Friday, September 30, 2011

Sick Day

I woke up this morning feeling like I had been trampled by a herd of elephants. I could barely sit up, my face was all puffy and my throat felt as though I had swallowed a cheese grater. There was no way I could go to work. I didn't want to drink anything or eat anything or even knit. What an awful state of affairs to wake up to.

However, after some TLC from my husband who hooked me up with some drugs and tea before he left for work and Missy who has been napping close at hand and nuzzling me every so often, I feel much better now. I have finally moved to the couch and have had some soup and I am watching murder mysteries I have saved on my DVR. I have also done a bit of knitting, and folks, I have finally finished my cowl. Kitchener's stitching and all.

Now it is time to cast on for you know what-- I am so excited!! I am only casting on and not knitting because I want to really start tomorrow but since casting on sometimes takes ages I figure it is better to get it out of the way so it doesn't slow my knitting roll.

And in other news, Missy is still in the box (albeit relocated).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Smitten Kittens

Today I came home to a very special package. My husband was out with some co-workers so I had time to geek out over it without worrying that he would think I was a total loser and also without worrying that he would figure out what I had spent our grocery money on. I had been looking forward to this delivery for several days and had been looking forward to placing the order for even longer. That's right- it was my Knit Picks box!!

I cut the tape and raised the cardboard flaps as slowly as I could, relishing each second, knowing what goodies lay inside. This was my first order from Knit Picks and it definitely did not disappoint. Nestled like a snuggly litter of newborn kittens, were skeins and skeins of soft, fluffy yarn all for me.

I had ordered some Swish Worsted, Comfy Sport and Comfy Worsted, in the sweetest colors. My favorite is the "Jalepeno" and it is true to its namesake, with "Cashew" and "Fedora" following closely behind (they are going to look so cute knit up in this pattern).

I definitely have enough yarn now to last me for a while (like that is going to stop me) and I am going to finish my cowl and my sweater, (which I had to tink a bit today) so I can bust out the new stuff. I feel like I have won big, but there was clearly a bigger winner tonight:

She is still in there....

Glovember is Coming

I know it's not even Socktober yet, more on that later, but it's always good to be prepared:

You have been warned.

(Yes, I did make that by cutting out pictures of gloves and mittens.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

KIP it Real

I am a huge fan of KIP (knitting in public) especially lately, as I have been leaving the house before 8 in the mornings and coming home a little before 8 in the evenings at the earliest. This means the only time I can knit while giving it my full attention is on the metro or if I am waiting to meet up with friends after work. I am not self-conscious about it in the least- people do much weirder things in public and I also I love knitting, so that's that.

Until today, no one has really said anything to me about it or at least nothing that I was startled by. Some people might ask what I am doing or what I am making and I am happy to answer them. Today I was taking the train home with a co-worker who gets off at the same station as I do. We were chatting and I had told her when I sat down that I was going to work on my sweater and I wasn't ignoring her, etc., and we were having a nice conversation about work and the sweater and I was saying how even though I knew it wasn't likely to happen, I really wanted to finish it by Saturday evening.

All of a sudden, a woman who was sitting to my left decided to chime in. "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation," she said (at which point I knew I wasn't going to like what came next), "but I really don't think you are going to finish that sweater by then." Gah. "Well, maybe by Sunday," I suggested and was in the process of turning my body away from her and toward my buddy from work when she continued, " I don't know how fast you knit but I'm a knitter and I knit pretty fast and that sweater isn't happening by then."

Wait, what? Seriously?!  Who says that?! I think by this point I was making my most extreme lemur face because I don't know why she felt the need to chime in at all, let alone to rain on my knit parade. Of course she was right, well sort of. If I pulled a couple of all nighters I could totally finish. But given the fact that I have 3-4 hours of awake time at home during which I have to make and eat dinner and clean up and the fact that I have plans Friday night and am out all day's not going to happen. I know that. But something about this interaction got me quite riled up and I walked home telling myself I was so going to finish that sweater.

Once I got home though, and Missy ambled over and nuzzled me and wanted to settle down on my lap, I realized how silly it was to get so worked up over it. What I like about knitting is that it is fun and relaxing, even when I am trying something new that scares me (I'm looking at you, lace). If I put the same amount of stress on it as I do on other parts of my life I will lose the relief it provides me on days when those other stressors are getting me down.

Also, more importantly, when you are making something for someone it is never nice to do it while angry. Maybe I am superstitious but I really believe that your feelings can seep into what you make (see e.g. Como Agua Para Chocolate) and this is why I am going to chill out about the sweater. For now the postal service is still in business and it will get to the cute baby when it gets there.

Perhaps most importantly, I can now finish my cowl in the spare moments I do have because it's dropping below 60 degrees this weekend. Yay! So thank you random lady on the metro. I hope you have a fantastic rest of the week.

Cowl Break

Because I am working on my baby sweater my Burberry Inspired Cowl has been put on hold. Here is a picture of it in its pumpkin colored glory. Isn't this the most beautiful color?? I made a friend a hat with the same colored yarn and wanted to make myself something, hence the cowl, and I have three four more hanks in my not-so-secret stash because I love it so so much. It reminds me of fall and stomping through crunchy leaves and butternut squash soup and Halloween.

It's looking pretty good so far. I am a tiny bit worried about the provisional cast on (what if the crochet chain doesn't unravel!?) because I haven't used that method before but am much more comfortable with kitchener's stitch after working on the armpits of my stripey sweater.

Updated: I meant to say that I uploaded this entry for WIP Wednesday - check out the other posts, people are working on some fabulous things out there!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good News or Bad News?

That's the question I asked my husband last night as I got into bed after working on my sweater for an hour or so. In the order of his reply, the bad news was that I had to rip out all of what I had started. The good news was that I hadn't worked on it that long and so I didn't feel as bad as I would have if I had realized my mistake when I was on the sleeves. The mistake? Confidently casting on 100 stitches instead of the 106 required for the 18 month old size. The baby recipient has turned one, so I wanted to make his sweater larger but sleep clouded my eyes and I looked at the wrong number in the parentheses at the beginning of the pattern. Lesson learned? That my mom is right again- one should not knit when one is tired. Also that I should triple check the pattern I am knitting from. No new pictures for this post- the ones from yesterday still apply.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My First Countdown

I haven't knit on a deadline before- I have pretty much been knitting for myself. I have made a couple of gifts but they never had to be ready by a specific day so it's all been quite relaxing. Well it's on now. I have finally cast on a 100 stitches in my Berroco Vintage on size 8 needles to make a sweater in 5 days. I knit several rows already because I couldn't not but I have sleeves to add and a hundred or so more rows to go I am guessing. I already know this sweater is going to look great.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Unswiftly Winding

A few months ago I bought a swift. I had seen one at my LYS and I loved how unruly hanks of yarn were quickly transformed into neat, easy to knit balls. In the beginning, when I was only buying yarn from that store, it didn't seem like something I needed because the lovely ladies who worked at the store would wind up all the yarn I bought. However, once we got a car and began exploring yarn stores in the area and once I discovered Knit Picks I found myself with many hanks but no one to help me wind them.

I tried using the backs of our chairs but the yarn kept slipping down. I tried to get my husband to help by holding apart his hands but it was  difficult for him to keep his hands like that which was very frustrating challenging endearing but I still needed to wind all the yarn I had brought into my house.


So like anyone looking for a good deal I went on ebay and won a swift in an auction. Fast forward a few months later and I am thinking I should have bought a ball winder as well because just the swift doesn't really speed up the winding. It took me close to an hour today to wind four hanks into balls, which was frustrating because all I wanted to do was cast on the sweater I decided to knit yesterday.

To knit said sweater I bought some Berroco Vintage in Chocolate (it may be Mocha, I can't tell) and because I have been hearing a lot about sock knitting lately, I also got some gorgeous Shibui sock yarn in Dragonfly. Sigh. So lovely. I also bought the Vintage in a blue colorway- I am not sure which one but it looks good and frankly it was so reasonably priced that I struggled to not buy more. Looking back I am glad I held out because I will enjoy it all the more with a ball winder in my life.


Saturday, September 24, 2011


I didn't make much headway on any knitting this weekend. I know I have tomorrow but it doesn't look like I will be able to go back to anything I want to finish. I had to work all day today and then met up with friends afterwards which was great because I am going to be working tomorrow and both days next weekend as well so it was nice to get some fun in there. Even though I didn't knit, I still managed to order lots of yarn last night and I pre-ordered Coastal Knits today which I am super excited about because I get to download two patterns before the book gets here next month AND as part of the pre-order package I also get 50% off coupons for patterns on the Never Not Knitting site and on Knitbot (the book is a collaboration of Alana Dakos from Never Not Knitting and Hannah Fetig's designs). I am looking forward to casting on my first sweater for myself from this book.

Tomorrow during my lunch break I am heading to Looped Yarn Works to buy three skeins of worsted weight yarn. We have a friend coming into town this weekend and I am determined to make a sweater for his tiny son by then. I guess he's not so small anymore-  it has been over a year since we have seen him but he will always be tiny to us I guess (the baby, not the friend). I am going to use the stripey sweater pattern again but in a larger size and I am doing it in one color, either grey or brown, and using little wooden buttons to give it a nice grown up look. I think this baby can definitely pull off this sophisticated style. Excited!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Busy Knitting

It has been a long busy week and it is going to be a longer and busier weekend. I have about a few hours of knitting I can squeeze in tonight and have been looking forward to it since I left the house on Monday morning. Pictures of my completed burberry cowl will hopefully be up soon!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Not that kind of frogging! A few months ago I knit a frog for one of my favorite babies. I used the Ribbit pattern by Susan B. Anderson and it was my first toy and one of my cutest FOs (if not the cutest). We have a couple of friends having babies, one in due in the next few weeks, and I am really toying (see what I did there?) with making the same frog for this new baby because it was such a great knit and even though the seaming was kind of a pain it just came together so wonderfully in the end. BUT Susan B. Anderson has a whole book of supercute toys, so maybe I should check that out for more inspiration.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Changes Good

The past few days I have been working on the format of this blog and also (surprise!) laying the foundation for my very own PODCAST. You may have noticed the link above. I don't know when my first episode will be up but I am really really excited about it. I listen to knitting podcasts during the day while I am at work and they brighten up my day and keep me inspired and looking forward to knitting fun new projects. My favorites are the Never Not Knitting Podcast, Just One More Row, Stash and Burn and I'm getting into Sticks and String (how can you not like an Australian guy who knits, sometimes for his mother, and plays some cool tunes?!).

So...this was pretty much to say that I have been busy, but I am eagerly anticipating more sharing and updating. This was also my way of saying I haven't really been knitting much the past few days. I worked on my Burberry cowl while on the metro and am going to continue that right now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Knitty Woman

This video made the rounds earlier this summer but it doesn't get old. I love Tom Hanks and watching him knit in his hipster glasses and leather jacket makes my day brighter, which is important on Tuesdays- for me they are the sluggish-est days. Worse than Mondays for sure.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creative Outlet

On our way back from our weekend trip we happened upon an outlet mall. I did some damage at the Banana Republic store but it would have been foolish not to buy t-shirts which are perfect for cold weather layering for several dollars each. And a sweatshirt. And an argyle sweater. And some other items. It was a fun day and I actually got quite a deal for my new clothes. I also popped into J. Crew and the Kate Spade store. Sadly the deals in those stores were not for me, at least not if I didn't want to spend any money for the rest of this month and next.

Both stores, like all the others, had some wonderful sweaters and knitted fall/winter accessories. Of course I thought to myself, well if I can't buy them, maybe I can make them, because I am in desperate need of more projects to cast-on and not-finish. Then I had an even better idea- I can make them for the holidays! Okay, I am not making anyone a sweater (babies excepted) any time soon because it is just too much. But, if I did have to make an adult-sized sweater (I am debating making myself a birthday sweater) it would be this one I saw in J. Crew. I am trying to find a pattern that is similar. I think it would look wonderful in Berroco Flicker.
Isn't it cute?

What I am thinking about making as a holiday gift is a set like this seen in Kate Spade.

The flowers each have a little bead in the center.

I just love it and I checked on Etsy and I found little felt flowers. I would do it in a different color, maybe teal or maroon and I am still thinking about how to go about making the scarf. Both sides looked like the knit side of stockinette stitch. There was also no curling at all- totally flat so I am wondering whether it was knit in the round and then sewed up as it was also thicker than the hat. I have seen a scarf pattern that is like that on Ravelry for a Harry Potter scarf but I don't know how the edges would look without tassels if sewn together. What stitch would I use? Kitchener? Three needle bind-off? Would I use a provisional cast-on? I am going to post these questions on Ravelry as this would make a really great looking gift if made properly.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Missing Knitting

I knit my last stitch on Friday at around 8pm. I was waiting for my toes to dry at the nail salon and was catching up on an unfinished scarf. Since then I haven't knit anything. We went to a wedding this weekend and as I was driving I didn't take anything to work on. I came online to update the blog but all I want to do is work on my cowl- I ran out of yarn and had to order more online so I had to abandon it for a while. It is here and I just wound it into a ball so I'm ready to go!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Loft-y Aspirations

We were in Philadelphia a few weekends ago and I managed to visit the sweetest little yarn store- Rosie's Yarn Cellar (it really is in the cellar). I bought some nice soft yarn to knit up into a hat for my husband and I also found some sparkly yarn on sale. It is called Katia Gatsby and I have it in black. At the beginning of July, I discovered this amazing Blue Heron Rayon Metallic Yarn in a store in San Francisco. It was so nice to touch and glittery and spectacularly dyed but I had a cheap attack after hearing the price and didn't buy it. The Katia is my discount consolation prize. I have been searching Ravelry for patterns that would showcase it's sparkly-ness but which also didn't use up a lot of yarn, because I only have two skeins. After not finding what I was looking for on Ravelry (of course I have a very specific thing in mind) I saw some version of it in Ann Taylor Loft earlier this week. Behold the open-knit infinity scarf. I want to make something similar. Once I figure out what stitch is used. Any ideas?

Everything but the Buttons

I have finished sewing up the underarms of my stripey baby sweater and have woven in all the ends. Now I just need to find the right buttons. How cute is this?! I can't believe how much simpler and more fun it was to knit this compared to my first one which I had to seam together and was a nightmare. I hadn't much knitting under my belt at that time (hard to believe that was only four months ago) and the sleeves took a while to get to the same size, I couldn't make the hood right, but it did work out eventually and was happy with it and I know the recipient is going to look adorable in it- but he'd look pretty adorable in anything. I think I am going to make him another sweater with the same pattern as this one but in a bigger size so he can enjoy it later this year or early next.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Knitting Reads

One is red on blue with red tassles and the other is blue on red with blue tassels.
A friend of mine sent me this link earlier today. I am really excited about checking some of these books out. My relationship with the Kindle has been on the rocks for a while as I discovered that the library was a much cheaper way to enjoy books. This may be just the thing to get me back to it though (don't tell my husband!) and I think I want to start with Knitting for Peace and A Knitter's Home Companion. It is always fun for me to read about the lives of other knitters and I think I would like to knit for other people who might need knitted things instead of just making myself hats (although I am sure I will make some time for that also). One thing I am working on, and my mom too, is making scarves for the Special Olympics in 2012. Handknit scarves will be given to all the athletes, coaches, volunteers, families and supporters to show some love for taking part in this great event. You can check out how to get involved here. I am almost done with my second scarf yay!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Too Much Brim

The brambles hat has dried, and it is too big. The band. If the band was smaller/tighter it would be just wonderful. It covers my head down to my eyebrows and over my ears. It could go down over my eyes if I wanted it to. It might be useful if I have to go run an errand with my curlers in, but I don't see that happening more than once every few years or so. I guess I am going to have to try this one again. Good thing it was fun to knit and this time I can fix the wonky cable.

I have binded (bound?) off on the zebra striped sweater. It looks pretty good. All I have to do know is close the holes under the armpits! Yay!

My Hat Won't Dry!

My beautiful brambles hat is still not dry! I soaked it, stretched it out over a dinner plate and scrunched in the brim as instructed. It has been two days and it is still damp to the touch. I can't wait to try it on. I am almost finished (or so I keep telling myself) with the zebra striped sweater- I am a little concerned about sewing up the arm holes because I don't really understand kitchener's stitch even though I have watched many how-to videos and been shown how in person. Not looking forward to that. Also I am curious to try this sweater in just one color and possibly with garter stitch edging- I think it would go way faster and I would want to try button loops and big buttons instead of the smaller buttonholes. Hope to finish tonight- both sleeves have been attached and hope to start the decreases in the shoulder area soon!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Loose Ends

I am terribly impatient. I love starting new projects and get a bit bored when I have figured out the pattern for objects I have already started knitting. Impatience is going to be a big theme here. One thing that really kills my buzz is weaving in ends. I hate it. Same thing with seaming and putting on buttons and embellishments. But even that has to do with dealing with ends of yarn. It is nice to have a finished piece but so often I put off these final touches. Right now I have the following AFOs (almost finished objects):
My favorite baby blanket square so far xoxo
  • one striped ribbed scarf (SO many ends)
  • one two color scarf I have to put end tassels on and weave in ends
  • several squares for a baby blanket for which I need to weave in ends and seam together
  • a hat which I need to iron and attach embellishments and....weave in the ends
While I am at it, I might as well go ahead and list some of my UFOs which have stayed unfinished because I don't want to deal with them:

  • one baby blanket that I have to rip out a few rows on but it is on circular needles and I need to be in a good head space to deal with that
  • handwarmers- I don't want to make the other one
  • one cabled scarf- I am using the needles for another scarf right now
Now that I have made these lists my list of works in progress seems awfully short. Which makes me feel awesome.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blocking Time

So I have completed the brambles hat and now it is soaking in a bowl on my kitchen counter. After reading a lot about blocking and Soak, I decided that I want to buy some Soak because it sounds awesome but for right now a squirt of baby shampoo would have to do because I cannot wait to stretch that baby over a dinner plate.

I think I should have opted for a smaller size (I started the chart at the beginning instead of at row nine) and one of the cables is definitely a bit messed up but you can't really tell. And it's for me- I don't mind a fincable! Anyway, that's one less thing on my UFO list and it's one of the first things I have cast on for me in ages, maybe ever, although I did keep something else I made for no one in particular.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wishful Knitting

One my reasons (but not really, actually I just thought of this a minute ago) for starting this blog is so I can take stock of all my in-progress (unfinished) projects. I have several. From time to time I will update this list, just so I know and you know what has to be done. I was going to do this now, but have decided to try and finish a hat so this list will be a teeny bit shorter and I will feel so very accomplished and special.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

When Your Kittycat is Not a Knittycat

My cat hates knitting. Actually, I'm pretty sure she loves knitting because she's really into playing with yarn and chewing up my bamboo needles and clawing through finished projects. She just hates me knitting. Right now she is sitting on the chart I need for this beautiful hat. I have had my eye on it on Ravelry for a while and I was pretty eager to cast on and complete my ribbing and begin the cable patterns shown on the chart. Despite my best efforts the ribbed edge isn't perfect mainly because I hate unknitting in the round and I figured since it was for me it wasn't a big deal. I may have fudged the increases as well. But now I am almost upto a cable row! But Missy is on the pattern. Of course.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What Were You Tinking?!

Tink-ing is the process of undoing your knitting stitch by stitch ("knit" backwards). It can sometimes be painful, but as is the case with my knitting, often necessary. Especially if one gets distracted easily by what's on TV, or noises from down the hallway, or pictures of kittens. Kittens!!

It can be really frustrating to work hard on a piece of knitting only to have to take it all out but it is important to stay positive and remember how awesome your hat/sweater/shawl/whatever is going to look when it is absolutely perfect and mistake-free.

My grandmother taught me to knit when I was younger but I couldn't do anything fancy. I could knit or purl but did not know how to follow patterns or make anything other than either a garter stitch or stockinette stitch scarf (these always curled up and I always thought it was because I was doing something wrong, until I recently learned that stockinette pieces have a tendency to do that!). I started knitting in earnest several months ago after taking some group classes at Stitch DC and now I LOVE to knit. However, I still have lots and lots and lots to learn, so for me, tinking has become as much a part of my life as knitting and I embrace it just as wholeheartedly.