26 June 2006

Caught Jaywalkin'.

If you're reading my blog because you like reading knitting blogs, and are not just a friend of mine fulfilling an obligation, then what I'm about to show you is nothing new. After all, a pair of Jaywalkers come of the needles approximately every 2 minutes somewhere in the world. But this isn't about anyone else's Jaywalkers - it's about mine.

What a great pattern! I wanted just a tiny bit more of a challenge. I'm new(ish) to sock knitting, so the first 2 pair I knit (second pair will be posted soon - I have to re-knit the toes) were plain but still exciting to me as I was cutting my teeth. These literally just flew off my little dpns. I loved loved loved knitting them & am excited to put them into my pile of christmas knitting.

Jaywalker socks - pattern by Grumperina in Magknits
Regia "Canadian Colours" in 'Winnipeg'
bamboo 2.50mm needles
Started Wednesday, finished Sunday (wha??)

WOOO! I just hope that they fit my mother - she's got smaller feet than me (like, 2 sizes smaller) & I'm not *really* stretching these out very much when they're on my feet - but I think she'll love them.

20 June 2006

Deep V Argyle Back Support Belt

Coming home from work to knit on my Deep V Argyle Vest has been, to me, like coming home to play with a puppy - it's fun, it's *adorable*, it's super snuggly soft - and.....it's tiny.

After I finished all the hip increases, I thought "that still looks kinda small"....but I kept on anyway... today I finally let the logical part of my brain win, and I took it off my circulars & onto a scrap piece of yarn to try it on. Then, I re-measured my gauge & found that I am at 6.5 sts per inch instead of 5 - does that 1.5 stitches per inch really make that much difference in the fit? The answer, simply is - hell yes.

Now, here's where I come to a standstill - do I keep knitting, hoping that it'll all come out in the wash (literally) when I block it? Can I *really* expect it to stretch out another inch or two? (or 3 - because like, seriously, this thing is snug!) Do I rip it out & fiddle around with the pattern (perhaps adding another argyle pattern in there - which means I'd for sure have to order some more wool from knitpicks (which would be no biggy since I have to order some stuff for christmas projects anyway?) or do I knit this & give it to a well deserving friend who would probably love love love it for Christmas?

Right now I don't know the answer - but luckily, since it's pretty hot here, a merino wool sweater vest is not high on my priority list - but dag-nabbit! I love this thing, I want it.

In other knitting news, here is an unflattering photo of my Orangina sweater that I've fallen totally in love with - my dress Judy is about half my size, which is why there's some scrunching there, but just to give you an idea:

I've measured this thing & it'll fit no probs - but I do plan on making the lace section longer & the ribbing part shorter than what the pattern calls for, so I may need to take a trip back to the shop & buy some more Young Touch
How annoying is it to know that this stuff comes in "32 gorgeous colours!" & I chose black? Can I blame it on the fact that there was a sales clerk tidying up the yarn around me reminding me every 10 seconds that they were closing in just a few minutes?

Tonight I am spending some quality time with my *sewing machine* I feel like I've neglected her for too long now.

13 June 2006

no WAY!

Susannah's Shrug
Cotton Fleece in "Cherry Moon"

size 3.25 mm bamboo needles
My own pattern

Could it be? I'm *finally* done Susannah's shrug?? I feel like I've posted so much about this and posted so many progress pictures that this doesn't seem too exciting - but I'm thrilled to be able to send this off to Susannah! I just wish I could fit into the box with it. I miss her SO much.

The only thing that worries me is that the right front seems to be a slightly different shape than the left front - but I'm hoping that Susannah, beautiful (and smart, and witty, and sharp, and sexy etc) as she is, has some weird body deformity that will mask this flaw. Maybe it's only me that sees it, I don't know. I became quite intimate with this l'il sweater as I knit it - I hope that its not only the Cotton Fleece that will keep her warm, but also the mass amounts of love I knit into this.

What did I learn from this project?
I *love* cables & wanna get all freaky with them in future projects
I'm not too great at 'winging it' with making my own patterns or taking bits & pieces from other patterns to make the final piece. I think I worried so much about making the right fit that some of my creativity was spent on that. As a result, there some parts of this that I wish were a bit more sassy (like the 2x2 ribbing around the edge)
Also - although the colour of the cotton fleece is super duper hot stuff, I wish now that I used wool - that way it would have stretched & snuggled around Susannah - I'm not sure of the fit of cotton, but there's no stretch to it, so here's hoping. There's always the next sweater she asks me to make her!
All in all I'm happy with it & I hope Susannah is too - now I shall cross my fingers & hope it fits!

And now a walk down sweater memory lane.....
This is only the third finished sweater I've knit.

The first one came early on in my knitting career - back when I didn't pay attention to stuff like "gauge" or "swatching" or "recommended needle size" - I don't even remember reading that stuff in the pattern - I think I just picked up sticks & (very cheap) acrylic & went at it. The sweater was a christmas present for my sister. I imagined a big comfy thing that she'd wear while out on a Sunday with her family - my sister is a hot mom & I wanted to make her a hot mom sweater - a little bulky, but body skimming & totally yummy.
Needless to say, since I was a poor student & could only afford the yarn one step up from Red Heart (AUGH!) The sweater looked fine when it was done, but I'll bet money on the fact that it's a mangey ugly ball now. (about 5 years later) Also, the sweater was not comfy & bulky. I got bored of knitting - I wanted decreases! I wanted armhole shaping! I wanted more than just stockinette stitch! The sweater was about 5" too short. But my sister, God bless her, wore it to Christmas dinner anyway. My nephew was just a baby then, so there was lots of bending over to hold his chubby arms as he tried to walk, there was lots of bending down to pick him up, there was lots of sitting in the floor playing with him - but she worked it. She made that acrylic belly top HERS - she proudly said "Nicky knit it!" when asked about it....
This year, I'm planning on knitting her something she can actually *wear*.

Sweater #2 was a cardigan the next christmas for my mother. My mother doesn't like wool, and had just been introduced to the wonders of cardigans. She marveled at how practical they were & I was determined to give her the cardigan that people would identify her with. *Jan's cardi* I spent what felt like a million dollars on lovely cotton tweed - it had just a tiny bit of silk in it, and the colour was awesome. I loved knitting it & was sure it'd be a success. I've never seen her wear it. I asked her once about it & she said "OH! It *has* been worn!, my friend was over one night & was chilly so I gave her the cardigan to put on - she LOVED it!" The problem, I found out - was (surprise) too short!

Sweater #3 was the '
vintage pink cardigan' from Interweave Knits Spring 2005. Designed by Norah Gaughan & possibly sent to me by angels. I instantly fell in love with it & HAD to knit it for myself. So why then, if I loved it so much, if I needed it so badly, did I decide that WOOL EASE would be a suitable substitution for Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk?? Why did I use size 3 needles with the wool ease?

why did I make it too short?
(it was after this that my friend Jeff said, as I was teaching him & some other friends to knit, "Just knit until when Nicole tells you to.....and then knit 20 more rows.")

So now, I've just finished sweater #4. I took time to do swatches, I used the recommended needle size, I got all of susannah's measurements before I started & took note of them as I went along. The good thing about knitting shrugs? They're *meant* to be short! With this done & sweaters #5 & 6 in progress hopefully I can get past this sweater bitch goddess that is following me around.


05 June 2006

HEY! Where am I?

I'm still here! Two weeks ago I started a new job & while I enjoy not working for my previous employer, I cannot say that I don't miss the icey cold temperature the store was kept at in the summer months. Last friday I called in sick as I was suffering from some pretty yucky flu-like bug. I have a feeling my grossness came as a result of working in an office that hit 33 degrees 3/4 of the days I was there last week.

But I digress.

I wonder if Susannah could hear the heavy sigh I let loose when I cast off the last stitches of the second sleeve cap(for the second time) last week? Why is such a teensy tiny little sweater taking me SO freakishly long to knit? And why why why didn't the sleeve cap of the second sleeve match the first?? I don't have the answer to that second one - the first one boils down to the answer for why it takes me a long time to do anything I design & am responsible for. I make it too precious in my mind - I want every single thing to be perfect about it - My brain thinks "If I'm still MAKING it, then I can't fuck it up." I'm getting over that - because tonight (after I put down my laptop in fact) I will set in the last sleeve & seam it up & put that mofo in the mail.

Honest, that lump o' Cherry Moon Cotton Fleece will be a real live sweater in mere hours!

So last week while I was sick, I still wanted to knit - I didn't want to seam anything, I didn't want anything finicky & I wanted to see real live progress. BUT! I also didn't want to start on anything I hadn't already *planned* on starting.

With a cold you can knit practically anything - I actually thinking knitting with a cold helps you get better because it's a cozy soothing thing you're doing. Knitting with a fever & cold sweats & joint aches however, is a different story. So, following all that reasoning does nothing to explain why I chose to start on my Deep V Argyle Vest. I got the yarn I ordered from knitpicks in the mail a couple days before & I was anxious to start her up.

I've never knit a sweater in the round before. This was brought to light after I cast on 112 sts & then sat & wondered how on earth that was going to fit around my body - let alone join on my circulars. After a shamelessly long time I figured out that those 112 sts were only *half* of the body & of course, I needed 112 more. I guess I can blame it on the fact that I was sick. The pattern isn't all too complicated, it takes some getting used to though, and my eyes just wanted to sleep - so that little bit there took me most of Saturday afternoon (I had the ribbing done the night before). Just for the record - the yarn is knitpicks 'merino style' & I was a little skeptical of it when I ordered it - it was very cheap - so I figured it had to have something wrong with it. Not so far as I can tell. So far, it's super soft & squishy & I love the colours & I'm excited to see it turn into a sweater I'm sure I'll love.

When Saturday night came I wanted to knit something *else* - I couldn't knit the one project I have on the go that is mindless since the intended recipient was all up in my grill all day (okay, he was taking care of me...but still....) so I started my Orangina Sweater!

It's not too far along but what a super easy lace pattern! It's only made up over 2 rows & those 2 rows only differ in the number of stitches knit at the beginning, so memorizing this was a snap. I'm not actually sure it's going to be my style when it's done, but I am willing to give it a go.
And finally - I'm one thumb away from finishing my first Christmas knitting project! I've surprised myself! A previous co-worker of mine was none too subtle last winter about how nice it'd be to have a pair of red mittens....If only he knew someone who could knit them up... this comment was usually followed by a lingering stare in my direction with an exasperated sigh. So here then, are some red mittens for my friend Walter:

Right, so there you have it - 4 projects in progress. Yeah Buddy!