Thursday, February 21, 2008

Snow Day!!!

More appropriately, Ice Day! We're getting hit by a sleeting rain / ice storm here in the Midwest and my street is an ice skating rink right now. I went out to start the car and decided skating to work did not sound like fun so I am staying home where it's safe and semi-warm. I'll still have to do some work things throughout the day, but I'm sure I will have time for some knitting and I just can't decide what to work on. I started another little bib the other day and I could get it all finished. I'm making it with Peaches and Cream cotton in color way Fiesta. I love the colors in this yarn and it makes one crazy patterned bib. What fun! I just finished a little bag with this yarn for a friend's daughter. It is a kind of "payment" for the yarn itself since the friend was so nice as to gift the yarn but mentioned her daughter would really love something made with this one. Hint, hint!! So, I took the bait and made her this little bag. It's based on Candy's Bag that I found (let's say it all together now) on Ravelry. I think the bag will be well received.I've also been thinking about a pair of Saartje's Booties. These little things are so cute and would be a nice quick and rewarding project. I saw them made in some yarn I have in my stash and am thinking they might be a fun way to spend my snow day.

Then again, I also need to finish Spanky's Sweater. Now that Darla is sporting hers all over the house, Spanky is terribly jealous and keeps pressuring me to get his finished. Spanky's is going to be the same pattern but I am using Vanna's Choice yarn from Lion Brand. I decided he needed something I can throw in the washer the way he loves to dig in the mud and such. I picked a deep eggplant purple and a sort of avacado green for the accent stripes. I've got the collar ribbing completed and am ready to start knitting in the holes for the sleeves. If I really put my mind to it, this could be nearly ready to wear tonight. Hmm...

One thing I can't work on is my Pinwheel blanket. It makes me sad but I still haven't been able to get new needles with a longer cable so it will have to wait. However, I could work on my Hemlock Ring blanket. As I think I mentioned previously, I worked this blanket for the first 63 rows when I finally realized I actually made a mistake somewhere around row 35 that threw off the pattern. It took me about a month to get up the nerve to pull out all those rows of stitches and when I finally got back to the area of the mistake, I realized there was another one back around row 17. Wow, tears were very close. After another week I pulled back to row 17 and started again. I did fine until that darn row 35 again (it's a toughy) but thanks to Pixie and the Ready, Set, Knit Podcast I was able to find some pictures and charts that cleared it up for me and I made it through. I am back up to row 65 (YEAH!) and I am in love with this blanket. The yarn is AMAZING! It's Dream in Color Classy and I love it. I must say, it is calling my name to knit...knit like the wind..

I also want to start a Baby Kimono from Mason Dixon Knits. I have a ton of cotton yarn and I love the idea of doing another sweater type thing with a faster reward. Lastly, I've been doing some research on adult sweaters because I am feeling very close to my first "full size" garment. I just need to decide what. Any suggestions?
So what will I knit today? I don't know, but I think it's time to get started!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Sweater of the Tongue

There is a very good reason for the name of this post but you have to read this part before getting to the good stuff. So, this is about Darla's Sweater which is based on Casey's Coat from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation (thank you local library). When we got Darla a few weeks ago, I realized that if I didn't make this dog a sweater quick, we would never get to see her. Her favorite spot during these cold winter days and colder winter nights, is under the covers on our bed. She simply will not come out! Well, I also felt the need to actually order something from KnitPicks after drooling over the site for so long and therefore, a sweater begins. I picked Wool of the Andes for a couple of reasons: it was cheap, there were lots of colors, and I knew I could felt with the leftovers. I decided I was going to make Darla and Spanky matching sweaters but with the colors reversed. I picked Pink Cheeks for the main color of Darla's sweater with Onyz Heather for the stripes. I bought twice what I thought I needed so I could do both sweaters. Hers: Pink with Grey stripes and His: Grey with Pink stripes (I think he is secure enough in his maleness to pull this off). I did however make a knitters mistake and read the number of skeins on the pattern and not the yards and therefore I had ordered only half of what I planned. Luckily I have some other yarn for Spanky's Sweater but that's a future post. :)
Some notes about my puppy and the pattern: Darla is about 20 pounds and she's 18" from neck to tail, 13 1/2" neck, 21" around her chest, and lastly, 16" around her waist. I did very few modifications on this sweater because I have never knit anything like this before and I just did not know what to expect. I CO 70, did the 3" of ribbing, per pattern and added the 18 sts at the back as she calls for. I did the armholes per pattern but when I got to the other side of them I tried it on her and it looked a little loose so I decreased by 6 sts about 4 rows after the arms. The rest I knit per pattern. It seems to fit her pretty well and it also fits my other Boston who is about 23" around his chest and 21" around his belly. It actually probably fits him better so his will be the same size and I'll knit her with about an 1 1/2 removed from the overall dim. I will also knit more inches of ribbing and therefore lengthen the distance from the top to the armholes. I think because their chests are so big it would fit better and be less likely to ride down their necks like it does a bit now. I will also taper the arm hole ribbing a bit just because it tends to stick out a bit on the sides.
I did get clever however. I started thinking about how I could make this smaller for her without having to rip it all out. I was thinking about sewing the seam tighter or something and then I remembered this is 100% wool. Yeah! I can felt it. I filled my sink with hot water, put the sweater in with some Eucalan and agitated it by hand until the body shrunk by 1" and the neck by 1 1/2". As I sit here typing, Darla is wearing her sweater next to me and it fits much better now.
And now, the real reason behind the title....I present....The Tongue!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Variety is the Spice of Life...

Babies, babies, babies, they're coming out of the woodwork. Or so it seems around my workplace. I have 5 just born or upcoming babies from my coworkers and I kind of like knitting them a little something. This bib is knit for one of the other designers I work with who has a little guy on the way. I love these two yarns together and I think this is such a nice bib and it's not Baby Blue! I also modified the pattern a bit by making the one long strap instead of two little ones. The thought being you can stand in front of your kid and button the bib. A mom in my office thought this sounded like a good idea and some other women on Ravelry have recommended it so I'm trying it out. It's cute, I think! This is still pretty much the Mason Dixon Bib pattern with rounded corners and the strap modification.
The next project completed is the hat and scarf bound for my friend in Hungary. If you ever check out this page, here's a preview of what's on the way.

This is just a basic beanie hat and a short scarf or neck wrap. I put a hole at one end of the scarf and you thread the other end through and it wraps nice and tight to your neck. Pretty nice really and I hope it is enjoyed (even if it is late).
Next is a pair of men's socks for an overdue gift. When I bought the yarn, I didn't realize it was going to stripe (you can see it here) but it is really pretty neat. The stripes are actually more subtle in person.

I'm doing a basic ribbed sock pattern I found through Ravelry of course (OMG, how did people find anything on knitting before????) and it's moving along really well. It's easy to knit, it has just enough pattern to stay interesting, and the yarn feels pretty good to work with. I'm making these on US 2s for two reason, to get them finished a bit quicker and also make them a bit thinner because the recipient is in CA.
Lastly are a couple of lap throws I'm working on. The first is a Pinwheel blanket using the yarn I bought for another baby blanket. The other blanket was one of those where you knit a butt load of little triangles and then sew them all together. I started looking at that ever growing pile of little triangles I would have to sew together and thought there might be a better use for my time. Therefore, I 've found this pattern to knit all in one piece (YEAH!) and still use all the yarn I already purchase.I adore this blanket. I keep setting it down in front of me and looking at it. It's so simple and yet, just really cool somehow. It's great TV knitting and I'm just changing colors whenever I feel like it. I can't wait to get it finished so I can have it on my lap when knitting the next one! There is one other thing I have to talk about, just a bit, with this one. It's 100% acrylic yarn. Why is that a big deal? Well, a couple of reasons: it's washable, which is a great thing in a house like mine, but it's a bit scratchy. I guess I've finally knit with enough semi-"good" yarn and now I can understand why there are so many "yarn snobs" out there. You really can feel a difference when knitting and no matter how soft the acrylic feels in the skein, it is not the same as knitting with "real" fibers. Wow!
The next throw is the Hemlock Ring by Brooklyntweed. This is one of the wildfire like patterns in the knitting community right now and I wanted to join in. I started this on New Year's weekend and got to row 63 when I realized I had screwed up back on row 35. I was heartbroken. It was looking so beautiful and I love the yarn which is Classy by Dream in Color. It's 100% wool but is superwash so it can be washed, again, very important! I took me until this weekend to be able to get up the nerve to pull out all of those stitches and when I got to row 35 I realized I had actually made another mistake around row 20. :( Well, I have ripped back to row 17 and started again. I'm back up to row 33 and I remember 35 being the real bear before so I'm going to take my time this afternoon and get through the icky stuff. I still love the yarn and the pattern and now that I'm back in the groove, I think I'll get over the trauma of ripping out all those hours of stitches.
I leave you with a picture of the great stash of buttons given to me by a very sweet friend. I plan on getting some good use out of these little jewels. THANKS!

Jaywalkin' in the Jungle

So, check those babies out. These are my first pair of Jaywalkers after being inspired by the many, many, many projects on Ravelry. I wanted to try another pair of socks with a little more knitting and visual interest and this pattern fit the bill perfectly. I have a definite thing for the zigzag pattern and I just enjoy knitting it for some reason. The yarn I used is some hand dyed Merino Superwash from Dyeabolical yarns on Etsy and it is beautiful!!
See the way the colors move around and enhance the pattern. Wow! I followed the pattern exactly, a first for me, and they turned out really well. They are a bit tight and don't stretch a whole lot but once you get them over the heel and on to the foot, they feel incredible.
I have to say these needles were crazy to knit with. They are size 1 US needle and they are SMALL. Smaller even then the little bamboo skewers we keep around the house for kabobs. I had some general challenges working with them but I made it through and I could not be happier with the results!