Friday, March 30, 2007

Checking In

I've been knitting away, and it's beginning to look like a sweater--finally!

I still have my doubts about how it will turn out. I'm still not sure the yarn will hold out, so I may have to make a last-minute Internet purchase to complete the project. Also, I'm not at all sure that I can graft these underarms neatly and make them look like anything that resembles decent:

I must have stretched things a lot when I joined the body and sleeves, because I've got some wonky, huge stitches on the ends of these underarm sections. I'm hoping that blocking will work miracles on the armpits (and make the decrease stitches look more even)!

We shall see . . .

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Good News, Bad News

Good news: I finished my very first sock today!
Bad news: It doesn't fit me at all! It's quite a bit too wide and just a smidge too long. See how it bags around the ball of my foot and how the toe floats on the end of my foot? I have a long big toe that sticks out farther than my other toes, so I don't really like how this style of toe fits my foot. (Unfortunately, I know nothing about other toe styles either, so I have no idea what I would even try to get a better fit.)

A closeup of the hideousness of the toe (doesn't it look look a cobra getting ready to strike?):

Okay, so . . . time for another yucky knitting decision:

Option A: Frog the entire thing and reknit using size 1 needles (instead of size 2 as recommended in the tutorial).
Option B: Frog the toe and half a dozen or so rows of the foot and start the toe decreases sooner. I'm thinking this might stretch things just enough to get a snugger fit around the foot.

I honestly don't know what I want to do yet, but I'm sort of leaning toward option A. Any thoughts? Do you think option B might work?

Despite this unfortunate result, I really enjoyed knitting this sock. I can see how people get totally hooked on sock knitting. Right after I turned the heel, I bought enough yarn to make four more pairs of socks. I'm dreaming of all the different patterns I want to try. Now, if I can just get the size thing down . . .


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Almost There . . .

Here's how I looked a year ago today. Only a few more days until T's first birthday!

(Wow, is our dining room in need of a facelift. I didn't really realize how sad it was until I saw this picture online. )


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Which Jane Austen Heroine Am I?

I don't often post these little quizzes, but this one was just too fun! I love Jane Austen. Is it accurate? Maybe partly . . . You know how these quizzes are--on some questions, none of the answers really fit.

:: L I Z Z Y ::
You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!
Take the Quiz here!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different

After the great sweater debacle, I needed to knit something mind-numblingly simple. Baby washcloths to the rescue! T is a super- messy eater, so we keep a little stack of cloths on the kitchen table. He needed a few more, so I whipped these up on Sunday.

Pattern: Grandmother's Favorite dishcloth (but increased to only 36 stitches before starting the decreases )
Needles: US size 9
Yarn: Bernat Cotton Tots
Finished dimensions: 7" x 7"; Cotton Tots is sort of finicky in the wash. It tends to shrink quite a bit if not handled delicately (per the manufacturer's washing instructions). However, I just throw these cloths in with a hot or warm load--whatever's convenient--and run them through the dryer with the rest of the laundry (they are only washcloths after all). After repeated laundering, they end up being more like 6" x 6", but they return to their original size after they get wet again. So it's all good!

Just a quick sweater update (I'm sure you're probably as sick of reading about this sweater as I am of writing about it): Yesterday morning I frogged the entire thing, sleeves and all, and started redoing it with ribbing instead of a rolled edge. I really wanted a rolled edge, but this yarn just won't behave itself. I haven't encountered such uncontrolled rolling with other yarns I've worked with--I wonder if it's the acrylic component of the TLC Cotton Plus that makes it roll so much. I hope to have good news and a lovely FO to post sometime in the next couple of weeks. (The "deadline" for this sweater is the end of March for T's first birthday.)


100 Things about Me

Just for fun, some random and unrelated tidbits, in no particular order:

  1. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that belief in him is the only way to eternal life.
  2. I went to the same high school as my husband (at the same time as he was there), but we never met until years later.
  3. I met my husband through an online dating site.
  4. I am painfully shy.
  5. I would rather knit than eat.
  6. I love food.
  7. I would rather knit than sleep.
  8. I require a large amount of sleep to be at my best--9 or 10 hours per night is ideal.
  9. I have a bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management.
  10. I have a bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature.
  11. I'm an editor.
  12. I competed on the high school gymnastics team (I wasn't very good--I started my lessons very late, at around age 13).
  13. I broke my back in a fall from the uneven parallel bars in the first gymnastics meet of my junior year.
  14. I competed in all four events again my senior year.
  15. My favorite story of all time is Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
  16. I am a Detroit Pistons fans.
  17. It broke my heart when Ben Wallace jumped ship to Chicago. (He's my fave player!)
  18. If I have another son, I want to name him Benjamin Wallace, but my husband won't let me. It's a nice name, right? . . . (I'm only half joking.)
  19. I love to camp--rustic style, in a tent, with no electricity or modern bathroom facilities.
  20. If I had pursued a career in wildlife biology, I probably would have become an ornithologist.
  21. I'm fascinated by wolves. If I had pursued a career in wildlife biology and not become an ornithologist, I probably would have studied wolves in the wild.
  22. The area surrounding Lake Placid, NY, is my favorite place in the world.
  23. I want to visit Ireland.
  24. Some of the scenery in Yellowstone National Park brought me to tears.
  25. I've also been known to cry while watching the Olympics. (The Olympics just don't seem to be the same as they once were. Has the world changed, or have I?)
  26. I'm a Republican.
  27. I'm interested in alternative parenting practices.
  28. I cloth diaper my son.
  29. I enjoy diaper laundry. It's rewarding to fold a big pile of clean, fluffy, fresh-smelling diaps.
  30. I think EC is a great idea.
  31. I make baby food at home rather than buying Gerber.
  32. I dislike having too much stuff.
  33. I don't want to be rich, just comfortable.
  34. M*A*S*H is my favorite TV show.
  35. I dislike reality TV.
  36. I love period movies (Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth, The Importance of Being Earnest, etc.).
  37. Colin Firth is my favorite actor.
  38. I think Kenneth Branagh is a Shakespeare genius.
  39. I think Romeo and Juliet reads like a romantic comedy that's tinged with tragedy.
  40. I was married the day after Valentine's Day, even though I think Valentine's Day is pretty silly and never celebrate it.
  41. I live in an urban neighborhood.
  42. My house needs a lot of TLC.
  43. I don't enjoy home improvement.
  44. I was spontaneously potty-trained at a year and a half old.
  45. I won an essay contest (The Oldenburg) in college for a piece called "Metafiction and the Enigma of Narrative in The New York Trilogy."
  46. I loved reading Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English. (Fun and not all that hard!)
  47. I'm sort of a book snob (I chalk it up to my education: see #10), but I love the fantasy genre as well.
  48. I'm currently reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.
  49. I love the Harry Potter books.
  50. I prefer to knit with natural fibers. Merino wool is my favorite.
  51. I don't like to play any sports that involve a ball (or ball-like object) and more than one person on the court (or field or whatever the "arena" is for that sport) at a time.
  52. I need lots of down time or I get cranky.
  53. I like to cook.
  54. French fries, ice cream, and donuts are some of my favorite foods, but I can't eat them (for health reasons).
  55. I loathe exercise.
  56. I've never been to a rock concert.
  57. I eat gluten-free.
  58. I like my steak medium rare toward rare.
  59. I can't watch horror movies, or even trailers or TV commercials for horror movies.
  60. I like stories that don't have happy endings.
  61. I'm a cat person.
  62. I didn't have my first kiss until I was nearly 18 years old, my first year of college.
  63. I never went on a date until I was nearly 18 years old, my first year of college (see #4).
  64. I am definitely not a prude.
  65. If I have money to spend on myself, it usually goes toward yarn or knitting implements.
  66. I would love to have a large family.
  67. I hate to wear shoes.
  68. If I could get away with living in my PJs, I would.
  69. I never blow-dry or curl my hair.
  70. I loved being pregnant.
  71. I want to live debt-free. (Once the house is paid off, that wish will become reality.)
  72. I have never dyed my hair, but I did get a perm in middle school--it was hideous.
  73. I grind my teeth at night and have to wear a mouthpiece to prevent tooth damage.
  74. I'm a homebody.
  75. I love giving gifts as much as I love receiving them.
  76. I'm mildly afraid of the dark.
  77. I'm afraid of heights.
  78. I'm very claustrophobic.
  79. I hate spiders. Honestly, it makes my skin crawl just thinking about them. They seriously creep me out.
  80. The only country I've visited outside the U.S. is Canada.
  81. I love toast. Like, I really, really, really have a thing about toast. With jam. And real butter. (But I can't eat it anymore: see #57.)
  82. Christmas is my favorite holiday.
  83. It just doesn't feel like Christmas if there's no snow.
  84. I love Beethoven. And John Denver. And Johnny Cash. And Green Day. And the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  85. I grew up next door to Anthony Kiedis's mother (she still lives in that house).
  86. I don't like rap or contemporary country music (but "classic" country is great--Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, etc.).
  87. I don't like the taste of beer.
  88. I drink a glass of red wine every day.
  89. Daffodils are my favorite flower.
  90. Fall is my favorite season.
  91. I was born in the fall.
  92. I prefer to drive a car with a manual transmission.
  93. I am of Dutch and German descent.
  94. I've flown only once (from Michigan to Montana and back for my brother's wedding), and I loved it.
  95. I'm a thrower. I recently taught myself to knit Continental as well, but I still usually knit English style. I just want to be able to do both, you know?
  96. I love foreign films.
  97. I think it's a shame that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon didn't win the best picture Oscar. (Gladiator is a wonderful film, no doubt, but Crouching Tiger is just exquisite in every way.)
  98. I'm fascinated by Asian culture.
  99. Amy Tan, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Tracy Chevalier are among my favorite authors.
  100. I'm picky about the format of the DVDs I own--widescreen only, please!
  101. Just kidding . . . I'm done!

If you've made it to the end of this exercise in self-absorption (or perhaps personal reflection is a nicer way to look at it), bravo!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem

It's still curling! I did a purl row six rows in, and now the whole blessed thing wants to flip up right above the purl row. I think this is worse than before. I need to go lie down.

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How-To: Nicely Rounded Loomed Baby Hats

Several people have expressed interest--via comments, emails, and posts on my looming groups (here and here)--in how I made these little loomed baby hats with the rounded tops. It's no big secret. I got the tip about how to decrease for the top from a few different people on my looming groups. I didn't use a pattern, but (with a nod to those helpful loomers for sharing their shaping advice) I'll tell you what I did:

Knifty Knitter round blue loom (24 pegs)
One strand worsted weight yarn (white) and one strand sport weight yarn (baby colors)
One strand of worsted and one strand of sport are held together throughout

Do the crochet cast on.

E-wrap and knit 1 over 1 for about 6 inches, changing colors as you feel like it or as you run out of yarn.

On the row right before you're done, move the loop on every other peg to the peg adjacent to it, thus creating an empty peg. Wrap the loom as usual, knit over, making sure to knit over 2 over 1 on the pegs that have 3 loops on them. Remove the hat from the loom as usual using the gather method. Weave in ends.

This makes a pretty tiny hat. I think I need to pull out T's newborn hats again just to make sure these loomed ones aren't too little. I'm not sure if I've just forgotten how tiny newborns are or if these hats are truly tiny.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Tough Decisions

I've finished the body and sleeves on T's birthday sweater and am all ready to join the pieces and start knitting the yoke. But . . . (are you sitting down?) I've decided to rip back and reknit the body. I don't like how much the edge is curling. A fellow member of Zimmermania pointed out that you can do a single purl row a little ways up from the edge, and that will stop the roll. I tried that on the sleeves (see photo below--sorry it's a bit fuzzy), and I like the effect. I purled on the fifth row. I think on future projects, I'll put the purl row quite a bit further in, but the tiny roll doesn't bother me enough on this sweater to rip and reknit both the body and the sleeves.

Also, I've decided to keep on knitting without buying any more yarn unless I know I'm going to need it. I think that if I'm careful and place the stripes on the yoke strategically, I might be okay. Ripping and reknitting the body to reduce the roll will give me some extra yarn for the yoke too. (Fingers crossed.)

Now I just have to decide if I want to make this a yoke sweater or a raglan sweater. I'm thinking raglan would probably take less yarn. Yes? No? Anyone?

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Doomed from the Start?

Have you ever had a project that you just can't seem to get off the ground? That's how T's birthday sweater is ending up. First, I cast on and then, about an inch later, I realized I had twisted the stitches when I joined in the round. Frog. Next, I was knitting away happily, untwisted, when I started to feel that perhaps I was knitting the wrong size. Yup, I measured some more of T's clothes that I like the fit of and discovered I was making the chest 2 inches too large. Apparently, the sweatshirt I measured the first time is average length but very wide. Frog. I adjusted my measurements, refigured my cast on stitches, and cast on again with the correct number. (I should mention here that I hate casting on. Even more so, I hate casting on large numbers of stitches--figuring out how long of a tail to leave for the long tail cast on, counting stitches, recounting and re-recounting to make sure I have the right number of stitches. Shoot me now!) I was feeling very good about this little sweater, when I realized--again an inch or two into it--that I had again twisted when joining in the round. (Mind you, I knit in the round all the time, and I never have trouble with twisting like this. ) Frog. That brings me to my latest (and hopefully, final) attempt. I'm about 6 inches in, we have no twisting, and the measurements are coming out perfectly. Woot! But . . . I probably don't have enough yarn to finish this sweater. For some reason, when I bought the yarn, I figured one 3 1/2 oz. skein of each color would be enough. (I'm going to arrange the colors something like this.) What on earth was I thinking? Now I have to order more yarn online (and pay more shipping), because I'm pretty sure none of the local craft stores carries this yarn. And of course I'll have to deal with mismatched dye lots. And how much more do I need? . . . I'm trying very hard to take a deep breath and remain calm.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

No More Puckers

Thanks to some suggestions from the kind members of the loom knitting groups I've joined ('cause what fun is a new hobby without online buddies to chat about it with), I can now make loom-knit hats that are nicely shaped on top. Kinda cute, eh? These are going to the hospital along with the girly baby blanket. Okay, now it's really time for something other than hats--or at least a hat in a new stitch.

I've been knitting steadily along on my trusty needles too. I started T's birthday sweater, a seamless EZ pullover, and have about an inch of the body done. Nothing picture worthy yet--but soon!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Do I Really Need Another Hobby?

A while back, some members of a sock-knitting group I belong to were talking about knitting socks on looms. I peeked at some of their blogs and was pleasantly surprised at how nice some of the loom-knit socks looked. They were beautiful socks, and some of them were barely distinguishable from socks knit on needles. They were knit on very fine-gauge looms with sock yarn. Interesting! I thought loom knitting might be a fun diversion when I don't feel like "real" knitting. (It happens sometimes!) One of the women on the sock-knitting group suggested that anyone who's interested in trying looming get a Knifty Knitter set to try it out, because they're really cheap. So that's what I did (well, mine is Hobby Lobby's knockoff, but it's essentially the same thing). These looms "knit" at an insanely large gauge, which I'm not a fan of. If I decide to take up looming seriously, I'll probably spring for some nice fine-gauge looms. This definitely isn't a substitute for knitting, but it's fun nonetheless. I've always loved all things crafty.

Here's a little hat I made (both photos are the same hat--it's reversible). I don't like how the top of the hat puckers, but I've since learned about some techniques that should help minimize that.

I know only one basic stitch so far (sort of a twisted knit stitch), but I'm ready to try some new stitches. That should broaden my project possibilities. I'm eager to move on to something besides hats! So . . . what to loom next? Look at all the beautiful things Isela made with looms. Maybe someday . . .

Oh, and check out the looming article in the new Knitty! What great timing!


New Doodlepants for My Little Shortypants

Pattern: Aubrey Doodlepants
Yarn: Peace Fleece, Zarya Fog colorway (Love this yarn!)
Needles: US size 5 and 7 16" circs, US size 7 40" circ (magic loop on the legs)
Modifications: added an eyelet row to the ribbing for the drawstring; added a batch of graduated short rows right after the waistband (a la Elizabeth Zimmermann); added crotch gusset (increased from four stitches to 14 stitches)

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

I'm Doing a Happy Dance!

This yarn is aptly named--Knitpicks Dancing. This came in the mail on Friday. I ordered some of each color they had left, since it's being discontinued. I was just giddy when I saw the gorgeous colors. I called my husband over to share my excitement and pet my yarn and ooh and aah over the colors. Not suprisingly, he didn't share my enthusiasm. I can't wait to knit these up into socks. I'm already dreaming of what patterns to use with the different colorways.

Two Step



I'm brand new to sock knitting. I know there are truly fabulous sock yarns out there--Lorna's Laces, Socks That Rock, Trekking, etc.--but I'll go for this cheap (but, I think, still pretty wonderful) stuff until I'm sure my skills warrant the deliciousness of the premium stuff.

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Girl Power!

This little blankie will be donated to my local hospital. I hope it will make some little girl happy. It was so quick to make! I started it Friday afternoon and finished it late last night. It just needs a quick wash and bit of blocking. Gotta love crochet!--especially with worsted weight yarn and a large hook (size I). I may have to make this little blankie a companion to accompany it to the hospital. I really like the idea of graduated shades of the same color, and I'd like to see how it looks with a slightly different pattern and a different color.

UPDATE 3/16/07:

I've had so many people ask me what pattern I used for this little blanket that I decided I'd better post the information here. Thanks, everyone, for the compliments! I never expected such attention for this humble blankie.

It's from the Leisure Arts booklet "Blankets and Buddies" (LA2610). I bought that leaflet years ago, so I don't know if it's widely available anymore. If you can't find it in your local craft store, try here. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure it's in "Our Best Baby Afghans," which is still available (it's on The blanket appears on the cover. I changed the color sequences quite a bit for my blanket, but the original color arrangement is cute too.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Sock Dilemma

I haven't made that much progress on my sock since my last post, but I just couldn't stop myself from posting again. I love my sock. I can't wait until it's done (until both are done). I keep trying it on. I think I'm just about ready to start the toe. I'm debating if Iwant to start the toe now or knit another half inch or so. The tutorial says to knit to within 2 inches of the tip of your toe. I was planning on knitting until it measures 8 inches from the heel to my needles (my foot is ten inches heel to tip of big toe--but I have rather long big toes), and I'm not there yet. But then when I try it on, it seems like it's time to start the toe. Hmmm . . . the stretch factor. Plus, the sock is a tad on the large side. I don't want a saggy baggy sock that slips all over my foot and doesn't fit well in shoes. (Next pair I'm using size 1 DPNs instead of size 2s.) I've never done this before, so I don't know what to expect. So I'm waiting and debating. This may be my naptime project for today (T's naptime, not mine ).