Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September 1

No polish today because I like the gold and am being lazy.

That is in fact a downward slope there! I changed to straight, rather than smoothed lines, to get a better idea of when it goes up and down rather than inflection points at odd places. I was worried, but a late-night finish to the Penguin Scarf did allow for another month of negative slope - that's every month since March, though some more than others!

Right now I have two single socks whose yarn is still in the count. Those will be easy finishes for a nice chunk of negative yarn, but I am not touching those until at least a couple more Christmas presents are done! That huge jump up, the last time my numbers went up? That was the Christmas KnitPicks order. A large percentage of that yarn still needs to be knit. It's September, time to focus on that!

Another One

Yay gold:

I'm very nearly done with the Penguin Scarf:

The original scarf is full of geekery, with Tux on one side and the word Linux on the other. I'm making it for my sister who likes penguins, since there were no other penguin patterns and I did not want to make my own. I decided to put a penguin on either end, mirrored. I marked where the first skeins ended, so I could use up the yarn as completely as possible, and that is working nicely. I also, in order to get the mirrored look, read the chart from one direction for one side and the other direction for the second penguin. Obviously the way to do it, right?

Wrong. I knit from the bottom up the first time, and instead of knitting two sides and grafting, I knit from the top down on the other side. If I'd've knit the chart in the same direction both times (i.e. left to right), that would have given me the desired mirrored penguins. Instead I've got two penguins facing the same way, and I just hope she's not as picky about things as I am because I am not going back to fix this one!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's that time of year again...

Class is in session!
That is all.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Corona Progress

There's been a lot! This sweater has gone quite quickly so far, especially since the sleeves and body 'til now were great travel pieces and I've been doing a lot of out and about bus rides and such things. Also knitting while walking around UNESCO tourist sites:

Yup, that's the yarn around my arm (I didn't wind it into a ball) and the look on my face is me dropping a stitch while posing for the camera. D'oh!

At this point, the sleeves are attached to the body, so it's no longer a travel piece. Back to the penguin scarf for traveling, and hopefully I'll finish up the sweater yoke and collar soon! I'm really happy with the fit and length of the sleeves; this is the first time I've really made modifications to a garment, and I love how the sleeves came out. It's the little things. I'm not so happy with the fit of the hips. I didn't check the pattern schematic, I just cast on based on bust size, which was how the pattern was sized. It's supposed to be a tight-fitting sweater with 5" of negative ease, but the hips on the schematic are about 10" smaller than my hips. At least it's ribbed, but the ribbing is definitely stretched to the limit! I think it's not problematic enough to rip and re-do; while I might like it a bit looser, I don't hate it as-is and I'll just take that as a learning experience. I'm also not loving the yarn, at least not as an against the skin yarn. If the yarn were a better quality, I'd probably re-do it so I was really happy with it, but since it's not likely to be a favorite, I'll just let it be. Lovely color and I like the pattern and how it's turning out, I'm just not loving Cascade 220 and may not buy it again, at least not for against the skin garments. I think I prefer Patons Classic as my go-to widely available and relatively inexpensive workhorse yarn, though I'm sure I'll have more of an opinion when I've made the vest out of Patons that's next in my queue.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Camp Loopy Project 3 - Field Day!

For the final project of Camp Loopy, you have to use at least 800 yards of yarn. I used about that much on my last project, grumble grumble, but this does give me a good excuse to knit a large-ish project from my queue! I decided that I wanted to keep it close to the 800 yard limit, because, well, summer's over at the end of August, I have to write exams for two classes, prepare and teach four two-hour classes, create a presentation for a conference, go to said (in-Japan) conference and present, and work on grad school/fellowship applications in that time. An intricate lace piece, clothing in any weight smaller than worsted, or (another) pair of knee-high socks are just not what I need on my plate right now. The same could be said of any new project, with my WIP count creeping ever closer to 20, but I've done the first two so just need one more to actually finish a knitting project goal/deadline on time and get the prize. Crap, I think I just jinxed myself.

Sticking to the not-much-more-than-800-yards rule, I chose to knit Corona (Ravelry), using Cascade 220 in Stratosphere. There were only three skeins of that color left when I ordered, so I changed to Blue Velvet. I chose this pattern because it's mostly simple, in the round, ribbing and stockinette, with a lovely cable panel along the collar that I will modify to be a full collar rather than a hood. I'm also going to lengthen the sleeves and keep the start of the collar high to turn this into a nicer sweater that I will be able to wear in an office setting rather than a spiffy hoodie.

I've cast on, and have a summer open campus where I won't have much to do, and may be able to get a sleeve done while the students and parents are in informational sessions. Really, I should have gotten one more skein of yarn to be sure that I'll have enough, but I should be okay with cutting out the hood. I hope.

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Camp Loopy Project 2 - Hiking in the Mountains

Finished and Not Finished. This project's theme was warm accessories for hiking in the mountains, specifically patterns with cables, either mittens, gloves, or socks. I chose socks, if you'll recall. I then had a bit of a problem. After realizing the first sock was not working, I put it on a stitch holder and started the second sock, size large, with a size small-plus-4-stitches foot. I should have added another inch by using the 3-stitch bars between the cables modification used to make the size medium, but then I'd've had to deal with figuring out where the decreases need to go to flow into the foot correctly, and that was just more work than I wanted to deal with. At 13", it's still a bit tighter than it should be, because with the cables on the diagonal, there is not much give, but it fits better than the 12" and doesn't look like it's obviously wrong.

I have finished off both socks at this point, for the Loopy Ewe Summer Camp, but I am going to rip back and re-knit the smaller sock to match the larger one. It's going in the WIP pile for the time being, and I probably won't get around to touching it again until after all the Christmas presents are done. Sigh. I love the color and how they look, I just wish I'd re-printed the pattern in the larger size when I first thought I might need to do that! Knitting intuition, it seems I have it but don't listen. Still. Finished two-sock pictures, but no final details because, well, it's not actually finished yet! This brings me up to three socks and one glove that are sitting pair-less in my WIP basket. Not only do I not have an excellent new pair of socks, I also have an increasing yarn count this month because this is not a finished project. Very, very sad indeed!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camp Loopy Project 1 - Campfire Nights

For this one, the rules were a two-color shawl, scarf, or wrap of some sort to keep you warm while sitting around the campfire on the cooler summer evenings. For these projects, if you bought all your yarn from The Loopy Ewe, you would win some Wollmeise at the end, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I limited myself to things that were already in my Ravelry queue (not very limiting, over 700 patterns right now) that I did not already have yarn for. This first project took only two 50-gram skeins of sock yarn, enough for a pair of socks, and was perfect for the conference I had in Denmark:

A nice, quick, easy project. I was disappointed in the yarn somewhat, as the ball I got was absolutely gorgeous on the outside, but only had that gorgeous stretch of colors on the outside of the ball. Nowhere else was there quite the same purple color. I do like the finished product anyway, but would have liked a colorway that was more like what I thought it'd be rather than the heavily green stripes I got. The scarf did serve its purpose quite well on a hiking trip up a local mountain:

This is a cute little triangular shawl and was really easy to work on without looking at it - which means I have two places where I didn't slip the colored stitch correctly. Whoops! Well, I won't be entering it in a fair and the only person who will notice will be me (and you if you remember and try to spot the errors) so I'm not all that fussed.

Pattern: Aham's Scarf
Yarn: Jojoland Melody Superwash in Amethyst Emerald and The Loopy Ewe Solid Series in Black, one skein of each
Needles: US3/3.25mm
Timeframe: June 20 - 30, 2011
Mods: Only in the edging. Did the edging in a different manner based on available yarn and used M1L/M1R for the increases there. Go here for additional edging info if desired. I kind of wish I'd done the solid increases for the entire scarf, at least for the center increases, but no real issues there. It's only obvious when it was laid out to block, not so much when scrunched up in use.
Problems: No real problems, just the couple of non-slipped stitches that were supposed to be slipped.

See the gorgeous dark purple to light purple band along the outside near the edging? Yeah, that's what I thought it would be more like, with just a little bit of green peeking through. Obviously not. It's grown on me though and now I'm really happy with it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Picture

Of my interchangeable needle set:

Why, you may ask? Because, dear reader, this is the first time probably since I bought it that everything is in its place. All of the needles are there. All of the cords. Nothing is sitting in a different project, just waiting to be picked up again.

Not that I don't have any more projects that are waiting to be picked up again - they're just on different needles/hooks/stitch holders/what-have-you.

Of course, this won't last for long. It will last until approximately August 15, when I can cast on for Camp Loopy Project III - Field Day. Maybe August 19, depending on when exactly we get back from our trip and if my yarn comes in before or, more likely, after we leave.

I will save this picture for posterity - my needle case can in fact actually be full again!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Japanese Sweets (Wagashi) Making

I can't exactly call these candy, but I went to a workshop on how to make Japanese sweets from bean paste. Yup, bean paste. The flavor takes a bit of getting used to, but now I kind of like the creamy sweetness once or twice a year, as long as there's some really bitter Matcha, Japanese powdered green tea, to go with it. It is a very fall thing for me now, and one of the things I think I'll miss from Japan. I'll probably be able to find the sweets and tea powder in the US, or make some bean paste from scratch if I really wanted some, which is good.

Anyway, on to the sweets! No pictures of the actual process, because this stuff is like sticky Play-Doh, and bean paste covered hands just don't mix with cameras well. Basically, you take the more savory center bit, typically one large chunk of red bean paste, roll it into a ball, and then take the colored, sweeter pastes, cover the center with them, and make any designs you want. We made three different sweets, and it really was just a chance to play with edible Play-Doh for grown-ups. I will have to keep this in mind as a good Girl-Scout-type future activity, with cultural, edible, and creative components. My finished sweets:

For this one, when we had finished covering the inner bit with the green and white outer stuff, we wrapped it up in a clean cloth to create the wrinkled outer shell.

This one is a peach. Or at least, it's supposed to be. I'm not sure if the leaf is bean paste too or not, but it was edible!


For this one, the outer shell is something similar to the leaf from the peach, a more solid jelly-like thing. You break up the large square into small strips using a strainer, and then just pile it around the red bean paste ball.

Of course, they look nothing like professional sweets, and if you want to see a gorgeous sampling of them, search for "Wagashi", or go here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Admitting it....

This sock, it is not working:

Gorgeous, yes. I love the yarn, it's Cascade Heritage Silk. However, I am definitely knitting the wrong size. I'm knitting the Medium, for a 12" calf circumference, and my calves are not 12". I like a bit of negative ease, but this is too much. It technically fits, but is definitely stretched and doesn't like going over my heel much due to the cables on the diagonal.

Of course, I realized this at the beginning - I chose medium because it fit my food, but what I should have done was knit the large calf and decreased to a medium foot. Instead of being smart and re-printing the correct pages at the outset when I realized it, but I didn't and thought it might fit anyway. Technically it does. Technically.

Now it's on a stitch holder, I'm not ripping back yet because it's for the Loopy Ewe Summer Camp. Instead, I'll knit the other one on the other skein in the correct size, see how much time I have left, and decide if I finish the sock to finish the project on time and rip and re-knit later, or if I have enough time to re-do it before the deadline.  Sigh.

Things I Haven't Photographed

The sidebar is filling with finished projects. Some have been photographed and not talked about, some have not been photographed, and some have been given away and not photographed.

The two that I may or may not ever be able to photograph are the Crane Stamp, a stamp I made for my mom and never stamped in my book o'stamps, and the Ski Sweater that she bound off when leaving because it is cursed but finally finished!

Things I can take pictures of, but haven't yet:
All of the sewing
Final pictures of the framed Cinderella's Castle cross stitch
Red Vest
Both hats and both masks
Biscuit Blanket
Millicents (have pictures, need better ones that don't get favorited by fetishists on Flickr)
Blaze (again, should get better pictures)
Lace Rib Raglan yarn
Bike Ear Warmers

Things with photos but not yet blogged:
Burridge Lake Aran Afghan
Christmas Knotty Gloves
Cable Braided Necklace
Camp Loopy Campfire Nights
Requested Thuja
Black Thuja
Sierpinski Carpet Blanket

For now, I will leave you with a picture of the sunrise from a recent hiking trip:

Monday, August 1, 2011


Hey! Hey look!

I even bought two skeins of sock yarn this month for Camp Loopy!

Both the blanket and the sweater were in fact finished as anticipated, though the recipient ended up finishing the sweater. I felt bad about that, but it was either she finished the bind off on the way to the airport or I sent it home later! It's nice to have all of that finished and off to where it's supposed to be. I still have 38 miles of yarn though, so more knitting is required!