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Monday, March 31, 2008

Fateful Error!

I made a fair amount of progress on The Deviation From Standard Handwarmers yesterday:

thumbshortfall top

This is the point where the thumb gusset would be complete - do you see the problem?


How about now?

thumb shortfall

Yes, it turns out that if I had knit the handwarmers according to the pattern, the thumb gusset would have been horridly short. Partly because my row gauge is off, and partly because I have freakishly large larger than average hands. So my error in starting with the ribbing was quite fortuitous. Forget knitting the second handwarmer top down!

There's also the issue of the pattern not standing out as well as it should - this is probably a combination of a marled "background" colour (one ply of which matches the turquoise) and my very rudimentary two handed knitting skills. There's alot of variability in the tension the contrast colours. These are the stitches that I knit with my left hand - no big surprise. It might also be related to which hand's yarn ended up being "dominant" - it looks like it was the contrast colours rather than the background yarn. So when I knit handwarmer #2, I'm going to switch the background yarn to my left hand and see what difference it makes to the pattern.

But I don't care that much if the pattern is indistinct - if worst comes to worst, I can just look at that lovely corrugated ribbing...


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Deviation from the Deviation

I finished one of the secret projects last night. Since Sandi was kind enough to stop in at Romni to buy me another skein of Wildfoote in blueI thought that I might as well start working on The Deviation from Standard Handwarmers (again). BTW - this brings the total skeins of yarn purchased for this "stashbusting" project to 3. Which is the number of skeins that I started out with in my stash. I wonder what stash yarn:purchased yarn ratio is necessary for a project to qualify as "stashbusting"...

Now CathyCate had previously left a comment indicating that she would add some ribbing to the bottom of the handwarmer. I decided to try this, and thought that it would be a good opportunity for me to give corrugated ribbing a try. And guess what?

My first corrugated ribbing!

I love it! I love the way the colours worked out, with the dark purl stitches peeking through. And it's not just the way it looks - I love the rhythm of knitting it. Love love love it! I want to hug it and squeeze it and name it George!!! I want to run outside and show strangers this thing of beauty that I just created (Oh, wait, I'd probably have to pay royalties to someone if I did that...). I want to start knitting fair isle sweaters just for the corrugated ribbing. In all seriousness, I had trouble falling asleep because I couldn't wait until next morning when I could start knitting the handwarmers again.

So this morning, I woke up early, and started knitting. I took a break to go to yoga class, then came back and started knitting again. I knit until I was almost through the first 8 row pattern repeat:

At this point, I realize my mistake.

I decided then to take a look at the photo in the book to see how much contrast there was between the background yarn and the second darkest yarn:

standard deviation

That's when I realized something horrible. This pattern is knit from the top down, not the bottom up. I had just added ribbing to the top of the handwarmer. AAAARGH!!!

Sigh. This, boys and girls, is why you are supposed to read through patterns before you start knitting. Although in my defence, I had read through the pattern, but I hadn't sat down and thought about the construction. The fact that the first line of the thumb gusset involved casting on 19 stitches hadn't rung any bells.

So I had 3 options - 1) rip everything back and start over, 2) start knitting the thumb in reverse at this point, and just accept the fact that the pattern would be "upside down" when worn, or 3) rip back to the ribbing, and then start knitting the chart from the top down, replacing the K2togs and SSKs in the thumb gore chart with kfbs.

I've decided to go with option #3 - as much as I enjoy knitting the corrugated ribbing, I am definitely not a process knitter. When it comes time to knit the second glove, I will follow the pattern as written, and then see what difference there is between the 2.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Plus it brings out the colour of my eyes...

From Knot much of a Knitter

You Are Teal Green
You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.
What Color Green Are You?

The Lines in The Sand Sweater is blocking (after re-knitting the collar 2 or 3 times) - I'm hoping I can get some non-bathroom mirror shots before the end of the weekend. Hopefully the first part of the secret project knitting will be completed tonight while I sit in the same room as watch NCAA basketball with The Gambler.

BTW - Is there a reason why nobody ever says N-C-double A anymore? Did all the C-cup cheerleaders complain?


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Grab bag post

Anne is having a contest.
Overheard at a pub while waiting for the other SnBers to arrive:
"You don't have a cell phone? How do you communicate with your kids?"
This morning I had to get to work early to do a procedure, so I didn't have time to get a lunch ready. Not a problem - I had a container with some leftover chinese food sitting in the mini-fridge freezer in our on-call room. It had been there for about 2-3 weeks, and the opportunity had not yet arisen for me to eat it. When I got to work, I went to take it out of the freezer to thaw. The freezer was empty. Nothing there except for ice build up.
Now, the only people who use this call room are those doctors who are on call for the ICU. Right now there are only 2 of us. So if I didn't take it out, my colleague probably did. Which meant that he either ate it, or threw it out. Both possibilities baffled me - what the hell was he thinking?
So, I decided to check out the lunch buffet at a nearby Indian restaurant (our hospital doesn't really have a cafeteria). It's in a strip mall, along with a Christian bookstore, a mini-mart, and a Goodwill. I decided to pop into Goodwill to see if I could find any knitting books there (several of my knitting books are from secondhand shops). No knitting books, but I found this for $2.50:
A cool little metal container which can serve to store all sorts of stuff...
...such as the collection of sock yarn leftovers (mostly Patons Kroy) that was on sale for $2.50. The colours are mostly blues/browns/greys, and perfect for contrast toes/heels. Or maybe even some fair isle. So I actually benefitted from having my lunch tossed.
But rest assured...I'm still bitter about it.
Although it looks like Somerset is admiring her reflection in the lid in the photo above, she was actually rubbing her face against the edge. She loves rubbing her face against rough things, especially zippers. She has all sorts of weird habits - for instance, She's been drinking water out of glasses for a while now.
But now it's getting a bit bizarre - she'll walk by a fresh bowl of water to go check out the coffee table for glasses containing water. Today there was a glass that was too small for her head to fit into, and she started going crazy - scratching at some nearby paper in frustration, trying to figure out how she could get at that water.
Geri commented a few posts back that it's surprising that Somerset tolerates Greedo sitting on top of her. The other night, Somerset was curled up in a little ball sleeping. So Greedo decided to get comfy as well.
Hey, where's Somerset's head?
Here it is!
I don't know which cat is weirder - Greedo for laying down on top of Somerset's head, or Somerset, for tolerating it for a good 5 minutes.
Incidentally, not all of the yarn in the bag from Goodwill was Kroy. There was some balls that looked like they were acrylic, and one very old ball band that proudly proclaimed:
"100% Virgin Nylon"


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Done...sort of

I cast off the Lines in The Sand Sweater tonight:

finished version 1

I don't think this is going to be the final version. The bind off I used is too tight - I might just do a sewn cast off, or try again with a larger needle. The seed stitch borders at the bottom and the cuffs should have been knit with smaller needles - I may cut them off and re-knit from the bottom. It also feels a bit tight across the shoulders - maybe due to the bind off? I'll reassess them post blocking.

But otherwise, I'm pretty pleased with my first "real" sweater.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Everyone needs a dream

Looks like it's going to be sweater weather for a while longer...

March 24
So I'm focusing my knitting efforts on finishing this sweater this week. If I can keep Somerset away that is - I'm knitting it on 2 long circs, and there are several dangly things that she finds irresistable.
I was concerned that the mismatched sleeves would look kind of wonky, but I think there's enough variation in the body of the sweater that they don't look out of place. Now I just have to figure out how long to keep knitting - making the neckline higher seems to be a popular modification.


Monday, March 24, 2008

I liked it so much...

...I bought all that was on Ravelry!

Sadly, I think that the woman who handpainted the yarn for my March Madness Monkey Socks is no longer in business. I was looking to see what other colourways were on Ravelry, and noticed that someone had Knitwerx yarns for sale. So I am now the proud owner of Ravelry's largest Knitwerx stash.

Autumn Woods:

Knitwerx Autumn Woods

Raspberry Mousse:

Knitwerx Raspberry Mousse

Falling Leaves:

Knitwerx Falling Leaves

Plus I've got 2 more skeins of a pink/olive colourway that I bought at the same time I picked up the Monkey sock yarn that I haven't photographed yet...


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sometimes I do finish things...

A month or so ago, I finally sewed the buttons on the cardigan I had intended to give to my niece for Christmas. A week or 2 later, I mailed it to The Gambler's brother.
Luckily she's chubby big rather than long big (note the rolled up pant legs); it fits her nicely.
Intentional face cropping on my part - The Gambler's brother has a PhD in something to do with communications, and asking him for permission to post a photo of his progeny on the Internets would likely lead to some pedantic yammering on his part.
I'm hoping to have more baby knitting to do in the future - my brother and his wife are registering with an adoption agency. Since he's not bitchy like my sisters the only sibling I get along with a great guy, I'm hoping that things work out for them.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday night...

Conversations overheard in Indian restaurants:

Woman: "She has a Corgi - they have big heads for their size"
Man: "The Queen has Corgis"
Woman: "Really?"
Man: "Yes, Corgis come from Wales"
Woman: "From whales???"
Man: "You know, Wales, the country"
Woman: "Oh, WALES. I've always wanted to go to Wales..."

Woman one: "We are going to see that new movie The Other Boleyn Girl next week"
Woman two: "I can't wait to see it; I love movies set in that era - you know, like Pride and Prejudice"

You know how some knitting projects have a black hole phase, where you knit and knit and knit and nothing seems to happen? I have discovered an unusual variation of this effect:

sleeves March 22

I think that my arms are growing at a rate equal to that of the sleeves. The sleeves themselves seem to be getting bigger, but when I try them on, the gap between my armpit and the needle remains unchanged. The sleeve on the left is in a time out right now - there was a knot in the darker colourway skein which led to a sudden colour change from blue to black mid-stripe. I'm trying to decide if I should just leave it or rip it back and start the stripe out black.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Blog Tour Outtake

I'm working on some secret projects right now, so for your amusement, here's the photo that didn't make it to the Kitty Knits Blog Tour post:

Greedo getting high on mouse butt

And they think I'm weird for sniffing shoes...


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All is revealed...

See that wonky stitch? That's the grafting row.

I think that happened when I got up to throw something at
convince Greedo to get off the counter.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Letter from the Idit O'R.

Dear Guinness Marketing Department:

Although I think that the idea of making St. Patrick's day a national holiday is idiotic, at least the commercials that you came up with this year have some comedic merit. Perhaps you should have a chat with the people at Hallmark before their big "Step-Parent's Day" launch.


Last year I had a plan to knit a pair of socks each month. I think I made it to 10 pairs (if you count the 2 pairs of footlets). March's socks were the Djungle Djaywalkers - which knit up quickly in sportweight on 2.75mm dpns, but since I did not read the pattern all the way through, I didn't decrease the number of stitches when it came to the sole of the first sock, and it was too wide. I adjusted the stitch count appropriately for the second sock, and figured that I'd get around to re-knitting the first sock later.

Fast forward almost one year to last Friday. While rearranging tidying up my stash in preparation for a potential inlaw visit, I remembered the Jaywalkers. Perfect socks to wear on St. Patrick's Day - because even though I have absolutely no Irish descendents whatsover, I am currently in a "wear green on March 17" phase of life (Childhood - wear green because that's the colour of clothes that get laid out for you; Adolescence - don't wear green to look cool, Early Adulthood - wear green because it's ironic and you are hip; Adulthood - wear green because it means you have one less decision to make in the morning; "Middle" aka "A Certain" Age - wear green because you have an adorable St Patrick's day themed shirt; Old Age - wear green because that's the colour of clothes that get laid out for you).

So I ripped back the socks and re-knit the foot part of Sock A. Now, it also turns out that there was an issue with Sock B - even though I had decreased the number of sole stitches appropriately, I had knit it with a short row toe, which ended up being somewhat wonky when it came to grafting the toe shut, since the number of stitches on one needle didn't match the number of stitches on the other needle. So I ripped back the last few inches of Sock B, and re-knit the toe with the appropriate adjustments.

Here's the finished product in all their (ever-so slightly mismatched) glory:
There was a bit of variation in the colour repeats - different dye lots, maybe?

The "I don't know how to dance a jig, but I can sure polka" shot

And here's the part I am most proud of - the kitchener stitched short row toe:
kitchener 2
Guess where that grafting is - I dare you!

Actually - you might be able to tell on this sock:
kitchener 1

Although it's tedious, I do get a kick out of doing kitchener stitch - even when it's 32 stitches across! Talk about rewarding - a new pair of socks after just one weekend of knitting!

Now where I did I leave April's socks that just need to be grafted shut...?

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fair Isle Faux Pas

Here's my first go at the Deviation from The Standard Handwarmers:
swatch 1 no flash
Hmmm...we seem to be lacking something...contrast, perhaps? In retrospect, using the marl with bits of red as the background colour probably wasn't a good idea...Will have to start over with another colour - another yarn purchase to go towards the stash busting project!

I'm not too bummed about having to start over - this is my first "hold one yarn in each hand" project (I kind of stumbled along with the fish place mat). Many thanks to Glenna for pointing me towards the Philosopher's Wool Tutorial - it's perfect. Ironically, although I have always knit English style (more or less), it's not my left hand that I am having problems with - it's my right hand! I was trying to "push" the right hand yarn rather than "throw" it, but had trouble maintaining tension.

Although the handwarmers are now having a time-out until I can make it to Romni, I'm still reaping the befefits of the tutorial - keeping the 2 colourways of Silk Garden on either side of me as I knit sleeves is working brilliantly!
Sleeves March 16
Progress will be faster now that I no longer need to take 5 minutes to detangle every 3 rows!!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Kitty Knits!

Welcome visitors! It's awesome to be part of the Kitty Knits Blog Tour - Donna Druchanas has created a book with some adorable projects.
IMG_4599what's my password?
Since Greedo and Somerset are the feline stars of this blog, I'm turning the interview over to them:


Hmm...maybe it would be best for me to do the transcription.
The cats decided to play a variation of "Would you rather...?" with Donna.

Thanks to Peggy and Soosan for the inspiration.

Somerset: Would you rather be referred to as a cat owner who knits, or a knitter who has cats?
Donna: I'm definitely a cat owner who knits. Although I've been totally obsessed with knitting for the past several years, I don't know if that will last forever. But I'll always want to live with cats!.
Laughing Somerset
Ha ha, we cats kick knitting's butt!

Greedo: Would you rather untangle yarn or clean out the litter box?
Donna: Litter box. I've been known to give away tangled yarn because I didn't have the patience to untangle it! Cleaning a litter box only takes 5 minutes. Untangling yarn can take days.
g peeved closeup
Hey,if it takes 5 minutes, how come our boxes aren't cleaned daily?

Somerset: Would you rather bring home new yarn or take an afternoon nap with your cats?
Donna: Nap! I don't have a big stash. I only buy yarn when I know exactly what I'm going to make with it -- or if something I've been wanting for a long time goes on sale. Otherwise, it just makes me nervous to have a bunch of yarn that I don't know what I'm going to do with.
nap with stash
We like to nap with the stash...
Greedo with stash

Greedo: Would you rather knit 6 swatches for a project and still not get gauge or take your cats to the vet?
Donna: Both! I love swatching. But you can do that in the waiting room at the vet, can't you?
Did someone say vet?!? You like going to the VET?!?!?

Greedo: Would you rather knit with scratchy yarn, or babysit an unfriendly cat?
Donna: Knit with scratchy yarn. I actually like some scratchy yarns a lot and I know they'll get softer when I wash them. I don't mind babysitting unfriendly cats, but it's much more fun to take care of a cat who loves to cuddle.
g miffed closeup Well, of course they're going to be unfriendly if you keep talking about trips to the vet...

Somerset: Would you rather be shed on by a cat or by yarn?
Donna: Cat! I'm not fond of shedding yarn. I might, on occasion, put up with it from angora. But I can't think of any other shedding yarn that I'd enjoy.
I don't shed much...well,not as much as Greedo...OK, maybe just a different colour than Greedo...

Somerset: Would you rather see someone knitting one of your patterns, or see your cats running to greet you when you come home?
Donna: My cats. It's fun to see people knitting projects from my books, but there's nothing like being welcomed home by your loving feline friends.
somerset on the place mat How about being greeted by a cat on top of one of your projects?

Back to the book: it has a nice variety of patterns - they are grouped into knits for cats, knits for people, and knits for the home. Each category has projects of varying skill levels. The projects utilize several different techniques (fair isle, lace, intarsia, felting), with a brief, yet succinct explanation of each at the end of the book.
I decided to knit the Felted Goldfish Cat Place Mat using Ella Rae Classic and 6.5 mm needles. It's a nice introduction to colourwork - the chart is easy to follow, and since it's felted, minor mistakes can be corrected with duplicate stitch.
half mat
It knits up quickly, and used less than a full 100g skein of the main colour.
finished back
Instead of following the pattern exactly, I knit it all in one piece (turning the chart upside down to knit the second border)

In retrospect, I should have trimmed those loose ends a bit shorter before felting, because they grabbed onto some of the floats on the back. (Of course, I was felting in a front loader, and ended up putting it through 2 cycles by accident, so if I could have checked it intermittently, the ends might not have been a problem)

I also put it through the dryer. The final fabric was pretty dense, and my crochet skillz are rudimentary at best, so I did a simple blanket stitch border:
postfelting closeup crop

post felting
It's the perfect size - no more stepping on stray kibbles!
placemat in use
I also couldn't resist the Felted Catnip Mice:
prefelting mouse
A superfast knit!
mouse and greedo
Kitty Approved
mouse and somerset
mouse post felting
The bobble ears make me smile. This would be a perfect last minute gift for a cat lover.

Greedo and Somerset highly endorse Kitty Knits.
stuff on my cat
Thanks for stopping by!