Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Progress Report-Knitting Skills

I've been knitting for less than a year, and I wanted to compile a list of the things I've learned thus far, as a method of measurement of skill and accomplishment.
Here goes:
-casting on (both long tail loop and backwards loop)
-knit stitch, continental style
-purl stitch, continental style
-determining what stitch should come at the beginning of the next row (this one may be taken for granted, but until recently, I couldn't even figure out if I should knit or purl next in stockinette)
-increases (so far, I know M1, kf&b, and yo)
-decreases (ssk, k2tog, ssp)
casting off (I only know one way of doing this as of yet)
-feeling confident about making "basic" substitutions
-Reading patterns, although I've yet to knit from a chart
-Adding a new ball of yarn
-Making slight modifications to a pattern

Monday, January 28, 2008

Oh the decadence

Here's pictures of the yarn I spoke of in my previous post.
First up, Tilli Thomas Disco Lights

Tilli Thomas Aspen

Cascade 220

and Shibui Knits Baby Alpaca

A yarny weekend

Last week, I ordered some decadent Tilli Thomas yarn, both for a wedding gift, and for myself. It came Saturday, and, while I did take pictures, I of course forgot to upload them, so for now, you'll have to take my word for it-the stuff is heaven. I paid more for the skein of Disco Lights (for the present) than I've ever paid for yarn, but what the hell? It's a present, and it's so soft. I'm making Square Cake, and the Disco Lights yarn is a soft pink, definitely not something I would normally pick. I'm excited about this present. I'm in my friend Terra's wedding, and we've known each other since elementary school. She wanted a bag for her makeup/misc things on the big day, and I thought this pattern would work perfectly.
I also bought a ball of Aspen for myself. It's so soft and gorgeous, in Dusty Rose. I promise to post yarn pron pics tonight!
I worked up the other Twiggy Tweed panel yesterday, and I started on the strap, and got about 5 inches in, so I hope to finish all the knitting part this week, and then all I have to do is pick fabric for the lining. :)
Yesterday, the boy's mom invited me to check out an LYS in Spring, The Hen House. The selection was great, and it feels rustic, in a good way. I, of course, did not leave empty-handed. I scored three skeins of Cascade 220 in a gorgeous heathered colorway, and some oh-so-soft Shibui Knits Baby Alpaca. I only bought one skein of it, mainly due to the price tag, but I have big dreams for the stuff. It's heavenly soft.
So, yeah, pictures of all my stash enhancements to come later today. Prepare to drool.

Friday, January 25, 2008

WIP-Twiggy Tweed

Jill's birthday gift is coming along nicely. I've almost finished the front, and I've picked out a contrast color. I'm knitting it on size 7 needles, as the author (owner of my favorite online yarn store) suggests. I'm using Paton's Classic Wool Merino in Taupe, and I've decided to use some of my coveted RYC Cashsoft DK in Kingfisher for the accents. I'm excited about how the panel looks so far, and I only have four rows to go before binding off. The construction is really cool-I like how the holes form.
I plan to knit the back piece this weekend as well, as I've heard many horror stories about gauge change if you wait too long between matching pieces. I've learned a new cast-on, the backwards loop method. I've only ever used long-tail, but there is a section of this pattern where you must cast on out of thin air, so to speak, and my typical method doesn't fit the bill. It's always nice to add a new stitch to your catalog. :)
Here's a shot from a couple of days ago. The holes are now completely apparent, and I think that turquoise Cashsoft is going to look splendid peeking out!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's not you, it's me

Look, Two-toned ribbed shrug, I love you. I want to make this work. You and I, we are on the same team. I'm sorry I yelled at you, cursed at you, and threw you across the room. It doesn't mean I stopped loving you. You just frustrated me so much that I had to walk away and regroup. It's perfectly natural to fight once in a while, but please, let's get through this last little bit. I know it's the hardest part, but I need you to work with me, not against me. I'm going to focus on a birthday gift, Twiggy Tweed, until the wounds heal, but I'll be back for you. Don't give up on me.

This past weekend, I needed a break from the shrug, so I knit up a quick FO, Le Slouch (pdf). It was just the remedy I needed for my stress over the shrug. I finished it Sunday while watching ridiculously stressful football. I have an "in progress photo" but no FO pic, because it's been rainy and overcast. This will have to do for now.
I used the specified yarn, Classic Elite City Lights, which I purchased for $1.99 a ball at Webs a few months ago. I liked the thick and thin texture of the yarn, and it knit up nicely. The tiny amount of nylon in the yarn gives it a good amount of stretch. I only used a little of the second skein, so I still have about 1.7 skeins left-maybe I'll make another slouch, or maybe a bag. I used size 8 dpns, and didn't switch to size 9 as the pattern recommends, mainly because I don't have any size 9 dpns.
I also cast on today at lunch for Jill's Twiggy Tweed.

On a non-knitting note, we got a bird feeder for the back porch, and the pets were very mesmerized by the birdies. We even saw a cardinal!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not the greatest day ever

The day so far:
-woke up sniffling at 5:30
-went to the dentist
-found out I have to get wisdom teeth removed (I thought I was out of the woods-I'm 26)
-came to work
-found out the insurance policy on my townhome never went into effect because some idiot at the insurance agency didn't cross her t's.

Bright side: my sister is coming by work and we'll get to eat lunch together.
Even dimmer bright side: when I get my wisdom teeth out, hopefully I can stay home and knit once I come out of the pain/stupor.
There's no doubt I'm an optimist, right?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Weekend busted

The boy had a crazy week at work, so we opted not to go to Austin this weekend after all. I went to the book club, which was very entertaining, and hung out with my sister after the meeting. I didn't do much knitting, but I did watch more football than I intended (and actually enjoyed it a little). I got a few inches done on my mom's scarf, but am still afraid to pick up the stitches on the shrug. I just need to bite the bullet. I offered to make my sister a purse/bag for her birthday (March), and she chose Twiggy Tweed, so after I finish the shrug or the scarf, I'll start that. I've picked the yarn (from stash!), but I need to figure out which t-shirt/fabric I'll use for the lining.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Weekend

Even though it's only Wednesday, I'm excited about the weekend. Saturday morning, I'm going to a book club meeting. It's the first one, and we will pick our books for the year. I've never done anything like this before, but a coworker invited me, and I thought it would motivate me to read all those books on my amazon list. I love to read, but somehow, crafting seems to get in the way of it. Hmm. Wonder how that happens.
After the meeting, the boy and I are heading to Austin. A friend of mine from high school is having a murder mystery party. It shall be entertaining, and drinking shall occur. Of course, the main reason for excitement is I will see Sarah and we will knit our hearts out, as we always do when we hang out. I'm bringing my shrug, and she will supervise my picking up stitches, to make sure I don't screw it up.
Sarah and I are also planning a knitting vacation in March. The plan is to head to New Mexico. More on this later.
No knitting last night, but I did do some pilates, something I haven't done in months (or any working out, for that matter).
One last random piece of info: I bought some fabric on eBay yesterday, and I'm hoping to make a quilt. I'm not sure if it will be for my place or a gift, but, yeah, another fun craft.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I can see it now

The finish line is close on my shrug. I'm nearly done with the second sleeve, and I will finish it tonight, as well as seaming of both sleeves. Now, all that's left, is the daunting picking up of many stitches. :\

Me? No, I ain't scared. Not at all. Okay. Maybe a little. I just don't want to botch my knitting this late in the game. It's one thing if, right out of the gate, you mess up. But now? Nope. Not gonna happen. I will again, turn to the internets for assistance, as well as my go-to knitting queen, Sarah, to make sure I don't eff it up.

Unfortunately, I'm not home right now, so I'll have to post pictures this evening. Maybe the pictures will contain sleeved completion!
Of course, my mind is already wandering about what the next project will be. I haven't touched any other knitting since I started the shrug, which is kind of a neat feeling. Don't get used to it though.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Favorite things


My sister gave me these cool sock monkey slippers for Christmas. They rock, and I wear them all the time when I'm home. I wore them last night while I worked on my shrug, and drank some:

Now, I know, blueberry beer sounds a little odd, but trust me. It's not too sweet or artificial, and it has a great flavor. The boy and I are hooked on it, and have been snagging a six pack every time we see it. The site is here and they have lots of other beers, but down here in Texas, I think it's hit or miss. Either way, if you see it, you should try it.
As for my shrug, I'm only 6 rows away from breaking off the sleeves.
The WIP so far.
Now, granted, these are looooong rows, but I can finish them quickly. I'm motivated to move through it. :)

A close-up of my stitchery. It's getting better.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A good start

Monday, after I got home from work, I plucked myself down on the couch with one of my Christmas presents, Fitted Knits, by Stefanie Japel, some worsted weight yarn (Paton's Classic Wool Merino), and my new KnitPicks Options set for some New Years' Eve fun. I watched several episodes of the Law and Order marathon, had some blueberry beer (sounds weird, but it's lovely), and got through rows and rows of the Two-Toned Shrug. Since this picture, I've made some more progress, and hope to be starting on the sleeves before the weekend. I was a little apprehensive about KFB and PFB, but I feel pretty good about both now, and am currently fearing picking up stitches, but I'm hoping, it too, can be conquered!
I'm not too sure what my second tone will be,or if I'll knit it all in this snuggly green.
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