Small picture update

Thought I’d post up some pictures of my last pair of Monkey socks and my Green Gable–slowly but surely chugging along on that one. I’m finally past getting the sleeves onto waste yarn after more then a week. I’m not used to going so slow when I knit.

First the Monkey socks. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I like the Bayfield Apple colorway. There was color pooling on the Gusset, but everywhere else, it did some beautiful striping.

And my “Green” Gable in Cotton Fleece; the color is Rue and very pretty dark French blue. I’ve been happy so far and as usual, am having to knit a weird custom inbetween size, but it’s coming out nicely.

Minor catch up

I’m not dead, just learning to cope with having two small children home with me all day. It’s cutting into both my sanity and my knitting time–my means for keeping my sanity with my hyper toddler o’ doom in the first place. The newborn phase is almost done and I’m hoping that in the coming weeks we’ll have a more solid schedule and everyone will calm down and return to something closer to what normal was.

Anywho, this is a knitting blog, so back to what little knitting I’ve been getting done these past six weeks.
The “Lady” sweater is finished: just needs to be blocked, ends woven in, and buttons sewed on. I’m not as happy with it as I imagined I’d be, but some of that may be from my irritation at the lace pattern and all those missing stitches. I think once it’s fully finished, I’ll be happier with it. Right now, I’d prefer not to look at it and leave it where it is for the time being.
Once the “Lady” sweater was complete, I broke out my new toy: a ball winder I was able to buy thanks to a 50% off coupon from JoAnn Fabrics. So far, it’s been fun to play with.

That is my Yarn Love in Bayfield Apple I had been wondering what to do with. It became a pair of Monkey socks that took me over two weeks to knit, which was strange as I’m used to working so fast. (No pictures of the socks for now, I need to get pictures taken of the FO and do an FO post eventually here.) The socks took just under half the skein and I’m unsure of what to do with the rest. I guess I’ll eventually make more socks, or I’ll be on the look for anyone from Ravelry who may have an equivalent amount in another colorway. Honestly, I’m not sure where the figure that an average pair of socks takes 400yds of yarn comes from anyway: I think at most, my socks take 230-240yds, and my feet aren’t even that small, they’re average size.

Now, I’m working on my Green Gable after having the yarn for it sitting in my tote for about a year. I mucked up the lace a bit–what is it with me and these easy patterns lately?!–but it’s not noticable and I’m not ripping back for that. If all goes well, I’ll have pictures and another project in the near future.

"Lady"

Turns out, I only needed to do one more lace repeat and with the garter edge, it will hit where I like my sweaters to hit: just about the hip bone. One of the nice things about being short is how much less yarn it takes to make a sweater. The end is in sight.

Moving slowly but surely…

The “lady” sweater is still moving along, though not very quickly. I need to put it on waste yarn to take a new picture and see how much more length I want in the body. I have 6″-7″ under the arm (based on eyeballing the measurement) and I shouldn’t need too much more. Maybe 4 repeats and then the garter stitch edging. A good length for me in the body of a sweater is between 10″ and 11″ so this sweater should be done if I can keep myself working on it. I did have a good run on the gull lace repeats where for four I had no issues with lost stitches, only to have the next repeat give me trouble again. That one is the only one I know what happened though, as I missed a single YO and deemed it not important enough to rip back–let’s face it, Malabrigo doesn’t like to be ripped back and I don’t like trying to convince it otherwise. I keep looking back through the sweater and still can’t figure out what happened all the other times as nothing appears to be amiss with the pattern. It’s been vexing, but nothing seems to be hurt so I’ll eventually let it go and get over it.

I’ve finally gotten around to learning a bit more about how to update the look of this blog and have added lists into my sidebars. I need to continue to add projects to my queue as I have tons of yarn and an idea of what I’m going to use it for–I have quite a few varigated sock yarns that I think will become multiple pairs of Jaywalker socks so that they stripe. I’m hoping it will help keep me focused and moving on projects even after the baby is here and the want to refill my tote starts to hit again. Have to clear it in order to make room.

I’m hoping 2009 will be the year to add a few “non-selfish” projects to my list again. This year, I’ve focused on me and quite frankly, enjoyed it. I can understand wanting to make presents for others, but I have a hard time understanding the mentality of feeling guilty for wanting to use one’s time and yarn on herself. (Why yes, I *am* a member of the Selfish Knitters group on Ravelry.) I have lots of little bits of sock yarns left over that would make wonderful toddler socks and I’d like to make both of my children cute sweaters for this coming year.

I’d also like to make DH a new sweater, but am having an issue with it–well, him, about it. If he had his way, he’d get nothing but plain, dark colored crewneck sweaters with no details or very minimal ones on them. The Manly Maze I originally made for him had to be altered to remove more of the maze pattern from the cuffs in order to suit his taste and since then, I haven’t been able to bring myself to make him another sweater. Anytime I find a sweater that I think would be fantastic on him, even a simple one, he doesn’t like ANY of the details which would make it interesting for me to knit and inspire me to do so. He’s asked a few times why I haven’t made him another sweater and so far, he’s received a rather terse, “You can have one when you decide to wear some color or something interesting,” in reply.

Honestly, is this sweater really that bad? I thought for sure he’d go for it since it’s basically a ribbed sweater with one very minimal cable on it to add interest. I even tried to tell him that in a darker color and with the buttons matching the yarn that it would be even less ornate, but really, is that sweater ornate to begin with?! He won’t go for it and says he’d refuse to wear it. I’ve been talking to him about it for months now while I wait for ShiBui to put out the pattern. I think it’s so perfect for him that I can’t get it out of my mind and just let it go. I’d kill to be taller and have a leaner frame and longer neck so I could wear a sweater like that. I think he’d be very handsome in it and I’m sure his mother would agree since she reads this blog.

I’d love to make him the above mentioned sweater, and may still do it anyway and make him just try it on. (he can be so stubborn only to find out, hey, he actually likes it…like collared polo shirts…I don’t know how many times I had to ask him to “just try it on” before he finally caved and then decided he liked them so much, he bought a couple. Same with less baggy dark denim jeans. PICKY PICKY PICKY.) However, the new Fall Knitty has a promising men’s pattern in it and I may see if I can’t ease him into the world of allegedly fancy sweaters with Retrofit. I can already foresee his asking that it not be two different colors, but I may try to make him do just that, even if it’s only a subtle difference between the two.

So if anyone has ever wondered why most of the projects I work on are for me, you now know why. I’m hoping my children will be much more gracious recipients of sweaters. Lovely, “FANCY” sweaters.

Ugh…

This sweater has been anything but a Lady and I’m growing frustrated for the first time in my short knitting career. Lace socks? No problem. Lace scarf? No problem. Stupidly simple worsted weight lace sweater? Problems up the wazoo.

Stitches keep disappearing–always in the same part of the sweater. Can not find them ANYWHERE. They’re not dropped. No accidental p2 togethers. They keep disappearing like Jimmy Hoffa. Maybe they’re keeping him company. Yo, Jimmy, I want my stitches back.

I am knitting so slowly right now, so deliberately, that this project will take forever compared to ones I’ve done much more quickly. There are not enough words to express just how vexed I am. I really wanted to get this done before my daughter is born, but at this pace? I might be done with the body by then, but definitely not the whole thing.
I am having a rare day where I wish I were a drinker.

2 in 2 days

I think that’s a record for me on this blog. I do have ambitions to eventually blog on it weekly if not every couple of days…someday when I start doing my own dying and making my own patterns. Someday when I’ll likely move to a different blogging service like wordpress and have my own domain name. So not today and likely not in the next year. But SOMEDAY.

Pattern: Sausage Dogs
Needles: US size 5
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight

Another finished object under my belt. Despite making this roughly four times the size the pattern calls for, it was still a two day knit including felting and sewing it together. Unlike the bunny, this one has been much better received and is getting plenty of love. I didn’t do too badly trying to upsize it, could have made the legs a bit wider and longer; I think I did well on the ears and tail though. It’s tricky to upsize a pattern like this because not all pieces could be done to the same proportion as the body or else they’d be the wrong size for each other. Strange, but that’s how it worked. I have enough of the medium brown yarn left that I plan to pair it with some pink I have and eventually make a similar puppy for our little girl.

Being that I can not stand to be idle, I already have another project on needles. This time, it’s my February Lady sweater which I’m using my stashed malabrigo for. Very yummy to work with and it’s a lovely color to boot. Already had to frog it once, but that’s alright: it happens. I usually knit a bit on the big side, this time, I’m knitting small and so much so that it would make a big difference on the finished size. So I’ve cast on a size larger needles and going to get a little further and check my gauge again before getting too far. Every project, I tend to learn a new little trick or something finally clicks. With this project, successfully doing M1 increases has finally clicked. I shall never avoid them again. (Now in my defense, most instructions I’ve seen for doing them in the past say to knit into the bar between stitches. They never were clear enough to say, pick up the bar from the back or front with the left needle and then knit into it or the back, respectively. Suddenly, there are no more holes. Go figure.)

Time for more finished work

Because all the other bloggers seem to do it this way, I’m trying a slightly different format for recording my own.

Pattern: Monkey
Needles: US size 2

Overall, the pattern was well-written and enjoyable. I can see why Cookie A is so popular with sock knitters. Definitely makes it easy to justify buying a pattern or two of hers in the future. Part of me balks at the idea of paying $6 for a sock pattern, but well-written ones I think I can make an exception for. It had so many elements that I’m used to seeing in other sock patterns, but a better way to do them. The last couple of patterns I’ve done have been that way–so much better then the ones SWTC puts with their TOFUtsies limited edition yarns. I’m wondering if I didn’t do myself a disservice starting off with their patterns instead of ones like Monkey.

Yarn was also fantastic to work with. This and Lorna’s will definitely be go-to sock yarns in the future. It’s nice and sproingy. Has lovely stitch definition and subtlely stripes. I did not have any pooling anywhere on the sock this time. Was easy on the hands and felt nice to work with. Overall, lovely.

I forced myself to go slow with these and dragged them out an extra 3 days. On the one hand, it’s wonderful to be able to knit so fast: I get a lot of projects done and accomplished. On the other, I go so fast that I run out of project yarn quickly and that enables me to overbuy more yarn. While waiting for this baby and being able to knit all the projects in my tote, I’ve had to buy lots of yarn to keep me occupied. The more I knit, the more I want to. Have to say, it is one of the better things I’ve been addicted to doing!

Now I’m working on the larger Sausage dog for my son and wondering where I’ll go from there. I still have a lot of time to kill before I can think of starting those pullovers.

More August FOs

First, the bunny for My Bunny. I think it turned out rather well and the more of these I make, the better I get at putting noses on them. Still do not have embroidery skills to save my life, but they’re improving.

Tonight’s finished object is my Spring Forward socks, in TOFUtsies. At first the colorway reminded me of a washed out rose-themed color scheme, but upon closer inspection and thought, I realized it reminds me more of those fruity mini-marshmallows I used to eat as a child. Pattern is really easy to memorize and enjoyable and the yarn seems to work well for it. I’m not sure why TOFUtsies always allows me to make the foot of my socks shorter, but it does. Oh well, they fit and that’s what counts.
Next I believe I’ll be moving onto a birthday present for my sister so it’s out of the way and then onto that larger sausage dog for my son. I have other things I want to blog about, but am lacking the focus to do so tonight. So this entry will be short and to the point.

Small update…a few pictures.

In celebration of our new camera, I bring you new and improved FO pictures. At least they’re more color-accurate and I can use the fun tulip feature to get in closer so you can see details on my projects. Seriously, I haven’t read the manual for this thing yet and still managed to take wonderful pictures on my own. Cybershot, your days are numbered, my “friend.” I shall not settle for a yellowed out, washed out, too dark, too light, you-focused-on-something-that-was-not-the-subject, etc etc, picture again.Here they are, the previously mentioned Zombie socks in all their purple and black glory. (I love this colorway so much that I’m beyond a little tempted to purchase more of it and possibly in a larger quantity to make a tank top or light sweater of it.) The drop-stitch pattern was fun and easy to do. Also easy to memorize. I would love to do it again in the future, maybe next time in BMFA STR Raven of some colorway. I think the stitch pattern would stand out better in a yarn with less varigation, but a nice hint of color. I can’t bring myself to use a true solid color yarn. This is the happiest I’ve been with a pair of socks I’ve made myself yet and I think I’m starting to get a really good feel for how to get a proper fit. I still have issues making my tension tight enough since I have this fear that ribbing isn’t going to stretch. Silly, I know.

And here’s a picture of my test sausage dog, also mentioned last entry. I finally stitched his face on and I will openly admit, hand-sewing and embroidering are not my strong suit. Regardless, he turned out rather well and I now know for sure that I want to upsize the pattern to make a version for DS, even went so far as to purchase new yarn to make sure the colors would appeal to him. I adore Blue Sky Alpaca’s various yarns and their sportweight alpaca is no exception. It is so heartbreaking to live in such a warm climate that I can’t use it for anything to wear! At least I can make cute toys out of it. They have such nice neutral shades as well; it can be such a pain to find a non-icky brown yarn. I’m debating purchasing a contrasting color to go with some sport weight I already have for DD’s future puppy…though some of the current color line is just too pretty to pass up and makes it tempting to purchase new. I will likely work on another pair of socks for myself before I start on the larger sausage dog for DS: toys take such little time to knit that I may as well put it off a short while. And let’s face it, I like variety. (And am a rather fast knitter.)

No pictures of my current project. I’m making yet another Jelly Bean Bunny from one of the first patterns I ever purchased. I’d argue that three uses in just over a year is not bad for a $3 pattern. I keep coming back to it because it is so easy but so cute at the same time. (Unlike that putzy Sheldon. Grrr…I still can’t make another of those. Even thinking about it makes me twitch. Today I reasoned that by going up a needle size and using bamboo DPNs rather then nickel plated ones, he may not be so painful this time around and I can slightly upsize him.) I upscaled this pattern a bit to use some chunky weight yarn I’ve had sitting in my destash pile that no one seems to want to take off my hands. It matches perfectly with some tapestry yarn my MIL gave me that was left-over from a sweater she made DS. So, I’m making a manly little bunny for my bunny. There will likely be enough of both left over that DH has requested that he, too, needs a bunny. He seems to have some love for the homemade stuffed animals.

In non-project news, the new Twist Collective online ‘zine was pointed out to me and WOW, is it impressive and pretty! It has taken me awhile to wrap my head around the idea that all the patterns are individually priced and have to be purchased as such, but it wouldn’t exactly be the first time I’ve purchased patterns that way from a specific designer’s site…so really, it isn’t much different. I for sure plan to purchase Pam Allen’s Come Together pullover as well as Cookie A’s Lissajous knee socks. There are a couple other patterns I’m debating purchasing, but I’m assuming they won’t take them down and I have time to decide for sure what I think and if I find it worth it to purchase. This ‘zine has by far impressed me more then the fall previews of magazines I usually enjoy. For instance, there will not be a Fall Rebecca, Vogue, or IK in my home–unless IK has some seriously fabulous articles in it. Fall Knitscene is fab, but that’s about it. Oh well, less to pile onto my queue from any of them. As if it needs to be flooded with tons more projects.

Speaking of my queue, it’s about to get bogged down in items from Kim Hargreave’s Nectar collection once I knit up all my Zephyr Gals patterns I have yarn for. After much searching, I was able to find a retailer that had the book in-stock and I went from wanting to make one-two patterns from internet glancing, to wanting to knit almost the entire book. I have a serious designer crush on Kim right now and I may have to see if finding back issues of Rowan is worth it. (She also has another collection that was previously available only online coming to a book available on Monday, if all goes well. *Crosses fingers* This time, I think I’ll just pay the extra $10 and order from the UK rather then going through the hassle of finding a copy state-side. Of course it had to be another collection of hers that I’m a fan of and not one of the ones that I have little interest in.)

Put-off update…

I need to blog but have to get pictures of everything I’ve finished first. Per usual, I’m flying through small projects more quickly then I can write about them. (And thanks to pregnancy, I’m usually too tired to blog in the first place.)

Let’s see, since my last update, what has changed? Tempest still needs buttons. I’m horrible when it comes to getting those sewn on. I still need to sew the last three onto my Wicked Cardigan as well. That lace scarf I mentioned ages ago has been blocked, but the ends are not yet woven in, so one of these days I’ll do that and get to photographing it.

Made and finished a yoked baby sweater out of the aMAIZing yarn I purchased while back home. It was odd to work with. Never worked with a ribbon yarn before, let alone one made out of corn. Since my hands get sweaty, it got to be rather sticky. It also rubbed funny on my fingers as it was passing over. Can’t say I’d work with it again, though it was pleasant enough, I suppose. I decided to leave out the contrasting color and the three skeins of the violet I had were just enough to make the sweater with mere inches to spare. (Try to picture the sweater without the ever-so-flattering fluorescent lighting upon it. The color is much more lovely in person and contrasts beautifully with the wood buttons I already had laying around.) I modified it to only button on the top and am not sure exactly what size it is as my gauge was off–ha, imagine that. However, it was a happy incident as it is large enough that I do not have to worry about it being too small for a newborn; though that’s the size I made.

Other finished projects include a felted sausage dog that I need to take pictures of…there are plans to make two larger ones. One for DS and another for DD when she gets here. I’ve been trying to think of special things I can do for him to prepare for the arrival of his sister since so many things are coming into our house for her these days.

Also finished a pair of Zombie socks in the last of my Black Purl yarn from Lorna’s Laces. They turned out really well…once again, no picture at this time. Will need to bribe DH with cookies and see if I can’t get him to be sweet and take some for me.

My current project is another yoked baby sweater. Not sure if I’ll leave it as-is or modify it. I think I want to add some sweet little frilly ruffles to it and girl it up a bit. And I believe, like with the first sweater, I will not run buttons down the entire front, just the top. With a newborn, why futz with all of those buttons? I’m already over half done with this current sweater, it’s been a very fast knit, and am looking to finish some other small projects and clear some yarn out of my tote. I think spring forward is on that list, as well as another foliage for my sister with a beautiful alpaca yarn I purchased but is impractical for here. Then the two larger sausage dogs (already linked) and I’ll likely knit some more toys.

I’m not sure I want to start my February Lady sweater before September and will likely wait a bit longer on her (I managed to score enough Malabrigo in Hollyhock for it, YUM), but I have plenty of yarn to work with for now. Had a bit of a buying spree for my birthday and my tote seems to be full again. I shall end this post with pictures of my favorite acquisitions of the spree; the ones I keep opening up my tote to pet and admire for their beauty.

First, the Malabrigo. Such a yummy color. One of the things I love about knitting my own clothes is the greater variety of color I can get into my wardrobe. My love of color is also tempting me to learn how to do my own dying so I can get exactly the color I want. One expensive and time-consuming hobby at a time!Second is this absolutely fantastic Elizabeth Bennet sock yarn by Yarn Love in Strawberry Shortcake I managed to score. It’s a wool/bamboo/silk mix and it feels so silky and nice. The colorway is just beautiful as well. There’s a subtle graham cracker color, lucious pinks, and it’s topped off with a creamy color. There’s another short sweater pattern I plan to make with this. It’s just too lovely to make into socks.