Another catch up post

I'm way behind on FO pictures, as well as WIPs. Today will be for FO's. I just finished up with updating my gallery for 2005. I knit and crocheted 56 items last year. :) Very cool. Anyway, I owe you a picture from way back, January of 2005. I crocheted slippers for my sister for Christmas (hers was the first gift I completed), but couldn't post pictures because my sister absolutely can not be trusted to not click on a link that says "Michele, don't click here." Anyway, here they are: slippers You can read about them here. I also finished up the Faroese Shawlet on December 23, but completely neglected to either block it or post a picture. Here's an unblocked picture: faroese unblocked I am happy to report it is drying on my blocking board as I type this. I'm going to sneak in some non-knitting stuff here... on Friday, after we went to the cross-stitch store, we had a nice lunch at Karl Strauss, then shopping at the Carlsbad Outlet stores. Lots of fun, and I got Nine West boots that look a lot like these in chocolate brown (I couldn't find the actual pic online). They were only $20!!! Super deal. I also picked up these cute Sketchers: Sketchers Love them. Anyway, back to knitting. I finished Fitzgerald a really long time ago and never posted about it. Fitzgerald Pattern: Fitzgerald, Noro Knits and Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns (modified drop-shoulder) Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool in 16, six skeins Modifications: Added length - Brad is tall! Needles: US 8 Addi Turbos Date Started: July 29, 2005 Date Completed: November 25, 2005 Time: 10.25 hours for the back, 8.75 for the front, 6.25 for the first sleeve, 6 for the second sleeve, 2 for the collar, and 3.75 for the finishing, for a total of 37 hours. I also whipped out a Dulaan hat - I bought an extra skein of Rob's hat yarn so I could use it for a kid's hat. I literally cast on right before seeing Brokeback Mountain (an excellent movie, I highly recommend it - I cried a lot, so bring some tissues). I had to stop in the movie because I got to the decreases way too quickly, and I didn't want to do those by feel. I appear to be picking up knitting speed - this exact same hat, same yarn (in charcoal), also knit in a movie theater (watching Hitch) took 2.25 hours, and this one only 1.75 hours. This is my final FO of 2005. Dulaan hat I didn't realize that today was a holiday for most business except for mine, so I belatedly decided to take a floating holiday today. Since my vacation started a day late due to work I had to get done, this returns me back to the 10 days of no work (for the price of four vacation/floating holiday days). I'm totally not ready to go back to work tomorrow - it seems like I didn't get nearly enough done at home! It was really nice to be able to just hang out with Brad, no homework to do. :) I'm also going to miss this face: Lani

Health Goals Week 41

This is going to be pretty weak. I also sorta missed the update last week, so no week 40. Anyway, Brad and I did spin and back/bis on Tuesday, yoga on Wednesday, and spin and chest/tris on Thursday. We were going to go back today, but are both having some back pain that we didn't want to push. For next week: Sunday: off Monday: spin class and shoulders Tuesday: PiYo Wednesday: off Thursday: spin class and back/bis Friday: off Saturday: spin class and chest/tris In non-health related news - as of 5:45 pm today, I'm officially ready for the New Year. Here's the annual ornament, minus the charm for the center that is coming in the mail: ornament The charm needs to be attached and the whole thing finished as an ornament, but since I finished the stitching in 2005, I avoided the feeling of fraud I would have felt had I stitched the 2005 date on if it were 2006. I know that makes me weird - I'm fine with it. :) Anyway, I owe the completion of this piece to Stitcher's Treasures, located in Escondido. My LNS closed in October, which I felt a bit guilty about (I have been spending my money on, uh, yarn). The lack of LNS didn't really bother me until this week, when I received this pattern in the mail, and it called for beads and a color of specialty floss that I didn't have. Stitcher's Treasures had all of it, and not only that, sells the exact size of fabric that you need (my tea dying didn't turn out well). They charge per square inch of fabric (which means they lose money on the scraps they get left over), and they even serge it for you! I have my own serger, but it's still really cool to have a shop that will do it for you.

Final Christmas gifts

I worked hard on Wednesday and Thursday to finish up the Christmas gifts for Marisa and Miyon. I also made version for me and my sister. four bags (Marisa's is green, Miyon's grey, mine is blue, and my sister's is red). Here's a picture with the notions bags open: open I got the idea from Martha Stewart Living - I want to say June? If anyone really cares, I can go look. Basically I did was make lined pockets, stitch them to the front of a plain canvas bag (from JoAnns), covering the edges and handles with ribbon. If I had to do it again, I'd get a size of ribbon that was slightly bigger than the handles, instead of exactly the same size as the handles, as it was near impossible to keep the cream handles from showing through. Here's a close up of the double pocket: close up All very cute, but frustrating to sew into all of the nooks and crannies of the canvas bags. For the lined notions bags, I used a tutorial found here. The only difference is that I serged all of my pieces first, serging some sew-in interfacing to my black fabric at the same time. Also, after step 4, where she says she pressed everything to keep it flat, I also top stitched on the sides of the zipper to keep the fabric from getting caught in it. My corners aren't fabulous on the bags, but they're still cute. :) The fabric is knitting themed fabric I got from The Virginia Quilter - here's the specific fabric. Last night Miyon and Marisa came over for our usual knit night (though it's been on Tuesdays more often than not). I had just gotten the pattern for the annual ornament in the mail (the ONLY thing left on the sidebar countdown). They helped me make decisions on fabric, which I'm going to tea dye today. I originally tea dyed pre-blogging, but I gave myself instructions in my gallery! Only problem is that we threw out all of our crap tea, and there's no way I'm using the good stuff to tea dye. There will be a quick grocery run this morning for crap tea and I'll do my dying. We plan to go to Carlsbad today to visit the outlet stores, and hopefully swing by a cross-stitch store. As luck would have it, the pattern is simple, and won't be too long to make, but it calls for beads and thread that I don't have. I called the Needlecraft Cottage, the knitting/cross-stitch/needlepoint store in Pacific Beach, and they don't have the specific floss color. I can order all of this stuff online, including the chart, but I'm kind of hoping I can get this done by tomorrow, so I don't have to be a total fraud and stitch "2005" on an item I finished in 2006, even if it was the 2005 annual ornament. I don't know if I mentioned that I have the entire week off. We've been going to the gym, but I learned something very important this "lie around the house" vacation. I planned WAY too much stuff for myself to do, so every day I feel behind. I'm on vacation, and I feel guilty that I'm not accomplishing anything! Clearly, I need to learn to relax. Anyway, there's a knitting thing going on this morning, but I'm going to have to pass and have a Brad day instead. I've been tied to my serger and sewing machine for the last two days, and this is the only time in the entire year when one of us isn't in school (he's on the quarter system, I'm on semester). The fact that he suggested that we go to the outlet mall today is shocking, and I can't waste it. :) We'll probably take in a movie this afternoon too. Oh, and the decision on the Jaywalkers, which Marisa and Miyon helped me with: I'll be starting over on the Lorna's Laces. We all agreed that my Jaywalker relationship is perilous as it is, and although I can be sure that Socks that Rock from Cara have great Jaywalker vibes, if it doesn't work out for me I'll be crushed. I want to finish by Feb 14 (the end of the KAL) so I needed to make a choice. We'll see when I finish it - last night, instead of casting on for Jaywalkers, I started on my sister's River. Kid silk haze will cure the knitting blues! My sister wants to start knitting socks, and loves the 3x1 ribbing that Alison did. After giving her the "pattern" over IM (basically giving her links to the toe and heel that she should do (I love the one's in Jessica's pattern), and then discussions of stitch count and cast-offs, I now think that this will work for my Socks that Rock in Hard Rock, otherwise known as "the yarn that will never be Jaywalkers." Of course, now I'm talking about having four pairs of socks going right now (Waving Lace, Jaywalkers v6, 3x1 rib, and the Log Cabin socks). I'm feeling so unfocused with the knitting these days. Finally, in the "how can this possibly be comfortable" category, my darling doggie: twist

Lots of catching up to do

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. :) My father came down on Friday to spend Christmas with us. I had promised him that I would try to make Molasses Oat Bran Bread, something we had at Black Angus. Here's my attempt: bread Not quite as good as the restaurant, but yummy. I also made Maple Nut Scones: scones I highly recommend these - they're better than the peanut butter chocolate scones I made at Thanksgiving. I also made the usual chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin chiffon pies. Very good, and it was somewhat of a relief to go back to the gym today for spin class. The saga of my Hard Rock jaywalkers is still going on. This picture is from Saturday, and shows two attempts. The top is another try at the smaller size (6 stitches between increases and decreases) on Addi Turbos US 1, except I messed up the stitch count AGAIN and couldn't proceed into the pattern. The bottom is the same smaller size on Addi Turbos US 2. restart Nasty pooling again. So after 6 hours, 45 minutes, this is what I had: rewound So then I tried with the Brittany US 2s (which is actually smack in between Addi Turbos US 1 and 2 - I think I'm going to start using metric sizes, as this is stupid). I also retried with the US 1 Addi Turbos with the right number of stitches. So now after 9 hours, 45 minutes, this is what I have: restart 2 I don't like the swirling pool on the Brittany needles. The striping on the Addi Turbos US 1 is perfect, but alas, it's already hard to get over my heel, and I'm positive that it will get worse the longer the cuff gets. So my options are as follows: 1) Use Lorna's Laces Watercolors for the Jaywalkers - there's a reasonable chance it will work, as there was bad pooling on a 64 stitch pattern, but on a 76 stitch pattern will undoubtedly look different. Hard Rock would then be used for boring stockinette socks. 2) Try out the new Socks that Rock that Cara sent me (thanks Cara!) for Jaywalkers. Hard Rock still used for boring stockinette socks in this scenario. No guarantee that this colorway will play nice with me with the Jaywalker pattern. alina 3) Walk away from all of this for a while so I can love knitting again. I do have good knitting news, though. I started the Phildar Cabled Hoodie, and this is what I have so far: back start I love this so far. Yummy cables! Now I just have random photos... here's one of my gifts from my sister, yummy Fleece Artist sock yarn in the best colors ever, purple, teal, and blue. fleece artist I love it so. I immediately ordered the Diamond Fantasy Shawl pattern, but it turns out that they mail it to you, instead of sending a pdf, so I have to wait. :P I also ordered our ornament for this year. I originally was going to do a Monsterbubbles ornament from the Just Cross Stitch 2004 Ornament issue which was a palm tree Christmas scene (just to symbolize sunny CA), but then it turned out that it was stitched one over one, which means this ornament would take 30+ hours. No thanks. I kind of panicked, and we decided that grapes would be good, to stick with the CA theme, as well as our new found wine snobbery (okay, not real snobbery, but we like to pretend). My dad found this for me: vintage grapes I won't be able to finish it before the new year, but I feel better than I now have a plan. :) Finally, Leilani enjoying my dad by sleeping on his legs in a position that doesn't look like it could possibly be comfortable: sleeping Also, yesterday we went to Torrey Pines Gliderport so my dad could cash in his certificate for a tandem paragliding ride that my sister and I got him for Father's Day/Birthday last June. The wind wasn't good enough to take anyone larger than a child on tandem, so he didn't get to go, but doesn't it look like fun? paraglider

Done with Christmas knitting!

Two mittens, two thumbs. mittens Whoo hoo! I leave today for Seattle for a training class. Hopefully by the time I get back, all of the gifts will be in the mail. That's Brad's big job this week. That and write the Christmas card letter, and mail out the Christmas cards. He's done with finals, he's got the time. :) I'm taking the Faroese Shawlet, Jaywalkers, Waving Lace socks, and the second sleeve to Grace with me. More than enough for four days, three nights, right? :P I'll probably have to be working from my hotel room in the evenings, so I'm really not going to have all that much time besides actual travel time. Actually, I think I'll leave the Jaywalkers at home - reading this list now it sounds like a lot to lug around. While I'll follow Cara's advice and go a little farther before freaking out on the pooling, I'm 5 repeats in already, so I think I can only give it another 5 before I decide it needs to be adjusted somehow. I'll probably blog from the road, but I'm not going to mess with pictures. I'll be back Thursday evening. :)

Here chibi chibi chibi

The ladies at Black Sheep clearly think that I'm nuts. orange chibis I went last night for my final chibi installment (these were purchased in three trips) and went ahead and cleaned them out. I'm still explaining to them about the small bent tipped needles, and they seem shocked that the picture of the original chibi on my blog resulted in me sending these across the country. My chibi is included in this picture, which I immediately unwrapped after taking the picture, so I don't accidentally send it to someone. One is for my sister, one for Lauren, who is giving me a leftover skein of her precious cotton ease that I need, one is for Anj, who is going to spin my 20 g of roving for me, and the last four are for Cara - which I guess everyone is going to have a chance to win (well, maybe only three of them). :) If you're in San Diego and wanted an orange chibi, Black Sheep did say that they were going to order more. Sorry. *blush* As of the 20th of November, Common Threads didn't have any, but it might be worth a call. Look! mittens Ahh, the magic of blog photography. Except... thumb I would have finished that up too last night, except I got home at 8 pm from my killer spin class, and by the time I had showered, eaten, and knit the rest of the top of the mitten, the call of my bed was too loud to ignore. If I'm crazy, I might finish that up today after work, then magically pack for Bakersfield so we can be out the door by 7:30 or 8 pm. I have it on good authority that the thumb will take one hour or less. Then the remaining roving can go out the door with the Christmas packages. :)

First, to brag

I am two hours away from completed Christmas knitting. second thrummed mitten This is where timing comes in handy - the first took me 5.25 hours, I'm 3.25 hours into this one, therefore I'm reasonably sure that I have about two hours left. Whoo hoo! There are still three things more to go for Christmas, but they're not knitting, and one of them is actually for me and Brad (our annual Christmas ornament). I would really like to finish the mitten before we leave for Bakersfield either Friday night or Saturday morning, but if not I'll finish it up Sunday evening. I want Brad to be packing and mailing while I'm in Seattle next week. :) Here's where I get kind of crazy - I'm going to have roving left over. I thought it might be cool to be able to incorporate it into some sort of matching hat (not for this Christmas!), but I would do that with yarn, not roving, because I don't see why anyone would want a poufy head. The thing is, I don't spin, and I'm probably the only person in the knitting universe that isn't really tempted to start. (If I were to do anything else, it would be weaving). I'll probably have about 20 grams of roving left - so I guess what I want to know is a) would someone spin it for me as some sort of trade? It's Fleece Artist Merino roving - I know merino is harder to spin, but that's all I know and b) would I be able to get enough out of 20 grams to maybe duplicate stitch vs to match the mittens, or maybe just work it into the cuff? So is it even worth it? Okay, lots of questions and comments yesterday, and rather than try to answer them individually, I thought I'd just do it here. First, I have done magic loop - in fact, the other socks I'm working on now, Waving Lace socks, I'm doing with magic loop. I hope to find a favorite method between magic loop, 2 circs, and DPNs. :) I think I'm beginning to realize that every method is a pain until you have a bit of fabric done - nothing starts elegantly. On to the tubular cast-on... my reference is The Knitter's Handbook by Montse Stanley. I highly recommend this book - if you can only have one technical reference in your knitting library, I'd get this one because it's the most comprehensive. The weird twisty tubular cast-on that I talked about is actually in the current Interweave Knits in addition to the Knitter's Handbook, as the sock pattern in there uses it. Interweave calls it 1x1 rib cast-on. Miyon and I gave up on that one because we were both having issues with the twisty cast-on being really hard to tell if you twisted it at the join. If you like pretty pictures, Katharina Buss's Big Book of Knitting has nice illustrations for the yarnover tubular cast-on that I mentioned yesterday (though I think it might be called kitchener). I actually used these instructions for this cast-on up until now, though The Knitter's Handbook does have it. The tubular cast-on in Nancy Weisman's Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques is very similar, but instead of yarnovers at the very beginning to increase your stitches, you're picking up those extra stitches after the first three rows are worked. I've never tried this method myself - the yarnover method has worked for me, so I haven't tried the other way (and there may be more ways, I don't know). I'm not far enough on my socks to know if the join is weird yet, but I think only working two flat rows of knit 1, slip 1 instead of four might have made it okay. I do love the tubular cast-on, it looks very finished and stretches with the ribbing, but I do get lazy and skip it in places that it would be highly appropriate (like these thrummed mittens, for instance) due to the extra time investment. I've used it for sweaters before, and I think that Nancy Weisman is wrong when she says that you shouldn't use it for 2x2 rib - I've done it with excellent results. I've also done it with less than great results (Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton), so I think that should be decided on a per-project/yarn basis. Here's an article that talks about Nancy Weisman's way. This is one that uses the yarnover. Anyway, that's all I know!

Duh

You guys are all quicker than I am - obviously, the socks wouldn't be knit at the same gauge as a sweater. :P I only got the book in the mail yesterday, so I immediately checked the gauge - they use US 5s to get a gauge of 6 spi instead of Cork's usual 3.5 spi. I am relieved that there will be no huge, giant DPNs involved in this endeavor. :) Moving on to other "duh" moments... sweaters with more ease require less sleeve length. I ripped back Grace's sleeve last night. It seems too short to me now, but clearly that's how I got into trouble in the first place. Now I just have to reknit the sleeve cap. I want to get that done and sew the sleeve into the sweater by the end of the weekend, so I can take the next sleeve with me on my business trip next week and be confident that I won't have to rip that one. sleeve Miyon and I were good last night for a little while - she worked on seaming, and I knit the cuff for the second mitten. Then I couldn't stand it anymore and we cast on for Jaywalkers. We decided to use a tubular cast on, but I was confused, as every time I've done it, it involves four rows of flat knitting, and how would that work for socks? So the Knitter's Handbook came out, and we found one that involved some weird twisty cast on, but you could go immediately into 1x1 rib. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. So then we went to my tried and true tubular cast on method, the yarn over tubular cast on, but only going 2 rows instead of 4 (I didn't know you could do that, but the book said you can). All is well. :) Of course, with two tubular cast ons, two socks on two circs for the first time (for me), and the annoyance of cuffs flipping around because they're not long enough yet, this is all I have to show for 1.5 hours. jaywalkers I want to get more done on these to make them more stable and fit for travel as well. I also want to finish the second mitten before my trip. Oh, and I have a ton of work to do before then too. And homework. Luckily, Brad's last final is today, so he can pick up some of the slack around the house while I try to do everything in five days.

The beginning of the end

Of Christmas knitting! Whoo hoo! Not that I don't have other things to do before Christmas, but whatever. thrummed mitten I'm already halfway done with thrummed mittens. These are done with Cascade 220 and Fleece Artist merino roving. What a difference! My first thrummed item was made with Briggs and Little Tuffy, which is really rough (good for thrummed slippers) and some random, not very nice roving, and it was not fun at all. I like my materials much better this time around, and I'm enjoying it. I split my roving down the middle lengthwise before I started so my mittens should have about the same variation in color - one won't be more gold or burgundy than the other. In not as great news, I seamed Grace's shoulders, and pinned in the completed sleeve. Too long. I have no idea how that happened. Anyway, Brad thought it was a fairly easy fix, and I explained the ripping back and reknitting of the sleeve cap. His next suggestion? Cut it off of the bottom and reknit the ribbing. I'm kind of impressed he even thought of it (even though it won't work due to sleeve increases). Grafting is out of the question too, as the sleeve has lots of texture and it's just not worth the pain. Oh well. Glad I checked before a) I knit the second sleeve and b) I seamed. Thanks for all of the kind comments about the dress and River! Being a software engineer (and working with them), the standard comment was something like "Your hair looks nice! I almost didn't recognize you." :P

Grace blocking

I decided to go ahead and block the pieces I had of Grace - I can assemble one side when it's dry. blocking Brad had a wrapping frenzy yesterday, and I realized that I had never gotten the washcloths wet so the chenille would bloom. They're drying now too. I had purchased some nice soap to go with them, and now I can't find the soap! I'm more than a little irritated with myself. The cool thing about knitting everything is that I'm not in charge of wrapping or mailing - that's all Brad. He's really happy he decided not to reprise last year's Christmas card making event - this year we bought our cards like normal people do. Fitzgerald is actually done - we just haven't had a chance to take a picture yet. I only have one more knitted item to complete! My dress is complete except for the bottom hem as well. As I was fiddling with the foundation piece (with the boning) for what seemed like forever, I really wondered why it mattered. Now that it's complete, I'm glad I did that piece, as the boning against my ribs gives the dress the structure to stay up. :) Is anyone else shocked that their four days of vacation are gone already?