March 8, 2011
I’ve almost completed the first of an awesome pair of colorwork mittens. They’re going to be a gift so I can’t reveal them fully until they’re done but here’s a preview of the palm side. I doubt I’ll finish these in time for my intended recipient to wear them this winter but perhaps I’ll get a burst of mitten motivation and churn the second one out.
Over the last year I’ve been building up my collection of knitting needles. Most of them are from KnitPicks and the majority of them are the Harmony Wood style. They’re really pretty, have nice sharp tips, and the double pointed sets have six needles per size which is lovely if you happen to break or lose one (or two) of them. Earlier this fall I finally bought a set of the 4″ small sized dpns (pictured above) which are fantastic for doing the thumbs on mittens and fingerless gloves. It’s always so awkward to use full sized needles to do a tiny little section and these needles make it so much easier to maneuver. It feels a bit like working with toothpicks – really pretty multicolored toothpicks – but it really is much easier with the smaller size. I’m off to finish up that thumb now…
February 27, 2011
I finished the first of my Slytherin socks this weekend and began work on the second one. I’ve been enjoying this project so much. I absolutely love this yarn and it just may be my favorite colorway I’ve used to date. I’m doing Cookie A.’s Monkey pattern and it’s such a great pattern to knit. I love the way it looks and it’s so easy to memorize. I really like not having to have my pattern with me to work on these. I’ve been taking my time (relatively, I started them last Sunday night and I’ve over 55% done) because I’m enjoying the process so much. It’s been so nice to use my favorite needles (ChiaGoo RED) with my favorite yarn (Blue Moon STR – colorway is Mr. Green Jeans).
I got a much larger tax refund than I expected this year. I was able to pay off a substantial portion of my debt (just the mortgage and one student loan remain!) and had money leftover to put away for landscaping this spring, a snowblower (it’s snowing right now – again – ugh), and a bit of a yarn shopping spree. I bought some more stripey yarn from KnitPicks, some more Blue Moon STR, and the yarn I intend to use to make a special shawl for my grandma’s 90th birthday.
All the new yarn I’ve gotten, and the knowledge that more is on the way, has motivated me to get some things done. I put in some time on the drop stitch scarf, which has been sitting untouched for weeks. I worked on some colorwork mittens, and made some good progress on the knee socks. I’d really like to wrap up a few projects and start something new!
February 20, 2011
I finally finished the Corded Clutch earlier this week. I was happy to finally wrap up the project. I did the knitting in two days and then took almost a month to get the materials to complete it.
I finally bought some heavy black cloth and a great button to complete the project, and my friend Oona taught me how to sew a lining. I made a rectangular bottomed lining to fit inside the bag with heavy fabric to help it keep its shape. I’ve seen some other pictures of these clutches and they can look pretty awful without some structure and the cord is very droopy on its own.
Next, I glued some fabric to a piece of cardboard cut to fit perfectly into the lining and to give further structure and shape to the clutch.
Once it dried I glued it into the bottom of the lining, let it dry, and whip stitched the lining into the bag. Then I waited two more days to sew on the button. I just couldn’t make myself work on it. Finally, I made a small 4-strand braid from the leftover cord for the button loop, sewed on the button, and sewed in the loop.
This wasn’t a very enjoyable project. The Noro cord is really pretty but also really hard to knit with and figuring out what to do with the ends was difficult. I ended up dipping them in glue to stop them from unraveling, which was a big headache. But, it was good to learn some new sewing techniques and I’m pretty happy with the end result.
I’ve mostly been working on the Gentleman’s Shooting Stockings this week. The more I use this yarn the more I hate it. It’s terribly thick and thin and the color changes seem entirely random. There are parts of the skein that seem almost like laceweight or thread and other parts that feel as thick as DK. The different skeins don’t seem to have the same color repeats at all and I’m not thrilled with some of the color sequences.
I am enjoying the pattern and it’s the first pair of socks I’ve made with a pattern on the heel (pics to follow when I’m finished). I just can’t wait to finish and then I swear I’ll never use this yarn again. Curse you Mini Mochi! Earlier tonight I caked some Blue Moon yarn to use for my next project to wash away the bitter taste of bad yarn. I’m looking forward to using some yarn that I really love on my next project!
February 17, 2011
So, for those of you who knit, crochet, or do any form of fiber arts and do not have a Ravelry account, you seriously need to rectify that. Ravelry is kind of like Facebook for fiber people, except even better. It’s free to join, but you need an account to browse. Reasons I love it:
- Hundreds and thousands of free patterns and over 1 million users
- Ability to publish and sell your own patterns
- You can look up other people’s project notes on a pattern you want to start and save yourself a lot of headaches
- You can search for project ideas based on the yarn you have – say you bought a really pretty skein without a project in mind – you can search by the weight of the yarn, the yardage, the type of project you want to make, etc. and come up with the perfect use for it.
- It’s great for organizing your projects – you can post pictures, put in your notes, which needles you used, the pattern name, how long it took, etc.
- The library feature is great – you can enter the books you own and then browse pictures of people’s finished objects using those patterns – plus get errata and tips – plus store PDFs of patterns you’ve downloaded and purchased
- Forums and groups are really fun and there’s tons of useful information
- Want to see how that crazy colored variegated yarn will actually look once it’s knit/crocheted up? You can search all the projects made with that yarn and narrow it down by colorway.
- You can view everything your friends are working on, what yarn they’ve purchased, completed projects, others’ projects they’ve “favorited”, and more in your “Friend Activity Feed”.
- People have yarn for sale or trade on there and some of them are pretty awesome deals.
- There’s a whole section where you can browse people’s failed projects (“Ughs”) if you’re feeling kind of bitchy and want to see some ugly creations…
- If you’re an organization lover like me, you’ll love being able to digitally manage your stash of yarn, which patterns you have, your queue of items you want to make, and tag and organize all of the projects you’ve finished.
- If you’re a designer the site tools are pretty cool – you can upload your PDFs for people to download, track your statistics (number of downloads, number of people who’ve made your patterns, sales stats, etc.).
- Winner of “Best Social Networking Site” from .NET Magazine awards
Go sign up and add me as a friend. My username is: parrynight.
February 13, 2011
My sister’s birthday is this week and yesterday we celebrated with the family. I had a delicious bacon, egg, and cheeseburger (a fried egg on a burger = magic) and then felt like an overstuffed sausage ready to burst from its casing for the rest of the day. I made her a pair of beaded birthday socks that, amazingly, were finished in only six days.
I loved this pattern and will definitely be making it again. They are the “Kaiso” socks from Knitted Socks East and West. It was difficult to get a picture that actually showed the beads but they show up pretty well when worn. I used 60 silver-lined crystal beads per sock.
I re-started the Gentleman’s Shooting Stockings this weekend – I must conquer the pattern! I’m using Crystal Palace Mini Mochi for the first time (colorway = 105 Tapesty Rainbow). It’s really “splitty” – almost like roving – and I feel like there are a lot of thicker and thinner segments in the yarn, which I’m less than thrilled with. I also found a pretty bad knot in one of the skeins when I wound it into a ball. I really love how the colors gradually transition but I’m not yet really loving the giant orange section. The second sock is definitely not going to match up but I’m okay with it. This will be my first pair of knee socks.
I’m working on finishing up the Noro “Corded” clutch this weekend. With the help of my friend Oona, I was able to sew a lining and she found an amazing button which is going to be the perfect finishing touch. I’m currently waiting for some glue to dry for the bottom piece and then I can sew it all together…
January 26, 2011
I have several projects in the works right now. I’m 10 rows away from finishing up the Haruni Shawl. I’m at the point where each row is taking over 30 minutes so I’ve got a little time to put in on it before it’s ready for blocking but I’m getting pretty excited.
I recently finished my first beaded knitting project. My friend Michelle did a little instruction over our lunch break and after three unsuccessful attempts at the Channel Island cast-on (also a new technique for me), I got them done. The cast-on makes an incredibly stretchy cuff that almost looks like picot – very cute.
I pre-strung 126 seed beads onto my yarn per sock and followed Michelle’s pattern. She calls them “Beaded Surprise Socks” because the beads are all in the purled part of the ribbing so they don’t show up until you pull them wide or put them on (Surprise!).
Mine didn’t show up quite as much as I had hoped since I used a variegated yarn, but I’m pretty happy with them nonetheless and I’m hooked on bead knitting now. I went out to Bobby Bead in Uptown and bought some more beads to use on future projects.
The beaded socks were my first time using Pagewood Farms sock yarn and it quickly became a new favorite of mine. It has a very tight twist that reminds me of Blue Moon Socks That Rock but it’s closer to a lace weight. It feels great on your hands while you’re using it. I went out the next week and bought another skein at StevenBe and then got this one through a Ravelry trade which I purchased with the money from my first pattern sales.
Over the weekend I knitted up a clutch (Corded) with some Noro cord that I bought on craigslist. I’m not too sure if I like it yet. It definitely has to be lined and it really could use some structure. It was a little difficult to get even tension with this “yarn” and it doesn’t feel great on your hands. I heard many people had problems with it slipping off their needles but I had no issues since I used wood circular needles and adapted the pattern for Magic Loop after I knitted the base. The pooling is kind of interesting – it’s always fun to see how your yarn goes from this:
I also started a pair of socks for my dad in KnitPicks Felici (colorway = Ecology) using the “Gentleman’s Shooting Stockings” pattern from Nancy Bush’s book, Knitting Vintage Socks. This is the second pattern I’ve used from this book and I love it so far. I’m having some trouble obtaining the correct number of stitches since the pattern calls for a Size 0 needle with fingering weight yarn and I’m using a Size 1.5 needle with sport weight yarn. It looks like I may have to cast on again but for now I’m continuing to work on it while constantly questioning whether I need to rip it out and start again.
So far 2011 has been a year of ripping out and starting over. The beaded socks took three cast-ons, the corded bag took two, and I’m almost certain these socks will be frogged and redone any day now. Le sigh… And speaking of false starts, yesterday I began work on a drop stitch scarf which took three cast-on attempts. The pattern is really easy and looks pretty cool. I’m using KnitPicks Imagination (colorway = Seven Dwarves) and it’s my first project using my beautiful new Harmony Wood Straight Needle Set.