Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Knit in Public!

It makes people wonder what you're up to!

My car had to go in for its regular maintenance service today, so the DCA and I dropped it off last night. He met me at the dealer to pick me up and bring me home. Because it was rush hour, we took the back roads instead of the freeways, and we inevitably got caught at a stoplight. We were driving with the windows down to save gas and because it was a hot, sunny afternoon. Deep in conversation, I was knitting away on the second black sock. Suddenly, I hear, "Hey, what are you making?" A lady driving a 1970s van and towing a boat was yelling at me from the vehicle next to ours. I answered, "A sock! I've already finished the first one!" and I held it up for her to see. She said, "Cool! Those must be really warm!" and then the light changed and we drove away.

Knitters will take over the world by capturing the attention of one unsuspecting observer at a time!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I Surrender!

I went to the Sock of the Month Club class at Bonita Knitting yesterday, and I learned how to start a toe-up sock. Apparently, I am a fairly advanced sock knitter and don't really need to attend classes. They have invited me to come back to hang out on Saturdays for their clinic (read SnB). I'm excited, because the whole point of my joining the club was to find other sock knitters to hang out with. The best part is the clinic is free! I will probably be headed back over there soon.

While I was at the class, I showed off the DCA's black socks on two circs. I said the main reason I started them was just to prove I could, but I complained about how clumsy and slow I felt while working on them. The instructor asked, "So why don't you put them on DPNs and finish them in a method you like?" At that point, I felt like I finally had permission to move one of them off the circs to DPNs. Why would I need permission to do that? I'm so obsessive compulsive about finishing a project the way I start it!

So, I gave in and put one of the socks on DPNs. The other sock is still on the two circular needles, and it's the one I'm working on. Now I know why some knitters prefer this method! The circular needle sock is speeding along now that the second sock is out of the way. It was just too awkward before with the second sock and ball of yarn in the way. I'm hoping to have the socks done by the end of the week since I go back to work tomorrow.

While I was at the store, I also gave in to my dreams of laceweight, and I bought four balls of Crystal Palace Kid Merino in Code Pink. I have started working on the Mohair Travel Shawl which appears in the scarves and shawls insert that came with Interweave's Fall 2006 issue (it originally appeared in the Summer 2001 issue). It's a very simple pattern, and the laceweight itself is keeping it interesting. I was afraid the endless garter stitch might make me bored too quickly, but I am still having to pay attention to the yarn because it's so new to me. The shawl is a great "in-between" project while I wait for my Clapotis's yarn.

I have a few more things to do today to get ready for school tomorrow, and the socks, the socks they are a-calling!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Riding the Waves

Both of my Wavy scarves are done! Aren't they lovely? The pink and purple one on the left is for LNO, and the multi-colored one on the right is mine. I can hardly wait for the weather to cool off so I can wear it!

I'm making slow but steady progress on the DCA's black socks on two circs. I know certain knitters must just fly along using this method, but I feel slow and clumsy using it. I guess I'm just a DPN girl...

In the latest news, I have joined my first Knit Along! It's the Black Bunny Hop Along hosted by Knitty D and the City. I love the idea of this one because I get to knit anything I like as long as I use Black Bunny yarn. I bought my sock yarn today, and I'm starting to talk to Black Bunny about some yarn for my first laceweight project. I hope to be working on the Print O' the Waves Stole by Eunny Jang. I can almost feel the fuzzy goodness now!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

One Down, One to Go

I finished the Wavy scarf for LNO! Roo says she will absolutely love the scarf and that it's pretty. I love how the curved ribbing gives a simple, but elegant, feel to what could have been just another boring scarf. I will try to post a picture when it's not quite so late in the evening.

I started my scarf almost immediately which surprised me--I normally don't like to knit the same pattern again right away, so I must enjoy this one. I am using the rejected multi-color yarn for mine, the color is not pooling in weird, unexpected ways, and I am loving it! I am starting to yearn for a chill in the weather just so I can wear it.

I also cast on for a "Magic Friend" from the book Knitter's Stash. It's just a really basic stuffed animal pattern, but I'm trying to make some modifications to it so it feels more seamless. The book called for a yarn that resembles the evil Fun Fur, and I am trying to use the leftover Alpaca from my stole. Since evil Fun Fur would normally hide cast-ons and bind-offs, I am trying to cleverly hide them from my lovely, smooth Alpaca. I still haven't decided if it should be a bunny, bear, or cat. I also haven't decided whether to donate it to the annual craft fair at church or to keep it around--it is so hard to let go of the Alpaca!

I am off to neglect my knitting in favor of a classic American novel!

Monday, August 21, 2006

I Threw It to the Frogs

After a while, the color pooling went away as the Clapotis started its slanted rows. I was rather happy with it until I switched skeins of yarn. My latest idea for LNO's scarf called for 5 bands of color--3 each of the multi and 2 each of pale pink. In the store, the multi and the pink appeared to match; in the scarf, they were a miserable combination. I went to bed last night, and I couldn't sleep for thinking about this terrible turn of events.

This morning, I was so frustrated that I frogged the whole thing and went looking for a new pattern. I found the Wavy scarf pattern at Knitty, and I think it's going to work out just fine. I went diving into my meager stash and pulled out the plain purple I initially meant for LNO's mini-Clapotis before I found the multi. The new scarf will only be 30 stitches wide instead of the 42 called for in the pattern, and it will have purple ends on a long pale pink center. It's going to be fabulous after last night's disaster.

The positive side of all this is that I now feel completely comfortable with the Clapotis pattern. I know the silk/merino blend I chose for my version is a much better selection for the pattern than the one I was using last night. I can't wait for my yarn to arrive!

I think I will knit a second Wavy scarf for myself out of the three skeins of multi I am going to have left from the Clapotis's demise. I was always coveting the multi for myself anyway. Besides, fall is coming, and you can't have too many scarves.

The Alpaca Is Thrilled...

...and so am I! The Alpaca Arrowhead Stole is finally finished. Moose's giant Pooh was gracious enough to model the finished object for us.

Once upon a time in May, I stepped into my LYS intending to find some yarn for my first attempt at a sweater. I fell in love with this lovely violet-blue alpaca worsted. At first, I tried to force it to be a tunic sweater much like the one I just completed. It did not want to be a sweater; it wanted to be an Aran shawl. After a few days, the yarn changed its mind yet again, and it no longer wanted to be an Aran shawl. This time it wanted to be an Arrowhead Lace Stole, and I allowed the yarn to have its way. After several false starts--the width had to be just right--the stole was finally underway. The alpaca has been patient through my many cheating moments as I stole time away to work on other projects--especially the lilac sweater. It had grouchy moments too, and I could hear it calling me from where I stashed it. Now, we are living in harmony as the alpaca has been converted to my lovely shawl, and I will have something warm and toasty this winter.

Since the alpaca is off the needles, I've decided to ignore those pesky socks and slippers and dedicate some time to knitting a mini-Clapotis for LNO, the daughter of my friend. Her birthday is in November, and I want to have her present stashed away well before the big day and to give myself enough time to finish it since school is starting soon. Sometimes teaching really interferes with my knitting time. (It's really just a test run for my own Clapotis while I wait for my Lisa Souza Max yarn to arrive. I want to be in the groove and knitting smoothly for the real thing!) Here's my problem:

I am not too keen on how the pink is "pooling" in the middle of the scarf at the moment. (For some bizarre reason, it looks much better in the picture than in person.) I tried to stop the pooling by doing another repeat of increase rows, but that made the mini-Clap too wide. Ripping it back to one fewer set of increases makes it too narrow. The Clapotis pattern doesn't seem amenable to easily switching skeins of yarns, so I guess I'm stuck with it. I'm glad it's not mine, because it would make me crazy. I'm hoping that opening up the dropped stitches may lessen the pooling effect. I am also trusting that a pre-teen just won't care about small things like color pooling in her scarf.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Behold the Fuzzy Feet!

After yesterday's frogged heel flap, I was absolutely determined to finish the DCA's Fuzzy Feet today. I took them to the Girl's Night Out potluck dinner for church last night and knitted by the side of the pool. I took them to my favorite LYS this morning and worked on them during Roo's class. I came home and knitted some more during our Lord of the Rings marathon this afternoon.

I am happy to announce they are semi-finished--all that awaits is a trip through the washing machine to felt them to their proper size. This time, I will pay closer attention to the required felting time so they actually fit the DCA's feet (my first attempt fit the Moose instead). Note to self: the felting instructions really do mean it when they say check your felted item every 2 to 3 minutes throughout the wash cycle.

Here they are in all their pre-felted glory....

I'll include a post-felting shot (maybe the DCA will even wear them!) as soon as the next load of laundry hits the spin cycle.

The Alpaca stole is still crying for my attention, so I'm back to my needles!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Amphibians on a Summer Evening

Rippit! Rippit!

I started the heel flap on the second Fuzzy Feet slipper for the DCA this afternoon. I knit happily away on it before I took the Moose to piano and while he had his lesson. I turned the heel and started to consider where I needed to pick up stitches along the flap so I could begin the gusset.

Wait a minute, why was there an odd number of stitches in my turned heel? Did I decrease incorrectly? No, it couldn't be! But, oh yes, it could! I had one extra stitch in my heel flap. I briefly considered leaving it--it would all be felted together anyway, right? But could I leave that extra stitch there, knowing that it would taunt me each time I gazed upon these slippers on the DCA's feet? Of course not! So, the amphibians began to sing a summer chorus for me as I frogged the entire heel flap and started over. I was so silly to think I might actually have another finished object tonight...sigh...

I will now think positively as I consider that I now have 22 extra stitches worth of the crimson wool with which to knit these lovely slippers for my favorite Sooners fan. It's an extra 22 stitches worth of the dwindling supply that tells me the frogs may still be lying in wait for these Fuzzy Feet. Stay tuned for updates on attacking amphibians.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Things I Learned at the Movies

Last night, instead of working away steadily on my fuzzy blue Alpaca stole, I happily left the kids with the DCA and slipped away for a chick flick movie night with my friend. (The Devil Wears Prada and The Lake House were playing back-to-back!) Since I can't sit still without something in my fingers, I took my knitting along. I didn't take just any knitting to the movies--I took the black socks on two circs to the movies. Call me crazy, but I did it anyway. We sat in the very front row, and because of the ambient light from the screen, I was actually able to see the black stitches on the shiny points of my Addi Turbos (Fans of Brenda, you may mentally insert the Star Wars light saber noise here).

I only dropped two stitches in four hours--I don't think that's too bad overall. I found one of the stitches at the theater, but I fixed it incorrectly and had to re-do it at home. I didn't find the second stitch until the second movie was almost over, so I stuck it on a stitch holder (a most excellent little gadget) and picked it up at home in the 250 Watts of lovely brightness that is my downstairs bath. Picking up stitches on a black sock knit on 2mm Addis is somewhat painful under any circumstances.

The real dark spot (it's dark at the movies, get it?) in my evening was leaving my prescription sunglasses in the theater when they fell off my knitting bag. D'oh! I really don't know why I took them in the theater because a) it's dark in there and b) it was dark when the movies got out. I guess it's okay though--I took it as a sign of needing to get my eyes checked since I was a year overdue anyway.

As a result, I went to the optometrist this morning, and I got the whole shebang including eye dilation. Did you know that trying to knit teeny sock stitches with dilated eyes is a true test of your knitting dedication? They look REALLY fuzzy on those tiny needles! The doctor said that I now know what my eyesight will be like when I'm 80--I have so much to look forward to.

Anyway, I have new sunglasses in hand, and my new regular glasses will be ready in a week--they have that way cool anti-glare scratch coat on them, dontcha know? In addition to my two normal prescriptions, she also gave me two back-up scrips just in case--one is for computer work (in case I have a sudden increase in my computer time) and the other one is for close work or for reading if I feel like I need them. Does knitting count as close work? Ha! As if I'd drop another $300 on a third pair of glasses...

I hear the Alpaca whining in the other room. It is now extremely jealous of the time I spent with the socks last night and today, so I'm headed off to pay it some much needed attention. Maybe I'll have another FO tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It's a FO!

And, no, it's not the Navy kind, thank goodness!

The neckdown pullover tunic is finished! It's really finished, with the ends woven in and everything. This is the first adult-sized sweater I have ever knit, and it's mine, I tell you, all mine! Mwuhahaha!

My new tunic is knit from the top down in the round and has raglan sleeves. It is a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern, and it contains miles and miles of stockinette stitch. If I ever make this again, I am definitely going to include some kind of pattern to end the monotony. Okay, so tunics aren't so fashionable, but let me tell you, it is truly comfy! It will be the perfect fall sweater for curling up with my knitting, a good movie, and some hot cocoa!

Now I am off to pay attention to the black socks or to the Alpaca stole (the Alpaca is grouchy because I have been ignoring it in favor of the sweater). Before I go, check out this item which is trying to worm its way into my queue: The Weasley Sweater. The kids are on a Harry Potter kick, and I may do a Molly Weasley and knit them some sweaters for Christmas. Don't worry! I'll ask before I make one in maroon.

And So It Begins...

The DCA has said I need a blog to track my knitting and all my favorite blogs and sites. So here goes! As I have practically no html experience, this should be a fun learning opportunity. Bear with me while I work out the small details.

As so many of us out here, I am a knitter. It is my favorite hobby and my tenuous link to sanity. Knitting keeps me grounded and allows me to decompress after work. In the past, I rarely knit things for myself (except for socks), but I am now in a more selfish phase of knitting which is all about me, Me, ME. I spent the summer working on projects for other people and for Christmas, so now it's MY turn!