Wednesday, November 28, 2007

better late than never . . .

It's so obnoxious when someone says they're going to do something, and then they don't do it, isn't it? In my defense, I've been sick (and, while usually my colds clear up after a couple days, I don't really seem to be improving at all. Grrrr.). But, finally, here are the slippers! And, since it's been decades since my last blog, I've actually done the felting, so we have before and after photos!

BEFORE (modeled by Nelly):


No major problems with felting, although it's not the most fun thing I've ever done. I've seen centipedes the size of garden snakes in our laundry room, so I don't really relish hanging out down there for extended periods of time, not to mention intermittently plunging my hands into a washing machine full of sudsy, scalding water while praying my constant stopping and starting cycles doesn't break the damn thing . . . But the important thing is, the slippers came out what I think is the right size, although the slipper on the left seems to be a slightly odd shape (narrower). I'm going to add a few adornments before I call them done--felted holly leaves and some red "berries."
I've also managed to (nearly) complete another project! I've finished the project for my swap buddy--just needs to be blocked. I don't want to go into too much detail until she gets her gift, but this was my first experience with color work. It was . . . something of a challenge. First, I simply didn't have time to teach myself to knit two handed, so I opted for the slower method of tangling up both skeins in my right hand. (I WILL teach myself two-handed stranding after the holidays!). I finished the project fairly quickly despite that, but I soon discovered that I didn't make the floats loose enough. Sigh. So I had to frog about half the project and start over. Fortunately my second go went more smoothly. It's still not perfect, but at least she'll actually be able to put it on now.
No progress on Cobblestone. I really need to get to work! I think I'm going to start bringing the sleeves on Metro.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

slippery little devils

So, after all that complaining, I actually knit the entire pair of house slippers this weekend. (And I do have photos, but I'm at work. I'll add them tonight.) I know, I can't believe it either.
First, I decided to tackle the yarn dilemma. I untwisted my skein, which gave me that handful of long loops. I figured I could count the loops, divide by three, and that would give me fairly equal balls of yarn (And it was bulky yarn, so counting was easy; I wouldn't try this ploy on laceweight, you'd go insane). And it actually worked! So of course, I panicked about a seemingly insurmountable obstacle that turned out to be easily solved. I'm so well-adjusted.
After that, the knitting was easy--holding three strands of bulky yarn together=fast knitting. Although, after all that, of course I didn't have the right size needles. I needed 13s, and the biggest I had was 11s. So I just used 11s and tried to knit loosely (bad knitter!). Ultimately the slippers are to be felted, so we'll see how they turn out. Mom's feet are on the small side of the smallest size (and the slippers look enormous right now), so if they wind up a bit snug after felting, it shouldn't be a problem.
I had only one serious misstep while knitting--down to, literally, the last 2 stitches, I pulled a thread to tighten a stitch and wound up ripping out 2 stitches along the sole, somehow (I think I pulled a broken yarn end loose). After passing out and coming to, I glared at the slipper for a few minutes, then found a crochet hook and pulled the yarn back through both live stitches and repeated my last stitch, fastening the edge of the top to the side. And somehow, I did it correctly. Or correctly enough that the stitches are in their rightful place and the yarn end is not dangling loosely. Thank goodness. Despite the fast pace of the knitting, I was not interested in frogging the whole thing, even if that meant Mom was stuck trying to cram 2 feet into 1 slipper . . .
So now I need to felt them. I haven't felted before, so I'm feeling a little unsure. I'll tackle that over the Thanksgiving break (4 whole days of freedom!). I'm so excited that it's finally almost my favorite time of year. Of course, the rest of the world seems to think that Christmas started almost a month ago, but I am not among those people. I love Christmas because it is special. And Christmas is not special if it constitutes 1/6 of the year.

Friday, November 16, 2007

coming down from the yarn high

I'm still intermittently giddy about my big yarn colorway achievement, but it's time to regroup and focus on actual holiday projects. All of which I'm way behind on. Why? Well, I'll tell you:
Cobblestone: I can't knit it in front of hubby, obviously, so I'm stuck knitting it in our empty guest room. It gets a little boring. It occurs to me, though, that we have a portable DVD player and I still haven't finished watching my Sabrina the Teenage Witch season 2 DVD set--er, I mean, my set of DVDs for, uh . . . some way cooler show . . . yeah . . . so perhaps I should bring that in the room.
Also, I'm still waiting for my Knit Picks order with the needles for the sleeves. I placed it on Sunday, and it just shipped today. I emailed them yesterday because they're usually so prompt, and got a "well, it's the holidays" email in response. Yes, exactly, Knit Picks, it is the holidays. Which means we're all busy knitting gifts, and we need you to stay on the ball and mail out the requisite yarn!
Gentleman's Socks: I mentioned in my last email that the pattern is written for knitting on 2 circs, which I don't have, so that snafu stalled my knitting plans while I looked around for a new pattern. But then the pattern author was kind enough to send me a message about how to adapt the pattern. So now I'm finally ready to get started.
House Slippers: These slippers are 2 different colors, and need to be knit with three strands of yarn held together. But I've got 2 skeins of 1 color, and 1 skein of the other color, leading to an obvious dilemma: how to come up with 3 strands of each color. The pattern, fortunately contains some instructions for winding a 3 strand ball and they worked well for the 2 skein color. But the instructions for the single skein involes weighing out the yarn--I don't own a scale, and frankly, I don't have the patience for that kind of nonsense. So I'm stuck again. :o(

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yarn fame, hon

So, today began fairly grumpily. For starters, it's Monday. And even though it's Veteran's Day, I have to work. And Metro decided that not enough people do actually have to work today, so they're running a weekend schedule. And it's rainy.
But things really started looking up when I got an email from Laura at The Unique Sheep. You'll recall in a previous blog I mentioned that she was holding a colorway contest. I submitted a gleaming photo of one of my hometown's (Baltimore, hon) holiday highlights, 34th Street:

and--hoorah!--I won! You can check out the colorway here, and be sure to browse her entire site, the yarn is absolutely beautiful! For my photographic inspiration, I get a my very own skein of yarn in the new colorway, I can't wait. I might actually knit something for myself for a change!

I also finally managed to finish something this weekend, the neverending scarf. I added some fringe to the end, and I'm pretty happy with it.

I placed another order at Knit Picks, so I'll soon have the needles I need to do Cobblestone's sleeves, as well as the project for my swap (and that's all I'll say about that, as I have a sneaking suspicion my swap buddy might read this . . . .). I'm feeling guilty about the swap, the mailing deadline is the first week in December, but it looks like a lot of people there are done their projects already!
I was planning to cast on for my grandfather's Christmas socks this weekend, but in reviewing the pattern, I realize it's written for knitting socks on two circulars. I don't have two circulars in the same size, nor do I really quite know how to rewrite the pattern for knitting on DPNs. Boo. So I'm not sure where to go from here, I guess I'll be picking a new pattern. Too bad.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

photo extravaganza!

As I'm sure you've noticed, I'm often quite remiss in posting photos of my projects. Often that's because I'm blogging from The Land Where Dreams Go to Die (aka, work), and sometimes it's because I'm just too lazy to go skipping about the house with the dig cam to take said photos (and my projects are spread about that house--I currently have one on each floor). But today I offer you photos of not 1, not 2, but 3 WIPs!
The first is the One Row Handspun Scarf (minus the handspun part, I'm just using Swish Superwash) for my sister. This one would be done except Meghan specifically asked for a super long scarf, so onward I knit. Here's a small section of it:

Next, Cobblestone. I've just finished up the garter ridge around the bottom and am moving on to the main part of the body. So far, so good (but, really, how could I possibly mess up knitting rounds of garter stitch? This project won't get difficult until it's time to attach sleeves to body. Thinking about that keeps me up at night . . . scary!).

And a bonus photo of my quality assurance officer, Dory, inspecting my work:

And finally, the Drop Stitch Scarf, for MIL. I cast on for this because I needed a portable project, which I no longer had after stupidly deciding to add stripes to Meghan's scarf. This is an easy knit and seems to be working up quickly. Unfortunately, it's hard to see the dropped stitch in the photo, but here it is anyway.

So there you have it, a pictorial of my current knitting life.

Somehow while sleeping, or I guess more likely, half awake with my thoughts wandering, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant project idea for my swap buddy. But alas, when I got up this morning, I checked her MySpace page and it turns out, she lives in Florida. So my winter-y accessory just won't work. Back to the drawing board. :o(

Someone recently pointed me in the direction of an online yarn store that sells some of the most beautiful yarn, The Unique Sheep. Laura is currently running a holiday photo contest, maybe win yourself some yarn and a little place in yarn history. ;o) I need to start dropping some subtle hints to hubby (or Santa?) so I might find some of this beautiful yarn in my stocking Christmas morning.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

. . . since I'm a day late for Halloween. Hope everyone had a fun holiday and no one has slipped into a sugar-induced coma. We have a decent amount of leftover candy, unfortunately. Sometimes it seems that I do nothing but eat between Halloween and Christmas.
On the knitting front, no real news to report, but thanks for all the nice comments on the Brea Bag. I have yet to ship it off to my ahijada, because I might get a chance to see her this weekend in person (she doesn't live all that far away, but she is a gymnast, so she spends most of her free time trying not to crack her head open while tumbling from balance beams, uneven bars and the like). I did cast on for Cobblestone, but so far I've only knit about an inch--it's hard to find time and space away from hubby to knit. I'm annoyed with myself for adding stripes to my sister's scarf, because now it's too cumbersome to take with me to knit on the Metro. Which is really a shame, because apparently the people running Metro have decided that a functioning subway system is completely unnecessary for the Washington, D.C. area--twice this week I've been stuck on the train for an hour while the brainwashed conductor tried to convince all passengers that we were experiencing a "minor delay." Hah!

Anyway, completely unrelated, all of Avon's cute Christmas-y stuff is now available, so check it out, and if you make a purchase, use code REPFS for free shipping anywhere in the continental U.S.