Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I've been fighting with this one cross stitch for awhile. First, I found the symbols for two colors (Dk Beige and Lt Beige) were switched, but only after I’d been stitching and realized that the shading didn’t look right. I checked it against the picture and found that yes, the two color symbols were switched. Grumble, grumble…okay, fixed that.

Somehow, it got smooshed under a banana and left for a few days. I'm still not sure how it happened. The edge is stained brown. Luckily, this is the edge of the linen and will probably be completely cut off when I go to finish it. Any leftover ickly bits will be in the seam allowance, I'm sure, so while it was a very annoying experience, no harm done.

THEN I ran out of white. That’s okay, white’s pretty common, I have more of that from other kits. It's not exactly the same, slightly smoother and brighter, but not really noticeable unless I'm going to submit it for an award.

Continuing along, no problem with greens, then I get to taupes - and the Lt Taupe and Taupe symbols are switched! Two in one pattern! Fine, I took out the Lt Taupe and continued on…only to run out of the Lt Taupe! Aaaaaugh! I hope I can find something close! The kit doesn’t list what types of floss (DMC or otherwise) were included. It does list a color code of 6114, but as the kit was made 10 years ago, and I’m now living in Japan and have no idea where to go to get embroidery floss, who knows if I can match it! I’m so close to just tossing the whole thing in the sink along with a lit match…

Found a correct color and finished the stitching since starting this post. The new color to match the Lt Taupe isn't quite right - a bit of grey and blue instead of a gold and green tinge, but not different enough to be noticeable. Again, not going for any awards here, just going for a finished piece. The cross stitches, back stitches, and straight stitches are all done. It just need some satin stitches in the gold metallic thread and a tassel to finish off the hat, then it needs to be sewn to a backing. It's a pretty small piece, but with all the setbacks, has taken a while to finish:

(See the banana gunk along the left side? The other spot in the bottom right-ish is just a fuzzy)

Now, I need to wash and block it out before putting the metallic thread and tassels on. For this, I was planning to toss it into some really cold water with some white vinegar, a rinse of really cold water, and then one last bath in Soak, again with really cold water. The vinegar will keep the colors from running, then a rinse to get the vinegar out, and then some Soak to clean it, though it's not really dirty or anything. The problem I'm having with this is that Lee and I can't seem to find any vinegar here! Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, vinegar for sushi rice, sure, many different kinds of vinegar - just not white! I know if I go ahead to finish this the red will bleed into the white, since that's the kind of luck I've been having with this piece, so it will be dormant for another while, until I can get proper color protecting ingredients. Vinegar - who knew that would be such a problem?

Once clean, it needs some tassels and then I'm supposed to sew it to some brown felt for backing. I don't have brown felt. I know where to get some, but I do have some more of that cloth I use for the ornaments. I'm trying to decide if the reason for the felt is that it's thicker and more sturdy, or if the fabric will be good enough. Since I'm waiting for the vinegar to clean it anyway, I'll probably go out and get the felt for it. May as well not skimp!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Well, Rogue has dried, but has not been moved from the floor of the sun room, so is not yet done. It needs seaming for the sleeves, so won't take very long once I get working on it - I just haven't done it yet.

I fought with a cross stitch (which will shortly get its own post) and have finished all the stitching, I just need to wash and finish it with backing and a couple of tassels. I need white vinegar to do the washing - with the luck I've had for this one it will definitely bleed in the wash if I don't have any. The problem at the moment is that Lee and I can't seem to find any. Does Japan have white vinegar anywhere?

I also nearly finished the sleeve I've been working on FOREVER for my mom's Telemark Ski Sweater, but I can't decide if I like it...I posted about all sorts of gauge/pattern issues before, and now I think that I might like the thing better if I got the assumed correct row gauge and then did the calculations for number of stitches based on that. Right now, I got the given stitch gauge which gets 8 rows/inch. The pattern says to do the snowflake charts at 8" before the finished length, which would work perfectly for 6 rows/inch, but not for 8 rows/inch. Instead, I need to start the chart 6" before the finished length, taking 2" off of the design area. I think this is shrinking the design too much, so I think I will go back to swatching...

I know I was supposed to finish three projects before starting something else, and I did finish completely two of them, but I think I will start the baby blanket today. I've stalled on my mom's sweater, don't want to go back to the stole until I have the Telemark sweater, baby blanket, and the MIL sweater done, have one slow going pair of socks I don't feel like working on, and one completely stalled pair of socks I'm designing. I think I'll start the blanket for easy, not thinking about it knitting, since I now have two projects that just need the last couple bits of finishing work done to complete them. Yay for new projects!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Of Course...

I'm all happy about finishing, so I wash the pieces in preparation for blocking and seaming, while forgetting that all the towels are in the wash. Our washer/dryer takes FOREVER, but it is quite convenient to just toss a load in and hit "go" then take out nice clean and dry, though very wrinkly, clothes. Another nice feature of our apartment is our sink. We have a triple sink; it's the length of three sinks instead of two, like most American kitchen sinks. We also have a tray that you can slide along the length, to work as an extra work surface or a nice air-drying surface, as it has holes in it. There's also a wash basin you can slide along a lower tray area, so that you can use it for washing dishes or what I do, holding the dishes for washing but staying underneath the work surface tray and out of the way during the day. This basin is also perfect for blocking:

As you can see, the pieces of my Rogue fit nicely inside. Now if only the towels would hurry up and dry already, I could be further along!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sleeve #3

Yay, now I have two matching sleeves! Hooray for re-knitting and perfectionism! Also hooray for weekends! Now on to blocking, followed by seaming, and I'll have an FO!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

RIP Sleeve #1

Out with the old, and in with the new. That ball is the first sleeve, and there's the cuff of the third. At least I can work on it a bunch and maybe re-finish it this weekend. I have a bit of an ankle injury that isn't actually bad, but as I walk everywhere here I'm just going to sit this weekend and rest the ankle. And knit. I just hope my gauge stays consistent this time!

What's Wrong...

...with this picture? Aside form the abysmal photography skills and the need for blocking?

Remember how I had gauge issues with the first sleeve? I didn't with the second sleeve. Used the same needles and all, but must have subconsciously loosened up once I realized I didn't have gague before. While it isn't the end of the world, the second sleeve (bottom) definitely looks better than the first, and I had to rip and re-seam the first sleeve anyway - maybe I'll just rip and re-knit. Just when I thought I was finished! Oh'll bug me forever if I don't fix it, so I may as well just suck it up and deal.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon...

Well, I realized that I need to rip and re-seam the sleeve. You see, I did not do the best job of distributing the stitches. The center top stitch lines up with the shoulder seam. The line of bound off stitches on the sleeve matches with those on the torso. However, in between, things seem to have gone awry:

The top stitches in the sleeve cap are all stretched, and the bottom stitches are all baggy. I need to fix that by redistributing the stitches so that the upper end has more and the bottom end has less, therefore getting rid of the obvious pulling at the top and the baggyness at the bottom. Lee pointed out the wonkyness of the sleeve. He said the torso looks awesome, and if my goal is to have it look not obviously homemade (read: poorly done) I should fix the sleeve seam. Thanks, dear. It also needs to be blocked, and I probably should have done that before seaming. I'll probably take it out once I've finished the second sleeve, block all three pieces, then re-seam both of them and make sure they line up better.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


First Rogue sleeve done, second to go! Obviously, the closer sleeve is the finished one. It's even all seamed and everything! I'm getting ever so close to finishing, which pleases me because then I can start the baby blanket, woooo!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have learned that things like socks should not be made from anything but superwash, at least until I have a highly advanced dirty laundry storing and sorting system. Lee was doing all our laundry recently, as we had to go to a laundromat before we got our washer, and somehow, my Hourglass Eyelet socks got tossed in with the normal laundry. They were made out of the same yarn as the Baudelaires that met the same fate:

Felted. Now my sister can have a pair of really warm socks, at least until she grows out of them or puts them in the washer at home. I got rid of the rest of this yarn already - I learned my lesson last year!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wash Day

Sunday was laundry day for me, so I also filled up the tub and washed/blocked some knits. I did all of the socks I've remembered to separate (R.I.P. Hourglass Eyelets) and my Calorimetry and Fetchings got a bath too. My Lopi Cardigan was washed as it was packed away and had a bit of a plastic-y smell from the move. In addition to that, I finally washed my blue Goodwill cotton to get the kinks out.

That's about 1356 yards of light DK/heavy sport weight goodness. I have to check WPI (wraps per inch) to figure out which exactly it is, but I'm gonna say DK. This is what I'll be making the baby blanket and probably some burp rags out of for my cousin. These four skeins are the two sleeves, front and back of the original sweater. When I was first recycling sweaters, I tried making one or two massive skeins. Not the best idea. It's much better to have fewer skeins instead of joining to make a continuous loop. It gets tangled a lot easier if there's too much of it. It probably won't be 100% straight when it's dry, but that's okay. I just wanted to get the Goodwill smell out of it as well as anything that may have lingered between the stitches when it was still a sweater. Now all I have to do is finish Rogue and I can start the baby blanket!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A sleeve. Kind of.

I finished the first sleeve for Rogue, up to the sleeve cap. Now, this doesn't quite look right. It seems a bit short. I've re-read the directions, and I have knit it all as the directions say. It should be 17" long right now. It is 15" long. I have gauge issues. Crap.

Lee likes the torso bit sans sleeves. I like it too, but as I bought the yarn for the sleeves, I shall make this one with sleeves. I may make another one with no sleeves and do some sort of edging along the armholes, but for this one, I shall continue on with the sleeves. I do like the sleeve circumference, so I'm going to just continue on with it, and fudge the sleeve cap if necessary. I should have checked gauge at the outset, so if I stayed with this one I could have spaced out the increases better to make it a bit more anatomically correct, but I don't think anyone will notice. I also like my sleeves to be about 17.5" instead of the given 17", so I'll just knit until I'm happy with it, then make the sleeve cap to match the dimensions given on the schematic so it attaches correctly. I might have another FO to show off soon!


Due to massive insomnia and lack of pictures, I didn't actually post daily for November so far. Well, I wrote posts daily, but didn't want to post without pictures and then I didn't want to post because I had skipped a day or two, and snowballed. So, here are a bunch of posts dated when I wrote them, but posted today, Saturday the 8th.

In other news, I have moved on from the cross stitching jag I was on. We all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, but almost certainly before I was done with the piece. I wasn't feeling the cross stitch vibe anymore, and then, a few days after realizing that with a concentrated effort and a good plan I could get the number of open projects down to single digits, I learned that my cousin is pregnant. Which of course means that I get to knit baby things!

I was thinking of knitting her a Samony (rav), as she's in her early 20s and I think would like something like that, but it's not going to happen. It's a really cute sweater, I want one for myself, and it looks nice as a normal sweater or as a maternity sweater. The bottom bit is lacy and stretches to accomodate. I'd need to get it to her by Christmas for her to get any use out of it (baby's due in March, but it's a nice sweater, so I'd want it to her by the holidays) and for that I'd need to finish it in just over a month. That is do-able. It's a cabled DK weight yarn sweater, but it takes about 700 gr of yarn, which is quite a bit. I am a fickle knitter, so I know that I may or may not actually stay on task long enough to finish it on time. Also, the pattern is not the most clear pattern ever, and I'd have to be doing a bit of swatching and calculating, which isn't good for a sweater that I want to knit up quickly. Lee and I are also attempting to not spend too much money, and I can't really find a good yarn here in Japan that is within our price range. Well, technically, I did, but the shop did not have enough skeins. They had 10, and I need at least 15, though 17 or 18 would probably be right. The yarn here comes in odd sizes, like 40 and 88 gram skeins. I'm going to check one more shop, but from what I remember, that shop does not have very good prices and would therefore be out of our price range. Ah well.

I do however have quite a bit of light blue cotton rescued from a Goodwill sweater that will now be put to good use. A baby blanket with matching burp rags is what I'll be making from that! It's DK, not worsted as the pattern calls for, but I have a lot more yarn than the pattern calls for, so it will work. I'm not sure how many burp rags I can get out of it, but I may as well use up all the yarn! I also have a bunch of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton from my BYOBs. Lee doesn't like the pattern and won't use the bags, so I'm just going to make one more for me, and use the rest of the yarn for bibs. I should be able to get 2 from each color, so six bibs. I like a couple other patterns for the baby too, but I'll probably just use up stash yarn and then see where I am. I definitely want the blanket and at least one bib done by February so I can send them home in time for the shower. I know I usually think I can knit more than I do, so I'm keeping it fairly simple, and if I do finish, then I can think of other things. I knit while walking to work daily, 20 minutes in, 20 minutes out, so those bibs should be something like a week each if I work on them while walking, and then the blanket can be an at-home thing.

This totally blows my goal of getting down to single digits out of the water. However, I am not allowing myself to start anything until I finish at least three projects. I set this goal at the time that I just had to sew the button on and weave the end in for my Calorimetry, so that is #1. #2 is the Thank-You Scarf, which will be published so no pictures, and that is soaking as we speak. #3 will be, I do believe, Rogue, as I have the first sleeve mostly done and then just need to make the second, then attach them and block. I can work on the sleeves while walking to work, so that helps too. Next up for a wash is the blue yarn that has been salvaged but not washed, so is still all kinky from being a sweater.

While it may not be helping with my fewer projects goal, it is helping to reduce the stash, which is also a good thing. After all, once that's gone, I get to buy more!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cool Calorimetry

Now with 100% more button! It's completely done and wear-able. I love this and think I'll be wearing it a bunch - like, every day while walking to work this winter!

Pattern: Calorimetry from Knitty
Yarn: Cascade 220 - I got a pair of Fetchings and the Calorimetry from the same skein, and I still have enough leftover for maybe a Pocket Creature!
Timeframe: Finished the knitting the same day, sewed on a button two days later, Nov. 1 - 9, 2008
Mods: None!
Problems: No problems, but I did experiment with the bind off for at least four hours. Probably longer than the acutal knitting!

Sorry for the bad pictures. I really don't have much more to say about this, other than I hope it doesn't pill or felt on me - it seems as though it has a tendency to felt, and I like it just the way it is. I suppose felting would probably be more of an issue for the Fetchings though, as I'll be doing more with my hands than my head.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cinderella's Casle Cross Stitch or Are We There Yet?

This thing is huge. It may not be that large to someone who's main craft is stitching, but it's enormous to me! Not quite as large as the Past, Present, Forever one, but still pretty freakin' large. The finished product's recommended frame size is 16" x 20". This is 14 ct. Aida, which means that for every inch, there are 14 stitches vertically or horizontally, which means 196 stitches per square inch of canvas. There are many square inches of stitched canvas on this thing. I am very nearly done with the cross stitches. I saved the sparkly bits for last, because I like sparkly and that's one of the reasons I've been so keen to work on this one recently. The sparkly factor is wonderful.

As I was stitching the second to last firework, I figured I should give you some idea of the size of this thing, so that those of you who don't stitch can have a bit of understanding of why it's taking so *&*%*^& long to finish. The following picture is of the largest firework on the piece, the green one. I was barely able to fit the whole thing into the hoop I'm using for this project:

That hoop is eight inches in diameter. Eight inches. That means there's approximately 112 stitches from the top to the bottom of this firework, and probably about 84 across. Yes, it's not filled in completely, but still, that's a lot of stitches. I still have to put the other two colors into the firework too! And cross stitches take a bit more time to make than knit or crochet stitches. While I can motor along at over 1 st/sec when I'm in the groove knitting, it takes me approximately 6 seconds per cross stitch. And then once I've finished with all those, I need to do all the backstitching, and there's quite a few bricks on the castle walls that get outlined. Unless I decide I'd rather be knitting, this thing might actually be finished before Christmas!

Thank You America!

I sat all morning watching the election results come in. Finally, the pundits called it and the concession speech was at hand: Obama is the 44th president of the United States of America. Lee and I got a very nice bottle of Brut Rose Cava (pink champagne) and some chips to celebrate.

I am proud to be an American!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fabulous Fetchings

Yay, I have finished my Fetchings! Took a week longer than I thought, mostly due to rain and bringing too many things to work. I worked on these almost exclusively while walking to and from work, and when it rained, I carried an umbrella. I did not even attempt to knit with an umbrella, mostly because if I were to drop a needle, it would disappear down the huge ditches alongside all the streets for water runoff, and I would have no clue how to replace them here. If I brought more stuff to work than could fit in my purse, I generally used my BYOB, and therefore did not have free hands for knitting. Again, it may have been possible, but I did not try due to the drainage system. It's literally two to three feet deep and generally covered by
grates that could certainly swallow a size US6 knitting needle.

Pattern: Fetching, from Knitty
Yarn:Cascade 220
Timeframe: October 14 - November 1, 2008
Mods: None
Problems:None (with the pattern at least - I definitely tangled up the scrap yarn for the thumb hole and the knitting yarn a few times!)

I have finished my Fetchings just in time for the cold snap we had this week to suddenly go away. It went from being in the low 50s back up to being in the 60s, so gloves are no longer necessary for my walk to work. But finished they are! And Calorimetry, here I come!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Calorimetry: Journey to an FO

This was one of the fastest knits I've ever done. The most time consuming part was making the bind off edge look the same as the cast on edge, as I wasn't thinking of it before knitting. I use the backwards loop cast on most often, as I rather like how it looks. Sometimes an actual edging is nice, but I like how the backwards loop just kind of lets the knitting appear instead of giving it a starting border. As this piece is so small, I realized that having a matching cast on and bind off would make it look a lot better. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything that would match it. I know EZ's sewn bind off matches a long tail cast on, and I did a quick search to find something that would work with a backwards loop, but it seems like it's the least used among those who want to match their cast on and bind off and doesn't really have one.

So, I cut a long tail and went about trying to match my cast on and bind off edges. Calorimetry has 120 stitches you are casting off, and in a worsted weight yarn on size 8s, I did not want to cut a tail three times longer than what I was trying to bind off. It would have taken forever and tangled quite a few times. I'm using Cascade 220, which is a wooly wool, so I can certainly spit splice the ends anyway to get the edge I want. I've gotten something near correct - it's not perfect, but I gave up trying to get it 100% right. Nobody will be looking at the edges that closely, and it's better than a normal bind off.

Final FO pictures to come once I get a button!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vortical Socks

Remember those socks that I mailed out just over 48 hours after receiving the yarn? They were samples for Phoenix Bess, to be photographed for the online knit magazine Knotions. I knit a second pair of those socks, in bobby sock format, also sent back to Phoenix Bess. However, here are the lovely knits I've had in the sidebar for quite some time and can finally show off:

Pattern: Vortical Socks from Knotions (check out the site for a better picture!)
Yarn: Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Firebird
Timeframe: Shortest socks ever, August 25 - 27.
Mods: 7" leg height, as per designer's instructions.
Problems: The timeframe wasn't the best, and the socks ended up somewhat tight. They still look awesome though, and any looser and I would have run out of yarn!

Pattern: Vortical Socks from Knotions
Yarn: Panda Cotton in White - a new favorite sock yarn.
Timeframe: Longer than the first ones, even though it was smaller - September 2 - 22, 2008.
Mods: Bobby sock size (no leg, only ribbing), as per designer's instructions.
Problems: No real problems, it just took awhile due to the fact that I'd already knit a pair just before knitting this one, and the yarn is a bit splittier than I like.

I'm quite pleased to see the sock that I knit in the pictures on Knotions, even if it's not a sock I designed!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


It's National Blog Post Month again, where you try to post every day on your blog. I am not doing this for the Japan blog, because while I'm sure people would read it if I posted daily, we don't want to be having any posts that are only just there so that it's filled up for November. Though I suppose I could just bring my camera and have an interesting picture of something random posted daily...meh, maybe I will...

Also, this November, I shall give myself a goal. I want to get my number of open projects down below ten, and keep them there. The problem here is that I have way too many complex open projects. I have a stranded cardigan, a somewhat complex beaded lace stole, a cabled and beaded lace scarf, two sleeves with cabled motifs, socks I've been designing that just aren't right, and a whole bunch of cross stitches. Nothing I can really throw into the purse for walking to work. At least not until the socks are ripped and redone and actually start to look like something I want to keep. I am keeping Rogue at work, working on those sleeves with cabled motifs when I can, and I'm really motoring away on that Cinderella's Castle cross stitch at home (I should be done with all the cross stitches very, very soon!), but all the others are languishing.

The goal here is to get the number under 10 open projects by the New Year, and then have as a New Year's Resolution keeping the number of open projects below 10 for the year. Yes, I know, goals and I don't really get along as I am a fickle person. BUT, this time, I think I am being somewhat reasonable. I can have a purse item. That is the only thing I am allowed to cast on for. I have more than enough sock yarns to make this last for awhile, so if I get start-itis, I am allowed to cast on socks and things of that nature for purse carrying.

At work, I only have my Rogue and the purse item, so I'm good there. I don't have extra yarn to do anything else with, so I can't defeat myself there. I get to work on it so sparingly that I really don't have any plans for what will come after Rogue is finished.

At home, I've been on a cross stitching frenzy, so the current plan is to finish the Cinderella's Castle, which I am beginning to think may actually happen before Christmas, and then if I'm still wanting to cross stitch, move on to the Santa Hanger which is small but annoying, since they reversed two symbols on the chart that I've already stitched and therefore need to rip out before I can continue, or the Sled Ornaments, which aren't really cross stitch but are the kind of embroidery using yarn and the plastic squares with the large holes in them. If I stop wanting to stitch, there's enough open knitting projects that I can work on, starting with that scarf. I WILL get down to a small number of open projects! I maintain that you should always have a few, like a cross stitch and a lace piece and a cabled piece and a sock, but under ten is reasonable. That way things actually get done! That's my cross stitch problem; I have seven started and none of them near finished. I should never have started most of them - I keep thinking I'll start one because it looks quicker than the others I have open, but if I spent that time working on the same one instead of starting a million others, I'd be able to finish the ones I start!