Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Anybody want a toy sausage?

Hmm, maybe I should rethink the title of this post...

So if you've been keeping track of the WIPs on my sidebar, you'll have noticed that the twinset hasn't been progressing AT ALL. I mentioned WAY BACK that I had picked up some yarn with my future MIL. I swatched and even though it took me over an hour to swatch 20 sts of stockinette I convinced myself that the cuddliness of the resulting fabric was reason enough to press on.

I didn't cast on for this project until March 14 out of sheer dread of working with eyelash yarn. Over the past 2 weeks, I managed an incredible progress of 5 inches (two sides though...) on 46 sts of Pitter Patter yarn. Overwhelming isn't it? Need I mention again that this is for baby sweaters and is supposed to be a quick knit?

Feelings of guilt washed over me as I promised DF that I'd knit with this yarn and not go out and buy yet more yarn. And the fact that my future MIL purchased it for me doesn't help. So I pressed on even though I kept hoping that it would spontaneously burst into flames. But somewhere over the weekend, I thought, Why the heck am I doing this? If I wanted to give them something cute, I could just as easily go out and buy the darned things and probably spend less. The point to making something by hand is to pour your energy and good mojo into something and have that reflected in the finished product. All I was pouring into this gift was pure rage and despair - not something I'd want to pass on to innocent infants.

So out with plan B and back to plan A. I purchased a bag of GGH Goa at the Yarn Lady bag sale a couple of months ago intending to make baby sweaters out of it (machine washable, amen!). The chunky gauge didn't seem to fit with any of the baby patterns I have, but eff it... I'm winging it. So I cast on for baby sweater #1 of the twinset take 2 on Monday night and here's a few hours progress: a finished back. Note how much that is in comparison to two week's worth of knitting on the eyelash yarn from hell.

So, what do I do with my 2 rectangles of discontinued baby sweaters? I was thinking that I could make them into stuffed toys of some sort, but then DF was quick to point out that it would be a bit strange to present these babies with stuffed sausage toys as that's about all you could turn rectangles into. I agree.

Also, in case anybody ever wondered about what happens to Baywatch alumns: they make music and film Spongebob Squarepants.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Answers to burning questions

So waaay back when, I posted a teaser which led some to wonder, what the heck does that mean? God has a backhoe? What in the world is a backhoe? Well, it appears that unless you have worked in construction or possess a Y chromosome, it's likely that you don't know what a backhoe is. Or at least by name. If you type "backhoe" into yahoo, this is one of the first hits you'll get:I dunno. I guess it's possible that this is could be an excavator, but I'll leave it to the heavy machinery people to argue this one out. I mean it to be that oversized shovel that's digging and clanging away at 6:00 am across the street and severely depriving me of good REM sleep.

I digress. Anyway, DF and I make the drive up 395 fairly frequently and 9 times out of 10, car coma hits and I pass out about 30 minutes into the 4.5 hour drive. But for some reason, right around Olancha, I wake up just in time to see this:

A giant pile of red dirt. We are convinced that this must be evidence that God exists, and that he has a backhoe. Cuz, c'mon people, who else can make a perfectly shaped pile of dirt of THAT ENORMITY?

I digress. The point of this story though (for a knitting blog anyway) is that much knitting was accomplished this weekend. I had cast on for the Embossed Leaves Socks in the last issue of IK while flying cross country (again) last Sunday. I tell you, sock knitting is SO great for taking on the plane with you. And, it's also the perfect car knitting companion. I think DF likes it because it keeps the both of us awake. I knit instead of pass out so I can keep him company while he drives. Although I think he'd propose that it's not my scintillating conversation that's keeping him awake, but rather the aroma from my feet as I try my socks on:
I am pretty pleased with the results so far. This is my first attempt at a heel flap and gusset for socks, and I think it went okay. The designer specified garter stitch edges for the heel flap and I have a hell of a time picking up stitches in garter stitch. I think I'll omit the garter stitch next time and/or add a slip stitch edge on the heel flap to make picking up stitches a bit easier. But look, no holes at the heels! I tried to take a picture to show the decreases on the bottom to turn the heel because I think they look a bit wonky, but my camera skills in a moving car are pretty lame.

Next up: look, it's a stuffed sausage toy!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Filler post

Umm, yeah. It's been a while since I last posted so sorry for being so MIA. I have lots to blog about, but no time right now to do so. So instead, I bring you a map of where I've been. There are two states on here that I definitely would like to tick off my to-visit list so I can see Denali and Yellowstone. I'm sure at some point, work will send me to the other non-red states sooner or later as I'm sure I never would have visited North Dakota if it weren't for work...

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

On a somewhat related theme, note that Alaska is yet again drawn out there in the Pacific Ocean right next to Hawaii. At least this map puts the disclaimer on there that Alaska is "not in scale". Does that mean, not drawn to the correct size relative to the other states, or not drawn in the correct position? We need clarification people! It's so bad that we've heard of a guy who had to end his relationship with a sadly misled girl who was convinced that Alaska was an island right next to Hawaii because of these poorly marked maps.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A decision... and an FO!

Thanks everyone for piping in with your opinions on the wedding dresses. It appears that the winner of the popular vote by a landslide was for dress #1. That one BTW was the most expensive by a good margin... you guys have posh taste! So in keeping with a true dictatorship that chez Spaz is, I've polled the people, heard their desires, and decided to go with dress #2 instead.

This was an interesting lesson in psychology here. I seriously didn't know which one I was leaning towards when I posted the pics. But when the votes started coming in, I found myself getting all kinds of defensive for dress #2: I cheered when people voted for it, I sneered when people voted for #1, and I got downright ugly when the votes were tallied. I figured that this must mean that in my heart, I truly wanted dress #2 if that was my reaction. So, this isn't quite the Today Show throws a wedding, but I really truly do appreciate your opinions. Thanks so much for taking the time respond.

And on to what everyone really wants to hear about... an FO!

Sockapaloooza Socks
Pattern: Yukon Leaves
Materials: Regia 4ply Stretch (70% wool, 23% polyamide, 7% polyester Elite. 200m) A little under 2 skeins in color 87 (denim). Size US2 Addi turbo circulars , 24" and 32".
Gauge: 7.5 sts/in in stockinette
Finished size: 8" circumference, 10" toe to heel.

Started: February 24, 2006
Finished: March 9, 2006

I think I may have mentioned this already, but I deviated from the pattern by working the socks toe up using a Turkish Caston and substituting a short row heel for the heel flap and gusset. Otherwise, no major modifications.

I loved making these socks. The lace pattern was incredibly easy to memorize (I managed to get the hang of it after I *gasp* swatched). I'm loving the 2 socks on 2 circulars method even though I never feel like I'm going very fast.

I worked a regular toe shape for the first time on this sock, and I'm not sure I got the increases quite right. I think my increases look a bit wonky in general, but I ended up using K1, M1B (insert left tip under strand between needles from the back and K), K to within 1st of end of row, M1F (insert left tip under strand from the front and Ktbl), K1. I'm not sure if you can see this from the photo, but I didn't end up with crisp increase lines like I usually get with paired decreases, but instead it looks like there are little purl bumps running alongside the increase sts. Does this mean that I reversed the direction of the paired increases?

And, drumroll please... no gaping holes at the sides of the heel! I used that magic trick of pulling the sts around the holes tight to close up the hole and distributing the excess yarn through the rest of the row. So the holes are much smaller, though still a bit noticeable if you look carefully.

I really hope that my Sockapaloooza pal likes these... they're not quite solid like she asked, but I just couldn't bring myself to using a completely solic color. I'm also paranoid about the fit since this is the first time I've made a garment that's meant to fit snugly without having the actual recipient on hand to try them on as I went along. The lace is pretty stretchy so it fits both my feet and DF's feet when we tried them on at the beginning, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Previous posts about this project:
It's not election day but... on March 5, 2006
Mission accomplished on February 26, 2006
So much for being regular on February 16, 2006
Blogging grand rounds on February 7, 2006

Sunday, March 05, 2006

It's not election day, but...

Okay, I know that I said that I wouldn't hijack this knitting blog with wedding related stuff, but I could use some fresh opinions. I've been dress shopping since it's getting to the point where those in the bridal fashion industry start to insist that you make a decision NOW or else threaten to charge you some sort of a ridicuous rush fee to make you feel even more stressed despite hello, there's still 6 months left, why are you rushing me?

Anyway, I've probably been to 10+ different shops and managed to narrow it down to the following four dresses:

Dresses 1 and 2

Dresses 3 and 4

What you can't see in the pictures:
Dress 1: Alencon lace bodice with double pleated organza at the neckline and a tiny organza bow that hits at the high waist. Matching lace border around the hem with a line of buttons down the back onto the chapel length train. (I'd lengthen this to cathedral length).

Dress 2: Alencon lace panels on the sides of the bodice. Fabric is specially treated so that it has an extra iridescent sheen to it. Semi-cathedral length train would be lengthened to full cathedral.

Dress 3: A few more pickups (those areas where it looks like someone gathered up some of the skirt and attached a beaded applique to keep it in place) are scattered across the back of the dress. This makes the back appear partially bustled, but there is still a cathedral length train.

Dress 4: The skirt really is asymetric like that. It's not the way the model is standing. There is a train on the back as well.

Here's my dilemma. In case you haven't noticed, my personality tends towards the dramatic - e.g. OMG it's the end of the world because there are tiny holes where I turned the heel on DF's Jaywalkers or OMG it's the end of the world because I missed a YO on the edge of my great-grandmother's Charlotte's Web. Also, I probably haven't mentioned this before, but I definitely fall under the category of spoiled youngest child. Therefore, my heart is tugging me in the direction of having a GIANT dress where I can arrive for a solid 10 minutes and channel my inner Scarlett drama queen.

On the other hand, I also would describe myself as low maintenance in the personal appearance department. I'm certainly no fashionista, and I can't be bothered by accessorizing or the perfect hair and makeup. I guess I'd probably describe my fashion taste as classic and minimalist.

Do any of these fit the bill? Please vote here or leave a comment! Sorry that I couldn't figure out how to include a blogpoll in my post. Anyone? Bueller?

In knitting news, the sleeves are now done and just barely attached to the body. I felt like the biggest dumba$$ trying to figure out which end of the needle to start knitting from when I was joining the sleeves to the body. Maybe I should have had more wine.

The Sockapaloooza Yukon Leaves socks are also coming along. I turned the heel and am 3 lace patterns into the leg now. Thanks to those who offered suggestions on the length of the foot. I tried to go with the 90% rule, but I ended up getting closer to 95% because I didn't know how much extra length the heel cup would add. Sigh. Oh well, the swatches don't seem to stretch as much length wise as they do width wise anyway, so maybe this is a good thing.

Sorry for the lack of knitting pictures today... I'm on the road yet again!