hard once I got to the cuff to keep working becasue I wanted to get my hands back on a nicer yarn. And get this--that silly Highland Thistle had a knot in it, and when I untied it, well, you can guess: my yarn wasn't actually one continuous yarn, so I had to treat it like I was adding a new ball of yarn. I'm quite insulted at that, actually!

Now, on to a baby hat!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bring on the socks!

So, I just joined Ravelry, and everyone else seemed to have a blog. If all the cool kids are doing it...

I like to knit. It's not my defining characteristic by any means, but it's something I like to talk about and without many people to talk to about it, I might as well tell the computer. I also like to take an occasional look back at all I've made and learned, and this seems a good way to go about it.

I learned to knit last Christmas. My sister-in-law inspired me to do so. She'd learned the Christmas before, and I clearly remember her with her fresh copy of Stitch n' Bitch and some yarn she'd bought at Walmart trying her darndest to get the hang of holding her yarn with decent tension. I don't know if she ever finished that scarf, but I do know she bought new yarn and started a new scarf after getting just a few inches done on her first. That's how she rolls, 10 projects going on at a time, and sometimes actually finishing one. This means that after a year, she'd gotten really, really good and had mastered all sorts of things like cables and fair isle. I was fascinated and just watched, wondering how a couple sticks and a ball of yarn could be manipulated into making such complex things, while all the while she kept telling me "it's so easy!" I decided the best way to satisfy my curiosity was to just learn for myself, so I asked her to show me and she was a wonderful teacher.

I started making a small garter stitch blanket for my cat out of lime green and turquoise acrylic, and bless my little furball, he loves it despite how horrid it looks.

I loved making it, though, especially as it grew and I could really feel it under my fingers. (I suppose any knitter would know what I mean by that.) I wish I could say that I've progressed like my SIL, but I don't have that kind of time on my hands as a SAHM to a toddler. But I do like trying new things and perfecting my techniques. (I really should work on how I hold my yarn, too, but I'm afraid I'll mess up whatever thing I'm working on if I do. I hold it really funny.)

As of now, it seems all I've been knitting lately are socks--hence the name (that and I'm a big Harry Potter dork fan.) I took a sock knitting class a few months ago because I wanted to learn how to make Christmas stockings. I'm almost done with my third stocking now! (All the pictures are on my ravelry account, so I don't feel like posting them all here.)
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