Sunday, October 30, 2005

I finally succumbed

It took a while, but I finally got bitten by the bug. The Clapotis bug that is.

I'd been debating what to do with the Lion and Lamb I purchased in Chicago, and since I had two rather than three hanks, I was shying away from Clapotis.

It's such soft yarn though, and it was just begging to be knitted up. And after printing out the Clapotis pattern and reading it, its genius was finally beginning to strike me.

So last night, I wound the yarn up in to balls, and got it started. I modified it to be about half as wide and I'll just keep knitting until I run out of yarn so right now it looks as if it will be about the same length.

Isn't she purrty?

And here are the dropped sections I've started.

Let it never be said that I can't focus on a project when I want to. I started yesterday and am almost halfway done today! Sure, I have two sweaters on needles, and would like to finish my current pair of socks before I start a new one at class Wednesday. Sure, I have several design projects floating in my head. But I want my Clapotis!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hourglass sweater so far

Not much knitting, as I'm prepping for Halloween, which is my absolute favorite holiday, but I did snap some photos of my hourglass sweater tonight:

So far, it's moving really quickly. I did decide to change the pattern a little bit. The pattern has a girlie shape, and this yarn has a bit of mohair in it, so it's got a fuzzy halo to it much like Kidsilk Haze, so I'm adding some extra-girlie touches to my version of the sweater. I got both Knitting on the Edge and Knitting Over the Edge a few weeks back, so I took some inspiration from those.

First, I decided to do a picot edge rather than the straight hem the pattern calls for:

Then, once I finish the bulk of the sweater, I've decided I'm going to knit ruffles to sew inside the cuffs and hem so it looks like there is a ruffled blouse peeking out. I have some KSH in Pearl left over from my sister's shower gift (a little over half a ball) and some in Black from my Rowan subscription gift (2 balls) so I need to figure out how far I can get with what I have. I'm leaning towards the Pearl, but I'm not sure I've got enough to do the sleeves and the bottom.

Plus, a lot of people have complained that the neck is too wide on this sweater. Now, I like a wide neckline, but I was thinking that I might be able to rig up a ruffle at the neckline to get some more coverage up there too.

In any case, I think I'm making the Girliest Sweater in the World!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The VW Cozy part is done!

Remember this?

It's now this:

Pattern: made up off traced tissue paper piece
Needles: US size 19
Yarn: Lion Brand Big (3 hanks)

So now I need to drop off the finished piece and my extra materials this week, and then sometime in December, I'll have photos of my piece attached to everyone elses.

I don't like the way my increases look, because I had to use kf&b rather than something prettier due to the freakin' enormo-gauge of this yarn. But, it is to be covered up by many "embellishments" so perhaps they will end up not showing.

I have definitely learned a lot about increase math by doing this. So now sweaters should be a cinch. I never want to work on this size of needle again. Even with circs, I still had to move my entire arm to wrap the yarn. It was like knitting with broomsticks. Not fun. But the project itself was fun.

On the other projects:
-I hope to have my crusoe socks finished this weekend. I am about ready to start the heel on the 2nd sock

-You haven't seen carlotta progress in a while because I had to let it breathe while I figure out what to do about some bead placement "issues." Basically, whether I can stand the pain of frogging half of the 9" I have done so far.

- I started my Hourglass sweater, with modifications, but have not yet gotten the camera out yet to take some photos. I'm flying on it so far though.

-I've stalled out on my TKGA Level 2 swatches yet again. I'm now thinking I need to find different yarn because I don't like the way my stitches seem to be leaning in the Encore. (Of course, it could be me, not the yarn, but how will I know unless I try something else?)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Carlotta in German still is Carlotta

OK, so every so often I go searching for blogs mentioning Carlotta from Rowan 36 (look, right there's another hit!) and since there is apparently an Anne Rice book with characters named Carlotta and Rowan, I get a lot of hits concerning that, and a lot of British and/or Italian genealogy links, but not so much on the knitting front, especially on the knitting of this sweater.

So imaging my surprise when I found a knitting blog that mentioned it today. One problem.

It's auf Deutsch. Now, I took about 4 years of German, but it's been several years, so my general ability in speaking/reading the language tends to run towards the "I'm sick/tired/hungry." sorts of phrases.

So I put the text of this entry through Babelfish and it pretty much translated the part of it that I could read anyway (that the knitter in question is about to start the project). I think she says she's looking for other knitters on the web who would like to knit it, but I'm not entirely sure (there are a couple of words that the online translator just can't deal with.) I'd like to email her, and I can muddle through in German (looks like she can read English too according to her blog list) but I want to make sure I'm not missing what she's saying.

So I'm off in search of someone more fluent than I now.


So, every time we get to this time of year, I start to get little pangs of guilt. See, it's time to sign up for National Novel Writing Month and I would love to do it someday. And I know that the whole point of Nanowrimo is to stop saying "someday" and start writing now, but I'm conflicted.

Last year, I had what I thought was a great idea, and I signed up. Then I broke my hand around October 20, so I was unable to type or write at anything resembling the speed necessary for nano, so I was forced to quit. Especially since after I got out of the splint, I was seriously behind deadline for knitting holiday gifts. And yeah, I still think my idea was a pretty good, albeit wacky one (the plot concerned a hypochondriac young woman who was convinced she lost psychic powers when she had a tumor/vestigial twin removed from her head in junior high. Sort of the chicklit version of Stephen King's The Dark Half.) But I've not felt compelled to write it.

Which brings me to the guilt. All through college, where I was a creative writing major, and even before that, when I had teachers in high school gushing over my writing, I've heard repeated over and over some version of the phrase, "If you are truly a writer, you will be compelled to write -- you will be unable to stop yourself." And I always felt like such a fraud when I heard that, because I never felt that way. Ok, so once in a while I'd get a good idea and just run with it, but I never built up the momentum to keep that compulsion to write going for a long time.

And then it hit me last week: there is something I'm like that about. Knitting. I can't stop myself. When I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about it. I'm sketching things out in my planner at lunch time, and I hardly ever go anywhere without needles and yarn. So maybe this is the thing I'm "destined" for creatively.

So then I got to thinking: what if there were a nanowrimo for knitters. Because really, ultimately, the goal of nanowrimo is to get you working creatively. To just give you a jump start and a structure to let you go with it. So why couldn't it work? A NaProKnitMo*? A NaKniPaWriMo**? Or maybe just NaUFOKnitMo***? Would it be just about knitting? Or design work? How would we gauge "winners"? Number of projects/patterns complete? Number of stitches? Yards of yarn knitted through?

Would anyone be interested in this? I could probably get a website set up for signups and tracking in a pretty short time if I had enough interest. I'm thinking January or February might be a good time -- I've never been a fan of Nanowrimo's November time frame--too close to holidays and such.

Let me know your ideas!

*National Project Knitting Month
**National Knitting Pattern Writing Month
***National Unfinished Object Knitting Month

Monday, October 17, 2005

The other thing I get to do, now that I finished up the Access database of yarn, is track my stash. I'm trying to deplete it somewhat. So, I shall be counting it down (and hopefully not up) over there in the sidebar.

So, I had 473.3 balls in my stash after those last few purchases. After finishing up the scarf, that leaves me with 470.3. Woo!

I have to credit Natalie at Keeping me In Stitches for the idea on doing it this way. I totally stole this idea.

OK, first things first, I changed my email address about 2 weeks ago, and apparently, I forgot to update it in my blogger template. So I just now noticed that I have been getting comments recently. So please don't think I'm rude if I haven't responded to you. I'm running through and finding the recent ones now. Give me a poke if you still think I'm ignoring you tomorrow.

In exciting knitting news, I have an FO and a half!

First off, is last night's accomplishment, the first Crusoe sock is complete. And lo and behold, it fits....kind of. Well enough that it's wearable, though it could use a bit more room. I really like the look of these, but oh boy is the math off in that pattern. Like way off.

OK, there would have been a photo of that sock right here but I can't seem to find it right now. Sheesh.

Secondly, I finished my Scarf Me! pal's scarf tonight, so it will be off in the mail to its recipient in the next day or so. I ended up using three balls of the yarn, which made the scarf top out at 70" long. I hope that is long enough. It's definitely got some stretch to it, so it could even be blocked out longer than that if she wants. I'm not going to block it before I send it, because I think it looks pretty good right now, and I love the springiness of this yarn (I am lamenting that it's been discontinued.) Anyway, here it is:

Pattern: Double Basketweave Scarf by Ann Budd for Interweave Knits Staff Scarves (pdf)
Yarn: Rowan Cork, 3 balls
Needles: US size 11

Now, I get to devote even more time to Carlotta. And oh yeah, that VW bug trunk. I really need to get going on that. I still haven't been able to bring myself to frog my most recent attempt yet.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A short week means my weekend update is late late late

I spent a good deal of time this weekend working on one of my most geeky knitting projects: the Access database I use to track my yarn, and the photo gallery of my stash. Some might regard those as overkill, but for me, they help me stay organized.

The results of running the report on my database? I own roughly 35,000 yards of yarn in 473 balls. I won't embarrass myself with the associated dollar figure, though I'm happy to report it's actually a great deal less than I'd guessed.

Part of that total actually was new purchases, but they are for specific projects. I've decided I'm allowed to buy for design projects only from now until at least the end of the year, then next year, the goal is to decrease the stash. Especially considering that stash total includes two frogged summer projects (the Ribbon X-back from knitty in Rowan Cotton Tape, and my long since finished and totally unwearable Honeymoon cami, from the era before I understood gauge) that shouldn't present a problem really.

But anyway, the new purchases were all for projects soon on deck. First off, some Jamieson's Double Knitting. This is for a super top secret design project that I came up with after awaking from a nap. I would love to try to get this published, but even if that doesn't work out, I will certainly be putting out the patterns for this. You can probably guess that it's fair isle, but I'm keeping mum on the rest of the details:

Next up, a whole pile of Regia, because I'm taking an argyle sock class at Knitter's Mercantile in November. I think I picked out too many colors probably, but I was indecisive. I'll be able to make lots of socks from these. Lots of wacky socks!

And lastly, I restricted myself to one ball of Karaoke. This stuff is pleasantly soft, and frankly, that's a nice surprise, because I tried one of SWTC's other wool/soy blends, Sophia, and I don't like it all that much. It's got a very crunchy feel that's kind of unpleasant to knit with. But Karaoke is super super soft and nice. I have an idea in my head to blend Karaoke with the Silk Garden I bought a while back to create a tweedy fabric, but I haven't landed on the right stitch pattern yet.

The gals at KM were a bit reticent about my idea to combine two self striping yarns, but I'm still not convinced it's a bad idea. The surprise was finding out that my Silk Garden started out with blue! I thought this colorway was all greys and greens, but I was a bit off. So the swatch is going to have to go for a while longer to figure out quite what it's going to look like on a larger scale. Plus, I need to really get out a stitch dictionary and start trying to figure out what the stitch that's in my head really is.

In other news, I did my first swatch for the TKGA Level 1 Certification tonight. I think I'm happy with it, but when I cast on for the second, which is in 1x1 rib, I determined I need to get some more practice at multiple cast ons, because my old standby didn't give me a good edge to start from. In a way, doing these swatches feels like learning to knit all over again. But that's still kind of fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Car Cozy, Part Deux

In college, there were a few of us that had this running gag based on the phrase "the bane of my existence." It just seemed such a hardcore thing to call something, that we got much mirth out of calling ridiculously silly things "the bane of my existence." For example, "these brownies are the bane of my existence." Or, "The fact that the x-files got pre-empted is the bane of my existence." It was kind of the pseudo-intellectual way of saying, "this sucks."

All silliness aside, I think that this VW cozy is the true bane of my existence, at least my knitting existence.

I tried to start it two weeks ago, and found that the bottom curve, because it is so shallow, is nearly impossible at a gauge of 1.25 stitches per inch. That night, I started and frogged it four times.

Then, I was picking up a friend for lunch last week and ended up behind a VW bug at a stop light. I followed the car for four blocks, trying to commit the exact shape to memory. I think that, at least on this model, the curve was not so much a gentle curve as a rounded corner. Which makes sense, as my pattern piece is not 100% symmetrical.

So I started again Sunday evening, casting on far more stitches than I had been, and figuring out the math on the curve as rounded corner.

The good news? I got the curve math right for the most part.

The bad news? I started with two many stitches, so now it's too large.

At least it's closer this time. It gets frogged once more, and then I should be on the right track.

I still think this project is fun in concept, but knitting on size 19 needles is not so fun. Especially since my other current projects are on size 1s, 3s and 11s. Even the 11s feel luxuriously small next to 19s, which require me to move my whole arm to wrap the yarn.

The good news is, it only took me about 30 minutes to knit up a whole ball of the yarn, so that's in my favor.

Hopefully I will return to this project tonight and finish it up. Because I organized my entire stash this weekend, and got new yarns for some design projects, and I won't let myself start until I get this and my Scarf Me project done.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Greatest Hits - Sock Style

So Quiddity is having a contest to show off your hand knit sock stash and win some sock yarn.

As we all know I love free yarn, I shall now post my entry:

Fuzzy Feet - Mom Fuzzy Feet - Dad
Magic Stripes - Me Mini-Sock - SP4
Fancy Rib - Julie Crusoe - Me - In Progress

As you can see, I've not done many socks, so I'm stretching the definition and including my felted slippers, which are knit like socks.

The top two photos are Fuzzy Feet from Knitty, knit in Lamb's Pride for my mom and dad.

The stripy sock is out of Lion Magic Stripes and was my first "real" sock. Those are for me. The smaller one was made from leftovers using the stocking ornament pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The grey ones were finished about a month ago for my friend Julie out of Regia, and that last one is Crusoe, still in progress in lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock.

That's it. Now, were I to flash my stash of sock yarn, that would be a longer post. So hopefully a year or so from now there will be more finished socks to show.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Slouchy hat

I needed some instant gratification knitting the other night, so I picked up the ball of kooky boucle yarn I got in Chicago, and some size 15 needles, and set about to make myself a sloppy slouchy hippie hat.

Now, the instant gratification part didn't really work out, because somehow, I completely ignored my gauge and managed to not once but twice cast on for a hat that was more of sweater diameter. But the third time was a charm and I ended up with cute headgear, almost exactly like what I'd set out to make:

Pattern: Loosely based on the tam in the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd
Needles: Size 15 Circular
Yarn: Karabella Puffy, 100% Merino Wool.

I look a bit off in that second photo, but my roommate took it so the colors look more spot on. Plus, it could be worse. My hair is hiding the single worst zit I've had in 15 years, otherwise that photo wouldn't be featured here at all.

I continue to work on my Scarf Me! pal's scarf--I'm through about 1.5 balls of Cork right now. After that, once I finish the VW bug cozy piece, I'm allowing myself to cast on two more projects at a more normal needle size since everything else I have on needles right now is on US size 4s or smaller. So that will likely be the Hourglass Pullover from LMKG, and a Clapotis. Yes, I'm finally breaking down and making one. I kind of feel I have to since I bought the Lion and Lamb in Chicago. The thing that cinched it was that when I went to check out the pattern this afternoon I realized that it does include instructions for making it smaller, which I will need to do since I prefer a skinnier, more "scarfy" look, and because I only have two hanks of the yarn.

Now I just wish the weather would cool off a bit so I could actually wear some of my handknits. I don't get this whole 90 degrees in October thing. Yuck.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I'm productive again!!!

So in spite of moving and cleaning out the old apartment and all that, I have gotten some knitting done as of late. And more stashing. Always with the more stashing.

First, we shall see my Chicago purchases. At the Renegade Craft Fair I got some fab handspun from a woman who lives in Chicago but has a family with a sheep farm in Michigan. It's undyed, so I will probably use it for my first forays into Kool Aid dying.

Then my two purchases from Loopy Yarns. This nifty Karabella will become a cute little tam/beret type thing:

and I'm still debating what to do with the Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. That's the Tuscany colorway. If I call up the shop and see if they have another hank in the same dyelot, I might be able to squeeze out a lacey shrug in this. Although Clapotis is calling my name more than it has been so far. Hmmmm...

My project for toting around to work, and out and about has been the Crusoe socks from knitty, out of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport. I turned the heel while we were in Chicago and half tried it on. After really upping the number of stitches from what the pattern called for, I still have a sock which might fit and might not. I like the way this pattern looks, but I don't like the way it's written much at all. But hopefully the finished product will pan out:

What really took off this weekend is Carlotta, which I'm using for the Colors of Autumn KAL. I started doing the beads! And the body is absolutely flying in comparison to the 1x1 rib.

I'm doing the beads a bit differently than the pattern calls for. Rowan would have you string all 1,400 odd seed bead onto the yarn before starting. However, I'm finding it easier to use the world's smallest crochet hook to pull the stitch through the bead. It's working out wonderfully so far. I'm not totally enamoured with my bead choice--they're a bit shiny I think--but I am happy with the overall effect, and I think the intarsia on the front will balance it out quite nicely.

My Scarf Me pal's scarf is coming out well too. I decided to use one of the Interweave Knits staff project patterns (Ann Budd's double basketweave) and I have knitted up one ball of Cork. Right now, I estimate if I use all the yarn, it will be about 7.5 feet long. Pretty cool. I do love the way this yarn is knitting up--it's really really soft. But I'm not so thrilled about the knots I've been finding in it. If it were for me, I'd probably keep on knitting and take my chances, but since it's going to someone else, I'm being all perfectionisty and will have lots of ends to weave in later as a result.

A photo thus far:

Speaking of perfectionism, I got out my TKGA Master Knitter Level 1 packet tonight and started the first swatch four times. I'm not sure Encore is the best choice for that. My 2x2 ribbing looked like crap. Perhaps I'd knitted too much this weekend.

There will have to be a whole post about the VW bug cozy later in the week. I have procured a 32" size 19 circ, and started freeforming the shape tonight. I started the first four rows four times before abandoning it because my arms were hurting.

And today, Lisa and I went to the Knit Out and Crochet. It was fairly uneventful, as there were only a couple of people we knew via SNB there, but I did get a spiffy door prize:


This week brings my first SNB in a while, the Craftin' Outlaws craft fair here in Columbus, and some design work. I awoke from a nap on Saturday with some pretty brillant ideas (if I do say so myself) for a line of hats that I hope to be my first patterns under the WittyKnits label. They will take a lot of planning, but I think they are going to be a hit! Watch this space!