on the needles

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wrapping up some knitting news

Ok - I've got to take a quick minute here to wrap up some knitting news.

Liv has turned out to be a very stubborn girl. She and I are not getting along very well. I don't really understand our inability to connect since I powered through the Ragna cap without even the slightest problem. With Liv - different story. :( I knit the back up to the start of the armhole decreasing and then decided to add an inch and a half in the length. Liv is only 14 1/2 inches to the armhole in a medium & I usually like my shirts a bit longer than that. So, I measured a favorite shirt to the armhole & got 16 inches. I knit the extra length up & then realized that I probably should added the extra length in the right place - ie. before the increasing and decreasing shaping on the waist area. My newly added inch and a half was going to throw the proportions off and make the shirt bag in weird places. So the back has to be ripped back to almost the beginning - all but about 3" worth. :( Feeling a bit frustrated but not yet defeated I decided to start the front to give myself a mental boost before I faced all of that ripping. I thought I would work the front up past the Celtic cables and then I would have smooth sailing with just bunches of reverse stockinette stitch left to knit. Well, somehow between knitting the Ragna cap & the cables for Liv I must have blown a head gasket because I just can't get this chart right. I tried three times & it never looked right. So now Liv is sitting in a bag waiting to be a project for the next knitting class I take.

Also, Nanowrimo starts in two days which means very scare knitting time ahead for the next month. (I will be trying to post a bit on the blog but it may be pretty sparse!) In the meantime I took a look at my WIP's and decided that I didn't have anything going that was brainless enough to be my "escape/relaxation" knitting for Nanowrimo month. I had thought I was going to have all of that reverse stockinette ready to go on Liv.... So I rummaged through my stash & pulled out two projects I already have all of the yarn for.

The first one is the Ribbed Coat with Sailor's Collar from Debbie Bliss Book Six. I am knitting it out of Cascade 220 Tweed in a pretty purple color.

The second project is Gust from the Rowan Plaid Collection which is being knitted in Plaid Driftwood.
I swatched and cast on for both of them over the weekend so I am good to go. I really love working with both of those yarns too so I think my knitting will be my happy place during my Nano month. :)

I also got my toys booklet from Jess Hutchison. Super speedy shipping and really cute critters. I especially like the pillow guy and the robot. Both of those may become stash busters in the future. :)

Wish me luck with Nanowrimo. I think it is going to be fun......I hope!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Woohoo! Score!

Loobylu recently posted about an awesome blogger named Jess Hutch who just happens to have recently put out a book of eight really cute & unusual knit toys. When I saw this I jumped on it and bought a copy for myself and one for my lovely and super multi talented knitting guru Karen who is really into knitting toys. I am was always hoping to find a little present for her (just because she's so awesome) so when I saw the booklet I got super excited and in a few clicks snagged a couple. Yay!

Thanks Jess - can't wait for the booklet. :)

**Whoops! I originally had said that I thought Jess was the creator of the knitted zombies but Rain pointed out to me that they were actually created by Hannah. The really brain farty thing is that I actually did know that because I saw them first on Hannah's blog. I think a new toys book AND knitted zombies was just too much excitement for my tiny brain to process all at once. So thanks for pointing out my mistake! I'm actually one of those people who really appreciates it when someone lets me know I've got spinach stuck in my teeth rather than letting me chatter away all day completely unconscious of the fact that I look like a total dork. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Knitting Gone Wild

My husband sent me this story:

Saturday, October 15, 2005
Knit zombies reenact Dawn of the Dead

This crafy Flickr user has knitted a series of characters from George Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead, then staged photos of yarn zombies chasing yarn defenders. Brilliant and twisted and BRAINS MORE BRAINS.(Thanks, Foist!)

See the rest of the photos here.

I love it when knitting goes wild!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Quick Cabled Cap

I just got Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting book and was immediately dying to try something from it. Her explanations of the technical aspects of how to do her methods of cabling were fantastically easy to understand so I wanted to jump right in. So I made this:
It is:

The pattern: Ragna Cap
The yarn: Katia Montana 2 skeins in color 82857 (that I had in my stash FOREVER)
The tools: size seven addi turbo circs and a stitch holder
Montana has no ply or twist to it so I was having a hard time getting even the blunt tips of the addi's not to split the yarn when I tried to do my usual method of cabling with no cable needle. Since there was a lot going on anyway with the Celtic braid motif I finally gave in and used a stitch holder in place of a cable needle. Why a stitch holder? Because it was handy. It's also very thin so easy to get under and pick the yarn up with. So I guess technically I still cabled without a cable needle. (Please - humor me - I need to hold on to my illusions!)
This was so quick to make - just a few hours from start to finish. I think a few people might be getting one for Christmas. Also - I'm so proud of myself that I used - gasp! - stash yarn. I hope you can see the cables well enough in this photo - they are very sharp in real life, even with the heathery yarn.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Nanowrimo Knitters?

Any other knitters out there who are going to do the Nanowrimo challenge next month? I'd like to know who else is participating and what they will be writing about! Maybe we can form a mini knitter/speed writer sympathy and support group. I may need it! LOL

I am going to be writing a historical fiction novel about the life of Empress Alexandra of Russia. I've already done tons and tons of research - I think I'm really an amateur historian anyway. And they do say to write what you know....

My Favorite Classic

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season (it's sneaking up faster then you realize!) I have launched a Secret Santa sign up over at Knit the Classics. The theme is: My Favorite Classic. Members will be swapping their favorite classic books. For this exchange the term classic is a personal one - the book can be anything that you have read and thought of as a classic. It's not limited to novels, it can be a children's book, poetry, or anything that really struck you as being classic and timeless. We will be exchanging books in the first week of December so if you were thinking about joining KTC now would be a great time to get started. :) The link is over on the sidebar. We are currently reading The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe and next we will read Tartuffe (a really funny play) by Moliere.

Joining the misery

Arrrrghh! I just crafted a clever and witty post about the crappy temple-vein-throbbing-in-anger inducing baseball playoffs, the recent knitting successes I have had: Myrtle off the needles and in finishing phase, Willow on the blocking board, Dixie totally done and my newest sweater project "Liv" from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits Collection (from Silky Wool in Deep Rose culled from my stash) - - but of course, as if to top off the unrelenting misery of horrid calls from biased umpires, shoddy playing which couldn't rise about the said calls and the elimination of the Angels from the series I capped my weekend by pressing the wrong button on blogger and losing my lovely post. So you will just have to accept this instead:

It's Liv. I hope mine turns out looking this nice!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Dixie Redux

So yesterday I "cleaned up" my sidebar. Yikes - ten projects on the needles!? Two are summer projects which probably won't be touched until next summer. One pair of socks for on the road knitting. Two scarves leftover from the olden days of newbie knitting when I was afraid to knit anything that wasn't straight. A coat and a jacket and three shawls. The three shawls will probably be on there for awhile as well. They are slow knitting. I noticed that so far I have only knit myself a coat, a car jacket and a cardi. Even though I have a "thing" for jackets I really need to knit myself a sweater! So that is the next thing to go on the needles. I have my eye on a simple Jo Sharp sweater but what I will actually cast on or is anybodys guess. I am going to use stash yarn though.

But I can't cast on until I clear out the list a bit. So tonight I picked up the Dixie scarf. I was disgruntled to discover that although I thought I was all finished except for attaching the last icord fringe. In reality I had to knit another half of the scarf! :( So not motived but I slogged in anyway. (I am telling myself I can't start something new and can't buy any yarn until two objects come off the list!) Fortunately I am a much faster knitter now then I was when I began this scarf. A good hour should finish her up. It's on 17's and 11's for goodness sake. (That's part of why I I'm not enjoying this knit as much as I thought I would - big heavy needles are no fun for me.) It is interesting how this scarf is constructed - you cast off the two halves together - is this a three needle bind off?? Whatever it is, it seems pretty easy.

Well well - back to knitting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Here it is:

It's the first actual sweater that I actually finished knitting. Then it sat, and sat, and sat on the to be blocked/finished pile for about 6 months. I finally rescued it...took a deep breath and tackled the collar. I would probably approach this process much differently in hindsight but as it was I found that if I picked up the number of stitches stated in the pattern I couldn't get the ribbing pattern to stay true in certain parts of the collar. I decided that I would rather have ribbing that was one stitch wider in parts of the collar rather than have collar ribbing that was offset to the ribbing on the body. I thought it would be less disruptive to the eye. Not my idea of a perfect solution/result though. :( But since I had never done a collar before I wanted to "follow the directions" and see what would happen. Now that I know what happens I feel more confident to branch out the next time and do it my own way. Also, if I do this pattern again (which I might because I deserve a cute little cardi don't I?) I will knit the body a bit longer than the pattern calls for - it is on the border of being too short for my liking although hubby claims to be satisfied with it. He also says it is REALLY warm. He wears it out but sheds it asap when he comes back inside.
Anyhow, the stats:
Pattern: York from Jane Ellison Noro Knits
Yarn: Noro Kureyon # 52 (I think that was the color number)
What I learned: Hmmm...well I learned the Kureyon is rather rough and scratchy to work with but it does "bloom" and get softer with a pre-blocking soak in Euclan. Not sure if it is soft enough to make a pullover out of but perfectly lovely for a cardigan. I don't think Kureyon is the best spun yarn either. It can go from thick to alarmingly thin - so we will see if York springs a leak in the future! Despite these issues I remain a devotee of Noro - you just can't beat the colors & all of the design possibilites they offer.

I frogged it....

So I frogged the Blackwater Abbey Aran hat. Nothing wrong with the yarn, nothing wrong with the pattern - just that the pattern and the yarn don't like eachother. I chose much too dark of a shade of yarn for that pattern. I think that was proven when I sat down to knit on it after having put it aside for months and couldn't visually tell which cable pattern I was supposed to be knitting. :( The color was so dark it just swallowed the pattern. I still want to make the hat though - I will just find a lighter colored yarn.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hurricane Vest Finito

Here it is - all done:

The stats:
Pattern: Hurricane Vest from Rowan Plaid Collection
Yarn: 8 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky
What I learned: Finishing! Shoulder seams, picking up stitches & knitting for collar and armhole ribbing.
This yarn is super fast to knit with, super soft and super warm. I would definately use it again. The knot patrol was happy with this yarn too - only one knot was found.
I also continued with my plan of cabling sans cable needle. I wondered if it would be harder since this yarn is much softer than the Rowan Yorkshire Tweed - but I had really no trouble at all. :)

Hooray Hurricane Finished! :)

I've got the finishing done. I can't help but feel that the poor thing is held together with spit and good intentions... but then I'm always my harshest critic! Let's let hubby wear it for a few weeks and then I guess I can uncross my fingers, exhale and believe that the thing won't actually fall apart when the next good stiff wind hits it. :)

Photos to follow......

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Playoff knitting...

Getting some knitting done whilst watching the baseball playoffs. My pick for the winner of the World Series is the Cardinals. I hope my mojo holds! But I have faith in Davy & the crew. :)

Hurricane is all seamed up. I did it - I did it! So tedious & a bit difficult because it was reverse stockingette which was a bit more difficult to see I think. But I fumbled my way through & it looks reasonably good. Same with picking up and knitting for the collar and sleeve edgings. Only my second time doing that & it was a bit easier this time around. I have the collar and one sleeve done. It takes me about an hour and a half to pick up 60 stitches (because I fuss so much at getting them looking right) and then about 10 minutes to do the knitting. (Luckily I had plenty of time during the miserably long Braves/Astros game. 18 innings in the end? Sheesh...thank goodness it was a day game!) My hubby has tried on the vest and it fits! As a bonus it fits me too! :)

I am also knitting on the Myrtle sleeves. Doing both at the same time & about halfway done. Moss stitch is simply devouring the yarn. I hope I still have enough!

And - okay - I fess up. I started the Mango Moon kit. I initially started the boat neck pullover but about ten inches in I realized it would be heavy and ungodly hot. So I frogged that. Believe me when I tell you that recycled sari silk and mohair does not like to frog. I now knitting the ribbed cardigan. I think this will be much better. I'm not sure I have enough sari yarn though because one of the hanks was almost a complete loss due to knots. There must have been twenty knots!! I'm not exaggerating. I lost at least half the hank so I bet I will have to pick up another one. I've got the back finished and the sides cast on (doing them simultaneously) but I'm not sure how fast that knitting will progress. Despite it's many obvious, serious limitations I do like the sair silk. But for some reason (I think it's the mohair) the yarn feels a teeny bit slimey to knit with and I also have a lingering fear of hairy yarn. So I definately have to be "in the mood" to knit on this. Despite that, I would really like to get ahold of some more sari silk to knit the purse in the new Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton book - Noro Revisited. I think that is a perfect pattern for this type of yarn and would make nice gift knitting.

The Yankees just scratched out a win over the Angels so guess what I will be watching tomorrow night. I am rooting for the Angels over the Yankees but either one could win. I think the Yankees would be easier for the Cardinals to beat but wouldn't a Cardinals/Angels World Series be interesting? Two small ball clubs going at it. Woohoo! That's my kind of baseball. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hurricane on the blocks

Hurricane is blocking. Maybe it will be an actual sweater soon?? It was a super speedy knit. About 2 1/2 days of knitting time. Hopefully just as quick to finish!

Still working on the sleeves for Myrtle. Is it just me or is moss stitch an incredible yarn hog?
I'm a teeny bit worried about my yarn supply running out but I think I will be okay. I'm just not sure how much will be required to knit the hood. I've never done one before & it seems like it is the kind of thing that might take up a lot more yarn than you think it will.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Moss Stitch....

...is making me dizzy. I finished the knitting on Hurricane (two days total! Speedy knit!) and while it is patiently waiting to blocked, I went back to knitting Myrtle. I'm on the sleeves right now & they are done totally in moss stitch. I like moss stitch but all that back and forth, back and forth, back and forth is making my eyes cross! I've got the body finished although I had to go back and re-knit the top of one of the sides because I had skipped the armhole shaping and went right to the straight knitting followed by the neck shaping. Between this and my similar brain fart on Willow I am starting to wonder if this is a trend? I frogged and re-knit the Myrtle but Willow is still in a time out. My goal is to get the sleeves finished before I start another project. Do you think I can do it? I probably can....except for the fact that the Mango Moon recycled sari silk sweater kit that I bought at the LYS last weekend is staring at me.....I have been wanting to try the sari silk for a long time. All the skeins I had felt were very scratchy though so I held off until I saw the Mango Moon kit. I'm pretty sure they must wash these skeins prior to sale because they are really soft. But I am determined to finish something old off the on the needles list - so on I plow with the dizzying Myrtle.

Tomorrow - if I'm in the mood! - I will hopefully get some blocking done. I'm starting to get a back log with bits and pieces of Willow, and Hurricane waiting patiently to be put together.

I also picked up York from the finisher at the LYS. It came out looking nicer then I had imagined it would. I'm so critical of my own work! I think the sweater could have done to have been a bit longer though. I may have to knit a bit extra onto the end. Photos to follow.....