Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gretel & Frieda

Sometimes I feel like they are just barely tolerating me.

Gretel Frieda

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Finishes and Starts

Beaded Cuff

This week I not only finished the Inside Out Socks, but also the beaded cuff that I started (several times) while I was in AZ in March. Once the beads are on the yarn, the knitting is speedy--until you come to a bead stringing error, and need to rip out a row, cut the yarn, fix the order of the beads, and then continue. This only happened once on this cuff, and not until I was very close to the end, so it wasn't much of a problem at all. I haven't started stringing the beads for cuff #2, which will use the same beads / yarn, but will most likely have rows of beads rather than squares. I like how this worked out with my first pair, and it livens things up a little. Here's an on-arm photos, showing the cuff in action:

Cuff in Action

Yikes, my hand looks huge in this photos--I'm trying to convince myself that the problem is the angle of the photo, so if you feel differently keep it to yourself! No ETA on when I will start cuff #2, I've got to get fired up to string beads again, so it may be awhile.

While on the plane to LA last weekend, I started a new pair of Anemoi mittens. The beaded cuff and the inside out socks were too close to being finished to take along, and the Bohus and Wicked are too bulky. The patten is, of course, from Eunny Jang, and this time I'm using solid colored Louet Gems yarn. I love the way the variagated Sundara yarn looked in the last pair, but I wanted to try some colors that were more muted and less contrasty. Here's the palm:

Anemoi Mitten in progress - palm

and here's the top of the hand:

Anemoi Mitten in progress - hand

So far, so good, right? Today I'm too tired to work from a chart, so I've started yet another new project, this one for Project Spectrum. And did I mention that I started a new pair of socks this week, plain stockinette socks that I can knit in the car? So in the last week, I finished two projects, and started three new projects--hmmm, no wonder I'm slipping further behind . . .

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Walking on the Wild Tide

My April Rockin' Sock Club kit arrived today, and I'm officially sorry that I started two new projects in the last week. I really can't start anything new until I free up some of those tiny needles! Also, the new pattern has a knee-high option that requires a second skein, and I need a little time to decide whether I want to give that a go. The pattern is great, but it looks like it will require some attention--it might not work as a knit-while-driving project.

Speaking of projects in progress, I've not picked up the Bohus for almost a week--it's not a project I wanted to take on my trip. I'll try to get some daylight photos in the next few days, after a few more rows of the gorgeous, gorgeous yoke.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You Can't Stop My Heart From Turning Inside Out

STR Monsoon Socks

I'm expecting my April Rockin' Sock Club kit any day now, and just in time I've finished February's Inside Out socks. They've been close to finished for about a week, but I couldn't quite get them done AND get packed for the trip to LA, so they just came off the needles last night. I made a couple of modifications at the top of the leg cuff, which felt a little too loose and unfinished for me. I added about an inch of 1x1 rib, and used this tubular cast off for a prettier finish. Thanks to yoyogirl for the suggestion!

This is probably the most interesting sock pattern that I've knit, and I like they way they turned out. I'm a little concerned that they'll feel super bulky under socks due to the cabling, but since it will probably be months before I can really wear them I won't worry about it too much yet.

Twenty twenty twenty four hours ago-oh-oh . .

Hollywood Forever

J_____, J____ R_____, and M______ rock out
O.K., it's been closer to 48 hours since I got back from my three-day weekend trip to LA, but that's the first Ramones lyric that popped into my head. The trip was great, I stayed with some friends I haven't seen in much too long, and finally met their amazing three year old daughter. Another friend I haven't seen in ages came over for dinner with his wife, a totally unexpected bonus. I tend to overschedule things and get stressed out when I travel, it was sooooo nice to have things fall into place so well. I can't believe that it's taken me so long to get to LA--this trip was planned around some Boston friends who brought their kids out (see above) for a conference and the bestowing of a Major Award. Places visited in LA include Hollywood Forever, the Museum of Radio and Television, Disneyland, the La Brea Tarpits, and the most delicious French-style Korean bakery ever. I could have done without the $40 parking ticket that I got the morning I left town, but I have nobody to blame but myself for that!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's Not That Distracting

Beaded Cuff - the Start

Beaded cuff, as of Saturday Morning

Thanks for the nice comments about my weekend. I know that in the grand scheme of things that I don't really have much to complain about, but I am more than a little burned out right now and it makes me very grouchy.

Desiknitter (check out her Spiral Scarf, it's awesome) asked a good question about the Bohus class I took--why the class was helpful for knitting the actual sweater. The class used a chart just like the chart for the sweater yoke, which was excellent practice. The charts used for Bohus aren't quite like other charts--the sitch repeats from row to row aren't necessarily symmetrical, so you have to pick out the repeat for each row and follow it to the end. There are also a lot of colors to manage--up to four in a single row. The class was definitely a confidence builder in that area, and gave me a good idea of what is required in terms of concentration. This is not car knitting! On the most basic level, I don't think I would have bothered to order a kit from Sweden if I hadn't seen the original garments and used the same yarn that comes in the kit for the class project. Speaking of the Bohus, I've made some good progress, and will post more photos soon.

Recently I restarted the Beaded Cuff that I began while in Phoenix for Spring training, and I've been using it as my in-car project now that my second Inside Out sock is in the cabling section and is therefore unsuitable for the car. My commute isn't very long by Seattle standards, but there are a few very long lights on the route and it's easy to do a little knitting while I wait. Only. While. Waiting. Not. While. Driving. The projects that are ideal for car knitting fit the following criteria:

  • very small: socks, beaded cuffs, maybe a simple scarf
  • use circulars: less poking potential, less likely to slide off
  • no or very simple pattern: no need to keep track of rows or complicated repeats
  • not too slippery: the key is being able to drop the project onto your lap and drive as soon as the light turns green
  • fewer stitches per row will make it easier to see progress

Sometimes, I hit most of the lights at the right time and don't get any knitting done, but in the last four days I've gone from the photo above to this (less interestingly posed) photo:

Beaded Cuff - Subtle Squares

Beaded Cuff as of Tuesday Evening

Granted, I did get a little knitting in at work over the weekend, as I repeatedly rebooted my computer when it crashed for no apparent reason, but the vast majority was knit at stoplights or the Starbucks drive-thru line. I'm still surprised that I've knit so much of it in four days, a couple of minutes at a time. It's surprisingly tricky to photograph this sucker, but I guess I had the same problem when I started it the first time. Maybe some natural light would help?? The beads came from Confetti--the Bead Place, there are six different types of seed beads in greens, blues, and greys. My favorites are the metallic green beads, and my least favorite are the clear green beads. The yarn is Rowan 4 ply soft from the Needler's Nest, and the needles are size 0 Knitpicks. The pattern is Susanna's. I'm hoping to finish this cuff up this week so I can start a new on this weekend, on my trip to LA to visit some friends. The trick is finding time to string the beads, I definitely can't do that on the plane. Or while sitting in the car, waiting for the light to change.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I'm no Spring Chicken After All . . .

So overall, I had a pretty bad weekend--spent most of it at work, lost $40 while shopping, didn't have time for any of the non-work stuff I had planned. Booooo. I felt a little bit like the Texas Rangers, who were knocked around by Seattle this weekend. To turn things around a little, I made my first item from The Cute Book, which I received for my birthday. Here she is, all 4 inches of her!


Very easy to make, very cute. I'd like to get my hands on some higher quality felt (which might cut more precisely) and make a few more! I haven't named her yet--any suggestions?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Yoking it Up

Bohus Yoke

The Bohus yoke is beautiful. It's beautiful. I love it. I've been bad about answering comments (Blogger doesn't make it easy, and it doesn't help that I'm lazy), but the ribbing is the neck, not the waist. I'm about 15 rows into the color chart, and I've used five of the eight colors so far. Here's a closeup:

Yoke Close Up

The yarn is lovely to knit with, and the colors are great. The pattern has very subtle color changes, so the chart (with the color numbers and pieces attached to it) is essential! As I get further into the yoke it's going to take longer and longer to finish each row, so it's nice that the changes come pretty quickly now. Once again, I have to say that this pattern is MUCH easier than it would be if I hadn't taken Susanna's Bohus class at Madrona. I'm still a little concerned that once I'm past the yoke the black stockinette will do me in, but so far so good.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Check THIS bag

O.K., I probably won't check this bag when I travel, but I think that it will be a good bag to travel with.

High Street Messenger Bag

Yes, after all of my complaints I've finished the Amy Butler High Street Messenger Bag--it's been weeks since I pulled it out, but I spent four or five hours on it today and now it's done. The exterior fabric is an Amy Butler design as well, and the lining is a super cheap dark denim. Given that I normally wear pretty neutral colors, it's not likely to clash with my clothes, but the bag is very large and very bright. I think that it might look better with a little more of the denim on the exterior, or at least underneath the front flap.

P1010756This is certainly the most complicated bag pattern I've made, and overall I think that it came out very well. If I had more patience, the bag would be more perfect, but I fully expect that it will be very durable and useful. There is a "tool organizer" on the inside (see right), and a total of three zippered pockets, as well as two pockets underneath the front flap. The downside of all of the pockets, and the size of the bag, is that the bag weighs a ton empty, and once it's full of crap it will weigh three tons. The strap is a little short for me, but should be fine if the bag isn't stuffed too full. Given the amount of slightly annoying detail in the pattern (I must have been reminded maybe 25 times to backstitch at the beginning and end of a seam), I'm surprised that there was no option to fit the strap to the sewer. Also, at times I was sewing through a ton of layers, and although my machine has a powerful motor (it's a Bernina) it wasn't easy. I don't think that any of my previous, more "standard" machines would have been able to make this bag.

I haven't surfed around too much to see if others have had similar problems making this bag, but I'm definitely not sorry that I made it. I'd be surprised if I make another one of these, but it's given me some good design / construction ideas for some smaller bags.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Bohus Begins

Bohus ribbing

I am best at projects that can be completed pretty quickly. I know this about myself--if I don't see some real progress, it doesn't take long for my attention to drift off towards other projects. I started the ribbing for the Bohus sweater, and after an evening and a half I have about one inch of progress to show. It's a little concerning, although it's going much quicker today--the first couple of rows after the cast on are always slow. I've started on size US0 needles, and I'm hoping that it won't be a problem to continue with 0s. Ripping this out would be physically painful at this point!

The colors of the yoke are tantalizingly close, though. Must remember how beautiful the final sweater will look . . . and how much more beautiful a finished sweater looks than a bag of unfinished, five year old sweater parts . ..

Monday, April 02, 2007

Way to Go, Felix!

Opening Day, 2007

Today was Opening Day at Safeco Field, and it was completely worth taking PTO this afternoon. Felix Hernandez pitched incredibly well (12 strikeouts in 8 innings) and the M's won 4-0. It was J____'s first baseball game (not counting before she was born), and she had a good time and didn't drive the adults crazy. You can see her above, drinking, posing with her mom, and generally being cute. I didn't take any knitting related baseball photos, there was too much going on to sit still and focus. I'm sure I'll make up for it watching televised baseball now that the season has started!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Let the record show . . .


. . . that although it took most of the weekend to find my US1 Addi Turbos, I have knit a swatch for the Bohus sweater, have watched said swatch, and am waiting for it to dry right now. It isn't huge (about four inches tall, and about five inches around), so I fully expect this to bite me in the ass later, but I want the record to reflect that I did at least make a minor effort to swatch. Basically, it looks like I can achieve gauge on size 0 needles, although it's wicked hard to dance and sing at the same time count stitches per inch on a black swatch knit with small needles. Maybe once it's dry it will be easier to count? DrySwatch

Here's the swatch before washing, you can see the purl line that separates the size 1 (2.5mm) from the size 0 needles. I really think that the 0s are what I'll end up using, the fabric looks a little denser and neater. I hate to go down to a 00 for the ribbing, though--I only have dpns that size, and they drive me a little crazy. I don't think I have any 2.25mm #1s, or they might work too.

Wicked2As if one black sweater wasn't enough, I have been working on Wicked as well. It's hard to see the progress, it's just inches and inches of stockinette stitch, and the photos aren't that interesting. It's hard to get the black to look really black, but still keep some detail (same with the dry swatch above, which looks charcoal but is quite black in real life).

I'm still working on the foot of Monsoon Sock #2, which is slightly more colorful than these photos. I'll probably post some photos of the sock at the baseball game tomorrow--t's Opening Day at Safeco Field, go Mariners!