Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creating with Shannon

So, Shannon over at Luvinthemommyhood posted a "fill-in-the-blanks," and I thought it would be fun to share.  Feel free to repost this with your blog, and if you have any questions, just ask! :)

* i'm longing to make "my first quilt" right now.

* i want to try "knitting a sweater" with some "madelinetosh" yarn.

* i wish i could sew with "skye reve and rock 'n romance" fabric.

* i dream of making "a completely handmade Christmas".

* i keep track of my ideas by "writing them in notebooks".

* i'm inspired by "music, nature and my children".

* i would love to meet "all my KAL pals" in person.

* my favorite fiber is "alpaca".

* i like to sew with "cotton". 

* my favorite color is "black and jewel tones".

* i rock at "fixing other people's knitting boo-boos".

* i would like to learn how to make "perfectly tailored clothing like audrey hepburn".

* i like to listen to "music" while i "craft".

* i bring my "knitting" everywhere.

* my favorite things to "knit" are "fast and easy projects".

* my favorite things to "crochet" are "just about anything".

* my crafting space is "in transition". (read: a total wreck that has to be organized and cleaned). :)

* if i had my own crafting room it would be "silvery grey with splashes of color".

* i sew with "a huskystar".

* i like to "try" "new recipes".

* i can never get enough "books".

* i adore "photography".

* i also enjoy "reading" and "painting".

* i like to fill my shelves with "fabric, yarn and books".

* i create the best when i'm "alone".

* i am currently excited for "starting a new sweater". probably this one or this one, or maybe this one.

* right now i am "preparing for christmas". 

* i love to watch "old movies" while creating.

* my guilty pleasure when it comes to creating is "notebooks/journals and books".

* my current favorite music crush to listen to while creating is "trans-siberian orchestra".

"Never let your schooling interfere with your education" - Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coming Together

I've caught up and moved forward with Skelf.  It's a lovely sweater, and quite frankly, I'm surprised how quickly it's knitting.  Here's the body, done last night:

Here it is, right side out:

See this tree?  Yep, I did it all without a cable needle.  How's that for you?

I've also started on the first sleeve, and although it's farther along than this picture, I thought you might like to see it as well.

I'm not all that worried about the uneven stitches - I've already straightened a few of them out.  The rest I figure will even out once I block it.  Looks pretty good, if you ask me.  I would love to finish both sleeves by the weekend, and then start on the yoke next week.  Realistically, I'm hoping to finish the first sleeve this week and next week, do the second sleeve and hopefully the yoke.  I think I can make it by the end of the month.  The sleeve is actually going pretty quickly.  I may have to increase the size of the sleeve, but that will be seen as I go.  I'm trying it on as I go, so hopefully I'll know and can do something about it before it's too late.  How is your knitting going?  Are you making good progress?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Once Again

I realized, belatedly, that I should have washed and dried my swatches.  I didn’t think of this before, since most of the items I have made in the past were mostly either not items that would get washed frequently (like fingerless mitts) or items where size didn’t matter (scarves, shawls and the like).  So, last night, I washed my swatches.  Lo and behold – the size 7 swatch was on gauge!  So, I started again.  Fortunately, I wasn’t all that far really into the sweater. 

I think I should get the prize in this knit-a-long for the most problems with a sweater. J  I will say this, despite all the problems I’ve had with the yarn and pattern and everything else, I have learned some very valuable lessons.  First, always make a swatch.  Second, always wash your swatches.  Third, read the pattern VERY carefully.  Fourth, enjoy what you knit.  These lessons have taught me to more careful when reading directions, to paying attention to details, and I’m ready to cast on for another sweater.  I have the yarn (another stash dig uncovered a lovely bag of yarn sitting patiently and waiting for me) and I found a pattern that I adore, by a designer I’ve been watching and loving since being introduced to her.  It’s a Jane Richmond pattern, found on Knitty.  The Gemini promises to be lovely once all knit up, great for the office or a Saturday.  I still have my eye on the Owls Sweater, but I have to wait for the rest of my yarn to come in.  I’m hoping it will be soon, but it’ll be a while before the weather will cooperate with the wool to wear it.  That gives me some time.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Following Directions

I used to be really good at following directions.  Really, I did.  I remember this one time in 8th grade, our teacher made us all take out a sheet of paper and pencil and she passed out this test booklet.  I remember her telling us to read all the directions before getting started.  So, I dutifully read the instruction booklet.  It was not a timed test, so there wasn’t really any hurry.  The instructions told us to put our name in the top left-hand corner, draw lines through words, draw a square and a circle, and a bunch of other things.  You can see a similar test here.  After reading the test, and actually following the directions, I was one of only a few people who did exactly what they were supposed to do. 
Fast forward a few years, and sometime in high school, I got the same test.  I made it down to about direction number 3 or 4, and realized that I shouldn’t be following any of the instructions, but simply reading them.  So, I had already goofed up. 
Fast forward to now, and I have the hardest time reading directions before I do anything.  That would explain why I’ve worked the chart for my sweater pattern 3 times.  Third time’s the charm, right?  Here’s a picture of the second time:

Here it is corrected:

So, here’s what I’ve learned about making a sweater.  First and foremost, make a swatch.  I’m glad I did – it saved me from having a sweater that I spent hours on and can’t wear.  Second, read the directions.  No seriously, read them.  Several times.  And then, one more time.  Don’t just glance through them.  READ THEM.  See, there was this little section in there where you set up for the pattern, and you work 4 rows like that.  Then, you start the chart, and work 4 rows 5 times.  Yeah, I missed the 4 rows part the first time.  And I had misread the pattern previously, so my chart was on the wrong side.  I ripped back, and started again.  Thinking I had misread more than just WHERE the chart was supposed to be, I also started working the chart 3 rows early.  Oops – yet another problem.  So, now I had the chart in the right place, but started it incorrectly.  Fortunately, I’m not that far along, and can fix it with a handy dandy crochet hook.

 1.       Skelf                                          2. Chambord

 3.  Oatmeal Pullover                             4. Plain and Simple Pullover

I think it’s because I’m in such a hurry to get things done.  I should really slow down a little.  I guess I should also tell you which pattern I decided on, shouldn’t I?  I picked the one with the same yarn that I was working with, and I already had the pattern.  I’m trying to be good, and use what I have, and not spend more money.  So, I chose the Skelf.  I think it will be a lovely addition to my closet, and a go-to sweater for the fall.  Also, it took no modification, other than switching needle size.  I like not having to do a bunch of math before getting started.  Although, sometimes apparently, it’s a helpful thing for me to do, since it makes me read through all the directions BEFORE getting started.  In any case, Skelf should be moving along nicely, now that I actually read the pattern and know what I’m doing.  Sort of.  

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Since Pink is being frogged (or we could call it "re-knit" since I'm working from the knitted portion, without unraveling the whole thing - it's more transportable that way), I've worked up a couple of swatches.  I know, right?!  Me, swatching?  Is the sky falling in?  But I have realized after being told over and over (and over) again, that swatching is important.  For example, here's the first swatch I did with a suggested needle size:

Here's the first one.  It was nice and tight, but not quite on gauge.

It was a little tight, 5 stitches per inch.  One of the patterns calls for 4.5 stitches per inch.  So, since the original one was done on a size 7, I went up to a size 9.

On a size 9, it was close.  Like really close.  So, I could follow the pattern on a different size needle, and get the right results.  This is important.  So, which pattern did I choose?  You're going to have to wait to find out! :)  I did figure out though that not having a project to work on bothers me.  Apparently, knitting is necessary for me.  All the better - now I have an excuse to knit more and have a stash.  We all need a good reason for that, right? 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Mutant Enemy

So, here's the latest on Pink:

I'm really not loving this.  The sleeve is too big, even though I've decreased.  The ribbing on the bottom so is not working for me either.  It's really loose.  The neckline is still not exactly what I'm looking for, so...I think it's time for this one to head to the frog pond.  I still really love the color, and Spud & Chloe yarn is really nice.  I do have to confess that the cotton element can hurt a little, so you have to watch it.  For now, here are a couple of other items:

These were me playing with the timer, and they're not my favorite, but better pictures take time.  I'm still working out all the ins and outs of my camera, but these will do.  These are Christmas gifts - the top one goes to my mother-in-law.  The bottom one is for my mother.  Cowls rock.

Now, back to Pink.  Here's what I'm thinking to do with it instead:



Plain and Simple Pullover


These are my top 4 choices.  Quite honestly, I'm leaning toward Skelf.  I want something more interesting than plain stockinette, but nothing too difficult either.  I'd like to break out of a plain something, have a bit of a pattern, but I want it to be a "go-to" sweater as well.  I could see pairing it with jeans or slacks, or a skirt.  Any suggestions?  Any votes?  Anyone else have issues with sweaters?  Please leave a comment! :)  No crickets...the summer is ending, and I need a sweater for fall!