Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Need to Blog More

So I am a bad blogger. Mostly I am a bad picture taker/uploader. I feel bad when posting with no pictures, as this is a knitting blog and I knit pretty things. Sometimes. I've not touched the Mystery Stole since the last post. I was trying to work late and finish my Tempting. Tempting, she did not get finished quite when I wanted her to be. I was about 2 inches from the end when I wanted to wear it. Oh well.

(visualize picture of almost done Tempting in a purpley-fuschia here)

Also, I did not have the directions out when attaching the underarm stitches for the first sleeve (lazy me). I remembered that you were supposed to turn it inside-out. So I turned it inside-out and kitchenered. Did not work.

(visualize beautiful 2x2 ribbing grafted on the visible {albeit underarm} side with a hodgepodge of purl stitches)

It also left huge gaping holes on either side of the grafting. Apparently my join was not sufficient. The second one, however, was done using the three-needle-bind-off, which went much smoother. The wonky bit is inside the underarm, so I can raise my arm on a roller coaster or something and it's all nice.

(visualize nicely grafted 2x2 ribbing)

I also made sure to close up the holes with the long tail while binding off. They still aren't nice and smooth and beautiful and invisible, but they're much better. I may go back and attack them with more yarn later. At this point, I need to re-attach the underarm stitches of the first sleeve, and then finish the last four rows of the pullover. So it will be done, if not tonight, then tomorrow on the long car ride to New Hampshire. And then I will wear it, probably on Thursday, and dance around all day singing about my nice new sweater. I tend to do that with all wearables when finished, dance around annoying all those who cross my path. Particularly Lee. Though I think he gets more amused than angry when I dance around wearing new socks.

I also tend to dance around singing the praises of knitted garments each time I wear them. As my homemade clothing collection increases, the singing and dancing should decrease. Or I'll just be singing and dancing all the time. One or the other. I'm kinda betting on the latter, though. I think that in a year, I'll be wearing some item of handmade clothing daily. I have two skirts, a couple pairs of pants (pajama and snake skin corduroy) and about ten shirts in the sewing queue, plus two cardigans and three shirts in the knitting queue, and probably fifteen pairs of socks. At least eight, the rest of the yarn I own may or may not go for my own personal socks. I get unnaturally excited when I can throw out a pair of store-bought socks, as that means I am coming ever closer to having just homemade socks, yippee!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yay Mystery Stole 3!

So, I dyed the yarn. First time I dyed it, there were a few spots that were still white, and some bits that were blue or brown instead of black. I considered just going with it, but I got the nice silver beads to offset the black, and I'm really looking for a solid black stole. So, back into the crock pot the yarn went. This time, there's only a nickel-sized spot that didn't quite get inundated with dye, so that's as good as it gets. It's my first time dyeing yarn, so I felt that two dunks in the pot weren't bad at all! Apparently I just need to stir more next time. Putting it back in when I had allowed it to dry overnight was quite difficult though. Quite. I really, really wanted to just start the stole! When it was finally all black and all dry (with the help of a fan), I made this swatch:

Only two repeats of the pattern with (though you can't really see them) silver beads at the point of the first repeats. I gotta work on bead placement, they didn't really come out too well, kinda off-centered. I figure there's time for that later. And I probably won't be putting the beads on a triple decrease either. It is my first time knitting with beads in any way but stringing them onto the yarn and using them while casting on, which I did for the Frill (see last post). It is also my first time knitting with laceweight and making real lace. I've done some for Frill, some for Reid, and some for random socks, but this is hardcore lace. My goal for the weekend was to read Harry Potter, get through Chart A and start Tempting. I was quite happy, I started the stole on Sunday and finished Chart A the same day, in a rather short amount of time. The silver beads look amazing against the black yarn, but not so much in picture format. I assure you, it looks great!

Tempting is supposed to be for when I'm watching a movie or reading a book and therefore can't concentrate on the lace instructions. K2, P2 rib is for very simple not-paying-attention knitting. So of course I've been motoring through it. The goal was to have ten rows done per day, with the sweater at approximately 7 rows/inch and 20 inches long, that's about 140 rows so two weeks. There's minimal joining/weaving/seaming to do, and I'm going to make the sleeves much smaller than called for. The ones on the model that Jenna is wearing can't actually be 2.5 inches long, and I've really hated how the sleeves look on the larger sizes when people follow the pattern, so 1-2 inch sleeves for me, thanks. I should be able to fit in the sleeves, underarm graft, weaving the four ends, and threading the ribbon through by the barbecue. I want to wear it to Lee's big summer barbecue. He says I shouldn't. I suppose he's looking out for the knitting, as at a barbecue, it'll probably be not so much clean. If I finish, I will anyway. It looks like I will finish, as it's Tuesday, I started on Sunday, and I'm already 50 rows into it, almost doubling the goal pace. In fact, if I work on it at the knitting group I'll be joining this evening, I may finish it by my trip to New York City this weekend and wear it there. This is one of those that I just can't wait to get finished and get wearing!

I enjoyed Harry Potter, but thought it went out with less of a bang than I was expecting. Ah well, all's well that ends well, and that ended well enough, though in a very interesting way. Don't worry, no spoilers here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Variation on Variation on a Frill

I just finished my Variation on a Frill stole (the first one). It's a variation on that pattern because I made it shorter. This was one of those projects that looked like it would work up quickly when I saw the pattern. I figured I wanted to wear it on my first real date with Lee (to see Handel's Messiah) and I had a couple of weeks, so I went for it. You know how they always tell you to buy enough of the same dye lot to complete a project? Yeah. I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics for some Red Heart LusterSheen, as it was about the correct weight for the project, and I got some size 6/0 E beads for the edging. I figured the two frill edges would be the hardest to do, so I just did those first, one from each skein I had bought. That way, once I got it to the desired length, ran out of yarn, or ran out of time while it was at a decent length, I could easily finish it off, having the end piece done. So I start knitting the middle, and lo and behold, the two end frills are different colors, which is easy to see in the light I was in at the time, but impossible to see in the dimly lit corridors of Jo-Ann's yarn section. Two different dye lots. In the same bin. When Red Heart yarns usually don't have dye lots. And yes, the frill bit was horrifically time consuming, 6-8 hours of knitting to drop 1/3 of the stitches. So I got one more skein of each of the dye lots to make two Frills.

I have one finished, one is begun, and I will have just enough yarn and beads left over to make a third one, if I so desire. I'd stripe the two different shades, and I haven't decide if I like making them enough to make another, much less a third. I hated knitting it for a lot of the time I was working on it, as it took much longer than I originally thought it should. I suppose if I think of someone to give it to, I'll make the second and third ones, but for now, that yarn is going deep down into the bin of yarnage, and will not be seen at least until I use up all my sock yarn. It was a good carrying project for work.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Looks Like a Good Weekend To Me!

The new Harry Potter, everything I need for the Mystery Stole 3, and a bottle of tequila. Yup, it's going to be a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Down To The Wire

So, my new yarn is expected in tomorrow. Tomorrow!!! That means I am supposed to be down to 25 projects, preferably before opening the box. We all know that that number is really, best case scenario, going to be 27, as two projects are supposed to be done using supplies that are coming in. However, for one of those last two straggling projects, I cannot find my pattern. I also cannot find my CD player. Including my favorite CDs. Which makes me believe that either I left a bag at home I wasn't supposed to, or I brought a bag to Goodwill that I wasn't supposed to. I am not yet open to the idea that I threw a bag away that I wasn't supposed to. So, one of those won't be finished. I really could fudge it. I have to do the second sleeve, which would be copying the first, I have to do the other side of the front (it has a small opening down the neck), but I also have to finish the first side of the neck opening. Which would be probably just taking it up so it matches the back decrease- and stitch-count-wise, but then I need to do the edging. With the yarn that I have to dye black. I don't remember exactly how the edging goes. I really don't want to deviate from the pattern. I started the pattern because I liked it; I'd like to finish it that way too!

Other than that, it looks like I'll be at 25 or 26 when I start something new. There is a possibility of 24, but I'll allow myself to start something at 27 too. Gotta put the buttons on the Lopi cardigan and Penguin mittens tonight, and finish the Awesome Mohair Sweater. It got put down a few days ago and never got picked back up. I did finish the evil Bathmat and the Hourglass Eyelet socks, the two that were in the queue that I was worried about finishing. Go me! I also started some small present amigurumi, some Hedwigs and a Chihuahua. Wasn't going to count those, as they're presents, but since it looks like all but the Chihuahua will be done (and I have to get the sewing machine out to finish that one), I suppose I can count them. Which will still bring me down to at least 27 by the time I open that box tomorrow, yay!

Picture Time:

I need to figure out how to better use the Macro function on my camera, but here he is, a felted penguin. Yay! His wings and head are pose-able, and he does stand on his own. Mostly.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Today's Blog Brought to You by the Letter B

B as in Blog.

B as in Bathmat.

B as in Bane of my existence.

So I figured, hey, I'm in an apartment, got a full time job, living with someone I love, why not spruce up the place? I have four pillows I made on the couch, a welcome mat in front of the door, many washcloths in the kitchen/bathroom, I'm working on table settings, why not a bathmat? In fact, I have the perfect yarn already, a turtleneck I bought at Goodwill done up in a cotton blend yarn that had no business being an oversize turtleneck. So I can kill two birds with one stone (use up the turtleneck and make a bathmat) and save some money, as Lee was ready to go out and buy a bathmat.

This was almost a month ago. The turtleneck has been turned into balls of yarn, ready to be crocheted. In fact, half of it is crocheted. It's one of those projects where you spend an entire movie working on it, and it looks the same as it did beforehand. And one corner is weirdly stretched out. Why? I have no idea. Probably just to bother me.

So, we've been using the half-done bathmat anyway (with the hook still attached at the corner, how's that for laziness?) and every other day Lee asks me when I'll finish the $%&%^ bathmat. I now have a goal/deadline/plan. It is one of the projects that I must finish to get down to 25 projects before I can cast on for my Mystery Stole (and make the two cute and rather simple skirts I want to make before we go to New Hampshire the first weekend in August, and start either Tempting or Blaze, and start Christmas presents, and...). I have two sweaters, both mostly done, before the only project standing between me and 25 is the bathmat. Sweater #1 will be done soon, as I have about three inches left to go, and then a night on the blocking board ought to finish it off nicely. The other one is about 75% crocheted, and then it will need to be seamed. Once seamed, I need to dye the rest of the yarn black to do the edging and embroidery border and buy some beads for the neck opening. That all will get done after the Great Yarn Purchase is in, as it contains the black dye and the bead purchase will be made after everything is dyed so I can get the kinds of beads that look best with the yarn as it is. My Lopi cardigan will be finished when I make the bead purchase, a pair of socks will be finished with a few hours' knitting once I get the Great Yarn Purchase in, so that leaves 3 projects to finish ASAP. One just requires thread to attach button eyes. The other two are the first sweater and the bathmat. Let's see how I do with the deadlines now...

Friday, July 6, 2007

Necessity Is The Mother of Invention

I participated in Sock Wars last year. It was a lot of fun. I really liked the socks I sent, not so much the socks I received. I had almost enough yarn left over from the two skeins I used for another pair of socks. What I really wanted was burgundy on the ribbed portion, black on the stockinette portion, heel, and cuff. I did not have that much burgundy. So, I did both legs up until the heel. Yippee, enough burgundy for both and enough for a small pattern of decreasing down into the foot. Go me. Next problem: There is only enough black to completely finish one sock. To the point where I didn't actually kitchener the last two stitches because I did not have enough yarn left. So, more black yarn is in the Great Yarn Order.

I did finish a pair of socks this week! See:

What? To be a pair of socks they have to be the same color? Or at least the same pattern? Okay, you got me there. The first sock is the Sock of Doom pattern that I was talking about in the first paragraph. I did not float the strands for the burgundy stripes loose enough, so it has a bit of a pucker where the burgundy meets the black. Not terrible. It just needs to stretch too much to get on my foot!

Although black yarn never looks quite right on film, here's a decent picture of the second sock:

It's the Hourglass Eyelet pattern from MagKnits. I used one skein of Digit fingering weight yarn from Nancy's Knit Knacks. In fact, I didn't even do the last decrease row of the toe decreases so as to keep it to one skein. I also made a pair of Baudelaires using this yarn. I hate normal work socks, so the goal was to make a week's worth of work socks. I had two pairs, Hedera using KnitPicks Essentials in black, and the Baudelairs. Those got accidentally thrown into the wash a couple of weeks ago, so now my 8 year old sister is getting a pair of socks for her birthday. Which isn't too bad, as I liked the fit and feel of the socks, I just didn't like how they looked in black.

About five minutes after I took this picture (which was about ten minutes after I finished the Hourglass Eyelet sock) I found a nail that sticks up from the entryway into the kitchen. Or rather, the Hourglass Eyelet sock found it, by snagging and ripping. I fixed it best I could, but it's quite annoying that I couldn't even wear the socks for real before causing damage.

One major plus for the last couple inches of the Hourglass Eyelet pattern was that I learned a new technique for SSK. Slip the first stitch knitwise, the second purlwise, and the SSK sits nice and flat, just about as nice as the K2tog. That is the one stitch that's been really bothering me whenever I use it, and now it's all kinds of nice. Yippee! I actually learned this one from one of the special notices from Mystery Stole 3. I love the online knitting community, I get to learn something new every day!

It's Not The Fall...

...it's the sudden stop at the end that gets you. Yup, I fell down. Hard. Okay, so I'm really still falling. I finally figured out what this Mystery Stole thing that everyone on Ravelry's doing. And I found out that today is the last day that I can sign up. Not to be the one to miss out on a party ("come on, everybody's doing it!"), especially one where the intoxication is based on wool fumes (and one where there's basically a time-out for the release of Harry Potter 7), I just had to sign up. No, I don't own any laceweight yarn. However, I've been quite enamored of it and really itching to make a shawl or stole. Particularly a beaded black one I can wear with my cocktail-type dresses. A dark burgundy one would look nice too. Also beaded. I haven't really looked into patterns, as I know I should not buy any more yarn for any more projects; my queue is large enough. However, it is that time of year for my Great Yarn Purchase, and if I can add the laceweight and beads without going over my $150 budget, I'm gonna do it! If not, oh well, no harm, no foul, I just become one of the many who have signed up but won't finish. I'd love to finish, but we'll see. I have to start first!

I'm thinking of getting this:
Lane Borgosesia Baruffa Cashwool - Deepest Black (Color #11)
Lane Borgosesia Baruffa Cashwool

I was already planning on buying a bunch of yarn from Little Knits, and some from KnitPicks, and I don't like any of the colors from KnitPicks laceweight selections. It seems to me that you need to go with a neutral (or bold) solid color. I like the way the dark green and the bright purple ones are looking on the images on the Mystery Stole 3 site. And all the dresses I'd wear this with are black, so do I want a black on black with just some shiny beads to spice it up, or do I want a bright color to contrast, or...

It seems as though many other Mystery Stole 3 knitters also went the Little Knits route, as many of their neutral-type colors of this particular yarn (the cheapest) are also out of stock. I'm thinking I'll probably just get whatever is still there, as this yarn order is waiting for my paycheck. Jeez, I'll be on clue 3 or 4 by the time I start! Which just means that I have time to rapidly finish a couple things - I'm supposed to get down to 25 officially open projects before starting any new ones. Something tells me it won't quite happen - the real purpose is to stay below 30, which is why getting down to 25 was the goal, because I know myself, and I know that once I finish that many while not working on any new ones, I'll start a bunch. I always have major start-itis. After this weekend, I should be down to 30. I am quite sure that I'll be able to keep it in the 20s by the time I start the stole. Part of the yarn order will be to finish a pair of socks that are 3/4 done, so it won't take much time at all, and then I have another pair of socks that I can finish and be down to 28 by the time I start the shawl. Though I do believe that I'll be wanting to make a couple amigurumi for some people and start one of the four sweaters worth of yarn I'll be ordering. I also want to sew a couple of skirts before I go on a trip in a month. Hmmm....maybe I am in trouble!