Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wish List

I love my library. Love, love, love my library. Dan loves my library too because of all the money it saves! I pass by one library on my way home and my office is next door to another library. Yay!

My latest visit to the knitting section brought me Knitting Lessons by Lela Nargi It's a very sweet book. The author interviewed knitters from all over asking them how they got started and what they love about knitting.

I also found Meg Swansen's Knitting: 30 Designs for Hand Knitters. Wonderful storytelling in it along with gorgeous sweaters. Not all of them are ones I desire to make, but interesting to look at for sure. Meg shares a little bit about her husband Chris aka Camera Guy, "For over three decades I never plotted a design without Chris's input. I am unable to summon the words to impart the importance of my husband to my life. He was my business partner as well as my life partner, and the depth to which I miss him is indescribable."

On my book wish list:
Sweaters From Camp: 28 Color-Patterned Designs from Meg Swansen's Knitting Campers

Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmermann That one will round out my EZ collection.

A Knitting Glossary DVD This looks like a gem of a reference.

EZ Knitting Workshop DVD I've seen Part 1 on video. It's quite fun to see EZ in her element.

The Handknitter's Guide to Sweater Finishing I saw this in Pattern Works catalog. As I finish Mariah (now that the sleeves are the right length) my seaming has definitely improved. I'm so glad I redid the sleeves and seeming. However, I'm sure there's more to learn and I'm curious to see what this DVD offers.

Aran Sweater Design by Janet Szabo I like arans and I like cabling. This looks like a good reference book.

Fishermen's Sweaters by Alice Starmore A book by Alice Starmore that doesn't cost a freaking fortune. Rumor has it she's a guru :-).

Cable Needle Freedom by Carole Wulster While I didn't use a cable needle on Mariah, I think my technique was a lacking and more due to luck than talent. So I'd like to learn how it really should be done.

The Treasury Set: 4 Books by Barbara Walker The stitch pattern guru, a definite for the library.

Now for the doodads.

Knee-sel This looks so handy to be able to hold a pattern or chart upright on my knee at an angle I can read it.

Magnetic Magnifier - save my eyes and magnify chart lines!
EZ Tote Bag with the famous phrase "Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises", what's not to love about that!

Options Needle Set Yeah, yeah, yeah I'm joining the band wagon. Most everyone loves these. Some people are concerned because they're much heavier than Addi's. Most don't think it's a big deal and love the pointier tips. I think that would be fabulous, it's the only thing I don't care for about my Addi's, especially when doing socks on 2 circs.

Circular Needle ID Tags Staying organized is a good thing.

And last, but not least Training!

The Knitting Guild Association, Master Knitting Program for Advanced Knitters Part of me really likes the idea of structure and getting feedback. Part of me really likes the whole title idea. Yeah, that'd be the 'ol ego. However, I'm all for improving and given that my knitting has been via less than formal instruction, this could work nicely to clean up my technique.

Knitting Camp with Meg Swansen If I haven't popped a kid out by July and I'm not super ripe with child, I am treating myself to knitting camp.

As for knitting news - Mariah sleeves are done, one side and one sleeve is seamed and looking mighty fine. The rest will be done by this weekend. Dan's socks are chugging along, hoping to reach the gusset by the end of the weekend. One leg cuffon the soaker is underway.

I treated myself to yarn this week. Lamb's Pride worsted at a ridiculously low price at the Sheep Shed Studio. In Chili Pepper Red. Which is Very. Red. Clifford the Big Red Dog red. I was thinking of using it for Rogue. I'm not sure. The Knitter's Guild is having a Knit Out Saturday so I'll solicit opinions there from my gurus. Yay for all day knitting with company!

Well that's all for now. If you haven't visited Cast-On, Go Now. Check out Episode 8 for the song "The Boob Fairy Never Came for Me" and Episode 9 for the classic "My Enormous Penis". Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Toodles fellow knitters!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Back again in the same month!!

Whoo hoo! More pictures in store. More proof I'm a knitting nerd.

Best of all, I've discovered Cast On with Brenda Dayne. I LOVE this podcast!! Love, love, love it. I'm in the process of downloading all the old episodes. She's funny, she's liberal, she plays fabulous music I wouldn't take the time to find, she writes wonderful essays - touching and poignant. Go and listen. You must!

Have I mentioned I love my library? They are the BEST! Ohio sucks in many ways, but we do have a damn fine library system. So I watched a couple of Meg Swansen's videos. Learned a lot. And also watched Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop volume 1. Somebody walked off with the other volumes evidently. She's a trip. I really want to go to Meg's camp. Might put that on the schedule for next summer, just in case I'm not otherwise entertained.

This week instead of taking advantage of the sinfully tempting sale at WEBS, I satisfied my retail therapy need by purchasing a couple of patterns for lace. The first one is Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl by Susan Pierce Lawrence aka I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can. The second one is Wing-'o-the-Moth Shawl or Scarf. It is beautiful! And I have some Kid Silk Haze crack, I mean yarn, for it. I know K, you think that stuff is the devil, but it's so soft and so tempting and............ I. Must. Try.

And in the ongoing Mariah saga. They said it couldn't be done. Even Grand Dame Elizabeth said not to do it. You cannot shorten a sleeve that was knit from the bottom up. Well I didn't know that before I had the "brilliant" idea to do it, so I did it anyway. I can certainly see why she says it. It's not something I'd recommend. Picking up stitches is all funky when you're going the opposite way. You can't just unravel a cast on edge. Then there's the added complication of figuring out if you just picked up right side or wrong side. It made my head spin.

And so it begins

Yes I took scissors to my knitting

The red dots show how knitting in the opposite direction results in a bit of a jag. If it's not pulled out like that it's not as noticeable, and I think it's worth it to have sleeves the right length vs. rolling up 6 inches of extra sleeve.

I finished the cuff on the first sleeve and managed to pick up the stitches on the 2nd one all by myself! Just the cuff portion to finish up and then it's back to seaming. I will ask for help on that.

Dan requested a pair of socks for deer season. I went to the LYS and what the hell did they have but Lorna's Laces in Camoflauge for crying out loud! I had to have it. Dan did point out however that he doesn't take his shoes off when he's hunting.

Now you might notice how craptacular (to borrow from Cast-On) my increases look. That was me trying to get all fancy and follow in Meg/Elizabeth's footsteps. Apparently I didn't take as good of notes as I thought I had. Even though it's tempting to leave as is and just start doing the right way from now on, I cannot let my standards slip. I have a husband to impress afterall! Although truth be told I'm sure he could give a shit what my increases look like. But still, I have some standards remaining!

And because I'd eventually like to knit a pair of my very own socks for ME - Lorna's Laces in Childsplay. Something to brighten up the impending winter doldrum's.

Here's the blue soaker for my baby stash. I conquered the kitchener stitch! I am proud - took a bit, but Queen Kahuna's sock book saved the day. She is the bomb. I was reciting her saying in my sleep..........same on, opposite off, same on, opposite off....... It did the trick.

Voila! Almost done, still have to finish the leg cuffs.

So there you have it. News from the needles.

Next up I plan to create my knitting wish list in pictures. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Yes, I still live here

Good God where does the time go?! I thought there had to be a mistake when I was that the last time I've updated was DECEMBER of LAST YEAR??!! Eek!! Suffice it to say it's been a bit of a whirlwind, and the knitting may have slowed, but it did not stop.

Fall is in the air and it's a 3 day weekend. I have been severely rebitten by the knitting bug. This means I have caught up on all the bazillion knitting blog entries from my bloglines. I have also been sniffing around various knitting message boards, including joining 4 sock yahoo groups. Uh huh. AND it's the month of my 2nd anniversary of knitting - whahoo!! Thank you Korin and Adina for inspiring me to join the knitting craze - it's the best therapy a girl could have!

So, first of all proof that I've been knitting - it's been a baby summer and I've discovered how fun it is to knit for babies, especially cute and delicious ones like Della, Ruby and Brigit.

Ms. Della's booties. I'd be pleaseantly surprised if they fit her for more than a nanosecond!

Made from Socketta using the pattern Newborn Crawling Booties from somebody's blog I forgot to make a note of. For some reason I had a tendency to knit tight on this. Combine this with itty, bitty DPNs and it wasn't my favorite knitting experience - led to sore fingertips. This was also my first experience with the infamous Kitchener stitch. I'm expecting it will look better in future endeavors.

Ruby's Baby Surprise Jacket

Button close-up, everybody go "awwwww......"

Back of Ruby's Surprise Jacket - I love how the colors pooled here

The entire ensemble - first soaker I've ever made, sniff :-)

Ok, now for the details.

Sweater Pattern: The Baby Surprise Jacket is from the Grande Dame of knitting Elizabeth Zimmerman. The pattern's in her book Knitting Workshop (I'm seriously lusting after that DVD).

Comments: The pattern was a bit tricky form me to translate out of the book. EZ is an intelligent knitter and she expects others to be as well. I'm striving to become that intelligent, however in the meantime I thankfully found a yahoo group specifically for EZ patterns and all my questions were answered.

Sweater Yarn: Interlacements Toasty Toes superwash merino

Comments: I love Interlacements yarn. Love, love, love it! I used a different blend of theirs for my mom's felted bag.

Soaker Pattern: Wooly Wonder Shorts from Wooly Wonder - very nice pattern.

Comments: Had a bit of a short row hole issue but it was solved when I made these again for Brigit thanks to Interweave Knits online shortrow help - I switched to YO short rows and was much happier with the results.

Soaker Yarn: Cascade Pastaza, 50% Llama/50% Wool

Comments: This is another fabulous yarn. Similar to Lambs Pride, but without the mohair, and yet still a bit hairy from the Llama. I'm hoping its soft enough for babies.

And now for Queen Brigit's wardrobe.

Katja Halter

Close up of Feather and Fan edge

Complete Ensemble

Halter Pattern: Katja from Knitty's Spring edition

Comments: I wasn't able to get guage with the yarn, so I tweaked the pattern accordingly. After finishing the pattern, I took awhile to complete the soaker and Brigit did was babies do so well - she grew! I needed to add more length and was bored with the pattern so did a yarn over round, and then did some increases to accomodate feather and fan. I have to say I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Halter Yarn: New Cotton Print, Lana Grossa, 60% cotton/40% microfiber

Comments: I liked this yarn. I'm not a big cotton fan because it's hard on my hands, but this had enough microfiber in it and was really easy to knit with. Nice and cushy too.

Soaker Pattern: Wooly Wonder Shorts from Wooly Wonder - same as Ruby's.

Soaker Yarn: Cascade Pastaza, 50% Llama/50% Wool - same as Ruby's

Then there was the saga of my foray into Fair Isle for my sister Laura. For Christmas. 2005. Finished in May. 2006. Oh well, sometimes that's just how the knitting needles crumble.

Hat Pattern: based on Fair-Isle Chullo from Knitty Winter 2004

Comments: Laura wasn't fond of the whole cross-country ski theme in the original hat pattern, so it was tweaked. By moi :-). I did get pretty darn good at knitting with both hands. However when it came time to do the ear flaps they were knit flat and purling with my left hand was a bitch and a half. But I perservered and conquered and have decided if I never purl again with my left hand I'll be quite happy.

Hat Yarn: Red: Baby Ull by Dale of Norway, 100% superwash wool White: Jawoll by Lang Yarns , 75% superwash wool, 18% polyamid, 7% acrylic

Comments: You might be wondering why 2 different brands of yarn? Well it turns out that red and white are pretty popular colors come winter holiday time. So I turned to 2 different sources, my LYS for the white, and WEBS for the red. I'm more fond of the Baby Ull than the Jawoll. Knowing both were fingering weight I didn't bother to look at actual stitches per inch until after knitting enough to convince myself that I couldn't convince myself they were the same weight. 32 stitches per inch compared to 30. Yes it did make a difference and ruin a completely even appearance, not that my yarn tension had anything to do with that as well. Live and learn. The blocking done after the picture was taken helped a little bit.

So, what's next you ask? Well hot on the needles is a Mini WonderSoaker for my very own stash. Lest you get too excited and think I have "news" to share, it's all about keeping the hope at this point. Should be quick to finish as soon as I figure out the damn Kitchener for ribbing. I'm having a hard time translating Pam's instructions on Wooly Wonder. I shall perservere.

Also going on is Mariah revamping. Yes, I took scissors to my sleeves. I cut, I cut some more, I cut even more, and then realized I needed to seek help. Which makes me appreciate the talents of my LYS, the Knitter's Mercantile. They rock. Jan was a patient and willing problem solver - she spent an HOUR picking up stitches so I could start again. No charge. I offered, thinking it's not fair to get free service on yarn I didn't even buy there. She graciously refused. I'm a loyal customer. As for the sleeves, they're too long and I didn't like my seaming so I figured what the hell. Last night I spent a few hours figuring out where in the hell I was in the charting pattern. After a few false starts and a few tinking of rows, I've got it! Knitting in pattern down a sleeve that was originally knitted up is not recommended, but I think I can pull it off :-). Stay tuned.

Waiting in the wings are socks, for ME - well, yes I did promise Dan a pair of his own too. If I'm feeling particularly ambitious I might get some Christmas pairs in as well. Also there is lace waiting, and sweaters waiting. I frogged Ribby Cardi after realizing I'd screwed up the ribbing when trying to knit the body in one piece. It was a blessing in disguise, the pumpking color was seriously getting on my nerves. I do like that pattern though, so will look for a better color.

If you're still reading by now - bravo! I shall do my very best to post more often resulting in (hopefully!) shorter entries.