A temporary Knit-out

March 26, 2007 at 3:09 pm | Posted in knitting, socks | 4 Comments

This weekend we spent mostly busy with yardwork. The annual “Get your yard looking nice by April or else” letter was distributed throughout our subdivision and let me tell you, our homeowner’s association means business. So, we heeded the warning and tended to our grass which was neglected over the winter. Luckily the weather was beautiful, sunny and in the mid-eighties. You know spring is here when you walk out the front door and see these critters out..

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Although we were busy, I did get a bit of knitting in.

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This is both the front and back of the first square of the afghan. You can see where I accidently miscounted the stitches right around the cats cheek. But overall I think it came out not too bad. The back still needs woven but you can see how I kind of improvised and used both intarsia and a little bit of stranded knitting. If there is a better way you can see of me doing this, please let me know. I think it would look better on the back side without any stranding at all, but one of the squares has a tiger striped cat head with lots of color swapping in each row, so it seems like in that case stranded would still be the better choice. Am I correct in thinking that or should I just use intarsia throughout?

I also got a little more work on the socks done.

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I just love those stripes!

Now for the baby sweater..

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It’s coming along. I was excited to start the part where you shape the sweater, but with a last glance at the pattern I realized I still had another inch and a half of straight stockinette stitch to go before I could move on. I love the little seed stitch trim, but must admit I am not a huge fan of the colors. I know they are good baby colors, but it’s a little pastel overdose for my liking. The yarn was a scrap skein I had laying around and the point of the sweater is mostly just to learn how to do it. I can’t wait to watch it take shape.

Sadly, I did not make it to the Knit-In this past Friday at my LYS. I really did plan on going but I talked myself right back out of it before the day was over. However, the comments I received have given me new resolve and motivation. Because I am the shy girl that I am, and I have a tendancy to overthink and overplan things…I now have a plan for this Friday. My yarn should be arriving from Knitpicks this week along with the needed needles for the Endpaper Mitts. I am going to take those to the knit-in as my project and that way I’ll also arrive armed with lots of questions to ask the veteran knitters. I even have my opening line ready to go, “Hi, do you all mind if I join you?” It’s not exactly creative but it should indicate that I would like to sit in the circle with them so hopefully someone gets a cue and makes some room. (It can be a little crowded in that store.) So I have a project, I have an opening line, I’ll have questions..I think I’m ready to go. This week I am going to follow the advice of my friend from Daily Stitches and in the words of Elizabeth Zimmerman, “Knit on with confidence”.

Knit In or Out?

March 22, 2007 at 8:46 pm | Posted in knitting | 7 Comments

Every Thursday I start the mental debate about whether or not I should head to the LYS and join in on the weekly “Knit-In” that goes from 5-8pm on Friday evenings. I can easily go by on my way home from work, and have been there twice right at 5pm to pick up some yarn. One time I even got up the nerve to ask the store owner to help me with a few stitch questions. I’m sure I can also get some great advice from the other knitters, but the circle of knitters seems like such a daunting, tight-knit (excuse the pun) group. How does a knitting newbie ask a veteran to slide over and make room? What if the owner politely suggests I come back once I’ve taken a beginner class? What if someone asks me my favorite knitting yarn and my blank stare tips them off to the fact that I really don’t know the difference between Merino and Alpaca? What’s a good icebreaker between a couple of knitters? I’m just not sure, but I’m hoping one of these Friday’s I get up the nerve to find out. I want a knitting mentor, or a sponsor even. So tomorrow, am I knitting in, or out?

Knit-in dilemna aside, I am very happy because today I surfed on over to Knit Picks and placed my first order. Along with a couple of hanks of fingering weight yarn, I picked out 2 sets of DPN’s and once my order arrives I’ll be able to start the Endpaper Mitts pattern. I’m so excited to start that pattern because it will be my first test of fair isle knitting. The cat afghan has color changes but I ended up using intarsia with a couple of stranded stitches thrown in. The first square came out fairly well, and I figure with it being my first, the squares can only get better, right? I’m also in the market for a set of Size 13 circular needles in a length less than 29″. I need them for the felted clogs that I’m planning on giving for Christmas this year. I think I’m going to follow Queer Joe’s example and make several pairs to felt all at once. Oh, another exciting thing..I cast on the stitches for my first baby sweater. I chose a nice pattern from Knitty called Daisy and am basically just working on understanding sweater construction, and to improve my seaming.

Another fun thing I did was email my entry into the Knitter’s Treat Exchange. Before Christmas I joined an ornament exchange and had a great time choosing ornaments for my swap buddy. She sent me some beautiful ornaments and who doesn’t like to get a treat in the mail? I’ll finish today’s post with the required questionnaire.

Knitters Treat Exchange Questionnaire

1. What’s your favourite type of yarn?
Well, being a novice knitter I really don’t have much experience with many yarns. I have heard that Alpaca is very soft, and lots of people rave about Koigu. I have just learned how to do socks so I’m enjoying sock yarn with interesting colorways.
2. What’s your least favourite type of yarn?
Hmm..I don’t much care for the squeaky worsted weight yarn from Walmart I’ve used in the past.
3. What’s the first thing you do when you visit a new yarn shop?
Truthfully, become extremely overwhelmed. But then I gather my wits and head straight to the sock yarn.
4. What other crafts do you do / would like to do?
Besides knitting? Does Gardening count? I started a little herb garden this year, it’s fun!
5. What magazines do you currently subscribe to?
Entertainment Weekly and People, though am planning on subscribing to Interweave Knits.
6. Put this type of magazine in order of preference:
Knitting / Home/ Food/ Garden/ Celebrity Gossip (just People magazine)/ Crochet / Other Craft / Fashion
7. What items do you like to knit / crochet? I like socks, and bags, but just cast on my first attempt at a sweater. I’m anxious to try mittens too, and fair isle hats.
8. Are you allergic to anything?
Tide laundry detergent
9. What do you like to* smell of? (*This is not a typo. The question is: What do you like to smell of)
Coconut and citrus
10. What’s your favourite way to relax?
Knitting in front of the TV..it’s my zen time.
11. You’re stood in front of a Victorian style sweetshop, an Italian cafe, an old fashioned bakery and a dainty tea room. Where do you go first?
I would walk into the bakery first.
12. What do you come out with?
I would come out with some type of croissant or scone.
13. Where do you go next?
Next I would head to the sweetshop for a divine piece of chocolate.
14. Any other words of wisdom for your pal?
If the knitter is weary the baby will have no new bonnet. ~Irish Proverb

Odds and Ends

March 19, 2007 at 5:58 pm | Posted in knitting | Leave a comment

In Knitting news, this weekend I decided to start a new afghan which will be a Christmas present for my sister-in-law. She has 3 cats and I think she will really like this blanket.

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This project should be a nice, very simple, introduction into using more than one color, and I’ve been very conscientous about checking the gauge. Checking gauge isn’t something I’ve had to do much of but I want to develop good habits. The other nice part about this pattern is that it’s made up of quick little squares that will be perfect for TV knitting, and I have many months to finish it. Incidently, the pattern is out of the Winter 2006/2007 issue of Knit Simple magazine. I also got the Anemoi Mittens pattern from Eunny Jang’s site, and also the pattern for the Endpaper Mitts. I think I’ll do the mitts first with the intention of moving onto mittens second. The mittens pattern looks really complicated but most times, once I read the pattern through, it doesn’t turn out to be as hard as it looks.

I’ve been reading my new “Knitting Rules!” book and already feel like I’ve learned a lot of great little techniques and tips, as well as chuckled at Yarn Harlot’s witty writing. The book is a really fun read.

In other book news, I am happy to be adding book number 5 to my “50 book challenge” list. I finished the second book in the Josephine B. trilogy and the third book came today from my book swap. I can’t wait to dig into it but at the same time I’m sad to see the story coming to an end. Speaking of bookswap (shameless plug coming…), I can’t say enough about how much I LOVE PaperBackSwap.com. I get mostly all of my books from it (for free) and have so much fun sending books out to other people. I’ve sent 9 books out and received 9 books so far, and it’s great to come home to a new book in the mailbox.

P.S. Thanks for the words of encouragement a few of you posted in my comments section. I’m so happy and content with my new hobby that even though it’s frustating at times, it’s mostly because there are so many things I want to knit and create and I just don’t have the skills to do them yet…but I will! I appreciate your taking the time to visit, do come again!

Habla Knitting?

March 17, 2007 at 10:55 pm | Posted in knitting | 2 Comments

How can I get better? That is the question I ask myself daily as I continue to teach myself new techniques or stitches. Just when I think I have the basics down, I come across another technique I need to know. It’s kind of like learning the words of another language but not really being able to string them together in one sentance. Eventually you learn enough to make simple sentances but can’t quite get your point across to make a conversation. I mean, I know how to say french fries and hamburger in Spanish, but I don’t think I could really express how much I enjoy eating them or order them in a restaurant. I want so badly to know how to fill in the spaces with my knitting, but am not quite sure how or in what order I should be learning things. It frustrates me sometimes. However, at the same time I have learned SO much from other bloggers. I really love the knit-blog community and am so anxious to really become a part of it. Thanks to those who have posted here, and thanks to those who share so much on their own blogs. This newbie appreciates all of your help, knowledge and inspiration.
Since finishing the Brea Bag (minus the strap still) I have been tinkering with the Hedera socks. Actually, I think I’ve decided to hold off until I have a nice solid color of sock yarn to make them so that you can better see the lace pattern. With the yarn I was using, the pattern was getting lost in the multicolors. I ripped the Hedera sock out and am now trying to adapt a plainer pattern. I have only just cast on my 64 stitches and done one round on my size 2 DPN’s so I’ll let you know how they are coming along when I have a little more to show.
In other knitting news, we hit Borders today to use up a 25% off coupon. I headed straight to the crafts shelves, made myself comfortable on the floor and paged through every knitting book they had. I finally settled on this..

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I enjoy reading her blog and this book has a lot of practical information in it as well, so I thought it was a good choice. I’m hoping it will tell me how I can better adapt that sock pattern.

The Brea is in the bag

March 15, 2007 at 7:50 pm | Posted in bags, finished objects, knitting | 4 Comments

The buttons are in place, the last thread is woven. I officially have another FO of 2007.

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I ran into a few snags (excuse the pun) as I was finishing the Brea. For one, the pattern didn’t really tell you how best to sew the bag pieces together. I am sure this isn’t a problem for most, but for a novice like me, it took a few tries to decide what might work. I did the single crochet border along the top edges of the front and back pieces but I think the next time I might go all the way around to get the nice border the crocheted edge gave it. Instead, I ended up crotcheting all of the pieces together with the single crochet and while I liked the look, it made stiff seams all the way around so the bag hangs a bit awkward. I’ve been debating washing the bag and trying to reshape it by stuffing the center. I put the D-rings in for the straps but I haven’t picked them out yet. I was thinking of hitting the thrift stores this weekend to see if I can repurpose some from another brown bag. The Brea Bag was a really fun knit and I think even though there are many mistakes, it doesn’t look too bad for my first attempt. I am sure I’ll make it again soon.

Brea on the block

March 13, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Posted in bags, knitting | 2 Comments

When I first started working on the Brea bag I searched all over knit blog land for tips on how to line the bag, or even just pictures of the finished product. On many of the sites people complained of the moss stitch gusset, but it wasn’t until the last few inches of my own that I could feel their pain. The moss stitch is easy..k1,p1 X2 rows, p1,k1 X2 rows, rinse, repeat. Something about it just makes it seem to drag on and on, much like an i-cord can drag. Really though, as projects go this is a piece of cake to finish. The gusset is done, I picked up my decorative button this weekend and the front and back pieces are blocking. Off the needles the main pieces are a little smaller than I thought they would be but I’m doing my best to stretch them out.

The Hedera socks remain on the needles but have been waiting for me to pick them back up. We finally made the trip to Lowes where I was hoping to pick up paint for the bedroom. But in our usual, easily distracted fashion, we came home with wood and plants and dirt instead. The weather was beautiful this weekend, high 70’s or low 80’s, sunny and breezy. We just couldn’t get motivated to paint inside all weekend so instead Chris fashioned me a little 3’X3′ raised planter box where I am now cultivating 2 green pepper plants, rosemary and 2 sweet basil plants. This weekend I’ll put in my last 4 plants consisting of banana peppers, cilantro and culantro. I’m even thinking of doing some tomato pots and cucumbers! Who knew I could grow stuff ?!?

Oh, and speaking of knitting again…I have decided my next knitting technique is going to be fair isle/stranded knitting. I am really eyeballing Eunny Jang’s Anemoi mittens pattern but I’m worried it might be a little too challenging for me. I have no idea how to read a chart, but I am willing to learn. I’ve been searching around for a couple of good colorwork patterns but I haven’t decided on one yet. If you have a suggestion, please pass it my way.

Stalled..

March 8, 2007 at 9:21 pm | Posted in bags, knitting, socks | 1 Comment

Last night, sometime between American Idol and Lost, I managed to finish the second side of the Brea Bag. I’m pretty pleased with the way they came out and am now anxious to make a push to the finish. Alas, 18 rows into the gusset I ran out of my Saddle Tan Nature Spun wool. What’s a girl to do? Well, the only thing an addicted knitter can do…click on over to Knitty and start these very cool Hedera socks. Speaking of Knitty, the new issue is out and as always, I am in awe of the talented people who come up with those beautiful patterns. It’s all I can do just to follow some of those patterns, let alone design them. As for the Brea, my LYS is open until 8pm tomorrow so I’ll be able to swing by on my way home from work to pick up another skein. Maybe I’ll have pictures of a completed Brea Bag by the end of the weekend.

In other project news…today I stopped at Lowes and brought home about a gazillion different paint swatches to decide between for the bedroom decorating project. I’m happy to be actually narrowing down paint colors (after 2 years of thinking about it) but a little nervous after reading about Yarn Harlot’s current home project. Her story is enough to make me think about it a little longer.

Back side done

March 5, 2007 at 10:30 pm | Posted in bags, knitting | 2 Comments

Here is the promised photo of the Brea in progress. Not bad for 2 days worth of work.

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Frogging 101

March 4, 2007 at 9:37 pm | Posted in bags, knitting | Leave a comment

After restarts too numerous to count, I am finally making real progress on the Brea bag. I don’t know why I was having such issues with stitch counting but I ripped it apart about 5 times before row 5. The good news is that I am now starting row 13 of the first side and I’m really enjoying watching it come together, cables are fun like that. I’ve been trying to google how to best put a lining into the bag when it’s done but all I’ve found so far is pictures of the completed bag. If anyone has any suggestions, please pass them my way. I’ll try to take some pictures of my progress tomorrow when it’s more recognizable.

On a side note, last night Chris and I watched the movie “Stanger Than Fiction” with Will Ferrell. I’d heard good reviews but not being a big Will Ferrell fan I didn’t have very high expectations. We were both surprised how much we liked the movie. I happily recommend it.

New No. 9’s

March 3, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Posted in bags, knitting | Leave a comment

Today Chris (hubby) and I made a quick stop at Michael’s after lunch (sushi!) and I picked up a new long set of US9 straight needles. Now I’m geared up to start on the Brea Bag. I also looked at the yarns to try and pick some colors for my clogs but since I couldn’t find US 13 circular needles in the correct lengths, I’m going to order it all online. I have some time since I’m about to have 2 projects going. I like to have a few things on the needles at once but I’m going to keep it at two knitting projects for now because I’m also working on 2 non-knitting projects.

I was a voracious reader growing up. You could always find me curled up on the couch in our living room with a book in my hand. When I went to nursing school I wouldn’t let myself read for leisure because I believed any free time for reading should be spent reading text books. After nursing school I started out in the hospital working the night shift (7p-7a), and stayed there for 7 years. Anyone who has ever worked the night shift knows that the minute you open a book, you’re out like a light. I was ALWAYS tired, every waking minute. About a year and a half ago I found my dream job, working in the same area, with the same patients and physicians, but in the outpatient clinic. Now I’m 8-5, Monday through Friday, and I have never felt better and my health has never been better. Anyway, the point to this story is that I’ve joined a “50 Book Challenge”. The idea is to read 50 books in one year, and while I know I’ll never make 50 books in a year, I’m trying to jumpstart my interest in leisure reading. Today I’m starting book #4.

My other non-knitting project is a house one. We bought our house 2 and a half years ago and it’s still barely decorated. I just do not have the eye for it. I wish I had that decorator brain, but sadly I don’t believe I do. However, I’m trying to tackle the bedroom. I’ve got big plans (they only took 2 years to formulate) so now I’m going to put them in action as soon as I can decide on the right color blue….

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