Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Woohoo! Another low-key holiday here. That's all right...plenty of quality knitting time and a chance to catch up on the unwatched flicks from my DVD subscription.

Progress on the Dollar and a Half Cardigan is not going well. I'm going to pause for a bit and think about what I need to do.

The problem is that even though I checked gauge and moved up a needle size before I started, it still isn't the size it should be! I even meticulously blocked it out to the proper dimensions, but no dice. I'll be lucky if I can get the thing on over my clothes once it's done.

I can't even get the edges to touch unless I pull on them. Push-up cardigan, anyone?

Even though I love the pattern, I would still be willing to finish up the sweater and give it to one of my sisters but they all have larger chests than I do so that wouldn't work.

I tried to get some side pictures so you can see the stitch detail. I really like the different sides of the sweater. You can also see, however, that the armholes are pretty tight and make the sweater pucker up.


This is going in the WIP basket for a while so I can take a break and decide how to proceed. I know that in the end I'll just knit up some sleeves and wear it but I just don't want to look at it right now.

To add insult to injury, my 19-year-old brother took up knitting this year and he just finished up his first sweater. It took him 3 weeks and it looks perfect.

On a more promising note, I whipped up another pair of fingerless gloves and a hat for my BIL's girlfriend as a late Christmas present. I used the same Berroco pattern as for my MIL's gloves, and I used a pattern I found online for the Banana Republic hat. I was using bulky yarn instead of super bulky so I had to modify the stitch count a bit, but it turned out fine. Now I just have to find a funky button for it and send it off to her.

Since many knit bloggers are making resolutions or plans for the new year, here are some of my own:

1) Make a sweater that actually fits, dammit!

2) Try out colorwork and fair isle. I tried out socks and they weren't for me--maybe I'll like these techniques better.

And...that's enough for now. I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I have to admit, this is a really low-key Christmas this year. The Brain and I don't know anyone in the area so it's just the two of us. I have 11 brothers and sisters and this is the first time I haven't made it home for Christmas so you can imagine the difference between the two. Plus, it's in the 70s here but freezing and snowy back home in Minneapolis, so it doesn't even feel Christmasy outside.

Oh well. Hopefully I can make it back there next year.

In the meantime, I have been making some progress on my Dollar and a Half Cardigan.

Blocking the back:

Look, no Michelin effect!

The sides were a different story. They are both knit using different stitch patterns, so it was kind of hard to figure out how long I should make them. I ended up making the one on the left a bit too long, but I can just rip out the extra rows once it's done blocking.

I was in such a blocky mood that I even hauled out last summer's MS3 and blocked that. It took FOREVER to pin it out, and in the end I think I stretched it to the breaking point, but it dried quickly and looks just fine.

It's not perfect, but I can live with not perfect. I just have to figure out what to do with it now. I am REALLY not a lacy shawl person, so I was thinking of giving it to one of my sisters...but none of them are lacy shawl people either. My grandparents just emailed me today to let me know that they will be in town in January to visit one of my grandpa's cousins (or some other distant relative who I had never heard of until I moved here). Maybe I'll give it to her. She's incredibly old and it's alpaca so it is both lightweight and warm.

I'm super excited because I ordered some yarn from Webs' clearance sale, and The Brain paid for some of it. Yay! Free yarn! I can't wait for it to get here so I can start working with it as soon as the Dollar 1/2 is done.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Finally Over!!!

Yes, the semester is FINALLY over. I spent most of last week working feverishly on final projects and driving to and from LA (it can take up to 2 hours each way) because one of my projects had to be done on some very specific software at school. But it's over now! They even took all of us lowly, broke grad students (and our husbands/boyfriends/sisters/whatever) out to a very fancy dinner on Saturday night.

After a couple of recovery days and a couple of days running errands, I officially don't know what to do with myself for the next month, until my FINAL SEMESTER OF GRAD SCHOOL starts up. (You don't know how excited I am to have a real job again.) I know, not a bad problem to have, right? I'm just running into the same problem I had over the summer: with nothing to do, I feel like a privileged loser. Thank god for Netflix! Carolyn (a very sweet and fast knitter) did suggest in the comments to my last posting that I could come to the local knitting group that I managed to make it to once. I just don't know that KIP is my thing. Plus I'm a really solitary person so knitting alone just kind of feels right to me. But who knows? After another week of sitting at home I might be ready to break loose. ;-)

I have managed to get some knitting done since my last post, however. (This IS a knitting blog after all, right?) After spending an entire weekend knitting and ripping and re-designing and ripping ad nauseum, I finally settled on a simple neck warmer for my niece to go along with her hat:

No pattern. I just made it up as I went along and I ended up with yarn to spare. Whew! I packed them up with the green hat and scarf I made for my sister and sent them off to Minneapolis. Mission accomplished.

I would have liked to go back to knitting my Dollar and a Half Cardigan, but I had to finish up a pair of fingerless gloves The Brain thought his mother would like. She's a very avid curler (Yes, my husband is Canadian. Why do you ask?) so fingerless is the way to go. I was barely halfway through the first one though, so I thought it was going to be a pain to finish the pair. But I was able to do it in only a couple of days. (Again, Netflix rocks.)

Pattern: Jacoby, free from
Yarn: Knit Picks Memories sock yarn
Needles: Size 3 DPNs
Notes: I love this pattern! It's a simple K2, P2 rib with a clever little thumb gusset. Because there are no fingers, you don't have to deal with all those annoying little tubes. Plus, they're really stretchy so they really will fit sizes S-XXL as the pattern says.

This is a great way for me to use up all the sock yarn I bought from Knit Picks but never plan on using since I hate knitting socks. Whenever I'm between projects I can always whip up a pair and by next fall, hopefully all that sock yarn will be gone. I can send the whole lot to my family in Minneapolis--with a mom and 6 sisters, I'm sure they will get use. Plus, I can probably get 3 gloves to one skein of yarn so we're A lot of fingerless gloves. The pattern would work well for men too, but I only have kind of girly colors to choose from.

I was also able to churn out a scarf with the sad remains from my first pair of wristwarmers:

Pattern: One-Row Handspun Scarf from the Yarn Harlot blog
Yarn: Plymouth Boku
Needles: Size 8
Notes: This yarn works much better in a scarf. You can see all the color changes (which made it only a little less boring to knit) and I like the fall color blend. The final result is a squooshy, springy, reversible scarf. I only had 2 skeins of yarn, which made the scarf only about 45 inches long, but it's long enough to wear under a coat, maybe casually hanging around the neck.

I originally made the scarf for me, and even wore it out shopping yesterday, but as I finished up my mother-in-law's fingerless gloves last night, The Brain and I were lamenting the fact that we didn't have anything to send to his dad too. So...the scarf got sent off to Montreal along with the gloves. :( I was happy to give it to a good home, and The Brain even said he would buy me more yarn for a replacement scarf, but let's face it: here in southern California, I doubt I will ever have a need for a wool scarf. Plus it was scratching my sensitive neck while I was wearing it yesterday so I doubt it would get much use here.

I ran those to the post office this morning and when I returned, there was a package waiting outside my door. I must vent for a moment here. (And I must do it rather cryptically, since The Brain reads this blog.) My parents told me they were getting a particular gift for The Brain for Christmas and having it sent directly to me. This is something I told them he would like. In fact, I researched this particular item extensively online and found a style that would fit his particular tastes and needs. I sent my parents the link to this product with very specific instructions about my reasons behind recommending this exact product. My dad responded a few days later by saying that he had ordered a different style of product, but that he had this exact one himself and liked it very much. Hmmm...60 year-old conservative Republican vs. 30 year-old trendy liberal. What could possibly go wrong here?

As I feared, I opened the box and found this particular item to be exactly not what I told them The Brain would want or need. And since it is a week before Christmas and they live halfway across the country, there is nothing I can do about it now except to wrap it up and have The Brain open it. But...since we live halfway across the country from my parents, they will never know whether or not he uses it so I guess there is a silver lining.

So...sorry, sweetie. I'll do better next time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Slow Week

Well, I may unexpectedly have a lot more knitting time in my future. Yesterday was my last day at my internship. I was supposed to finish out the week, but the writer's strike here in LA has so seriously depleted any of the work I could be doing that there was no point in me even making the trip. boss bid me farewell yesterday afternoon and now all I have left is finals on Friday and Saturday and I will be done with the semester. It's actually nice to have some days off this week so I can finish off presentations and projects and do some studying...but I am a little sad to leave my internship site since everyone there was so nice and friendly. I really started to feel like I belonged there and it was my company...and now I don't get to go back. *sigh*

Since I am supposed to be home doing homework, however, I haven't done much knitting. I whipped up a simple hat for my little neice over the weekend. I was going to make her a matching scarf too, but I have less than 200 yards of yarn left over. I'm still going to try: I'll just make it a little skinnier than I otherwise would and hope it gets long enough. Maybe I'll make her one of those keyhole scarves...

Pattern: Coronet from
Yarn: Berocco Peruvia, about 1 skein (174 yards)
Needle: Size 8
Size: S
Mods: None
Notes: This was a really fast knit and a great way to use up some leftover yarn from my Tilted Duster.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Knitting up a Storm

Ta da!!!

My Tilted Duster is finished!!!

OK, I confess, it's actually been done for over a week now. I even wore it to a workshop last Friday and got loads of compliments on it. That's really the big payoff for finishing a sweater, right? ;-)

And no, I didn't quite get the buttons sewn on yet. So sue me. I would probably never wear them buttoned anyway, and I really hate sewing buttons on, may or may not happen.

But I am soooo happy with the new sleeves! When I re-knit them I added another inch to the length and I think they're just perfect now. :)

Pattern: Tilted Duster by Norah Gaughan, Interweave Knits, Fall 2007
Size: 36"
Yarn: Berroco Peruvia
Color: # 7140 Purpura
Needle Size: 10
Mods: Made the sleeves one size larger than called for in the pattern since my first ones were such a disaster. But I think that's user error and nothing else.
I also made the sleeves 4 1/2 inches longer than called for because I'm 5'10" and I have long arms, dammit! (You know, just in case you were thinking of giving me a hard time.)

But wait! There's more! I whipped up the Koolhaas hat from the Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 issue for my little sister:

Try to ignore the fact that my hair was not made for little knit caps and concentrate instead on the pretty cables. :) I wish I had looked at the pattern more closely instead of seeing a picture and immediately ordering needles because, let's face it, those cables were a pain in the ass to do in the round and there were a lot of them! It got easier as I went, and I would actually consider making the hat again, but the first time tested my patience.

Since I used Cascade 220, and since I swear a skein of that stuff is like one of those giant, neverending jawbreakers that you can lick and lick until your tongue gets bloody and it still won't shrink, I used whatever was left from the hat plus another skein to make this ribbed scarf. It is currently 40" long and I have one more skein of yarn left so I'm going to improvise a pair of mittens from it and add the leftovers to the scarf and pack it all up for my little sis. I'm debating about whether or not to block the scarf out a little to separate the ribbing, or if I should just leave it as is. Any suggestions?

And still, there's more! I cast on for my Dollar and a Half Cardigan the other day. I'm already nearly up to the armholes on the back panel.

I'm using the same yarn called for in the pattern: JCA Reynolds Soft Linen. I was a little wary of the yarn because I was afraid it would have all the give of mercerized cotton, but I have been pleasantly surprised. This stuff is a little stiff coming off the skein, but it softens up very quickly. I'm sure this will make a nice lightweight cardy when I'm done.

The only concern I have right now is that the pattern pulls in quite a bit. I already had to go up a needle size to get gauge, but I am going to have to do some major blocking to get this thing wide enough.

You can also see that the lace sections pull in a lot more than the stockinette sections. I have read on other people's blogs and on Ravelry that if you're not careful the sweater can take on a "Michelin Man" effect. Not flattering at all. Some people overcame this obstacle by switching to a smaller needle size for the stockinette sections. I didn't read these accounts until after I had done most of the back, so I'm just going to continue as is and hope that a severe blocking will make everything right. This is one of those times when I really wish I had some blocking wires though. I am going to have to stock up on heavy-duty T-pins instead.

So how did I manage to get all this knitting done? Well...blame it on the writers' strike. Seriously. My boss gave me the week off because no scripts coming in = nothing to do at work. I was more than happy to stay home and knit. I even got a stack of books out from the library and I am on my 3rd one. It feels good to be interested in reading again, and it was nice to have something to read on the treadmill that wasn't industry-related. And since it was Thanksgiving week, The Brain was able to spend several days at home with me too (he's a prof so when campus is closed, he stays home). It's our first wedding anniversary today so it's really nice to have a built-in long weekend around it. Ah...I could get used to this! :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yeah, I Know...I Lied

Yeah...remember in my last post how I promised a photo on Tuesday of my finished fingerless gloves? And then how I didn't post them? Well...when I said "on Tuesday", I really meant "whenever I flipping get around to it". I just forgot to mention that.

So here they are:
Pattern: 'Dashing' from

Yarn: Trendsetter Yarns Tonalita

Mods: None

Final Thoughts: I'm a tight knitter to begin with, and I didn't check the gauge (and btw, am I the only person who has to look up the proper spelling for that word every time I use it?), but I figured that since it was a pattern for men's gloves, they would fit me just fine. Well...they do...once I get them on. The cables tend to pull in quite a bit so I have to struggle just to get them on and off, but they're very comfy while I'm wearing them.

In other project news, I'm waiting for some needles to come in the mail so I can get started on some quick and easy hats for my little sister and neice. In the meantime I started knitting up a sock (shocker, I know, since I'm not a huge fan of knitting socks). But I have a copy of Sensational Knitted Socks that I never use, plus a boatload of sock yarn from a clearance Knit Picks had ages ago. And I can't afford to get any new yarn until January when my student loans come in (I don't have to buy many books next semester, so it's only fair that I spend the money on yarn, right?), so I'm just going to knit up the yarn I already have until then. I don't like having a lot of yarn lying around anyway. I prefer to get yarn for a specific project and then use it up. But I'm weird like that.

Oh, and I blocked my new and improved (?) Tilted Duster sleeves on Sunday. I'm just waiting for them to dry so I can seam them up and stick them on. I seriously have no idea what happened to the last ones because these ones seem quite huge and I didn't have to stretch them out when I was blocking them at all. I thought I was going to rip the previous ones in half just to get them into the right dimensions. It is a mystery that will haunt me, that's not true. I'm sure I'll forget about them as soon as the sweater is done.

And finally, I took the leftover yarn from the previous sleeves, soaked it, and hung it up to dry. I'm going to use this yarn for one of the hat and scarf sets for my neice. And yes, those are cans of spaghettios hanging in the yarn.

How did I have time to get all this done with my busy schedule? boss gave me the day off! Things are weird at work right now, and if the strikes keep going, I may not have a job (full-time internship, really) to go back to pretty soon. If my blogging regularity starts to pick up, you'll know the reason why.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Flair Finished!

It's all done and I love it! I sewed the buttons on on Thursday and I wore it to class on Saturday. Several people commented on it and told me they liked it--and they didn't even know I knit! So that was pretty cool. :)

Pattern: Flair by Wendy Bernard
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton
Amount: 5 and a half skeins

The only modification I made was to lengthen the body by a couple inches. I do this on all my knit items because I'm so tall. :)

My project this weekend was to start on my Dashing wristwarmers. I finished one last night and am already halfway through the second one. The new yarn is working great, btw. I will post pics tomorrow or Tuesday.

Gotta get to bed now. Another week starts tomorrow. :( These one-day weekends are killing me!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Life Has Me By A Stranglehold

Ugh. Life. When did it get so busy???

I have been having a busy fall ever since classes and my full-time internship started. My commute takes two hours each way (by car), so by the time I get home I barely have energy to work on my homework and then hardly any time at all to knit. I am having a really good experience at my internship though, so I am thankful for that. And even though my classes also take up a lot of my time, they are absolutely fascinating and I know that I am very fortunate to have the opportunities that I do right now. I have even managed to make some knitting progress over the last month, surprising as it seems to me.

I ripped out my second try at the sleeves for my Tilted Duster and knit new ones a size larger (and 4 inches longer than the pattern calls for). I haven't had a chance to block them yet, but if they don't fit, I give up! Luckily for me I bought 2 skeins too many of the yarn I was using so I just used fresh yarn for the sleeves and will use the other yarn for a hat and scarf set for my little sister.

I also finished up my Flair, except for sewing buttons on. I'm going to try that tonight. I never heard back from Kpixie about getting another skein of yarn and I emailed them three times!!! (I am NOT happy about that and I will not be ordering from them anymore. There are too many other shops out there for me to bother with subpar customer service. But I digress.)

I ended up ordering a 6th skein from WEBS (who have GREAT customer service) and I had to alternate the skeins down the length of one arm. I can't tell the difference between the dyelots and now I have a wonky underarm seam on that side, but that's OK with me.

If I were to knit this again, I would go another size larger. The fronts don't overlap very much at all and I would like a bit more of that. I will take some pictures wearing it once I get the buttons sewn on.

Last night I cast on for some Dashing wristwarmers. I was using Plymouth Boku that I got because I liked the fall colors in the colorway and thought they would look nice. The yarn is slightly cheaper than Noro Kureyon and the colors are a bit more subtle. HOWEVER, the yarn kept pulling apart! I normally knit rather tightly, but trust me: I was hardly putting any pressure on this yarn and it kept disintegrating on my needles. After the third time I quit what I was doing and threw down my needles. What a waste of time and money!

The Brain was really nice and offered to run out to the LYS store with me today since I had a surprise day off and SDSU is closed all this week because of the fires so he hasn't had to go to work. We ran up the coast to Alamitos Bay Yarn Company and got some new yarn. They didn't have anything in a colorway similar to the Boku, but I did pick up some Knit One, Crochet Too Paintbox in a muted purple/blue/black colorway that I liked. Once we got back on the road, I pulled the yarn out of my bag and said, jokingly, "Gee, do you think I should have done a stress test on this yarn while we were in the store?" I pulled on one end of the yarn guessed it: it broke off! I had a 10-inch strand that I kept pulling into smaller and smaller pieces with hardly any effort. So you can guess what happened...

The Brain was kind enough to turn around and drive straight back to the yarn store where the women working there were MORE than kind enough to let me return the yarn (which they whispered that they wouldn't recommend buying) and let me pick out some different stuff. The different stuff ended up being Trendsetter Yarns Tonalita in the Starry Night colorway. The very kind women at the store assured me that it would not break apart. So today, after I finish my homework and sew some buttons on my Flair, I am going to cast on for my wristwarmers...again.

I just want to say to anyone who still bothers to read my blog after my long absences: thank you. And to anyone who has a blog of their own: thank you for writing! I do take the time to read through the blogs during the day and even though I don't have much time at this point in my life, it is nice to see what others are doing and blogging about. It's knitting voyeurism at its best! :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blogs: The Great Enablers

I really need to stay away from knitting blogs. They mean nothing but bad things...if by "bad things" I mean that they bring the wide world of beautiful yarn and knits into my home and make me covet them so badly find myself in a trance, reaching for my credit card.

Today, for instance, I was minding my own business, reading through my (really too long) list of blogs and I clicked on a link in the Yarn Harlot's blog. This link showed me a rainbow of beautiful yarn and patterns, but unfortunately this site only sells them wholesale to other stores. Not easily dissuaded, I quickly Googled "strickwear yarn" and came up with several sites that will either sell the patterns alone, or the whole kit. YUM! Sadly for me, I just came back from an afternoon of sale shopping for appropriate work clothes so I won't be buying any new yarn for a while.

In regular knitting news, I still haven't had the courage to take a crack at those Tilted Duster sleeves. They are blocked and waiting for me, but I will have to seam one up to see if they fit now and I dread having to seam it up and take it back out...because that will mean I have to rip the entire sleeves out and start them over. I know I will feel better if I just DO IT but...I'm still in denial.

Instead, I have been making quick progress on my Flair. I would probably knit this again, but not in cotton. Blue Sky Alpacas' cotton is very soft to the touch, but I just don't like knitting with it. There is no give or springyness to it and I really miss that. On the other hand, I love how it looks, and it is a bit more stiff than I think wool would be and that does look nice with the boxy concept...*sigh*...we'll see. I always think I'll knit things in multiple colors but when all is said and done, I figure that there are too many other patterns I would love to knit to bother doing one twice. I am also a tad annoyed because I ordered the kit from Kpixie, but quickly realized that I would want to make a larger size than normal and I will need another skein of yarn. I emailed them several days ago and still haven't heard back yet. :( That's the problem with living in an internet age: we're all so used to getting instantaneous results that a 4-day wait seems like an eternity!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One FO, One Cast-On, and One Bad Project

I finally finished my Mystery Stole!!! As a way to avoid dealing with my Tilted Duster, I told myself I couldn't knit anything else until I finished one (or preferably both) project(s). So determined was I to knit anything BUT my Duster, I stayed up until 2:00 AM the other night and finished up the stole. I have no pictures because a) it's lace, which means it has to be pinned out in order to see anything, and I'm just too lazy to do that right now, and b) I was just making it to have something to do this summer and I'm not too jazzed about it anyway.

As for the Duster, I removed the one completed sleeve and pulled out the seams on both of them. (*sniff!* those seams were PERFECT!) In a last-ditch effort to avoid having to re-knit the sleeves, I soaked and re-blocked them and now I am just waiting for them to dry completely before I check to see if they can be used. If not, it's RRRRRIIIIIPPPPPP!!! Hmm...I never noticed before that 'rip' is the same as R.I.P. How appropriate.

Last but not least, I did cast on for a new project. This one is another sweater I'm really excited about: Flair, by Wendy Bernard. Kpixie has the kit on sale so I ordered it a few weeks ago and cast on yesterday. I'm using Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton, and it's really soft, but like most cotton it just doesn't have any give and my hands are very sore already. Oh well, I really like what I'm seeing so far so I'll just have to get over it. :)

Sorry for the lack of photos today. Half of my classmates came to the center last week with killer colds, and they were kind enough to share. I have been doing pretty much nothing but knitting and watching DVDs for the past few days. I had my second interview for an internship today and I swear I was this close to stuffing kleenex up my nostrils just to get through the meeting. I didn't, and I got the internship anyway. YAY! And now I have until Monday before I have to start working there.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bad Blogger

Yes, I know I have been a bad blogger lately. But classes started last Thursday (a day earlier than scheduled) and the instructors haven't been shy about giving us a ton of homework. I don't have an internship yet, although I have been on three interviews so far and have another one tomorrow. I turned down two offers because they only had openings for 2 days a week, and I need 4. Today's interview was promising and I'm going back for a second round next week.

Why am I telling you this? Because in the last week, all I have managed to do is knit the collar for my sweater and attach one sleeve, and it will only get worse once I actually start working full-time.

I absolutely love this sweater, but I am at a bit of a crossroads with it. All I have to do is sew in the other sleeve and block it, but when I tried it on again, it became pretty clear to me that the sleeves really are too tight.

We're talking so tight that they bunch up inside my elbows when I bend my arms. These sleeves are so tight that the stockinette is straining to hold together! I'm afraid they will cut off my circulation and I'll end up armless and have to learn how to knit with my toes. (But come to think of it, I could skip knitting sleeves entirely!)

So now I'm faced with having to find a solution to this problem, and I really dread admitting it to myself. I know what I have to do. I have to rip out the sleeves and knit them in a larger size than the pattern calls for. (And I am quite unhappy about this. I knit them and blocked them to spec, and it's not like I have big arms! What gives?!?) So...facing this prospect has left me stranded, knitwise...for the moment. But I am determined not to cast on for anything else until I get this project and the Mystery Stole finished.

In other news, I was out getting my hair cut after my interview today and on a whim I stopped by Barnes and Noble. They had a whole table of knitting books for 50% off! I nabbed The Best of Vogue Knitting: 25 Years, and the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Volume 2. All is not horrible in the knitting world, after all. :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Wow...this Tilted Duster knits up really fast! That, or I just really like it so I'm spending more time on it than I normally would. Either way, I like this sweater so much that I have been more than happy to have this giant pile of wool sitting on my lap all weekend, even though it was in the mid-90s the whole time. But this is what I have to show for it:

I'm completely done with the body of the sweater. Now all I have to do is pick up and knit the collar and sew the sleeves in, and I'm done! I tried it on and it fits beautifully (well, except for the skinny sleeves) so I'm very excited. I'll have to make an etsy stop to find the perfect buttons too. :)

I am really quite proud of myself because of the way the skirt is picked up and knit around the bottom of the sweater. I have always been horrible at picking up stitches, but these ones look rather seamless. Yay me!

So now the question is what to knit next? I really do have to finish up that Mystery Stole. But I have the materials for 3 different sweaters that I want to do and I don't know which one to pick! It's really not a huge problem, and I'm sure that when I'm actually ready to cast on for something new I will know exactly what I want to do.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Long Time, No Blog

Yes, I know I have been gone for quite some time, but I started a new semester and my days were busy with orientation trips and interviews and receptions, etc. I have a few days off before things start up again so I have been taking advantage of that fact by working on my sweater.

Progress pic:

I finished the back, the front panels, and the sleeves. I blocked everything and did all the seaming up (much easier after the pieces have been blocked). Now it is waiting for me to pick up stitches from around the bottom and knit the "skirt" of the sweater.

I have just one problem so far: I blocked the sleeves to the exact dimensions given and after I seamed them up I tried them on. The problem? They are very tight. We're talking skinsuit tight. And I have skinny arms! This worries me because I'm not really sure how to stretch sleeves out after they're all seamed up so I'm not sure if I can make them wider when I block the entire sweater again. If not, I'll just have skin-tight wool sleeves, which I'm sure are oh so comfortable in a California winter! :-P

Other than that though, I really like this project and I am very excited for it to be finished. I'm hoping that I will finally have a wearable sweater that I really like! I am seriously considering making it in another color too.

I am also excited to finish up so I can cast on for something new. Itchy fingers! But after the sweater is done I really need to get back to my Mystery Stole and finish that up before I move on to something else. I really can't stand to have it sit there staring at me while I work on a sweater night after night. UFOs just bug me. Can't stand it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Couldn't Resist...

...and so I cast on for my Tilted Duster the other night, even after I swore off yarn for a long while. But I am using the exact yarn called for in the pattern, and I got gauge so that goes a long way towards getting a good finished product!

Progress pic:

Yes, it's true: I am only just finishing up the back panel. But I hit a snag tonight and I don't know how to fix it! See, the pattern tells you to join another ball of yarn when you get to the shoulders and bind off the neckline section. Fine, I get it. But then you're supposed to bind off stitches on the neck side and at the same time bind off stitches on the shoulder side?

Since I am really trying to do this absolutely right and avoid a knitting disaster like the Green Cherry, this has me a little confused. When you bind off at the end of a row, you end up with one stitch left over, right? So...(and this may be a stupid question because I have searched all over the internet for the answer and no one else seems to be having this problem) I supposed to bind off those stitches at the beginning of the row on my way back? This seems the most logical solution unless there is some magic knitting trick that I don't know about (and truly, that wouldn't surprise me).

I just put the lovely thing away until I either find the proper answer or just say to hell with it and stagger the rows, which will probably happen sometime tomorrow afternoon. I'm not the most patient person. ;-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I finished my green tank top today. I was really excited about it! The color is perfect (it matches my eyes), the design is fun, and I have really been aching to knit something that I'm actually able to wear!

Unfortunately, things did not work out exactly as planned. So even though this is a knitting blog, I am not going to write about knitting today and I am going to write about something that never fails to make me happy instead.

Yes, that's right. I have been addicted to Lay's Baked Sour Cream and Onion Potato Crisps for years. Their crunchy goodness always puts a smile on my face. They never disappoint. They always turn out exactly the way I expect them to.

Unlike my knitting. For some reason, even though I added two inches to the row count called for in the pattern, my sweater is too short!

These chips, excuse me, crisps, are so light and tasty I crave them all the time. I never get enough of them. Toss me a bag of these on a bad day and it's like sunshine everywhere.

Unlike my knitting. Toss me some needles and a ball of yarn and I will knit you a mystery sweater. It follows the pattern exactly. It looks like it will fit. When I slip it onto waste yarn and try it on as I'm going, it does fit. But when I bind off and try it on, there isn't enough room inside it for me!

These chips are so good that The Brain has to physically take the whole bag away from me or I'll eat it all in one sitting. The first thing I scout for when I move to a new city is the nearest grocery store that stocks these in Sour Cream and Onion. Many of them don't. They carry Original and Barbecue and even Sour Cream and Cheddar, but the SC&O are a hard-to-find variety. When I lived in Pittsburgh last year for school I literally had a classmate drive 3 bags in from Moon for me. That's how desperate I was for a fix.

Unlike my knitting. Right now I don't even want to look at yarn. You could take me on a tour of the world's most fabulous yarn stores and I wouldn't even blink. My yarn has betrayed me. Even the bind-offs, which I took care to do loosely and in ribbing, have no give and are threatening to cut off circulation to my arms.

And my chips would never ever do something like that.

Obligatory shot of the offending sweater:

I figure any sweater that allows people to count your ribs through the wool is too tight!

I'll save it because I love the yarn, but I just can't bring myself to do anything else with it right now. Someday down the line I will get up the courage to frog it and start over.

But tonight I'm just consoling myself with a bag of chips...and some Dr. Pepper.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Back to the MS3

OK, so I decided to do some work on my MS3 because...well, because I have 3 sweaters waiting in the wings that I really would rather get to! Plus, I'm one of those people who loathes to leave things unfinished, and I would really rather finish one thing before I move on to another. I'm the same way with food: I have to eat all my fries before touching my burger, etc.

Anyway, I'm halfway through Clue 6 now:

It doesn't look much different than my last progress pic, but I can see the difference! I had to join my second skein of yarn and I tried the method Eunny Jang describes on her blog. It was a bit tricky, especially since the Misti Alpaca laceweight that I'm using is very frail. I separated it into 2 strands, but each strand by itself is so wispy that it kept just...disintegrating. I finally managed to get it done but there are a couple stitches in there that only use one strand and I really hope they don't break during blocking. I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Speaking of frail, since the new rows of the wing are picked up one stitch every other row from the end of the main body, those stitches that have been sitting there for ages waiting to be picked up are getting quite worn. I swear, if this stole falls apart on me before I'm done, I'm going to...well I don't know what I'm going to do but it will probably involve a bonfire!

On a happier note, my "DVD knitting" project is going quite well:

It's my Cherry Twist tank top without the cherry and without the twist. Yes, I know it looks really small, but the pattern does say that it is very close-fitting. I did try on the progress so far and it stretches quite well. (To get an idea of the scale, the ribbed top section actually goes around the shoulders and the body as is falls right below my bust.) I would have taken pictures of it while I was wearing it, but The Brain isn't home right now and I'm no expert with cameras and mirrors. I'll take another picture soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Hmmm...not much progress on the knitting front these past couple of days.

I finished Clue 5 on the MS3 a few days ago but then I promptly ran out of yarn and haven't bothered to join the next ball. Progress pic:

To give my itchy fingers something else to work on, I also decided to cast on for a new tank top. I'm using the Cherry Twist pattern from knitty and 3 skeins of Cascade 220 in color number 2429. It's one of their heathered yarns in a bright green/olive mix and I really like how the color is turning out:

Not much progress at this point! I cast on and knit one row and then I had to go to bed. This is the first time I've used Cascade 220 and I am really surprised by how soft it seems. I would have expected it to be rougher, so I am very happy.

The original pattern for this sweater used yarn that was much bulkier than this stuff. We're talking 3 stitches to the inch! But I didn't really want a bulky tank and I was really just looking for something to do with the 3 skeins of this yarn that I have, so I spent a good amount of time with a pencil and calculator changing the stitch count in the pattern to fit my gauge. Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope it looks OK (and that I have enough yarn!).

In more exciting news, I got my invite to Ravelry over the weekend. :) It looks super cool! I am really excited about the prospect of being able to store all the information about my projects in one place, digitally. That was one of the big reasons I started this blog! The only thing I'm disappointed about at the moment is that you can only post photos by using a Flickr account. I don't have a Flickr account and I never planned on getting one. I use Snapfish to host all the photos I share with family and friends. If I end up getting really into Ravelry I suppose I will have to get one (because come on, half the point is having your pictures up, right?). I just don't have the time or energy to do it at the moment. I don't have much up yet, but you're always welcome to come visit me there. My screen name is ClumsyKnitter. :)

Speaking of time, the past couple days have been kind of crazy for me. I've been running up to LA trying to meet with people to nail down an internship for fall. Today I found myself in the neighborhood of the Knit Cafe (and like any good knitter, I have a list of names and addresses for potential yarn store stops in my car). In need of some air conditioning (and, let's face it, some yarn therapy), I parked right in front and ambled inside.

First of all, it really is just as cute as it looks in the photos! As you're looking at the home page photo, all the yarn is along the walls to the right and left. The open area behind the front table is actually a little gathering place with cushy chairs and a low coffee table. I was browsing around for a while and then one of the workers started chatting with me, and the owner (Suzan) came over to sit down and join and pretty soon there were 4 of us (they had a friend visiting to knit) sitting around the coffee table chit chatting. It was really great to finally meet some other knitters (at this point, the only knitter I know in person is my 19-year-old brother) AND it was just really nice to have some other people to talk to! I love The Brain and all, but frankly I think he's getting tired of hearing about yarn all the time.

I couldn't resist: I just had to bring two little skeins of Koigu KPPPM home. Sort of as a yarn souvenir:

I'm sure I'll be back to the shop. The people there were so friendly and the owner made sure to let me know that they are open late on Thursday nights. I may have to make a habit of stopping by after work.

Gosh, this post is getting long! Sorry! I also stopped by the local Barnes and Noble on the way home and picked up the brand new Interweave Knits magazine. I am so excited because I already have the yarn for the cover sweater AND because it's Eunny's first issue as editor so I'm very excited to see what she's done with it. (Although I already really liked the magazine before.)

Wow, it's amazing what a long post I pumped out without having done much knitting!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Long-Ago Love Affair

When I was in grade school, I had a love affair with the color seafoam green. I adored it. I even had a set of pop beads that were all seafoam green. I guess you could say I was a little obsessed. I would sit in my room with a box of crayons, trying to recreate the perfect shade by lightly layering green, light blue, and a touch of gray. It never worked perfectly, but I never stopped trying. When Crayola came out with their pastel markers, it was a match made in heaven...until the seafoam green color wore out.

I remember this because it coincided with the first knitted item I ever loved. I was 8 years old and my family lived in Duluth, MN. There were 7 kids in my family by then and it was the first year of my life that I got to pick out a brand new winter jacket. Of course, I got a seafoam green one.

We were at the big craft fair/fundraiser for school. Rows of tables were set up in the gym and women (they were pretty much all women) sat behind the tables and offered up their knitted/quilted/beaded/whatever items for sale. As the fair wore down and people started packing up their things, an elderly woman was trying to get rid of a box of knitted mittens. This woman knit wool mittens year-round and she had a large box FULL of some of the ugliest-colored mittens you can imagine. Seeing that my mother had a lot of kids on her hands, and that we would all need warm mittens for the winter, she let my mom have the entire box for $10.

I was less than thrilled. There I was, an 8-year-old girl with a fabulous new jacket and my mom expected me to ruin it by wearing rust-colored mittens? Or pine green with orange stripes? Or brown the color of cow pies? No way!

We got home and started going through the box. Ugly mitten after ugly mitten came out. My mother cheerfully told us that there were so many mittens in the box we would be able to switch off the wet ones for dry ones when we were playing outside. I was not appeased. But then there, in the bottom corner of the box, was a flash of white. I reached in and yanked out a pair of snowy white mittens with 3 stripes of seafoam green around the wrist band. They were beautiful! They matched! They were MINE!

But they couldn't be all mine. I had 4 other sisters who didn't want to wear ugly mittens either. From that day on, going outside became a contest to see who could get dressed the fastest and snag the pretty mittens. When we lay our sopping wet mittens on a radiator to dry, I would shove mine behind the radiator in the hopes that no one would notice them. I never touched dirty snow with those mittens on because I didn't want them to get dirty.

I have no idea what ever happened to those mittens. I know I wore them for a few years, but then I probably became too old and cool to play outside in the snow. Or else my family moved and they got lost in all the packing. Maybe they wore out. Maybe my brothers got older and wouldn't be caught dead in girly white-and-seafoam green mittens. But I will always remember them.

(Btw, the mittens in the photo are for illustrative purposes only. I pulled the photo from Google images and I think they are mighty cute. The ones we had were U-G-L-Y!)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

2 Steps Forward, 3 Steps Back

Someone must have put a jinx on me at birth or something. Just when I thought everything was going well, I ended up with an extra stitch on my stole and couldn't figure out where for the life of me. I ended up frogging back to the end of Clue 4.

It wasn't pretty. Neither is the picture, and for that I apologize. I have never been a good photographer so I guess it's a good thing I ditched the filmmaking program I was in and went to grad school instead, huh?

I managed to clean everything up and get back to where I was with the correct number of stitches by the end of the evening. But by that point I was kind of sick of looking at the thing so I went online to look at some better-behaved yarn and ended up buying yarn for another sweater I've been wanting to make for a while.

Someone needs to take my credit card away from me because I can't be trusted with it! Buying new yarn is like an emotional salve: the yarn I have is misbehaving so I should buy new, better yarn to compensate! Uh...yeah. Then, as if I wasn't feeling guilty enough about the added expense, The Brain came home from running errands and announced that he had dropped his cell phone in the parking lot and now the antenna wouldn't work or something. Great. Two days after his warranty runs out, the guy drops the phone and we have to drop $150 or so to replace it.

Did I mention I'm jinxed?

Good thing I managed to resist ordering a few knitting books from Amazon. But I am positively drooling over Annie Modesitt's latest and I know where my spending money is going next!

Friday, August 10, 2007

3 FOs and One Great Find!

OK, so the 3 FOs are kind of cheating because they are a set of 20-inch-long headbands...but it's nice to say you completed something!

The patterns are free on the KnitPicks website. I knit them out of KnitPicks Elegance in the color Lilac. I bought the yarn for this purpose at the beginning of the summer and promised my little sister I would make her a headband...but I never got around to it and thought she forgot about it. But the day before I hit the road she sauntered up to me and put her hands on her hips and said, "So. How are those headbands coming?" Leave it to a 7-year-old to remember something like that for so long! I promised her I really would finish them this time and send them to her in a special package.

I have also made more progress on the MS3. I am done with the first half of Clue 5:

I just have a little corner done of the wing that people either love or hate. Personally, I am ambivalent about it. I'm not planning on keeping or wearing this stole (and I don't have anyone to give it to, either). I'm just knitting it because I happened to have the yarn to do it with and it's neat. I even bought yarn for the Hanami stole already and I have no idea what I'm going to do with that, either! LOL I guess that makes me a process knitter, huh?

And here is my great find of the day:

Berroco Peruvia in color 7140 at 40% off! That's enough to make the cover sweater for the upcoming Interweave Knits. I have really been wanting to make another sweater and really like the pics from the magazine. I decided I wanted this to be my next project before I even found the yarn. I am so excited about this that I am thinking about buying enough for a second sweater before it's all gone! (Which is why I'm hesitant to say where I found it.) I just wish moving hadn't eaten up every last cent I had!

But back to the yarn: when I ordered it, I thought it was just a solid purple color, but when I got it today I was delighted to see that it actually has a lot of other colors in it. Purple is the "main" color, but there is also some teal and even some gold in there. I think it gives the yarn more depth and I am even more excited now for the magazine to come out next week!

I tried to take good pictures but I really couldn't get the lighting right. The real color is somewhere in between the blue of the first one and the faded out color on the right.

I have to admit that I am a little apprehensive about knitting a pattern "right out of the box", so to speak. There won't be any errata yet and I don't think I'm that skilled yet that I can spot a mistake right away, notice one while I'm knitting the thing, or fix something if there's a big problem. Yes, I know that you can always "undo" knitting and mistakes but...I just don't think I can stomach that!

Btw, I'm sure many people have seen the Bohus sweaters but I recently came across them and I think they are so beautiful! Really not my style, but beautiful nonetheless and I would love to knit one for my mother someday. I particularly like the Blue Flowers one, but I wish it was a cardigan instead. I haven't done any colorwork yet so I'm going to have to learn that skill first. The Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation is pretty cute...maybe I'll have a go at that soon. I have a sister who would love it.