Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Before the Emails Start

Oh, I guess I need to update, since I skipped yesterday (but posting twice over the weekend should give me a day off, right?).

No pictures today, but the Fall Back Cardigan is moving along. I'll have the back to the arm depth today. Then hopefully I'll be able to start one of the fronts. I haven't been working on much else. The Must Have Cardigan has the back finished, but I've yet to cast on the first sleeve. I need to get the Fall Back done as a shop sample for Olde Peddlers Wool in Morgantown. We're going to offer this as a class for the Spring.

I have done some other knitting: the Brooks Fiber Farm scarf is moving along and I'm on the second sleeve of my Sitcom Chic.

Not much else going on. I've been working on Matt's blog and playing Beyond Good and Evil (which I'm really enjoying so far).

Okay, off to knit!

Keep on Knittin!

Monday, February 26, 2007

As Promised....

I has one of those super marathon knitting weekends. Got lots of progress on a couple of projects.

Including the 8 year continuing project:
Click to Enlarge


Matt's Natural Beauty Fair Isle sweater. Now this project was started in 1999. I may have mentioned that Matt's lost a bit of weight over the last few years. I originally started this with a 54" finished size. Ya, that wasn't going to work, so I did restart it to the smallest size (44"... but it's actually coming out smaller than that, but then it's not blocked yet). I also decided not to do it flat as per the instructions. Then just as Matt and I were choosing a pattern for the Shadyside yarn I got in Pittsburgh, he informed me he didn't like V neck sweaters. Huh? where did that come from? So I asked him about this one.... and he said he didn't want the V neck on it either.

Click to Enlarge


So after a lot of playing with collar options, I ended up just doing a solid color ribbed neckline. I tried to do the corrugated ribbing, but it just wouldn't lay right. While it looks great with the V neck, I just didn't like it on the crew. He likes it, and that's all that matters (me, I much preferred the V neck. Think it would look great on him).

So the body is done, after many starts, restarts and about 8 years... I did cast on the first sleeve (also switched to working in the round). The ribbing is done, but I hate the dpn's I'm using for the fair isle section. I'm either going to get new ones or I'll switch to two circs.

However, here's the love of my current projects right now:
Click to Enlarge

Must Have Cardigan


I did a quick gauge check ('cause let's not forget I'm sorta flying by the seat of my pants on this one) and instead of 20 sts to 4" (as per the directions), I'm getting about 17 sts to 4" in the moss stitch. I'm ending up with a 44" finished size, just where I want it to be. I will be adding just a little length to the armholes (it's designed for 8", and I would prefer 8.5" or even 9". I'll have to adjust the sleeve cap a bit to compensate, but it shouldn't be an issue (she's says cockily... let's see how many times I'll reknit it!).

I'm making this one in very inexpensive easy care yarn, but if it works out, I'll probably do a wool one (hmmm... Peace Fleece or Bartlett Yarns... that's about the gauge I'll get). However, I needed a high wear, easy care cardigan. I've been wearing this one all winter, and I could use a cardigan for the same type of usage (again, I can't clean toilets in cashmere!).

So the goal is to get the back done today, then I think I'll tackle the sleeves, as that's my biggest concern for fit.

The Fall Back Cardigan is on hold... very temporarily, as I try to finish up the Must Have Cardigan. I also have been working on the Sitcom Chic (simple st. st. is a nice break!).

I'm certainly not planning on going anywhere today. The snowfall was absolutely beautiful yesterday, but just like the last storm, it switched to freezing rain and I'm not a fan of ice. So it's a good day to be productive!!!

Keep on Knittin'!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Obsession II

I don't know what it is about this pattern, but I sure do get obsessed with it...

I spent most of yesterday afternoon on the Fall Back Cardigan. Well worth it:
Click Me To Make Me Bigger!!!


I'm right on with the Spring Forward. Yay (oh and ignore how far I am... I discovered late last night that I have a wrong crossed cable row in the center panel, so I'll be frogging back quite a bit).

Sonya asked me about compensating for the smaller neck opening. I thought I would go over what I did.

First, I followed Janet's fabulous FLAK directions. It's all about swatching, sizing and knitting to fit. Basically that's what I did with my Spring Forward. I took the second attempt at the Spring Forward and used it as my "swatch".

Now I have narrow, rounded shoulders, so I didn't want to make longer saddles. I removed all filler stitches in the shoulder area, so that saved me some stitches. I also only had 34 rows on the saddles, yet I needed to pick up 43 stitches for the shoulders. What I ended up doing for that is going ahead and only picking up the 34, then I increased (stratigically) on my first row. I did my increases where the cables would be crossing. This actually worked out well, as it compensates for any cable splay.

If you compare the two photos (the one from yesterday and the one from today), you'll see I just moved the 3X3 cable to the saddle and just used the center cable pattern for the neck opening. Also, like the Spring Forward, I also mirrored that 3X3 cable.

I do plan on adding a cable to the front this time. Since I have a finished one to compare to, I should be able to figure out where I want to add it.

So for someone that was going to concentrate on the Must Have Cardigan and Matt's Natural Beauty Fair Isle, I'm again completely obsessed with this pattern. I think it's just stunning, and I know that I've put a lot of time into getting it to fit me, but it's completely worth it.

However, I do promise tomorrow to have updated photos of Matt's Natural Beauty and I still hope to get some more work done on the Must Have Cardigan (and I'll get a picture of that as well).

Another storm is brewing (more ice... blah!) so I plan on getting a lot of knitting in over the next couple of days... well, at least until the games I ordered come in!

Keep on Knittin'

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Falling Back to Spring

Ya, I know, I can obsess about things (you know I'm obsessed... as I hardly ever post on a Saturday). I have been working on the Must Have Cardigan and I got the body done for Matt's Natural Beauty Fair Isle (I'll talk in length on that and the neck on Monday... with pictures even. Aren't you lucky?)

However, I live in my Spring Forward Cardigan, so I've been thinking a lot about it (one of the drawbacks of knitting? Lots of thinking time. It's worse than the treadmill... 'cause after about 10 minutes on the treadmill, I want to jump off and get back to the knitting that I was thinking about while I'm on the treadmill).

I know that the Fall Back Cardigan version of my Spring Forward is going to become another favorite sweater (of course, it's going to be a handwash, so maybe not quite as much of a favorite as the Spring Forward).

I'm not very far with the Fall Back version, and that's a good thing.

It's also a good thing that I kept my notes from all my previous attempts on the first one, including my math for the resizing.
click to get a much better view

I'm going to start over. I know I'm going to run into the same problem with this one as Sonya did with hers and what happened with my first two attempts. I think the problem is the neck opening. You'll see that the two are pretty close in gauge, but I made my neck opening much smaller. That's why I stopped the second time... I knew that I wasn't going to be happy with that wide of a neck. I also knew that with a cotton blend yarn, the weight of the sweater would pull it open even more. Now, I know the wool is going to handle that better, and I would probably be fine, but I know that the Spring Forward fits, so I'm going to use those numbers.

It's pretty simple to fix it at this point. The saddles are fine as is, and I'm not very far down the back. So I feel that this is the perfect time to fix it (and yay for not getting rid of my notes!!! I'm all set to go!!)

Keep on Knittin'!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Drive By Blogging...

I'm making this a quick one, as I'm out the door to meet Lauren to loan her a pair of knitting needles.

I'm still digging the Must Have Cardigan. I'm almost to the armhole shaping. I'm not in love with the "wrap" stitch, but I can live with it. If I do an other one (and yes Sonya... a cotton blend would be lovely, no?) I'll switch it to something else.

Speaking of Sonya, her Spring Forward is finished, and she ran into the same issue as I did with it. Her body came out way too large. While I redid the math for my pink one (and I love it!), I didn't do that with my "Fall Back" version that I'm doing in Cascade 220. Hmmm. I'm thinking that I might start over, and swatch and do the math.

It is by far one of my all time favorite sweaters, and I wear it a lot. The cotton/acrylic blend makes it easy care and I love the way it fits.... so I'm thinking it might be worth looking at the wool version again.

Well, I'll deal with it after the Must Have Cardigan... and the other 50 projects or so that I want to work on.

Keep on knittin'!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Oh ya, I love cables...

The Must Have Cardigan is just my kind of knitting. Interesting, yet straight forward. Once the cables were set, it's just straight knitting until I get to armhole shaping:
Click to enlarge

The upsizing seems to be working so far. I'm getting about 44", which is what I had hoped for. Fingers crossed it will be enough for the sleeves too.

Hmmm... is that green? huh, who would've thought that I would be making it in green? Actually, it's a greyish green. I missed working with this kind of cables. Lately I seem to either be working with high maintance patterns (meaning I actually have to follow the pattern) or really simple projects (like lots of 2X2 rib or straight st. st). It's delightful to be back to my "comfort" knitting.

I haven't forgotten about the Brooks Fiber scarf:
Click to enlarge

Did I mention how lovely this yarn is to work with? I love the pattern too. Wouldn't that be cute as a baby blanket (not in the Wool/Silk yarn. That wouldn't be fun to wash).

So that's the plan for today... I'm probably going to work mostly on the Must Have Cardigan, with a little game playing mixed in.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

hmmm... what shall I blog about?

Not much interesting to update. I'm spending a lot of time with the PS2 (which I accidentally shocked yesterday and I think I killed yet an other controller. I really hope Sony addressed that issue for the PS3... especially at it's price point).

I seriously need to do some project reorganization/clean up. But I don't wanna. So I'm not. I put the crochet cardigan in a time out and started yet an other project (Paton's Must Have Cardigan... which I'm upsizing thru gauge*. 13" finished sleeve circumference. Uh. Huh. I must have the world's largest biceps?)

I did finalize the graphic for Matt's race team:
click to enlarge

Matt posed for the graphic. (bwahahaha... ya, right. Any guesses who the rider I used to model actually is? Hint: that's the most perfect time trial position). Anyway, Matt's working on getting a cafepress shop up and running. Hoping to raise a few more bucks for the team. Now I just need to convince him to update his blog.

Okay off to work on something. Not sure what....

Keep on Knittin'!

*there is actually an upsided version available here (pdf file). However, the finished size of 49" isn't going to work for me. I'm shooting for about a 44" finished bust... and 15" arm circumference).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Oh Krap!

I spent yesterday working on the Crochet Shell Cardigan. I'm making this one up as I go, and so I'm spending a lot of time ripping back and reworking an area. But since it's crochet, that's not that big a deal... it's easier to rip back and it's a much faster process than knitting.

I reworked the front neck shaping several times before I got what I wanted. Now I've lost track of how many times I've reworked the sleeves. However I finially got something I like:
Nice short sleeves.

So I got the one done and tried to do the same thing on the other side. For some reason I couldn't get them to match.... one is longer than the other (and when I added an extra repeat to the short one, it became too long).

Well, I found the problem... and it's not a good one. One shoulder has four shells and one has 3 shells. Of course that's going to make one sleeve longer than the other! It also means that I've got to undo basically the whole project. Krap!!!!

So this project is getting a time out... I'm also soooo tired of this shell, and it's "heavier" than I wanted. So I think I'll put it aside and think about if I want to finish it or use this lovely yarn for something else.

In more positive news, I put the Minty Fresh Cardigan on yesterday and Matt thinks it's really cute. The collar definitely doesn't work (too soft), so I think I'll just take the collar off, throw some buttons on it and I'll have a cozy cropped V neck cardigan to wear. I did a little "stretching" and it's fitting better. Some real blocking will help it to keep it's shape.

So right now I'm just trying to get something to work! (apart from upgrading all my weapons in Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal). Maybe I should just cast on a new project (heehee... like I need an excuse?)

Keep on Knittin'!

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Special Presidents Day Blog!

Okay, not really.

Ya, I'm still here. Seems that I miss a couple of days and people begin to worry. I just haven't had that much to update and haven't been online that much last week.

So let's do a quick catch up.

The Minty Fresh Cardigan is a bust. The yarn is too soft and the collar is too drapey. It's a wee bit small (I have upper arm issues) so I'm ignoring it for now. I'll decide if I just want to take the collar off of it and use it as a V neck cardigan... but weight loss will also have to be involved.

However, I sure do love my green cardigans.
The Jean Frost Cardigan from the XRX Jackets book is moving along. So the swatch right front is done, even after I had huge issues with maintaining the lace and doing the shaping... ya, I love knitting lace. Even easy lace.

A detail of the lovely pattern:


I've also been moving along on the Brooks Fiber scarf. I'm trying to get one repeat done a day (breakfast knitting!) so I'm up to 6 repeats done (no picture).

I'm still working on the self designed crochet cardigan, but struggling a bit with the sleeves and how much yarn I have. I might end up with short sleeves... or I could order more yarn (heehee).

I've also been playing a lot of video games. I'm replaying one of the Ratchet and Clank games... and waiting for the PSP game to be released. Oh, and waiting to actually get a PSP...

However, it's getting close to the start of the race season. It's been a busy time here getting the kits designed and ordered. The team's race bikes came in:
There's been a lot of discussion on wheels (seems the stock wheels are way too heavy for racing...).

Meanwhile, my job has been trying to clean up the team's logo so they can get some merchandise made up (to make some money). Matt's setting up a CafePress store, but I'm afraid my artwork isn't clean enough to print well... so I've been playing around with it:


So we're just trying to stay warm (tho Matt did get a ride in yesterday and hopes to get out today too). Searching for a good price on American Classic Magnum 300's. Playing video games and working on some knitting.

So I'll snuggle in today (no, I won't be riding outside today... or anything outside today) and get some laundry done!

Keep on Knittin'!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Progress Report

As usual, I'm just cycling thru a couple of projects right now. I should finish up the Minty Fresh Cardigan today, but I still want to see if I can dye it to get rid of the baby greenness of it. I'll do a quick swatch and test it.

However, since I can never just work on one thing...

This is a top down crochet cardigan inspired by my latest Japanese book and a stitch from a Lion Brand pattern:
It's took me a couple of attempts to get the neckline right, but I'm really happy with how this is turning out. I'll do a little border around the body, but I'm just going to do a little tie on the front for closure. I had originally planned on just a little cap sleeve, but I have a lot of yarn, so I may just go ahead and do full length sleeves on it. I'm using Elann's Sonata and I just love the color.

Of course I had to play with somethig from my Pittsburgh trip... and I chose the Brooks Fiber Farm yarn. I bought the last 2 skeins of this colorway, so I didn't have a lot of yarn (well, for me... since I prefer to make clothes). So I decided on a fun scarf:
The pattern can be found in Scarf Style and while it looks great in the book in a solid color, I love how it looks in the dyed yarn. I originally saw it in KnitDad's blog. So I've been looking for the right yarn for some time now to knit it up. The Brooks fiber yarn is a wool, silk blend. The colors are just yummy and it's going to have a lovely drape. The Brooks had several Clapoties done up in this yarn and they looked fab! I think the silk content is key for the drape.

So I'm really going to concentrate on getting the Minty Fresh Cardigan done today. Since, like a lot of the country, it's snowing like crazy (and expected to continue), seems like a good day to snuggle in with the pups, maybe put in some movies and see how much I can finish (since February is for Finishing!).

Keep on Knittin'!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Bridges and Tunnels!

The Knit and Crochet Festival in Pittsburgh was a lot of fun. Of course my partner in crime was part of the reason.

Theresa and I left mid morning on Friday and arrived in Pittsburgh just as rush hour on Friday was beginning. Fun. (5 hours of driving... and actually it went quickly.)We did have some issues with the numbering of exits, but we eventually found the hotel.

Even tho' I'm a born and raised Pennsylvanian, I've never actually been to Pittsburgh. I went to college in Philadelphia, and now live in that area. However, I grew up in the middle of the state, where all the sports lean towards Pittsburgh. So while I live in Philly, my sports affiliations still lean towards Pittsburgh teams.

Anyway, Pittsburgh is a lovely city (we just drove thru it... the hotel was on the other side). But, holy wow, if you aren't on a bridge or in a tunnel, you're sitting waiting to get on a bridge or drive thru a tunnel.

So anyway... about the festival. It was super! I didn't even look at the class schedule, and I'm sorry about that. However, the vendors had some great stuff.

It was a nice small show... about 40 booths. A lot of independant farms with lots of handspun/hand dyed yarns. YUM! Since there weren't that many, you really had a chance to go thru each booth and enjoy the fibers. I got several books and patterns and some gorgeous yarns. Two of my favorite vendors were there: Shadyside Farms and Brooks Fiber Farm. I got Matt some lovely wool/alpaca wool from Shadyside and Matt and I spent some time yesterday picking a pattern for with it. (however, he wants me to finish his Natural Beauty Fair Isle first... hrumph).

However, to be honest... the main reason we wanted to go to the festival* was to meet Kathy Zimmerman. I love her designs (as any cable junkie is). She was teaching and her store had a booth there. Her workers were a complete delight and we got to oooh and awww over some of Kathy's designs they had in their booth.

I even got my picture taken with Kathy:
She was a delight to meet.

So it was a great little mini vacation. Perfect for this time of year. Just in time... before the snow hits this week.

*We didn't realize until we were talking to some of the ladies in Kathy's Kreations booth that the Knitting Guild Convention is actually in New Hampshire this year instead of Valley Forge... so we won't be going this year. So I'm even more pleased that we made the trip across state for this one! Our next fiber festival isn't until Maryland Sheep and Wool!

Okay, off to get some groceries then back to the knitting. I'll update project progress tomorrow (including a new crochet cardigan I'm designing for myself).

Keep on Knittin'!!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm outta here...

... for the weekend!

I'm off the to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival.

Be back on Monday!

Keep on Knittin'!!!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Minty Fresh!

I'm not one to normally knit large gauge sweaters. I don't like wearing all that bulk. However, I really liked the feel of Bernat's Haven. A combo of acrylic, alpaca and cotton yarn. It's light, soft with a pretty fabric.

However, the color palette is a little "pastelly". Matt actually assumed it was a children's yarn (but the handwashing sorta makes it a little high maintance for baby things... no matter how soft the yarn is).

So I thought I would give it a try. I was hoping the Sweet Grass would be green enough for me.
It's awfully minty. While I like the fabric and the feel is great. It's very pastel green.

So I'm wondering about overdying it. Now the odd fiber content is going to make for an interesting dye job, but I'm kind of hoping that if I use a blue, it will only dye one of the fibers (say the alpaca?) to get a nice mottled fabric? We'll see.

It is a nice and cheery, and maybe that is nice and minty refreshing this time of year! So I'll go ahead and finish it up, maybe make a little swatch to test dye it.

I did spend some time playing around with some other projects, but nothing really sparked my interest. I do need to find something with some texture to work on. Just need to find "the" project....

Keep on Knittin'!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Beam Me Up Scotty!!!

These photos have come up in discussion a couple of times over the last few weeks, so I thought I would share.

They were taken on our honeymoon. We went to the Smithsonion while they had the Star Trek exhibit up.


So ya, I married a geek. (We've been married 14 years, and as of this week, we've been together 19 years... that's more years together than not). The only difference (apart from the lack of a pack a day and 70lbs?)is the 5 bikes in the garage (and one being put together at the bike shop) and the mighty fine biker's butt


Okay, let's talk about some knitting.

Enough with st. st. I must do cables. RIGHT NOW!!!! I have three projects sitting here... all st. st. I'm not a big fan of st. st. So I'll spend today playing with either already started projects... or maybe I'll just cast something on. Bwhahahahah!!!!!


Keep on knittin'!

Monday, February 05, 2007

February Is For Finishing!

Warning: picture heavy content!

First up: the crochet beanie in action:
Ya, it's cold out. He's very happy with it so I'm thrilled! Hopefully he won't lose this one (heehee).

Since Matt now thinks he's a GQ model, let's take a look at the Because I Love You Sweater:
We decided that the neck is a little shorter than what he wants, so I'll add an other 1" or so later. Now for the GQ pose:
I think he just wanted to show the nice biker behind... heehee.

Here's the Crochet Shrug Cardigan (Crochet Hippy Cardigan?). I really wasn't sure how I was going to like this when I was working on it. Makes it hard to concentrate on finishing, but I got thru it:
I have to say that I'm actually really happy with it. Now I obviously won't be wearing it anytime soon (brrrr... single digits right now), but I think it's going to be nice in the spring!

So two finished projects over the weekend. I'm trying to see what else I can finish up this month. The Sitcom Chic is on the sleeves (I finally got size 8 dpns) and I'm working on a simple shrug. I also have an other cropped cardigan on the needles that's speeding along (it's in Bernat's Haven... a nice alpaca/cotton bulky yarn that I love... just wish the color palette wasn't so "pastelly"). Since it's bulky, it's moving along quickly. I'll try to have pictures tomorrow.

Today I'm snuggling into my knitting nest, do some laundry (will help heat up the room!) and try to stay warm!!! BRRRRRR!!!!

Keep On Knittin'!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

How Fast Was That???

My books arrived from Japan. Even the DHL driver was surprised.
Click the image to be taken to the Amazon.jp website.


This book is gorgeous. A combo of lovely knitting and crochet patterns. Obviously the biggest issue with clothing from the Japanese books is sizing. I'm a wee bit fuller figured than their sizing (most are sized for about a 34 or 36" finished size). I'm not sure how much I would actually make, but I do think I can resize them to fit me. Right now I'm just enjoying looking at the patterns...

Click the image to be taken to the Amazon.jp website.


Now this book is drop dead gorgeous. Some absolutely stunning crochet lace shawls. No sizing issues with shawls!!

The best purchase tho?
Click the image to be taken to the Amazon.jp website.

A stunning collection of crochet stitches!

So lots to page thru and just look at. Eye Candy to be sure!

I did get a knitting tote done yesterday and I'll be putting it up later today on Etsy (still need photos of it).

I also finally got a second sleeve finished!!! Woo-hoo!!!
I'm actually hoping to finish this shrug/cardigan today. I know it won't get worn until spring/summer (if I like it... I'm still not 100% sure it's "me", but we'll give it a try!).

So hopefully that'll motivate me to finish up a few more projects.....

Have a super Superbowl weekend!!!

Keep on knittin'!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hi!

See those clever titles just keep on coming!

Okay, I think I'm suffering a bit from the Blog Blahs. As I said to myself this morning "oh crap, I guess I should blog... especially since I didn't blog yesterday". That's probably a good indication of Blog Blahs.

But I'm here, blogging. See?

Okay, maybe it's not just Blog Blahs, but also a little winter blahs. The concentration thing is hitting again... a little of this, a little of that, a little starting, not finishing... ya blah blah blah.

I am making some progress... I could finish the crochet hippy cardigan (since that's what we all think of it as...). I worked quite a bit on the second sleeve yesterday. All the increases are done, so I just need to check the length. Then I just have the ties to make. I could have it done today.

I'm still plugging away on Matt's Because I Love You sweater. Can I just say that he's going to look super in this sweater... and that's good motivation.

I got a third motif done on the crochet shawl. It is stunning. The lace wool yarn is a little touchy to crochet (since the hook catches the plies) but it's so worth it. It will be one knock out wrap when it's done.

My crochet beanie is too small. I needed to do one more round of increases I believe, so I'll rip it back to fix.

I spent yesterday on the afghan block for my Taste of Aran Afghan class, which is Saturday. We started with one of the easiest blocks, so I got it done pretty quickly. Our next block has a bobble in it, so that will take a bit longer. (also did I mention how sorry I am that I'm doing yet an other cream colored afghan??? My next one will be red!!! bright cherry red! no more cream!!!).

I didn't get to sew yesterday, but I hope to get to that today. So watch for a new tote on Etsy tomorrow...

So, a little of this, a little of that (and I'm working on my Simply Stripes shrug again... thanks to Theresa's gorgeous one). It explains why nothing is getting done (I can't believe I didn't finish anything in January... except for some very small fast projects...). Okay February is for Finishing!!!!! I want to get 3 projects done this month!!!!!

Lots to do...Keep on Knittin'!