Posted in Current Projects, Knit Ramblings

Progress… or something.

March flew right on by. I can’t believe it’s April already! I feel so behind with my blogging. I was off work last week (stayed home, just took some time off) and had planned to blog, but instead I mostly stayed off the computer and spent time knitting, watching TV, hanging out with Matt, and trying out recipes from America’s Test Kitchen’s Pasta Revolution. Ah well, it was a nice week off from work and I managed to get in quite a bit of knitting time. πŸ™‚

Stashing down: I posted my stash totals for the first quarter and I wish I could say I did a little better. Speaking of which, I totally forgot to post my stash totals for February, so here’s an update on how it’s going in numbers.

February 2012: -950 yards. Total yards out – 6,965. Total yards in – 6,015. New Stash Total – 112,139.3 yards/63.72 miles

March 2012: +2,374 yards. Yards out – 1,540, Yards in – 3,914, New Stash Total – 114,513.3 yards/65.06 miles

For the quarter I’m up. I’m not shocked by this because initially I had a bunch of acrylic that I thought was entered into my stash, but actually wasn’t. Then I bought yarn. Wollmeise Lace (lots of yardage), other various skeins, club yarns, and yarn for a gift project that I didn’t have yarn for in stash. Plus I spun some yarn, too, which added to my totals.

First Quarter 2012: +19,058.1 yards/10.83 miles. Beginning total: 95,455.2 yards/54.24 miles. Ending total: 114,513.3 yards/65.06 miles

I think I’m going the wrong way!! Haha. Ah well. In looking at my stash, overall there’s not really anything I want to destash at the moment. That can change and has over the years, but I’m pretty happy with my stash right now. The thing I’ve tried to focus on the most is using stash yarn FIRST and really thinking about new purchases (Will I use it right away? do I have a plan for it? Will it just sit until I figure out something to do with it? etc). I’ve definitely seen some changes in my buying habits since the beginning of the year. For me, that’s progress! πŸ™‚

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I spent most of last week working on a blanket, which I will show when I post my March FO’s. Made a lot of progress on that, but since finishing the blanket, I seem to be going backwards in terms of progress (and stash looking at the above totals!). This week I picked my Rocky Coast Cardigan back up.

Rocky Coast Cardigan
Rocky Coast Cardigan in Malabrigo Twist

But… there’s a problem. Since that picture was taken, I’ve had to join a new skein of yarn. I’ve tried multiple times, but every new skein doesn’t match up very well with the last skein used and creates a visible line right at the most unflattering part – the bust. Sigh. I really didn’t want to alternate skeins every two rows. Looks like I definitely need to, so I will be ripping it all out and starting over. 😦 I know I’ll be so much happier with it by doing this, but it makes me sad to have to rip it out and start over!

Seems like I’m on a roll with ripping things out this week because I ripped out something else, too.

Honey Badger Sock
Honey Badger Sock

After getting part of the way down the foot of the sock, I tried it on and decided it was coming out too tight for my liking. Bummer! I do like the yarn and pattern combo, though, so I’ll be restarting it on a larger needle at some point.

I hope to update on spinning and other WIPs soon. So much I want to share and never enough time! Until next time… happy knitting!

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Posted in Completed Projects, Knit Ramblings

Summer Spirals and Project Talk

Last week I managed to finish a project that’s been lingering since June! Not the best picture of these socks, but it’s the only one I have of them finished. I took this picture with my iPhone right after I finished them, then forgot to get a decent picture before I gave them away. Oops! A better photo of the pattern and color are below so you can see what they really look like.

Summer Spirals
Summer Spirals

Pattern: Summer Spirals by Ina Isobe (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: June 3, 2011
Completed: September 22, 2011
Yarn: Unknown yarn, gifted to my friend Karen, knit up into socks by me for her boyfriend’s mom
Needle: US 1 (2.25mm) Knit Picks circular
Notes: These took me so long because of Camp Loopy. I think if I hadn’t done Camp Loopy, I probably would have had these done back in June! Not sure what the yarn actually was made up of since I didn’t bother with a burn test, but it wasn’t too bad to work with and the socks knit up fairly fast when I actually worked on them. I did modify the pattern to have one extra purl stitch in each purl section. Took a while to get the right stitch count for a good fit.

Summer Spirals
Summer Spirals – In Progress

I don’t think I mentioned it previously, but I wasn’t entirely happy with how the sleeves ended up on Eadon. The bothered me, even after living with it for a few days. Ultimately I decided I didn’t like the cast off I used after cutting a chunk of the sleeve off and that the sleeves needed a little more length. If you look at the sleeves of Eadon in the first picture here, you can see they’re a bit flared. It made them loose and bothered me when I wore it. To fix it, since it’s knit in 3 by 2 rib, I had to knit a small piece and graft it. This was no small task because it would be my first time grafting ribbing together. After some fiddling, I did figure out how to do it, though. After bringing it to knit group, all agreed you can’t tell where it was grafted. I can a little on the first sleeve I did, but the second one isn’t noticeable to me. I’m quite happy with the results and can now truly say I’m happy with how this sweater has turned out!

After finishing up the socks and fixing Eadon, I tired to be good and finish things on the needles first. Sadly, almost everything I had going required a chart that isn’t easily memorized, which made them not portable projects or I just wasn’t feeling like working on it. As much as I really love some of the designs that require lengthy charts, it’s difficult for me to work on those projects away from home and I spend a huge chunk of my knitting time away from home! The Seneca sweater just wasn’t holding my interest, the Grove mittens have a large chart that make them not portable, and High Seas shawl is charted on right and wrong side rows (too much for my poor brain at the moment). I look at Seneca and High Seas as longer term projects and I’m sure I’ll get around to finishing Grove.

I did try to focus on finishing up the Dawn Gnot sock before I started something new. Something about the cables in the pattern are bothersome to my wrists. I can only knit a few rows at a time, plus I can’t seem to memorize the chart, so they aren’t a good project for me right now. I may frog them and start a different pattern from the series (Crafty Detour CSI: Most Wanted – Ravelry link) with the yarn. Still undecided, though.

Are there ever times that you just can’t focus or work on whatever projects you have going? Do you start new projects, frog the ones you have, or just keep going? I tend to be a mix of all three depending on the projects I have going. I did end up casting on for some new things. I’ll share them in my next post later this week!

Posted in Knit Ramblings, Life

ChiaoGoo RED Needles

Recently, I’ve mentioned that I’ve tried out the new ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Circulars. I’ve had a few people ask what I think about them, so I thought I’d do a little review.

ChiaoGoo RED Needles (original & lace)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Original on the left, Lace on the right.

There are two types of ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Circulars: original and lace. Initially I bought the original in US 8’s in a 24″ and 40″ circular since I wanted to use them for Eadon. I bought those from Grandma’s Hand Knitting on Etsy. They are relatively inexpensive (similar in price to HyaHya Stainless Steel circulars) and they arrived within a few days of ordering. The cable is the most unique I’ve ever seen in any knitting needle to date. It reminds me of the type of cable you’d use to lock up your bicycle with. The cable has no memory at all, unlike the plastic that most circulars use which have to be stretched out or used to lose some of the memory it has from being packaged. Straight out of the package the cable can be straightened easily. The size is printed lightly on the side, which you can kind of see in the picture below if you look closely at the bottom needle.

ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel (Original)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Original

Later, when I placed an order at The Loopy Ewe, I decided to order a few of the ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Lace Circulars. I ordered a US 0, US 1, and US 6, all in the 40″ size.

The original tips are the same as their Stainless Steel Circulars which have now been discontinued. The biggest difference between the original and the lace is that the original has a bend at the base of the tip near where it joins the cable. The other difference between the two is that the lace tips are sharper. I’d say that the lace are similar in sharpness to the Addi Lace needles. As for the sharpness of the originals, I’d compare them to Knit Picks Nickel circulars or HyaHya Stainless Steel circulars. Not as sharp as Addi Lace, but not dull like Addi Turbos are. Here are the Original and Lace needles side by side.

ChiaoGoo RED Stainless Steel Comparison (original & lace)
ChiaoGoo RED Needles – Comparison (top: Original, bottom: Lace)

I like both the Original and Lace ChiaoGoo RED needles. The bend at the base of the Original ones don’t bother me at all, but a knitter I know who has a few of the ChiaoGoo RED needles said she doesn’t care for the bend in the Originals. I like that the Lace are pointy which are great for, well, lace! The Originals are nice to knit with, I like the bend, and they aren’t too dull (not a fan of Addi Turbos personally – too dull). While I like both the Original and Lace needles, I really do not like these needles for magic loop. I know there are knitters out there that have said they use them for magic looping socks, but I am just not at all a fan. I bought the US 1’s and US 0’s for magic looping socks. I tried it and frankly, I hated it. For reference I use Knit Picks Nickel needles for magic looping socks right now. Their cable does have a curl in it. It just stays out of my way by curling down and away from me. The ChiaoGoo RED needles twisted a bunch, curled a bit up, curled a bit towards me, and just generally got in my way. The cable got in my way so often that I felt like I was fussing with it constantly instead of knitting! I had to switch back to my trusty Knit Picks needles. I will give them another try sometime for magic looping socks, but I just wasn’t that fond of them.

Overall, I’d recommend that you give these needles a try. If you like HyaHya Stainless Steel or Knit Picks Nickel or Addi Lace needles, I’d recommend giving these a try. They’re great needles for a good price with a very unique cable!

Posted in Current Projects, Knit Ramblings

Project 2 and Bags

I’m still struggling along with Project 2. Sunday night I discovered that I’d been doing the traveling row increase of the German Stocking in the wrong place, just as I was about to start the heel. I debated either switching to the correct side, or continuing on the wrong side as I worked the foot, but after looking at the first sock, I decided it would look different visually and it would bother me, so I ripped back about 5 inches to do the increases in the proper place. I’ve worked 5 pattern repeats and have 2 more to go before I’m back to where I ripped out at. Not the best picture of the sock (cell phone camera), but it does show where I’m currently at.

German Stocking Sock 2
German Stocking, 2nd Sock

This is the only thing I’ve been working on for the last week and a half. I thought I’d be done by now and I probably would have been if it weren’t for having to rip back! Ah well. Getting close now. I think I’ll be able to finish it with a little time to spare, so long as I knit like the wind! My hands look forward to a break after these are done. The tiny needles have been a little rough on me with this project and I’m looking forward to knitting that worsted weight cardigan starting next week. πŸ™‚

I have to take a minute and talk about the bag you see pictured with my German Stocking above. It was a gift to me from my friend Karen. She makes great bags of all sorts as well as e-reader cases and pretty much any kind of sewn accessory you’d want. I have a purse and a few other bags from her and all of them have held up very well. She loves custom orders and will work with you on anything you might want! She will even do custom embroidery of just about anything you want. She has some pictures of bags she’s made here and you can email her by clicking this link here. Here’s a better look at my Hello Kitty bag.

HK Bag
HK Bag – Outside

HK bag
HK Bag – Inside

Time to grab some lunch and squeeze in a little knitting time. πŸ™‚

Posted in Knit Ramblings

Camp Loopy Project Three

Project 3 for Camp Loopy was announced last Monday. The theme for the last project is “Field Day” – something to put everyone on an even playing field.

“Project Three: you can knit anything you’d like to knit. The only requirement is that you use 800 or more yards of yarn for the project. (731.5 meters) All 800 yds. must be used in one project. (So it doesn’t count if you make a hat plus mittens to equal 800 yds.)”

My initial reaction was “What?!? EIGHT HUNDRED YARDS?!” I had really been hoping that it would be something small, especially considering I took on quite a challenge for Project Two. Had I known what Project Three would bring, I wouldn’t have committed to knee socks for Project Two. As it is my wrists have been rather cranky with all the knitting on tiny needles I’ve been doing and at this point I’ve just been hoping I could hold out until Project Three and do something smaller on larger needles.

I admit I really considered dropping out completely at this point because Project Two has sucked a lot of fun out of the knitting for me and I didn’t want to commit to another project that would continue to to do that. I thought about it for a while after reading the post because I wasn’t at home to look at yarn choices or patterns. Ultimately I decided that I’ve come this far and I should really just see it through.

After deciding that, I needed to pick a project and yarn. I knew right away I wanted something that wasn’t a sock or knit on tiny needles (something above a US 5 at least). I went to The Loopy Groupies forum on Ravelry and looked at what others were going to knit.

There was a suggestion early on that one could double strand their yarn effectively knitting a 400 yard project out of 800 yards. I would have definitely been upset if people did that, since I think it was clear that was not the intention of the project, so I’m happy that Sheri amended her post to clarify that the project must be 800 yards, single stranded, and doubling your yarn wouldn’t count (unless of course you’re double stranding 1600 or more yards).

With the 800 yard requirement in mind, I started looking at my queue. I wanted a project that I didn’t already have yarn for and wasn’t a difficult knit. Not that I don’t want to be challenged, but I know myself well enough to know that if it’s a complected or intensely charted design, I won’t be able to finish it in a month’s time and would just be setting myself up to fail. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that a) I need to clean up my queue because there’s a lot of things I’m no longer interested in making, especially in the sweater department and b) I should knit a sweater. I decided that I would knit Eadon. It’s a new pattern, so I don’t already have yarn for it. It’s also a sweater that could be knit and still fit me once I get to my goal weight.

After browsing The Loopy Ewe for a few hours, I decided on MadelineTosh Vintage in Ms Taylor. I thought it wouldn’t take quite so long to get the yarn, but it seems that the elves over at TLE have been quite busy, so it just arrived yesterday.

MadelineTosh Vintage - Ms Taylor
MadTosh Vintage in Ms Taylor

I’ve seen a lot of chatter in the Loopy Groupies board on Ravelry about projects. I’ve seen a lot of folks going after some pretty ambitions projects and quite a few who aren’t sure they’ll get their project done. I’m just hoping I don’t have any problems like I did with the German Stockings! I think I should be okay after reading through the pattern, but you never really know how a project will go until you are working on it.

Are you participating in Camp Loopy? If you are, what are you knitting for Project 3? If you aren’t, what would you knit given this challenge and a month time frame? I think it’s interesting to see what challenges each of us in our craft. πŸ™‚

Posted in Knit Ramblings

New Twist Collective

I don’t often mention whatever new knitting/crocheting magazines or online knitting/crocheting publications have recently come out. No real reason behind it other then most of the time patterns don’t strike me as MUST KNIT right away. It’s usually after I see an FO from a pattern that I’m suddenly going “I need to cast this on NOW.” On first glance, patterns just don’t jump out at me in that way. Occasionally, though, they do.

Twist Collective Fall 2011 was published yesterday and there were two patterns that really jumped out at me right away as things I’d like to knit.

Asher & Eadon from Twist Collective
Asher and Eadon

On the left is Asher and on the right is Eadon.<p.

Despite my "no sweaters until I reach my goal weight" thing, I'm very tempted to cast on Eadon very soon. Since it's intended to be worn with some positive ease and it's an open cardigan, I'm thinking I could knit it in a smaller size with very little to no ease and then it will still fit me when I reach my goal weight, just a little looser. I'd likely not make it quite so long since long sweaters make me look shorter then I really am.

Asher, I’d wait to knit since it’s more fitted. I still really like it and will probably put it on my “to buy for” list for Rhinebeck.

There’s definitely some other patterns in the new Twist Collective that are on my maybe list. There are some sweaters that I like the idea of, but would want to see more FO’s, maybe some with modifications, before deciding to knit, like Epiphany (I like the yoke, but I’m not into oversized sweaters). I like Hosta, which might be a good challenge project for me since I’ve not been able to master brioche stitch when I’ve tried it before. I also like Litchfield. The hat has an interesting construction and looks like it wouldn’t hug the head too much, though I’m not certain I’d knit the mittens.

Are there any patterns that have recently been published that are must knits on your list? Anything in the new Twist Collective?

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects, Knit Ramblings

Elektra, Cleaning the Craft Room, and Projects

I finally have pictures to show of my Elektra shawl, which I finished back in April, right before our cruise the first week in May. I absolutely love how this shawl turned out, despite running out of yarn and having to finish the bind off with a thinner and darker version of the yarn. The beads in the pictures are true to color, but I couldn’t get the Fuchsia color just right in any of the photos. It’s a bit darker in person.

Elektra (Front)
Eketra

Pattern: Elektra by Rosemary Hill (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: April 7, 2011
Completed: April 28, 2011
Yarn: Wollmeise 100% (609 yards) and a little bit of Wollmeise Lace (17.5 yards) in Fuchsia
Needles: US 5 Addi Lace circular
Notes: Pattern was pretty easy to follow once I got past the start of Chart B where the marker placement is only listed in the written instructions. Despite getting a smaller gauge then stated in the pattern, I still ran out of yarn, so I would suggest anyone knitting it have at least 630 yards of yarn and be sure to check gauge! Placing the beads wasn’t too bad until the bind off row where you place beads AND work the bind off. I did end up missing to place a bead, which I noticed after it was blocked, but I managed to sew one where it should have been without it looking weird. I love how it turned out and it looked great with my dress on the cruise in May. πŸ™‚

Elektra (Full Size)
Eketra – Full Size

Elektra (Back)
Eketra – Back

Elektra (Detail)
Eketra – Detail

This weekend, I spent quite a bit of time in my craft room getting it clean and more organized. I wish I had some before and after photos! I cleaned out this plastic 3-drawer thing that has been through many moves with me (and that I’ve hated for the longest time, mostly because it was full of heavy things which made it hard to open or close) and moved everything worth keeping into the 3-drawer chest I bought from IKEA a while back. There wasn’t a whole lot worth keeping. Most of it was things that should be tossed or go in the Goodwill box. I took 3 bags of trash out and a box of things to go to Goodwill the next time I go. I think it still needs a little work to be how I’d like it to be, but first I need a bigger shelf, so that’ll have to wait. Only thing left to do is put up the blinds in there.

While cleaning, I found my Namaste bags (a Newport and a Zuma) and a buddy case. I decided it’s time to let my Namaste bags go to a new home since I will never use them. They just aren’t the right knitting/purse type bag for me. You can see pictures here. They’re also listed in my stash on Ravelry on my sell/trade page, with info. Leave a comment, email me, or PM me on Ravelry if you’re interested in them.

I also found the scarf I started for Matt back in 2009 during the cleaning of the craft room. It’s got to be my oldest WIP! This sucker needs to get finished, so I’ve pulled it out to work on. I plan to get it finished before it’s cool enough for him to wear this winter.

Matt's Scarf
Matt’s Scarf

Despite all the cleaning I did, I got in a fair amount of knitting time, too. I started and finished the Dahlia Cowl out of my handspun on Saturday. It’s currently blocking and waiting for buttons. I didn’t run out of yarn! Not sure I got gauge since I didn’t check, but I had a little left over from my skein after knitting it to the 24″ the pattern says to. Hopefully it’ll be dry today and I can finish it up by adding the two buttons. It’s super squishy and will be nice to wear come winter!

I’ve been moving along on the Gush socks. After figuring out how many extra rows I needed and knitting them where indicated, then starting Clue 2, I decided that I really didn’t like how they looked with the extra rows. I frogged back to where the design starts on the toe and added the additional rows in the toe before starting the design. Adding the extra rows where indicated just didn’t go with the rest of the design at all.

Gush Sock
Gush Sock

I’m hoping to get Clue 2 done on both socks before the next clue comes out on Wednesday. I’ve already re-knit Clue 1 of the second sock, so as long as I don’t get too distracted by casting on High Seas tonight! πŸ˜‰

Posted in Crochet, Current Projects, Knit Ramblings, Life

Still Not Knitting

Still not knitting here, but I have been able to do a little spinning and this weekend I managed to start and get a good way into a crocheted scarf. Not quite up to where I can knit (still hurts a bit to knit) and I can only spin or crochet for short periods of time before I take a break (don’t want to overdo it!). At least I feel like I’m finally seeing some progress! For a while I was getting rather frustrated because both wrists were hurting a large part of the time, but this last week seems to have brought some improvements.

The scarf I started this weekend is a pretty simple pattern to memorize. The pattern is Spring Ripple Scarf (Ravelry link), which I’m fairly sure is just a generic stitch pattern that is likely in some book somewhere, but seeing as I don’t have many crochet books and I was looking to start something right away, I paid the $2 for the pattern and went looking in the stash for some yarn to use. I chose the pink/white/green Zauberball I had and thought it was appropriate for the name of the scarf.

Zauberball - Pink/Green/White
Zauberball colorway 2079

I don’t have a picture of it yet, but it’s about 8″ long now. I really need to get some pictures of my Elektra shawl and now of the scarf! I like to do a bunch of knitting related photography all at once and with not knitting, well I just keep putting it off. Soon I will rectify this.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m not knitting, I’m often thinking about knitting (you could also substitute crocheting or spinning in there). I haven’t been knitting for over a month now. At first I didn’t think to much about it and tried to focus on other things. Slowly I was thinking about it more and more as the days turned into weeks and I still wasn’t knitting. This year has become one full of sweaters up to this point. Knitting sweaters, thinking about which sweaters to knit, planning and pairing patterns with stash… even thinking about what sweater I’ll knit for Rhinebeck. Up until about 2 weeks ago now, I was on the fence about going to Rhinebeck because of some things going on at work in October, but I reserved a room a few months ago “just in case.” Then I found out that Amy of Stash, Knit, Repeat will be doing her Fit to Flatter class there and I’ve been really wanting to take her class. That sealed it for me – I’ll definitely be there this year! So… last week I started thinking about a sweater for Rhinebeck. After a lot of thinking about what I wanted this year’s sweater to be and pattern searching, I found the pattern and yarn (from stash!) that I wanted to knit. I was all set to start swatching it as soon as I’m able to knit again.

That’s when something dawned on me.

Rhinebeck is 5 months away. That’s PLENTY of time for me to knit a sweater, but these last few days I’ve been frequently mentioning something to people: my clothing is no longer fitting me very well and soon I’ll have nothing to wear. Before any one gets any crazy ideas, NO, I’m not pregnant. I’ve been losing weight. For the last few months, I’ve been following Weight Watchers and working out. I’m finally fitting back into clothing I haven’t been able to wear in 3+ years, but it seems that just as I’m getting into those smaller sizes, I’m shrinking right out of them just as quickly!

Overall, I’m really quite happy about this, since that’s the point of WW and exercising, plus I’ve been feeling a lot better physically with regular exercises and some changes in my diet. With that said, though, the downside is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to continue to make this the year of sweaters if by the end of the year (or fall when I could wear them) most of them will be too big on me. And really, what’s the point in knitting yourself a bunch of sweaters you can’t wear? I did consider knitting smaller sizes, but I don’t really know what size I’ll be once I get to my goal weight or how long it’ll take to get there. I also considered just knitting to fit me (possibly tightly) now, then frog later and make into a new sweater. Typically I would be fine with this, but I rarely knit a pattern twice and frogging a whole, finished sweater seems like a giant pain to do. I’ve frogged sweaters 2/3 finished and that was difficult enough. Definitely not up for that task.

So, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I am going to stop knitting sweaters for the time being. No Rhinebeck sweater for me this year. After thinking on it a day, it makes sense and I’m a bit less sad about it. On the up side, I think I’ll get a lot from the Fit to Flatter class and get even better fitting sweaters when I’m ready to get back to knitting them!

I think I can safely say that the 12 sweaters in 2011 that I was working on is no longer a goal for this year. I will definitely give this another go next year, though, as it’s still on my “bucket list” of things I’d like to accomplish. I’ve put the two sweaters (Slipped Hours and Shibuya) I’ve been working on in hibernation until I’m ready to knit sweaters again. They will likely be frogged, but I’ll decide that later.

At the moment I keep thinking “Well, what now?” There’s so many patterns out there and in my queue that aren’t sweaters, but it’s difficult to shift my focus so much after planning a lot of sweater projects (or potential projects) for the year. I’ve been looking around at what other knit-a-long type things I could do instead and Summer of Socks 2011 is about to start! I was all set to knit socks last summer, then I got sidetracked and didn’t knit very many socks. I think that was about the time I got bit hard by the sweater bug. I have loads of sock yarn, there are tons of patterns out there, and with sweaters set to the side, I’ve started looking at what socks I’ll knit this summer.

First thing I want to do is get Maelstrom and the PDY Stripey sock finished. Hopefully before Summer of Socks officially starts on June 21st. Not sure what I’ll start after that yet. Thinking I might do a few Cookie A. patterns and maybe some colorwork socks. What’s you’re favorite sock pattern? One you’ve been wanting to knit? Socks you’re planning to knit for Summer of Socks 2011? Go ahead… make my queue grow! hahaha πŸ˜‰

Posted in Knit Ramblings, Life

Not Knitting

It’s been a while since I updated, nearly a month it seems! I haven’t updated because I haven’t been knitting for going on 3 weeks now. 😦

Since my last post on April 20th, I managed to struggle through the wrist pain I was having and get Elektra finished in time for our vacation. I still need to photograph it. It’s been raining like crazy here and I keep forgetting I need finished photos!

I took NO knitting at all on vacation with me. My wrist was feeling better after a week of barely using my left hand for anything. When I got back home, I tried to knit and my left wrist started hurting before I even finished a round on Slipped Hours. Went to the doctor and was told it’s tendonitis. He gave me some anti-inflammatory medication, told me to keep it in a brace and it should feel better in a few weeks. A little over a week later, it’s not hurting as much, but then again I’m trying not to use my left hand at all which turns out is REALLY hard (it wasn’t nearly so difficult when my right hand was the problem last August). It’s not feeling much better overall and I’ve noticed some tingling in my ring fingers that started today. Sigh.

Since I haven’t been able to knit, crochet, or spin, I’ve been reading a lot of books on my Kindle. I finally finished Girls of Murder City, then breezed through Water for Elephants in a few days. The story completely sucked me in and I could barely put it down. I tried to read Everything Illuminated because I absolutely loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but I just couldn’t get into that book at all. Now I’m reading Bossypants. Matt kept telling me I should read it, so I downloaded the sample and got sucked in. If you’ve got any book recommendations, send them my way! I like a very wide range of books and since I seem to be flying through books at the moment (okay, fast for ME since I’m not a very fast reader), I’ve already got my eye out for the next thing I’ll read.

So… I know this isn’t much of a post since I’ve not been knitting, but I hope to have some photos of Elektra to share soon. I also hope I can get back to knitting soon since it’s kind of killing me to not be knitting right now!

Oh! BTW, anyone going to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this coming weekend? I’m planning on being there on Saturday. Any locals that want to carpool with Diana & me are welcome to and if you’re going to be there, maybe we can meet up! Hey, if I can’t knit, at least I can go visit pretty yarn and fiber, right? πŸ˜‰

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects, Knit Ramblings

FO’s, Sweater Knitting, and Projects

I’ve been a bit behind in blogging and I can’t say I have any good reasons why. I’ve been lazy about taking pictures of my current projects and then when I have taken pictures, I forget to edit and upload them. I think I’ve also been side tracked with getting everything in order for two upcoming trips. Ah well. I’ve definitely been knitting despite not blogging about it!

Since I last posted, I’ve finished two projects. The first thing I finished was my third sweater for the year, Cassis.

Cassis (Front)
Cassis – Front

Pattern: Cassis (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: February 26, 2011
Completed: March 27, 2011
Yarn: Knit Picks CotLin in Whisker, 10 skeins
Needles: US 6 bamboo circular and DPNs
Notes: I added waist shaping at the sides, did long sleeves instead of short sleeves, and shortened the length. Overall I’m still feeling a bit “meh” about this sweater, but it does make a nice, washable house sweater or sweater to keep at work for when it’s a bit chilly.

Cassis (Back)
Cassis – Back

After I finished up Cassis, I focused on finishing High Road since I was already pretty close to being done. A day later I was binding off High Road and blocking it!

High Road (Wrapped)
High Road

Pattern: High Road (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: March 14, 2011
Completed: March 28, 2011
Yarn: A Verb for Keeping Warm Metamorphosis in Pilgrim, 1 skein
Needles: US 5 Addi Lace circular
Notes: Knit as written, though my gauge may have been a little off (I honestly don’t check for shawls). Very interesting construction and the whole thing seemed to go pretty quickly with first knitting the middle section, then the middle to top, then the bottom ruffle. I enjoyed working with the yarn as well. Squishy and soft and such a pretty colorway!

High Road (Back)
High Road – Back

High Road (Big)
High Road – Full

With both of those projects off the needles, I only had my PDY stripey sock on the needles, which of course meant I needed to cast on more projects. πŸ™‚

First thing I cast on was another sweater. After all, this is The Year of the Sweater for me with my goal of knitting 12 sweaters in 2011. With 3 under my belt, I think I’m doing pretty good and feeling like I can definitely make it. Even with other projects going on, I’ve stayed with my goal of a sweater a month and not casting on a new sweater until the one I’m working on is done. I’ve been itching to use the Vesper Quick Sock in Ivy League ever since my first attempt at Bel Air didn’t work out. After finishing Cassis, I was hesitant to try Bel Air again because of the collar. Turns out I don’t really like the collar on Cassis much and was afraid I wouldn’t like the one on Bel Air (in hindsight, I think it would be fine since it isn’t big like the one on Cassis, so Bel Air is still in my queue). After some swatching and pattern searching, I decided on Slipped Hours.

I downloaded the pattern and immediately noticed something. There is no schematic that comes with this pattern. Now, that may not be an issue for some knitters, but it is for me. When I first started knitting sweaters, I didn’t think a whole lot about the schematic or how the end product would actually fit my body. After I’d knit a few sweaters, I found a few things “wrong” with them – something was too long, too short, or just didn’t fit me well. This is when I learned to read the schematic and really pay attention to it when I knit a sweater so that I would be happier with the end result. I must admit, it has definitely helped. Most importantly, it helps me choose a size that will fit the way I want it to fit rather then going solely by the sizing stated in the pattern like I did those first few sweaters. This is the third sweater pattern in as many months that I’ve purchased that doesn’t have a schematic and I admit I was really irritated and disappointed that I paid for yet another pattern without a schematic. In my opinion (and those of other knitters I have asked), a sweater pattern that you pay for should come with a schematic. I swear, I’m not even that picky about it and if it were a free pattern, I wouldn’t even mention it not having a schematic (after all, it’s free). I don’t expect everyone to be a great artist (I know I’m not!) and I would totally accept something a designer drew in MS Paint with all the appropriate measurements of the finished garment. Just something that I can look at and go “Okay, if I picked ___ size it will be…”. I have never designed a sweater pattern and put it up for sale, but from what I know of sweater construction, designing, and pattern writing, a designer does do the math to figure out sizing and instructions. It seems reasonable that with all that math done for the sizing that it wouldn’t be much to add a small picture of a sweater with measurements for it since those are already known because of the pattern writing for various sizes, right? To me, it seems totally reasonable, but I digress.

With no schematic to look at so I could cast on right away, I took a few days to think it over, draw my own schematic, figure out how to add waist shaping, and figure out which size I wanted to knit. Ultimately I went with the largest size. I decided not to do reverse stockinette on the turned hem and just did regular stockinette on a smaller needle (pattern states to do it on the same needle you use for the body), did a purl row for the turn row, then switched to the needle that I got gauge for the body with. I’ve finished the hem and I’m into the waist decreases for the body.

Slipped Hours
Slipped Hours

One of the trips coming up involves a formal dinner and I’ve cocktail dress dress I like, but it only has one shoulder strap. I’m a bit worried I might get chilly, so I figured I’d knit myself a shawl to go with it. Finally decided on yarn (Wollmeise sock yarn in Fuchsia) and decided to knit Elektra. I was on the fence about the beads, but decided they’d be a fun addition since I don’t often knit things with beads and I thought it would add a little sparkle to the shawl. I looked locally, but was unable to find anything to match the yarn that I liked, so I ordered from Fire Mountain Gems. Hopefully those will arrive this week and I can get started on the shawl soon.

Over the weekend I decided to cast on for another project. I suddenly had the urge to knit up this purple sock yarn that has tried and failed to be a project many times over. Immediately, I thought of the pattern Rook. I’ve been wanting to make these and this yarn was calling for me to knit it, so I cast on. I’ve got half of the first mitt finished and it fits great. I was a little worried about gauge since that had been an issue in previous projects when I’d used this yarn, but it seems to be spot on for this pattern. No pictures yet. Instead I’ll show you the yarn I’m using!

Willy Wonky Sock Club
Big Mouth Yarns Buxom Sock in “You’re Turning Violet, Violet!”

Had a lovely (and busy) weekend and the weather was pretty nice out aside from the crazy winds we’ve had. This morning I woke up to it being 71 degrees outside and windy! Tomorrow I think the high is in the 50’s. Crazy spring time weather! Hehe πŸ™‚