Archive | March, 2010

10 on Tuesday

30 Mar

10 Favorite Easter/Passover Traditions provided by Carole Knits.

This will be tough. I don’t even know when Easter is, but I do remember things from Easters past.

1.) hiding jellybeans around the house and trying to find them all before Christmas

2.) making sure all the fake basket grass was picked up before it choked the vacuum cleaner and made that horrible burning smell

3.) my sister and I, when we were very young, getting new dresses, black shoes, white socks with ruffles and a fistful of pennies to give at church

4.) skip-Bo!

5.) I loved solid milk chocolate (but I don’t now. In fact, I hate it now)

6.) but I love white chocolate and white chocolate bunnies. I couldn’t find one this year so I got a white chocolate cross from the dollar store. My houseguests looked at me funny.

7.) peanut butter eggs. Hello!!

8.) traditionally, I hate those pasty egg almond things. Ick.

9.) in high school and college, I went to church twice a year because I was invited by my boyfriends’ families. Easter was one of them.

10.) discussing the bizarre desire to hide eggs that could rot, paint eggs that could break, and why an Easter bunny – isn’t this a religious holiday? I ignore “you boil the eggs first” protestations. Doesn’t add to the fun, realist. (what a downer).

Don’t Knock It Till You Block It!

27 Mar

Every time I make a sweater or wearable garment (which isn’t really all that often, to be honest) and try it on before completely finishing it, I feel my face fall when I look in the mirror. I say, “Aww, man. This sucks. I might actually hate this!” I turn this way and that, check out my butt, look at my waist, see my butt again, look at my belly… then I sigh and say, “Maybe blocking will help.”

After I did this for the first time in front of my husband, and the blocked sweater looked way more awesome (awesomer!) than pre-blocking, he smiled and said it was great. I smiled back with, “Don’t knock it till you block it!” Now he says “What is it you say about blocking? Don’t knock it till you block it!”

Well, this process was no different with Jane (ravelry page).

I think this sweater is fantastic to look at and I wanted one. I was not going to wear the same outfit with it, however. (I remember Wendy Bernard writing about her book [see her blog at knitandtonic] where she mentions the scantily clad, come-hither women). Though my husband thought the swim tank would look great with the sweater, I noted the impracticality of wool with a tank-ini. He confessed it was problematic.

This is one of the patterns that made me buy the book last Christmas with my handy-dandy Borders gift card (intelligently gifted by my father). I got these and am excited to knit a lot from all three:

(Sorry it’s so dark).

After much searching on Ravelry, I found another who used the only yarn I had in my stash to knit it: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. And it looked good, so I went ahead.

I do not have a huge problem with this yarn. It’s crazy cheap, has some fun colors, and it’s crazy cheap. But boy. I do wish I could knit with something a bit more luxurious. I do have to take more care with yarn purchases. Budgeting does not allow for this, however, so I made did with what I had (made did – that’s fun to say). And I’m okay with it. After washing, Wool of the Andes is soft enough and it drapes softly and it works and boy, oh, boy – it’s warm. (I’m tempted to throw another “and” on that run-on sentence, but that would be silly).

I had only two problems with this pattern: 1) the lack of mention regarding markers. Directions say to add two markers to the mix where the sides are, under the armpits. I see this. But later in the pattern, when it says “knit to next marker,” I realized it didn’t really mean the next marker. It meant the first and last marker. Somewhere between “place markers” and “knit to next marker,” I should have removed the two markers that mark the fronts from the back. I went with it, but was a bit annoyed because I kept the markers in just in case I needed them for something later. And I read through the pattern, and saw no more mention of the markers, so I finally bit the bullet and removed the annoying things after a while anyway. I know. This really is just lack of confidence in my own knitting, but still. And 2) the directions for a left-twist could have been more descriptive.

As written, the left-twist directions say “skip first st and knit into back of second st, then knit into front of first st, slipping both sts from needle together.” When I did that, there was no left-twist. Behold.

Nice right twist. Bad left twist. I finally googled the left twist and searched on Ravelry for answers. I found many people had issue with these directions. In fact, some so much they changed the lace pattern completely because they couldn’t figure it out. I think a slight change would have made all the difference. I would have found it more explanatory had it said, “skip first st and knit into back of second st from the back, then knit into front of first st from the front, slipping both sts from the needle together.”Thank you, search engines.

I made the cuff wider on the bottom and I knit a belt for it. I will modify the belt by sewing ribbon to the other side so that it doesn’t stretch as much as it does now.

Then I tried it on.

The slouchy pose and bad lighting don’t help, but still – ugh!

So I did my mirror dance, my whine-to-husband dance, and then I blocked it. One thing about Wool of the Andes while blocking is WET DOG.

I blocked per the measurements in the book as best I could and behold!

Beautiful, lovely, flattering Jane. I have received compliments on this sweater that include “Wow! You’re knitting has gotten so great!” – I think this is the pattern talking. I think it’s just the best thing I’ve ever knit. My husband certainly thinks so. The first week it was done, I wore it every day. Ahh, blocking. A genius move!

Stats:

Pattern: Jane, by Wendy Bernard, Custom Knits

Size: 36 1/2

Needles: Size 7 and 8 circulars

Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Iris Heather

Mods: I made the cuff about 2.5 inches long. This was an accident, but now I like it. When I made it 1″, I realized I ended the sleeve too early. Rather than frog, I kept going with seed stitch. I also knit my “ribbon” in seed stitch. I randomly long-tailed and hoped it was long enough (it was!). After doing the sleeve caps, I switched to a size 8 needle for the rest of the sleeve in the round. My in-the-round gauge is tighter than my stockinette (short-row) gauge and it had to be done or else the sleeve cap would have always been noticeable. I also did the collar with a size 8, simply because I was too lazy to switch.

Verdict: Love love love! I can’t wait to try another pattern of hers. This book is fantastic and I’m so glad I got it.

My Ravelry  project link.

What’s your favorite yarn to knit sweaters with? How much is it? Where do you get it? Share!

The Jog in Wanida – 2aaT

26 Mar

I had to do a google search looking for a way to smoothly accomplish the jogs in Cookie A.’s Wanida pattern from Sock Innovations, whilst knitting two-at-a-time (or 2aaT, something I learned in my googl-ing).

I admit that my search did not, at first, include the fact that I was knitting them both at the same time on one circular. I simply didn’t understand the instructions that, in the below photo, the grayed stitches were to be used only at the end of the round, not the end of the repeat. So I thought: but there are no more stitches. Perhaps I start the next row with those 8 stitches and the new beginning. Okay. But then I have 8 stitches left when there are 16 more needed. Had I been knitting these on DPNs or even using Magic Loop with one sock, I would have been able to see how that the stitches do shift, and that I do, effectively, knit the same eight stitches twice in the same round. But with 2aaT, it wasn’t so easy to see.

Thank you, Ravelry. I found deb293 who also knit Wanida using 2aaT. I first found her in a forum and noticed the picture and said, “Hey! Is that…?” So I PM’d her and she responded with a great visual to help me out: picture the socks on the needle as one complete circle with the beginning of the round being able to start anywhere. That helped me immensely. Afterwards, yeah, I felt like a bit of a dork. (How amazing is it that, understanding the complexity of explaining knitting in an email, she offered to talk to me on the phone while she was at work! So awesome.)

That night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I realized how I was going to do it. A DPN. I wouldn’t have to transfer ALL the stitches. I just had to move 8. Here’s how I did it.

The pattern (cropped so as not to give away anything – this book is fantastic and you should get it right away!)

Here are the socks, after a complete knit round. But the rounds aren’t over. I still have 8 stitches on each sock left before the round is completed (the 8 in gray).

Using the DPN (hopefully yours is the same size as your main needle), knit the “last” 8 stitches of the round. You’ll save them for the end of the round, completing the 64 stitch round you’ll need. (The jog is repositioning the beginning of round 8 stitches to the left. So you will need 8 more stitches at the end of the round; these 8 stitches on the DPN will be those).

Now you can start the new pattern repeat – the new round.

Make sure you use your main needle. You’ll start behind the DPN. It will feel weird, especially because the first stitch in the new round is a yarn over. When you get to the end of the first half of stitches for sock A, and if you’re like me, you’ll want to move the next 8 stitches to the front by pulling the cable through 8 stitches from where you are. This will put you back at the nice half/half split most 2aaT knitters prefer.

At the end of the round, you’re left with only half a repeat done. Now you need the 8 stitches from the DPN. Knit them off.

Now do the same for sock B.

Hopefully you don’t split that last stitch like I did. 🙂

Continue as you did for the first sock.

For the first jog, I only needed one DPN to work both socks because the jog was at the end of the knit round/beginning of the new round. But for the second jog, I needed two needles to hold the stitches at the end of the round to use for the beginning of the next round, rather than vice versa. (It makes sense when you’re knitting).

Thanks to deb293 and also to pynnski, who clearly explained to me where those mysterious 8 stitches were going. It’s unbelievable, but I’ve known pynnski for 10 years now – ONLINE. We’ve never met. Crazy, huh?! She knows her stitches, folks.

I hope this was helpful! I just thought I’d post it for the next google-er. I know I could’ve used it. I found answers in other ways, though, and it was great. Knitters rock. They’re all so nice and helpful!

Sideways Grande Cloche

19 Mar

Ahh. The sideways grande cloche. It is, by far, my favorite knit from Boutique Knits, which is why I didn’t buy the book. I was thrilled, then, when the pattern was published in 2009’s Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts. Yay! When I first saw the pattern, I knew exactly who I would knit it for.

My friend Leslie was the perfect recipient. I knew she’d be styling in it and she appreciates hand knits as she knits herself.

The construction is pretty neat. A long ribbed rectangle makes the body of the hat. You then pick up and decrease for the pretty crown, then knit two straps you braid together for the cable. Awesome and easy. I used the worsted-weight wool-ease. Soft, stable, WARM (even though she finally got it after Snowpocalypse and winter entirely), whilst being completely washable. How great is that? I’m very happy with this knit. I also had a lot of yarn left over. Definitely uses less than one skein.

Even with the lighter weight yarn, I used the needles called for and the same number of stitches. Pretty slick. I contemplated a provisional cast-on and grafting the ends together, but decided I needed seaming practice anyway and it came out great. Make one!!

WIP Wednesday on Friday

12 Mar

The only project I have on the needles are these Monkey socks. I started them before Christmas for my sister-in-law, but I sometimes get bored with them or just couldn’t decide if I liked the crazy pooling. I certainly was not in love with the yarn when I started. It was frayed in far too many places so there was no chance the socks would look like each other. I hope to have them done this coming week. I have already finished the gussets.

I love knitting socks two at a time and can’t imagine being stuck with second sock syndrome ever again, unless it’s a colorwork project or something mirror-images and too complicated to figure out on two at a time. This is my third pair of socks done this way. I’ve done two fingerless mitts this way as well.

I also finished Jane! I’ll post about it very soon. After blocking, it’s lovely.