Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm not lost, just roaming.

A quick update just to say that I'm out traveling the world and that posting may be limited or sporadic for a while, but I'll focus on quality instead of quantity :-)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Knit Wits

This is so funny. No really, it's the Sopranos + knitting. Watch and laugh, go ahead!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Socks. Yes, socks.

My LYS, a place called Gail Knits is a wonderful find! It may also lead to problems such as falling in love with every yarn ball in the store. I was just a little awestruck on my first visit, but something about the place made me believe I could make anything.

That is how I came home with a great big ball of Cascade merino/nylon sock yarn in red. I'm not ready to admit defeat (hehe, or should I say defeet) on the sock front. Other people can do it, why not me? Short row heels, that's why not. But I'm willing to work on it! I'm doing what I do best now, exhaustive research, and I hope to build up the confidence to get out the tiny DPNs and start. Until then, I have a beautiful ball of yarn (they wound it at the store for me too!) that can sit on my desk and encourage me, or gather dust waiting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I have a LYS?!

In one of those moments of sudden realization it occurred to me that the term "LYS" might actually have a meaning. I only read a select few knit-blogs on a regular basis and the authors are all located in the North Eastern US. This is significant because for the longest time I believed that "Lys" might be a craft store chain that only had stores in the NE. My train of thought often went like this "I wish they would hurry up and build a Lys out here!" I realize now how laughable that sounds, but would it kill anyone to write out "Local Yarn Store" every now and again?

Once this dawned on me I searched for yarn stores in my area and found one not more than 2 miles from my house! I must have driven past it a million billion times without ever noticing. That's where I'm going now, and hopefully I will come back with some fun things and broader knitting horizons :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two Sleeves; usually necessary for a sweater.

The sleeves of my practice sweater are complete! They are even seamed, as per my seam-as-I-go edict. Although I didn't lay them out very carefully for the picture, they are exactly the same size and shape with lovely, even gauge. This "practice sweater" is turning out to be just what I needed to build my sweater confidence.

Now raglan seams are something I'm not familiar with, but after extensive internet searching I believe that it works the same as the mattress stitch, just along the diagonal sleeve line. Am I wrong? That step is still a front and a back away, so I won't worry about it for now.

So what else do I have hanging around on the needles? Let's see: that world record afghan, the tweed stitch dishcloth, part of my First Sock that's waiting to be ripped, and the Gryffindor pillow that still needs seams.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Brother!

There wasn't much craftiness going on here this weekend due to my brother's birthday celebrations. Unless gift wrapping counts ... I do enjoy wrapping gifts :-) And everything was made easier by the massive spring cleaning that happened to the gift wrap related storage area. My own personal stroke of genius was using my clear plastic over-the-door shoe caddy (from college dorm days) as ribbon and bow storage. It's even still sorted by color and type! I don't know how long it will resist the entropy of the universe though :-/

[Side Note] The entire universe is constantly moving from a state of order into a state of chaos, this is called entropy. Yes, it's a scientific fact that the entire universe is working to thwart our best efforts at organization.

Friday, May 16, 2008

World Record Afghan.

The afghan/throw that I started knitting for my mom in a somewhat finicky Embossed Diamonds pattern is starting to feel like the largest afghan in the history of afghans! I'll bet I'm not the only one to feel this way about a large project either.

I'm starting to think that I was a bit overzealous in casting on close to 400 sts on my large circular needles. I've successfully completed about a foot of knitting that's about 5 feet wide, so there's no way I'm ripping out and starting again. That is definitely off the table because I don't know if I would be able to pluck up my resolve to start knitting again from the beginning. Besides, I'm pretty sure that the finished project will be just the right size (though it seems gigantic right now).

It's a good thing that I started it right away because it will probably be winter again before I finish it! I'll include a picture of it when I can stand to look at it again, I promise.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just Keep Pedaling!

I'm sticking to my vow to seam as I go, which meant putting down the needles and seaming up the first sleeve of my "practice" sweater. Happily, everything went smoothly and I'm so glad that I can finish projects in a neater, more professional way now :-)

[Side Note] I love that acrylic doesn't have to be blocked. I don't like blocking either. Fancy yarns are nice, but there's all sorts of extra involvement (added cost, swatching becomes necessary, the blocking, the careful washing, etc.) I like some acrylic instant gratification sometimes! That sounded dirtier than I meant it to ...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Today the training wheels come off.

I don't derive any joy from seaming things. I actually avoid projects with lots of seaming because I know that they will lay in finished but not-yet-sewn-together pieces for an eternity and I don't need that kind of guilt. That all ends today. From this day forward I hereby vow to seam as I go whenever possible.

I finally learned how to properly seam knitted objects with the mattress stitch, which is surprisingly simple and has nothing to do with mattresses (at least as far as my instructions went). I'm sure that the way I used to seam things violated several deadly sins of knitting, so this is a vast improvement. The way that the stitches pull together to create a new row along the seam is nothing short of a miraculous event to me right now.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

I'm not making a sweater. I'm just practicing by making all of the parts :-D Like today for instance, I knit a raglan sleeve in Cape Cod Blue. It turned out just right thanks to a fancy sweater calculator I found online at Knitting Fool. Just to make sure it wasn't an accidental success I will repeat the sleeve exercise tomorrow and then move on to practicing the front and back of a round neck raglan sweater. You know, they say practice makes perfect ;-)

That site again was

Sweater Weather?

There's something about the 90 degree weather we're having that makes me want to start a sweater project. I'll chalk that up to heatstroke, but I'm going to start looking for a pattern anyways. My earliest sweater projects were a comedy of errors combined with a general in-over-my-head-ness, so I've been reluctant to begin another one. It's a shame too, because I love sweaters, just not my sweaters yet :-/ I believe my skills have progressed considerably since my last sweater attempt many months ago, so let the pattern perusing begin!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

No actual posting today, just brunch making and spending time with Mom!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Book Scarf: for keeping books warm

I once saw a sweater pattern that was double-knitted so that it would be reversible and thought to myself "That's like knitting two sweaters at once! Who would do that to themselves?" And I've never had any desire to double-knit anything since.

Until now. I saw a cute idea for a bookmark scarf somewhere in the blog-o-sphere and decided that for an object no more than an inch wide I could make an exception and give double-knitting a try. It was surprisingly easy to keep track of, more efficient than knitting something so small in the round, and turned out great! I don't think I'll be making any reversible sweaters, but I'd sure make this little project again and again (it only took an hour, and that includes the time I spent pondering the long-tail purl cast on).

P.S. As I was tagging this post I decided that this project could be related to the Tiny Weasley Sweater because they are the same scale and would probably go well together :-)

Oh, this is nifty!

Mugglenet is reporting that the German based yarn company Opal has released a new fall '08 line of Harry Potter yarn! It's too bad the dollar is so weak (in comparison to the Euro, we seem to be holding our own with the Yuan for the moment), or I'd order myself some right now! I've got a powerful urge to get the Dumbledore yarn and make warm woolly socks out of it ;-)

"Half-Blood Prince Sneak Peek by way of Yarn company Half-Blood Prince Sneak Peek by way of Yarn company has spotted these new spools of yarn from German yarn company Opal. They have a new Half-Blood Prince collection with 8 color themes to be released Fall 2008. Each of the themes represents one character from the sixth Potter film and includes a picture.

Those characters include Harry, Ron, Malfoy, Lupin, Tonks, Dumbledore, and Hedwig. Tonks most notably has a new, much shorter, haircut. Check 'em out in our gallery!"

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's a Chart Maker, like a recipe card for knits...

I like this simple text based chart creator from Inna Zakharevich. It's text based, so you type in your pattern and it generates a chart for you. I've seen other sites that allow you to drag&drop stitches into a graph area, but once the initial novelty wears off it's just more time consuming. I prefer this one:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Aran with it.

I've said before that I like to take on challenging projects in order to a) improve existing skills or b) acquire new ones and this Aran pattern was certainly challenging on both fronts! I may not have the length of attention span necessary for all of this cabling, but it was a joy to finally finish it. This piece is without a purpose for now (mostly because I can't imagine making another one in order to have a pillow). It's just the trophy for my triumph over Aran patterns.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fight On!

Fight On for ol' SC
Our men Fight On to victory.
Our Alma Mater dear,
looks up to you
Fight On and win
For ol' SC
Fight On to victory
Fight On!

There's nothing like that Trojan Spirit! A hundred thousand fans in the Coliseum cheering, standing, and throwing up the two-finger Fight On! salute. It gives me chills! I'm getting so stoked for football season to start up again that I thought I'd created an SC embossed pattern. I worked the gauge so that it's a square, but you can knit it into anything/everything with just the graph (at the bottom).

I used b&w in an effort to show more detail on the embossing...
Here's another angle. It becomes more visible up close. I haven't decided what I'm going to make with this logo yet, but it could become a checkerboard blanket of Cardinal and Gold squares.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hats off to me!

I've finished knitting that hat for my brother, and to top it off I'm pretty sure that he likes it!

It did have to spend a few days in the BIN OF UNFINISHED KNITS, which is just fine because he won't get to use it for quite a while. The "House Hats" pattern from Alison Hansel's Charmed Knits was amazing once again! It has earned a place of honor among my knitting patterns because I've used it twice with the same satisfying results. Remember, experimental results are only valid if they are repeatable. So this pattern is a homerun, scientifically speaking.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Last Knit

I'm not sure if this was meant to be funny, but I certainly laughed at how this cartoon woman was completely consumed by her knitting "hobby". Sometimes projects seem to take on a life of their own and demand to be finished ASAP!