Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Birthday and It Fits!

Welcome, William! December 24, 2008. Healthy, whole, and well-loved. William's dad, my Andy, modeling the Devan sweater while getting me online. Congratulations!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year Everybody.
Kathy Kathy Kathy

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Stash

Eight days and I still let it slip by (maybe . . . I think.)
This is the snow we've been enjoying. This morning I felt a little throb of relief when I saw that the temp had risen to 0 degrees(or -18C). Now it's up to 5. Hip, Hip, Hooray! And how does zero degrees feel? It hurts. Here's how the snow looks as of this a.m. These pictures are for you, my fellow norths, but especially for fschmom's boy, in case he is still interested.
Street view out front window--blurry patches are "kitty prints."The promenade to the front steps. I don't know what the N stands for, but it seems to be stuck to the window

The snowbanks on either side of the little walk that goes out to the street are nearly up to my hips. Nope, I'm not that tall, so let's say 28-30 inches or 70 cm. See the snow at the end of that little walk? It's probably about half that high. It's a foreshortened picture. This is what happens when the plows come through and make another pass. You can't wait for the plowing to stop because then it gets really high, thick, and it'll be all chunky and packed from the plowing and very hard to move. A foot is really not too bad. I have to clomb over that to get to my ride. Clomb is not a typo. It's kind of charming to watch somebody, especially if that somebody is wearing nice clothes, negotiate a bank that is a mixture of great lumps of ice and giant fragile lumps of snow that appear identical, all held together by quicksand. Clomb is the right word. If I shovel it down to the pavement, somebody always parks directly in front of it. Yeah-no, I don't do my own shoveling. Silly.

Here's the area between the houses out my back door looking toward the street. My back door is the one I use mostly. You can see how the snow is already turning to ice. There's nothing you can do about it because as more melts from the sides of it and from the roof, the meltwater collects there and refreezes. The same thing happens on the path through the back yard to the garage, but not as badly. To get a decent picture of that path, I'd have had to actually step outside the door. You can surmise why that is unpictured.

If I weren't such a lazy A, I'd get on over to the beach to see what the wind and below zero temperatures have done with Lake Michigan and snap some pics for you. It's a sad thing when the local news outlets are too busy covering I don't know the heck what, to run a few pictures of the sun glinting off wild ice sculptures. I didn't find anything good online, or I'd link you.

A few inches of snow is predicted for tomorrow. I am scheduled to fly out to Bakersfield, California tomorrow at 5 p.m. We'll see.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I did it write!

Here are pictures of the completed Devan. It looks even cuter in real life. It turned out. I think it should work well for the cooler part of the year in Bakersfield. I blocked it and the fabric is fairly smooth and light. I see that after I let it rest for several days that it needs to be reblocked because the seams are not laying flat.

Pattern: Devan by Holli Yeoh
Yarns: Main=Hundertwasser by Opal, color: 897 Silver Spiral, though I fail to see silver; Trim=Essential by KnitPicks, color: grass
Needles: Main: 3.0 mm, Trim: 2.5 mm
Modifications: I made the body and the sleeves an inch longer. Then I added the trim at the hem after seaming all in one go rather than at the start of each piece.
Notes: I knit the sleeves in the round. I only decreased one stitch so that I could use the other extra one as a centering point for the tapering increases. The seaming was hard, especially on the shoulders where there was decreasing because the edges were not firm. I suppose this is true for most seaming?? It worked fine when I went another stitch further inland. Maybe I should consider going in 2 stitches when the stitch count change is at the ends of rows.
And here is my newest WIP courtesy of the most gigantic, perfectly formed skein of yarn I've ever found. A 14 ounce/400 gram skein of cotton. It was 6 bucks and there were others as well, but only one in this color, which is the one I wanted right then. The color is called cornhusk. It turns out that I like it better than Sugar and Peaches. I was expending a gift card and 50% off coupon at JoAnn's. The 50% came off some very shiny, very red pleather I bought for table cloths. It was even called pleather. Did I mention that I had a birthday yesterday? I turned EGADS! Gulp, gulp, gulp, 50. (Gulp.) I'm not trying to complain, it's just that I'm so da*n surprised.
Here is another WIP that arose courtesy of yarn that I could not resist. It is a wool/mohair sock yarn will that is becomimg wristwarmers. I got the yarn here . It was a good Thanksgiving sale. Naturally, there was only one (50 gram) skein of that, --not enough for a pair of socks. Pink and grey together without purple or blue is a favorite color scheme of mine, despite the fact that I've been eschewing pink for 25 years. Maybe now that I'm 50, and I don't mind when people call me a girl, I can be more accepting of the pink. This is called Leili sock. It's by the Unique Sheep--er, THE Unique Sheep, since in the table of contents, you will find The Unique Sheep under T.
Finally, under Lost Knitwear News, I've lost one of my Paris night wristwarmers. The write one. I wear them over my ladies' leather gloves. That side's ladies' leather glove is also lost. I'm going to call JoAnn's, but I don't have much hope. The best that can be said is that it's an excuse to make an order from You wanna go in on that with me, Sue?

Friday, December 05, 2008

I'm doing it rong

When I seamed the front to the back at the shoulder the correct way the second time, I considered that that could be a hint. I considered, and then I went back to un-three-needle-binding again in order to seam the front on the "wrong" way with the reverse stockinette side to the outside. Not a believer in divine intervention and/or my unconscious am I apparently. I chose this route because I thought the color changes on the reverse looked more mellow, more subtle. The difference isn't great, but it wouldn't make any more work, nor would it take any fudging. The picture is just to show you the difference. The shoulders are not yet seamed there.

I stubbornly went ahead and joined both shoulders with the reverse stockinette showing. I carefully basted and then sewed the side seams. I picked up and worked the bottom border. I picked up and worked the neckband and button band. I basted the sleeves to the sleeve holes. It became hard to figure out if the sweater was inside out or rightside out. Then I went to bed. I got up and went to work. I had a busy day at work. I stopped at Target on the way home. I spent a ton of money. I ran into one of the kids from school there. I had a 2-3 minute conersation with her and she introduced me to her brother and sister. Her step mother was 3 feet away waiting in a line of which she was the only member, but she never turned and acknowledged me. I got the feeling she (the girl) didn't rate. The other kids weren't faring too much better maybe. They looked a little disheveled. Creepy, huh? Poor kid, stuck with a frickin' nutjob/very angry person--I couldn't tell which. I suppose it's very angry person. Sigh. I know this student can really (really, really) get on a person's nerves, but this woman's behavior was embarassing.
At some point in the car going to Target or coming home from Target I realized my mistake on the sweater. I resolved that despite the amount of time and effort involved ( Oh S! I forgot to turn in my time and effort report for November again.) I would pick it all apart and reseam the way the pattern is written. It would involve reknitting the bottom border. Still, it can't be good feng shui to leave a sweater all jumbled up like that, can it? On the other hand, I only just now remembered about the neck and button bands. Those were nerve-wracking. Now I'm undecided again.
By the way, I did frog and reknit the back. Here it is in stripes. In other knitting news, there isn't any. There isn't any unless you count the 2 hours I just spent at DBNY looking at all the luscious yarns and going back and forth to Ravelry to see how people are using them and how the colorways look. What a magnificent waste of time.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

2 FOs and a WIP

The headwear is for my friend Bev's 50th birthday 50 hat/mitten/glovetribution to her favorite children's charity. I'm not sure where it is, but it's a school somewhere in the beleaguered part of Milwaukee. I normally wouldn't contribute to a private school, especially in Milwaukee because of our public school dollars draining out to "choice" schools, but this is for Bev. I know that the students of that school surely need warm things, too. Don't look too closely at the photo of the hat. It'll hurt your eyes because it's a combination of blurry and blending yarn. Despite that, it's accurate, so I put it on anyway. This was a stash yarn.

The ski band is not from stash yarn, though I had it as a WIP long enough that it may qualify as stash. I suppose the leftovers do. It's 2 finer pink yarns from my school stash held together to achieve a nudge over aran weight I'd say. I believe they're both acrylics. Only one yarn had any leftover. I think it turned out just loverly. It looks like a wedding band, no, not the kind that sings. (I sometimes have to defend against puns that form without permission in my mind.)

Here's the pattern:
Cast on 20 stitches.
Odd number rows: Knit 5, purl 2, knit 6, purl 2, knit 5.
Even number rows: Knit 7, purl 6, knit 7.
Every now and then on an odd row: Cross 3 over 3 on the center 6 stitches. (You know, like a cable.) Always cross them in the same direction.
Seam the ends together any way you like when you think the band is the correct circumference. I don't recommend using a provisional cast on and then trying to kitchener the ends together unless you know how to do that in garter stitch, and purls, and knits. You don't want an unhappy ending like this.

The WIP is the back of a baby sweater for my upcoming grandson.* The front is striped in the colors you see between the green. The green is the trim and back color. I am about 1/4 of the way through the armhole. I will be running out of green yarn shortly. (Drat! Another one--this one's at least a little funny. It's not that far off from a Tom Swiftie.)

It's Essential sock yarn from KnitPicks. I am adding the Fair Isle sections to use less green yarn, just in case. You see, I've never run out of yarn on a project before. I didn't use as much less as I thought I would. But then, just before I placed another (fairly rare) KnitPicks order, I "remembered" I had a full skein in addition to the large partial I've been using; It would only be a matter of a deep stash dive to find it. I thought about adding a skein of this to it. But then I reasoned, why add to my stash? "I have way too much yarn already!!!!" shouted that voice in my head. So I didn't add in that ginormous 50 gram skein of really nice, soft, sheeny yarn.

Sometime yesterday I remembered that I've made a pair of infant socks and used it double stranded in 2 previous hats. So, no, I don't have any more. Incidentally, I only remembered when I actually saw one of the hats being worn by its recipient. Now the question is what to do about it. Frog and reknit the back in alternating green stripes with the front colors, rather than Fair Isle? Try to find some other green fingering yarn in my stash that is close enough? (which, indeed, I have, but it is not superwash) Order some from KnitPicks? Try and beg for some on Ravelry and the Knitty board? Go to the LYS and buy some that I will decide later doesn't work?

*Sort of.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I don't have Startitis

This is a post of an odd number different topics or is it a number of odd topics?

Startitis is what many Internet knitters call it when you start a lot, but don't finish a lot of projects. I think the condition (for it's not a disease) is more properly called Stopitis. After all, if all those projects you started got finished, there would be no need to talk about starting too many projects. It's not the starting that's the issue. It's the stopping--not to be confused with stripping, stropping, or shopping. Hi, I'm Kathy Kathy Kathy and I have Stopitis and I have Stopitis and I have Stopitis.

Latest new project: Packer socks. I broke down and bought the expensive Artyarns sock yarn at Ruhama's. It's not their most expensive sock yarn, but I think it may be the most I ever paid for socks with the exception of some Koigu I bought in Sun Prairie on my way to the last Last Saturday Knitting in Madison. (I only bought 2 of those!) Here's a picture of the Packer socks in progress. I may knit them only during football games. I got the stitch pattern from Ravelry. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the pattern, so I can't give you a link. I was very impressed by the way the yarn pooled in the pattern stitch, which is really just a 3 x 2 rib with a slipped stitch and a twisted stitch in the knits. It's early yet for my socks, but they just may do it. See the white bars? That's hopeful. The original yarn in the pattern was a 3 color variegate of red, black and white. It looked all checkery and poolish. There weren't a lot of examples, but not all of them demonstrated the same effects. I'll get back to you when I find the pattern again.
And yes, I have started keeping my dpn's in a shoe. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. It just seems to work for now.
The latest finished baby object is a set that includes a jumper (American jumper=sleeveless dress to be worn with a blouse under it) and two slippers. Let's look at those first. Unfortunately, they came out different sizes in the same needles and yarn. The second one was quite a bit smaller even though I consciously (thought I) tried to knit more loosely. After less than the usual amount of pondering, I decided to knit another one. I figured if I knit a third one it would match one of the others. I was hoping to match the larger of the two, but I didn't bother trying to loosen my gauge anymore and I didn't dare change needle size. That would have been tempting those sweetly malicious knitting sprites. That reminds me of a little story from work today. A child pointed out to me that a piece of electronics had the word "Sprite" on it. "But that is a kind of soda," he said. Well I told him it was a word with other meanings as well. For instance it is a small creature like a fairy or pixie or brownie who dances in the woods. "Hmm . . .," said he. By the time I started in on how a sprite might also refer to a water creature I could tell he just wanted to escape. I promise I did not say"might also refer to." I managed to overexplain without any fancy vocabulary. It's probably a good thing I managed to stop before I started to tell about a color of Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep called Sprite. OK, so it's spelled differently. I can't help it if the Brown Sheep Yarn Company has an Old Englyshe affectatione.
I think you can see that slipper number 3 turned out smallish. But this was not the end of the journey. There was felting still to do. These are before pictures. Here is the before of the jumper.

I was expecting shrinkage of about 2 inches in length on the jumper because, people, if I may call you people, and even if I mayn't, I had done a swatch, measured it, washed it and remeasured it. No brag, just fack. OK, brag and fact. I don't know why the most pleasantly proportioned and beautifully balanced items insist on appearing wonky in my photographs. Let me assure you that the hem was even.
Here is the after.
I got it right on the dress though not the slippers. I washed all three and the big one ended up matching one of the little ones in size. Go figure. I sewed white buttons on the booties as one would see on a man's dress shirt. Those are straps, not thumbs.
Technically, I don't think this was a felted project since the yarn is 95 percent cotton, but it did shrink nicely. It went through the washer and the dryer. It needed a small amount of defuzzing, but I know from my swatch and from the lint screen that it defuzzed quite a bit in that first wash. I'd say the texture now is between a sweater and a towel. I'd wear it. This yarn was one of my earlier stash purchases and was my first from the fabulous Little Knits. I've got a lot left. I think I might have to consider it for some sort of luxury drying item, like a handknit bath mat. It would be an excellent blanket, but I don't have that much.
Jumper set details
Pattern: Rainbow Dress by Georgie Hallam I managed to make the top smaller on my own before I saw that there was a smaller version. Really a fun, quick, eminently customizable pattern to knit.
Yarn: Cascade Rainbow. 2 skeins and maybe a titch of a 3rd.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hee Hee Hee

This one goes to Nancy from work's first grandchild born Sunday at 1 a.m. It's a girl. Ava.

The hat and sweater together only used one ball of Lana Grossa Something or Other Sock yarn. The collar and cuffs are out of Paton's Kroy Socks, which I find that I like very much. I used a free top-down pattern from the web to get the number of stitches to cast on and where to put the markers. I knit quite a bit before I decided that it really was too big. Then I ripped and started over. Originally I know I cast on 90. I went down to 78 and that was just right, except maybe I'd change the sleeve stitches from 8 to 10. I had trouble with the collar. It just wouldn't lay right. So I snipped a stitch, pulled the old one off, and reknit it from the neckline using a two by two by two basket pattern. The original was stockinette with a wide garter border. I used size 2 needles. Gauge? Maybe 8 per inch; I don't know exactly, but the sweater came out as about a 6 month size. I will make this again. In fact, that's why I put the needle size and number of cast on stitches in this post.

Friday, October 10, 2008

More baby stuff done

First there was this. (Link) Now there is this.
Pattern: Red, Set, Go by Jill Eaton from the book Monkeysuits. The only real alteration I made was to knit the hat in stockinette except for about an inc and a half around the face. I did put the sleeves on upside down because I think arms go that way, but it does show the lumps from double increases in seed stitch. I knit them in the round. The seams that I do have are extremely bulky. I am assuming that the yarn called for would be more stretchy and squishable even though it knit to this big gauge.
Yarn: Idena Big Sport Cotton
Needles: size 7 US
It doesn't seem like the hat could ever fit a human being, but I hope to find out if it did. I might make it again. The picture in the book is mighty, mighty adorable.
I made the buttons too, because they had nothing that worked at the most local local yarn shop. I'm sick of hauling ass all over town for buttons. I took the polymer clay bead class this summer from Lynne Bergschultz just for this type of occasion. I'm not saying these are the best match either, but as separate objects, they are pretty. I should have polished them a little, though. Do you like how you can see my fingerprints?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

There's this, too.

Musette, the cat of whom it is impossible to take a decent picture, is also enjoying the kitty pi bed.

And here's the blanket I've recently finished. It needs blocking and end weaving, but I must say, I like it. It's after the OpArt pattern on the Fall, 2008 Knitty. The center is different because I started out making a simple log cabin, but as some of you may know, I can't resist any design that swirls, twirls, turns, or spirals. Uncharacteristic of my mad photography skills, it doesn't look any better in person, but that is the fault of the yarn, not the pattern. The yarn is a hundred percent acrylic fake mohair. Oxymoron. It sure is soft, but I don't know how well it'll hold up. It's not strong like real mohair. I loved this yarn and I've had it for awhile. It's Red Heart Harmony held doubled on 5.5 mm needles. I've got more. I bought it in some sort of daze when I somehow forgot that I won't even buy or wear clothes that aren't 100% cotton or other natural fiber. This has been my policy for like, 30 years--not exaggerating. I should have held it tripled.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pi Retry

Bake in a hot oven (425 deg.) for 50-55 minutes.
Pi is done when ear pops out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kitty with Cat

Teddy napping on Kitty Pi number 2. I only had to hold him down on it for a minute or so. When I let go he stayed. This is a first. He did feel compelled to knead and mash down the whole front edge first, but it's a start.

In baby knitting news, I've got a couple, two three things started, but nothing's going that well. I've got 3 babies due in October and one in November all unknitted for. I'd better get going on something. I've got 2 projects that I felt at one time would definitely be completed, but now one seems too ambitious and the other seems too ugly. I did finish a couple of bibs, but they are actually for babies for whom I've already completed my knitting.

In random knitting news, I've made a very good short row heel on a purse sock. (Purse sock=simple sock kept in purse for unexpected knitting opportunities) It only took me 2 tries. The first try I did in public and seriously almost made it, but screwed up on the 2nd to last purl pick up. What seems to work for me is two things. One is that I always pick up the wraps/work the stitch from the public side. The second is how the stitch is wrapped. It's wrapped twice and each must be wrapped from both sides. So for the first wrap I've been bringing the yarn around the stitch and then pulling it between the needles to the opposite side of the knitting and for the second wrap I've been bringing the yarn between the needles to the opposite side of the work before I bring the yarn around the stitch. It's what works for me.

I got a new purse/bag from E-Bay and finally knit a little case for my cell phone that stays on the strap. I was actually able to answer the phone before it went to voice mail when it rang today.

I'm about to post this with just one picture and no links because of my experience yesterday losing my finely crafted, potentially prize-winning post yesterday. If it works I'll at least have this. Then maybe I'll add links and some more pics.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

See this post?

See this post with the many pictures, laborious puns, and researched links? Yah, neither do I. Let me know if you find it. Thanks. K.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ravelympics 0-( No medal for me

This is the WIP I decided to wrangle for my event in the Ravelympics. It is now about 14 inches (35 cm) long, but I failed to medal because I set it aside to do 3 ad hoc projects. This knitting has been interrupted to bring you the felted teddy bear in that I posted 2 times ago and now two hats. The brown one is for Bev's 50 hats project. It's actually using the yarn from earlier incarnations of this scarf. The purple hat has a recipient, but he or she must remain secret.

Brown Hat details:
Pattern: Claudia Hat by M.J. Kim
Yarn: Main yarn is Alpaca Silk by Blue Sky (50/50); held with 2 strands of lace weight alpaca.
Gauge: a bit tight, should have been 5.5--It's a trifle small for me, but it will fit somebody important.
Needles: 2.75?
Remarks: The cable pattern was hard, but I did manage it. I took it on mostly for the cable experience. To be sure, I know how to make cables, but I've never done so many, so close together, that crossed different ways. I don't recommend it at this gauge with triple stranding. The ribs show so well because the knit stitches are twisted on every row with a background of reverse stockinette. The color in the sink picture is fairly accurate. This is a very soft, but sturdy hat. The only modifications I made were on the crown shaping where I went to decreasing every other row sooner than the pattern called for and cinched the top at 12 stitches instead of 6. I made these changes because some of the pictures on Ravelry looked pointy to me.

Purple Hat details:
Pattern: Top Down Bonnet with (out) Anime Character by Adrian Bizilia from Hello Yarn
Yarn: KnitPicks Elegance (or maybe Ambrosia)
Gauge: I don't know, maybe 6 spi, maybe 5.5
Needle: U.S. 4, I-cord on US 2
Remarks: There are over 400 of these in the Ravelry projects gallery. The pattern appealed to me because it covers the whole head and has ties. I am an admirer of what I think of as little Swedish caps, made out of sewn fabric usually. I did find a couple nice patterns for something more like that, but I thought they swooped down too far on the forehead. I didn't want to take a chance that the mother would think that looked goofy.
This pattern is very, very simple. I barely needed to refer to it once I understood the construction. The modifications I did are pictured. Instead of a garter stitch border all the way around, I only did that on the front. I put in a ribbing in the back because many of the ones pictured on Ravelry fit loosely in the back. I copied this idea from another Raveler. From the same Raveler, I got the idea to use the picot bind off on the front. Incidentally, the pattern runs small. I made the child size to get a 1 year size. I admit that I didn't worry about gauge, though.
The yarn is soft and should be very warm for it's weight. Just plain adorable. I've already started another one, this time in sock yarn.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

And your little bear, t o o o o o o o o !

I made this to go with my cousin's baby's sweater set. I knit for 2 evenings, then felted. Pretty quick for me. It turned out pretty well I think despite my usual sort of trials and tribulations. It was a small hit at the party, anyway.


I was worried I had made too thin a fabric. But I reasoned that the looser the knit, the better it felts. Well, "reasoned" isn't exactly the word. "Hoped," is the better word for what I call my thought process there. I even duplicate stitched and otherwise added more yarn to areas that I didn't want pull in too much, like the nose.


Oh, oh! The polyfill is both coming out and getting felted into the fabric, not allowing it to close. Furthermore, it's expanded and the arms and legs are turning into clubs and the head isn't shrinking as much as the body. I made it large to start with as I wanted it to look like a baby, but this is ridiculous. I think it's because I stuffed it harder in order to keep the nose sticking out.

Time for drastic action: You may want to stop reading if you don't want to know where teddy bears come from.

Modesty forbids me from showing you even more. It looks like it would unravel here but it didn't because it actually was felted together with the polyfill. The loose yarn you see is actually an end that I had left on the inside. And here's some advice for you: Do what you can to avoid hauling out wet poly from inside a wet bear. I debated about whether to sew up the back. In the end (in the end, ha ha) I left it open. I was unable to unstuff the arms because they were stuffed and sewn on separately.
So I threw it back in the wash with the deep navy thriftstore sweater (in the before pics) that I was also felting and the several of my clothes that I thought could take being vigorously agitated though X cycles in hot water, namely, some of my white things--or should I say some of my blueish things? Are you impressed with my common sense? Moving right along . . .
Here is young Mr. Bear upon removal the next morning from the dryer: Apparently somebody played Gotchyer Nose with him during the night and made off with said nose. Doesn't look very promising does it? And that's his ARM, he's not happy to see us! You people. Despite misgivings about being able to embroider an acceptable bear face, especially in deference to the concept of matching eyes, it turned out ok.

Felted Bear
Pattern: Now there's an idear.
Yarn: Vintage Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted from Elizabeth (thank you, young lady), light heathery gray, most of one skein.
Needles: 6mm/US 10.
Scarf: random Opal stash yarn
He can't quite sit up by himself because of the gigantic big head and the gigantic big arms.
Such a face! Do you see how his eyes almost match? Pretty good.