Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I'm not normal

Sized that is. Having been my current height since the age of about 13, I have grown accustomed to it. I've even come to accept it as normal and cannot fathom being any taller. But then I see pictures of myself standing next to someone else (namely the BF) and I wonder out loud, am I really that short? "YES!" is the exasperated response I usually get. "You are not normal." Yes I am, I'm a very normal size. Well, maybe normal size for a short person.

This came to a head yesterday when I was looking at this beautiful tank top pattern. It just has a great neckline and the option to have a racerback back is something I've never seen before. Anyway, I was dying to try it, but then I looked at the finished measurements.

Hmm, I might as well wear a Hefty bag and try to pass myself off as Mary-Kate Olsen if I use the pattern as is.

The pattern is only written in one size, but it says to just adjust to your size by multiplying out the gauge by your hip measurement. Okay, I can do that. That's easy math.

Then I looked at the rest of the pattern. Okay, the finished length is 29". Hmm, that puts the hem somewhere between my crotch and my knees. I'm not digging that, but it's okay, I just won't knit straight for as long as they suggest.

Then there's the plunging neckline. Well, let's just say the "plunge" option would stir up those long forgotten (thank god) memories of JLo in a green dress.

Sigh. I should just start from scratch...

Monday, August 29, 2005

I've been robbed!!!

Okay, maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic. But damn it if I, er WE, shouldn't have won! So finally, for all those who have been waiting, and or all those who have been searching for felted knit beer cozies (who searches for that?), the results of the 2005 Men's Knitting Contest at SO4 are in. SO4 is the name of the building as this was NOT a company wide contest.

Here's the scoop: the voting lasted for almost all of last week. The samples were numbered and placed in a public area for anyone to vote. No voting guidelines were suggested as far as I can tell, so as far as I know, it looks like people just voted for what they thought looked the best. I'm not sure. Anyway, the wood handled coze came in first by 4 votes out of a few dozen. Here are the entries:

Guess whose is whose? Anyway, from a sheer knitting perspective, I still think the BF's entry was the most impressive, especially considering it was the only one with a bottom. After all, in just ONE WEEK, he did manage to learn how to cast on, cast off, knit continental, purl English, change colors, work in intarsia from a color chart, knit in the round on DPNs, decrease, weave in ends, seam, and felt. as his first project ever. So maybe I'm gushing, but I'm actually very proud of him. And he didn't even have to use a foam cozy to anchor his project.

Okay, so it's hard to beat a beautiful wooden handle for your beer cozy, but this is a KNITTING contest! You can't knit wood handles! I may have to call for a recount...

In case you're interested, the following are directions. Essentially it's a VERY small, long felted hat.

Cascade 220 ~100 yards total.
Straight needles and double pointed needles, size US8

17 sts x 25 rows = 4x4" before felting

2.75" diameter, 4" tall.

CO 48 sts. Working flat, knit in stockinette for 35 rows using intarsia color chart of your choice or design. Leave long tails at each color change at the end of rows to allow for seaming and so color does not show through the seam. After 35 rows, distribute stitches onto 3 DPNs and join. *Knit 12 sts and place marker*, repeat 3 more times. *Knit to within 2 sts of marker, then K2Tog*, repeat until 4 sts remain. Cut yarn. Draw the yarn end through remaining sts and weave in end on the inside. Turn inside out and with right sides together, seam up side using long tails left at color changes. Weave in ends. Hand felt in hot water, frequently stopping to check on size. Let dry using a beer (or soda) can to shape.

If intarsia is not desired, CO 48 sts on DPNs or on a long circular needle using the Magic Loop method and work in the round for 35 rows. Bottom shaping is the same, but at least there's no side seam!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Eek! IN damn spot...

So I ran into my first major issue with the Charlotte's Web shawl last night. Unfortunately, I didn't notice it until I got to the end of a 16 row repeat of lace and couldn't figure out why I was 1 stitch short. Then I saw it. Or rather, lack of it. There's no hole. Can you see it? It's RIGHT THERE! Anyway, I debated about ripping back some 9 rows of lace, but then decided that I wouldn't be comfortable letting the yarn fly and just ripping back with the assortment of YO, K2Tog, SSK, and SK2TogPSSO in there. I knew I'd never recover. And tinking back 9 rows when there's something like 150 sts per row on right now didn't sound terribly appealing. So the slacker in my over-rode the anal perfectionist in me. I just added a backwards loop increase and called it a day. What do you think?

Oh, and since I'm taking pictures, here's my progress. I'm just getting to the change to solid color C (or in my case, since I'm only doing 2 colors instead of 5, I'm going back to color 1).

Yes, another one

You are interchangeable.
Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every
eventuality covered and every opportunity just
has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and
every day is a new beginning. You are good at
so many things, it's amazing, but you can
easily lose your place and forget to show up.
They have row counters for people like you!

What kind of knitting needles are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

That's great because my Denise's are my favorite right now! Or maybe that's just because I'm cheap...

Okay, I know. It doesn't really count as a post if it's just a quiz... I'm waiting for the much anticipated voting results for the full run down on the Beer Cozy. It's not my project, I know, but I feel like it is! Tell the BF, er, F, that he needs to get the cozies back here!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

UFOs are buzzing my head!!

So I'm not sure exactly when a "work in progress" becomes an "unfinished object", but I've pretty much decided that the following items are considered UFOs since they've been "on the sticks" going nowhere for at LEAST the past 4 mounths in favor of something much more exciting.

I blame this post entirely on Karen. She's finishing her peppermint stick scarf that's been two years in the making. Good for her for finishing a long-term project. Anyway, the scarf itself made me think of my ill-attempt at a project started almost a year ago when I started knitting again. No, it's not a scarf. Can anyone guess what it's supposed to be, and why it's a UFO? Ryan makes fun of me because I have about 20 balls of yarn in my stash in reserve for this project. Last year, he anticipated this might be done by this Christmas. I'm thinking maybe Christmas 2010.

My next exhibit: baby booties. I started making these as soon as I found out a friend of mine in Boston was pregnant and I wanted to surprise her with these. I furiously knit them and managed to get the knitting done by the following week. Note that's where I still am. And now she's due any day now. I should just seam up the back and be done (the ends are even woven in for crying out loud!), but I can't bring myself to sew them up. I guess you could say I hate finishing. Hopefully the baby will still be able to fit in them by the time I get around to sending them to her...

My final exhibit: a Rebecca tank. You have to understand that this tank started out its life as a poncho. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift, and then it turned into a birthday gift. By the time I finished the two rectangles, I hated the pattern so much I ripped it out. You can't tell from the picture, but the fisherman's rib is so ridiculously loose that it would make this unwearable unless you were planning to wear a cami or something underneath it. Too much fuss, so it's stalled in this 75% state. I don't really like the Lion Brand Imagine ribbon yarn, so I think that's why these incarnations have been so troublesome. Anyone want to take this off my hands?

So now that I've admitted to my UFO's, I'm leaving them and going back to more interesting lace stuff!

I dunno...

I'm really not this furry... and I think that I'm allergic to mohair. I always sorta though I was allergic to myself. Thanks sknitty for the link!

You are Mohair.
You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with
others, doing your share without being too
weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely
refuse to change your position once it is set,
but that's okay since you are good at covering
up your mistakes.

What kind of yarn are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Lelah Revisited

I know this is an old FO, but I wanted to do a summary anyway since it seems there are a LOT of Lelah's and potential Lelah's out there!

Pattern: Lelah Top courtesy of Christine
Materials: Patons Brilliant (69% acrylic, 31% polyester, 166 yd), almost exactly 3 skeins. Size 9 and 7 Denise Interchangeable Needles.
Gauge: 5.5 sts/in on smaller needs in stockinette
Finished size: 29" bust, 13.5" long

Started: May 18, 2005
Frogged: May 30, 2005
Finished: June 2005

In version 0.5, I cast on 176 sts thinking that my gauge was 6 sts/in. I got through the entire lace section and eyelet row and a few inches of stockinette and then tried on the top. This is when I learned that 0.5 sts/in makes a HUGE difference. So out it went.

For version 1.0, I cast on 165 sts and repeated the fishtail pattern for 8 repeats. I then decreased before the eyelet row to 154 sts.

Patons Brilliant is not the softest yarn out there, but because it's lace and isn't curve hugging in that area, I don't mind so much. That is a bra sticking out in the picture (my boobs are NOT shaped like that!) and that is exactly why the top isn't uncomfortable to wear. I would not suggest using this yarn and letting the girls run free. That being said, I think that the stockinette section could be downsized even more given the extreme stretchiness of the yarn.

The lace pattern was very easy to memorize and catch my mistakes in. I added stitch markers for every section of lace and that made it much easier to catch where I forgot to pass my stitches over or YO. Thankfully, the lace pattern was forgiving enough that I could just fix the problem at that time and not have to frog all the way back around to fix it.

I do think that the back sags a bit and the stockinette section should be smaller in the back to fix this. If I make another Lelah, I might try adding short rows in front for bust shaping and thereby have fewer rounds in the back to fix the sagging. But I'm very happy with the results here, especially with how quickly and easily the whole thing went!

So supposedly I learned a valuable lesson here: Check your gauge and check it often. Unfortunately, I'm still gauge retarded as the finished measurements don't quite come out to my gauge. What the heck... I'm not an engineer and I'm okay with that kind of error margin!

Thanks Christine for the ego boosting pattern!

Monday, August 22, 2005

A good weekend

Yesterday we went to the Santa Monica Fiber Arts Festival. I didn't get all that into it, but I did manage to get away from the whole thing with only a minor enhancement to my stash: Enough sock weight yarn for 2 charlotte's web shawls + 2 pairs of socks and some sari silk for a shoulder bag.

After that, we went and picked up more yarn for Ryan's second project, an organizer for his climbing accessories. I guess he's picturing a much larger version of those zippered manicure sets, but in addition to nail clippers and skin nippers, this will hold things like climbing tape, NuSkin, and ClimbOn. This will hopefully slide easily into the man bag and he's hoping it will coordinate with his chalk pot. I cannot do justice to the sheer ridiculousness of the appearance of the finished project, so I'll just show you the yarn he picked out for it.

I decided that the Charlotte's Web shawl I had started was just too ugly to even give away to Goodwill, so I frogged the whole thing and started over. Hence the new yarn from the Santa Monica Arts Festival. I made pretty good progress so far as the shawl is a pretty easy lace pattern. The colors definitely blend much better this time.

In other non-knitting news, I got engaged on Saturday night. Hmmm, I wonder if that should have come first? So quite typical of the couple that we were, a few moments afterwards...

This went on until we turned the radio on and heard:
"This is KCRW: 89.9 FM Santa Monica. It's 4:40 AM..."

I think we're addicted.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Tivoli Finished!

Pattern: Tivoli-T courtesy of Grumperina
Materials: Rowan Cotton Glace (100% cotton, 137 yards), almost exactly 4 skeins; Size 5 Denise Interchangeable
Gauge: 5.5 sts/in
Finished size: 15" long from underarm, 32.5" bust, 25.5" waist

Started: August 4, 2005
Frogged: August 10, 2005
Finished: August 18, 2005

Knitting on to cast on yielded too loose of a neckline. Coupled with my inability to knit in front and back of loops neatly resulted in frogging. I changed the raglan shaping to a KLL and KRL and ended up with a more symmetric raglan seam. I also changed the number and frequency of waist increases and decreases to every 3rd row for a total of 10 decreases and increases to adjust to my measureents. I was also lazy and only knit even for 1" at the waist and bottom. The neck and bottom rolled significantly, however, after handwashing and laying flat to dry, the edges now lay flat. Upon wearing, the fabric stretches out a bit and the top doesn't look as fitted, but appears to spring back after washing.

This pattern is great! Very easy and yields a top that I can actually wear. Despite my continuing issues with measuring gauge, the finished measurements are exactly 0.5 inches larger than my own measurements. While I didn't achieve the -2" ease designed into the pattern, I'm still pretty happy with the blocked size.

Thanks Kathy for the design! I'll have to try it again with a more springy yarn that knits up to a larger gauge for an even quicker knit...

Previous posts about this project:
I'm not the only one
Get you own project!
Trip Report

Friday, August 19, 2005

Complete denial of size

So we were at the MOCA Basquiat exhibit a couple of weeks ago. We were wandering around the tribal Homer Simpsom heads and I was more or less people watching because I can't fully understand contemporary art. I mean this stuff looks like drawings that cause kindergarten teachers to call child protective services to take the kid away from their clearly disturbed and unstable home. Anyway, there was this other couple there and I noted that I liked her shirt. I point this out to Ryan, and he says, yeah, I guess so, but complete denial of shoe size. I look at her feet and yes, her toes were sliding over the ends of her shoes. Okay, I admit it wasn't very nice, but I had to laugh.

Later I see said girl complaining to her companion. She's gesturing wildly, pointing at her feet, then pointing at us. Clearly, she's all, I told you I can't wear these shoes! I asked you if they looked funny and you said, nobody will be looking at your feet. Only women look at other women's feet. But THAT GUY noticed! I have to take these back NOW!

I felt bad. I had to run away and hide. Shame on me for participating in catty behavior.

Fast forward to this week. We're at the Patagonia summer sale. The only thing worse than a yarn sale is a Patagonia sale. Ryan is obsessed with a certain pair of capris. Yes, he likes and wears capris. He's convinced that men will hit on him, and I think he secretly likes it when that happens. Anyway, he picks up a pair and says, These fit perfectly! He purchases them despite my protests that there's no way he could climb in those when they're so tight I can see *everything*. No no no, he just had a big lunch. Yeah right.

Am I completely insane for thinking a 6ft, 170lb man should not fit into a size 30 waist pants?

I'm not the only one...

I just breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently I'm not the only one who should be riding the short bus. When I told people of my backwards purling issues at SNB, they all looked at me like I was crazy. Like, who would have thought of doing it that way. Karen apparently just found out this week that she does the same. I think we need to found a Twisted Purlers therapy club to help out all of those people out there who purl clockwise and don't even know it...

Word of advice: Don't wind yarn without a swift while mad. It's just bad. Haphazardly pulling yarn out of the middle of a spaghetti pile in fits of rage is not productive. I sometimes wonder if I am the only one out there who can turn a perfectly innocuous looking, neatly stacked rounds of yarn (or a 60m rope, for that matter) into a tangled mess with two pulls. I think my similar rope mismanagement skills were what drove me to practically giving up sport climbing altogether. Now if only they made Rope Swifts for climbers...

In other updates, I finished knittng my Tivoli last night! YAY! I'm pretty happy with the results, though it doesn't have a negative ease at all. I'm gauge retarded. I swear... I swatched, I counted out 4 inches worth of stitches, I did my calculations. In the end, I checked my gauge on the finished product, and while it's still the same, the finished measurements are nowhere near what my calculations predict. What's going on here? Oh well, I think it still fits fine... as long as there's no cotton expansion. So now I just have to block it, then I'll do the official post-mortem.

I also started a Charlotte's Web last night using some Knitpicks Sock Memories. I wasn't confident in my abilities to actually get a project of this size completed in time for Christmas (or ever), so I decided to use a much cheaper yarn than Koigu KPPPM. It's still merino in the same weight, but the effect is completely different. I think it's downright UGLY in comparison to so many other people's. Perhaps a bad yarn substitution. I swear though, I'm going to push through with it. My great-grandmother will be pleased to just get something that I thought made with my own hands. And who knows, maybe 95 year old color sensibilities are different from a 30 year old's.

Alright... because I have no shame, here it is:

Thursday, August 18, 2005


I just saw on the Knitty boards that Jenna Adorno has made a new pattern available. Well new to me, it's been available for a couple of weeks already. It's called Hopeful and is super cute. Best of all, she's donating 120% of the proceeds to the Susan Love Foundation. She gives details on her page of her journey with this pattern, so I won't steal her thunder. At any rate, I can't wait to start the pattern. I just have to find the right yarn to do it...

In other news, I'm about to cast off Tivoli, so I'll have a full write up soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Get your own project!

So my sweetie finished his swatch last night for the manly man beer cozy. 30ish very neat rows (if you don't count the wonky backwards purls I made him do) and columns. Just don't talk to him while he's trying to swatch. He won't hear you, and for that matter, can't respond for his tongue hanging out of his mouth in all its sheer concentration glory. Here's the felted goodness. The paperclips mark out 18sts x 25 rows for the 4x4" pre-felting swatch.

So we measured out the dimensions of a soda can to get an idea for size of the finished product. Here I am measuring away: height-4", circumference-11.5", diameter... he pipes in, I don't need that, I can derive it from the circumference. And who said you'll never use anything you learned in high school geometry?

And so now it occurs to me that I've been going on about HIS project and blogging about it like it was my own. Does that make me a plagairist? At least I cite my references...

So fine, here are my WIPs:

I'm making good progress on my Tivoli - just have to increase now. It seemed to be a hit at SNB last night, but I had to rip back a couple of rows because I didn't like the way my M1L and M1R increases from the original pattern looked. I'm going to try different paired increases to see if I like them better. Hopefully I won't have to frog much more. I've already frogged the thing once. It seems to be fitting fairly well at this point and maybe it could even stop here! Here's hoping the cotton doesn't grow in the wash...

The Branching Out Scarf doesn't seem to be blooming much these days. It takes a bit of concentration to remember which row I'm on as I haven't gotten the pattern down yet. I'm hoping it'll take off any minute now, but...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I should ride the short bus

So the SO says to me after purling a row and turning his work to knit across... wow, these stitches are a lot harder to knit now. It got me thinking. I noticed that too but just thought that stockinette sucked harder than garter. Why is that?

Further investigation in my learn to knit books showed, I can't follow pictures. I do it all wrong. I systematically twist all of my purls and I didn't even know it. Why can't books just scream at you when you're doing it wrong? I mean nobody likes the evil drill instructor slavedriver who makes you scrub the floors with a toothbrush, but at least it gets the job done well and the floors are clean, right?

What they say is true

All those people who say that trying to teach your significant other ANYTHING is a bad idea are absoluely right. Never mind I thought. I am beyond the odds. I have an open line of communication with my sweetie. Therefore, we can have one efficient and lightning fast instrution session and Ryan will be felting his double knit beer cozy in no time flat.

You see where this is going...

I once pondered the effects of two stubborn people having children. I wondered, if you cross a stubborn mom with a stubborn dad would you get anything other than a stubborn brat? I think not. So starting with one stubborn teacher and throwing in a stubborn student, and the only possible outcome to this story is a migraine. Or lots of broken vases.

Fortunately, there aren't any vases in the house. But after several rounds of negotiation last night that could rival an act of Congress, I sent Ryan to work today knitting Continental and purling English. I guess one knitting spaz begets another. I can just see the guys at work making fun of him and having him knit 1x1 ribbing just for the spectacle. I'm going to have to find a button that says "I taught myself to knit!" to avoid the endless ridicule. At least for me. He'll have to fend for himself.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

trip report

Went to Yosemite this weekend and managed to make a good amount of progress on my Tivoli-T. I started out just under the armpit, but it's amazing what 12 hours on the road can do for your knitting progress:

Okay, I know, some people finish their entire Tivoli in about that amount of time, but I'm possibly the world's slowest knitter, so this is leaps and bounds for me!

Speaking of which, I attribute the whole thing to being an English knitter. I spent a considerable amount of time practicing my Continental knit stitch. I think I'm almost proficient... except that I can't work any sort of decrease, and I haven't even tried any increases yet. I guess more practice is necessary.

So on the drive up, I got more details on this pissing contest Ryan has entered. Apparently, his co-workers are trying to prove how macho they are by managing to knit extremely manly things. I don't particularly understand the logic in it, but if it means that I get to teach him to knit and he learns willingly, I'm psyched. We talked about different design options, and Ryan has decided that a felted intarsia project will be the perfect first knitting project for him and will win the contest. A grey beer cozy with a red lip and bottom and a red "block" O. For those in the know, that would be Ohio state colors.

Perfect, now all we need is red and grey wool. I don't have any and the contest ends August 22, so that means no ordering Wool of the Andes from KnitPicks. So that means a trip to the yarn store. Yay! Wait, when do we have time for this??? So fate swooped in, and intervened by dropping a yarn store into the middle of the gas station restaurant that we had dinner at on Saturday night. Talk about my dream come true! Having delicious lobster taquitos and a mango margarita and being able to stock up on some Cascade 220 for Ryan's felting project! All with the ambiance of a Mobil gas station. Only in California, I say. For those interested, such a gas station is located at the junction of 395 and 120 outside the Tioga Pass entrance on Yosemite's east side. The restaurant is located inside the gas station convenience store and is called Whoa Nellie Deli. We had an argument in the gas station over the color of the yarn. He thinks I'm insane, but I swear there's a lavender tinge to this yarn (color 9324), but when I photographed it, it looks absolutely grey (sigh):

On the adventure front, we stayed in Tuolumne Meadows and did a day hike from the campsite in Porcupine Flats to North Dome. The best part of the hike: a very white tree of Gondor-like semi-dead tree near the top of North Dome:

Yes, that's Half Dome in the background. We went into the valley on Sunday, and I have to say that while El Cap is downright jaw dropping, the theme-park feel made me want to stay away. We took a look at Midnight Lightning, but I think someone was on crack when they said that there's a lightning bolt shaped hold on that problem. I just didn't see it. And no, I didn't even try to get off the ground on it... I know better than to try a boulder problem when it's 90 degrees out!

Oh, and don't fall for the pea soup advertisements at the Spike and Rail Restaurant in Selma on the way back on highway 99. It's not all that. There's supposed to be another pea soup place that's amazing... Oh well, next time.

Friday, August 12, 2005

He asked for help...

I'm not sure it's possible that men ever ask for help. But then a miracle occurred. My boyfriend asked me for help. Not only did he ask for help, but he asked for knitting help. Mind you, he has in the past teased me for becoming a shell of the interactive person I once was since taking up knitting. But now, all because of a pissing contest amongst men at work, he wants me to teach him to knit.

Now... does anyone have a pattern for a felted beer cozy? Who makes beer cozies?

signing on...

So it occurred to me that I've been learning a lot from reading everyone else's knitting blogs, why not get my own! So here I am amongst thousands of other knitters on the net sharing my obsession with knitting. Now off I go to figure out how one exactly goes about blogging...