Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time Crunch!

I keep lying to myself and saying that I'm ready for Christmas. As far as buying presents, I am ready. I'm not ready as far as my knitting goes! I still have to finish the back panel of my sister's purse... plus since I have no real pattern for it, the cables I added to the back panel are making it thinner (by almost an inch on each side...) so I'm worried that I won't be able to block it enough to stretch it, but we'll see. And of course I'm using crappy acrylic so there's little stretch to it as is. I still have to stitch that together and line it.

Then I have the baby blanket! I finally started the decrease. I was supposed to get to 190 stitches before I started decreasing, but I got tired and it looked pretty big... so I started decreasing I think around 180. It's close. This one doesn't have to be finished by Christmas, but I'd like to be able to give it to my boss and his wife for Christmas if I can.

We also have a bunch of people retiring this year including our receptionist. I'd love to be able to give her slippers or a quicknit scarf or something but I just don't have the time! Her last day is tomorrow, and I have to work my second job tomorrow! She will be here on Christmas Eve. We always have a big luncheon in the office every year. So maybe if I finish the bag and the blanket this weekend I can throw together something quick? I don't know. We'll see. AND I still only have about 3 inches of Olivia's scarf done. I feel so bad because I haven't been working on that AT ALL. Now that I know that cables are so simple, I might start this scarf over with an actual pattern.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Technique Checklist

Lately I've been trying to challenge myself with my knitting. I did my first ribbed scarf (still waiting for pics on that... I shipped it to Ireland before getting a good picture) and tackled a few other techniques as well.

Cables-check! I tried it with a scarf for a 2 yr old... still working on it (it's only like 3 inches long right now). I'm also doing a purse for my sister that I'm kind of winging, and the back panel is this cute adorable cable pattern that I yoinked from a scarf pattern I found on google called plaited cable scarf I just added five stitches on each end to the garter border since my purse is 55 stitches.

Fair Isle-check! That purse? The front is a quote done in fair isle.

Long-tail CO-check! LOVE this cast on! Super easy... super fast.. very neat looking. Much neater looking than the single knit cast on. In love with this. Must show my sister, because it's so much easier than anything else I've tried.

Reading charts-check! When I tried the fair isle, it was just easier to have a chart, so Sara taught me how to do that. Much less scary than it looks.

Still on my list of techniques:
  • intarsia

  • sweaters... I have a little baby sweater I might CO for my boss.

  • magic loop. everyone on ravelry raves about it.. i'm curious

Anything else I should tackle?

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Knitting Trilogy!????

I finished Unravel Me. And it was lovely! I mean, it was definitely smut... but it was good smut. It was definitely steamy. Especially since the sexcapades were with a soldier. Christie Ridgway also wrote a book called "How to Knit a Wild Bikini" which I didn't look up anything on that, but in the back of "Unravel Me" was a chapter from her next book called "Dirty, Sexy Knitting" about the same characters! I was a little excited. I happen to be a sucker for book series, so I must get "How to Knit a Wild Bikini" and "Dirty, Sexy Knitting!" Needs must!

I had my first home knitting gathering this weekend.. and it was fairly successful, despite the fact that everyone that I invited was a no-show. All of the people Sara invited were there though. We had a good time knitting and being chatty kathys. There's this nasty cold running through work, and everyone I invited was from work... so they were all sick, which was a bummer. I even invited (gasp!) a crocheter. It's all right though...nobody's perfect. :)

I started my boss's baby blanket on Saturday, and FINALLY finished Gene's scarf. It's finally length-approved. I figured if it was taller than me, then it's gotta be long enough. I still haven't received yarn from the people who told me that they wanted me to make stuff. So right now the only thing I have on needles is the baby blanket. I *should* start Olivia's scarf. I also need to get a pattern from Sara for these cabled slippers that looked really cute. They would make great additions to Christmas gifts. I could probably get away with using the mass amounts of acrylic yarn that I have... maybe get a few other giganto skeins of red heart and mix colors. They look like they go really quickly... so I think I could make a few pairs. I just need to learn cabling. Bah.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holy project list, Batman!

How did I end up with like a bajillion projects to do? I still haven't finished Gene's scarf, even though it's almost done... and he wants a non-Waldo hat. So I bought new yarn for that, and my own 16" US8 circulars so Sara can have hers back. Then my friends Brian and Winter discovered my knitting abilities and asked if I would make them a scarf if they sent yarn. Brian saw some the other day he thought would be fun, so I told him to pick one up. THEN... my boss is having a baby in March (a little girl, his first biological child. He has two stepsons) so I'm making her a baby blanket. I just picked up Bernat self striping baby blanket yarn... and I'm all kinds of excited about that. The picture is the free pattern that actually came on the yarn. That's the pattern I usually do when I make blankets with LionBrand HomeSpun, but I wanted to do something different. I hope the stripes come out all right!

I *still* have Olivia's scarf to do, plus I wanted to maybe make something for myself, but apparently I'm not allowed to do any personal knitting.

So to recap... I have

(1) unfinished garter-stitch scarf for Gene
(1) unstarted cabled scarf for Olivia (she's only like two... so it isn't big... I just want to try cabling and I want to start small)
(2) scarfs of an undetermined pattern
(1) plain ol' hat for Gene (without Waldo stripes and pompom)
(1) baby blanket for my boss (and I'm using US8s for that... so it may take a while)

Good thing I'm hosting a knitting party on Saturday!! So far, the guest list is up to 7 definites and 4 maybes. And two of these lovely ladies have never knitted before, so it should be fun! I may start the baby blanket this weekend... that's going to take me the longest. Maybe I can finish Gene's scarf before Saturday...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New literary genre?

I've always been a huge fan of romance novels... they're a great escape. When I was in college and had a really bad day, my best friend and I would go over to Giant (usually around 1am or so) and read the backs of all the cheesy romance novels and usually buy whichever one appeals to us. Me is usually steaminess. My friend usually picks up intrigue...and it always turns out to be a crime novel masquerading as a romance novel. In my literary travels, I've come to discover my favorite is historical romance novels. I like contemporary, but something about a Scotsman in a kilt circa 1700 really gets me going.

I recently discovered there's a whole 'nother section of literature I was completely unaware of--knitting novels. My mother came across one when she was looking for something new to read and picked it up for me (I'm getting it this weekend when I see her) and just yesterday she found a different one. Today while at Target getting my lunch (California Pizza Kitchen Pizza for One-delish. It's awesome.) I wandered over to their novels and found: Unravel Me by Christie Ridgway. Since I just bought it all of 15 minutes ago, I haven't read it yet. I'm a fast reader, but I'm not magical. The novel is set in California in a hip LYS on the beach. I'm intrigued... and I'll probably finish reading it by tomorrow night.

Now that I have discovered knitting literature (knit lit) I may have a new favorite genre in romance novels. I'll have to let you know what I think about this one and the new one I'm getting on Saturday! I can't think of the titles at the moment, but I will let you know. And if you've read some knit lit before and have some recommendations--bring 'em on!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Waldo pictures!

I'm remembering to post pictures! I tried to just post a picture of Waldo wearing his hat, but unfortunately I'm in the way, so you get to see me as Carmen Sandiego as well.

The knitting of the Waldo hat was not as scary as I thought, but I should have continued the red a little above the ribbing. I really like knitting in stockinette in the round!! That's fun! And switching to dpns was also not quite as terrifying as I anticipated. I expected to call Sara in a panic because I dropped every single stitch, but I managed to survive. And if the hat wasn't obnoxious colors with an obnoxious pompom on it, Gene would probably wear it on a regular basis. I'm highly considering embroidering a Phillies "P" on it in red and taking off the pom. I definitely like making hats though.. and now that I have US8 dpns, I should get 16" US8 circulars. I bought 29" by accident, but Sara lent me her 16".

I'm having a get together with a few friends (some of whom have never knitted ever) over to my house for a knitting extravaganza. My friend's wife wants to learn, and she recently embedded needles she tried to teach herself with in the wall (or so she tells me). My other friend Jenny is a quilter and wants to learn how to knit, my little sister actually taught me to knit, and then Sara is coming and bringing some avid knitters with her. I think I'm going to tackle cables this time. I keep saying that I'm going to do it, and I have two fun patterns that I want to try (and really pretty teal virgin lambs wool I want to use!) so hopefully next weekend will go smoothly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Halloween Knitting

After much negotiation, Gene and I finally came up with a good idea for Halloween. We are going as "People who are hard to find." Gene will be Waldo, and I will be Carmen SanDiego. But because Waldo's outfit is so, um, specific..it's a bit challenging to find. So, I am currently making a Waldo hat.

It's my first experiment with circulars... and first experiment with poms. Hopefully it's a successful experiment. So far, on my first row using the circulars I dropped the final stitch. Luckily, my friend Sara (who taught me how to use circulars) was there and found it. So far so good. I found this great pattern on ravlery for a "plain knit hat." it has a ribbed border of about 2.5", which I'm doing in red, and then stockinette in white for the rest of the hat. I think it's going to be good. I think. I'm worried about two things... I'm worried about bringing in the white, and I'm worried about having to switch from circulars to dpns for the end. It's apparently easier to do it that way? I've never used circulars OR dpns before... so it's a bit terrifying for me. But hey, it's a non-retangular garment.. so it's a step in the right direction. And it's nice and small and fast. Not as fast as my two hour capelet...but whatevs.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Check and check!

I'm awesome. I finished Colleen's scarf (it's a little shorter than I would have liked, but it's long enough. I just like super long scarves) AND I finished my little capelet/shawl whatever from my Rowan book! It only covers the shoulders, but that's all it's meant to do. And even though I used 19mm instead of 20mm, I think it's okay. The only thing I need to do is block it and sew the cute adorable button on it. I also have to block Colleen's scarf....the ribs are all squishy, so it looks SUPER thin.

I'll post pictures of both (pre and post blocking, hopefully) a bit later. I didn't have time last night or this morning to take pictures. Plus Col's scarf was finished in the doctor's office waiting room...where they FORGOT ABOUT ME. I sat there twenty minutes after my appointment, until I went up to the desk and said "Um, excuse me? Did they forget about me?" and another 10 minutes later, the PA came and got me. Gr.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yarn Search

Because of the newest tropical whatever developing in the ocean on the East Coast down by Haiti, the wedding I'm going to by the Jersey shore this weekend is going to be cold and yucky. Luckily, I have this cute adorable pattern in this Rowan Biggy Print book I borrowed from my sister for this little shawl that would be adorable with my dress. The problem? I need Rowan Biggy Print yarn... and the normal gauge for that is using US 36s. Every "super chunky weight" yarn I've come across thus far would look dumb if I used 36s.

There are three specialty yarn stores remotely close to me... Wool Gathering, A Garden of Yarn, and Stitches With Style. A Garden of Yarn is the closest to me where I am at this moment. When I'm home, Stitches With Style is closer. I'm hoping that A Garden of Yarn either A. carries Rowan yarn or B. has something chunky enough...and black... that I can use it and not have it look dumb. I saw someone who used this pattern on ravelry and instead of using a brooch or oversized pin to close it, they used ribbon...which is a great idea, and I think I'm going to do that.

I don't have a shawl or anything that can be used to somewhat formalesque occasions where a coat would look tacky... so hopefully I'll be able to finish this. If I do, it will be my first non-scarf or blanket! I'm excited.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Patterns...wee!!

I was visiting my mom and my sister this weekend, and I looked at my sister's stash. Mine is sad. Hers is cute... because a good friend of hers had a store (well, her mom did. My sister is only 17) called Unraveled, and it was this cute boutique-y yarn store that I LOVED when I first started knitting. Well, it closed... and they have all this yarn that they can't get rid of, so my sister took some. It's super cute.

She also had these Rowan books that use super chunky yarn, my new favorite weight, and the sweaters in them are super super cute and look like things that aren't so scary. I think I mayhaps do one...or seven... so I *borrowed* the books from my sister so that I could write down the patterns and give them back to her. The one book (Rowan Bigger Picture featuring Big Wool & Biggy Print Over Twenty Designs by Kim Hargreaves) is awesome. I'm pretty sure I like 85% of the patterns. The other one I really really like two patterns, and that's about it. But it makes knitting sweaters seem less scary and somewhat doable. I hope when I start doing sweaters, it doesn't suck.

I really do think it's time to start building the stash though. I just buy yarn when I feel like starting the project...I never buy it for a future project. My feeling is that I'll forget what the project is. Last week Michael's was having a sale on Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn, which I'm hoping is similar to Rowan's Biggy Print since I think Rowan is hard to find in the US. I may be wrong.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Knitting Newbie

Ok, not really. I've been knitting for about five or six years. My 12 year old sister taught me how to knit... and she's almost 18 now. I've only ever knit glorified squares. Scarves. Baby blankets. That's it. My first blanket attempt (which is pretty sad...) I made a bunch of scarves basically and mattress-stitched them together. Maybe one of these days I'll do another afghan that's an actual afghan and not a bunch of scarf rejects sewn together.

I have a few confessions to make. Even though I've been knitting for five years... I've only ever done a garter stitch. I know HOW to do other stitches... I've just been scared of purling. and TERRIFIED of cabling. Oh my god it frightens me. But... I'm trying. I've also never ever knitted in the round... nor have I used double ended needles, let alone multipe sized needles on one project. Currently... I'm making my first ribbed scarf. It's coming out all right so far.. I messed up the first few rows... I accidentally did a seed stitch... but i'm making it like a border. It's actually giving it a bit of stability, so I didn't feel the need to start over. I'm using Lion Brand (my absolute fave yarn brand!) Micro-spun in this bright coral pink. And when it's all finished... I'm shipping it out to Ireland where my best friend now lives.

This blog is basically going to be my attempts at knitting bigger projects. My hope is by blogging about it... I'll stay motivated. Things on my list so far: a cabled bag (yikes!), a pretty lace-y scarf for my friend's daughter, and my first sweater (possibly involving knitting in the round...we'll see how ambitious I feel).

I've already taken the first two steps in adventurous projects: I subscribed to a fun knitting mag I like (2 years... big commitment, I know.. but that's a lot of patterns!), and I requested to join ravelry! Once I get that all set up... I might MAYBE possibly post my name for other ravlery users.