Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Legacy Ends

Today is a sad and happy day for this SP9 Participant. I am sad because this is the last gift I will receive from my thoughtful SP9 spoiler. She spent extra time personalizing each gift down to the last note. It is not often that you get treated so special by someone who does not even know you. Thank you very much Lynn.


The happy part is that I will finally get to meet my SP9 Spoiler...ummm...officially that is. See, I accidentally stumbled across her blog when I was looking at my referrals list on my blog counter. I always like to know how people stumble across my blog. I don't do it often, but every once in a while I do. It so happens that I came across her post when she was blogging about these...


They are my spoilers special scissors that she accidentally left in one of the packages she mailed off to me. You have to read the comments because they are so funny. Very Office Space like. Per her request I will be mailing them back but I have to say they made me giggle every time I looked at them

So go on over and meet a very wonderful lady at her blog. Thanks you again for making my SP9 adventure so wonderful.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

WIP Weekend Update - One of These Things is Not Like the Other

This weeks knitting was extensive. This whole two project things is kinda stressful because I guess I am very obsessive about the finished product of knitting even more than the process so I am speeding like a demon to get to the end of both of these. Hopefully next week I will mellow out a bit....breathe...

Doctor's Bag: My hands hurt. This project is giving me carpal tunnel. Big needles, double stranded, heavy knitting = yuck. The I see this:

One of these things is not like the other :O(

Well, it seems that the pattern may have some errata going on and since I have seen very little blogging on this bag, it may be that I am the first to find it.

Now I am no knitting expert but umm...that base sure is big. I have gotten measurements elsewhere that matched up pretty dang close, if not exact. This one is just HUGE. The pattern for this piece says to case on 78 sts but reading further in the pattern it tells me to pick up 60 stitches to attach it to the front. Well folks, where do the other 18 sts go????!!! ERRRRR!!! Did I mention my hands hurt? AND since this is knit lengthwise I have to do the whole thing over again. To top it off, I think I am going to run out of yarn! Me sad.

Apricot Jacket: I thank all those who came before me on this one because I am completely dependent on them. I even had to print out the pictures as my tool to follow more than the pattern itself. I am now at the shoulder decreases and need a minute to decipher the Engrish. So far I like the pattern but not a lover of cotton or cotton blends cause it shows so much stitch irregularity. I hope blocking and the slight blooming of the yarn that I experienced with the swatch will help with this.

Hee hee.. you can see my piggy banks booty in this pic

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Book Previews - Knit 2 Together and Knitting Nature

I have had this post waiting in the wings for some time. Bigger and better things came along since this post was written so they were blogged about and this went to the wayside. Well, today I have a lot to talk about but am obsessed with my knitting which I will talk about this weekend on the Weekend WIP Report. So without much more ado, here are some pictures from two books in my knitting collection.

Knit 2 Together - This is a great knitting book. I love so many patterns in this book that when I saw it at my SnB meeting I HAD TO HAVE IT. One pattern in particular is at the top of my list and that is the Herringbone Doctor's Bag (the red one below). That I am actually knitting right now.

Knitting Nature - This one has some interesting patterns. None are at the top of my list but I love the geometric construction of the patterns.

Denise Schmidt Quilts (no pictures) - These seems to have some fun beginner patterns that should be doable once I take my sewing class starting in two weeks. We shall see.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

WIP Weekend Report

So I am not very good with knitalongs but I think I will try to get the hang of reporting on my WIP. I really love looking at others progress during the creation process so I imagine that sooner or later someone will benefit from me showing mine. So one of my many resolutions will be to try and do this every (read: sometimes) weekend.

Knit Two Together Doctor's Bag

Here is the completed front panel of the Doctor's Bag. I have been wanting to knit this for ever since I got the book. This project, in fact, was the REASON for buying the book. Now I tried to knit this with Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky but the plied texture of the yarn detracted from the herringbone stitch pattern...plus I didn't like the color. Then I stumble upon Valley Yarn Berkshire from WEBS. This is really a great yarn that I will be using again. It is a 85% Wool, 15% Alpaca blend that just feels luscious AND it is inexpensive which is what I wanted in a yarn intended to be a bag. Below you can see a close up of the fiber. It does have the tendency to little white fibers come out but nothing to detract from its quality.

Rebecca 27 Apricot Jacket (a.k.a. Apricot Jacke in German)

You might remember this yarn as the recently retired Marnie sweater. I just couldn't deal with all the gaping holes created with the pattern on size 7 needles. So when I started thinking of the Apricot Jacket as a substitute (since GGH Java and GGH Samoa are very similar in gauge) I knew I would have a problem with the requested size 8 needles called for in the pattern. So I swatched..

Size 8 on left, size 7 on right

Here are the swatches that were made to test out the pattern gauge. Now I got gauge using the requested size 8 needles but to me it looked horrible! I couldn't be consistent with the 8 and cotton is very unforgiving when it comes to poor stitch tension.

Look at all those visible rows..yucky yucky yucky

So I swatched on 7's which gave me a better look but not exact gauge.

It was slightly under the 4" mark but bigger than the 3.75" mark. Now I am not shaped like the wonderful model for this jacket so messing with gauge may be my downfall, but for this I will take the chance..famous last words. I think it suits the yarn, suits my desire of difficulty, and gives me incentive to diet...All bases covered.

So here is my progress so far

Back Panel: past the ribbing and on to the eyelets

I am heavily dependent on those who came before me as the pattern for this jacket is harder than deciphering the Di Vinci Code! This also marks my divide from the knitting monogamy I normally have. TWO PROJECTS...blasphemy for me, normality for true knitters. I am one with the multi-knitters.

Friday, January 19, 2007

FO: Jaywalkers

Ta Da!!! My first socks done!! The sweet taste of de feet! These were pretty fun and I will definitely make more socks and probably more Jaywalkers in the future...since I caught the sock yarn bug and was buying up a storm a few months ago. I don't know how much "out of the house" use they will get because they are pretty thick in relation to my microfiber socks I normally wear. I wear thin socks because there is not a lot of leftover room in my already wide width shoe to accommodate a thick sock, but I do like them a lot.

Yarn: "Knit and Tonic" Vesper Self Striping Sock Yarn
Inspiration: Jaywalkers
Needles: Size 1
Yardage: Little less than 1 skein (approx. 350 yards)
Modifications: Used instructions for making a 9.75" circumference foot
Enjoyment Factor: 8
  • The Good:
    • The pattern: It was very clear and I was sooo happy that Grumperina posted instructions for making a larger sock. It made me actually have to think about the fact that socks actually DO come in different sizes and I had to measure. I would have been pretty upset if my first sock pattern did not fit.
    • Turning the heel: I LOVED turning the heel! This was the best part of the sock by far. Not only was it great fun building all those stitches and picking them up but it signified the home stretch on the sock. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT
  • The Bad:
    • The first try: Figuring out that I do not always have to go with the biggest size offered. This is normally my default mode as in clothes and shoes I am pretty much on the bleeding edge of normal sizing. Therefore, I first started out knitting the 10.5" sock and had to rip and reknit when I found it was going to be too big. Definitely not heartbreaking since these socks are pretty big already.
    • The heel: since I wasn't paying attention I knit the heal a bit too long on the second sock. I didn't take a picture but the heal on the other sock is grey. Woops! Oh well, they still fit fine though...just one better than the other.
  • The Ugly: Not much on these socks. I can't say I love the ribbing as it looks like it is just for show as opposed to keeping anything up since this is a fitted sock. I would probably have made them a little shorted to compensate for this since the circumference of my leg expand exponentially after about 4 inches.
Knit Time: November 24 - January 13
  • First sock BO: January 3, Second Sock BO January 13 - definitely a marked difference in knit time due to knowledge of technique and pattern memorization

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Destructive Behavior

Ok...I don't know what is wrong with me but I REALLY need it to stop. I have been the moodiest B*@%$ the past few days. I have waken up tired for more than 4 days despite my attempts at getting more sleep. I even varied the amount of sleep - some days 7, some days 8+ - to try and get rid of it, but still I am irritated and restless while still being tired. Which has resulted in major complaining at work - at least for me since I normally only complain to a select few, but this past week has been just general outward bitchiness with no holds barred - mental temper tantrums, and emotional eating. I just polished off a Western Bacon Cheeseburger with Crisscross fries. Normally I would have shunned this 1000+ calorie, God know how many fact grams, pig out but today despite my slight nausea, I am content.

But the destructive behaviour doesn't stop at diabetes inducing food comas and slightly scared co-workers. Oh no, it even extends to knitting. While working on the Marnie sweater I felt this sinking feeling and it looks like this

What are those little holes at the bottom all about!!! I got gauge, I thought I tightened up everything fairly firmly but lookie there!! At the top I tried to tightenen up even more between EVERY stitch until my fingers bled, be it stockinette or that irritating Purl tbl, but still you can see those little holes where I did the purl tbl. Before you get started, yes, I did try going down to 6s but it didn't help all that much and just made me miss the gauge measurements. Errr...I have already left it to marinate for a few days with the hopes of it looking better after a few days, but no more. To the Frog pond with you Marnie!!!

We shall see if she comes back or is reincarnated as another knitting pattern. Probably more of the latter than the former.

When I am not so irritated I will post my finished Jaywalkers and show you the Doctor's Bag I started. For now, back to my glass of whine...I mean wine.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

FO: Easy Peasy Bag

Yarn: Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon Camel/Red 05

Inspiration: Louisa Harding Easy Peasy Bag
Needles: Size 15
Yardage: 2 skeins
Modifications: None
Enjoyment Factor: 5
  • The Good:
    • Very easy as it is just a seamed rectangle on 15s. The ribbon is really pretty and I got it during a great sale at Tall Mouse for $2.94 a skein.
    • My hand stitching went well although tedious. The yarn made my stitching look even better because you can barely see any traces.
  • The Bad:
    • The hand stitching of the lining. One of the major reasons this was not finished back in September when I started was the lining. I HATE do not like hand stitching that much so the prospect of doing the whole lining with the fraying satin fabric was just not that appealing. Here enters my new sewing machine, which made the seaming of the side and a reinforcement seam to stop the fraying much more satisfying to my psyche.
    • My seaming is a little off on one side so that the handles do not stay perfectly aligned, however, that will be fixed right after this post.
  • The Ugly: The amount of time it took me to finish this project. I found this project while reorganizing my yarn. This was in a bag at the bottom of another bag on the side of my couch. THIS is just one more reason I need not accumulate more yarn. This was suppose to be the simple distraction knit. I guess it was but not this time. Other than the timing, there was nothing too bad on the finished project. It is simple and I like it. Will I use it?Mmmm probably not, but my sister likes it so it may be a present to her.
Knit Time: September 24 - January 13 (Actually knitting and seaming time about 4-5 hours maybe. Pretty sad huh?!)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Are You Out There?

I just found out from Big Pink Cookie that this week (Jan 8-12) is National Delurking Week. Although the official end would be today, feel free to announce your presence, if anyone is out there.

Hello? Hellloooo? Just what I thought... Oh well, I tried.

Two Timing

As my fellow SnBers have discovered, I am a pretty monogamous knitter. I do not carry too many WIPs because (1) I have an insatiable urge to finish once I start a project and (2) if I become distracted at all I have a tendency to forget about it and feel guilty while knitting something new. So I normally keep it simple and "git 'er done".

However, I was carrying around a ball of the Samoa I got at the Yarn Lady Bag Sale and decided to swatch for Marnie from Hot Knits. I have had this book in my knitting library for some time so I was glad to find a fitting match to my new yarn.

It is a pretty simple pattern and is working up quickly. Please do not smite me knitting gods for saying that. I just started it last night after my eyes kept wandering from my Jaywalkers to surrounding projects. The second Jaywalker sock is almost done so my attention is definitely somewhere else. Besides, I already know what they look like from the first sock, so there is no mystery there. Probably why I won't be too obsessed with sock knitting.

Anyway, I leave you with a picture of the stitch pattern this sweater calls for:

Pretty simple and it finally got be off by duff to figure out cabling without a needle. I know...I know... Everyone has already proclaimed the eye-opening effect of cabling without a needle, but I am a slow bloomer. Sue me! Actually please don't...I don't have enough money for yarn AND a defense lawyer.

Monday, January 08, 2007

No...It's Not a Stocking

No. It is not too big.

No. I will not be felting it.

No. It is not a Christmas stocking.

Yes. That is the size of my foot

Yes. They DO fit!

Sorry for the outburst there but these are just some of the questions and answers my first Jaywalker has solicited from fellow knitters and non-knitters alike.

As you can see from the picture this is no ordinary sock. This is the sock that brings out all the insecurities of a large size foot. Before I casted on I had researched the Jaywalker and hear of regular sized feet having trouble with the fitted design of the sock so I knew I had to do something. Grumperina came to the rescue with the larger size modifications. I originally casted on for the largest size (10.5" circumference) but ended up ripping out and going with the 9.75".

When I casted on I was amazed at the size. As I continued to knit, I was appalled by the size. This is like walking past a mirror and realizing that your butt is about 2 sizes bigger than you imagined it. THIS IS THE SIZE OF MY FOOT. If you ever wondered what a size 12W looks like, here it is! I was even in the Payless a few weeks ago and saw a mid-40, possible cross dressing man trying on shoes in my section!! Normal people would have been shocked to see a man trying on woman's shoes, but I was more angry that this 6'2", 200+ man fit into MY size shoe. Is there no relief!

Now don't get me wrong. I love my first sock. It came out wonderfully and fits like a rather large glove. I have already begun the second sock and am working diligently to finish.

But sometimes I want to have those really cute shoes that everyone else has. Oh well, we all want something in this life. I am just grateful that my height and shoes size provide me with excellent balance. Tree pose ain't got nothin' on me. And if I can ever stretch this far, I am sure I will rock the Lord of the Dance Pose too.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Yarn + Money = Broke OR Why Not To Buy Yarn 2007

When I saw this button I knew I had to have it. It exemplifies my goals for 2007. Since calculating ball of yarn just seemed too much of a trial I decided to track and calculate my destashing another way. I would use the tried and true scale to determine stash fitness. Since the home scale would not have been that great for this task, I borrowed one from work.

This is the stash as of 1/7/07

34.50 LBS of yarn

The sad part of this is that on August 2006 I said:

"Thus my resolution begins... On this August 4, 2006 I, Monique, fight the urge to buy yarn as much as is possible for an obsessive personally and will bust at least half of this stash before this time next year. This includes any new yarn so that I am at 50% capacity by next year."

Umm...folks, this is the same resolution I have right now and if I had measured the stash back then it would have weighed much less. But with a new resolve,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

It's Better to Receive...hee hee

Ok... so it is January and I still have not finished all my Christmas giving. Grr....I am really starting not to like this holiday again. Between the guilt, the stress, the sweatshop laboring, and the "tit for tat" buying sprees. I just want it to be over.

Then I get gifts as thoughtful as this and remember all the time I put into my own gifts and I know that next year will start the gift giving juices flowing again.

So my wonderful SP,
who I can't respond to because the stupid blogger not giving me the e-mail address, has sent me another mailbox surprise

It's a Winter Wonderland!!!

I received my wonderful package on Tuesday this week so it was the perfect start to the year

Inside was a plethora of goodies including some crocheted snowflakes, new ornaments for my tree next year, some candy apple body powder, a wonderful homemade card, and a pattern for booties to use with the Lambs Pride snowball she sent me. She even made some pom poms to add the the booties!!

On a funny aside, SP, if you are looking for your scissors I found them in the shipping box. Umm, they are a little dull, so what exactly were you using them for? I figure they were relegated to only paper cutting or something like that. I felt a little like I was looking at modern art - appreciative but not really seeing how it went with the theme. If I am completely missing the point of the wonderful yellow handled scissors, I apologize in advance. I just thought it was very funny when I realized what might have happened :O)

Some other cool gifts I received this year were

Singer 8280 Prelude

A sewing machine of my very OWN!!! My lovely sister bought this for me. I immediately ran out and bought way too much fabric to start the stashing process, then felt guilty, then felt angry, and now plan on making purses in two weekends (too busy this weekend). But it is out and sitting on my kitchen table and welcomes me home everyday with eager anticipation.

My friend Jilly made me this crocheted necklace. It is very pretty and I believe it was loosely based on a pattern in the 2005 Interweave Crochet Magazine.

Little Miss matched Socks

These were also a hit with me. My friend bought me these socks. Can't really say they are a pair as they purposefully do not match which is the cool part. I think the idea is lost on many, but I loved them. We even went shopping at a hospital gift shop because I wanted to get more and couldn't find them anywhere while I was up in Nor. Cal.

Because it was so funny, I had to take proof of our insanity

Anyway, I hope the holidays brought you lots of joy and you are now relaxed and ready for the New Year! I hopefully will be by the end of this weekend.

Welcome to 2007 (5 days late)

Monday, January 01, 2007

EXTRA!! EXTRA!!! Read All About It!!

The new Winter 2006/07 Vogue Knitting Preview is up.

Sad to say, I don't think I like any of the designs that much. Here are the best of the bunch in my opinion and that is not to say that they are really all that great.

Hopefully the rest of the magazines for 2007 are better