Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Knitting is HOT. (Or at least warm!)

Due to yesterday's knitting emergency, here's the cool Knitting Is Hot newsclip of the week, from CBS Sunday Morning - Mo Rocca dissed handknits... and has learned the error of his ways, thanks to Ravelry! (Sadly, there is a commercial at the beginning. But it's worth putting up with the too-loud commercial to get to the fun knitting piece.)

Watch CBS News Videos Online

And, as seen on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog (and reproduced here, just in case you didn't):

A very cool "warmth" commercial:

... and the making of. Which seems to (*shudder*) involve a lot of frogging!

Actual knitting content to follow once I've either finished a baby jacket and baby blanket, or slept for a few days.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We interrupt this blog

We interrupt this regularly-scheduled crafting blog for this Emergency Knitting report. Yes, this is a Knitting Emergency. The story you are about to hear is true; only the names have been changed to protect the innocent:
Saturday, March 27, 2010. It was a cold but sunny afternoon; my mother and I stopped by the local AC Moore because of the coupon. A fifty percent off any item coupon, and I was in the market for some yarn needles. You know how it is. We wandered the aisles, and then she dropped the bombshell:
"Your sister will be in town on Good Friday. Did I tell you she's having a girl? I told her you'd knitted some things for her."
As I scraped my jaw off the floor, I realized two things: my mother doesn't understand that while yes, I knit faster than she does, I don't knit all that fast, and she's said 'things', plural. I responded the only way I could:
I should've saved my breath; she was off and running. She went up and down the yarn selections, dissing this yarn and that. This wasn't pink enough, that was too pink, that wasn't soft, that was bamboo, wasn't that flammable? She eventually found a yarn she thought was appropriate, and asked me what sort of blanket I was going to make, and it would have a really ruffle-y edge, right? Again, I responded:
Really ruffle-y, she repeated, and checked the label on the yarn for suggested needle size. She grabbed a set of size 8 circulars from across the aisle, and tossed them into her cart atop the pile of very, VERY soft baby-pink yarn. She had, of course, grabbed all of it. Then she started talking about something else... and my brain unfroze enough to realize that not only did she expect me to make an entire baby blanket in less than a week, I was also supposed to produce a sweater. My vocabulary remained limited.
And it had better be a pretty, girly sweater, too. And could I make it match the blanket? Well, I could start while I waited in the car, she was going to go to Marshalls. She bought the yarn and needles (and I remembered to get my yarn needles, although regrafting or reseaming much of anything wasn't going to happen this week, that was for sure), tossed me the car keys, and trotted off to the next store.

To my credit, I did not drive off without her.
So, forget anything else I was going to work on this week, like, say, Level 1 or the Rogue sweater. I am currently adrift in a sea of soft baby-pink yarn of my mother's choosing, with the certain knowledge that while this week of knitting will be hellish, it will be MORE hellish if I don't finish my unexpected assignment in time to be wrapped in appropriately baby-themed paper with adorable ribbons before I see my sister on Friday. At church, no less. (At least veiling is an evening ceremony, right?)

Here's where I stand so far. I did, in fact, start the blanket in the car Saturday afternoon about 4pm. Completely off the cuff. Went with Celtic cables because (a) they're on the Rogue sweater and I'm used to them right now and (b) sis is Irish-American by birth and Irish (citizen & all) now, and is Danged Proud Of It, so she'll love it. Winging it. Completely. Worked on it through Monday evening commute; about 2/5 of the way done, but I'm at an easy part which should go pretty quickly for about 50 rows, then I just have to replicate what I did at the one end at the other end and throw on a ruffle.

This was knit on circular needles.
This is a size 8 straight that's supposed to be in my Hello Kitty scarf.

The baby sweater I started Monday night - was that just yesterday? - and I'm about 1/3 done with it after this morning's commute. It's Courtney Filner's Five Hour Baby Sweater (thanks to the Lovely L for the pointer!), with slight mods - I'm doing different decreases on the sleeves. And yes, I checked the errata thread on Ravelry, so I didn't freak about the "extra stitch" or the "150" stitches. It's all good. Here's where I was when I'd finally decided that not being able to see straight was impairing my knitting:

Here's where my size 8 circs are now.
Thank goodness I found my acrylic 8s for the sleeves!

I'll tell you right now that there won't be a Yarn on Thursday: Stitch Edition again this week, since when the heck have I had the time to do anything but knit with baby-pink yarn? (Or, for that matter, SLEEP?)

I love my sister. I love my mother. Sometimes, her emergency *is* my emergency. Sigh. I love my sister. I love my mother. I will keep repeating this until I believe it again!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Master's Monday - actual photographic progress!

Well, it's time to block the swatches (finally). I've been putting it off due to a combination of worrying that once blocked, I'll discover that they all suck, and I have no hope of ever passing Level 1 and... well, mostly just discovering that they suck. Which, of course, would mean that I can't *actually* knit, and I'm just managing to fool everyone into thinking I can. So, having "saved" some old exercise machine floor mats, I coated them in clean, white (waterproof... mostly) plastic.

Then, I sorted out the swatches. My other great fear is that somehow, I'd get them mixed up - turn in "lifted increases" as "K2tog/SSK" or something. (Hey, it could happen. It *has* happened to people. This whole thing can be nervewracking.) So, staying in their little baggies with their little lables, I placed them on the blocking boards. Believe it or not, that actually took some courage.

Once that was done, it was time to get blocking. Which actually took about an hour and a half and all the stainless-steel ball-head pins I could find. Most of swatches 13-16 are pinned with lace pins - which are tiny, and easy to mistake the pointy end for the allegedly unpointy end. (Don't worry, I didn't bleed on the swatches.) But I wanted the edges square, and the cables un-squooshed, and the lace holes really open. Everything needed to look pretty. Then it was a case of setting them up somewhere I could douse them thoroughly. Completely independently of anything having to do with knitting (really), my husband recently purchased a drying rack. Which, of course, was perfect...

... and then I hit these little swatches with my trusty spray bottle, and got 'em soaked. (I love my trusty spray bottle.)

I let them dry for most of the day in the shower, then, once they weren't actively dripping, moved them to the Offical Drying Site in front of the heater vent in the living room. It was looking like we wouldn't be needing heat at all... and then Friday, the temperature plummeted, so the heat was on.

Well, as long as I was soaking things, I decided to make a two-color floppy pom-pom for The Hat. I don't actually have a pom-pom maker, but was able to make one out of the insides of a CD game - Peggle, if you're curious. If you play free online, you get ten levels, which is plenty to get addicted. If you do the free download, you get more... but then the game will stop working when you hit a certain point. Since I'm totally addicted, I got so good at the ten free levels that there wasn't really a challenge - so I went ahead and got the CD for Peggle. I also got Peggle Nights. Peggle. It's addictive. You've been warned. Anyway, it made a lovely pom-pom maker:

And a nice, two-color pom pom. I ended up hanging it off the end of my swift, which lives in the corner by the heat vent... on top of large bins of yarn... in the living room. Hm. I need to do something about that one of these days, my yarn is taking over again.

Anyway, most of the swatches look absolutely fantastic... except for swatches 1 and 2. I very, very clearly did NOT do 2.5" of ribbing for either of them, which is a shame, since the garter or stockinette part is FANTASTIC. But only having to reknit 2 out of 16? And the other 16 are DONE? That's pretty darned fantastic! I have also made up a label form that I just need to fill out:

Swatch # 6 - Lifted Increase
     Cast on:
     Lifted increase (left-slanting):
     Lifted increase (right-slanting):
     Bind off:

So, this week, it's reknitting the two swatches, trimming and attaching the pom-pom, filling out and attaching the labes, and answering the measuring/gauge question. Then it's just finishing the writing. I can get this out the door by mid-April, right?

Friday, March 26, 2010


I freely admit that at times, I'm a Knitting Herd Follower. Someone on the 'net knits something really cool, and by gum, I'm gonna knit it too. My most ambitious "I wanna!!" thus far is inspired by the YarnHarlot's lovely Whistler sweater. I mean, her sweater looks really great, right? And I've been knitting for a while now. I've managed to make a sweater (well, most of a sweater) with a swatch, and gauge, and all that good stuff, and the sweater fits. So I was gonna track the pattern for this lovely Dale of Norway "Whistler" sweater down.

YEAaaaah, not so much. It's the sweater for the Canadian skiing team from 2005... and slightly out of print, unless through a Special Deal with a Dale of Norway retailer (or by getting the original pamphlet through eBay for an astronomical price - if I could locate it in the first place). Possibly, someone local carried it, but my allergies were getting to me, and it just seemed a lot of trouble to wander around to all the local yarn stores when "wandering" and "wheezing pathetically enough that passers-by asked if I needed help" were interchangeable. (On the other hand, lots of friendly, helpful people in DC, should I ever actually be about to keel over.)

An internet search, however, located the wonderful Kirtland's Yarn Barn here in Virginia, due west of Richmond. There it was: Dale of Norway Book #8501, with the Whistler sweater right on the cover. Woohoo! And... even better - Pat will KIT THE SWEATER!! (Which, as it turns out, is a good thing - the book is totally not available.) I decided that I wanted the "other" version of the sweater, with the "bright" color on the bottom, and the black across the shoulders. My "bright" color is actually olive drab - after a color assessment, I actually look best in neutrals and blacks. (Which is weird - I'm SO not a winter, but I'm somewhere odd between Spring and Summer - bright colors bring out the red in my skin, making me look flushed; pastels bring out the blue, and make me look dead. Neutrals and black make me look like a normal human, which is what I'm mostly going for.)

Anyway, exchanged e-mails with Pat, got my yarn all settled (some had to come in from the warehouse), and on Wednesday, a box arrived at my house!! Loook!!

It's an actual box. Full of ACTUAL YARN.


I am going to knit an ACTUAL DALE OF NORWAY SWEATER using ACTUAL DALE OF NORWAY YARN. This means, I think, that I am actually a Knitter now. Or will be, anyway, once I actually finish it.

Now to find my... oh my gosh, SIZE 3 needles... (*gulp*!!)!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yarn on Thursday: Stitch Edition - Stripe #3 Begins!

First, a giggle: Marie-Jolie commented that knitting a blanket requires the patience of Job, as far as she was concerned. I have to agree - you've all seen how much progress I've made on the Dragon Illusion Blanket since I started it the first time in 2004 (and again in 2009). That's why this isn't really a blanket - it's a STEALTH BLANKET. Stealth by way of a couple of swatches a week that just *happen* to be strung together into strips that just *happen* to be stuck together into blanket form. See, a couple of swatches? That's not so much knitting. Putting together a couple of strips - that's not so bad. If I actually think about it as a blanket, though, then... clearly, I'm nuts. So, to preserve my self-delusion of sanity, it's just swatches, not a whole entire blanket! Anyway....On to Strip #3!!
The project: Knitting all the stitches in's Stitch Directory.
The yarn: Anything you want. I'm using a Phentex "Monster Ball of Yarn" (32 oz. 100% acrylic), which won't block, but will give good stitch definition.
The needles: Again, whatever you want that goes with your yarn. I'm using my beloved Lantern Moon size 7s, because they're pretty.
Why this is happening: Because lots of people want to learn new stitches this year!
This week's stitches: (#34) Plain Diamonds, (#35) Purled Ladder, (#36)Rice Stitch, and, once again, Seed Stitch (which we don't really need to swatch, since it's the border of every single other swatch!!).

First up, Plain Diamonds. This pattern is a multiple of nine stitches, so I did it twice. That means six seed-stitch border stitches front and back, and eighteen pattern stitches. I "only" did three repeats of the pattern, since it shows up quite nicely over 24 rows - and then realized that was all I needed. For some reason, I thought I was "supposed" to do four repeats - even though it's an eight-row pattern.

Things I noticed about this stitch: Oh-my-gosh, this needs blocking. If you pull it vertically, it will curl on itself vertically. If you pull it horizontally, it will curl on itself horizontally. Of all the diamond patterns, it's the most diamond-y looking. And reversible, of course. But gosh, BLOCK IT.

Next, Purled Ladder. This is a (multiple of 4)+2 pattern. I decided to go up to 22 stitches, so there are only four seed stitches before and after the pattern. Since I was still convinced that I had to do four repeats (despite it being an eight-row pattern, so I only needed 3 repeats to make my 24 rows), I did. Clearly, math while I'm sick isn't my strong suit.

Things I noticed about this stitch: This one looks a lot like Box Stitch/Double Moss Stitch (from Week 2), but it is a bit different - the two rows of knitting in between each "box" define it a bit better. (But really, they look a lot alike.)

Next, Rice Stitch. Now, there's a Rice Stitch that I'm used to doing in cross-stitch/canvaswork - it looks like this:

From the ever-helpful

The knitted Rice Stitch is quite different. But you'd expect that, right? Anyway, this was a (multiple of 2)+1, so I did 21 stitches for the pattern, with four seed stitches to start the RS row, and five seed stitches at the end. Since the pattern is a whopping two rows, I deemed six repeats (12 rows) to be quite enough.


Things I noticed about this stitch: This one looks a LOT like Broken Rib (also from Week 2). The only difference appears that the knit stitches on the RS are twisted here, and not on the Broken Rib. So, get pretty much the same effect (front AND back!) using whichever of these two stitches you can knit faster. And you can see that, while it is a "reversible" stitch, the two sides are not the same.

... and I already mentioned that we don't need to do Seed Stitch, since at this point I know I can do it in my sleep. LITERALLY.
A note on the whole project: Since there are 139 stitch patterns (some are listed under multiple headings), plus 7 different edgings in's Stitch Directory, I'll be trying to do two to three stitches a week, minimum. This should get everyone a goodly number of new stitches by the end of the year, and hopefully get me a blanket. No worries if you "fall behind" or "start late" - this is for fun & education, there isn't *really* a time limit of any sort on it. If you're just discovering this project, this link will take you to the beginning, and this link will pull up all the related entries. Just knit on, and have fun!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's not Spring - it's Illness!

*Almost* stayed home Monday, since my allergies were really, really bad. Tuesday, they were worse... so I stayed home & went to the doctor. Turns out that yes, my allergies are bad this time of year, butI'm actually sick! With proper medication again today, I'm almost back to human.

But I should've known I was sick... I was TOO TIRED TO KNIT!!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Twenty-Four Hour Rule

The Twenty-Four Hour Rule, or how I can justify starting new projects when I know I shouldn't

So, at present, I have fifty started-but-not-finished projects. This includes 24 cross-stitch things, 3 sets of cross-stitch ornaments, 1 latch hook rug, 10 knitted things, 7 quilted things, and 5 canvaswork things. The goal for 2010 is to somehow get under 40 projects going at once - but DEFINITELY not go over fifty. Going over fifty would be BAD.

Thus, the 24 hour rule: If i can finish IT within 24 hours of when I start IT, IT will not count on "the list" as #51. This has led to all sorts of insanity, most recently with the Trainspotter hats and Ravelympics. Getting things KNITTED quickly, though, is new for me - it's usually the Cross Stitch that either gets me in trouble, or saves me in the end. Here are a few things I've used the Twenty-Four Hour Rule to start-without-guilt:

This little Brittercup fox (which should've taken a week, but I traded sleep for stitching time), and a Brittercup JCS Xmas Ornament Issue design:

A sailing thing - I think I turned it into a needleroll:

"Yarn on the Lam" & "Don't Fence Me In" - but these aren't big, so shouldn't take that long. I'm pretty sure, though, that the first was supposed to say "Ewe's not Fat, ewe's fluffy" - which I didn't like, and the other was just a cactus - no words or background or anything. Yep, time pressure means MAKE CHANGES!! (Otherwise, there might not be time pressure, right?)

My wedding shower present for my sister (who had everything she needed... but not quite enough really fancy shoes). (Yes, she's dual-citizen Irish, so the pink w/ shamrocks cloth HAD to happen!) I think she gets most of my off-the-cuff original stuff!!

And, at one point a few years back, photos with my watch to prove I was getting things done that quickly!

So, that's the Twenty-Four Hour Rule: If you can finish it in less than a day, it isn't ever an UnFinished Object!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pretties, pretties, and more pretties

Did nothing on Masters this week - eh, not exactly true. Got more of my questions answered, but didn't block my swatches. Instead, I knitted on Rogue (the body is done, I'm about 1/3 way through the hood), slept most of Saturday, cleaned up the house a bit, went to see the show at Woodlawn, and used the Birthday Purchase Exception to get some cool stuff at In Stitches.

Woodlawn was lovely - several of the pieces that aren't in the Ribbon Winner's gallery are just amazing. The entire music room was given over to Japanwork - it's really taking off in this area! We had tea & sandwiches, or quiche, or chicken salad (and a yummy lemon tart... and chocolate cake), and went through the exhibit again. I just love seeing all the pieces in the "wild". (If you go through the Flickr set, for example, there's this map of Jamestown. Online, I figured it was about two feet by three feet, right? NO. IT'S A MINIATURE !!!!!) . Anyway, then, off to In Stitches up the road. Stuff was found, to wit: There was this gorgeous canvas available (mine's gonna have 3-D bits, and I'm going to punch up the golds a bit), and there was a matching mini-stocking, so I got them.

The beautiful sample in the store

There was a pattern for a set of squirrel & acorn fobs (well, needlebook, scissors-holder & fob), got that, and then spotted a cute little JBW Designs baby carriage. Found out yesterday that my sister's going to have a little girl soon, so grabbed that. Discovered when I got home that there's a little crown motif on it, which made it even more perfect. Her surname is now "King" - and for her wedding, there were little five-pointed crowns on everything (cards, invites, the wedding cake...), so I picked out the crown in yellow, and did the rest in pink Worked up VERY quickly - about four hours, so I didn't even have to worry about the twenty-four hour rule on new project starts!

Finished Baby Buggy - FAST!

I also got the new Mirabilia, "Lady Hera", which is just SOOOOO perfect for me, some thread-winders for my mom's special-secret project (because I'm terrified I'm going to lose the floss!), a tiny crocheted sweater, lots of stitching-funny pins, and... well, actually, I think that was it. Got my cousin going on cross-stitch again (I hope - I don't know how coherent I was by the end of the day after an enforced Sitting Outside for half an hour), and now, back to the knitting!

Friday, March 19, 2010

So, I'm making fantastic progress on the Rogue Hooded Pullover. As of the end of the weekend, I'd managed to knit enough that I could attach the top of my Kangaroo Pocket:

Wednesday evening's needle trauma...

...put me back a bit metally, since I 'lost half a commute' of knitting - except I then got that half-commute back, with new needles. Since my brain thought I was 'behind', I stayed up way too late. So, by the end of Thursday lunch, I'd finished the main body-in-the-round part, and I'd started knitting up the back/shoulder bits. And then proceeded to stay up way too late again (well, FlashForward was on, so that helped). Plus the commute in on Friday... so, as of right now, I'm here:

This means that by the end of the weekend (assuming I don't sleep through the whole thing in a histamine haze - tree pollen is really high right now), I may (gasp!) be ready to start the sleeves!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yarn on Thursday: When Good Needles Go Bad

ARGH. Today's Yarn on Thursday: Stitch Edition is gonna be pushed back a week, due to Mental Trauma caused by one end of my 32", 4.5mm/7 circular needle SNAPPING OFF on the train last night.

See "A"? That rolled down the train car, leaving "B" to quickly pull itself out of 100+ stitches of my Rogue Hoodie. (I'm sure the other passengers thought I'd been shot, or something, the way I was reacting - luckily, my husband calmed me down and promised to Fix Things. Which he did by taking me to Fibre Space, planting me in front of Veronica, and not giving me grief about a new Hiya-Hiya 32" 4.5mm/7 circular needle, despite the current Lenten No Craft Stuff ban. He understands, it's an emergency.)

We'll go back to your regularly scheduled Giant Pattern Swatch Project next Thursday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's Yarn Party time!

Just found out (by finally reading an e-mail sent to me last week) that this weekend - Sunday, to be precise - is the Third Annual Homespun Yarn Party!

In brief, here's the setup from their blog:
What: Yarn Party! Check out local yarn vendors, sit and knit, meet new people!

Who: All your favorite local yarn dyers and spinners, plus some extra crafty goodness! And all our knitting/crocheting/spinning friends (you!) of course!!

Where: Historic Savage Mill /8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763/ Just off I-95, plenty of parking!

When: Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 12 PM to 5 PM

Why: Who needs an excuse to get together and craft?! We wanted to get together and spread some fiber love!

In addition to some great crafty vendors, we'll also have:
  1. free lessons on knitting, crochet, spinning, and maybe more
  2. fabulous door prizes to be given away throughout the event
  3. weather-permitting, a sit and spin/crochet/knit area out on the deck
And we'll be collecting knitted and crocheted items for local charities!

Admission is FREE!
I have no idea if I'm gonna make it, but gosh, it'd be cool....!

And, just because:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Bunny Fairy

All heck has broken loose at work - it's that time of year. Lots of overtime, no knitting time... so, since I'm trying to keep this updated M-F, I give you a pic of The Bunny Fairy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Report - check. Pattern - check.

March 15, 2010. Week 42. Yeah, I know, I wasn't going to keep track of the week numbers, but I still am. Sigh. And, you'll note, I have less than ten weeks to hand in my packet, or I'll have to start all over again. I did finish my pattern except for the final measurements (since I haven't blocked it yet) and report (on blocking... which was helpful, since I'm about to block stuff. This week, it's finally time to hunker down and block my swatches.

Since I don't have any photos of knitting, and photos of reports aren't terribly exciting, here's a birthday card I sent to one of my best friends last week. (Her older brother is named Brian, and we couldn't stop giggling when we found the card. We could see him doing this someday.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Imaginary Woodlawn!!

Bonus Weekend Post!!

The knitters get to have Imaginary Rhinebeck; now the stitchers get Imaginary Woodlawn! The lovely folks of Nelly's Needlers (the group that runs the show each year) have posted photos of everything on the 'net!

Go see!

Now I know in advance which pieces I'm hunting down and getting the information on... or, rather, saying "Sarah Leigh, can you find...?"

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's been almost a week since I started a new project, so...

Got some things finished. Got my best friend's long-overdue wedding sampler pillow door-hanger thing to her, and she loved it. (Yay!). Mailed the box of Yarn Goodies to my brother, which included this instructional swatch:

And, in a fit of yarny optimism which I'm blaming squarely on my favorite knitter-down-under, RandomKnits, I actually pulled out supplies (!) and did a proper schematic (!!) and swatched (!!!) for Girl From Auntie's Rogue Hooded Pullover (aka the Rogue Hoodie). I've had the pattern for years now, and kept *meaning* to start it, since I love it (and, let's face it, there was always the hope that I'd suddenly lose 50 pounds, which would mean it would be a much smaller, less-yarn-requiring, faster knit). Through the magic of Twitter, I learned that half a world away, someone was casting on... thus, I was compelled to follow suit. But, darnint, after the Argyle Hearts sizing disaster of Ravelympics 2010, I was going to do it RIGHT. I want to be able to wear this thing when I'm done with it!!

As there are limited options for patterns that will actually fit over my hips and understand that "big butt" doesn't mean "super-long arms", I'm getting pretty good at altering patterns to fit. So, first, I write out what the designer's sizing hints are in my "Naughty" notebook. (Hey, it was a dollar at Michael's before Christmas; I have a "Nice" one, too, but I didn't grab it when I needed something to scribble my Hello Kitty reverse pattern in. So, it's my knitting notebook now). Then, the joyous task of sizing myself, while wearing the clothes I'm going to wear under the hoodie, so the blasted thing will fit over them. This - not so fun.Then deciding which measurements can be kept honest (such as length of arms), and which should probably have more ease added. (Darn you, hips!)

Then, swatching. And measuring, and swatching again, and re-measuring, just to make sure. Looks like I get a gauge of 4.5 stitches per inch, and... and I hope I wrote down the row gauge somewhere. Anyway, once I know how many inches I'm gonna get, I can actually put the sweater on graph paper. This tells me that (a) I'm short waisted, (b) I'm going to be putting the kangaroo pocket a bit higher than "normal" for comfort and (c) six skeins of yarn should be Quite Enough. I'm doing it in a lovely chocolate brown color, rather than the green I'd originally intended, because the yarn called to me. (Yarn does that, you know.) Then there was casting on.

Sunday night, during the Oscars, I cast on and managed to knit 10 rows of twisted stockinette (not bad). Sadly, Monday, I discovered that I'd somehow managed to cast on an extra FORTY stitches. Frog, frog, frog went the pretty sweater beginning. (It'll at least be quicker to reknit those 10 rows with 400 less stitches, right?) Then there was the long-tail cast on, performed twice as a not-long-enough cast on, followed by a much-too-long-tail cast on, which I deemed was just fine by me.

Then there was the knitting eight rows, and discovering the danged thing was twisted - and I KNOW it wasn't at one point, so how the heck did this happen??

Eight rows it takes to notice the dang thing is twisted. Grrr.

So, it was all frogged AGAIN, and this time, screw it. I did a cable cast on (just not being up to Yet Another too not-enough or too-much long-tail cast on), and knitted the first row back across, so there's a DEFINITE direction the stitches should be if they're not twisted.

Then I carefully put the whole thing down on the counter, and got the stitches all going the way they should before starting the second row in the round:

No way will twisting happen AGAIN.
(And it didn't. You would've heard the screams.)

Let me add that two complete frogs and several partial frogs of this sweater has resulted in a pile of chocolate brown yarn that will be an absolute bear to untangle. (Note to self: Frogging after 10pm is like feeding Gremlins. You won't like what you find in the morning.) The upside of the frogging? I was actually able to "try on" my little knitted loop before frogging, and discovered I had VASTLY overestimated the ease needed for my hips, so the rows are now a good four inches shorter than they were originally. I don't need to be wearing a hooded cabled muu-muu. So, finally, by the end of lunch on Tuesday, I had a big loop of brown stitches. This bit of knitting has the following characteristics:
  1. It's the right size. The schematic will be amended accordingly.
  2. It's not twisted. This means I may actually be able to keep knitting right up to the armpits this time.
  3. I now have so much invested in this hoodie that there's no way I'm not finishing it by the end of April (dammit).
  4. I think it's secretly laughing at me.
Anyway, knitting recommenced during commutes and lunches throughout the week. As of this morning, here's where I am:

Look! You can see the pointy bits of the knotwork started!!

There's hope I'll finish someday. (And hopefully before the Celtic festival at the end of April!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yarn on Thursday: Stitch Edition - The End of Strip #2

The project: Knitting all the stitches in's Stitch Directory.
The yarn: Anything you want. I'm using a Phentex "Monster Ball of Yarn" (32 oz. 100% acrylic), which won't block, but will give good stitch definition.
The needles: Again, whatever you want that goes with your yarn. I'm using my beloved Lantern Moon size 7s, because they're pretty.
Why this is happening: Because lots of people want to learn new stitches this year!
This week's stitches: Pavilion (#32) and Pique Triangles (#33)

Pavilion is another 36-rows-is-one-repeat pattern, and I'm getting near the end of this strip, so first, I decided to start assembling the first two strips together. Thanks to giving up buying yarn (and any other craft related things!!) for Lent, I actually had to hit my stash - and found another Pound O' Yarn in a complimentary darker green. So, I did single crochets up the back, and, once it's all assembled (meaning I've actually finished Strip #2), I'll chain down the front. I'm hoping I'll have enough of the dark green for all the seams and the entire border. A pound makes a sweater, right? So there should be enough...

wrong side view

... and then I got the thing knitted up. Since it's a pattern based off a multiple of eighteen stitches, I put six seed-stitch border stitches before and after the 18 stitches of the pattern, and at thirty-six rows, it only got one repeat. I followed it with six rows of seed stitch border for the "top" of the swatch.

Things I noticed about this pattern: As you can see, it needs blocking - I wasn't sure which photo really worked best, so you get both. It's a cool pattern, though - triangles and bars put together in a really interesting way. Needs blocking, needs blocking, needs blocking. I can see doing an entire (sweater, scarf, blanket) out of it, because it looks pretty cool on both sides. (Darn, should've taken a shot of the back).

Pique Triangles is a nice little four row pattern over a multiple of five stitches, so I set it up with five seed-stitch border stitches before and after twenty pattern stitches (four horizontal repeats). Then I knit four rows, and checked to see how close I was to the end of the strip. Then four more rows. Then four more. Then one more set of four, because I wasn't sure I had enough inches left for the strip (remember, it has to match the pink one it's being attached to) to do five repeats. So, four repeats of the pattern for a total of twenty rows. Then, to make it stand out a bit (especially since it's an "end" pattern), I did one row of border/k20 sts/border.

Things I noticed about this pattern: Reversible, but I think the front side looks prettier - like little triangular flags running along a line on a yacht. It does pull in a bit, so blocking would help. I think it might be pretty on a hat, perhaps? It's an easy-to-remember fill stitch (really, remember two stitch sequences, and switch between RS and WS when knitting them).

So, Strip #2 is almost finished. Starting on the wrong side, I did the final seed stitch border, and it ended up being seven rows. I cast off knitwise on the right side, then finished the single-crochet-up-the-back for the strips. Then I chain-stitched down the front, putting my stitches into the through-the-strips loops of dark green that resulted from the single crochet on the backs of the strips. It makes a very pretty finishing seam between the two!

What shows through from the single crochet on the back

front, with chain stitch down the seam

You know what that means - next week, back to pink, and starting on Strip #3!!!
A note on the whole project: Since there are 139 stitch patterns (some are listed under multiple headings), plus 7 different edgings in's Stitch Directory, I'll be trying to do two to three stitches a week, minimum. This should get everyone a goodly number of new stitches by the end of the year, and hopefully get me a blanket. No worries if you "fall behind" or "start late" - this is for fun & education, there isn't *really* a time limit of any sort on it. If you're just discovering this project, this link will take you to the beginning, and this link will pull up all the related entries. Just knit on, and have fun!