Sunday, August 26, 2007

Socks to be Me

Well, I haven't gotten a lot of new knitting done this week. I did give the baby bib from my previous post to the new mama-to-be at her shower this week and it seemed to go over well. Other than that, I've been working some on Spanky's sweater. I'm using the yarn left over from Red's camera case and I've got it all sketched up in my journal but I don't think it's going to quite work out the way I planned. Does it ever? I was going to have the sweater mostly blue with red and yellow accents but I don't think I have enough of yarn. Therefore, it looks like the sweater will need to be a bit more striped than I planned.
Other than that, I've been working on my first sock. I got a wild hair one day and went to our local yarn store and bought some sock yarn after listening to Lime and Violet profess how much they love socks. I picked up a skein of self striping yarn which isn't supposed to split much (though it does). I also got my first set of size 2 needle which are the size of bamboo skewers though they cost a lot more. :) I'm using the Yarn Harlot book and the Sock 101 web page I found and just knitting a sock. No pattern for me. I can't decide if I'm brave or crazy? So far, I've finished the cuff and leg of the sock and honestly, they seem too big (and I even did a gauge swatch). I plan to go ahead and finish at least one sock and then decide if I want to find a specific pattern to try next. I've knitted the heel flap of this sock twice already. The first time I forgot to slip the first stitch on each row and it sounds like it would be really hard to pick up stitches later without the extra large stitches on the edges, so I frogged the entire heel and started over. It's looking better now and I'm ready to start my first "short rows" to turn the heel. I keep reading how to do this over and over again trying to get it straight in my head before actually starting. I also need some quiet time to concentrate and take the next steps.
The most difficult thing I've encountered so far if holding the yarn with consistent tension as I knit and it really shows with these socks. If I don't hold it with consistency, then the stitches get bigger, then smaller, then bigger. It's not really obvious but enough to bother me. So, while I was knitting the other night, I noticed I was finally holding the yarn and it was pulling with really nice, even tension. Well, I grabbed the camera and took a couple of pictures to put in my journal showing how I was holding the yarn so I can use them as reference going forward. This way, I'll be able to visually check if I'm holding the yarn right. Yeah!! Well, it's off to turn the heel...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Little Things

I've been working on several small projects during the past week and I've managed to get a bunch of little stuff done. First, I was working on a camera case for my brother which I am not posting yet in case he looks at the blog. (You just have to wait Red) It turned out really cute though and I'll put a picture up later.

I've also been working on Baby Shower gifts for all the girls at work who are pregnant. I think this is the single most cost effective reason to knit. I love doing the baby gifts because they're fast, they don't take much yarn, and the baby will actually use them. I try to make sure I use only machine washable yarns and I tie knots in my end instead of just weaving them in to make sure the bibs, booties, hats etc. hold up to multiple washings. So far, the mom's have liked them. :)
I've been playing with some modifications to the basic bib design. You'll see in the picture that I've been rounding the corners and on this latest one I tried to round the neck straps some to make the fit more comfortable for the baby. I'm afraid I got a bit too long on this one but it will shrink up some in washing.

I also worked on this cute little baby hat I found on Stitch Marker's blog. I can't figure out how to link directly to the page it's on but this takes you to the blog and the hat is called the Lilly Hat. I think it's just pretty darn cute. I've found a cute bootie pattern here that I think I might try soon for the next round of babies.

Next, I've been inspired by all the Chevron scarves I've seen in several different blogs. I used the Chevron pattern on the purse I made for S and I like the way it looks and I like how it feels to knit. So, I had these two "novelty" yarns in my stash that I just really like. They are wonderfully soft and the texture is really interesting. I decided to see what they would knit up like together in a Chevron stripe pattern. I'm working this on size 10 needles per the ball wrapper recommendation. The yarn is a bitch to get started but it slowly starting to get easier. It also took a little bit to start seeing the pattern but I can see it now and I think I dig it. I think the final scarf will be amazingly soft and pretty cool looking.

Another awesome thing I just finished is my Soulard Market bag. I found the pattern for this bag and then I found another site where the woman made some modifications to the pattern that I really like. I had a couple of balls on Sugar and Cream yarn from when I went crazy at Walmart and bought a ton of it to make dishtowels, etc. I had this great lime, yellow, and white yarn and I got to knitting. I love this bag and I have to say it worked great yesterday when I used it for the first time. I expands to amazing proportions and I was able to carry a ton of stuff in it. Too much really because my shoulder couldn't handle as much as the bag. :)

For the rest of the weekend, I'm working on a little sweater for Spanky based on a pattern I found in the Stitch 'n Bitch book. I'm using the Microspun yarn I have left over from the Camera case and making a nice striped sweater. I got all of Spanky's measurements yesterday (I tried to get Weather's too but she was not having it) and I knitted my gauge swatch to check how many stitches I will need. I cast on last night and the sweater is under way. So, off to knitting...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Spanky's Bed - Post Felt

Yep, Spanky loves the new bed. Well...he will if I can get the cats off of it long enough for him to check it out.

The bed is all dry now and I've learned a couple of things. If I decide to do another of these, I'm going to double up the yarn so it's thicker. This bed will be nice to at least keep Spanky off the ground but I'm not sure how long it will last. It just feels thinner than I really like. I also think I would try and make the sides taller and more bowl like so I could put a pillow in the bottom of it. Lastly, I think I want to try some spirals of color like some of the others in the gallery. If I worked it from the top down I could even spiral the decreases but it's probably not worth all that effort when it's going to be felted and you lose all the stitch definition anyway. Oh well, we'll see if I get froggy.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Spanky's Bed - Pre-felting

Although the bed is being made for Spanky while he’s hanging out in the shop, Oscar decides to call first dibs. I was looking at various blogs when I came across one with this pattern for the Kitty Pi Bed (© 2003-2006 Wendy D. Johnson ) After viewing the gallery here (, I convinced S to let me use the wool yarn from Uruguay we bought off Ebay and got started on the bed. The bed’s pre-felted dimension is about 24” across and I’m hoping it will be about 18” across when felted.

During the course of knitting it, I changed up the stitches to vary the pattern a bit and I really like the way it turned out. The next task is to figure out the best way to block it after it’s felted and I think I got pretty creative. The bed looks like it’s going to be just the right size and I can’t wait for it to dry completely so Spanky can try it out.

Friday, August 10, 2007

ZillahKnits joins the Blogsphere

Well, I've been inspired by all the great Podcasts I've been listening to on Itunes and I have decided to join the world of blogging. I expect this to become a place I can track my knitting projects and let my friends and family view a little slice of my life since they are located all over this great big world. At least this way, they can see how I'm spending entirely too much of my time and maybe they'll be inspired to buy me more yarn. (more yarn means future presents!!)

I'm new to the Internet Knitting Community and I don't know how involved I will end up being but it already seems friendly and I'm ready to kick back with a good cup of coffee and figure all this stuff out.

For now, pick up some needles and knit; it's good for the soul.