Monday, February 27, 2006

Blocked, but not drying

I know it's hard to see, but at least she's finished! She still wasn't dry at Knitting Click, so Hollis is bringing her home to dry in her sweater dryer. I'll get Sitcom Chic back tomorrow evening, ready to wear! I read a statistic today that wool can absorb 85% of its weight in water, and now I believe it.

I love the swirly pattern the colorway takes at the sleeve as it goes through the increases - almost like armbands.

The crochet loop for the button is too large, and the neck-to-front edging looks wonky, so I might fix it later. But it's DONE!!

Done done da-done done done...

sung to the tune of the Olympics theme...

After many nearly-sleepless nights, Sitcom Chic (Winter Edition) is complete! I gave her full-length sleeves and she's made of wool, appropriate for Winter Olympics, right?

Coming into the final stretch on Friday night, I had 2/3 of the body done, 1 sleeve, and 3/4 of the second sleeve done, which adds up to 75% of the project complete. In the next ~28 hours, I finished the sleeve, joined the body, worked what seemed like the longest stockinette raglan yoke in recorded history (despite the fact that each row was shorter than the last), finished the edges, sewed on a button, and sewed the armpits closed. I finished at 2:30 am Sunday morning.

I blocked her at 11 am on Sunday morning after a few hours sleep, and she's still not dry, 24 hours later! I consider her a success because she was done and blocked before the finish time.

I left my camera at home with the blocking picture. I brought her in the office to show everyone, and then brought her to Full Thread Ahead to dry on the sweater rack in the (sun? not so much today) so I will have pics tomorrow.

I now know the effects of long-term sleep deprivation, with all the distractions of the last 2 weeks (wedding stuff, ya know). I appreciate my comfy bed all the more now that I can spend more than a couple hours at a time there... I also longed to cast on some new projects with my Stitches yarn but managed to hold myself back - now I know why I have so many UFOS! Monogamous knitting is challenging!

In the meantime, I got my latest issue of Interweave Knits. Hm, not sure what I'll be making from there next (maybe Waterlily? Ooh, Drop-Stitch Hoodie??), but I love the patterns.

Hooray to all the medalists, and a bravo to all that made the attempt!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Final stretch

I'm 3/4 done with the 2nd sleeve:

...which means I'm 3/4 done with the whole project. Here's the other sleeve and the 2/3 body:

According to the Yarn Harlot's countdown on her blog, we're at 88% of total time. I see the finish line, if I can finish the sleeve tonight and join the body, tomorrow I should be done! Hooray! Sunday's out as far as knitting time, so I hope it will be blocking so I can proudly wear it to work on Monday. Everyone at work has been watching my progress so it will be great to bring it in.

Oh, and I got a commission today - one of my coworkers wants fingerless gloves. Easy!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Too much knitting, too little sleep

That could describe my life the last 2 weeks. It's been swamped with fun stuff, but I'm discovering first-hand what sleep deprivation can do, with people visiting and too much Olympic knitting.

Thursday night last week (OMG this was a week ago! Time flies!) I went to the Market Preview at Stitches, knowing it was my only chance to shop. I sprinted for the back of the market, headed straight for Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of the fabulous Socks that Rock. I ran into Jeni, Janice, and Mary from the San Jose SNB (I haven't been there in a looong time) and Nathania, manager of Commuknity. (I started reading her blog when I applied to work there last summer and they didn't have any more openings. I don't think she knows who I am, but I looked on the Olympics Frappr map and discovered that we live a couple short blocks away.) I snatched one of the few remaining skeins of lightweight in Lover's Leap and 3 skeins of medium weight in Lapis, Romancing the Stone, and Pop Rocks. They just announced a Sock that Rock sock club! I'm already planning to make the Spring Twists socks from the Townsend Socks Knitalong Yahoo Group out of the Pop Rocks (image is on the home page).

My next stop was Tess' Designer Yarns, a vendor I drooled over last year and have been planning to visit ever since I signed up for the Stitches classes. I was looking specifically for their Seabreeze colorway, and there was very little out. I decided on the 50% Cultivated Silk/50% Wool for my wedding something, and grabbed lots of sock yarn in the same colorway. Since it's 450 yards per skein, I figured 2 skeins per bridesmaid, plus one for good measure, plus one for me for socks. That's 10. eek. I also snagged a pretty skein of Florida Keys sock yarn, and the only skein of merino in the Seabreeze colorway. I couldn't leave an orphan behind! In chatting with the vendor when checking out, I found out there was so little of that colorway because they weren't all set up yet (so it wouldn't have been an orphan, oh well, it'll be a lovely one-skein wonder or something), and that she dyes fabric to match her colorways if I want some for the wedding.

I then wandered around and drooled some more. I found a beautiful vintage button for my Sitcom Chic, and found myself in the White Lies Designs booth where I binged on a sweater kit for Melinda in the same colorway as shown on the website. They weren't set up to take payments yet, so it'll be sent to me at work - free shipping!

Doesn't this button look great?

I thought I was done so I stopped by Full Thread Ahead to visit Hollis and meet her mom and dad. Little did I know that Brooks Farm Yarn across the aisle had a siren call that would drag me over to purchase some Duet in Purple Haze - kid mohair and fine wool. 2 skeins at 500 yards each is plenty enough for a sweater - or a clapotis maybe? I ran into Emy who was fondling the purple yarns.

(Top left: STR Lover's Leap, Pop Rocks, Lapis, and Romancing the Stone. Top Right - Tess merino wool and cultivated silk/wool. Bottom Left: Brooks Farm Duet. Bottom Right: Tess sock yarn in Florida Keys and Seabreeze)

Friday night I picked Mom up at the airport for our whirlwind weekend of fiber and dresses and dragged out my haul for her to drool over. We decided that the Tess silk/wool wanted to be Knitty's I Do. I can't wait to cast on, it's such a gorgeous yarn to look at and fondle...

Saturday was my "Left Can Be Right For You" class with Kellie Nuss at dark 8 o'clock in the morning. We talked about how stitches are mounted on the needle "like a horse is mounted on a rider"... glad I wasn't the only one half-asleep! Rather than "right" and "wrong" we used the terms "Eastern" (left leg in front) and "Western" (right leg in front). Knitting continental (carrying the yarn in your left hand) is not that hard, once you get the right yarn tension, but purling is more complicated.

First we learned "Western" continental purl, but you have to wrap the yarn all funky to keep the stitches mounted Western-style and it's awkward. However, the Peruvians wrap the yarn around their necks and use their thumb as a shuttle and can purl wicked fast using bicycle spokes or something. I tried it - it's not for me.

Eastern continental purl is much easier since you wrap the yarn the other way, but you end up with Eastern mounted stitches. This becomes what's called "combined" knitting since you knit the Eastern-mounted stitches through the back (right) loop to get them Western-mounted, and then purl the Western-mounted stitches through the front loop by wrapping the yarn the opposite way, which makes them Eastern-mounted.

The best part of the class was the Norwegian Purl, which looks really strange when you do it but you magically get a purl stitch without bringing the yarn in front. WONDERFUL for ribbing or seed stitch, but really funky to do. I definitely need more practice, but my tension was already improving by the end of class.

Mom and I did a little more Market shopping on Saturday, where she picked up a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Tensel in "Prove it All Night" (love that name!) and a baby sweater pattern from Tess'. She also helped me find the perfect buttons for Lu's Baby Sweater and Hat (pics coming soon!).

The rest of Saturday was all about dress shopping. You can read about it on my other blog.

Sunday Mom and I went to the 8 am "Crocheting for Knitters" class. We were both dragging ass to get there, but it was totally worth it. Bev Cooper, from Australia, has the best teaching manner and cheered us on every step of the way. She also gave everyone a steel hook and some Australian yarn to practice with - no materials fee! I wanted to take this class because I wanted to crochet lefty and none of the books covered it. I quickly discovered that my right-hand throw method of knitting was extremely beneficial as a lefty crocheter, as I have mastered the tension problem right off the bat and just needed to learn the hooking part.

We covered single crochet, double crochet, shells, and "Around the Post" which makes an interesting ribbed look. Bev showed us this gorgeous Aran Crochet sampler - I had no idea you could do Aran crochet! She's going to teach a class next year so I'll be on the lookout.

Sunday afternoon was lots of Olympics on TiVo and lots of knitting. I got a lot done on my Olympic project, so now I think I can probably finish in time. I even started a spreadsheet to keep track of how far I've come, and as of last night I'm officially more than 2/3 done. I can finish the rest by Sunday night, suuuuure! I'm 8 of 20 inches into the 2nd sleeve, then I can start the raglan shaping. I'll try to finish up the sleeve tonight and take another pic.

Tuesday was a sad night - Shannon's last knit night at Peninsula Knitters! (Oh, and if you've wondered where the Yahoo group went, it got deleted in the whole S0 Fast So Easy controversy, so we have a new Yahoo group - just click on the link and join. In protest, Shannon brought us some fabulous buttons the other night!) She's off to St. Louis with her hubby, but she'll be a virtual Peninsula Knitter on the Y! group and the blogs. Bye Shannon!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to Stitches I go!

It's been a crap day at work, I didn't sleep much last night (too much TiVo, not enough time), and I'm losing ground on my Sitcom Chic. Not to worry, I'm off to the Stitches Market Preview tonight! It's probably my only chance to shop, so I've marked the must-visit booths and will be queuing up early so I can get it all done in 2 hours. First stop - Blue Moon Fiber Arts!

If you're looking for me, I'm in a purple long-sleeve tee and a curly brown ponytail with birkenstocks, madly racing thru the aisles. Hope to see you there!

Day 6: 3.75 / 6
Can you see any progress?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Keeping pace

Day 5: 3 / 5

I made it to the end of the current ball last night, so I haven't fallen any further behind. I'm at 7 inches, and am aiming for 15 inches before the sleeves (pattern says 14.5 so we'll see).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Olympic Update and Math

I got a few hours of knitting in last night while catching up on the TiVo. I've now seen Saturday's Olympic coverage plus a few wedding-related shows that T could care less about. The problem is now that the Olympics are on I TiVo more hours in a day than I have time to watch, even if I ffwd thru the commercials. Oh, and I want to start TiVo'ing Olympic Ice, too...

Oh right, knitting.

So the pattern calls for a setup row, 11 more rows and then increase rows 4 times every 12 rows, then knit until it's a certain length (I don't remember at this point). Last night I started with the setup row complete, and worked thru the first increase and 11 following rows. This took almost 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Soho. Each ball is only 72 yards, so if I use the full 7 balls of Cotton-Ease at ~200 yards indicated for the largest size of project, I'd need 20 balls of yarn. Not a problem, I have at least that many. But how much of the 7th ball of Cotton-Ease is used? 6 complete Cotton-Ease balls would be 17 balls of Soho. Either way I need to be knitting more than 1 ball of yarn per night, and I'm already behind.

Day/yarn consumed/goal yarn
Day 1: 0 / 1
Day 2: .25 / 2
Day 3: frog, .5 / 3
Day 4: just shy of 2 / 4

Today I've managed to sneak in another 3 rows over my lunch hour, so I'm fully into ball 3, but I should be at least at ball 5 by now. I know I could technically catch up on the weekends, but this weekend is gonna be slammed with wedding dress shopping and Stitches classes...

Guess I'm gonna have to knit nonstop the 25th and 26th, or start taking some longer knitting lunches!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Technical Difficulties

I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one off to a shaky start. Friday night I finished the second sock of a pair I am giving as a gift this coming weekend as I watched the Opening Ceremonies on TiVo. I was going out of town for the weekend so I packed everything I would need to cast on.

Eek! Size 5 needles to start? Good thing I read the start of the pattern before I finished packing. Since I'm doing a 1x1 rib at the bottom, I decided on the tubular cast on, a new trick for me.

FFWD to me sitting in the hotel room with a spare piece of sock yarn trying to do a provisional cast-on without a crochet hook. ARG.... So I tied the sock yarn to the main yarn and did a long-tail cast on using the sock yarn as the tail. All seemed to be going very well - 3 rows stockinette, then pick up the bottom stitches and keep going in rib, except worsted weight on size 5 hurts my hands...

Oh wait, I'm supposed to do the pick-up row in the ribbing? No wonder this row of purl looks funny...


Now wait a minute, how did I get 2 knits without a purl? ARG....

So last night when I got home I frogged it all again and started the cast-on over. Now I understand how it's supposed to work, and it looks like it's supposed to. I got through the size 5 ribbing, and now switch to 8's. OK, where is my other size 8 needle end for my Denise set? OMG I think it's back at the hotel. And it's midnight - so I'm sure it's gone for good. Good thing I have a Susan Bates metal size 8 circular needle - and the yarn seems to like the metal needle better than the plastic anyway, so maybe this is a good thing!

189 stitches x 9 more rows and then to the increases!

Speaking of technical difficulties, looks like Blogger's having its own issues. I hope this post sees the light of day!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the Olympics Begin!

I haven't cast on yet, since I have to finish Yuan's other sock before she comes into town next weekend! I hope to finish it tonight so I can get my Olympic knitting started.

My sis wanted to know what the Knitting Olympics are (she's not a knitter but visits from time to time). All the details can be found on the Yarn Harlot's official Olympics page.

All you Olympic Knitters, go to the Frappr Knitting Olympics Map and add yourself - I saw Shannon already on the map.

Don't forget to visit Full Thread Ahead's Stitches Preview night tonight - 4-9 pm! I'll be teaching felted baskets and learn-t0-knit on Thursday nights in March, see you there!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Button, button, who's got the button?

I now have both a team button and an event button! w00t!

Plus - has anyone had problems with Blogger the last few days? Bloglines is having a hard time picking up everyone's postings, and I couldn't get to a few blogspot blogs yesterday. Maybe it's just me.

Friday, February 03, 2006

USA Sweater Knitting Team!

Doesn't link to anything though...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Knitting Olympics

OK, I'm in... I tried to resist, what with Stitches/wedding dress shopping weekend right in the middle, but hey, I'm never one to turn down a challenge.

So I'm making Sitcom Chic out of Debbie Bliss Soho in rose/white/black/green, the drool-worthy yarn I couldn't put down at The Knitter's Studio and ended up buying all 20 something balls worth...

Gauge swatch - I'm off by 1 stitch and 1 row on size 8s, which means the sweater would be slightly larger. That's perfect, since the largest size would juuuust fit and I'd rather have a little ease. I also have enough yarn that I can hopefully make the sleeves a little longer than 3/4 length, since I'd like to wear this with my full-length t-shirts.

Now I have to find a team!