Monday, July 31, 2006

I've become a joiner

I've now joined the new French Market Bag knit along and officially started my regular-sized FMB. I'm sticking to using the Cascade 220 Dark Periwinkle for the bag base and top handle portion and Periwinkle for the body. I'll be using size 9 needles since I got the pattern gauge with it. That and it was an adventure in itself to find a set of size 9 dpn's this weekend. After visiting 2 Michael's, 1 Joann's and 1 regional yarn store ('cause it's not quite local for me), I found a set at my lys. The only drawback is that I got the shorter 6" length instead of the usual 7" length all my Clover dpn's are in. I'm just going to have to make sure my stitches don't fall off the shorter needles before I can switch to my shortest Boyes interchangeable cables.

I decided to do the circular base and used Emily Ocker's circular cast on method since I already practiced this method on starting a friend's Lucy bag. I love how this method lets you tighten up the hole in the middle and avoids the puffiness of a "regular" cast on, but even for a long-time crocheter like me, it was a little awkward to do as I couldn't figure out how to keep tension on the ball end of the yarn.

Can't quite tell yet how well it'll felt as I only got partway through felting my 3rd petite FMB when monkey2 woke up from her nap and didn't care to hang out w/her dear daddy. I think my 3rd mini FMB needs a couple more rounds in the BCoD (tm zibbibo is good? or Harry Potter?), but I think it'll be fine.

Friday, July 28, 2006

One Skein & a Bit Wonder

Since my Lorien x-mas in July sale order came in, I could finally finish my sis' OSW. Specs are:

Pattern: Stephanie Japel's (aka Glampyre's) One Skein Wonder (OSW)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Blue Paradise - 1 skein + 1 row & BO rows for the body worth of a 2nd skein
Needle sizes: US #6 for the body, #3 dpn's for the arm ribbing ('cause I don't have #2 dpns') and #3 for the body ribbing
size: 16 1/2 - in order not to strangle my sis' arms, I chose not to go to the smaller size (16) and adjusted the pattern for a "16 1/2" which is probably why I ran out of yarn. If I stuck to the 16, I probably would've done fine w/1 skein.
Gauge - the ball band gauge of 5 st/in on the #6's

Overall thoughts:
- This was a fun knit. I now understand the beauty & elegance of knitting from the top.
- Would I knit this again? Yes, but probably not for me. I may do a mini-one for monkey1 some day and I would definitely knit this for one of my younger, smaller shouldered cousins if I want to stick to "one" skein.

FO Friday

Finished my second Pea Pod hat for the Richmond WIC coordinator Yarn Harlot mentioned having the bf hat campaign. Will send it off in the mail tomorrow. I knit the smallest size in my leftover KP shine sport in grass, but I had enough yarn once done that I could've made the next size up. Oh, well. The biggest lesson for me on the hat this time around is that I cannot knit this pattern on a deadline 'cause once again I screwed up the leaf lace pattern. Don't know where I screwed up, but screwed up I did. It's not noticeable, at least to me (and my friend) so I didn't rip back 'cause I didn't know where to rip back to. If I ever do this again (or help me, the matching jacket), I'm going to have to obsessively count my stitches and lifeline the heck out of it.

Next up, finishing sis' OSW 'cause my Lorien order came it. Monkey1 was less than pleased that I didn't get ALL the yarn colors she wanted. Sheesh, I might as well buy stock in Brown Sheep 'cause I think she marked almost all of them on my color card. Heh, I'll just wait for the next Brown Sheep cotton fleece sale or wait 'til Lorien re-stocks 'cause she's got the best non-sale prices online, beating out some online stores sale prices!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Felting lesson #1

If you think colors will bleed when dumping a light colored object w/a darker colored object, it will.

If you think colors will bleed 'cause you use a lot of Dawn instead of bit of Eucalan, it will.

If you even *think* your colors will bleed, it will. ;)

While monkey1 was playing next door and monkey2 was napping, I decided to felt my petite FMB's via the BCoD (Boiling Cauldron of Death) method. However, I decided to be lazy and dump both FMB's in the pot at the same time. So of course, the periwinkle bled onto the light pink. Thankfully, the end result was still a cute light mauve. The bigger bag (size 10 needle) probably needed to be felted more, but it was more the heat than any muscle fatigue that made me decide it was good enough and that I was done. Maybe if I'm in the mood later, I'll send the bigger bag through another cycle of the BCoD. And of course when monkey1 came home she was less than please that I felted *her* bags. Punk. Needless to say, I'll need to knit her another set of never-to-be-felted petite FMB's later this week. After I finish my second Pea Pod hat.

And that hat simply didn't want to be made at the beginning. I had to cast on 3 times before I even got to the second row. The 1st time I inexplicably didn't join in the round when I started the 1st row. D'oh! The 2nd time monkey2 got a hold of it and yanked 2 of the dpn's out. Double d'oh! So now I'm hoping I can get the hat finished w/no major catastrophes in time to send out for a local LC's campaign mentioned by the Yarn Harlot.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Swatching fun

Unfelted petite FMB's:
Cascade 220
Left: Dark Periwinkle & Periwinkle, US #10 dpns, gauge= 4.25 st/in, 6 row/in roughly
Right: Periwinkle and Light (or Soft?) Pink, US #8 dpns, gauge = 5 st/in, 6.5 rows/in roughly

Regular size FMB unfelted gauge in the pattern yarn was 4.5 st/in. Not sure if I should laugh or curse, but since I'm apparently knitting tight w/the dpn's, I'm in between the pattern gauge on both "swatches." Hmmm, wondering if I should go w/the 10's or buy a set of #9 dpn's w/my Michael's or Joann's coupons. I still need to felt these little puppies to decide if I'll like the one on 10's. I think the one on 8's is too tightly knitted to felt well. I'm debating if I should go the Boiling Cauldron of Death route or wait 'til we go to mil's cabin to use her washer. Hmmmm.

I also need to knit 2 more of these little bags 'cause Monkey1 wants them, but doesn't want them "fuzzy." Hee, she doesn't remember the word felt, but she understands fuzzy well enough and is quite adamant that she isn't going to like it. Doesn't bode well for the Booga Bag I made for her that I still have to felt. Ah, the joys of a parent w/a child who knows exactly what she wants. :P

In the meantime, I got gauge on my EL silky tweed w/the #6 needles, so I don't need to fiddle around w/any more swatches or needle sizes for the not-so-shrunken cardie (NSSC). Yay!

And in the oh-so-really-quick department, I got my Butterfly Super 10 order from Showers of Flowers already! So now I'm torn between re-casting on for my Kyoto or starting the NSSC. Although w/the heat wave I was contemplating swatching my Classic Elite Premiere for either Picovoli or the Magknits Ballet Camisole.

And then, after playing e-mail ping-pong w/Lorien Alpacas and complete my Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece order, I find out Knitpicks is having a big sale which includes their Main Line yarn for $1.97! I've been lemming the Red Velvet Cake color (the online swatch doesn't really capture the gorgeous redness of it) for a long time 'cept I don't have a project in mind for it. Gah! A friend at work wants to split an order 'cause she doesn't have enough to get free shipping, so I'll be talking to her.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The yarn elves are hot & cranky

I got so, so close to finishing sis' OSW in only 1 skein of Brown Sheep cotton fleece before she left Sunday. But nope, I'm 30 stitches short. I even started binding off 1 round shorter for the body ribbing, but it was not to be. I did contemplate doing a crochet bind off but it would've been too firm a bind off for the ribbing since it's supposed to be done loose. The little yarn elves are intent on making me buy more yarn, darn them. The other cotton fleece I have in my stash are Pink Diamond and Blush, 2 pinks that are so not going to work w/the Blue Paradise. Since I only need enough for the 8th round and the bind off, dye lot won't matter, so I decided to buy one more skein. I went as far as calling a bunch of Bay Area stores I was willing to drive far enough to see if they had any Blue Paradise and absolutely no luck. So I'm going to buy my one skein plus a few other colors from Lorien since she's having a sale. Obviously my lesson learned is I need to start buying that extra skein from now on. :P

During this heat wave, it's been hard to do any knitting, especially since our power went out twice this weekend! I did manage to make a petite French Market bag (FMB) as my swatch as I'm totally confused on what size needles I'll need. This first one I knitted on size 10 dpn's, mainly because I don't have size 101/2 or 11 needles that's usually recommended for Cascade 220 felted projects. I'm then going to knit up another mini-one on size 8 dpn's called for in the pattern since some knitters who have made the FMB w/Cascade 220 used this size fine.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Needing to get a move on

I realize last night if I want to finish sis' OSW before she leaves that I need to finish the knitting today or tomorrow and wash, block & dry by Sat so sis can pack it when she leaves by Sunday. I'm knitting the sleeves in the round so I won't eat up time sewing the sleeves together. Otherwise, I'm probably one of the few knitters that like seaming (which would've made Kyoto & me a match made in heaven, but more on that later). I'm dreading the picking up stitches for the front and neck ribbingmore as I need to work on that skill a bit more. The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques can only help me so far. :P

The family visits this time around seem to fly by super fast. Not enough time to do much 'cept the important family visits and the all important shopping at stores inexplicably not in Hawaii yet (Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works). All I can say is when those franchises or chains finally get there, they'd make a killing.

Unfortunately, while waiting w/the monkey1 during her dentist appt yesterday, it was easier to knit up my Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed swatch instead of working on the OSW. This is nice to knit with and the swatch as a yummy velvety feel to it. I'm looking forward to knitting up my not-so-shrunken cardie soon.

As for my Kyoto, I've decided to buy a whole new set of Butterfly Super 10 in sage green from an online store so I don't have to deal with the blending different dye lot issue. I talked it out w/ a friend at work who's an engineer and knitter like me. She made a point that as an engineer and the fact that I was anal/picky about my striping sequence on my Noro silk garden clapotis, I'm not going to be happy blending a different dye lot into my Kyoto. So the Kyoto back will get frogged and set aside for Kate Gilbert's Pea Pod jacket in the 12 mo size for someone's baby at some point.

All this whinging about my Kyoto yarn issues has also given me a bit of startitis. Once I'm done w/sis' OSW, I'm actually not sure what I want to knit up aside from the not-so-shrunken cardie. I'm sorta of 2 minds about it. I can either do a series of small project like more petal bibs, baby booties, something for the monkeys and such or start another big project, but something in a wool so I don't get wrist fatigue. The EL silky tweed w/its silk & cotton blend isn't harsh to knit with but I'm not sure what it'll do long term. I can do a French Market bag in my Cascade 220 stash (someone on the knitty board is starting a new KAL since the old one is closed), a scarf size clapotis in my CTH Twister Jewels hank, or a smaller Ella shawl from my Brooks Farm Four Play. But I also am wondering if I should do the magknits Ballet cami in my stash of Classic Elite Yarns Premiere as someone else started a KAL for that.

Holy crap. If I haven't already realized it, it's certainly hit home I've got too many projects to do. And I haven't even opened the door to knitting socks yet.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Well, this is going to suck.

For some reason I decided to recalculate the yardage on my Butterfly Super 10 green yarn for Kyoto last night and realized that I am one whole hank short. I let the yarn store owner calculate the yardage for me and I didn't bother to check or get an extra hank. I called the yarn store just in case they still had the yarn left and of course, they don't. I didn't expect the same dye lot since I bought the yarn in April, but she doesn't even have any green at all. Lovely. I'm sure there's a logical way to resolve my shortage like buy more green yarn from somewhere else and hope the dye lots match, or buy a different green yarn in the correct yardage plus extra, but right now I'm just too miffed at myself. So for now I'm dumping the Kyoto back and will start swatching for something else entirely, like the not-so-shrunken sweater or monkey2's Rowan Fletcher hoodie. But on the off chance someone in knitty land has an extra hank of this lying around languishing in their stash, I put a request in on the knittyboard. So not holding my breathe.

Edited to add: I called all the Bay Area stores and none of the ones that carry SR Kertzer Yarns carries the Butterfly Super 10. Great. I did find a couple online stores that carry it in my color so it looks like I'll end up ordering 4 (maybe 5?) hanks. I'll have to make sure they're the same dye lot too and save the 3 hanks I have for Kate Gilbert's Pea Pod Sweater. Sigh. Nothing like ripping out 10" of St st and starting all over on something else.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nothing to see here...

Kyoto is progressing along 'cept it makes for boring photos when all it is is still a green rectangle. But I did get to the point on sis' OSW where I can fit it over her to see if I need to knit one more size up before I start doing the arm and neck ribbing. I think I'll get it done before she goes back home next week. Not sure if I get a photo in before she goes home w/it though.

And nothing like winding up some stash yarn (Cascade 220 dark periwinkle to practice the circular crochet cast on for the French Market bag, EL Silky Tweed for my not-so-shrunken-cardie, luscious Brooks Farm Four Play, and the rest of monkey1's Mango Moon wooly for another bag), going shopping for non-yarn clothing w/one's mom, and getting a call that Nars Fall 2006 will be in at the end of the month to get me out of my yarn buying binge! Of course, that's after I got 2 hanks of Noro Kochoran #21 from Article Pract's sale for a mistake rib scarf rom LMKG. ;)

It's a good thing too since KnitPicks has been slowly uploading and testing certain pages of their new yarn, like Swish Superwash (colors are too, too cute!), Gloss (not ready for socks yet, but these look lovely), Shamrock, Quarry and others like Telemark and Essential Tweed. It's probably better for me too that other knitters test them out. Especially when I don't have any pattern in mind for these yarns anyway.

In any case, while I finally got my WEBS backorder of my Barefoot Knits book, they were once again OOS of the 1 hank of Elsebeth Lavold silky wool that's slated for another Branching Out scarf.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gift Branching Out is done.

At least the knitting portion is. It definitely needs some blocking as the beginning is wider than the end which got narrower and stretched out from the weight of the scarf. I finished this well ahead of time but the second half did go much faster since I sorta had the pattern memorized by this point. In any case, before I forget, the specs are:

Pattern: knitty Branching Out
Yarn: Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK in color 1837, 125 yd/50 g
needle size: US #8
# of lace repeats: 35
pre-blocking measurements: 5.5" x 59"

So I found out the other day that younger sis on the spur of the moment decided to fly up to visit us for a week. She and mom overlap their visits so I'm going to be a wee bit busy. But since she's coming up I went ahead and started her OSW so I can fit it on her before doing the finish ribbing. I'm trying to be daring my adjusting the pattern to work w/the chosen yarn, Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Blue Paradise, a lovely bright royal blue that is obviously not captured in the pic. The Cotton Fleece is DK weight and the pattern is written up for heavy worsted, so I'm hoping my math conversion skills work. Since it's knitted from the top down, it would be so helpful to try this on the sis before I finish it off.

And here's evidence that I have been working on my Kyoto here and there. It's been dropped for now 'til I get the OSW done up for sis' visit, but I may work alternate the OSW w/this since they're not too hard to work on while watching my monkeys.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My 2 LMKG hats are officially done.

Hat on the left:
Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Sky
size 7 dpn's
"baby" size
white ribbon since I UEU'd the Sky for the hat and had none left over for the i-cord tie

Hat on the right:
Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Jade
"toddler" size

I haven't checked my gauge but these hats seem to be small, especially when placed on the monkeys' doll heads. And the toddler sized hat is most definitely too small for monkey2. So it looks like I may turn my 2 full Mission Falls skeins in purple/plum into a tank for monkey1 instead of 2 more hats in the child size. Otherwise, it's so good to UEU'd these 2 leftover skeins.

Off to continue the BO scarf and Kyoto.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Why it's dangerous to go yarn sale shopping w/friends

Yesterday my friend and I went back to Article Pract at lunch so she could get her Noro. She ended up w/a load of Kochoran instead of Iro though. We originally went together to keep each other honest but we ended up inducing total buying binges on both sides. Since I found a pattern for the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed I'd been lemming the day before (Knit & Tonic's Not-So-Shrunken-Sweater), I ended getting it in Brown though I almost went with a blue similar to the SWTC Cobalt Blue bamboo I already had. So now we made a vow that we can't go shopping with each other any more. Well, at least for awhile. Not good for the wallet. :o

Getting my quick fix knit urges almost satisfied. All I need to do is finish the i-cord tie for this Jade Mission Falls cotton hat then I'll have another FO.

And to keep me honest, I am on track with the BO gift scarf. I finished the 1st skein of Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK and onto the second. I suppose if I concentrate on this I'll get this done earlier than I plan, but it does take concentration and I can only do this at lunch at work away from the monkeys.

So I'll be starting my Knitty Kyoto (finally!) this weekend. Since it involves a lot of meditative St st, I can do this while watching the monkeys' antics. I'll be starting w/the back. I never did a complete swatch (bind off & wash & block) with the size 8 needles, just the 6 and 7's, so the back will be my really big swatch. I had been thinking about doing the sleeve first, but my knitting mentor keeps telling me I need to do both sleeves at the same time, so I either need to get another Boyes interchangeable set or use my extra size 8 circulars that are Susan Bates and hope there is a negligible difference in sizes.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A wee little FO

I love quick little knits. I finished the Petal Bib from One Skein last night. This pic shows the Apricot color much better than yesterday's pic. It just needs to be washed & blocked. Up next, the Petal Bib in my leftover KP Shine Sport in Butter and maybe even from my 1 full leftover skein of Blush.

I was bad and broke my yarn buying moritorium at the Article Pract summer sale yesterday at lunch with my friend. Probably because I was thwarted in my purchase of enough Debbie Bliss cotton cashmere from the Halcyon Yarns sale. I needed lots for the monkeys' projects. While I resisted the lure of the Noro Kochoran and Iro and the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed that were 25-35% off, I ended up w/the lot above from the back room. On the left are 6 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Citron, more than enough for monkey2's Lucky cardigan from Rowan Pipsqueaks book. I think I even have enough if I want to do Fletcher instead. On the right is a whole bag of Classic Elite Yarns Star yarn in Indian Paintbrush. Definitely more than enough to do Emily from Magknits. And the cute bolero pattern on the top from Sirdar was only $1. A total bargain and the sizing goes up to a 5-6.

Which brings me to some of the single skein yarns in my stash from my Patternworks end of the year cotton (hah!) grab bag. I'm debating on if I should swap just a couple of these or all of them. Going counterclockwise from top left are:

Rowan Big Wool Tuft in Shiver (#56, lot #131) - only enough for some funky edging. I simply don't like.

Rowan Big Wool in Cloak (#34, lot #142) - More than enough for a hat, but am afraid I won't be able to get rid of the Big Wool Tuft if I don't offer this to go w/it.

Berroco Metallic Fx in Silver (#1002, lot #083) - Just so not me.

Plymouth Wildflower DK in Olive (#76, lot #63) - sometimes I think it's an interesting shade, sometimes I think it's just a tad too puke green. Debating on this one. I can make a bucket hat out of it for a little toddler/boy since I have the basic pattern in the Plymouth Babies & Toddler book, so I don't know.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The other almost FO's

From Last Minute Knitted Gifts (LMKG), I finally UEU'd my Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in Sky. I used all I had to make the baby size cotton hat, so I think I'll dig up some skinny white ribbon I think I have in my sewing box to use as the tie. I don't think I have enough Jade to make a second tie for this hat. Besides, I was never thrilled w/how Jade and Sky looked together once knitted up. I still have 2+ full skeins of Plum (purple?) Mission Falls cotton leftover but I don't want the hat to have a purple tie. I suppose I could get a yellow/gold ribbon for the tie, but the blue in Sky isn't dark enough to make the hat a Cal hat. (Go Bears!)

And here I'm using up my leftover Mission Falls 1824 cotton skein in Jade to make the cotton hat. My lighting this morning is a little drab, so the pic is a bit dark. I'm knitting up the toddler size as I have more of this yarn leftover than the Peony or Sky skeins. Once these are done, I'm debating on what to do w/my 2 full leftover purple skeins. I can make 2 more child sized hats for my friend's dds who love all things purple. Or I can make a tank top for monkey2 from a pattern I found online. Will need to re-find that link though.

A couple almost FO's

Since I caught up on all my lace repeat sections I needed to get to on my gift Branching Out scarf during this long holiday weekend, I decided to distract myself with a bunch of wee little knits to use up some of my single left-over skeins in my stash in addition to finishing the knitting portion of monkey1's Booga Bag.

I have the One Skein Petal Bib in my leftover KnitPicks (KP) Shine Sport skein in Apricot being knitted up on size 6 needles per the pattern. Didn't check gauge 'cause I'd be halfway thru the bib by the time I finished a swatch. In any case, I'm done w/the bib portion and am working on the i-cord tie. This will be my first official knitted object where I officially wrap my short rows. And while I did a decent job hiding the wraps on the knit side, I didn't do so well on the purl side. I'll need to practice that more. In any case, I plan to do one more petal bib in my leftover KP Shine Sport skein in Butter.

I finished knitting monkey1's Booga Bag. All it needs now is to be felted. I used up 2 hanks of the Mango Moon Wooly (Woolie?) for the bag portion and a little bit of the 3rd hank for the i-cord straps. I still have 2 more hanks of Mango Moon Wooly that along w/the leftover 3rd may be enough for a small French Market Bag. I think by the time we make it back up to my mil's cabin, I may be done w/that bag so I can felt both at the same time. Since I'm totally experimenting here, I don't have any expectations on the finished size. I just want to make sure the shape is close enough.

Somehow I lost my pics of a couple more almost FO's. Will try to post those later.