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.