Thursday, January 18, 2007

100 Things (1-10) & Marble Arches

Thanks for all the nice comments about Beau! Again, I'm sorry I haven't email you all personally. I'm still not getting email addresses in my comments. Anyone know how to fix it? The change coincided with my move to the new blogger - could it be a change in the settings?
Anyway, we've got another FO in these parts...


Pattern. Marble Arches by Sandi for BMFA
Yarn. Pink Granite Medium Weight - special for Rockin' Sock Club
Size. Medium
Needles. Size 1, Addi Turbos
Started. 11/6/06 ish Finished. 1.17.07. I twisted the cast on of the first sock and then reknit the foot of the first sock, which added some time.
Mods. Knit a heel flap rather than short rows. I tried the short rows first, but when you could fit a finger through some of those holes, I ripped back (I made this decision *after* I completed the rest of the sock. For some reason the entire foot was too tight and just looked ugly. I probably would have sucked it up and dealt with the holes if not for the uncomfortable fit. How's that for lazy knitting? Here's the shiny, new heel.
I also changed up the toe by kitchenering a bit early and with more stitches. It just feels better on my feet like that. I could have made more mods that I don't know about - I ditched the instructions when I got to the heel flap.
Thoughts. This is a great pattern, one I plan to reuse for other socks. Even though I know the cables are fake and comprised of some ssk, k2tog and m1's, I'm still fooled. My mind spins at all the other knitting trickery that must be out there. Is there mock fair isle, too?
A close up of the "cabling."
I love how the pooling created nice, thick stripes. I think the areas with thinner stripes around the top of the ankle obscures the pattern. That means a lot coming from me because I think pooling ranks up there with bumpy seams and pilling alpaca. This is pooling I can live with.
If anything I would say my feet are on the large size with size 9 shoes, but for some reason both my properly-gauged blue moon medium socks are on the loose side (I love you, Blue Moon, for making me have "small" feet!). Nothing you can see, but I can feel it. Maybe I have thin feet or something. With Rock 'n Weave, I thought it was a fluke, but this confirms it. Next time, I'm going for size small. And I digress...
I don't know, though. These feet look pretty wide (and oddly flat) to me. (Ignore pasty winter skin).
Oh - one more thing. Ruffles = pretty cool. Ruffles on socks = Ingenious. All socks should have ruffles. Check 'em out up close:

Final Verdict. These socks rule. I'm wearing them right now and actually wore the first one with a different sock while making the second. Come on, I know I can't be alone with that one:)
With the socks off the needles, I only have the secret project going. One project on the needles must be some sort of record for me.
It's getting awfully chilly here in New England. We had our first flurry today, but not while I was home so Miles didn't get to play outside in his first snow. I'm sure they'll be more of that. I'm taking advantage of the cool temps to sport some handknits. Today I wore Electra. Aren't work-appropriate knits the best? Check me out.
Now that I'm home and the heat still hasn't kicked in, I'm wearing Nimbus (my warmest sweater ever. Oh, how I wish Rowan didn't discontinue Polar) on top of my work getup.
100 THINGS (1-10)
I've seen this all over the blogosphere and will be the first to admit I'm late to the party (I think the party might even be over). But, I don't care. I love reading about the knitter behind the knitting and feel like I should offer up something about me. I'm not deluded enough to suspect you're all wondering what else there is behind this knitter, but, well, I'm doing it anyway. Hopefully, I don't chase you away or even worse, bore the crap out of you. I'll pepper the post with pictures in hopes of keeping you entertained.

I know I get lost in a full list of 100, so I'm shamelessly copying
Julie at Fricknits and only dishing out 10 at a time. So, here we go. Numbers 1-10.

1. I've lived in 5 states in my 27 years--4 have been in the last 9 years. In chronological order leading up to most recent... New Jersey, Virginia, California, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Hopefully, I'll keep it to 5. Moving is a pain in the ass.

2. I sing a lot. Never any actual songs, just my own little ditties with content usually surrounding my animals - a recent song was "cone dog" back when
Miles *was* a cone dog. All songs follow the tune of an existing song, I just change the words. "Cone Dog" went with a blend of the "Dreidel Song" and "Jingle Bells." Ironically (and much to J's chagrin), I'm tone deaf.

3. Various people have taught me to knit, a skill I would promptly forget. My grandma taught me at least twice when I was growing up, my bff once about 5 years ago, a BIL's girlfriend, various books. I became obsessed with learning, but had some inexplicable block. Finally, it stuck with me in October '05.

4. My first needle art was crochet. Judge all you want! For years of my youth, I hooked along on a royal blue, black, and white (blech!) afghan. I still have it somewhere although I never officially finished. It is GIGANTIC, but I always wanted it bigger. I think blankets should be huge and cozy. Oh, and I used no other than Red Heart from Jamesway. (Is that store still around?) I got back into crochet in college and made a million Lion Brand boucle scarfs. I thought I was splurging on "good" yarn.

5. In college, I sewed many of my clothes, all of the hippie dress, backless shirt, corduroy with inserts type variety. I still have every piece of clothing (see number 6) and sometimes resurrect an item for old time's sake. Truth be told, I'd probably still wear more of it if I could get away with big corduroy pants, a patchwork top and a giant, ropelike hemp necklace. I don't see too many 27 year old professionals in that getup, though. Bummer. Here's a picture of my most favorite dress, made early in my sewing career (it was my third dress). Cat thrown in for cuteness.

6. I am a packrat. I save everything. I have movie ticket stubs from high school and so many lifted rocks from national parks, I can't remember where they're all from. Conversely, J saves nothing.

7. I studied English in college and was fascinated by medieval studies. My plan leaving college was to pursue a PhD in the subject and teach college. Now I work for an insurance company. There's a disconnect somewhere in that.

8. When I was born, my umbilical cord was wrapped around my head twice. I didn't cry right away and still have faint broken blood vessels on my cheeks.

9. I would rather watch a movie over and over again than one I have yet to see. Movies I've recycled tirelessly include Zoolander, Clueless, Beauty and the Beast, and The Breakfast Club. I have also seen every Sex and the City episode at least 10 times.

10. I drink a half a pot of coffee every morning. I am useless without it.
That's all for now!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Beau: Finished


This has been finished for a few weeks and already sported in three states!

Pattern. Beau by Kim Hargreaves Source. Rowan Vintage Style
Yarn. 5 and them some balls Rowan Yorkshire Tweed in Husk from
Needles. Size 6 and 8 Addi Turbos
Buttons. Random ones from my mom's stash (I bought some, left them at home - I finished this at my parents' house)
Size. Small
Dates Knitted. November 12 to December 25 (talk about cutting it close!)

Mods. Nada. (well, I think the wrong sides of the front and back are now the right sides, but you couldn't tell, could you?)

This was a great pattern and I was flying through for a while on those big needles and thick yarn. I put it down for a few days and had a hard time picking it back up. It's not the most exciting project and guy sweaters are huge!

The sweater has a rustic flair and the tweediness and color of the yarn makes it resemble hemp. J compared it to the drug rug he wore in HS (don't judge! you know what I'm talking about!) J loves it, so success! He says it's warm and soft.

The yarn feels scratchy and rubbed my hands raw, but nothing a good wash and block couldn't tackle. The finished product has amazing drape and a soft, yet durable feel. A major yarn upgrade from J's last sweater knit in Lamb's Pride Worsted - that stuff's itc-hy. J didn't like the "little hairs" all over it. When I told him they were mohair, he wanted to know what the hell a mo was. Ha ha. He still tells that joke.

Photos courtesy of New England winter darkness.

And here's an action shot for you! This is Beau (and Patrick) on NYE in DC! Beau's first vacation -- awww!

The yarn is most like the color in this shot. I should have taken more photos in the hotel room!


Already thinking of my next project, I bought some yarn for some Endpaper Mitts and Anemoi Mittens. After going to no less than three stores that carried zero solid color fingering weight yarn (my LYS - by default because of proximity - didn't know which yarn was thickest--dk, sport and fingering -- this is also the yarn store that didn't know who Elizabeth Zimmerman was AND told me that they couldn't search for a color for me while I waited on the phone. Sigh, I miss Boston and its yarn stores aplenty), I ordered these gems (ha ha!) from kpixie.

I'm thinking I'll use the teal and grey (looks more like cream in this pic) for the mittens to achieve a cool, sophisticated look and the orange and cranberry for some fun, happy mitts. My hands are gonna be warm and stylish.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Pirates and Resolutions

Thanks for all the kind comments on the weekender! I've tried to email everyone personally, but all emails are showing up as "noreply." In any case - thanks!

I know I'm a couple days behind New Years for this, but I've been whittling down my resolutions for the upcoming year. So, here are my five knitterly resolutions for '07.

1. Get comfy with making my own mods for a better fit.
2. Only make projects that I know I will wear.
3. Make a fair isle sweater - perhaps a Dale...
4. Do a little designing of my own.
5. Be a better blogger!

And just for kicks, a few non-knitting related resolutions:
1. Keep challenging myself with sewing, I'm seeing some quilting in the near future.
2. Stay consistent with running - maybe another marathon?
3. Keep in better touch with my friends! (I say this every year).

Okay, that's all the housekeeping for today. Now onto a finished object from (gasp!) last year.

(fluff courtesy of 50% Alpaca)
Yarn. Berrocco Ultra Alpaca, 1/2 skein each black and natural

Needles. Size 3 Clover Bamboo 16" circs, Size 3 Bryspun dpns, Size 2 Susan Bates 16" circs.
Mods. Subbed yarn, used larger needles for lining.
(you can see the join in the back, there)

Dates Knitted. December 29 to December 31.
Comments. This pattern rules. So quick and addicting watching the little skulls come alive (ha ha). The yarn was a little 'eh for me. It's soft enough that I thought it would be an appropriate lining yarn (not the best idea, not the worst. a little itchy, but no so much I can't wear the hat). Great yardage, though, I can make a whole other hat (or mittens!).

And for those of you who like this sort of thing: the inner workings.

That's all for tonight. More pics of Beau need taking before I can post that FO, I started a secret project (oooohh!!) and bought yarn for some hot Eunny Jang colorwork projects. Oh, and I finished a marble arch sock.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Done: Weekender Bag

Happy 2007! I hope you all had a good time ringing in the new year. I have some lofty goals for this upcoming year and some musings on last year, but that's for another post because--


(the top looks kind of bumpy. I think it looks crisper when I'm holding it.)

Pattern. Weekender Bag by Amy Butler
Exterior Fabric. Amy Butler, Sunbloom Collection
Cording Fabric. Amy Bulter, Charm Collection
Lining. Khaki Fabric from Joann's

I relied a lot on the tips from other bloggers who made this bag and wanted to give something back to the blogging community, so here are my....


1. Dominating the cording. As the layers increased in the sewing, keeping the cording sandwiched in place became challenging. I had the best luck pinning the fabric together parallel to the fabric edge, rather than perpendicular. Stopping so often to remove pins got a little annoying, but was better than ripping and resewing.

2. Topstitching = Enemy number 1. I don't get it. I can't sew a straight line when I need to, but you could line a ruler up with all my hidden seams. I think a lot of my trouble stemmed from keeping my sewing machine on a rubbermaid container. I was hunched over and without proper leverage. My skills improved greatly with my new craftspace.

3. Pins = Ouch! Prepare to prick yourself a million times. I'm not just talking about fingers, either. I think I pricked my legs just as many times while pinning the rest of the bag. And at least three of my fingernails have big white marks from being jabbed with pins. I look calcium-deprived.

4. Embrace cutting. This bag requires cutting, more cutting, and then even more cutting. Also, read Amy's instructions and actually follow them. Despite whether or not you think your way is better than Amy, just sit back and trust her. My interior fabric was different length than the pattern specified, so I thought I would take matters into my own hands. Famous last words, right? Everything worked out, luckily, but this episode marked cutting as my least favorite part of the process.

5. Let your perfectionist side take over. If you see something that sort of bothers you and you think you can live with it, just fix it! If a component of the bag frustrated me and I didn't feel like reworking it but still wanted to work on the bag, I would just move on to the next part. Two steps later, I would decide I *needed* to fix the shoddy part. It's not always easy to go back.

6. Learn from bloggers. Read other bloggers advice. I can't tell you how many times I read and reread
Steph and Angela's entries from this project. Thanks for the help!

7. Shopping. Plan on shopping around a lot. I went to Joann's three times and still didn't have everything. Surprisingly, I found the missing piece (heavyweight interfacing) at Walmart. Plus, I had to pester the salespeople for help in finding the right interfacing, cording, etc. Salespeople are your friends.

8. Buy more than enough thread. I've read this advice on many blogs, but it's valuable. Thread is so cheap and when can you ever have enough? I think I bought four spools! That might have been over the top, but it made me feel better. Plus, my sewing machine is marked with an evil, thread-eating bobbin. I swear! It's not sewer error.

9. This bag is giant! Seriously, HUGE! I love it.

10. Make interior pockets. Explanation below.

Pockets. I am by nature, the messiest, least organized person. Some people (namely my husband) would go as far and call me a slob. So, one giant compartment with a few side pockets does not give me any help in this area. What's a girl to do? Make more pockets! I knew I'd at least need a zippy side pocket for my keys and cell phone, so I used
this tutorial from Craftster.... It was invaluable, I followed it to a T. Check out my zippy pocket:

Because I had some extra fabric (I accidentally cut the fabric upside down, flipping the lotus flower pattern) and was feeling motivated, I made a three-pocket side compartment on the other panel. To do this, I cut two pieces of fabric the size of the front pockets and sewed the top and sides together. I then pressed & top-stitched the top and sewed the pocket to the main panel. I took some measurements and stitched three pockets, then continued with Amy's directions. The panel pockets (note the flipped lotus flowers):

Fabric for cording. I ran out of the lining fabric, so I had to use some lighter weight Amy Butler fabric I had in the house. It looks pretty sturdy, but I'm not sure how it will hold up over time. My hunch is that I'm in the clear (fingers crossed).

(I think the bag could already use some ironing!)

Overall, this bag was a fun project and it's already seen a lot of use - even before it had a lining. If you're thinking about making it, go for it. Even if you're a beginner sewer, you'll learn a lot. Just take it one step at a time.

Now, it's time to begin bag number 2!

PS - For you all crazy cat people like me, look at Zoe climbing the screen while I was outside photographing the weekender!