Monday, March 26, 2007

Total cut up

OMIGOD WHAT IS SHE DOING?!!!



Relax...



I don't know why people get so freaked out about steeking. I had no problem taking scissors to my knitting! (Of couse this wasn't an intricately patterned fair-aisle, but nonetheless.) You see, the sleeves on my cashmere sweater had ended up too long, but I could totally live with that (I wear cuffs, no biggie). But the way the sleeves belled? It drove me bonkers! (How ribbed sleeves turned bell-shaped is beyond me) The sleeves got caught on doornobs, drawer handles, furniture... Then there was the absent minded dipping of sleeves into plates of food, dishwater, and other such unpleasant substances (unpleasant to sleeves, that is). Something had to be done. A couple of stitches on Mr.Singer, a little snippy-snippy and all is well.

All other knitting appears to be at a standstill. Socks? Lost interest. Beret? 192 stitches around is awful tedious for such a small project. Loopy pillow? The thought of starting over after ripping back so far is distressing. Tuxedo jacket? Left in limbo until I can figure out what the heck is going on under the sleeves. Sigh.

On a completely unrelated note: I joined a knit-a-long! The Phildar swing jacket knit-a-long to be exact. You can read my first post here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Swap-er-oo!

Lookee what I got in the mail this week:



Yarn! Yay! This marks my first official yarn swap, thanks to the ever fabulous Knitty coffeeshop messageboard. I am now the proud owner of Alison's cast-off Morehouse Merino, and all I had to do was ship off some linen yarn I had no idea what to do with (or why I bought it in the first place). Whoever dreamed up this concept of yarn-swapping is a genius!

In UFO news, I am no longer "gnittink", but the knitting gods are still refusing to smile upon me. Twinkle's Tuxedo Jacket appears to be a dead easy pattern, but I'm completely stumped. My issue is further detailed on the (again, allmighty) Knitty board here if you'd like to look it over and add your two cents. I must still be paying penance for for overestimating the simplicity of certain knitting projects. * Sigh * I will take solace in my squishy new merino...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

GNITTINK

Gnittink. Knitting backwards, which is exactly what I seem to be doing as of late. The loopy pillow? A total snooze to knit, so I reserved it for 'mindless' knitting. You know something to be knit at Stitch n' Bitch, or while watching a movie with subtitles. I now find, there is no such thing as 'mindless' knitting. Mindless implies without mind when in fact what I really intend was knitting without a lot of mind.

Case in point: The loopy pillow. Instructions read; cast on 42 stitches, work in loop pattern for X number of rows until work becomes square, blah, blah, blah. Easy peasy. After a couple of 'mindless' knitting sessions I had it pretty much in the bag. On closer inspection, all was not well in said bag. My square was not looking particularly square. Rhombus, Trapezoid, Parallelogram perhaps (don't quote me on the geometry, it's not my forte), but definitely not square. How could this be? The knitting was mindless!

Truth be told, on more than one occasion I had come across an extra stitch (Not surprising giving the 'loopyness' of the pattern). On such occasions, I would knit two together, happy the texture would cover the mistake, and go merrily on my way - knit, knit, knit. It turns out I must have done this a few more times than necessary. When I finally noticed how wonky my knitting had become, I had 30 stitches on the needle. THIRTY! That's TWELVE less than I needed! (You can quote me on that one, I'm fine with basic subtraction.)

I sighed. I cursed. I ripped back. By the time I got back to 42 stitches I had just a few rows completed:




The knitting fought back. Beware my friends: Never overestimate the mindlessness (or without a lot of mind)of any project!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pants on fire

I am, indeed, a liar-liar. Let's just say, I'm a recovering fiber-snob. See what I bought yesterday?



So what, right? Look closer:



Eeeek! It's a big pile of synthetic yarn! I'm giving acrylic another chance, and you know what? It's not so bad. It might have something to do with the fact that knitting it with cadillac of needles, Addi turbos:



I've been dying to knit something else from Twinkle's Big City Knits but sadly, as of late, I just haven't had the Big City budget. (2007 is proving to be the year of the empty pockets, but I won't bore you with the details) After resisting the temptation to buy yarn for months (I live around the corner from a yarn store people, my restraint has been nothing if not heroic!) as well as dutifully knitting from stash, I was getting desperate. Enter: $2.97 Softee Chunky. God bless the good people at Zellers. The yarn for the sweater will probably end up costing less that the needles it was knit with!

So the sweater in question?




The "Tuxedo Jacket". In an effort to maintain my cheapskate status, I had to choose something that didn't require buying new needles (I'm also a fan of the Karate Sweater but it's not like I just happen to have 19mm needles kicking around)

I've grown a little bored with my current W.I.P's so I cast on yet another new project: the Purl Beret.



It must be peer pressure as two of my favourite bloggers (Amy and Cara)have recently completed this pattern. . Of course, I also just happened to have the right yarn. You see, before I learned how to knit socks, I picked up a skein of Koigu, coincidentally, at Purl Soho. Upon my return I realized not only that a) I had just flown to NYC and brought back Canadian yarn, but b) one skein of Koigu KPPPM will only make one sock. Rats. Short of knitting for amputees or peg-legged pirates, this yarn was not going to become my first sock. To the stash it went. Once again, my knitting chakras must be aligned because it all worked out in the end. Not only did I find the perfect pattern for one skein of sock yarn, it was designed by the very people who sold me the stuff in the first place. Good knitting Kharma!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's a clip show!

I have found myself with a serious lack of blog-fodder as of late. W.I.P's are slogging along, no great revelations or insight, no news. What's a blogger to do?
Revisit the past! Remember my knit-o-lutions? Neither do I! I thought I'd take a look back and see if I could cross anything of the list. Call it a quarterly update.

2007 KNIT-O-LUTIONS


• Learn to knit Continental style
• Knit something requiring (stranded) colour work
• Felt something on purpose
• Knit something with cables
• Knit double the amount of sweaters that I did last year (that would mean 2)


Oh dear. Let's break this down:

• Learn to knit Continental style: PENDING. I don't know whether to consider this fulfilled or not. I attempted continental knitting. Does that count? I knit a swatch and found it awkward and painfully slow. I gave up on it pretty quick. I think it's a classic case of old dog/new tricks. Or impatience. Either/or.

• Knit something requiring colour work: NEGATORY. Nothing yet, but I hear Lettuce Knit may have a fair isle class in the works for the summer. I'll get to it - must knit argyle someday!

• Felt something on purpose:NOPE. I just haven't found a felting pattern that appeals to me yet.

• Knit something with cables: SUCCESS! The Best Friend Cardigan! It's no aran masterpiece, but hey - a cable's a cable.

• Knit double the amount of sweaters that I did last year 50%Not too shabby! I did complete two sweaters in 2007, but technically, one was started in 2006. I won't count it (but I reserve the right to reconsider if I find myself a little short on the sweater count come December).

SCORE: 1.5 / 5

Not too shabby for just a couple of months!

Next on the agenda: stashbusting. EEK!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lickety split knit


***BLINK***


Ahhh. Sometimes you just need to whip up something quick n' dirty to make yourself feel like an accomplished knitter. This pattern is 'hothead' from Stitch n'Bitch , knit in Lamb's Pride Bulky.

This is a full circle knitting story.

After knitting my brother a Dr.Who scarf for Christmas, (requiring no less than seven different colours of Lambs Pride Bulky), I still had a decent amount of yarn leftover. Yay! I told him I would (eventually) make him a matching hat. Three months later (giggle, eyelash bat), I finally dug out the yarn. I had planned on just winging-it pattern-wise, then I recalled my bro had taken a shine to a hat in the Stitch n' Bitch book. A few years ago, he gave me the book (again, for Christmas) and I remember looking through it with him. Something stripey had caught his eye. To the bookshelf I went! I flipped through the book and would you believe, the pattern in question called for... drum roll please... Lamb's Pride Bulky! Ding! Ding! Ding! How's that for a co-inky-dink?

As a side note, let me just say, I loves me some Lamb's Pride Bulky. So cushy and ropey and fuzzy. I totally think it's underrated!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mopey Lopi

I present to you the completed Best Friend Cardigan:





I feel completely "phneh?" about it. The yarn is kinda busy. I was concerned it would be too small and/or completely unflattering and I find it bordering on both. (Let me assure you, this is a very misleading photograph and may not accurately capture the true bulk of the sweater. I don't normally have such impeccable catalogue-model posture!) While I probably wouldn't be described as exactly big, I still don't enjoy looking bigger than necessary. Why then, did I choose to knit an super-bulky weight cabled cardigan? I've been asking myself the same question and here are my answers.

- I frequently allow myself to be mislead by pretty pictures. Show me haute couture crumpled on the floor and I'll walk right on by. Slap it smack dab in the middle of an artfully styled photograph? "Oooh! Pretty!"
- I frequently misjudge/forget my true body shape. I'm beginning to think this may just a part of being female. Sometimes I feel as big as a beached whale, sometimes I feel like I'm (as my granny would say) a skinny-minnie. Whatever it is, it can often get in the way of choosing appropriate clothing.
- I am frequently blinded by bargains Finding yarn in a thrift store makes me as giddy as a kid on Christmas. Unfortunately, sometimes my need to turn someone else's trash into treasure doesn't always work. Sometimes a bargain is a bargain for a reason.


So for now it's going to hang out in my closet with all the other things I don't wear but don't have the heart to throw away. It was a quick knit, and given the $6 cost of the yarn, it wouldn't be heartbreaking if I decide to frog it. Well see - I'll have to chew on it for a while (not literally - I'd risk developing hairballs).

My Anastasia socks are coming along:



I don't like sock patterns that involve a lot of fussy detail AND variegated colours. One at a time, you know what I'm sayin'? Hence, I think this pattern is perfect; enough detail to prevent boredom, but not so much business that it gets in the way of the yarn. It's Socks that Rock for heaven's sake! It doesn't need dressing up!

In an effort to knit up some of my stash, I'm working on finding the right pattern to design a scarf with my Manos:



I'm sure Barabara Walker will come up with something. The tail end of winter may not be the best time to start knitting a scarf, but hey - there's a winter every year. At least I'm guaranteed the scarf will fit!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Knitting up a in a storm

We have had some weather with a capital 'W' this week. Thursday afternoon mother nature dumped a boatload of snow on Toronto - and I mean boatload. The storm brought down trees and powerlines all across the city. Friday I woke up to a blank face on my powerless alarm clock and decided "I'm not going anywhere".

What can you do to pass the time with no electricity? Why knit, of course! I spent a good deal of the day cuddled under blankets with the b.f. knitting and listening to my (blessedly fully charged) ipod. It was a fun little adventure until the sun went down. My apartment was more than a little chilly after 24 hours with no heat (Yet another reason to loathe electric baseboard heaters.) When the sky began to dim, we resorted to plan B: Walk to the b.f's office (which we were fairly certain had electricity) and wait for Toronto Hydro to do their thang. Here's what I packed in my emergency survival kit:




a) 1 bottle Cabernet sauvignon (essential!)
b) 1 bag baby carrots and lentil loaf sandwich (no really, vegan sandwiches are good!)
c) 1 bar good quality German chocolate (good in any crisis situation)
d) 1 skeinSocks that Rock (Jailhouse Rock colourway) and 5 bamboo DPNs

Of course power was restored in my neighbourhood within an hour of our leaving. Come to think of it, we passed a Hydro truck when we left!

The fruit of my electricity-deprived labours? The best friend cardigan is finished and being blocked:



One collar and six buttons to go! I have a sinking feeling this cardigan is going to be too small and/or be horribly unflattering. (I'm well aware that bulky sweaters have a tendency to make one look, well, bulky. I'm choosing to ignore that probability for now. Ignorance is bliss!) We'll just have to see how it turns out. I must say, even after solving my first problem with Twinkle's Big City Knits I'm still not highly impressed with the book. I love the designs, but the instructions are terrible. (I think "at the same time" knitting instructions should be outlawed!)

My "emergency" skein of Socks that Rock? I'm finally knitting a pair of socks for my very own feet. Toe-up Anastasia socks:




I love toe-up socks! This is my second attempt, and I think I have finally mastered the short-row toe:



I've also discovered the 'macro' setting on my camera. Knitting is always better in close-up, n'est pas?


I haven't made much progress on my Loopy pillow, but I think it's high time I paid it some attention. The loops are so... scroonchy! Don't you just want to run your fingers through it?



Can't we have a blackout once a month so we can all catch up with our knitting?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Total Babe

Check out this total babe!



Is that a hand knit sweater I see?



Looks like this little man has even been out on the town in his little red sweater. (Not that he was aware of that fact - apparently he slept through the whole ordeal)



I still have yet to meet this little bundle of joy (alas, he lives 400K away!), but at least I can sleep soundly knowing he is adequetely swathed in knitwear.

Here in Toronto, I'm sporting new knitwear as well:






Pattern: Hurry up Spring Armwarmers from Stitch n' Bitch Nation
Yarn: Lambs Pride Worsted in "Kiwi"
Needles: Cheapo Alluminum DPNs (Boyle?)


These are proving handy bridging the breezy gap between my coat sleeves and mittens. Of course, ever the perfectionist, I'm not perfectly happy with them and am already contemplating knitting another pair. Perhaps my own design? While these are warm and cozy, I'd like something in a finer guage yarn (I find the bulkiness tends to hamper finger mobility a little) . Basically, they're great for walking around outside, but not so good for wearing indoors when circumstances prove chilly. My office is in an old factory building which, though quite charming, is often a little on the breezy side. Typing-friendly armwarmers would prove a great asset.
Designing armwarmers will have to go on the backburner for a wee bit, while I finish up my current projects and do a little stash-busting. How is it I've been knitting up a storm, not buying any new yarn, and yet the stash isn't getting any smaller?