Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FOs - in a big way!

Yesterday I finished two projects. I think thats some kind of personal record!

Here is mom's sweater:

And a detail:

I'm really happy with how it turned out. When it comes to knitting sweaters, even if you are using an established pattern, you sometimes have doubts. It can be extremely hard to visualize the whole thing coming together, even as you're knitting it. I had those moments - it helped when I showed her the yarn and she loved it - but I didn't really know if it would turn out feminine enough. But I think it looks great. The garter stitch collar and button bands (thanks, EZ!) are perfect. I was worried that adding another stitch would confuse things, but actually I knit a little ribbed edging sample, layed it down, and it made it more confusing. I think the garter stitch adds a nice sort of nature-y quality to it. I can't wait to give it to her!

Oh, and don't you love the buttons? Again, I had some doubts, but I think they look nice. They're not the perfect buttons, but they look pretty darn good, if you ask me.

And here are the Jaywalkers:

This is a horrible photo and frankly, I think that yarn is UG-LEE. It looks better knitted up than it did in the skein. I think the red and brown are my problem, and they are the main colors by far. Anyway, who knows who this will be for...just taking some emergency extra gifts and I'll see if I'm moved to give them to someone on Christmas Eve, my traditional wrapping day.

So, this will probably be it for me for a while. We're off to Michigan for a few days and I'm unlikely to do any posting since I don't have to work.

Lets hope that my next post will be as a weaver...

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Quick lil' update

Finished the sleeves for mom's sweater on Monday night (after not getting a seat on the train neither to nor from work!) and blocked them yesterday. Hooray! Now this weekend, we're supposed to get a big ol' storm and I hope to be on my couch with a glass of wine, seaming the pieces and knitting on the collar and button bands.

Yesterday, after blocking, I finished my jaywalkers. I still have to graft the toes, but they're done.

Then I started Monkey with ShibuiKnits Sock in a lovely blue. I am going to be SO SICK of knitting socks after Christmas...I hope I get some sock enthusiasm back for the big first shipment of the rockin' sock club!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sorry blog, I've been busy on ravelry...

Yep, thats my one and only explanation for not being here. I've been spending all my time on ravelry. If you knit or crochet, you should too! Its the best - still a waiting list, but sign up now and you'll be on within weeks. And trust me, its even better than you can imagine!

But enough about that (although you can now see my projects there...). Yesterday, I finished, as in totally finished, the tote bag for my aunt. It had been knitted and felted, and now its decorated and I could give it to her now if she was here! The proof:

Thats the front. And the back:

Adorable, right? This was my first experience needle felting and it was so much fun! I really had no idea it would be so easy and fast and fun. I bought the Clover needle felting tool and mat:

(photo from Betz White, whose blog will make you want to start felting NOW)
And I bought some black roving from new fave Paradise Fibers. Since this was my first time needle felting, I bought stuff that was sold in that section of the online shop; I didn't know you could use any ol' roving. So I bought 8 freaking ounces of this stuff, and didn't even use 1 whole ounce in felting! More like 1/16 of an ounce. I tried to spin it, but it did not go well. Ugh, it looked awful. Don't know if thats me, the roving or my spindle (which I'm beginning to suspect wasn't the best choice for a beginner...).

Anyway, the score is the first three bars of "Simple Gifts' since my aunt sang that at my wedding. I drew the notes and things on with a black sharpie (since it would blend into the notes anyway) and then just pulled off bits of roving, twisted it a bit, and then punched away. The whole thing took me maybe half an hour and it was really great fun. And it looks so cute!

To spin that black roving, I took off the undyed white I had on my spindle. I had used all that fiber up anyway and had to wind it. So I skeined it (sort of) and was surprised at how much yarn I had made! I do wonder if it has too much twist in it; going to have to get a shot of it and ask one of the spindling groups on ravelry. In the meantime, though, when I go back to MI for the holidays, my mom and I are going to Heritage Spinning and I intend to buy a basic, lighter drop spindle and see if I don't improve. I'm still very much in the slubby stage.

Mom's sweater is close to being done. I'm shaping the sleeve cap so I should be blocking the sleeves before the week is over. It would be so great to get the whole thing seamed this weekend. It didn't help that I had to come into work early this morning and the train was so crowded and I just had the worst luck in not getting a seat. So I knit only one lousy row. The nice thing about shaping the sleeve cap is its getting smaller and smaller - unlike the main part of the sleeve that gets bigger and bigger!

Monday, December 3, 2007

We're blocking!

So, the wedding was great fun, though not the most relaxing couple of days off I've ever taken. My knitting did suffer a bit for it (I went the entire wedding day without knitting a stitch!), but I managed to cast off for the first sleeve Saturday. That really makes me feel like the end is in sight and I'm starting to contemplate neckline options. But for now, the fronts and back have been blocked and I can prove it!

You will perchance to notice my oh-so-professional blocking set up. One dollar store plastic tablecloth with fabric back (the kind that makes a good design board for quilting) placed to protect my dining table covered by one woven hippie blanket that I've had since college to pin into. If anyone wants to buy me a blocking board and wires for Christmas, it will be most welcome. (Hey, it worked for the swift and ballwinder for my birthday!)
I soaked the pieces in the bathtub with some shampoo (I don't even know where to buy Eucalan in this city) and was shocked at how much dye came out (the yarn, you may recall, is Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool). The water was like ocean blue. But the pieces don't seem to have suffered for it. Then I pinned them out and much to my surprise, they were pretty much dry this morning.
Now I'm on fire to finish the other sleeve and start seaming. I don't hate seaming (don't hate me, fellow knitters) and I'm especially pleased with the results since I bought Knit Klips. If you don't have them, get them - they make an enormous difference.
Being antsy to finish the second sleeve, I was not thrilled to walk to the train this morning and discover it was having problems. This, of course, means that the trains will be packed - when they do actually show up - and that I won't get any knitting done. I wedged myself on to the second train that came and got a seat in a few stops. Due to the problems, the train was running really slow - I was 45 minutes later to work than usual - but got lots of knitting done. I kept thinking, imagine how pissed I'd be if I hadn't gotten this seat and was wasting all this time not knitting. Pretty lucky for a monday.