Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Made A Big Mistake

The yarn for my Liberty (rav link) throw arrived on Friday & Saturday, and I spent the bulk of yesterday (when not walking and bathing the dogs) getting a really good start on it:


I'm about 20 rows into the pattern (plus the 8 edging rows), or approx. 5,600 stitches. I'm very pleased with the colors--somehow, this grey-blue combination seems less boring and prettier to me than my original grey-blue combination. Thanks to the excellent illustrated instructions in the book, I'm getting used to catching the stitches behind my work, which I've never quite learned how to do before. It's still a little awkward when I'm catching the grey behind the blue, but it's still probably faster and more consistent than dropping both yarns, twisting them, and picking them back up.

So what's the "Big Mistake" I refer to in the title? It's knitting 101--I twisted the edge when I joined the blanket into a circle. Yes, really. I noticed it after a couple of rows, but didn't quite have the will to pull out 1000 stitches. Since there's a steek, I figured I could probably just keep knitting it twisted, but that eventually the weight of the giant blanket might (o.k. would) distort the whole thing. My plan (culled from the Ravelry forums, when someone else had a similar problem) was to cut the existing steek, untwist the blanket, and cast on a new steek. I cast off the steek, machine stabilized it, and cut it. Welcome to big mistake #2:


I didn't cut in the middle of the steek, I cut to the left of the center. I had stabilized in three places, and cut between the wrong two. Yes, I do feel like an idiot. However, I think that everything will be fine. I've tacked down the left edge so that it won't fray while I keep knitting, and I will have room to pick up stitches for the edging after I'm done. The mistake is early enough that it should be totally enclosed by the edging, so I think it will be fine. NOTE: If anyone out there knows for a fact that I this is NOT going to be fine, please let me know now, so I don't have an unpleasant surprise after knitting the other 70,000 stitches. And when I get ready to cut the big steek, please remind me that maybe I should be a little careful. I don't need to panic when it comes time to cut, but I do need to cut in the right place.

Project Notes: The pattern is Liberty (rav link), from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, in charcoal mix and pastel blue. I'm using size 8 knitpicks options needles. Excluding the sick feeling of cutting a steek in the wrong spot, I am enjoying this project very much.

I Made A Big Mistake: Wilco, "Monday"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

If You Don't Want to Take a Bath . . . .


Then don't roll in bird poop. Here endeth the lesson.

(note the death grip that Gretel has on the side of the tub--her nails have been trimmed recently, that's all panic)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It Was A Fine Idea At The Time

. . . but I'm not at all happy with the colors in my Liberty throw (rav link) swatch:

Liberty Swatch

I like each of the colors individually, but here are my concerns:
  • The blue is a little on the teal side, and I really think of teal as the "color of the 90's"--remember that year when 70% of all new cars were teal? Too much, too fast.
  • I worry that the blue and green will look dated pretty fast--and if I'm spending all that time on this blanket, I want it to age pretty well. After all, the dogs won't destroy it, will they?
  • The blue and light grey is pretty--pretty boring, that is. Good contrast, but boring.

Now that I've sunk $24 into this swatch (we won't mention the other two colors I haven't wound yet), I've picked two totally different colors with the help of E____. She's my former roommate / color guru--I have quite seriously based entire projects around colors that I've lifted from her graphic designs. She gave me a lot of helpful advice, and approves of the final choice (while recognizing that the colors on one's monitor might not be the same as in real life). Hopefully, the new yarn will arrive on Saturday or Monday, and I can get cracking. I may still knit another swatch, because my gauge is slightly off.

However, I've found another good use for this yarn, which is really, really soft:


This is the New Wave scarf from Lynne Barr's book Knitting New Scarves. I'm not totally thrilled with how it looks so far (my edges are a little messy), but it's really interesting to knit, and each row is only 28 stitches so it's coming along quickly. I'm not sure who I'm going to give a 4 inch wide scarf to, but there's plenty of time to worry about that later!


It Was A Fine Idea At The Time: Elvis Costello, "Brilliant Mistake". You know, "He thought he was the King of America, Where they drink Coca-Cola just like vintage wine". Love Elvis.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Knitting Productivity Up, Seaming Productivity Down

Frieda with Monteagle Bag
Note that I tried to crop out my weirdly bulgy arm, but couldn't do it without cutting Frieda.

The new Mason-Dixon book arrived on my doorstep earlier this week, and it was hard waiting until the weekend to start a new project from it. Fortunately, the project I started was the Monteagle Bag and not the Liberty Throw (rav links, both), so it's already finished. This is a good, basic shopping bag pattern with some very interesting stitches that I haven't used before. It won't hold a million things, but I did fill it with a half gallon of cranberry juice, two quarts of tomato sauce, and three beers when I was stretching out the stitches, and it held everything just fine. I do have my doubts about how "green" is a bag made of $20 yarn that travelled here from Belgium, but I do think that it's a great idea to use as few plastic bags as possible. I'm planning to knit more--there's less than half a skein left of the original skein (Louet Euroflax Sport weight), but I have another black hank so I should easily have enough yarn for two more. Still pretty pricey for a string bag, but a less expensive cotton or linen would work fine as long as it's strong. My hands are bone dry tonight, so I probably won't start another bag right away. And on the next one, I will probably start with sock-toe cast on so that I don't have to seam the bottom of the bag (see below).

As for the rest of the book, I love it--there are several patterns that I am sure to make, and a few others that I'd love to make if mohair didn't rip the skin right off my hands when I knit with it (Cardi Cozy, I'm looking at you). Maybe a laceweight alpaca or silk would work? It could be worth looking into. I bought some yarn to swatch for the Liberty Throw this weekend, I'm having trouble thinking of alternate colors. I do like the original blue and red, so that's an option, but I have a few other combos that I'll test out first.

I did work on the Cables, Baby! cardigan today for about 10 minutes before I had to stop seaming because I hate seaming so much. It's ridiculous that it's taking me so long to seam this, it's a small sweater and it will be so cute when it's done. Here's how it looked today when I stopped:


Just one more sleeve to attach! Then sewing on buttons (after I've picked out some), and weaving in ends, and that's it. Why does it feel so far off?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spinning Wheels & Hands That Feel

Hands that feel G-R-E-A-T in my finished Spincycle Mitts:

Spincycle Mitts

I think that it's probably time to start knitting some of these for Christmas!

Spinning Wheels & Hands That Feel: Wilco, I'm the Man Who Loves You. Obviously.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Wanna Bite the Hand That Feeds Me

Spincycle Mini Mitt

Why no, this isn't a finished Cables, Baby sweater! I started another new project yesterday at knit night, using Jessica's Malabrigo Mini Mitts (Rav link) pattern using handspun from Spincycle Yarns. I only have about 120 yards of this yarn, so this pattern should be perfect even if I make the mitts a little longer--although I may end up knitting from the other end of the yarn cake so that I can tell for sure. I love this yarn, and wanted to make something out of it now so that if I see it again at Urban Craft Uprising, I'll have a better idea of how it knits up. Or at least I won't feel guilty for not using any and buying more. The yarn is pretty pricey (since it's hand-dyed and spun), so I don't want to buy more without knowing what I'll knit--but I'm glad that I bought this one without having any idea.

The mitt pattern is very simple, and it really lets the yarn do the talking, and it's fast. Last-minute Christmas gift fast (and I happen to have some Malabrigo in the stash). Plus, the short cuff shows off the very fancy Swatch watch that I bought in Paris in the spring--now I can keep warm AND tell time!

I Wanna Bite the Hand That Feeds Me: "Radio, Radio" by Elvis Costello. Or Puppet Costello, if you prefer. I've been thinking about this version since having a conversation about it last month in Somerville. These kids today, they don't know punk rock Elvis, and that makes me sad.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Don't Blame it On Yoko . . . Yoko's Cool

Thanks, G___ E____ for the John Lennon / Yarn Craft Connection. I'm assuming that this has been posted on a million other yarnesque blogs, but I've never seen it before so I'm happy to present it here!


Don't Blame it On Yoko . . . Yoko's Cool: Young Fresh Fellows, "Don't Blame it On Yoko". It's a song from a single that I'm not sure was ever released on a cd (at least not in the US). Please contact me immediately if this is not the case! I've got the single, but not a turntable. This song is also seemingly referenced by the Barenaked Ladies in their song "Be My Yoko Ono". Music lesson over.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Summer is Ready When You Are

I've finished all of the pieces of the Cables, Baby! sweater, including the button bands. But instead of sewing on the sleeves and putting that baby to bed, I've started something new:

New Project

It's not quite as pink as it looks here, the main color is really pretty red, and the second color is sort of salmon-y. Any guesses as to what it will be, before I enter the project details on Ravelry? I'm a fanatic stats tracker, so I'm not sure I'll be able to hold off on cataloging it for more than a day or so.

The weather this weekend was incredibly good, better than most of our summer weekends this year. In honor of that, I took Frieda and Gretel for walk (along with some long-time and recent tiny friends) around Greenlake:

Greenlake Walk
Don't worry, it's only 3-ish miles!

The dogs did very well for such a long walk on such a warm day, with so many distractions--a 4 month old baby, a 3 year old girl, and a million people on a charity walk that we didn't know would be there. The baby and the 3 year old also did very well--there was a little crying, but not by either of the mothers, so I'll call it a successful outing. Especially since this is what Frieda looked like afterwards:

Glassy Eyed Frieda

A glassy-eyed dog is a good dog! Much better than the barking and whining I had to put up with for 45+ minutes on the way to the city before the walk. Seriously, this dog needs to get out more.

"Summer is Ready When You Are": Same song as yesterday's post--can't get it out of my head.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Like All the Different People, I Like Every Kind of Fair

Puyallup Fair Faves 2008

Mom and I went to the Puyallup Fair today, and we had a full day of fair food and activities. We managed to uphold one of my critical fair rules (No New Space-Age Mops), and we saw a bunch of farm animals with our friend J___, who also appears to love Ballard and cupcakes. Can't argue with that!

The craft sale area was a highlight (as were the dahlias, obvously), although I guess I didn't take any photos there. Which is weird, because I distinctly remember taking at least one photo of the beautiful hand dyed yarns. There were spinners spinning (nobody I knew), and a woman making lampwork beads, very impressive. There was not a large representation of knitted items in the exhibition hall, which made me a little sad that I was too lazy to drive down and enter my Olympic Orange Oolong socks. They would certainly have been the brightest entry. I've said it before, I'll say it again--Maybe Next Year! After all, there's between $5 and $10 in prize money at stake, which is almost enough to buy yarn for one sock!

I Like All the Different People, I Like Every Kind of Fair: The Breeders, "Saints" Recommended Video here (it's a little weirder than I expected, but then again it isn't.) Note to knitters--Kelley Deal was featured on an episode of Knitty Gritty. with a felted purse design.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Two Toe Tuesday: Deadlines I Have Missed

Summer Sky Socks

I'm still chugging away on the Summer Sky Socks, although I started them for a KAL that ended at the end of August. Honestly, I kind of forgot about these during the Ravelympics, and I just didn't feel the same level of dedication to these. I love the yarn (Vesper sock yarn), although one of the yarn cakes keeps getting tangled, but I don't really like the 5 stitch repeat of the pattern. It looks cool, but it's somehow hard for me to get into a rhythm with it. Short row heels aren't my favorite, either, although Charlene Schurch's instructions in Sensational Knitted Socks do make them easier for me. Lots of stitch markers make it tough to get lost, which is exactly what I need. I would like to finish these relatively soon, although another deadline beckons--the Wino Juno is supposed to be finished this month, and I'm still not back to the point where I was before ripping out 15 inches. Wish me luck . . .

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Baby, Baby, Please Let Me Hold Him

Baby Yours

It's been a really busy week--so busy, that I've be pretty much paralyzed by inaction this weekend. It's 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, and I have a long list of things that I didn't get done this weekend. Some of which really HAVE to be done, ugh.

I have been working on the Cables, Baby! sweater, and although I still think that the color is a little weak (and once it's in full sunlight, maybe a little splotchy), I like the way it's coming along. The cable pattern isn't as tricky at it looks at first glance, and I've only veered seriously off course once or twice (and realized it immediately). My "artistic" photo above doesn't quite show what's done--here are some better views:

Baby Yours Sweater
L to R: Completed back, closeup of cable, back and partial right front

I need to check my list of recent birth announcements to figure out which recently born baby will get this once it's finished, as there are several possible choices. I've got one in mind in particular, but I can't quite remember when that baby was born and if he's already 6 months old this sweater may not fit all winter. Fortunately, there is a seemingly endless supply of babies--it's a little like my weekend to-do list!


"Baby, Baby, Please Let Me Hold Him": Stay Up Late by Talking Heads.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bumbershoot 2008, Day 3: How to Come Home Exhausted

Bumbershoot 2008, Day 3

Did I say a full day at Bumbershoot? I meant a full day (though not also a full night), spent the way I usually spend my first day at Bumbershoot--checking out the vendor booths, wandering through the art exhibits, and seeing a little bit of a lot of different music shows. My favorites today were Langhorne Slim & the War Eagles and the Old 97s, but I enjoyed everything pictured above.

The Summer Sky Socks are a bit of a decoy, I probably knit less than a single row in the last three days. Too much moving around--and today, I stood in zero lines so no line-knitting, either. It's been a long weekend, and it's time to get to sleep--here's hoping that my feet & legs aren't (still) sore tomorrow!