Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where has the time gone?

I can't believe it's nearly the end of December - I have no earthly idea where the last two weeks have gone. My husband's birthday was less than a week before Christmas, so we did stuff to celebrate it. Then there was Christmas itself, with all its attendant baking and gifting and socializing. For a minute there, I think I had something to do on 5 consecutive evenings. Oof.

I have done a little knitting since the last time I posted. I've made some progress on the Vilai socks, having turned the heel and nearly finished the gusset decreases. I have also made a mistake on these socks - I didn't read the pattern correctly and left out a chart repeat on the leg. By the time I realized why the leg looked a little short, I'd already gotten halfway through the heel flap and there was no way in hell I was going to rip back and potentially make a mess of all those yarnovers and twisted stitches in the leg. Nope. It would stay as it was. And I have short legs, anyway. Custom fit. That's me.

By the time Christmas Eve arrived, I'd done all I could do and was ready for some relaxing time with both our families. As we got on the road to make the 4-hour drive to my hometown, it was nearly dark, so there was no knitting in the car. But once we got settled in at Mom's house, I decided it would be fun to start an Ishbel with the gorgeous silk yarn I bought while I was on vacation last summer. The yarn is Lake Effect, a 100% tussah silk single-ply yarn in the Leelanau Sunset colorway. My understanding is that it is only available at the Thistledown Shoppe in Suttons Bay, Michigan, and was dyed by a local dyer. I'd been looking for an appropriate pattern to highlight the beautiful colors and finally decided that Ishbel was the way to go since it had a nice stockinette section and a fairly simple lace pattern that would not be too busy with the color changes in the yarn.

On Christmas Day, we had breakfast with Mom, then set out to meet my husband's family in Brown County, Indiana, a three-ish hour drive from Fort Wayne. I'm not quite sure where all the time went, but I can recall chilling out around the fireplace with some of my sisters-in-law and some of the nieces, watching the younger kids open their stockings (the mice were a big hit and there were requests for more!) and participating in the grown-ups' white elephant gift exchange. We scored a Sopranos trivia game and cookbook (that I think we forgot to bring home with us), and were able to give away a 3-foot tall ceramic piggy bank (a pig dressed as a firefighter who came to be called Firepig). A couple nephews contemplated what might happen if they tossed it into the fire. A couple nieces explored the possibility of turning it into some kind of garden statuary/fountain/scarecrow. Whatever they do, it's alright by me. More than one person found it to be a little creepy. I'm just glad my husband didn't steal it back and bring it home.

The day after Christmas was nice and relaxing and it seemed like all I did was hang out and knit. By the time I was ready to call it a day, I only had something like 6 rows to do and the Ishbel would be finished. I have no idea how I did so much so fast. The next morning, on the way back home to Louisville, I finished up the last bit, and completed the bind-off less than 5 minutes before we got home. It was pretty exciting to have a finished project so quickly. I even got it blocked the same evening and it was ready for me when I got home from work tonight! I think it came out well.

Next time, I think I'll show off the pretty little crocheted things that one of my Japanese aunts made for me when I was a baby, and have a little end of year recap. Until then, Friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Making Mischief

Since the last time I posted, I've been busy knitting up lots of little Mousies - a mischief of mousies, in fact, which is what a group of mice is called. Like a parliament of owls or a murder of crows. Anyway, my mother-in-law asked if I'd make a few for my nieces' and nephews' stockings, so I've been knitting like mad for the last week or so. I'm not sure which kids will get these mice (there are 24 nieces & nephews), but I'm half tempted to knit up a few more than she asked for, so she can choose from among them. They've really turned out to be the cutest little things - I especially like the ones I made out of variegated yarn. The stripes add personality, I think. I've been able to make each mouse in about 3 hours, cutting two hours off the time it took me to make the first one.

I've also made some progress on my Vilai socks, which I've been doing on my commutes to and from work. The stitch pattern is easy to learn, so I've been able to make quick work of the first chart repeat. I'm also loving how the semisolid yarn is creating a nice marbled effect through all the yarn overs and twisted stitches. Shibuisock is one of my favorite yarns! I expect I'll be turning the heel by the end of the week, and if I'm lucky, I'll have the pair finished in time to give to my mother for Christmas. I think she'll like them - I just hope she isn't tired of purply-blues, since the last pair of socks I gave her were a similar color.

In other news, I received some very good news over the weekend: I got my scores back from my NCIDQ exam, which showed that I passed! Finally! I guess the third time really is the charm. Or maybe my having actually ordered the study materials and preparing for the test had something to do with the results. Whatever it was, I'm thrilled to have passed and can be a certified professional in my field. It's pretty exciting!

Well, that's all I have for tonight. Goodnight, Friends.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I've finished a few things!

It's true. For a minute there, I was feeling like I'd couldn't seem to complete a project, but all of a sudden, my WIPs count has fallen and my FO count has climbed. I'd say it was a Christmas miracle, but it's still only the 8th of December, so there are still 17 days left for that.

The first finished object was the little stuffed mouse. It's so cute! I even did the X's for the eyes, which made all the difference. He can't see that shortbread cookie he's eating, but he could probably smell it.

I also finished my Glacier gloves and I'm very happy with them. So happy, in fact, that I think I won't wear them this winter so that I can enter them in next year's State Fair. It's never too early to start plotting my strategy to dominate at the fair.

I also finished my intarsia-in-the-round socks. What was most surprising about finishing these socks is that it only took me a few hours to do it. All that agonizing! And for what? The three hours or so it took until I ran out of one of the colors, knit an inch of ribbing, and bound off. It might have been another hour to weave in all the ends, but it went much faster than I expected. I really could have finished these months ago. I don't know why I felt like I needed to put them off for so long. I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere, but damn if I know what it is.

Anyway, with getting so many things finished last weekend, I was able to cast on for a pair of socks. I wanted to have some commuting knitting, something casual that I didn't have to think too hard about. But it had to have an interesting stitch pattern and look good with a semi-solid yarn, so I cast on Vilai, one of CookieA's patterns from Sock Innovation. I'm using Shibui Sock, which is one of my favorite sock yarns. I love the color - a nice periwinkle blue I picked up while I was on vacation this summer. It's such a nice, squishy yarn! The cuff is knitting up nicely, so I hope I can get some photos during the day tomorrow.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. Next time I hope I have some sock progress to show off, as well as some Christmas knitting. Until then, Friends.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I keep making things on small needles.

It's true: most of the things I knit are made on small needles. I've knit 10 pairs of socks so far this year. If I ever finish my intarsia socks, it'll be 11. If I make a pair for my mother for Christmas, it'll be a nice, round dozen. All on 2.5mm needles. It's not that I'm especially fond of knitting thousands upon thousands of tiny stitches, it's that socks are very portable, and therefore good bus knitting. They're also inexpensive compared to knitting sweaters. A skein of really nice sock yarn can be had for $25 or so, but to purchase enough quality yarn to make a sweater in my size starts at around $100. This is why I make so many socks. That, and the (almost) instant gratification that comes with making socks.

Gloves hold a similar appeal to socks: they take roughly the same amount of yarn and use the same size needles. They take a little longer to knit, as each finger has to be articulated and there many more ends to weave in at the end, but that's a small price to pay to have gloves that fit your hand perfectly. Over Thanksgiving weekend I made lots of progress on my Glacier gloves. So much so that all I have left to do is knit the fingers and thumb of the left hand. I've finished the right hand glove, with only then ends to weave in. I ended up using 2.75mm needles for the fingers, as they were a little snug with the smaller needles. It seems like such a small difference, but that little bit was all it took!

Over the long holiday weekend I also finished the Owl-paca baby hat, which was knit on 4mm needles. That size, while larger than sock needles, would still be considered on the small side by most knitters, I think. Instead of making the owl's eyes as called for in the pattern, I used the technique from the stuffed owl I recently knit for this hat because I didn't feel comfortable putting buttons on an accessory meant for an infant. I was able to attach the eyes and the beak to the hat at social knitting and tried it on my friend's one year old, but I didn't have my camera, so I only have photos of it lying flat on a table. I'll try to get a photo of a real baby modeling it as soon as possible, so you can see just how cute it is.

Of course, no owl would be complete unless it had a mouse in its talons, so I cast on for Ysolda Teague's Mousie last night. This project is on 2.0 needles and has knit up really quickly. In two evenings, I've finished all but one ear and the eyes. I think I have four hour's total knitting in this little rodent. And it's just the right touch for the hat. Circle of Life and all that. Maybe I'll make X's for the eyes for comic effect. Actually, I think I just talked myself into it. I crack myself up.

Well, that's all for tonight. Until next time, Friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks.

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US. I have plenty to be thankful for: I have a good, kind, funny, smart husband. An awesome family. Fantastic friends. A warm home. Good health. Meaningful work. And engaging hobbies. The only thing more I could wish for is that everyone else has the same.

Anyway, a day off from work lends itself to reflection and nostalgia and when I was a teenager growing up in northern Indiana, the local Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) radio station always played Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant and so I have to share it with you all. This video is a mix of more recent live performance and original clips from the film, but I think it's fun, so here it is.

Monday, November 21, 2011

You win some, you lose some.

Today was a mixed bag for my knitting. Early in the day, I decided that it was time to felt all the parts for the Hydrangea bag. I re-read the instructions a couple times, and once I felt like I had a handle on the concept, I threw caution to the wind and threw all that knitting into the washer. I checked it every so often, like the instructions said, and it actually turned out well. The flowers themselves could have gone a little longer, but I wasn't taking any chances on going too far.

Once I emptied the washer, I set to stuffing the bag so it would dry in the correct shape and I laid out all the flowers and turned up all the petals so they would dry nicely too. Everything is on the dining table and I'll give it a couple days to dry. I just hope the wet wool smell is gone by the time I get home from work tomorrow. I can comfortably call the felting a win.

I also made a little more progress on the Owl hat, having completed the ribbing around the face and the little talons as well. I made the ribbing a little longer than called for in the pattern, since I felt like it needed just a touch more around the face. I also changed how I did the talons; instead of following the designer's instructions, I used an i-cord technique that made a little more sense to me. The talons are also a win.

As for the "lose some" part of the title to today's post, I had all kinds of frustration with my Glacier gloves. And it was all my own damned fault. Sometimes I just overthink things, and tonight was one of those nights. I was working on the gloves and found that I was short one stitch midway through the round. So I un-knit that half of the round, then un-knit the previous round, because I thought I might have accidentally knit two stitches together. After all the un-knitting, I counted my stitches, and counted them again. As I had the right number both times, I decided that it was safe for me to re-knit the round and then re-knit the half round where I'd lost that stitch. When I got there, I was missing the same stinking stitch! I thought I'd die. But it turns out I wasn't missing that stitch after all. I was reading the wrong round of the chart. I was never missing a stitch. The Whole Damned Time. It took me two hours to figure this out and the whole thing was an exercise in futility. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here, but I think I'm immune to it just now. Tomorrow's a new day, as they say.

That's all I have for tonight. I'm going to set my knitting aside for tonight and hope for better tomorrow. Until next time, Friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chugging along.

Last time I posted, I wrote about all the ends I was weaving in in anticipation of being able to felt them this weekend. Since my workweek is Tuesday through Saturday, my weekend starts tomorrow, which is when I expect to fire up the washer to get all those pieces whipped into shape. Once that's done and all the pieces are dry, I'll be able to start putting the bag together: I have to put on the handles, put in the plastic canvas reinforcements, attach the feet, then sew a liner and attach the zipper. The zipper will probably be the trickiest bit - I'm not especially confident sewing on zippers, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

Also since last time, I took some better photos of the Glacier gloves. They're not even blurry! I haven't done much more knitting on them because I made a mistake and I have to have my head in the right place to tackle fixing a messed up cable that I should have known better than to mess up. It's my own fault for not paying attention to the chart.

Since I had finished my commuting project, I decided that I wanted to cast on something easy, so on Wednesday evening I started another Little Owl baby hat. I'm making it out of the same yarn I used last time, Rowan Lima. It's such a lovely, soft yarn! What's surprising me about this project is how fast the knitting is going. All I have left to do is knit another inch of the hat, then I can do the ribbing around the face and add the eye and talon details. My friends at knit night suggested that it would be hysterical if the talons held a dead mouse, so I think I'm going to knit up one of Ysolda Teague's Mousies and consider it a baby toy. Maybe I can find some kind of rattle insert which might make it a little more fun for whichever baby gets this hat.

Well, that's all I have for now, next time I hope I'll have some photos of some felted hydrangeas as well as more progress on the gloves. It's beginning to get cold around here! Until next time, Friends.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Never-Ending Ends

During the week I finished knitting all the flowers for my Hydrangea bag, so this weekend I began weaving in all the ends. Each flower has eight ends to weave in, and there are 41 flowers (but I made a few extra, just in case) so that means there are officially 328 ends to deal with. Thank goodness there was a Harry Potter marathon on television, so I could kind of zone out while I was working on them. I've woven in all the ends at the tips of all the flowers and I only have half a dozen or so flowers that I have to do the base of each petal. Once I've done all those, then I'll get started on the felting. Luckily, there isn't a real deadline for this project - I'll probably submit it for next year's State Fair, so it doesn't have to be done until the end of July or so.

I also made some progress on the Glacier gloves, getting about an inch or so of each hand chart done. The pattern is a lot less difficult than I expected it to be. I think that having done this kind of complex cable work before is serving me well this time around. I'm still in love with the yarn - it has a lovely sheen to it and its softness impressive. I'm still not sure how warm they'll be, but I think I might have a few more weeks before it gets cold enough for me to find out. I wish I had some good photos of them for you, but I have to wait for daylight to get some good shots.

Of course, now that I've finished the actual knitting for the felted bag, I don't have anything to work on during my commute to the office. I've considered starting on a few more baby sweaters, since they're small and they go fast. I've also thought about starting another pair of socks, but I haven't finished the intarsia-in-the-round socks, so my size 1 circulars are tied up in that project. Another project I've considered is a moebius or some sort of cowl/shawlette pattern that has an easily memorize-able stitch pattern that will travel well. I'm completely undecided.  I think I'll take another look through my stash and see what looks good.

Anyway, that's all I have for tonight. Until next time, Friends.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Quiet Weekend Knitting

I didn't have any errands to run this weekend, nor did I have much to do aside from my normal chores around the house. It was a good weekend for starting a new project, one that would require a little concentration. I cast on for Glacier this weekend. These are the second pair of gloves I've knit that are designed by Julia Mueller and I can't say enough about how much I like her work. The designs are so imaginative and have such interesting construction that I'm sure I could get as addicted to glove knitting as I am to sock knitting.

The gloves start out with a picot cuff, which I like to do with a provisional cast on instead of a standard cast on. This keeps me from having to pick up tight cast on stitches that I would then have to knit together to live stitches. It takes me ages to do this and I don't find it fun, so I do it my way and have a cuff I'm perfectly pleased with. Once I knit each picot cuff individually, I put them both on one long circular needle so I could knit them two at a time. As it turns out the charts weren't all that complicated, they just looked that way because every knit stitch had to be twisted and so required a symbol to indicate it.

Having only just finished the cuff charts, I expect the charts for the hands to get a little trickier, as there will thumbs and fingers to do, but I think I'll be able to keep up with knitting them at the same time - it's pretty neat seeing them grow together and it keeps me from having the glove equivalent of "second sock syndrome." The yarn I'm using, The Fiber Company's Canopy Fingering, is a joy to knit with. It's a beautiful, bright pink called "Dragonfruit" and has a lovely, soft hand from its alpaca and merino content. It has a little bit of shine as well from the little bit of bamboo. I think they'll be a nice contrast to my black winter coat. I can't wait 'til they're done!

Well, I think that's all I have for tonight. Until next time, Friends!

Friday, November 4, 2011

So cute, I could puke.

So the Provence cardigan is finished, and it really is disgustingly cute. Like, so cute, everyone at the baby shower would have just squealed over it, if it had been done in time and I had gone to the shower. So cute that anyone who sees it has to hold it up and exclaim over it. So cute you want to make another one, even with all the seams. It's that freaking cute.

I finished it last night, like I expected, at Stitch 'n' Bitch. I picked up those pesky selvedge stitches and knit those button bands in about an hour. I didn't have any buttons, so after I finished up at a work-related meeting, I ran up the road to the Joann's and started looking. It takes me forever to make up my mind about buttons; I always want to make sure they're just right - they should go with the sweater, but not be too matchy. They should also be cute and have holes big enough for me to sew them on using the same yarn I knit the sweater with. It's a tall order! Anyway, I found some cute flower-shaped buttons that met all the criteria, in addition to being the right size for the buttonholes. I think they're exactly right for this cardigan and I hope it gets worn and worn.

Now that that project is finished, I think I have a little breathing room until I have to start knitting baby things again in earnest. Of the eight pregnant people I know, three of the babies have been born, and I have gifts completed for two more. The other three aren't due until March or later, so I think I can knit their things after the New Year.

In other projects, I continue to plug away at the Hydrangea bag, knitting flower after little flower on my bus rides to and from work. I can do about three petals each way and I've nearly finished with the light green so I'll probably start the dark green ones next week. I think I'll also wind up the yarn for my Glacier gloves so I can get started on them this weekend. This will definitely be a complicated project, and not one for social knitting. It might even be too challenging for TV knitting, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Well, that's all I've got for tonight. Until next time!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Super Mario Bros. Is a Giant Time-Suck.

You knew this already, though. Right? See, I'm not all that good at video games, but I am a goal-oriented person. So much so that I can't just leave things alone if I'm not good at them. I have to keep trying until I get better. (Except that this doesn't seem to be the case about working out. I'll have to let that percolate a little.) So last week, in a fit of ennui, I turned on my Wii and took another crack at Super Mario Bros. and decided that if little kids can do this, then surely I could too. I played for an hour at a time between loads of laundry and stuff like that, and I finally got through the final level. Of course that opened up a whole 'nother level, so I haven't conquered the game by any means. I'm resisting the urge to play RIGHT NOW, as I've come to realize that, as a grown-up, the Wii is not the boss of me, no matter how much my husband snickers every time I get killed. I can quit whenever I want. Really.

I have done a little bit of knitting during this time, but it almost doesn't count, because there aren't all that many photos. I've been spending most of my knitting time working on the Provence cardigan for my friend Eric's daughter, who decided to be born two days ago, ensuring that I would not have her gift finished before she arrived. At least I was smart enough to make a 6-9 months size for her, so she'll be able to wear it next Spring and Summer, I hope. I finished the fronts and back last week and washed and blocked them right away. Over the last two nights I've done the seaming and all that's left now is to attach the sleeves to the body and knit the button bands. It's funny - while I was knitting the parts I was thinking that the seaming wouldn't be so bad, but when it came time to actually do the seaming, I wasn't really feeling it. And now, of course, that all I have left to do is set in the sleeves, I'm dawdling a bit. I'm sure I can get it done tonight, but Mario is in the back of my head, inviting me to try for just one more Star Coin.

But once I finish Provence, I can start making myself a new pair of gloves. I've decided that Glacier, by Julia Mueller is going to be the pattern and I'll use my Fiber Company Canopy for them. When I saw the pattern it reminded me a lot of some Frank Lloyd Wright windows, so I had to make them. The knitting will definitely be challenging (and therefore interesting), especially if I decide to do them two-at-a-time. We'll see how I do on that. I did her Rococo pattern that way, and I think I only cursed half the time I was knitting them. (The other half of the time I was cursing my choice of very fuzzy black yarn for cables. It was stupid on my part.)

Well, I think that's it for this time, y'all. Until next time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's almost like I went somewhere.

Last week I had an opportunity to do a little volunteer work at a local non-profit called Family Scholar House. Their mission is to help single parents complete their college degrees. They provide housing and childcare in addition to quality-of-life kinds of classes like cooking, crafts and aerobics. I was there as part of the Mayor's Week of Service, along with a few others. We spent the evening organizing Halloween costumes for the kids as well as all kinds of donated kitchen goods for the families. It was a productive night!

As I had gotten there early, and the building wasn't open, I took a little time to check out the neighborhood. It turns out that Family Scholar House is just two blocks from St. James Court, a lovely bit of Old Louisville, where they have a gigantic annual art fair. I generally make a point of avoiding crowds, so I have to admit that I've never been to the art show. I couldn't go this year because I was taking a test, but I wouldn't have gone even if I didn't have something else to do.

Anyway, the evening I was there, it was raining a little, but there was enough light that I could get some nice photos of all the grand houses. Or I could have - if I'd had fresh batteries in the camera. I got exactly one picture taken before the battery died. Damn. I went back Saturday afternoon and there was lots of great light and color. There were also lots of squirrels foraging, though none of the little buggers would hold still long enough for me to take their picture. I got plenty of photos of the houses, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites and hope you like the architecture as much as I do.

In knitting news, I finished the second Cascade cardigan - even the buttons. I can't wait to give it to its intended recipient! This pattern knits up so quickly that it seems like you have a finished object in no time at all. I definitely recommend this one if you need a baby gift in a hurry.

Since I finished the other cardigan, I started another, this time it's the Provence Baby Cardigan, by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. I'm knitting this on in some Rowan Revive DK, the same yarn as I used on my Peasy & Vesper. This is a seamed cardigan, which is a departure from my usual top-down raglan cardigans, but the back of the sweater is moving fast and I'll probably be able to cast on for the fronts tomorrow or the next day. The nice thing about a baby sweater is that the seamed areas are tiny, so it's not so bad as doing an adult-sized sweater. I hope I get this one done in time, as I think this baby is due any day now.

Well, I guess that's it for tonight. Until next time, Friends.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My favorite gloves are about to bite the dust.

I'll have to darn them, so I can wear them until I can knit myself another pair. I knew this day was coming; the last few times I'd worn them last season I noticed that the fingertips were showing quite a lot of wear. Today a hole appeared in the thumb. It was small this morning when I got on the bus, and when I put them on this afternoon to go home, the hole was about the size of a dime. By the time I got to Stitch 'n' Bitch, it was the size of a quarter.

These gloves have gotten me through two winters and they are the warmest freaking gloves I've ever owned. I'm not kidding. I only ever want to wear gloves like these for the rest of my life. According to their Ravelry project page, I started them in mid-October 2009 and finished them on Novermber 1. It took a mere two and a half weeks to knit the gloves that have served me so well.

The pattern was Rococo, by Julia Mueller, which I purchased from the Fall 2009 issue of Twist Collective. As soon as I saw the photos of the gloves, I knew I had to make them. The complexity of the cables was the big draw, as well as their color. I couldn't wait to cast on! I ended up knitting them two at a time through the fingers, then did those one by one with double points. I'm sure I'll knit these gloves again, but not with the same yarn. I have some Canopy fingering by The Fibre Company which I think would knit up with better stitch definition to show off all those gorgeous cables.

The yarn I used for the gloves was Great Northern Yarn's 70% mink/30% cashmere DK weight in jet black. I know now that it was sheer lunacy to knit cabled gloves in black yarn that blooms. I've learned my lesson. The thing was that when I knit them, I had no earthly idea how much more the yarn would bloom after I started wearing them. After just a short period of time, it looked like the hands of a silverback gorilla were at the ends of my arms. These gloves are seriously hairy, but I keep wearing them because they are the warmest. freaking. gloves. Ever. I think my next pair of mink/cashmere gloves will be plain stockinette in a light color. I'll be checking out the Great Northern Yarns website posthaste.

Well, that's all I have this time. Next time I hope to be able to show off a completed baby cardigan. Until then, friends!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I didn't get to go to Rhinebeck.

So I won't be writing about the awesome time I had at the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival. Or how I met all the knitterati and bought tons and tons of yarn. Nope, this weekend I stayed home, did a little housework, organized my craft room and did a little knitting. Today I even mailed out a bunch of gifts I've had in the craft room that I just organized. I couldn't believe that there were only two people in line in front of me at the Post Office. It will never happen again.

The knitting I did was mostly on another Cascade cardigan, this one for my friend Jaarad's daughter. She's something like 4 months old now, so I'm a little late on her gift, but to be fair, she decided to be born a little early, so it's not entirely my fault this gift is late. Anyway, I'm knitting the 12 month size for her, in the hopes that if it's too big for her this Christmas, maybe she can wear it next year.

The knitting has gone pretty quickly - I cast on yesterday and all that's left are the sleeves and the button band. That's what I love about knitting baby stuff in worsted weight yarn: it's fast! The construction is a simple top-down cardigan with kfb increases for the raglan shoulder. The only tricky bit is getting the leaves right, but, in the end, not really difficult. The only trouble I'm having is that my gauge seems to be tighter on the sleeves than on the body, so I've been conscious about watching for that and compensating accordingly. Another evening or two and I should be able to call it finished, so I can start on the next project for my expectant friends. Organizing the stash helped me identify which yarns I want to use for the next few projects, so now I just have to find the right projects for the yarn.

Well, that's all for tonight. Good night, friends!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fridays are for finished things!

I have two finished projects this week: the Big Snowy Owl from the Purl Bee and the Schmidt vest I started about six weeks ago. The owl was probably about seven hours of actual knitting, although it took me a week to finish it, due to a variety of factors. The first was that I didn't have any polyfill to stuff it with, so I had to make a trip to the craft store for that. Then I didn't have any size 15 double pointed needles to do the eyes with, so I had to borrow some from a kind friend. After that, I had to wash the eyes because the grey yarn I used had so much spinning oil left in it that it smelled bad. Finally, when the eyes were dry, I was able to sew them on then knit the beak! I think I may make a few more of these owls, but I might just size them down and do them with worsted- or fingering-weight yarn. I think some tiny owls would be fun. They might even make nice Christmas ornaments. I'll have to let that idea marinate for a little while.

The Schmidt vest finished up much faster than I expected, but it probably helped that I was stuck in traffic for about an hour a few nights ago. You see, I thought it would be no big deal to go across the river to Indiana and back to buy some needles. It's only a mile across the bridge to Jeffersonville and the buses were running every half hour or so, so it couldn't be that bad, even with Shermageddon. Or so I thought. The flaw in my plan was that there was a Taylor Swift concert that night at the Yum! Center, which happens to be located right next to the bridge. So not only was there the usual rush hour traffic trying to leave downtown, there was additional traffic trying to get downtown for the show. It was gridlock. There were people (in heels! and sassy pants!) actually walking across the bridge faster than our bus could cross it. What should have taken an hour, at most, took two and a half. But that worked to my advantage, as I was able to knit the armhole and the collar while I was on the bus. I was even able to weave in all the ends. Once I finally got home, I gave it a good, long soak in some Eucalan and laid it out to dry. I think it looks pretty good with the Barbara Walker braided cable I used. I just hope it fits my brother in law. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

In WIPs news, I've begun knitting the little flowers for my Hydrangea bag. The pattern calls for plenty of them, but they knit up very quickly and it doesn't take much effort to weave in the ends. If I put in a little effort this weekend, there's a chance I could have the better part of them done by Tuesday. I may decide to to save that for my commute, though, as I'm feeling like I should do a little more on the striped intarsia socks that are taking me forever to finish. We'll see how that goes - I might also decide to cast on another baby project such as the super-secret one I have in mind for my friend Molly. It's going to be awesome! And I hope no one tells her what it is. It's a surprise for her baby shower. I sure hope I get an invitation.

Anyway, that's all I have for tonight. I hope you have a nice weekend, Friends!