Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The brainstormSorry Greta! - I shouldn't leave people hanging like that. I hope you slept anyways :-)

Here's a hint -

(what is she making - knit spaghetti?)

So... My brainstorm.

I was in the shower one morning, thinking. (Some mornings I sing, some I think. This was a thinking morning) I was thinking about Wendy and Liz's . Critter Knitters Blanket-a-thon. I had played with Crochet (which I don't do well, but could use the practice), and with the idea of knitting a couple - but that was looking like a week or so time commitment for each blanket (I'm a slow knitter). I have an Ultimate Sweater Machine that I picked up cheap at Michael's a while back, and was considering pulling that out and getting it going. (Again, something I could use the practice with)

I was trying to remember how to finish the cast-on end, and thought it might be like finishing a loomed potholder.

Then it happened. Whammo. I remembered I had picked up a Magicord machine. I could make giant loops and slap together a loom with 2x4s and nails and "potholder loom" up a blanket. I ran out, picked up cheap sport weight yarn (because I thought the i-cord machine might work better with slightly lighter yarn - mine sticks slightly) and cranked out what you see above. However, because I was having too much fun with the cranking machine, the loops are big enough for a baby blanket instead....

I've got 4 colors, (the pale purple and blue from up there, and a bubblegum pink and a darker lavender) and am trying 8 loops of each. If I need more, it takes about 15 minutes to crank out a new one... We'll see if this is a brilliant idea or just CRAP! Soon though - 12 loops cranked out, only 20 to go.

Well... back to work, then cranking away tonight! Woo-hoo!!

Monday, March 29, 2004

We now pick up the narrative last Wednesday... on which I took a personal day and went on -

Yarn Shop QUESTS -

I had one thing that had to happen - the Big One's cello had to be fixed. It was an easy fix, but the music store is on the south side of the Cities, while I live in the north. Mapquest miles - 25. An hour round trip for a thirty second repair. How to not waste the trip...hmmm.... Eureka! Since the music store is further south than many of the Minneapolis yarn stores, I got directions to some stores and went on a hunt. My QUEST was sucessful - see my treasures? (1) (2)

Click to see what's inside...

First stop was Clickety Sticks. Very nice, comfy store. Set up as a knitters gathering place that also sells yarn. Its worth the hike. Not the largest inventory, but unusual yarns. In the pic above, the Pansies yarn, the Whisper and the Funny are from here - as is the basket. I was gathering yarn and the nice YSO asked if I needed a basket to carry stuff in... and the basket came home too...

The Furry is yarn for a specific project... I'm making a modification to the Panda sweater. My sister fell in love with it and wanted a sweater. Well... that would have taken a year to make, not to mention the yarn isn't exactly cheap. We compromised. Turns out she really wanted the hood. I'm making a hooded scarf, white hood, black scarf (well... since she wants panda claws on it, it may turn out to be more like a shrug with mitts) and black ears. the Furry yarn looks EXACTLY like the Mustachio yarn I found through Great Yarns. It doesn't seem like the colors are going to be obviously different, either, so I'll be able to add in the leftovers from the Panda sweater!!

Then, I hopped over to Depth of Field. This is a huge store. I knew it was one of those deeply regarded stores in the area, but... sigh... I don't really like to drive, so until my QUEST, hadn't gotten over there. Lots of people there, lots of yarn. The Toasty Toes are from there. Since I didn't have a project to buy for, all I got was that...

This doesn't quite count as part of my QUEST, but I had had yarn come in at The Yarnery - that's the Sierra. Pretty!! That'll be a sweater. I had originally bought it for the Athena,11 pattern in the new Adrienne Vittadini book, but I think it will end up to be a different sweater. Possibly Dianna, 9. I might try to pick up the Athena yarn to make the sweater. I decided that the smooth yarn was just not going to work...

Phew. That was just Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday I worked more on the circular baby blanket. (Look at the old pic, and add half again as much edging.) I'm hoping to finish this by Thursday, since my cousin is brining her baby to MN this weekend, and it can be delivered then! And, I continued work on the last ducky slipper. And, found the missing third finished slipper.

On Sunday, I found this wonderful thing at the local Caribou Coffee.

Isn't it the cutest bouncy sheep! On a pencil, even.

Since this is getting REALLY long... I'll save my brainstorm of a blanket idea until tomorrow... nyah, nyah! :-)

(1) Now, understand that the Twin Cities is an area abundantly blessed with yarn stores. I have frequented 3 - Sheepy Yarn Shoppe in White Bear Lake, (10 miles away from my house) the Yarnery (16) in St. Paul and Three Kittens Yarn Shoppe in St. Paul. (20). However, I had not been to Clickety Sticks and Yarn (19) or Depth of Field (15 miles). Not because they are further away (not the case, as the milages show) but because Im less familiar with Minneapolis and hadn't gone hunting yet.

(2) Yes... I've fallen victim to the footnoting craze amongst bloggers...sigh....

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Finishing spreeI've been on a finishing spree lately... I want to get these things done and out of here! Lots of pics today!

First - I'm almost done with the Panda sweater...

I only have to finish sewing in the zipper, and attach the second ear. (and tuck in 2 more ends). Very, very close. This has the cutest zipper in it - see!

Yes - those are rhinestones as the zipper teeth. Isn't it the most wonderful zipper ever?

Then, I finally got off my butt and wove in the mulitidues of ends on the fish blanket. Its just needs a final block and its done... the Amber cat is facinated.

I hacked apart some lace edging patterns to make one I liked, and am slowly working it around the pink round blanket -

The pattern is very straightforward. I pulled pieces out of 2 separate lace patterns from the book Knitted Counterpanes - if you like it, here it is:

Cast on 17 stitches.
Row 1 - k1, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k1 [yo twice, k2tog] 2x, k4
Row 2 - k6, p1, k2, p1, k1, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k1
Row 3 - k1, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k11
Row 4 - k11, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k1
Row 5 - k1, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k1[yo twice, k2tog] 3x, k4
Row 6 - k6, (p1, k2) 2x, p1, k1, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k1
Row 7 - k1, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k14
Row 8 - Cast off 5, k8, yo, p2tog, k1,p1,k1, yo, p2tog, k1

Then, I've gotten 3 booties done... however, I can only find 2 today. Hopefully the third turns up! But, here they are -

I'm not as happy with the ribbing on the flat ones. I misread the pattern for the first, and did the ribbing in the round. It looks a lot better than the flat ribbing. The awkward place is where I switch from knit to purl... I'm hoping blocking will straighten out some of it. On the second flat knit one, I pulled the switch stitches a bit tighter, and those look better. When I get these done, I'm wrapping them in these:

I bought the little one socks at the Disney Store on Saturday and they came in this CUTE bag. I think the duck booties will be adorable in there as well.

Then, to balance out all the finishing I've been doing, I had to start something else. And what else but yet another baby blanket!!

I'm getting inspired to knit something mathematical - inspired by Unexpected Knitting. (That, and my math background.) Fractal baby blankets, maybe....


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Knitting GeniusI just picked up the new book by Debbie New... Unexpected Knitting. She's a genius. Everyone should pick up this book and read through it - she thinks about knitting in a different way. I love the MATH of it (my math geek side is coming out - I didn't study Math in College for nothing). The space filling curves sweater intrigues me... as does the Cellular Automaton knitting. Its going on the list of projects to work on.

Panda Sweater

I started sewing up the Panda sweater yesterday. Eyelash yarn is really hard to seam - its almost impossible to see the stitches. However, I got both shoulder seams done, as well as one sleeve sewn on. That took a couple hours - but I only have one sleeve, 2 side seams, and a hood to sew on, right!?! (and the zipper to sew in - I got the best zipper. It is rhinestone on black. SO cool.)

Duck Slippers

I've got 2 knitted up. I realized about 3/4 way through the second that they were running a bit small. Instead of 6 sts. to the inch, I'm getting 6.5-7... I'm going to block them best I can to get as much size out of them. No pics, imagine ribbing on the last pic, and multiply by 2. This is what I get for not swatching. I'd go to a 4, but I'm afraid the fabric will be too loose... So, I'm trying a new pair with the larger-diameter pair of my 3.75mm needles. (previous pair was done on 3.25 out of Dale superwash wool). Which leads nicely into my next topic -

Needle Sizing

Knitting Needle sizing is SCREWY. (I've been knitting for years.. I knew this already, but it got shoved in my face again today). I'm working on a baby blanket out of Encore Bulky in a Feather and Fan lace pattern. I'm working on either 6 or 6.5 mm needles (theyre not handy, and I don't remember). 6mm is a 10, 6.5 is a 10.5. Why is an 11 all the way to 8mm? ICK. Fortunately, one of my LYS (The Yarnery) carries a bunch of different branded needles, and had a 7mm (10.75 sized!) needle. Anyways.. why do we stick with the funky numbers anyways - not only are there different interpretations of them (I forget which "size" I have in 2 different mm widths...4? 5?) Why not needles graduated up in size by .25 mm? Or by .5 mm? I'd buy 'em. Heck - I go exclusively by mm sizes anyways. Which isn't bad until you end up with 2 needles labeled 3.75 mm of which one is visibly larger...

Rant off. Must go off and sleep - stave off incipient cold...

Friday, March 05, 2004

Long time no blog(Warning - long post)

Well. No, I'm not dead, and I didn't drop off the face of the earth either... I just have a problem taking pics of my knitting. Which leads to a psycologically difficulty writing about knitting. Which is really too bad, cause I've been rather productive.

Since just before Christmas when I posted last, I've survived most of a Minnesota winter... (I hate winter), got a great new fibre art tool, took a vacation to San Diego, celebrated not only my birthday but the birthdays of both my children, and finished the projects from my kids knitting sessions. Granted, I finished nothing else. I am terrible at finishing projects - much of the reason I'm trying to keep a blog. Much knitting, little finishing.

New Toy!
My wonderful husband got me this for Christmas:

Its a Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom. I love it!! Its wonderful. The best part is it folds for easy storage. (I will admit, I had dropped a couple large hints, including links to a couple online shops that carried it.) He faked me out big time though - less than a week before Christmas he sat at dinner telling me he had to do some shopping for my Christmas present... so my hopes of getting a loom were dashed. But the surprise was all the greater on Christmas morning, let me tell you!!!

San Diego

We took the family to San Diego for New Years. My aunt recently moved out there, and we decided to go visit. My grandmother was there also - spending the winter in a warmer place than Minnesota. We had a very nice New Year's Eve with my famliy, and visited normal tourist stuff the rest of the week we were there. We stayed in a condo on the beach - very nice. The kitchen was the best part - essential when travelling with a 22 month old... We went to the San Diego Zoo, (amazing) Legoland (best part is the Miniworld - lego models of known buildings such as the White House, Downtown New York, SF, etc) , Sea World (not worth the admission, in my opinion), and Disneyland.(more about that later) And, we found out that after the Tournament of Roses Parade, the floats are on display for the next couple days in a park in Pasadena, so we went up there and had a GREAT time. The TV broadcast does not do these floats justice.

The last day we spend in S.CA we went to Disneyland. I love Disneyland/World. I think they do a great job herding a great many people in and out and around, and stay cheerful while doing so. This was the little one's first trip (she turned 2 March 1). She loved it. We went on a Pooh ride 3 times, and she almost let the moblie Pooh character touch her when we got pics taken. Also, the crowd wasn't bad at all. Even better - this was the day before the Big One's birthday (she's 10 now - ouch!). She got a Birthday sticker, and all the cast members at the park wished her Happy Birthday. Which seems to me to be a great way to spend your birthday! (Did you know they change Small World for Christmas? Its wonderful - the decorations are cool, but they add in Jingle Bells instead of never ending Small World... and the last section had Deck the Halls mixed in. It was TOO COOL!)

So, on vacation - esp. while driving all over S.CA, I worked on this:

Its knit from a Koigu-like yarn from possibly Cherry Tree Hill.. but maybe Jocyln's Fibre Farm. I forget, and I lost the ball band. Its using Wendy's toe-up short row heel pattern. Great pattern!! Maybe I'll finish it sometime ... and make its mate!

Rest of updates

So, since the beginning of January, I've continued work on the Panda sweater - its blocking and ready to assemble this weekend!! See!!

I'm rushing this one through at this point because the baby turned one in November!! Fortunately, the sweater is sizing out to be between a 3T and 4T and large on my good sized 2 year old. It will be fine on the relatively smaller 15 month old for quite a while.

In addition, I've scrapped the fan blanket. Remember - it looked like this:

Instead, I'm making a blanket using Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl concept - up to making one of the sections Gull Wing Lace.

Its turning out well - my mom loves it. (I'm less than head over heels about it, but I think my cousin will like it) However I either didn't buy enough yarn, or seriously lost the other light pink skein. I ran out 26 rows into a 48 row section. So... I'm stopping and adding a largish lacy border out of cream. The cream lace border was always in the cards, I just was planning a smaller one. This is stuck until I pick an edging pattern - and I have quite a collection. I need to finish this one soon, because the baby just turned one... Ack.

Then I finished the stuff for the kids (see previous posting). They turned out pretty well... but I was in such a rush to get them back I forgot to take pictures. Since they didn't go back until early this week, you may understand the rush... I procrastinated big time there.

So, to reward myself... and catch up on these baby things so I can knit things for myself again - I started a pair of booties.

I was inspired by Amber's blog - realized I had that book, and giving Duck Slippers would be terribly appropriate... (you want to know why... click here. So yesterday I knit this much, and should have the first one knit up tonight. I'm planning on 2 pair - one for the 4 week old baby, one for the baby born yesterday. I think I'll add in a copy of I Wish That I Had Duck Feet.. don't remember that one? Click here.

Wow. Thats a bit - and I know I must be missing something or another. Oh, yeah. I've got another baby blanket on the needles as well... but that one is destined to be ripped out and restarted with a slightly larger needle, as I'm not happy with the hand of the fabric. That is a simple feather and fan blanket, though. It will match the fish blanket I made that baby's older brother pretty well... in a nice navy and white.

If I get these baby things done, I can start my sweater from Viking Knits... I can't remember which one I bought yarn for - but I'll dig it out soon! Maybe even before Winter is over. (Winter can't be over too soon for me....)