Friday, January 26, 2007

Hat's On to DH!

I made a hat for DH for his birthday. My first handknit gift to him, and he loved it! It is the ribbed watch cap from Lisa Myer's "The Joy of Knitting." I did it in Rowan CashSoft Aran (black, of course) on size 7s. There are two reasons for this: firstly, he doesn't have a large head (marry small people - your projects will get done so much faster) and a slightly heavier worsted to make a slightly larger hat didn't seem necessary, and second.... well, second, this yarn is just about the softest thing you'll ever touch.

I used about 1 and 2/3 balls to make the hat, and it came out great.

Let me rephrase. It came out perfectly. I was so pleased with its technical perfection and beautiful symmetry that I actually made DH bend down a bit so I could examine the top of his hatted head and note the way the decreases flowed into one another, and the ribs met so neatly at the top.

This is in contrast to my regrettable sock-toe grafting moment a couple of days before DH's bday, which involved swearing, tossing and shoving of things, and peevish (albeit temporary) refusal to partake of the mozzarella cheesesticks DH thoughtfully cooked up for us. I have come to a realization about myself: I suck at grafting. This means:

1. I must master grafting, probably by doing swatches instead of attempting on actual socks, and probably when DH is out doing other things; or

2. I must find viable alternatives to grafting, such as toe-up socks, three-needle bindoffs, etc. Am I a real sock knitter if I don't graft?

But I digress. I did close the toe, albeit not so fabulously. I am going to take it out and re-do with the three-needle bindoff. The good news, though, is that I did cast on the second sock immediately (and without twisting, which was all but guaranteed given my vile mood).

At the moment, I am working almost exclusively on SBT2 (nearly done), and a gifty scarf. Okay, there are also ocassional assignations with a certain EPS sweater, and a reversible cable shawl. Oh, and DH's golf club covers. The gifty scarf is going superfast - it is the ideal commute project, and I am taking it to my lunch-hour knitting group on Fridays.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Girls in the Hood

My sweater plans added up to way too many hoodies, didn't it? Definitely doing the Central Park because I think the Jo Sharp is so perfect for it. Because it is kind of similar, I will probably forego Arwen and find something else fabulous for the Knit Picks' Andean Silk.

The Noni bag is still unfinished. I did some light embroidery and beading on the flowers, and sewed them to the bag, but I still haven't done the lining. I have a hard time motivating myself to drag out the sewing machine on a weeknight, but I just might do it during this week.

Weekends have been busy with other things - family gatherings, wine-related events, and the NFL playoffs. I am disappointed that the Patriots lost to the Colts. Not altogether surprised. But now that the Colts are in, I'd like them to win the Superbowl for Tony Dungy - definitely think he's earned it.

Even so, lots of knitting is getting done, including a couple of gifts, and row upon row of my EPS sweater. I want to get that done before I really really start on any other sweaters.

That's about it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bag Lady

The floral gathering sac was officially done as of last week. Seaming and weaving in the ends took the better part of two evenings (that danged intarsia!), and the lining took literally all of one day. I decided to go close to all-out on it. The only departure from the plan was to make the pockets simpler. I am happy with how it turned out. I'll try to get some diagrams and pix up, in case anyone out there could use them.

I will say that using interfacing for the bottom and strap really helped to stabilize the bag a bit, and I don't think it will stretch much, if at all.

Last weekend, I finished knitting the Noni Garden Party Bag. It was an easy and actually pretty fun knit. Because I had so many WIPs, it took a lot longer than it should have, but I did have a good time with it. I am a tad disappointed in the (mostly) finished product, though. Even though I knitted at gauge, I had the hardest time getting the thing to felt down to the finished measurements. I gave up at about an inch larger around, and an inch taller. The flowers didn't felt down to the tiny cuteness in the picture, either. Maybe I give up too easily but like I said. I am done.

My bag just isn't as cute as the pictured one. The colors (green bag with blue flowers) seem off, even though I used the yarn and shades recommended, and my mohair fuzzed, but doesn't have that lighter, kind of curly look that the model bag does.

I am going to do the assembly tonight, and then it is officially done: a little beadwork on the flowers, a simple lining (structure/stability not being much of an issue....) and the handle. I will probably like it more after all of that is done.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Non-Finish Line

Because you can't really call it finished until... you know... it is finished. I am done knitting the Floral Gathering Sac. I grafted (!!) the strap and did the slip stitch crochet bit and left the rest to post-blocking. The pattern didn't say to block, and maybe Pam Allen's didn't need blocking, but mine sure did. After pinning it gently to a towel on the floor late Saturday night, I became conflicted:

Did I want it to dry fast so I could weave in the ends and sew up? And then do the lining, inside pockets and whatever else I thought I might do? Or....

Did I want it to dry slow so I didn't have to face all that was left to do, and get in lots of knitting in the meantime?

It is cold here, so the thing is taking ages to dry. I even put it outside during the relatively warm afternoon, and in front of the heater in the evening (until Pepper laid down on it - the heater being her favorite feature of the apartment). With all of these efforts, it was still damp when I left this morning, which leads me to conclude that the Universe enjoys procrastination as much as I do.

In the meantime, I started some mitts to wear at the office when my hands get cold (in the same Rowan Kid Classic as my office poncho), got in a few rows of the Noni bag (I did indeed run out of yarn before the decreases at the bottom, but I have more on the way), SBT2, and the EPS sweater. Oh, and I swatched for the Central Park Hoodie in the Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed - got gauge on the first go with that one, too. It was a productive weekend.

In the realm of non-knitting productivity, I packed up the Christmas ornaments and decorations, and we took the tree out. We had planned to take it out pointy-end forward, but because of the way we picked it up, it ended up going butt-forward, thereby scattering the maximum possible number of needles per square foot. I actually didn't care about that until I started vacuuming.

We have a pretty expensive vacuum. Like most high-end things (human beings included), it can be quite sensitive. The thing practically choked on all the needles, and I had a temper tantrum (first one ever witnessed by DH) trying to undo the clog. I did get the bright idea to sweep up as many of the needles as I could, and then resumed vacuuming without further incident.

I've said it before, and I will say it again: this year, let's go away for Christmas.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Dude. I got gauge on the first try last night. I feel like the Sir Isaac Newton of knitting. It is for the Ivy wrap sweater from Knitty. I am using the Karabella Breeze I bought from the Knitters Anonymous de-stash to benefit TSF.

I am sensing a sweater binge coming on. I have to finish the Floral Gathering Sac this weekend, and then my sweaterthon will continue in earnest. I have the EPS sweater chugging along, now Ivy cast-on, plus sweaterly plans on the to-do list for 2007, including: Enid and Arwen from the Winter 2006 IK, Central Park Hoodie from KnitScene (in Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, also from the KA de-stash), the hoodie from White Lies Designs, and I might toy with doing something out of the Winter VK after I have had a closer look at the issue. I like the white turtleneck from the Northern Lights section. It is pretty, and unique but still wear-able.

In other knitterly plans, I want to make bears for the Mother Bear Project this year. The bears are just adorable, and the pictures of the kids who got the bears (in the Winter IK) totally sold me on the idea. The kid holding his bear and giving a thumbs-up is a boy after my own heart.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Getting 2007 Off to a Proper Start....

What did I do on New Year's Day? I knitted. I knitted like crazy. Like it was going out of style. Like my stash was on fire.

What did I work on? The Floral Gathering Sac, which is so close to being done, I can taste it!

How many more cliches am I going to use? None. Sorry about that.

When I picked up the FGS again, after much time had passed, I was maybe 1/3 the way up the body. I am now at the base of the strap. I should be able to finish it this weekend. Colorwork, even with the attendant juggling and fussing with yarn, seems to go by really fast.

I am delighted with the bag and cannot wait to use it. It is my style exactly, which is to say, boho fabulous. I am a touch worried that the fabric is uneven, but this should smooth out in the blocking. In an unprecedented step, I even washed my swatch to test for colorfastness. I wouldn't ordinarily do this, but hand-dyed yarn plus intarsia suggested a need for caution. The darker yarn bled the teensiest amount in mega-hot water, so the bag should be fine in cool water.

Being an erstwhile seamstress of considerable accomplishment, I am tempted to go all-out on the lining: interfacing, pockets, the whole shebang. I tend to bottle out on these sorts of big plans, but I think it would be very practical for a bag that is intended to carry a lot of stuff. We'll see.