24 February 2006

Pretty edges make you forget the pain of the picking up stitches

After about 5 false starts to get the 218 stitches roughly evenly spaced along the first side, I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. By having four sections with 27 stitches and two sections with 28 stitches, I was able to get the full 218 in some semblance of order. Of course, the second side looks a little more "scrunched" towards the end. Somehow I spaced out my stitches a little too much at the beginning and had to cram them in at the end. However, I think after making some adjustments and the edging is complete, no one will be able to tell. Behold, the picked up stitches

438 picked up stitches to be exact 

Can anyone guess what is wrong with this? If you look closely, you will see that the working yarn is on the wrong side. (It is actually on the left side instead of the right side.) Ugh. I tried to ignore this and follow the chart backwards--joining to the shawl on the purl row. Although I think that this should work in theory, in practice, not so much. I knit about 20 rows and it looked wonky so I took it out. In addition, it turns out the "purl" row is not actually a purl row. I was only supposed to purl the first 6 stitches and knit the rest. Something else that I overlooked.

The lure of the pretty lace edging keeps calling to me so I will try again and tell myself that the pain will be worthwhile in the end. I guess I could just break the yarn and start again from the other side. Then again, there is a part of me that wants to see if I can make it work from this end.

20 February 2006

Not a selfless knitter

I won't bore you with another picture of the ribbing for the sweater--it looks the same just longer. We drove up to my inlaws this weekend, so I had about 6 hours in the car to work on it. I would like to believe that I am getting faster but it could also just be the fact that there were no distractions on the road. (We are not super-chatty during road trips.) The ribbing is about 9 inches long and looking good. I have discovered that the Silky Tweed yarn "catches" on some materials (like my pants) so it does not move along smoothly and I have to tug every couple of inches. I don't appear to have this problem when I wear jeans so I'll have to remember that as I go along. Also, as I have finished the first two balls of yarn, I'm noticing long segments where the yarn is much thinner. When I did the swatch there was some thick/thin sections of yarn but it didn't seem like that big a deal. Thankfully, I'm using a smaller needle (size 4) than the recommended size 6 on the label. When I look at the original swatch, it is much more obvious on the bigger needles where the yarn thins out.

Just for the heck of it, I threw the swatch into the washer and dryer (the label recommends handwashing and drying flat) just to see what happens. The swatch came out much softer but a little warped. I have not washed it again to see if I can reshape it. I figured it would be good to see what would happen if someone accidentally threw it in the washer.

Now the reason for the post title actually refers to the snowdrop shawl. I originally bought the yarn because the colors looked like something my MIL would really like. The LL Helen's Lace comes with very generous yardage so I wanted to go ahead and try to make a shawl. I know many people enjoy the process of knitting and enjoy giving away their handknits without wanting anything in return. I have discovered that I am not one of those people. After all the work on this first lace project, I wanted to make sure that my MIL would exhibit the appropriate level of excitement and care for the shawl. So I asked my hubby if he thought his mom would like it. He said he couldn't be sure and should just ask her. While we were there this weekend, I showed her the main section that was already done and asked her if she liked it since I had made it with her in mind. Her response, "I knew you knit but I had no idea you were this good." That my friends, is definitely the kind of response I wanted to hear. In fact, I think she was a little sad when I told her it wasn't actually done yet so I was taking it back with me. As we were leaving yesterday, she told me to hurry up and finish her shawl. With that kind of motivation (don't want to get on MIL's bad side), I think I can now face picking up the 400+ stitches to start the edging.

15 February 2006


OK, I ditched housework completely on Monday. Didn't do any grocery shopping, didn't bother making dinner. So why is it that all that effort has only produced about 4 inches (10cm) of 5x3 ribbing?

Don't get me wrong, I think the ribbing looks great. The fabric will definitely work with hubby's coloring. The simplicity of the finished object will only highlight the beauty of the yarn. However, I am displeased with the lack of progress. I would like to lay blame on the fact that I still have not mastered the Continental style of knitting (although by the time this sweater is done, it should be second nature). I could even claim it is the size 4 needles. (At some point in my life, didn't I say that I wouldn't knit something large on small needles again?) Could it be that I am working with two dye lots and have to switch yarns every two rows? Although all these things may be partially responsible, I think the sad truth is that I am a slow knitter.

It is difficult to accept this reality. There are many projects that I want to do, projects where the yarn is patiently waiting for me to finish the current object so that they can take their rightful place in the spotlight. And what do I do? Spend several hours doing a 5x3 ribbing to only achieve a length of 4 inches! (We won't talk about the fact that I have actually worked on this ribbing before.) This is probably the real reason that I didn't participate in the Knitting Olympics. I am quite competitive with myself. I have very little patience for not meeting my own personal goals and get frustrated when I don't immediately master something I think I should be able to do easily. Which brings us to the current status of the sweater. I'm so annoyed that I haven't bothered to work on it. Makes sense, right? Its moving slowly so why not just ditch it for a while? (Hey, I never said I was logical in my quest for immediate gratification.)

On to more fulfilling knitting progress, here is the finished felted purse.

I thought I would add a little visual interest with the seashells in the backgound 

One would never know by looking at the innocent fun furriness, but it is a sneaky thing. Once the fun fur was trimmed so it wouldn't take up the whole interior of the bag, some of those newly liberated furs have made their way through my home. I knew it was bad when the dog got up and had fun fur stuck to her. I guess I will have to go buddy-up with the vacuum. Now if I could just vacuum the dog too...

For those of you participating in the Knitting Olympics, keep up all the good work! It brings tears of nerdy joy to me to see everyone's stats: average stitches/rows per hour, stitches per inch, cummulative stitches, and percent finished. It will be truly awesome to see all those finished objects.

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

10 February 2006

Secret project unveiled

This would have been posted days ago except that I was waylayed by headaches and migraines. For those of you who know the difference and share in the suffering, my deepest sympathies. The past week has been spent doing little more than laying around, avoiding bright light, taking various pain relievers, and a very small amount of knitting. (As an aside, when you are a stay-at-home-wife and are incapable of doing housework, it is amazing how much dust and laundry accumulate when you're not looking.)

Anyway, back to the exciting knitting at hand. I was able to test knit the "Jessica" pattern for Katydid. I saw the finished purse right before it was given away. I had to have it. I don't know if it was the bright pink holding me in its spell, stylish shaping, or if it was the fun furriness of the whole thing. (Yes, fun furriness is a real thing. Never thought I would succumb to it though...) Below you will see the cool pre-felting pic.

Since I did the felting today, it will probably be another day or so before I have the finished object available for your perusal. This bag will be for my niece and I have the navy blue wool ready for the next purse which will be for my other niece. The second purse will be in the blue because then it will match her school uniform. Since they both live in much colder climates, the cuteness of the felted purse should get plenty of mileage before the summer months.

Once I'm done with theirs, I can finally make one of my very own. If you take a look at the post below (for 1 Feb.) with all the yarn, the burnt orange color (they claim it is "Paprika" but all you longhorns know differently). Luckily, the purse doesn't take very long to knit up--one can totally be done in a weekend.

Things I have learned from this experience:

1. I apparently am not a very loose knitter--I had to go up to size 15 needles to get the right gauge

2. my washer hits the spin cycle in under 20 minutes (must set the timer for 10 minute intervals)

3. felting is not difficult now that I have learned #2

4. definitely only put my jeans in the washer, lest the fun furriness get all over hubby's jeans (I'm thinking he won't appreciate the soft pink...)

5. the dust doggies (let's face it there is no bunny here to blame, only a dog that sheds enough to clothe a family of four in about a month's time...) will start forming small armies if you don't keep them under control at least once a week

03 February 2006

I can't resist...

I think these little "tests" are fun

You are Bettie Page

Girl next door with a wild streak
You're a famous beauty - with unique look
And the people like you are cultish about it

Now I just have to look up who Bettie Page is.

Today I will cast on for a very special project (more on that later) and I may even get crazy and cast on for hubby's sweater.

Happy knitting!

01 February 2006

Excited about the yarn

OK, I swatched the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed in brown and look at how lovely it looks:

And, a la Yarn Harlot, here it is among the lovely vines for contrast:

What truly makes this better is that hubby likes the yarn! Since I had planned for this to be a sweater for him....Of course, I haven't blocked the swatch and right now I'm not getting gauge but darn it, I swatched. Luckily, the pattern calls for a smaller needle size so I think in the end the yarn will work.

Oh, and did I mention that I did this knitting Continental? If you look reall close, at the beginning (actually the top of the first picture, rather than the bottom) you'll see that the stitches are much tighter--that's where I was holding the yarns and needles for dear life (and even then, I occassionally dropped the needles). I also used the Lily Chin trick of putting in YO's to signify the size of the needle (six, which you can't really see because I haven't blocked it). Off to swatch some more. Luckily this yarn feel lovely so I don't mind.