Sunday, July 31, 2011

A year in knitting.... more or less

I've discovered that I'm not much for writing. The same thing happens when I attempt a journal, it lasts a few weeks and then collects dust. So here is some of the last year of knitting in photos.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What to do with a day off

Yesterday I decided to take the day off from normal activities (laundry, picking up and generally being lazy) to find out what would happen if I really tried to knit all day. So with my seasons of Bones, I sat down with several new patterns and began. The sock from last week turned out really well. I actually finished it! And right after wards cast on the second sock just to make sure that it didn't get left behind. I'm at the gussets on numero dos, but I didn't pick it up at all yesterday. It sat on the stairs, looking sad each time I walked by.

Instead I chose a baby sock and baby bootie pattern to try. With super small needles I made one of each, the cutest little sock and bootie ever, and like the first sock might be the only one of each ever made. I'm currently looking for a one legged baby to give them too. The yarn turned out to be the wrong weight and only made the stitches super tight. My next project was a fantastic pair of slippers known as the french press felted slippers. Super popular on etsy and ravelry, I've craved these slippers since early January. I pulled out yarn from a different failed felting project and began. I'm not sure the total time it took to knit all the parts, maybe 4-5 hours including the seaming. I threw them into the washer and felted them! And felted them, and felted them. I'm tempted to throw them back in the washer! They are still way too long. I've felted before, but I've never had something not get too small. I'd rather have baby bootie sized slippers that I need to stretch back out. Plus the yarn doesn't felt pretty. It's nasty fuzzy... I'm at a loss. For now I'm going to shave them then felt them again. Hopefully all will work out.

Upon further thinking, I went back to ravelry and looked at some of the reviews from fellow knitters who have used the same yarn. Their projects turned out okay, not like others who used the suggested Pattons yarn, but okay. But I read some of the profiles about their yarn experience and several of them said they would never used it again. Huge bummer! There are so many colors of this yarn. If it felted well, I'd use only it. I guess I have to keep looking for ideal slipper/felting material.

So one baby sock, one baby bootie, and sad looking slippers. The result of a whole day of knitting. My only conclusion is that I need practice. Can't expect the first try to be perfect. So next Monday should improve! Right?! I'm committed to spending a whole day knitting and coming out with something amazing!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A little here and there

The distracted knitter is back from being distracted with all the possibilities of projects. I've got two lace scarves on needles, have knit another sweater, have a beautiful vest knit and ready to block, am working on magic squares for a local community project, oh another scarf in that bag over there, and experimental entrelac scarf-ness that I'm working on. And yes I'm doing them all at once. A little here and there. Keeps me entertained.

So as I develop a deeper sense of what it means to be a Knitter, I've been exploring humorous knitting writings. Of course I would develop an interest in the Yarn Harlot. Though I have a general distaste for Canadians due to their lack of driving skills on I-5 and the constant appearance of their coinage in my register, the Yarn Harlot of Toronto has won my heart. I've been reading her book, The Yarn Harlot, and I feel as though she see's my soul! She knows deep down the desire to knit and create. The frustration I feel when patterns and charts make no sense are sympathized when I read her witty short stories. And her blog is amazing as well. In fact she has influenced me to attempt socks.

The Yarn Harlot talks about not really being a Knitter (capital K) unless you have knit all the areas; hats, socks, scarves, mittens, sweaters, bags, felted bags, tops, etc. And of course the styles; color work, entrelac, instarsia, cabling, lace work, etc. I've almost covered all these areas, however basic the project was. But socks... I once made 1 baby sock. Note the 1. Ribbing drives me nuts in general, turning the heal somehow went all wrong, the length of the foot is 3/4 the desired length because I just wanted to be done, but the toe is a beautiful example of Kitchner Stitch. Needless to say I had no desire to attempt socks again.

But there have been signs. I can't ignore the signs. The Yarn Harlot talks about socks being so easy. Their compact so you can take them anywhere and work on them. I saw a patient waiting for her prescription at the pharmacy. She didn't have a problem waiting because she simply sat down and pulled out a sock she was working on. It was a sign I tell you! But aren't socks too hard for me? I have no patience for sock yarn and size 2 needles. I needed something very simple. I've saved at least 20 patterns on Ravelry/Knitpicks of beautiful intricate socks that I only wish I could create. So the other day I was wasting time on Etsy, and one link lead to another. Somehow I found myself looking at a ravelry profile and there was the simple sock pattern that someone like me could make; "Plain Vanilla Socks". Another sign! I love vanilla yogurt, ice cream, body wash, lip balm, so of course I would love these socks.

I grabbed my hiya hiya size 2 9in circulars (the most amazing creation, no double points for me), some sock yarn and cast on! I really do hate ribbing, but it seemed to pass quickly. I've decided to knit anklets since I personally don't like long socks. Knitting the heel was slow back and forth with several dropped stitches (which in turn meant tink-ing, knitting backwards), and then the dreaded turning of the heel! I took my time so that there was no possible way I could mess it up. I was victorious and the heel is beautiful. So currently I'm working on the gusset and instep. I think this is the most beautiful part of a sock. I must be strange that way, but the lines of the gusset are beautiful and I can't really explain why. But so far in my project, I think I'm actually going to knit the 2nd sock! This is huge.

So between the socks, magic squares, scarves, and summer skirt (a project in the planning), I'll be pretty busy for a while.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Really?!? Two months have gone by just like that! The new year has brought on even more ideas and potential projects. It's a good thing though that I didn't make any ridiculous resolutions to get projects done each month (my mother did that!) since time for knitting is pretty random.

In January I made the trip across Washington to see siblings and go to the U.S. Skating Championships. We saw the Men's Short program and were totally amazed at how many of the nations best fell! They fell all over the place. Jumps are so cool to watch on the TV, and I was worried that I would miss all the action and excitement by sitting up in the nosebleed section. In the end I wasn't so disappointed. At the time, my favorite part was the dueling zambonis!! Truly the Heroes of the event.

The day after the bottom freezing event was Brother Joe's Birthday! He turned 19 and in the family fashion we made a cake from scratch and decorated it with authentic buttercream icing! Yum!! This cake actually had dual purposes. We had just found out that Jen would be stationed in Texas after graduation with her buddy. Thus the Yellow Star! I know the song is the Yellow Rose of Texas, but whatever.

So aside from all that excitement I went to this amazing Yarn/Fiber/Spinning/Weaving warehouse! It was amazing. Paradise Fibers is the place to be/go for amazing yarn and fiber needs. Oh my goodness, the warehouse kept going on. Oh another room? It must be for all the spinning fiber and wheels. And another? Oh of course for all the sale yarn and weaving equipment. I made it out of the building with 2 lbs of roving to spin and a drop spindle. Jen also purchased roving and that night had spun it all and was craving more! Also my obsession with spinning wheels must be put on hold. I've accepted spinning by hand for fun, but for now spinning my own yarn is much too pricey and takes up a lot of room. The best part of the warehouse is that it's hidden right behind the Spokane Adult Warehouse! No kidding. I guess it has a more legit name now. Previously it was the Adult Toy Store? Something like that.

So what have I created lately? Well I finished the horrible sweater! A lovely lady from church invited some friends over to knit on a rather dreary Sunday afternoon. Once I had to sit down for hours and work on it I couldn't stop. The next day it was done. I spent the whole day blocking it. This may have been a mistake since it grew several sizes! What should have been the smallest size turned into one that wasn't even an option! My mother still wore it and says it's beautiful. But I can't let it go. Several of my stitches were wrong and made little holes show up on the back. And the twisted stitch in the horseshoe pattern didn't twist right.

So that evening I began my second sweater. On size 11 needles and holding 2 strings together of a much smaller yarn, I've made a much smaller sweater that is now too small for my mom. Oh well, I'll get it right sometime. I need to finish the sleeve caps and it will be complete. I'm pretty sure I'll belong to my sister soon. Hope she likes it!

My sister Barb inspired me on my next project. She's been creating amazing things with ruffles. Ruffles were evidently in this season. I was in Anacrossstitch, another amazing yarn shop, where I discovered ruffle yarn. Really a wide tape yarn that is woven. Anyways, I was inspired to create little spats with lovely ruffles. An elegant addition to any outfit. So yarn was bought and it sat, and sat, and sat. Until the Super Bowl came around. What better thing to do then sit and knit while the guys stare at the tube. Of course I took a break to enjoy the Who. So rather then use the ruffle yarn, that is frankly not frilly enough, I purchased tulle in brilliant colors to use instead. Oh my, I love the outcome.

They are so much fun. Nothing complicated but frilly fun tutu like gloves. I've already bought more yarn to make another pair. Super fun. Now I get to teach mother how to make gloves.

And last but not least, my new favorite toy. My cat has been more playful lately. Unfortunately she found her way into my bin of yarn and completely tangled and mangled a skein of eyelash yarn. It was an absolute mess! And this is only about 1/4th of the skein showing.

But with my new toy in about 45 min the skein turned into this!

Yes!! Ball winder! From Knit Picks, it's the most inexpensive winder I could find. And you can either mount it on a table or twist on the handle attachment. Feed the yard through and go! I love it. It makes me want to wind all my yarn. Probably the most sensible frivolity I've ever purchased. So now on to more projects!