Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dishcloth Set for Grandma

So after expressing some optimism that I might actually get all of my holiday knitting done on time in the last post, I totally dropped the ball and ended up only getting 2 of the 4 gifts done on time. In fact, I haven't finished anything since that post.

Here's something that did go out on time, a set of dishcloths for my grandma.

Dishcloth Set

The term set may be a little pretentious for two dishcloths, but they're coordinated. In fact, the patterns for both came from the same book, Mason Dixon Knitting.

First is the Mason Dixon Dishcloth, which has already been posted about. It's yellow Peaches n' Cream.

Next is the ball band dishcloth.

Ballband dishcloth

This is the same yellow Sugar n' Cream, along with Peaches n' Cream Baby Ombre. The color pooled in the most awesome way, with diagonal strips of pink, blue and white. It looks great.

Look at the texture (ignore the slightly uneven stitches, this is before washing):

Ballband Dishcloth

This was well received, and grandma is probably going to use them as decoration. I'm ok with that.

Probably my favorite (and most unexpected gift) this year was this:

GIft from my knitting group

Sock yarn from my knitting group. There's a ball of Lana Grossa and some Socks That Rock. STR socks are what's in the cue as soon as I get my MIL's Jaywalkers done.

And for a last little bit of Christmas spirit:

Santa or Hagrid?

Santa or Hagrid? You decide.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I think I can, I think I can...

It's December 21st, we have all of our Christmas shopping done, and I think I'll get all of my Christmas gifts out this year, on time even. This is only because we aren't seeing the in-laws until a week after Christmas, and I've been knitting feverishly. It also doesn't hurt that we're leaving tomorrow to see the parents

In addition to the Coriolis socks in this post there are a pair of Jaywalkers for my mother in law, two dishcloths for my Grandma, and a pair of gloves for my dad.

For a while there I was a 24-hour a day knitting machine. The Jaywalkers bag had a permanent home in my purse or hanging from my belt loop. I knit at the movies, at stoplights while I was driving, and even found out that I could knit the simple chevron pattern while in the car in the dark, as long as I counted.

This must be proof that I love them. The people, not the patterns, although I choose patterns that I want to do, or that present a challenge, because otherwise I'd let the projects stagnate and not work on them for months at a time. Case in point, Husband's Ugly Brown Sweater.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Husband's Ugly Brown Sweater

So, it's finally done. It may have taken six months or so, but Husband's Ugly Brown Sweater is completed. Mostly. I have to tighten up the armpit vents created by my provisional cast ons, but more on that later.

As far as pictures go, I have a few close ups, but none of the whole sweater that are worth looking at yet, as during the photoshoot the camera was set on close-up focus and Nerdy Husband was wearing superman pajama pants.

But here is the super cool thumb hole that I added at NH's request:

Hubby's Ugly Brown Sweater

Pretty cool, huh. It's 2x2 ribbing, I worked back and forth on double points like I was making a muli-row buttonhole. The dpns were used as opposed to magic loop because that was the best way to keep the 40 or so stitches that I had in a somewhat natural position and not stretched out at the top and bottom of the buttonhole. This way, he won't have to tear a hole in the sleeve like he's done with almost all of his other sweaters.

Here's one of the provisional cast on's in the neck.

Hubby's Ugly Brown Sweater

It's a top down raglan knit in one piece, so provisional cast on's were used at the back of the neck, and the front, and in the armholes. I couldv'e used a standard cast on and picked up or grafted the stitches, but I'm a fan of the provisional cast on. The only problem is that in the armpit, at the beginning and end of the provisional cast on, there are some really loose stitches. I'm going to tighten them up by basically duplicate stitching them.

The pattern comes from SweaterPro, but I lost the pattern during the four month break that I took from this project. I got distracted by something new and fun and not miles and miles of stockinette, big surprise. But getting it done has been part of my effort to buckle down and finish things, and since it should be getting cold here soon I have no excuse to put it off. NH was teasing me about not doing it; we'd go shopping and he'd say "Wow, those knit sweaters look awfully warm. I wish I had a sweater...". I tell him that it's not winter when the highs are still in the 80's.

The yarn is Moda Dea Washable Wool. I don't actually think the sweater is ugly, and there's enough yarn left over that I may actually make myself something. But if I do, hubby and I are going to have to coordinate, because we accidentally dress in matching clothes way too often, and usually don't notice till we leave the house.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Baby Kimono

This is what I really did over Thanksgiving.

I really like this pattern. The whole concept is pretty cool. It's worked in one piece, starting at the bottom of the back, increase for the sleeves, bind off for the neck, work the left front and then the right front separately.

The yarn is Peaches n' Cream Baby Ombre. I was using size 4 needles, but I still couldn't get gauge, and I didn't want to go any smaller, so I had to adjust the pattern. I also compensated for shrinking in the wash. That's right, not only did I swatch, I washed my swatch and even used the measured gauge. **Big pat on the back**. I think this was inspired by the class with Lily Chin, as well as the knowledge that cotton can be unpredictable.

I used a seed stitch border around the edges, and two pieces of icord for closure. The idea for the icord was to make a little bow, but I didn't make it nearly long enough, and the cord was too thick to make it the right size for such a small garment. If I could do this again I'd either use a button or some ribbon as the closure, perhaps a row of eyelets kind of like a belt.

Baby Kimono

The baby is a little girl, and I gave her daddy the sweater this week. It was such a great feeling. This is the first baby gift I've ever made. I love giving gifts, especially when they're well received, which it was in this case.

With that done, I've started the Jaywalkers for my MIL's Christmas gift. Twice now. The first time I completely messed up the short row toe (I"m doing them toe-up), and it took me until I had the whole foot done to realize that they were huge. So, I'm trying a different hold, still continental but wrapping the yarn a few more times around the finger. It seems to be working.

In the non-knitting world, the other day and I went to the Cummer, the Fine Art and Garden museum here in town. After walking through the exhibits inside, we took a stroll in the gardens outside. It was a gorgeous day (there were people painting), and they're gorgeous gardens.

Garden 1

Garden 6

The rest of the photos can be found on my flickr page, with the tag "Museum".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back Home... Coriolis Socks

The Coriolis socks for my father-in-law are all done. Here they are:

Husband was kind enough to model them:

I really like these socks. The thickness (due to double stranding) will make them perfect walk around the house socks, which is perfect for the recipient. I may make a pair for myself. This pattern is totally appropriate for hand-dyed, highly varigated yarn, here is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Pinstripe. These socks took about two skeins on number 5 needles, cuz I'm super loose. I'm not worried about them not fitting, because if they don't, they'll go to NH, as they obviously fit him.

A pair of Jaywalkers in the same yarn will be going to my mother in law. However, I couldn't start them this week for two reasons. One, I don't want the inlaws to see their presents early, even though they know what they're getting. Secondly, I had to finish the Baby Kimono for a coworkers newborn. That got done, with pictures to follow after it's washed. I also got a little bit of Husband's Ugly Brown Sweater done, and hopefully will have it done within the week.

So, for all my good intentions, I didn't get a chance to visit any yarn shops while in South Carolina, or even to take a decent picture of the absolutely gorgeous trees. These are the only pictures I have, they were taken on the way out there.

We had 8 people for Thanksgiving dinner, which is a lot for Nerdy Husband's family, but a lot less than would be expected from my family, (our holiday get-togethers are closer to 20 or 30 people). We also had 4 dogs, all very cute.

Here they are being wrangled by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. The dogs (from left to right) are Indy, Snowball, Bosley, and Nico:

We even managed to get three of them without people to hold them down. Snowball is a proper lady, and doesn't play too much with all the boy dogs and she opted out of this one. Nico's wearing a cute blue hoody.

We ended up leaving a day early, so I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the trees or visit the lys which I have been trying to visit for over a year. It was a good thing we left when we did, because when we got back I had a call about a family emergency down South, so we got to pack up and head out again.

Now we're back home, and I'm listening to Christmas music on Pandora, and there's chili in the slow cooker. This time of year is great, even though it's still in the 70's here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Victory in The Giant Dishcloth Campaign

Well, not complete victory, not yet anyways. But a step in the right direction.

I ran out of yarn shortly after joining the petals to knit the center of the flower, which will be of considerable size. The yarn used is LionBrand VelvetSpun in pastel yellow. It's a bulky polyester chenille in light pastel colors. It couldn't be less desirable. I had originally picked up the yarn as a filler in Grandma's afghan, which was going to be pink on one side and yellow on the other. I wanted big big stitches to make the afghan go fast and have that squishy feel.

However, when I found out that I had more than enough pink yarn for a blanket, I scrapped the yellow idea and faded from pink to white rather than from pink to white to yellow. The result is a lot of yellow yarn, some nice and bought from KnitWitz, the first yarn store I visited in Jax (the first trip there I bought several single skeins in yellow and pink), the rest was not as nice yarn from big box stores. Yellow is not my color. I'm more of a gray, brown, dark blue person, so this yarn has been "marinating", waiting to be used.

Anyways, when we chose the daisy dishcloth pattern for our first Knit-a-Long, I thought the VelvetSpun would be perfect, because Brenda had made them out of chenille and they turned out great.

But, as we all know by now, I didn't check gauge and ended up with this.

Me and the Gigantic Dishcloth of Shame

And I ran out of yarn.

I thought that since it was big craft store yarn it would be no problem finding it. So I go to the Micheal's where I'd bought it, and there was no VelvetSpun to be found. Same story at Joann's. In a panic, I checked LionBrand's site and Yarndex to see if it was discontinued. Thankfully it wasn't. Then I checked Micheal's and Joann's websites to see if they still sold the yarn. Yep, it just wasn't at my stores here. No vendors on ebay were selling it at a cheap price with low shipping. And I wasn't going to spend like $10 on this yarn. Heck no.

So, while in Orlando for the ONS, I stopped at the Micheal's near our friend's house where we were staying. The woman there knew exactly where it was, and pointed me straight to it. I let out a little pirate-like "Ya-har!" (an affectation picked up from the Nerdy Husband), which startled the prim little old ladies that were shopping. I didn't care, it was a victory!

LionBrand VelvutSpun...Finally

I still can't believe that this was my real find for the show weekend. Not the best yarn I got by any means - what was there was gorgeous - but this was my most highly anticipated yarn of the weekend.

When I returned, I also found this in our mailbox:

Peaches & Cream Baby Ombre

It's cotton baby yarn (Peaches and Cream Baby Ombre). Someone at work just had a baby, and I'm at that age where supposedly all of our friends start having kids, so I want to be prepared to do some baby knitting. The thing is, though, none of my friends or family has little babies. So this guy at work is getting a Baby Kimono for his new daughter even if work isn't having a shower. Congratulations, here's a gift whether you expect it or not!

That, finishing Nerdy Husband's Ugly Brown Sweater, and maybe finding a glove pattern for my dad are in the line up for our trip to the Carolina's for Thanksgiving. It's always prime knitting time, and I'll probably post some, because it's prime online time as well. Nerdy Husband and his Techie Father usually get the internet on our laptop before all the bags are unpacked from the car, so access is never an issue. Maybe visiting a yarn shop with mother in law (who used to knit) and her daughter. My SIL started learning to knit last Christmas when I showed her a few stitches and lent her my copy of SnB. This year, she's making her mom a sweater. It's great!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Orlando Needlework Show

Let me start off by saying that I am very disappointed in myself, because while I remembered to bring my camera and extra batteries to the show, I was so excited (then disappointed) that I forgot to take any pictures. Until I was leaving. Then I got the fountain outside. I have some gratuitous puppy pictures to make up for it, though.

The Fountain
Originally uploaded by shishyb

We arrived in at a friends' house in Orlando late Thursday night. No one was there, but we were greeted by Quima, their german shepherd. Quima and Indy got along great all weekend. Pictures at the end.

The Class: My Yard is only 27 Inches
Friday morning, I had a class, "Crochet Tips and Tricks", with Lily Chin. It was great. Lily is so creative and really funny. She talked about "the butt hair of the Botswana Armidillo" when talking about ridiculously rare fibers, "trophy wife stitches" which are pretty to look at but a bear to live with. I even got her to crack up. At one point she told us to measure out about a yard of yarn before cutting it, by holding our work in one hand, and reeling off yarn with the other, cutting it at about our nose. I ran out of yarn, and she asked if I had done as she asked. I replied "I did, but I'm little, so my yard is shorter than yours". I measured it this morning, it's 27 inches, as opposed to 36 (translated for the benefit of number-hating or the lazy people).

Lily had a ton of great tips, and most of them are actually going to be in her next book, funnily enough called "Crochet Tips and Tricks". I really learned a lot.

The class was also cool because I met Hannah and Tracie, two cool Floridians who knit and crochet. As there was a lack of events besides classes and the vendors, classes were really the only way to meet people.

And yes, I did say crochet, not knitting. Even though you couldn't tell it from my blog, I do crochet; I just haven't done any in a while.

The Show: As disappointing as the movie Ultraviolet

After the class, we went to check out the vendors. I was a little afraid, because I had watched the vendor list since I found out the show, and I only saw a few yarn vendors.

My fears were justified, it turns out because there were only three yarn vendors. What vendors were there were wonderful, but there was a distinct lack of yarn companies. Since there were so few, I can review them all.

The Local Needle
This is a local yarn store near Jacksonville. I've been to there before, and I know the owner. She is very nice and always very welcoming. She even remembered what some of the yarn I had bought there over a month ago, so it was good to see them doing so well. I got some lovely Pagewood Farms hand dyed sock yarn in Navajo, shades of blue and a little brown.

Picasso's Moon
This is a local yarn store with a twist in Sarasota. What sets this store apart is that the owner does some pretty cool things, such as taking four different very light yarns and combining them into a single ball of a heavier yarn. Again, this owner is very warm and has an awesome sense of color. She also had kits that had several balls of rag strip yarns in coordinating colors and patterns, as well as single balls of rag yarns and lots of indy dyers, and a few balls of what looked distinctly like Cascade 220 in the corner. If I'm ever near Sarasota, I'm definitely going to check out her store. I got just one ball of hand dyed wool yarn, in pinks and browns. I have no clue as to what to do with it. Actual stash yarn!

Tess's Designer Yarns
This was the only true (traditional) yarn company. This booth had some gorgeous yarns, in some very interesting fibers. Everything was smooth and shiny here. They're located in Maine, but a lot of their yarns were blends that would be very appropriate to warm weather wear. All of their display pieces were tank tops and mesh wraps, with the exception of the cutest child's capelet.

All in all , I got out in under $30. Here are the disappointing results.

ONS Stuff 1
Originally uploaded by shishyb

On the right, you see the bags that I brought with me. This includes class supplies (in the striped bag graciously gifted to me by Donna), the Coriolis socks (in a bag made of grey jersey material that a set of jersey sheets came in) and my purse (featuring the face of Jim Morrison). The brown bag on the left is the bag that holds my purchases and other acquisitions (including three free magazines). I'm sorry Brenda, there are no pictures of me swimming in yarn, because I didn't buy nearly enough. Had some of the other less accessible yarn vendors been there (Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Webs, indy dyers this means you) I would've got more. Oh well, since Nerdy Husband's car is in the shop, and with the holidays coming up, I guess I don't need much more yarn. I have enough to get through the holiday projects, and I shouldn't start anything for myself right now.

And now, here are the puppies to lighted the mood. Here's Indy and his new girlfriend, Quima.

Indy and Quima 3
Originally uploaded by shishyb

She's a older woman, and I think she's a retired police dog. I say this because the owner is a police officer, and the dog was really well behaved. I kept trying to get good pictures to compare their sizes, but for the first time in his life, Indy was camera shy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Heading Back to Orlando

No one that lives in Orlando calls it O-town. Mostly because we don't want to be associated with mildly popular boy bands.

But it's not all bad. There's the Orlando Needlework Show. Dude, a fiber show in Florida. And Lily Chin is teaching classes.

I'm all signed up for Crochet Tips and Tricks. Hopefully this will renew my interest in crochet a little, because I've really fallen out of it. The only thing I've crocheted in months is the swatches I made as homework for the class.

And I may pick up some cross stitch supplies. That's something I really haven't done for a while. 15 years at least.

I'm so excited about this show! Too bad Blue Moon Fiber Arts won't be there. I need to feed my sock yarn addiction with Socks that Rock. You know, the good stuff.

I'm bringing the Coriolis socks for my FIL, I'm nearly done, and I'm looking forward to starting some Toe Up Jaywalkers in the same Lorna's Laces for my MIL. The Dishcloth Incident is turning into an unmitigated disaster, as I cannot find any LionBrand VelvetSpun , and I am very nearly out of yarn. I thought I wasn't supposed to be still making rookie mistakes, but who ever heard of a dishcloth that took more than one ball of yarn (colorwork notwithstanding). I guess when it's the size of a placemat, that can happen.

No other knitting news, except that our knitting circle totally took over a Barnes and Noble cafe last night. 18 people. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall is in the Air

Forget spring, fall is my favorite season. It's here, and this is how I know.

One branch of the trees behind the condo has turned a beautiful orange. Not sure if it died or is changing for the season. We're going to go with changing, as some of the other needles have a tint of orange as well.

We've cleared most of the boxes out of the dining room, and made some good finds at some pumpkin patches to make a nice centerpiece.

This is the Mario Mushroom gourd

and the Biohazard Squash

Here's the first round of pumpkins and gourds, set up all nice and pretty.

Then one of our pumpkins (the big one of course) started oozing onto our new, never-before-used table. Nice. So, we ended up going to a pumpkin patch while we were visiting my family, and found the Mario Mushroom Gourd. After we got back, we carved the pumpkins, and added our new squash, and this (and some pumpkin seeds) is what we were left with.

Here's My Nerd's skull Jack-o-lantern

and my Maleficent.

Not bad considering we used steak knives and a nail as our tools. We used the paddle from our rice cooker as well, it was great for scooping out the guts and seeds. The pumpkin seeds themselves are no where to be seen in the pictures, mostly becuase they don't last long enough to get pictures taken of them. And they're just seeds.

In the past week, I've made most of the first Coriolis sock of a pair I'm giving my father in law for Christmas. I've also been working on a dishcloth along with my knitting group. And it's a disaster.

The KAL in general is going ok. But I've made a serious error in judgment, one that I shouldn't have. Because I just wrote and recorded a segment on gauge for the podcast. And I've had gauge disasters before. I figure that since it's a dishcloth, gauge isn't that important. Well, instead of a dishcloth I have a bathmat. A small one, but a bathmat nonetheless. It's huge. I didn't realize this was a problem while making each of the five petals because it's the worst photographed pattern ever, and you can't see how large the petals are compared to the center. I thought the petals comprised most of the dishcloth, and that the center would be small. Then I saw a finished one at my group, and almost cried. It's almost all center, the petals are very small. I also ran out of yarn, and I started with a full ball. That should tell you something.

I never planned to actually use it as a washcloth, as it's made out of Lionbrand VelvetSpun that I had in my stash. I don't know how the polyester chenille would hold up to regular washing. I will probably use it almost as a doily, on part of my desk that I don't write on. Or perhaps under my computer monitor. Or maybe, if I ran some icord just inside the border where the petals are joined, I could make it into a purse. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who would wear a bright yellow chenille purse with petals around it.

Either way, I think this qualifies under "Disaster" on KnitWars.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Doxed and Thriller and Socks, Oh My!

Braided Cable Socks

Last weekend, Nerdy Hubby and I went on this very eventful trip to Middle of Nowhere, Florida for a wedding. Luckily, the travel and the lack of
anything to do gave me time to finish my Aran Braid Socks.

I chose these socks purely because at the time I was compelled to try some braided cables. Something about the braided speaks to me, and when I get gripped by a knitting pattern, I have to try it, (this is probably why I have so many projects going at once, more on this later). Here's a close up of the cables on the side.

They were made using just about one ball of Regia 4 ply. This is my first top-doen sock with a heel flap. The cables start just after the ribbed cuff, and are continued on a smaller scale down the foot.

They turned out marvelously, except for one cable left purposefully twisted the wrong way, so that I can tell the left sock from the right. It's on the inside of the left sock, on the foot where no one will see it when I'm wearing shoes.

Here are the socks with my new pirate loafers, in honor of my Ravelry name (KnitPirate).

...and on the foot.

That is definitely the most unflattering angle ever for someone with big calves, like me. But I'm not very photogenic anyways.

Knitting Project Infidelity Syndrome
I have a terrible case of Knitting Project Infidelity Syndrome (KPIS). It's a good thing that UFO's don't get jealous, because I always get distracted and start new ones. I have months where none get done, even though some are close to completion. I've gotten a little bit better about it recently, because I've started keeping track of my UFO's in my planner. I write them down in my to do list, like grocery shopping or laundry.

The inability to stay faithful to one project and my neurotic over-preparation leads to me carrying around an "obscene" amount of knitting and knitting accessories whenever I go somewhere to knit. The word obscene is in quotation marks because I have been told this. I usually don't ever go to a knitting group with less than two projects, plus maybe a FO to show off, all of my regular supplies and notions, and two extra balls of yarn and extra sets of needles just in case we find someone with no supplies and wants to learn to knit. In truth, people have been pretty good about asking for lessons ahead of time. However, just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean it won't happen; in fact I think there's a good chance that the manager at the Panera where we meet will want to learn soon. He's very friendly and always talking to us, so it's only a matter of time.

Trip to Nowhere, Florida
The trip to a small rural town was, in a word, eventful. Before I continue, let me tell you that I grew up in a small town. I had grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins a few blocks away, and the best man at my parents wedding lived two doors down from us. So I have no problem with small towns. The thing is, the small town where I grew up was close to a bigger town, which was close to a small city. The small town that we went to for the wedding was near... nothing but empty roads. I thought I had seen most of what Florida had to offer, since I've lived here all my life and traveled most of the state. I was wrong.

We were meeting some friends on the edge of town the night before the wedding. This involved driving about 20 miles down a dark, desolate, foreboding, winding, steep two lane road. I didn't even realize Florida had roads this steep; it's essentially a two-dimensional state, other than overpasses and the occasional sand dune. The directions were given in terms such as "quite a ways" and "a little bit", so while driving down this road, we had no idea how far we were supposed to go. "A good bit" into our drive, something ran across the road, narrowly avoiding a fate that could be featured in an instructional video for teenage animals called "Blood on the Asphalt". We couldn't decide whether the creature was a dog or a fox, so it was termed a dox (as fog would have just been confusing).

Luckily we made it to see everyone that night, and we took a longer, more well lit route home. For directions to the wedding the next day, we decided to depend on Google Earth. It hadn't ever failed me in the past. But it did that day. Google for the lose! We only made it to wedding because we noticed a man in a passing car was wearing a suit, and followed him.

At the reception, the normal dancing and alcohol-related hilarity ensued. The highlight was near the end of the night, when someone told the DJ that one of the guests danced a mean version of Micheal Jackson's Thriller. Well, the guy was reluctant but a little tipsy and probably quite confident in his dancing abilities, so he agreed to do it. He wasn't alone though, a four year old girl accompanied him. She actually did a very good job of mimicking him. All in all, it was the best rendition of Thriller that I've ever seen a drunk guy and a four year old perform. They were both quite good. Unfortunately, I don't have the video, so this will have to do. Youtube, it's a good thing.

I love dancing like no one's watching, I'm all for doing it at weddings, mostly because that's the only place people will do it. Well, weddings and IBar in Orlando, but that's a whole other post.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

She's Here

May I present to you Lady Eleanore Stole in all her entrelac and fringed glory.

Despite my best efforts, puppy managed to sneak into this photo. He's the Photo Ninja. See his tail behind the chair? He's at his watchpost, sitting on my computer and staring out the only window in the house that overlooks a sidewalk. Someone's gotta spy on the neighbors. But enough about the cuddliest guy I know.

LE, as I affectionately call her, took only 7 - 3/4 balls of yarn. And she grew during blocking, despite the fact that I didn't pin her. I didn't pin because I thought she was the perfect size already, but apparently the friction with the carpet was enough to stretch it out, and it was too long for the smooth blocking board. Before blocking she was 70 inches long (5 foot 10 inches) and after she was 76 (6 foot 4 inches). It grew in width as well, from 21 inches to 22. Next time, I'll use the old plastic shower curtain that's currently packed in a box.

Ignore the terrible picture. As I said, it's is the perfect size. I was able to use it like a blanket on the drive out to Middle of Nowhere, Florida for a wedding last weekend (knitting and stories about the best rendition of Thriller ever performed by a drunk guy and a 4 year old will are to come). I also use it at work, where they thought it was a blanket. It's comfy enough that it feels like one, as it covers the top of my arms and my lap.

It is very soft after being washed in hair conditioner and fabric softener. I keep fondling it, which seems to intrigue my coworkers. The recommended yarn for this project is La Lana, which has a market value of $330 (15 balls at $22 per ball). One hundred or so dollars for Noro doesn't seem so bad to the hubby now, does it? The Noro Silk Garden is great for this pattern, and the variegation is absolutely beautiful. Plus, pure wool would've been too heavy for regular use here in the Sunshine State, and the silk-mohair blend is so squishably soft and really pet-able.

Monday, October 8, 2007

She's Coming...

My Lady Eleanore Entrelac Stole is blocking right now. I feel like I just put the kiddies to bed and now I can play online. Look how sweet it is while it's resting:

This wrap is absolutely gorgeous in Noro Silk Garden. This was my first time using Noro, and my first time spending a good amount of money on something for me. I'm a little disappointed at the number of breaks in the yarn, with an average of about one per ball, and as many as five.

I really like the colors, even though they came out darker and more rustic than I planned. It doesn't seem like this will be fancy enough to wear to the wedding I've been making it for. Doesn't seem like it will be necessary either, as it's supposed to be 85 degrees in Tampa this weekend, not exactly wool-blend-stole weather. Here's what it looks like in natural light:

I made it a little bit bigger than I needed it to be. I want it to be able to wrap around me. It is now the second scarf that I have made that is bigger than me, but that's not really hard to do, as my pal Donna pointed out (still love ya chica). I do come in just under 5 feet, and unless I hit a random growth spurt in my mid-20's that's not changing.

Also, I think I'm being watched. I didn't tell the dog to get in this picture, he just sneaks in. But he does add some cuteness.

The fringe comes after the blocking. I've washed it in fabric softener and hair conditioner which sill supposedly soften the Noro up a bit. This is the first tip I've gotten off of Ravelry.

Yeah, I finally got my invite, and I was so excited to get on, I really didn't think carefully about my screen name. Unfortunately, LittleKnittingNinja was too many characters, and I couldn't find another combination of Knit and Ninja that was available, and somehow I ended up with the screen name KnitPirate. I don't like it at all.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

It Won't Fit

It's one of the dangers of being adventurous and jumping in with both feet. My second project ever didn't fit.

It was the Kittyville hat from Stitch n' Bitch. Made out of Lionbrand Woolease, so even if it had fit, it would've been too itchy to wear. Mmmm, fuzzy acrylic. Is it obvious that at this point in my knitting career I had never been into a real yarn shop?

But I digress. The real tragedy here is that since I failed to properly use a gauge swatch, the hat came out too small for my head. Notice that I said "failed to properly use" instead of "failed to make". I knit a swatch. Part of me knew that I needed to swatch, especially because I didn't use the recommended yarn. I think my swatch was within one or two stitches of the pattern gauge, and I figured that would be good enough. Knit wear is stretchy and most hats fit most heads, right?

WARNING: Shocking Images are contained in the following segment, and may not be suitable for some viewers, such as children and people who slave over knitwear.

In addition to the fit problems, my hat is scarred. I added one of the cat ears, and realized that I would wear the hat much more if it didn't have cat ears. So I did just about the stupidest thing I have ever done and I took scissors to the hat. I was definitely fearless as I was clueless. At this point, I wasn't able to recognize what was ear and what was hat, and I cut a few holes right in the hat. I also wasn't familiar with how to darn knit fabric, so I took some of the leftover scratchy, fuzzy yarn and knotted it and wove it through the holed until I was sure it wouldn't unravel on me. The result is a very noticeable line of knots, extra yarn, and small holes. Here's the aftermath of the botched ear removal surgery.

The holes are obvious next to my dark hair. It's hard to see, but the stitches near the hole are also skewed.

These graphic images are not meant to shock you, but rather to illustrate the dangers of reckless cutting. And always swatch up before you start a new project.

And please, never drink and knit. Well, that's another post.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mason Dixon Dishcloth

Mason Dixon Washcloth 1
Originally uploaded by shishyb

This is the Mason Dixon Washcloth as part of my review of Mason Dixon Knitting. This book has a wide variety of patterns at many different skill levels. Even more valuable is that the authors try to help you make the projects your own, by offering multiple yarn selections and multiple versions of the same project, and encouraging readers to experiment.

I had a lot of choices for what to make form this book. I probably chose the Washcloth because I was drawn to the hexagonal shape. It is very suitable for gifts because of the low cost, and short time to completion factor, as well as the presentation shown in the book. The washrag is shown with ribbon run the eyelets, which transforms it into a small bag, just big enough for a nice bar of soap.

It is knit in the round, from the outside in. I used the knitted cast on, just to give the edge a different look. Bobbles are made near the edge, which creates the corners. The eyelets and decorative decreases add interest. Here's a closer look:

There is one errata in the pattern, and it's listed on the Mason Dixon Knitting blog.

I made it in Sugar n Cream, which made it 100% cotton, machine washable and dirt cheap. Since I am a loose woman, I used a size 5 to get gauge, and, more importantly for this piece, to get a fabric that looks and feels right.

I had two minor issues with the finished product that are worth noting, but wouldn't prevent me from making this again.

First of all, my washcloth just won't lie flat. It can be coaxed into a temporary flat state, but it seems that the decreases just aren't fast enough at some point in the first 10 rounds, because there is an ever so slight ruffle. I blocked it in hopes of fixing this, it reverted right back to its original noncompliant state once I picked it up. Here it is during blocking (for scale, these are 12 inch tiles):

After blocking, I tried machine washing and drying it. This only made it curlier, as you can tell here:

The second issue is the center isn't shown in the book. It's made in the same way that many hats are: decrease to a certain number of stitches and draw the yarn through the remaining loops and close up the hole. In hats, this isn't prominent, and it doesn't look bad. But in this application, it is the focal point, and it looks odd to me.

These aren't fatal flaws, I would still use this pattern again. For our new condo, I might make a set of guest towels using this washcloth and the hand towels in this book. The hand towels are beautiful in muted colors of linen, and the MD washcloth would too, especially if the center is embellished with a small flower. However, I don't think I'll be attempting full-sized bath towel to complete the set.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Geeky Knitting - The Super Mario Video Game Cozy

Here is a joint effort from my husband and I: the Double Sided- Mario Mushroom Game Cozy:

I say it is a joint effort because while I did all of the knitting, hubby designed it, down to the mushroom chart. It holds his DS and PSP.

The yarn is Lionbrand Microfiber, which should be electronics friendly. However, it isn't knitter friendly. It splits like nobody's business. On size U.S. 3 needles, it also knit to a very small gauge. Also electronics friendly.

It begins with a black tube, sewn shut on one end. It is made in 2x2 ribbing to be super stretchy. Then, a pocket is made with the mushroom chart and a seed stitch border. It is then crocheted onto the tube, to make 2 pockets. Run some icord around the top of the tube to make it close, and it's done.

With the seamless sides and the ribbing, it has very little structure. I may machine sew some piping along the sides and bottom to fix this.