Saturday, August 30, 2008

Early FO: Night Shirt with Crochet Trim

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Later on I'll have pics from The Knitting Nest and my Big Baby Scarf, now frogged and restarted. But first, I found another Early FO at my parent's house tonight that I want to share.

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You have to look closely to see the crochet. I debated counting it as a crochet FO at all, but I think it's an idea worth sharing.

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Around the eighth or ninth grade, I got a set of ten white XXL shirts from Sam's with the idea of decorating all of them. I think this is the only one I actually decorated.

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It took me a while to figure out how I did it. It looks like I (or maybe my Mom) went around the sleeves and bottom with the zig zag stitch on the sewing machine. I crocheted into the sewn stitches with a steel hook (I'm not sure which size) and white crochet thread.

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After crocheting the trim, I added a bow, and then my parents helped me dye the whole thing with Rit Dye. It's a little discolored now. I wore it to bed a lot, and it got washed a lot. (Rit Dye isn't exactly the highest quality stuff anyway.)

Now it doesn't fit me (or at least not loosely enough to be a comfy night shirt), and it'll probably go in the garage sale pile. But I did want to document it first.

Parting Shot

Mom's Spice Drawer

I thought I'd post a picture of Mom's spice drawer in the kitchen. She recently organized it and put labels on top of the spices to make things easier to find. It's one of life's little victories. Like organizing your knitting bag before a plane trip.

Friday, August 29, 2008

FO: Soy Wool Spiral

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I can't wait until it's cold enough to wear this hat!

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Tonight I finished my Soy Wool Spiral hat. I was so excited that I didn't bother to change out of my pajamas to take the pictures.

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This is my first time doing a three needle bind off. I used a tutorial from (Ironically, I have more experience with the Kitchener Stitch, which is more difficult.) Here is a look at the seam from the inside.

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Here is the seam from the outside. The pattern calls for a three needle bind-off, but you could probably use the Kitchener Stitch to make it less noticeable. I might consider that in the future, but the seam adds some character.

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Once again, this is one of the Spiraling Stripes Hats by Lee Meredith, aka "Leethal." It's a good pattern with several variations. I did the counter clockwise spiral with a straight brim. This hat is knit from side to side, so I used US Size 5 aluminum straights like these, and a US Size 7 needle for the three needle bind off.

The yarn is my own handspun from the Tour de Fleece. It's a soy/wool blend. I'm guessing that it's worsted-ish, and I spun about 120 yards. I still have about half the hank left. The pattern doesn't take much yarn. I was pleasantly surprised by how even the yarn was when I knit it up.

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I was worried it would be too small, but it seems to fit. I'm trying to remember if I added another short row "wedge" or not. As you can see from this picture, it can easily be worn as a beret.

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Poncho Pig likes the beret look.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

FO: Wickerware Socks

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

These socks have been a long time coming.

I've had to rip back several times. I screwed up the stitch pattern more than once, messed up one of heels and somehow did the Kitchener Stitch backwards. And those are just the mistakes I remember. The pattern isn't hard as far as sock patterns go, but these socks lost their "mojo" at times.

To recap, this is the Wickerware Socks pattern. The pattern calls for two sizes of needles, a smaller size for the ribbing and a larger size for the rest of the sock. I used US Size 0 and US Size 00 dpns from my Susan Bates Sock Needle Set

The yarn is Austermann Step in colorway 04. This yarn is infused with jojoba and aloe vera to make it extra soft. The jojoba and aloe vera are supposed to last for 40 washings. The recipient is diabetic, and I thought the aloe vera would be good for his feet. These socks are "man socks" so they took almost all of the ball, although I probably have enough left for a pair of baby socks.

This is a Christmas gift for a male relative. It feels good to get these done.

I've come undone...

Almost done

During my break at work I undid the Kitchener Stitch that I botched up last night. I even doubled checked to make sure the stitches were seated correctly.

Amy pointed out that I had two chances to get each stitch back on the needle, which made me feel better about the whole thing. Hopefully I'll have an FO post tonight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One of these things is not like the other...

I made a mistake

One of these things is not like the other... What do you think, Cookie Monster?

I really thought I'd have an FO post of my Wickerware Socks tonight, but something went horribly wrong.


Somehow, I managed to do the Kitchener Stitch backwards.

The last couple of stitches always seem to be wonky when I Kitchener Stitch. So I decided to consult the TECHknitting blog for advice. I didn't find out about the last stitches, but I did find this tutorial on how to do the Kitchener Stitch without a tapestry needle. I tried it, and something went wrong.

What happened?

I guess I shouldn't have tried to fix what wasn't broken. (I ended up switching to a tapestry needle halfway through anyway. It was faster with a tapestry needle, although I think this technique is good to know for when I don't have a tapestry needle.) Other than those last couple of stitches, my Kitchener Stitch is fine. The first sock was fine.

My next challenge is figuring out how to un-Kitchener Stitch. For tonight, this project goes in timeout.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday Ten: Ten Books I'd Like to Own

Sorry I'm late tonight. Here's your Tuesday Ten.

KnitPicks had their summer book sale recently, but I skipped it because I was trying to save up money for the (now canceled) yarn crawl and for my next trip to California.

I'm not as pattern crazy as I used to be when I was little, so I'm pickier about the books I purchase. I love flipping through them at the bookstore and checking them out from the library, but I usually want something I'll refer to again and again before I actually buy. Here are 10 books I'd love to add to my collection.

1. More Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer - I already havet the original Big Girl Knits, and I have knit the Cherry Bomb tank. This one has even more advice and several promising patterns. Besides wanting to support all things plus size and all things Amy Singer, I want to knit the Susie Hoodie, which looks a lot like A Cardigan for Arwen.

2. Son of Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller - I've missed two chances to meet Debbie Stoller. Once I made the mistake of asking my boss for the day off to see her in Tampa when I lived in Florida. My boss wouldn't let me, even though I had plenty of vacation days, and ended up losing some of them because I didn't take them. Everyone who hears that story tells me I shouldn't have asked, and just called in sick. But that's what I get for trying to do the right thing. (Not that I'm bitter.)


The other was time stupid. When she was at Hill Country Weavers, I didn't open the e-mail about it until it was over.

At any rate, the Stitch 'n Bitch series has helped set the tone for knitting today. They have great patterns, great tutorials and interesting cultural tidbits. Son of Stitch 'n Bitch has some background about the history of men and knitting, and I really want to knit the double knit argyle scarf on the cover.

3. The Yarn Lover's Guide to Hand Dyeing by Linda La Belle - I've been looking for a good reference for hand dying. I almost bought this one, Along with More Big Girl Knits, at the KnitPicks book sale. After listening to the review on KnitPicks and flipping through it at the bookstore, I was sold.

4. The Knitter's Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes - From the good folks at Knitter's Review, this book incorporates all the same close detail to fiber and construction that is discussed in the website, and gives an overall view of fiber and yarn.

5. ColorSense: Creative Color Combinations for Crafters by Susan Levin - Another area where I want to learn more is color theory. I'm looking for more resource, especially related to knitting, crochet and fiber in general.

6. Knit with Beads: Stunning Shawls and Wraps by Scarlett Taylor - This is another book that I want after hearing the KnitPicks review. According to the review, this books goes into great detail about the different techniques for working with beads. I have a couple of ideas involving beads, and I think this book would help.

7. Intertwined by Lexi Boeger - I'm borrowing this book from the library right now, and I want to own it. There's so much good information and inspiration. I was sold after reading about the yarn spun to represent Reagan's trickle down economics. It was designed to be knit from the top down, so the top is white and sparkling and the bottom is dark and dirty. I love this stuff!

8. The New Knitting Stitch Library by Lesley Stanfield - I've already checked this one out of the library twice, and I want to check it out again. There's a lot of great stitches in that book.

9. Aran Sweater Design by Janet Szabo - I was really inspired by the Stash and Burn interview with Janet Szabo. Her accounts of the swatching that goes into her designs inspired me to swatch every Sunday. (Although I need to get back on track with that now that the Ravelympics are over.) According to the KnitPicks review, this book goes into great detail, not just about the cables, but how they work together.

10. A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker - This is the grandmama of all stitch dictionaries. Walker's stitch treasuries are almost a religion. The Walker Treasury Project is dedicated to preserving and sharing her work. Eventually I plan to get this one, along with A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Things that cut into my yarn budget: The Dentist. Again. (and some other stuff.)

I really, really, really thought today would be my last dentist appointment until I get another exam six months from now.

But nooooo. It's been so long since the I first started that I've developed two brand new cavities. Crap!

So this time I'm really going to get serious about flossing. I hope. Soon I'm going to run out of teeth to drill.

The cleaning wasn't that bad, but my gums are sore. But then again, they were poking them with sharp things. Also, I had a discussion about the unpleasant scraping sound the dentist's hook against your teeth with Lyndsey and her family on Sunday, and that didn't help.

This next round will be October 1, and will cost $89. They kept talking about "downgrading" my fillings, and I finally got an explanation. Apparently my dental insurance, through the bastards at Cigna, will only cover silver amalgam fillings in the back of my teeth, not the white composite ones. The white ones are considered "cosmetic" if they are in the back of your mouth. The problem is my dentist, and just about every other dentist in the country, doesn't use silver amalgam fillings anymore. It's a racket.

The good news is that I finally got my $600 stimulus rebate. It's only two months late. It's going straight into my ING savings account as soon as it hits my bank account.

(BTW - The ING account is a great deal. It's gotten some great reviews. I can give out a referral code to anyone is interested for a bonus when you sign up. If you are interested, e-mail me.)

Also, the Rainbow Bright Lunchbox went for $31 last night. I put it in the mail this evening. My next project will be more difficult. It's the Playskool Village Blocks playset. It will be harder to ship, and some of the stickers came off. Still, I think it may sell.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ravelympics Closing Ceremony

I feel like an idiot. I realized too late that I didn't have until this evening to finish my Ravelympic projects. The Olympics ended this morning in Beijing while I was still asleep. Everything was timed on Beijing time. Otherwise I'd have at least one or two more FOs.

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I'm down to the last toe on my Wickerware Socks. Believe it or not, I did a lot of knitting while watching "The Dark Knight" last night. My friends and I went on a whim, so I didn't bring good theater knitting. But I borrowed a mini flashlight from Lyndsey to periodically double check where I was. I stopped when I got to the toe, because I needed to do more counting. I think I did about 40 rounds.

I also gave this hat as a birthday gift, along with some other goodies wrapped in fabric. (The recipient is a seamstress.) I knew the right occasion would come along, and lime green suits her. The fit was a little big, but the slouchy look worked pretty well. I wish I'd remembered my camera.

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I've passed the halfway point on the Spiraling Stripes Hat (aka Soy Wool Spiral.) I suspect that I will have to add more "wedges" to make it fit my ginormous head.

Despite my stupid mistake, I'm proud to have finished four projects, taken home seven medals for Team Austin. (Team Austin had 21 members and won 20 medals.)

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I am about to go delete all the Ravelympic projects that were never started, with the exception of Odessa. I bought beads to match the yarn yesterday, and I plan to get started on it in the next day or so.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

WIP: Soy Wool Spiral

Ready to Knit

Last night I wound my yarn and got ready to cast on.

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This was how I had gotten when I went to bed.

I'm working on one of Lee Meredith's Spiraling Stripes Hats. There are several variations you can try. I'm doing the straight brim with the counterclockwise spiral. I've dubbed the hat "Soy Wool Spiral" because I'm using my handspun soy/wool blend.

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Here's where I am as of now. I'm pleased that the striping is going so well. The pattern was originally written as part of a kit that came with striping yarn. I'm glad my color repeats are long enough.

With any luck, I'll be done by Sunday night.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Time to actually use some handspun

Tour de Fleece 2008 yarn

Remember this yarn from the Tour de Fleece? It's going to be one of these Spiraling Stripes Hats if the gauge works out.

I did a little math, and estimate there are 120 yards in this skein. And some very imprecise measurements with some measuring tape lead me to believe I'm getting about 10 wraps per inch, somewhere between DK and worsted.

I'm off to roll this into a ball and swatch.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

FO: Marjaana Moebius

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It's done!

(Don't you think this would look great with a nice pin in the picture above?)

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I finished the applied i-cord bind off this evening. This is another Ravelympics entry, for both the Gift Knits Pentathlon and the Cowl Jump. I hope this is right size for a cowl. I was thinking it would be a little thicker and smaller in diameter, more like a turtleneck. But I was worried that it would be too tight. I still think it looks good.

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To review, this is the Purl Ridge Moebius from A Treasury of Magical Knitting. I used less than half a skein of Schaefer Marjaana in the "Rosa Parks" colorway. (Schaefer Yarn often names their colorways after famous women.) I also used US Size 4 40" Addi Turbo Circular Knitting Needles.

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I'm seriously considering making one of these from my handspun.