Monthly Archives: January 2008

Rainy Days and Sundays Don’t Always Get Me Down

It was rainy this weekend in So Cal but that didn’t stop our family soccer train from chugging ahead. Sweetie Boy had a tournament and played both days, but Sunday was when it really came down on them. No problem for them as they won their first tournament. Yippee!

Sweetie Girl was a good sport hanging out at the wet, muddy field, and at the end, I gave her the thumbs up to live it up a little… Sweetie Girl style.

Yes, that is the gutter she’s playing in. Yes, that’s dirty gutter water flying in her face. Yes, that’s a handknit hat I made her. Yes, she did have a dry change of clothes in the car. And yes, the hat has been rewashed already.

As for me, soccer tournaments equal good knitting time, so I reworked Le Slouch #3 and made it work. It took over an hour to frog the last attempt because the yarn had felted a bit together, and SWS has a lot of rough wool that feels and acts like mohair. I was able to knit it up on Saturday night, wash and dry for Sunday soccer wearing. Here’s another webcam picture; please ignore the green death-warmed-over skin tone.

Project: Le Slouch (on ravelry) by Wendy Bernard
Yarn: Patons Soy Wool Solids
Needles: Knit Picks Classic 16″ Circulars US sizes 8 and 9
Start: January 5; frogged January 24; restarted January 26
Finish: January 26
Thoughts: The pattern is a breeze and I’m happy with my hippie hat. The yarn? Not so much. I won’t be revisiting this yarn, unless it’s to play around with felting it. If you want to make Le Slouch, go with a nicer yarn. Pay the extra money; you’ll be happy you did. Words to live by, says The Yarn Snob herself.

After finishing up Le Slouch, I realized that I’m rapidly moving into baby gift mode. Soccer coach is expecting a baby any day now, so I cast on for another Easy Baby Cardigan from Knitting Pure & Simple. This is a free pattern on the website and I really love it. This time I’m using Valley Yarns Southwick, a bamboo cotton blend because it’s supposed to be too warm in So Cal for wool, right?

I started out with my Knit Picks Options but the ends were too pointy for the yarn and I kept splitting it. I even laddered down six rows to fix a lone fiber that had been split from its strand. It was bugging me too much so I had to fix it. This yarn has a bit of a sheen to it, so the So I dusted off my Denises and no splitting problems so far. The joins bug me, as usual, but I’m willing to live with that. Here’s what she’s looking like so far.

I had cast on the Lenore socks last week, and have about 15 rows of the lace done. I’m using the STR Lenore colorway because I love the yarn and the pattern together. These were part of the Rockin’ Socks Club last year, and the pattern is by The Yarn Harlot. This is the next mini kal project for my knitting group, and even though they talked about starting up in mid-February, I just couldn’t wait. Sorry gals! I’m using the 2 circ method with the Knit Picks Classic 16″ Circulars in size 2.25mm needles. Wendyknits had mentioned a while back that the Knit Picks cables were flexible enough to work with 16″ circs, so I had to needle dance and try these out. So far, I’m loving them!

Have a great week; stay warm and dry!


Kilroy Was Here

Yes, this is the Thursday WIP Report but that title seemed so much more appropriate. It’s the finished Shedir and the only way I could get a decent picture was by using the new webcam my sister and brother-in-law gave me for Christmas.

Project: Shedir by Jenna Wilson (on ravelry)
Yarn: Rowan Calmer, one ball and a squoosh of yarn from a second
Needles: Knit Picks Classic 16″ Circulars US size 3
Start: January 14
Finish: January 22
Thoughts: Loved it. The yarn was really nice, although a little bit splitty if you’re trying to undo some stitches (of which I had lots of practice). Calmer is so incredibly stretchy, and I’m really glad Madgik told me to just shut up and get it already. It’s a wonderful plummy color which I can see myself wearing a lot. It’s a cotton blend, and I like having a cotton hat, in addition to my other favorite wool hat. This was a mini kal with my knitting group, and it was a lot of fun. I think there are five done so far with about 4 more WIPs. Fun fun fun! If you haven’t made it yet, I really recommend adding it to your queue. The chart looks intimidating at first, but like any chart, take it line by line and it’s manageable. Just interesting enough to keep you challenged but a short enough project not to drive you bonkers.

I’m almost done with my sister’s holiday gift. I got the last skein of yarn and I just have a little bit to go. Go to Ravelry and you’ll see what’s left. That’s all I can say because my sister is a lurker! D’ye hear me, Sister? L-U-R-K-E-R ! Can’t spoil her giftee, now; can I?

Thanks to all of you for the wonderful birthday wishes for Sweetie Boy. The suggestions for his new name in a couple of years are Sweetie Guy, Sweetie Tween and most disturbingly Sweetie Hottie. Yikes!

Happy Birthday, Sweetie Boy!

Sweetie Boy is 11 today. Does that mean in two years I have to start calling him Sweetie Teen? Or Sweetie Almost-a-Man-in-a-Few-More-Years? He had his birthday party this weekend, and he chose ice skating. Guess which hat he decided to wear?

Say it with me now… Awwwwwwww! It was a close race, but I think Sweetie Boy makes a slightly better model than the pink soccer ball. I was just messaging with blogless Melise that it’s so satisfying and wonderful when a son gets excited about wearing his Mom’s knits. Have a great day, Sweetie!

Thursday WIP Report

I worked on Shedir a bit more at knitting group yesterday. The yarn continues to be a dream to work with, and the cables galore keep you interested and focused. But I have to tell ya, when you get just a little bit tired, it becomes a real b*tch! I wanted to keep going, but my mind was saying, “unh-unh!” The good thing about cables is that your errors really show, so if you’re checking your work regularly, you can spot them and fix them. The bad thing about cables is that your errors really show, and you it’s harder to just let that little mistake go. Here’s her progress as of yesterday afternoon.

While I’m in full disclosure mode, here’s the little bit of Branching Out I have done. Not much done, as you can see in the before and after photos. Sigh!

Before and After

I still have my backlog of holiday knitting to finish up. Gah! The yarn arrived yesterday to finish my sister’s holiday gift, so that’ll be next up after Shedir is finished. After that, I hope to whip out the hat for my brother’s domus largus, as long as I get his head measurement. After that, I will officially be done with my holiday knitting, and left with the less-pressured-gift-knitting-for-people-who-aren’t-expecting-gifts-but-I-want-to-make-them-anyway.

Have a great rest of the week!

Socks Done!

This weekend, I finished up the footies, and Sweetie Boy put them right on for a modeling session. Seems he’s quite happy with them.

Project: Socks On My Own with heel by Mouse’s Toe Up Sock Pattern (on ravelry)
Yarn: Elann Esprit in the UCLA Bruin color (my name, not theirs), 1 ball
Needles: Knit Picks Options 24″ circulars, US Size 4, magic loop style
Start: September 2007
Finish: January 13, 2008
Thoughts: I’m excited these are done and now that I can do a toe up heel flap pattern without numbers, I am even more excited. One ball of the yarn was enough for the pair of footies with not much to spare. The yarn was probably knit a bit loose, and I’m sure I could have gone down to size 2 or 3 needles. But… I didn’t want to. I just felt like casting on some socks in September with this yarn and I did.

This officially ends the sock drought of ’07. I made 7 pairs in the first half of the year, and stopped in early July. They were for the Sock-a-month kal plus one more for Sockapalooza 4. After that, I was done done done with socks for a while. And now I kind of miss them, so I’ll be returning shortly. Oh yeah, my huge stash of sock yarn is making me feel like I gotta knit up some socks too. Next up? Probably Lenores but we shall see if that lace section doesn’t kick my butt.

I finished up another wip on Sunday, the Fake Isle hat. Sorry, no Sweeties were available to model at the time of this picture, so Sweetie Girl’s pink soccer ball had to do the trick.

Project: Fake Isle Hat by Amy King, Magknits November 2006
Yarn: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran in black, one skein, and Noro Kureyon in colorway #150, less than half a skein
Needles: Addi Turbos 16″ circulars US size 6
Start: December 6, 2007
Finish: January 12, 2008
Thoughts: This was first attempt at fair isle, and I have so much to learn on this technique. The hat came out fine except it’s wonky. Maybe that makes it not so fine. The fair isle portions are tight and even, but the non fair isle parts are wobbly and wonky because I’m such a loose knitter. I enjoyed this hat, and may even make another one, because I’ve got to work out my fair isle issues.

I switched the main and contrast colors, making black the main and the Noro the contrast. I also omitted the spokes that go up the crown and gather at the top just because I liked the look without it. Don’t look too closely, because you’ll see some of my errors. The hat is a squoosh tight for Sweetie Boy, but if I can block it, maybe it’ll stretch a bit. The pink soccer ball will have to do double duty.
With both of those projects out of the way, I picked up my Branching Out scarf, and attempted to work on it at the park while the Sweeties were working on their soccer skills. Four rows later (two of which were purl rows), I decided that lace and I don’t see eye to eye. Even easy, beginner lace. This project, and all lace, I gather, will have to be done at home when I can concentrate (read: no kids interrupting me).

My knitting group has started a mini kal for the Shedir hat. Shedir was a Knitty bonus pattern released in their Fall 2004 breast cancer awareness issue. Three or four have already finished theirs, and I’m quite late to the party. However, it has been fun working on it, and I’m almost through my third set of repeats. I picked up some Rowan Calmer in plum at Unraveled last week for the project, because I heard from others that subbing the yarn could result in less than desired effects. I know Calmer is quite stretchy, and since it’s a fitted hat, I didn’t want to risk it by using a less stretchy yarn. And that, my friends, is how I justified my first yarn purchase (or is it my second?) of 2008.

The pattern is quite fun and it’s great seeing the cables emerge. If I didn’t know how to do cables without a cable needle, this project would be the biggest pain in the booty. I’m enjoying it and this plummy purple color is great to look at for a long time.

Over the Moon

I finally picked up the UCLA socks for Sweetie Boy again. In our last update, I was stalled out because I wanted to do a heel flap for this toe-up sock but the numbers were smaller than other patterns out there. And frankly, I wasn’t feeling the sock mojo. With the ever growing pile of sock yarn as the stern kick in the pants that I needed to focus on socks again, along with the excitement over The Harlot’s Lenore pattern from the Rockin’ Socks Club, I felt my interest turning ever so gradually back to socks. The thing with these toe-up socks for me is that I wasn’t feeling patient enough to rework numbers and follow a pattern line by line without really getting what was going on. I just didn’t have the patience or interest to do it.

Then, I found Mouse’s Toe Up Sock Pattern through Ravelry and it made sense. Mouse’s pattern, as she puts it, isn’t a pattern per se, but rather guidelines, kind of like The Harlot’s sock pattern in her Knitting Rules book. Voila! That’s exactly what I needed! I didn’t want hard and fast numbers, but something general enough, like do your gusset increases until you have almost double the number, or double if you like. Or do the wrap-and-turns until you have about one third of your original heel stitches. So on Wednesday at knitting group, I turned the heel. It was an imprecise heel but I loved it all the same. And when I was done, I was over the moon.

Since then, I finished the one sock and have cast on for the second. At 44 stitches on size 4 needles, the thing practically flies off my needles. I had knit up the leg on the first sock, and when Sweetie Boy tried it on, he said he wanted them to be ankle socks. Woot! Woot! I frogged back an inch or two and bound off, using Wendyknits’ stretchy bindoff. I’m just about to start the gusset increases on the second sock and am still loving this. Ahhhh, I’ve missed socks, I think.

Thursday WIP Report

I’m not too creative and couldn’t think of a catchy title, even with the cold medicine I’m on, so this is what you get. I decided that Wednesdays are too tough to do all of my other stuff (knitting group, school volunteering, chauffeuring to soccer practices, getting a hot dinner on the table, etcetera etcetera etcetera [said in your best Yul Brynner King of Siam voice]), so I’m going to try Thursdays. Besides, I should have more progress to show after Wednesday knitting group. So what will I show you today? More FOs of course. A few more to trickle through and only one hat to show!

Project: Noro Striped Scarf a la Brooklyn Tweed
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden in colorways #205 and 243, 1 1/2 skein of each
Needles: Knit Picks Options US size 7
Start: December 6
Finish: December 17
Thoughts: Surprisingly knit up rather quickly in the 1×1 rib and the yarn felt good enough. The stripes are fun, and the color changes add a great visual effect. Easy peasy to knit with great results. I have some more Silk Garden that I purchased to make another but that’ll be for another day farther down the road. My sister hasn’t sent me a picture of my niece wearing it yet, so you’re stuck with this picture of me modeling it right after I cast off. And no, I’m not pregnant. That’s just the look nowadays, so they tell me.

Project: Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: The Fibre Company’s Terra in Madder (red) and Fustic (orange), a little less than 1 ½ skeins each
Needles: Knit Picks Options US size 10
Start: November 8, 2007
Finish: November 12, 2007
Thoughts: I originally got the two skeins of Fustic at Unwind’s Superbowl Sale for a pittance and wasn’t sure what to make with it. When Unraveled was clearing out their stash of Terra, the Chevron Scarf clicked in my head and I knew I had to pick up two skeins of another color. I love both of these colors together because they remind me of fall, or at least what fall is supposed to look like in other parts besides Southern California. Please don’t tell me these look like the colors of That Other School Across Town. I might have to burn it. I surveyed three people in my group before casting on and they assured me it didn’t look like red and gold. They wouldn’t lie to me, right?

Since the original pattern calls for fingering weight on size 5 needles, I knew I’d have to scale up a bit to use this worsted weight yarn. I originally cast on using size 8 needles and 36 stitches, but didn’t’ like how it looked. Too wide and stitches too tight. So I scaled up the needle size and scaled down the number of stitches to 24. This yarn is a thick-thin with lots of slubs, and in some areas, not spun very tightly at all, so it felt like roving. I still loved it and how it slipped through my fingers with ease. I especially love the scarf’s rustic look. Thumbs up for Terra and a qualified thumbs up for the Chevron Pattern. I’d make it again but only worsted weight for me, please.

Project: Swell / EZ Very Warm Hat hybrid
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in blue and Berroco Comfort in gold
Needles: Knit Picks Classic 16″ Circulars US size 7 and 8
Start: December 22
Finish: December 25
Thoughts: This was the hat that made Sweetie Hubby drove around the block a few times before showing up at my brother’s house for Christmas dinner. I don’t know what got into me some craziness convinced me that my brother who lives in Southern California needed a warm hat for all of the UCLA games he travels to, so warm a hat that fair isle wouldn’t be warm enough. In fact, I needed to a liner, so I made it an EZ Very Warm Hat. In hindsight, I realize that may have been a bit of overkill. Especially since we are of the Domus Largus family, and it doesn’t fit over his big noggin. He has since returned it and I plan to happily keep it since it fits over my not-quite-as-domus-largus. I’ll make him another Very Warm Hat with the same yarn but I’m thinking with EZ’s traditional zig zag pattern, like Sknitty’s.