Not Afraid to Frog

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It really doesn't take that much effort to post.

And yet, thus far, I suck at it. I'll keep attempting to 'get back into it' (have I ever been into it?) a bit longer, and then I may have to give up on this whole blog thing. Still, I keep coming back, because I do love the idea of having a knitting journal. That is, provided I post.

So here goes.

First of all, this is largely brought on by my existence on Ravelry. (Username is Kestrel.) I love this site, and just as soon as I get a few pennies to spare, I'll toss them in their direction (um, grad students are joke). It strips me of that guilt I feel every time I think about saving ball bands or jotting down notes on yarn / needles / pattern source used on every stinkin' project. That, and the easy browsing of everyone's projects! I totally love it, and while I'm not glued to my Ravelry account (I almost said "not glued to my computer", but that's up for dispute), I know that it could pretty easily sap hours out of each day. Always a great thing, right?

So, what am I knitting?

Progress shot.

It's the "Gathering Intentions" sweater from Fiona Ellis' "Inspired Cable Knits". I'm using Jaeger's Shetland Aran yarn, and everything about this project makes me happy. Oh, except that I realized that my gauge shrunk significantly between swatch and sweater, so I'm going to seam two six stitch purl panels on each side of this back panel to make the next size up. Oops. Still, this is a *much* better solution than ripping back at this point; it's rare that you can just switch up to the next size (from 36" to 40") so easily.

I'm also working on these lovlies:
Adult sock with youngling.
Except that now #2 is about half way up the leg. I'd show you, except I can't find it. Really. While finished sock is sitting obediantly in my (living room) knitting pile, sock+needles the second is out exploring the world. What world this is, well, I'll let you know when I find out. Anyway, I'm using Wendy's generic toe up sock pattern, and it's just easy as pie. I've decided that my heel is much better suited to a short row heel than the heel flap style, though I do love the look of the heel flap. So, I'll likely continue to use both. In different pairs, of course. I'd tell you where this yarn came from, but I haven't a clue. I really don't remember - but I can tell you that I love it. How's that?

Finally, I'm also working on this gem:
Lace Leaf Shawl
The Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl. I *do* know where I bought both the pattern and yarn - in Victoria! Canada! (It was my first time.) Wonderful store, the Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria, Canada. The supply was, well, I could have spent a day in there. Of course, an hour did enough damage to my checking account, so we'll leave it there for now. This yarn is Misti Laceweight Baby Alpaca, a purchase craftily enabled by Mama E herself. That woman loves her yarn. But it worked out, because so do I! I have no idea how long this project will take, the cabled sweater (and sock, if I knew where it was) is dominating my knitting time, but I still love that it's there, waiting patiently for my attention. I'll be there soon!

That's enough for now. I'll be back when there's something fun to report, but based on these projects (and the elusive sock), it may be a bit. RSS feeds, hurrah! :]

Sunday, February 04, 2007

*shakes off the dust*

Well, it's been awhile, huh? Let's not dwell and move on to the knitting.

To start, I'd really like to use this blog to keep track of project details, which I currently suck at doing. For instance, this wonderful baby blanket for my new neice (born January 22nd):

I positively love it. I can't entirely remember, however, but I *think* I used size 7 addis for the main panel and size 6s for the border. I do know the pattern is called "Heirloom Silk Shawl", from Erika Knight's Knitting for Two, and that it is most certainly not knit in silk, but Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino. This stuff is fabulously soft, and necessarily machine washable. I goofed on two of the four borders (they were all knit seperately), and happen to know they were #s 2 and 3, when I was at the point of having the border pattern memorized (come's easy). Or so I thought. There was a (long) break before I got to side #4 (needed an 8th skein) and I had to actually read the pattern again before knitting. You'll notice in the picture that some of the sides have extra holes between the ribbon. Certainly nothing traumatic, and as I hadn't noticed until it was assembled and blocked, I said screw it, wove the ribbon in, and beamed proudly. The mother (my sister in law) was appropriately excited, and the blanket was passed around the room at the baby shower for everyone to pet and admire. Still, I'll be even prouder when I see a picture of my little neice wrapped up in her handknit blanket. :]

Another gift for the new kid:

I saw this knitted up at a yarn store in San Diego, and while I was "just buying the pattern" at the time, it didn't take long to come back and pick out the appropriate colors of Sirdar Snuggly (just four skeins!). Knit on size 6 Addis plus size 3s for the seed stitch borders (bottom of sweater, cuffs, collar), it went *fast*. Except for the collar, which felt like it went forever. It didn't, but since I had already blocked and seamed everything else, and was back to working on size 3s, it felt like it dragged a little. Regardless, once I finished, that didn't matter. Love it, and I can't wait to make the girl more little sweaters.

Last thing in progress for the wee one:

This is the back of a sleeveless cotton jumper. Well, most of the back. Just a few more rows to go, and then the short little back shoulder straps. Then the front, which apart from a few rows of neck shaping, is identical. The finishing should be fun, knitting the button bands at the leg openings, and figuring out the best alternate closures. New mom and dad will not appreciate fiddly buttons, regardless of how cute. I'll sew on snaps or something, and sew buttons onto the surface if I find some that are just too perfect (like tiny little giraffes, for instance).

Finally, something for ME:

This one has been sitting in the waiting pile for a month, now. I was feverishly excited about it over the holidays, being my first colorwork and a naturally exciting pattern by Eunny Jang. However, in my feverish excitement, I decided to go ahead and dive in, swatching as I go, so to speak. This is fine, gauge-wise, as I ripped back to the ribbing a couple times to go up needle sizes, as needed. However, now I'm suspecting that 1) it's too small (gauge is on, but I should be knitting a whole size bigger) and 2) this is far more pucker-y than blocking will satisfiably fix. Blocking isn't *magic*, after all. So, it's been sitting in time-out, until I can motivate myself to pick it up, rip back to the ribbing, increase as needed, and restart on the next biggest size. Really, I want this to not only be wearable, but I want to be happy wearing it!

For now, that's plenty on the project updates. I hope to be back more frequently, to perhaps be more diligent in recording all those pesky details (specific yarn/needles, pattern modifications/issues) as well as general thoughts on the project. While perhaps no one is reading now, I know I'll be curious later.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Little things are growing.

As my sister-in-law's belly grows, I'm cranking out more baby stuff. Whipped up the first of these baby socks on the five hour flight from Cleveland to LA, what a fast project! Finished up the second a few days ago. While I knew right away this stitch pattern couldn't even pass as poser cables (I was following the cabled rib pattern, with an added ruffle at the top), I only had a chicken scratch version of the pattern with me and no brain cells alert enough to question it. It wasn't until the last patterned row of the second leg that it occured to me that I could probably figure out where I had gone wrong. So, while "k2tog, k 1st st again, slip both sts off needle" will give you a cute little two-stitch cable, "k2tog, k 2nd st again, slip both sts off needle" gets you what you see below. Right, then.

I figure the ruffles and bright colors obscure the fact that I screwed up (it just looks like a unique stitch pattern, that's all). Also, as I've got a bunch of this yarn left over, I'm going to make a little matching hat, with correctly executed cables.

Coming along well on the baby blanket. The center panel is finished and blocked (to 28" by 28"), and I'm onto the border pieces now. After a good soak in Eucalan, the center panel is still soft and cuddly as ever. It may be San Diego, but nearly-mom is still considering her little girl to be a "winter baby", so I know the warmth will be doubly appreciated.

I did also make a good deal of progress on the pink cotton tee for me, but didn't take a picture and left it in Ohio to be picked up again in October. I've got maybe 8" of the back done. Not so exciting when you can't see it.

To distract me further from recover my motivation for the baby blanket, I also started and finished a drop-stitch scarf for myself. I made it on size large needles (I don't remember...9s?), using an all nylon brand that I picked up on the graduation celebration yarn-crawl with Emily in April. (I also got some SOFT black and white bamboo yarn.) It's wonderfully colorful, and I clearly got it for this reason rather than illusions of softness or warmth, but my biggest issue with it is its snag-gerific nature. So, I have to be a little more careful than anticipated when wearing it.

Once the baby blanket is done, and I get a chance to mess with color combinations in person, I'll be casting on for this little guy:

I smile every time I look at it. I'll make the pullover version, and I'm thinking a yellow, pink/red, brown, and green. But it totally depends on the shades, so we'll have to see.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Off the trail, back to yarn.

Yeah, it's hot, and yeah, it took me a little while to really get back into the knitting frenzy, and no (thankgoodness), I'm not as knitting crazed as I was during the last two years of school, but the point is...I'm back! Whee-ha!

So, thought I'd go ahead and introduce my most exciting current projects (read: you're not going to hear about the nearly finished toe-up 3x1 ribbed Koigu sock...beyond that).

What's actually on the needles and sitting next to me most frequently:

For my first neice or nephew to be! The pattern recommends silk, but I neither have the funds nor cruelty to buy expensive, non-machine washable yarn for a baby blanket. Granted, there is some machine washable silk out there, and perhaps one day I'll make a thin scarf with it. But the money part still applies. Anyway, I picked Debbie Bliss' baby cashmerino, and I love it. It's 55% merino, 33% microfiber, and 12% cashmere...and machine washable. Woo! Mom's favorite color is green, which worked out well with the sea green color I selected. I know brights are good for babies, but I wanted a softer color for the blanket. I'll work in plenty of bright colors into various tiny clothing items. :] I'm waiting to decide on the color of ribbon after I finish the knitting. Could be a matching sea green, or perhaps a yellow, light or bright. Of course, if we find out it's for a little girl, I may have to go for a light pink ribbon. Cheesy, sure, but wouldn't it be sweet?

I'm using size 7 needles, so it's feeling pretty quick compared to some grand tiny needle lace blanket I had considered. The middle stitch pattern is a 4 row pattern repeat, and it was easy to memorize (shown in the swatch). The border is seed stitch with a picot edging. Simple, but sweet.

Next project to cast on is a cotton summer top out of this stuff:

I'll probably start just as soon as I get the pattern in the mail!

And two really exciting knitting related unplanned wonders (from least to most awesome):
1. I was hired as a teaching aide to a knitting class for kids, but since I know the boss and they really needed help, I'm getting the teacher's position wage ($20/hr) instead of the -typically high school- aide's wage ($6/hr). It's a two week long course, for an hour and a half every morning, and the kids are a delight. I just had my first class this morning, and though it was a challenge (these kids are *just* learning, and at any minute I've got a cue of five kids vying for my attention), I absolutely loved it. Can't wait to go back tomorrow!

2. My mother, grandmother, aunt and I are going on the Sea Socks Cruise!. It's a five night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas, from L.A. to Vancouver. It's at the end of next April, when Andy and I'll be living in Seattle. So, I'll just fly down to L.A. (mum could drive up from San Diego), sail up the coast (stopping in Victoria for a High Tea excursion including a two hour yarn store stop), perhaps take the scenic train down to Seattle from Vancouver, and be home! There's a knitting gift bag (yes, of course it has yarn), plus a bunch of workshops and sessions on board. Be jealous. Better yet, tell me you're going, too!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Welcome! But don't get too excited. I won't likely update here for, oh, five months or so. Don't ask what prompted me to snag the blog now; was I really worried someone else would snatch this name? (No.)

I'm leaving to hike the Appalachian Trail in a week, and will be updating this blog when I get the chance.

Upon return to civilization, I'll move to Seattle (early november?) and start my new life, along with my new knitting blog. Okay, I lied: be excited. Be very excited.

Until I return, I leave blog maintenance to Piggy McPigster.