Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pink Parade!

I went a little crazy with the pink this Christmas season and decided to shower my little girl with pink knitted things:

First the Upside-Down Daisy hat from Susan B. Anderson Itty-Bitty Hats. It's a very popular pattern and I can see why! The knitting was easy but I didn't enjoy all the sewing on of the petals. Oh well, I cannot wait to see it my little pumpkin's head. So cute! And it's all wrapped up and under the tree. Shhh!

Then I decided that she'd have fun with a little scarf and I had just enough Baby Britches yarn to make a hat and scarf set. I figured, hey, it's cheap yarn, she can wear it on the playground and I won't stress out about it, whatever. But it ended up being one of the cutest things I've made yet, I think! The little white pom just slays me. (I didn't have enough of the pink yarn for the fringe, so I decided to use a white accent color. I think it was a great choice.) Once I wash it, it will be under the tree too!

And though it won't be in time for Christmas, but I'm getting some good work done on the Samantha Sweater by Kate Gilbert. It's a precious little things and I hope I can finish it before the pumpkin outgrows it. ;) These pics are from the back, which I recently finished. It's my very first sweater project and I'm nervous about doing seaming and hemming which will be new skills for me. But as the Yarn Harlot says, it's just knitting and there's none of it I can't do. OK!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Are You Sleeping?

Needless to say, I haven't updated in ages... I hit something of a Knitter's Block for a good while there. It all started with a friend's suggestion to read the Twilight books and I got so sucked into them that I left my knitting aside completely while I plowed through those blasted books. :) That really resurrected my love of reading and I've been trying to figure out how to read and knit at the same time. (Solution: I found a lovely little book holder that I used to use in grad school to hold open a book and keep my hands free to knit. I prop the book on a squishy pillow so I don't strain my neck. Voila!)

I've also decided that knitting with a deadline is Not Cool. In pushing myself to get four pairs of socks done in time for Christmas, I drained my enjoyment right out of those projects. Solution: start spending more time on the couch at the yarn store while The Pumpkin is at preschool (the environment is so inspiring!) and change out one sock project for something completely different because I am tired of socks for now. (I'm sure it's just a phase) I have succeeded in finally getting three pairs of socks ready for Santa to drop under the tree:

and MIL is going to get some cute little snowmen ornaments and her socks will just have to wait.

OK, so maybe I have been productive!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree?

No, because you can knit them with red toenails, silly.

I went to Susan B Anderson's blog today on a whim, and found out that she is going to be publishing a new book of toys! YAY!!! Her first book, Itty Bitty Hats is just amazing. It's like reading candy. I really cannot wait to see the new book. (Actually, I still need to see Itty Bitty Nursery, truth be told.) If her little knitted elephant is any indication, I think we're all in for a yummy treat! (Check out the Rav page for these elephants. Adorable. One person even took a photo of the elephant's bottom and it was the cutest thing.)

I finished my two-at-a-time toe-ups today. I have no pictures yet because I am ordering a pair of sock blockers from Knit Picks, as soon as I can call in my order. (Why must I call in my order when they have a perfectly good website? Because they don't have a perfectly good website, and I, like so many other knitters who want to give Knit Picks our moneys, can't get the checkout page to come up without sending up in a crazy loop back to the log in page. Grrr.) Once the much-desired sock blockers come in, I can take a picture that befits the beauty of the Queensland Collection wool. It's such a nice yarn and the variegations are so subtle and pleasing. In fact, of the four ladies using the yarn in my class, not a one got any pooling.

And while I decided I loved the yummy yarn I worked with on the sock, I have to say I did not enjoy the method. I like toe-up, mind you, but not so much the two-at-a-time. It certainly was satisfying to finish the entire pair at once and not have the Let Down That Is The Second Sock. But doing two at once is cumbersome. In my line of work (chasing after a 1.5-year-old), I need to be able to pick up and put down my knitting quickly before it gets yanked out of my hands and stuck in an electrical outlet, and with two socks hanging off the needles at once, the yarn get so tangled up that I have to spend five minuted arranging myself before I can dig in. No, not very practical for me, but as I said, I am so glad to have learned toe-upping and I will continue to explore that path. Maybe someday I'll be the crazy sock lady who knows every which way of doing every type of sock heel known to man. (And I'll still be cute, dagnabbit.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Silver Bells and Cockel Shells...

... and pretty yarn all in a row!

I'm undertaking a major yarn-organization expedition. I want to be one of those people that the Yarn Harlot loves to hate: the people whose stash is all catalogued, who have swatches and notes lovingly placed in a notebook, whose yarn isn't stuffed into plastic bags and thrown on the floor in a pile.

I'm somewhere in between.

As anyone who has me friended on Ravelry will know, I've just uploaded a gigantic amount of stash info, so online at least, I am quite the organized bird. At home however... I think hurricane is an appropriate word. But that will be fixed! I purchased a little shelving system for the yarn, and it all is in piles--next to the shelves.

I had no idea I had so much yarn!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

busy, busy!

I'm taking a class at my LYS about doing two socks at a time, toe-up. It's actually a very simple idea, doing two at a time: just use a longer cable (magic loop) and work from two balls of yarn. No prob. I've never done toe up before, so that's really where I'm learning. Our instructor taught us Turkish cast on which is crazy simple: just wrap the yarn around your needles then start knitting the wraps as if they were stitches! It's like I'm just flinging myself straight into a sock!

Here's the socks I've started:

I received a review on one of the baby hats I made this year. I unfortunately couldn't make the shower, but I sent the gift along with someone else and I hear it was a big hit!

I bet that the mommy-to-be would love the colors. I just wish I'd placed those darn stripes lower.

Friday, May 16, 2008

5 stars!

Well, I now have a review on the socks.


OK! He said they are thicker than his usual socks (yeah) and that they have a little more squish to them, which is comfortable. Maybe I have a convert? He also said they were rather warm. And he was a good boy and showed them off at work. And Pumpkin has enjoyed running around the bedroom with "daddy's socks." All in all, a success.

More footwear, this time in the Baby Parade of 2008:
Cute, CUTE, CUUUTE little Saartjes for my friend's little boy due in September. I don't really enjoy knitting booties, I've decided. But the cuteness of these makes it worthwhile. It's the buttons.

The pattern was a little wonky at times, but once I finally was able to project the finished bootie in my head, I was able to figure it out. I had to knit a little on blind faith until then. I was going to do this set over again for another friend, but I don't think I have quite enough yarn for both hat and booties. That's OK, though, because this way each of my friends can get something different for their bambinos-to-be, which oddly enough, equalizes things.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Accio socks!

"Honey, what are you knitting?"
"[blah blah, whatever I'm knitting now]"
"You haven't knitted anything for me!"
[in my head:] "But what in the world would you actually wear that I could reasonably knit?"

Well, now I have! DH's socks are done and have turned out quite well. I have yet to receive an official report on how well they wear (because he hasn't had the chance to wear them yet) but they do fit him well. *phew!* And such a nice picture, to boot. He seems to like them. If he enjoys wearing them at all, I might even consider it a yearly anniversary tradition to make him a pair of socks. At any rate, he seems satisfied that I finally made something for him.

The yarn almost ran out on me. I need to figure this out. Poking around on Ravelry, I didn't see anyone else having trouble with this using this yarn. Why is this happening to me? Am I knitting at an impossible gauge? Is it because it's men's socks?
Well, in the future I need to do toe-up, two-at-a-time to avoid disaster. Good thing my LYS is planning some classes on this soon. That way, if I do run out, the ankle is a little shorter, but they're still socks. One toe-less sock would have just been silly.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Felix Felicis!

Haha, ten points for Gryffindor! (Even though I'm a Ravenclaw...)

I scored some of Sunshine Yarns Harry Potter-inspired sock yarns today at her update. It was crazy. She said she would update at 10:00 am, and at that time, you could literally watch the yarns being posted up each time you refreshed the page. She posted 5 each of Gryffindor and Snape (I snatched one of each) and 2-3 of the rest, then I flew to check out. By the time I completed check out... almost all of the yarn had Apparated on out of there.

Check out the Snape colorway:

It's very subtle, and I think will make for some manly-looking socks. It's like Christmas in April, because this yarn is for Christmas gifts. (ssh!) I decided to only get the two, since hand-painted yarn costs many galleons, but if I like working with it, I'd like to get more, especially the Accio Firebolt colorway for some Jaywalkers (I think I am going to have to succumb to wearing hand-knit socks myself. It's really inevitable, isn't it?)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nine little monkeys...

...being born this year!

Seriously, by the end of 2008, I will have knitted gifts for NINE new babies. NINE friends & family are having babies this year (or already had them.)


And that's just the ones I'm knitting for.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What a girl knitter needs...

Is a way to surf Ravelry and knit at the same time. Overload! I can read while I knit, but being on the internet is hard what with all the clicking and scrolling. What bliss it would be to shop for new yarn while I fondle old yarn knit though...

It would also be nice to have a way to tink SSKs. Those are a real mess to undo.

DH's socks are halfway done, and I know this because #1 is complete (with the exception of end-weaving) and #2 is cast-on. The finished sock is a perfect fit. :D Which means, of course, that I'd better not throw it in the dryer, lest it not remain a perfect fit. (Oddly, though, my swatch--and yes, I made a swatch and washed & dried it--did not shrink a bit. If anything, it grew, which really blows my mind.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

have you any wool?

Time for some yarn pr0n! *evil grin*

I got a Knit Picks catalogue in the mail the other day and open it up to have a row of happily-dressed feet and saw this:
I'm just tickled by that color combo for some reason. I love chocolate brown paired with other colors because it heightens the prominence of the other color. But here, it's like the others set the stage for the brown. It's cute.

Then, I saw a pic of some other yarn by Claudia Hand Paints and toodled on over to her site and found this pretty picture staring at me:

Oh... that's yummy. All the golds, browns, and pinks blend together but then there's the splash of pretty blue.

But what's really tempting me is the Panda Silk from Crystal Palace. My LYS carries it and I've been thinking about it ever since I laid eyes on the stuff. (that was months ago.) I love monochromatics and I can just see a knee-high sock knitted up in the Nutmeg striping yarn with the ribbing, heel and toe in the coordinating sButterscotch solid. (The brown-toned ones) I want!

Once I saw these pretty yarny colors I couldn't get them out of my head! I love the idea of bamboo/silk/wool blend. How luxurious is that?

Funny thing is: I don't wear pretty socks! Isn't that a riot that I would drool so much over sock yarn? And adore knitting socks? I always wear basic white or black socks and I like them thick and squooshy on bottom. So, what would I do with fabulous sock yarn, or for that matter, fabulous knitted socks? I'm terrified of knitting fabulous socks for myself only to find I don't enjoy wearing them. Oh yes, this is ironic, miss Acciosocks...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baa, baa, black sheep...

Anouk is complete! I put snaps on last night. I'm disappointed with my alignment skills, as the snaps are a little too visible for my taste. Still better than the dress gaping at her shoulder though!

I've started DH's socks and so far... so good! The Trekking knits up quite sharp in k3 p1 ribbing. (Could it be that I've used so much cotton lately that wool is surprising me? This must be why the Yarn Harlot loves wool because dang! It looks slick.) The top is k2 p2 for stretch and the ankle and top of foot will be k3p1 for a stylish look and a little stretch. I've slipped the 3 inches I have on DH's tickly feet and, well, like I said. :D

Dh wanted to order something from Amazon but it came up $5 short to get free shipping, so he asked me if there was something I wanted. Well, of course! Don't you know I have a whole list of knitting books I'm interested in as a matter of fact? I ordered No Sheep For You and should be seeing it soon. Exciting stuff, whilst I knit with a bamboo blend yarn...

(OK, I do ctach the irony of extoling both the sheepish and non-sheepish virtues of my Trekking simultaneously. Let's just enjoy the complexities of the thing, shall we?)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Come back, Jack

OK, coming back to my blog after a while I actually realized how long it's been since I updated and... how long it's been since I started Anouk! Well, Anouk is done with the exception of adding a snap to secure the shoulder. Bonus picture on the blog of Pumpkin showing off her dress!

I did lots and lots of math to make this thing work, given the re-formulation of the yarn. On my gauge swatch, the yarn knit up smaller, so I calculated how many more stitches I needed to get the size in inches that the pattern wanted. I added that many stitches throughout the pattern then doubled all the instructions since I knit one piece in the round, not two pieces flat.
I widened the shoulder strap, as per another Raveler's recommendation, but then didn't think to add another buttonhole. So one button isn't really cutting it, hence the need for a snap.

Pumpkin seems to enjoy the dress, but she does tug at it a lot, which stresses me out. Please don't stretch out mommy's work! On the plus side, she has now learned the word 'dress.'

It was a bit mind-bending to make this dress work, which is why it took so long. I also have whipped out one of the many baby hats I'm going to need for the year and I'm just getting warmed up! So far, I'm not behind at all. The babies being born next month have knitted things ready for them, and the next babies are due in August. For now I'm going to concentrate on DH's socks, then return to baby hats and hopefully knock those out quickly so I can get a start on Christmas knitting. Which is pretty much all socks. Accio socks!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's never easy, is it?

I want to accomplish lots of knitting this year. It's only January, I know! But I would like to have knitted gifts for Christmas this year, everyone is pregnant right now (except me), and my DH and Pumpkin need hand knits, too! I updated my queue on Ravelry to try to get it all out of the jumble those projects were making in my head and get myself organized and prioritized. Trouble is, with as much as I want to accomplish, a baby blanket for a baby due in May seems like it needs to be done tomorrow when I have so many others to knit. But I'm excited about each and every project.

Ugh, except Anouk. No, I'm excited about the yarn, which is quite soft, and the finished look I have in my head which is going to be extremely stylish on my sweet Pumpkin Pie. I chose celery and chocolate and will probably duplicate stitch flowers in pink (later...) But I have come to discover that the Cascade Pima Tencel has changed since the pattern was written, and so the original gauge for the pattern is impossible to obtain. So now the sweet little dress that I ordered the yarn called for specifically so it wouldn't stress me out changing things--needs to be changed. Argh!

So now it's on hold and I'm starting a baby blanket for a baby due in May. It's simple and I want to work on something I can just get out of the way and off my queue. I have so many things on there I'm having a hard time just relaxing and doing them one at a time. Adding to it, my little baby has learned to walk and is becoming a little girl, which means I'm running out of time to knit her all the cute tiny things I want to knit her!...OMGIgottagogetbusynow!!!... :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

No Sheep For You!

I checked out No Sheep For You at the library last week and have pored over it. It is so amazingly informative about all the nonwool options out there and has patterns that capitalize on the properties of nonwool yarns. I am particularly interested in Eileen, Tomato, and the Drunken Argyle sweater (knit out of sock yarn!), because I just love argyle. (I really need to learn some intarsia one of these days so I can actually knit some...) I so want this book next Christmas!

Skinny scarf is all done. It is a freakish 5 feet long. I had no idea it was so long, all scrunched up on the circulars, OMG. It was a pretty stitch pattern and cotton yarn worked well, except the bind off was a little sloppy, I think. I'd like to wash it to see if it will lay flatter, but I'm afraid the navy yarn is going to bleed.

I just finished a class on Tunisian crochet, which I find much easier than regular crochet. I will be making the Stashbuster blanket using the technique. It was a more rustic, hand-made look to it than I normally like, but what a godsend project to use up (most of) the bucket of yarn I got from my mom & grandmother. It's really clever.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Prettier than Storebought Sin

I did it! I took pictures of some of my old projects that actually make them look a little nicer than they really are.

Project 1

Exhibit A:Looks a bit wonky laid out on an uneven surface like that, doesn't it? Or maybe I just knit it wonky.

Exhibit B:

Now isn't that nicer? It's very 3-dimensional, draped over the edge of the sink. It's in natural light and in context, so it doesn't look like a fledgling knitter's first attempts at purling.

Project 2
Grandaddy of all ugly projects to try to make look nice (I believe I said it was "uglier than homemade sin")

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:

No amount of photo editing would have erased all the "love" that's been put into this thing, but I think I did a good job showing it off to its best. First of all, I draped it so you can't see the odd shape as my tension got looser as I went. Secondly, the cute kitty cat distracts from really looking at it anyway. :)
I win!
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