Wednesday, October 31, 2007

McK's kitty bed is a new FO

Well, not so new. Maybe... a week ago?

This is McK the visiting kitty. On the new daybed matching ensemble and the very not-matching rainbow pastel ugliness yarn that I decided to dedicate to the visiting kitty. Who is very nice and purrs generously and curls up for a snuggly nap whenever I'm home long enough.

He looks a little drugged so I think he likes it. It's not big enough for him but I think he understands that it's for him and he can sort of half lay on it and be happy. We'll see how that works out. He's sort of locked up now that it's colder out and he wouldn't be happy all day long in the cold with no one to let him in. He might be around a bit more and trying to come in my door on the weekend if my landlord is around too.

In other crafting news..................where to begin? No pictures till the weekend but the first sleeve of the Lace Leaf Pullover has been reknitted and is a nice size and just about right to fit into the armholes (yay) so I've started the second sleeve....two rows in to the leaf chart pattern only to realize I left the pattern in my other home last weekend. Can't get it back till this weekend.


U-neck vest. Have abandoned lifted increase dart shaping in favor of make-1 increases. Yeah. I tried the lifted ones, they didn't look pretty, I looked at everyone and their mother on Ravelry who has knitted this thing and thought, well, either people aren't having this problem or they are changing the increase to something more comfortable. So I ripped back and did that too. Ran out of yarn in my second home over the weekend (totally never though to throw in another ball, who does that?) so had to put that down and work on the am in opposite position of being able to work on the waffle stitch and dart shaping with plenty of yarn but not having the pattern to do up the sleeves for the pullover. And it is so pullover weather. Oh well...

In additional crafty news I got the most amazing craftastic package yesterday and I can't wait for good light to take pictures and detail my happiness when it comes to the goodness that the postman was holding for me!! Thanks to subliminalrabbit!! You rock!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

where am I?

Time is a-flyin... it has turned grey and wet here--I wish I could send some moisture to the south-west coast, ack.

I thought I would get around to photographing WIPs, yarn acquisition, and even a new FO. but there is no nice light available these days and when I get home it is dark. Transitional time of year. just as a quick update before I return to work to use up the daylight hours earning rent, so let me tell you, I'm re-knitting the first sleeve on the Lace Leaf Pullover, and it's going to be comfy-sized rather than tight now, which I'm sure I'll be glad about later even though currently it seems too loose. Also on the Back to School U-neck vest I am up to the waffle stitch upper body and have put it down since the weekend because over that two day chunk of knitting time I managed to screw up the darts and though I searched Ravelry and searched online for others who had trouble witht the lifted increases (new to me), it seems like this was no trouble for others. gahhh. I need to go back and possibly switch to another increase to avoide screwing up the waffle stitch pattern. Just haven't had the time yet.

Last Wed CK and I made it to Kaleidescope Yarns for the first, time, lovely place! We were hunting for some purple yarn for Christmas gift and ended up picking up two skeins of Cascade 220 heathers in a lovely dark aubergine type color. First time to work with Cascade for me! I also found two IK issues from last year, before I started subscribing, with patterns I have been coveting!! More on that asap, my morning computer time is running out.

But the FO! is the fugly cat bed for McK the visiting kitty. It looks like a crocheted rainbow frisbee but we'll see what happens next time McK comes along for a nap. CK says it's only half as big as he is, so that should be interesting. even if he just sprawls on it and sort of contains the shedding cat fur a bit, I'd be pleased. we'll see. we also just picked up a new matching daybed ensemble so I wouldn't be surprised if he'd prefer to shed all over that first.

pictures of these things to come--had to recharge my camera battery and now am waiting for the sun to show her face. have a great day!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

big mistake

How about this for a fabulous (gutsy!) knitter's tattoo?

So here is a lesson learned and I'm sharing it because I made a big mistake earlier this week. Don't be me.

I have been making ok progress on my Lace Leaf Pullover. I frogged the upper part and took better measurements and not a little bit of time last weekend to figure out how big the armholes should be to fit me. I put in the time, I got the results. Armholes that were the perfect size. I even tried it on just as I reached the point where one could put in a couple of short rows for bust shaping, were one so inclined, and I did that too. And it fit great. And I was moving smoothly toward my waist, where I was considering a couple of decrease rows for a bit of an hourglass shape. It was all going so well.

The straight stockinette even lent itself to knitting while watching DVDs of the third season of Alias. Not every project is suitable for this, let me tell you. All continued to go well.

Suddenly, disaster! The combination of draining my first glass of wine and being distracted by Alias was too much. I noticed a funny lumpy pully weird stitch a few stitches back on one side of the front of the pullover. I didn't like it. It had to go. I dropped the corresponding stitch above it back and worked it back 8 rows or whatever it was, and bizarrely (to my befuddled brain) when it got there I could not figure out what was going on--there was like a sideways stitch sticking out of that row next to the stitch I'd dropped back to, and it didn't go away when I picked up my stitches again, working up the ladder.

If you haven't been drinking and you know how short rows work, you'll realize that I frogged back to my short row and screwed it up royally by not realizing what it was and by trying to get rid of the wrapped stitch. I still didn't realize this still I decided, fine, it's late in the evening but I'll frog, and I frogged (fueled by my second glass of Chardonnay) right back to the short rows and I said to CK, well this must be my problem! I picked this up at some point and started knitting in the wrong direction and it totally screwed everything up! How could I have done that while working in straight stockinette?? What an idiot. I kept frogging, and hit the other end short row. At which point I said, wait, I wouldn't have done that twice....


I had completely forgotten about my clever short rows. I had taken a perfectly fitting upper body of a sweater and ripped it back beyond my perfect shaping.

Take it from me, chillens. Don't frog if you've been drinking. Just put it down, step away, and look at it in the sober light of morning. Or the following weekend--whenever you have time to look at it and consider it and think, what was I thinking when I veered from the black and white of the written pattern?

The reason I noticed a weird stitch a ways back and was tempted to work back, then frog back to get it right, is because I wrapped the purl stitches the wrong way. At the time I didn't think they looked great when I picked up the wraps but I didn't bother to stop and check my handy knitting question book. If I had done that I would have been reminded that if you are purling and wrap a stitch, you moved the yarn to the back and slip your stitch and move the yarn back to where it needs to be. The opposite of wrapping a knit stitch. So at least I've worked back to that point and wrapped the stitches the correct way. The irony being, I've gotten good enough at reading my knitting (normally) and at dropped a stitch on purpose and working it back up a number of rows if I have twisted a stitch at some point, I should have been able to wrap that stitch around the correct way and work back up to my current row without screwing up everything. But I didn't recognize the wrapped stitch for what it was.

Lesson learned. Everytime something like this happens I just think, ok, now I know what that looks like. This is the journey of knitting, right?

In other news, I picked up a new copy of Erika Knight's Classic Knits from the new books section of my local public library this afternoon. I can only borrow it for two weeks since it's new but I borrowed it anyway. The simplicity of the stuff is nice, I like cables too but I know that if a piece is too complicated I just won't wear it often enough. I'd like to build up my wardrobe of basic pieces. I think that if I put my head down, in two weeks I could do the Silk Shrug (Ravelry link). I'm short of silk so I'm thinking of my Knitpicks Shine Sport which is a drapey cotton-modal blend. Turquoise. Yes, it's the yarn I've suspected of being cursed but I got a couple of balls out this morning thinking I would cast on for the IK Lace Ogee skirt wrap thing tonight, then went to the library and found the Erika Knight book. So maybe it is time to try the shine sport once again, all signs are pointing in that direction.

Hopefully tomorrow--pictures! Of the pullover at least, which I am going to work on tonight while watching Frasier DVDs--another library loaner. happy knitting!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

kitty bed WIP

In which I occasionally break out a crochet hook without needing it to pick up a dropped knit stitch.

My landlord's pretty ginger kitty likes to come in and visit when I get home from work earlier than my landlord. He rubs his face all over my packing boxes (new apartment 9/07) and whatever is new to him, then makes his way upstairs and curls up on my bed for a nap. he likes to push my pjs/blankets around with his not-declawed paws so I'd prefer he had his own little bed to curl up in! This is the ugliest cotton I have, I must have gotten it really cheap because I just don't know what I was thinking!! I'm just going to sort of spiral around and then stop increasing when it seems to be big enough for him--he's pretty big and likes to stretch out and roll around with his tummy exposed so I might just end up using up this ball of fugly cotton. yay!

In other non-illustrated knitting news, I busted out some concentration last night and frogged back the too-big armholes of my Lace Leaf Pullover, figured out where the armholes should end (this section is worked top down from the neck, divided for front and back, then rejoined for under the arm scythes) by trying it on over and over as well as comparing it to a couple of sweaters I have that fit. This time it is much better, well worth the work and effort, and the top part fits nicely now. I haven't compared the snug sleeves to the new armhole opening but I think I'll be happier (and smell better) if I suck it up and reknit the sleeves anyway to be looser and wider, especially at the cuffs, which would currently be fitted to my already-somewhat-skinny wrists. I do want to make sure to figure out just about how many stitches I want to end up with to fit into the armholes before I frog the sleeves--I'll be sensible and frog those one at a time for comparison purposes, natch.

That was my big effort of last night, but Friday night and yesterday during the day I made some good progress on the U-neck vest. The real color is more sea-green than this shows.

Super easy, super fast. Yet I look at the photos on Ravelry and think, mmmmm, needs mods. Everyone who models it looks like their assets are really emphasized, and squished together into one big lump. Hmm, not flattering. Projects that are not modelled look bizarre because the ribbing pulls in the lower section so much and then the top part blooms out like a mushroom. I like the pattern and I think I will like the vest, but I am either going to chang the neckline to be even more squared off, come up higher like a boatneck, or at least make the top straps thinner. They're downright chunky and that just doesn't help my narrow shoulders. Harrumph! More math this way comes...

I also seem to be seriously considering finally getting a sample pack from ColourMart, something I have been thinking about for so long... they have many pretty yarns and I love the idea of a sweater-worth of yarn on one cone!! But I am nervous about the oils on the yarn, and it would be great to do a sample first. It's not like it'll break the bank, $4 on their site or $5 on their ebay store (I think they charge a dollar extra because you get another comment/rating, and too many people are doing that), I just want to look through the yarns and request a few specific types to make sure I get samples of stuff I'm considering ordering anyway.
Off to be productive!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lace Leaf Pullover / U-Neck Vest WIPs

Lace Leaf Pullover update:
this sweater is mostly knit, but it's going to take more work than I was hoping for. I ended up using size 11 needles rather than the 13s because I liked the fabric better in the swatch. I've been doing math every step of the way to accommodate for that choice. Now I am forcing myself to admit that even with the extra sts the sleeves are too small--I knit them after knitting the bottom section first--because after knitting the top and reconnecting under the armholes I had to admit that the armholes are MUCH bigger than the sleeves and there is just not enough sleeve to go in there! As the sleeves would be well fitted and the sweater would be nicer (and I have the yarn) as a looser pullover, I am thinking of frogging the sleeves and reknitting them a bit wider. At least the weather is so warm in the NE I don't need any sweaters yet!! I'll try to fix this thing this weekend.
Meanwhile, while I've been in denial about continuing the math practice that is my Lace Leaf Pullover, I needed to cast on a new project as I had nothing simple that suited itself to watching the incroyable 5 disc Discovery channel 'Planet Earth' DVD series in the evening with one's second glass of chianti in hand (who am I kidding, you can't knit while watching this amazing DVD set! too many cute bear cubs and things!). I've been waiting for the right moment to cast on for Stephanie Japel's Back-to-School U-neck Vest from Fitted Knits. I did do a bit of tipsy swatching in the last week, and here we are with the first rows, knit last night:

I picked up the Mission Falls 1824 wool half price in August, finally cast on a couple of nights ago and it will be a super quick knit if I just spend the time on it! I swatched on 7s, as the pattern calls for, but got closer to gauge on 8s and decided to knit a slightly smaller size (35.5) than I think I'll want in the end to make up for that extra quarter inch I'll gain every four inches of knitting. Should work out to a 37, we'll see!

Again with the math, what am I, a glutton?! At least this time I'm very close in gauge and am adjusting by knitting a different size that should come out to my size, rather than adjusting every darn step of the way. Happy knitting!