December 30, 2004

Post-Christmas update

Seabreeze sweater - finally complete! I finished it about an hour before it was 'due'. Yay. I love this sweater, and the yarn is divine - so soft and silky and it feels marvelous against the skin, even after being washed several times. It's pricier than I might otherwise be willing to pay for enough yarn to make a sweater, but both the T3 and Seabreeze turned out so lovely that I think the cost was more than worth it. I've plans to attend Stitches West in February, and I'll be keeping my eye out for the Tess Yarns table to grab some more of her gorgeous superwash merino.

Now that the Christmas knitting is finally done I can turn my sights on the next few months. There's a birthday coming up for which I am going to try to whip up a lovely heathered grey vest (although I may break down and see if I can borrow a friend's knitting machine to zip through the back, because I don't have much time). I've already made quite a bit of headway on the first baby blanket, a diagonal knit of some lovely green Lion Homespun, with an eyelet border. I am pondering getting a length of ribbon in a contrasting color to weave through the eyelets, just to soften it up a bit.

Pictures will be forthcoming, as will an archive of finished objects (because I think maybe I really ought to have one).

Posted by Jenipurr at 08:11 PM

December 23, 2004

A little Christmas snow

Since my mom so very nicely let me raid her button box for eyes for the penguin, I decided she needed a little thank you gift. I'd seen this pattern a while ago and figured it was adorable enough to hang on to for stocking stuffers for next year. Two evenings' worth of knitting later, this little guy was done. Except he's not so little and he'll definitely not fit in a stocking.

No problem. I rang their doorbell and left him on my parents' front porch. I took the picture on the way over, when I suddenly realized I hadn't photographed the finished object. Luckily I carry my camera in my purse with me, and luckily I had to stop long enough for a passing freight train that I could prop him up on my coffee mug and take a quick shot.

Even though he turned out a lot larger than I'd expected, I still think I may have to make about a dozen more next year for not-quite-stocking stuffers. And I will do my very best to forget about the fact that underneath that cute hat and scarf he looks rather scarily like an albino butternut squash - much like if Mr. Lunt had a close encounter with a blood sucking vampire.

No wonder he puts me in just the right holiday spirit. Heh. For those who want to make their own scary albino squa...I mean their own silly squishy snowman, the pattern can be found here

Posted by Jenipurr at 09:00 PM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2004

I think I shall call him Earl

When I saw this pattern in the latest issue of Knitty I knew I had to make it for my husband, as he is a big Linux nerd, as well as a fan of penguins. It's been kind of interesting sneaking in knitting time on this when he wasn't around, but tonight I finished it. My mom gave me the buttons for the eyes. I know penguins don't normally have green eyes but these just sort of worked.

From my mom's reaction, I think I may have to make at least one more penguin (possibly by Christmas?). He's kind of goofy. I wish I'd stuffed him a bit more, but as he is, he's rather squishable and posable, which gives him personality.

Now I can't wait until Christmas so I can give him away!

Posted by Jenipurr at 09:01 PM

December 17, 2004

Reflecting on a first

As I've noted here before, when I first learned to knit I bypassed most of the usual beginning knitting projects, like scarves and hats. After making a few cat toys to get the hang of guage and tension and casting on and binding off, I decided that I need to just dive right in, and made a sweater for my nephew. This sweater made use of several different stitch techniques, including knitting in the round, picking up stitches for sleeves, and cables, and it taught me a valuable lesson about why one should never trust a pattern's measurements completely (the neck ended up being too small to fit over his head - alas).

My next project was a cardigan for myself. I found a pattern in a leaflet at the yarn shop, bought a pile of yarn, and get started. There were a few stops and re-starts, like when I accidently sewed one sleeve on inside out, but eventually, I finished this. It's warm and soft and comfortable and a pretty shade of olive green and last winter, after all the effort I put into it, I wore it exactly once.

Since then I have learned a lot more about knitting. I learned that I had no clue what I was doing when I did the seams on that first cardigan. I learned that I should always swatch and then adjust the pattern's numbers so as not to have to do side gussets later. I learned that there easier ways to increase and decrease for armholes. I learned that one should never pay attention to the length the pattern suggests for sleeves because your arms might be a completely different length altogether. And I would occasionally think about that cardigan and ponder all the ways that I should have done it better.

Today I wore the cardigan again, for the first time this winter. I pulled it down from the shelf and put it on and looked at it, really looked at it, for the first time since I finished it back in April. And I was actually pretty happy with what I saw. Sure, I didn't know how to do invisible seams back then, but the texture of the pattern hides a multitude of sins. And the fact that the sleeves are a little too long doesn't really matter, since I always roll my sleeves up anyway, out of habit.
I wore it to work today and it was warm and soft and comfortable, just like it was meant to be. It's the very first thing I ever made for myself, and you know what? Despite all it's little imperfections, I think I can be proud of it.

I think I am going to be wearing this cardigan more often.

Posted by Jenipurr at 10:45 PM

December 14, 2004

Glitch in the plans

I was, apparently, laboring under the delusion that no one in their right mind would make socks that could not be just tossed into the washing machine with all the other clothes because handwashing socks seems very, very pointless. I was also laboring under the delusion that when a yarn label claims it is machine washable, it is.

Ha. Guess what happened when I took all three cute little brown stripey hats and all three brown stripey scarves, including the one with the fun curliques on the ends, and tossed them into the washing machine. Yes, that's right. You guessed it. They felted. Gah.

The hats may be salvageable, if I attempt to resecure the pompoms, and the two non-curlique scarves are probably okay. But the curliques are ruined. Sigh. Yes, I know. This is a very good lesson in why one should not only knit up a swatch, but toss it into the washing machine to see what happens.

I had to go to the store to pick up some cheap acrylic yarn for a project I'm making for my husband (it's from the new Knitty), so while I was there I succombed to the lure of some Bernat cotton in lovely shades of cream and purple and pink, and whipped up a very basic stockinette scarf for my niece to replace the one with ruined curliques. It's cotton, which means it doesn't have as much stretch as most yarns, but it's got a lovely silky feel to it when knit up, and I think she'll like it. Plus at least I know that even if it shrinks a little in length, at least it will not felt. Yay.

I've received a few queries for info on how to make the curliques, so here's how my friend showed me how to do them.

Cast on however many stitches you want.

Row 1 - Knit

Row 2 - Increase 3 stitches for every stitch by doing the following: Knit into front, then back, then front again of each stitch

Row 3 - Bind off

The bound-off row is longer than the first row so it will start to curl as you are binding it off. You may need to do a little additional shaping with your finger or a pencil or something, but it should curl up quite nicely on its own.

Posted by Jenipurr at 09:50 AM

December 06, 2004


I am almost done with the Christmas knitting! All three scarves are finished and since they're being done in shades of brown I decided the one for my niece needed a little extra embelishment to make it a touch more girly. Conveniently enough, my knitting friend (she who is fostering that adorable calico knitting accessory I showed you a few days ago) recently made a scarf with the neatest fringe - little yarn curly spirals! Friday night at the craft night (in between being sat on by a teeny kitten) she showed all of us how to make them. So the past few nights I've been frantically knitting away on spirals of my own.

Here's a sneak preview of the scarf for my niece, since one end - and all its curly spirals - is done. They just make the scarf look bouncy and fun. I hope she likes it!

Oh, and a little bit of post-knitting gratification to report. I went to the baby shower for which I made this and she loved it. In fact, as she picked up my package she got this excited look on her face and said "Oh, I hope this is what I think it is!" And it was - yay me!

Posted by Jenipurr at 06:52 AM | Comments (2)

December 04, 2004

Coming Up

Yesterday I stumbled across a note in someone else's knitting site that Michael's had Homespun yarn on sale through today. So this morning I informed my husband that I really needed to go to Michael's because I have three blankets to make by April and Homespun is perfect for that sort of thing. After all, I can always buy more yarn as long as I have a project in mind for it - or at least that's the deal I've made with myself.

After two trips to the store and lots of dithering I picked out the following:

This is for two baby blankets. The green is for the friend who isn't going to find out what she's having. But her nursery is being done in soft colors (like Beatrix Potter, she told me), so I figured a pretty eyelet diagonal blanket out of this would work nicely. And the other yarn is a delicious swirl of peaches and raspberries and cream that is so soft I just want to keep hugging it to my face. This will be a blanket for a little girl. Not sure yet which pattern I'll use - probably fall back on the classic feather and fan - but at least I've got the yarn now so I'm all set.

And while I was shopping, birthdays are also coming up, so I grabbed a huge armful of homespun to make someone a gorgeous striped afghan in these warm shades of pale golds and greens and purples.

I had to enlist the help of a very nice stranger to get some colors that worked well together. If it turns out like I"m hoping it should just call out to be wrapped around someone for snuggling. And this yarn makes oh-so-comfy blankets.

I also had a little free stash enhancement over Thanksgiving. My little sister brought me four skeins of Lion's Wool-ease in a beautiful flecked maroon.

My very patient husband (for whom I have only ever knit one thing - a scarf) is going to get a nice vest from this because it's the perfect color for such a thing. Unfortunately he will probably have to wait a little bit because I've got a pile of gift projects looming that have to take first priority.

Posted by Jenipurr at 06:45 AM | Comments (1)

December 03, 2004

The best reason not to knit

Tonight was our monthly craft night, and I brought Sonnet with me, to get some feedback on how to finish it off. Because this was our December gathering we all brought goodies to share, and ornaments for a gift exchange. We had a wonderful time sitting around the room chatting and knitting - well, most of us. I *did* get some knitting done, but not as much as I might have. The 'problem' is that the hostess occasionally fosters kittens for a local SPCA, and one of them decided that I looked like the perfect (or would that be purr-fect?) spot to curl up on.

She started off on my shoulder, which wasn't so bad because I could just sit a little awkardly and keep on knitting.

But as the evening progressed (and she proceeded to curl, uncurl, stretch, and otherwise rearrange herself) I ended up having to keep scrunching further and further down on the couch so this little scrap of fuzz would be comfortable (what can I say - I am such a sucker for teeny little kittens).

She rewarded me by purring every single second she was awake, and leaving my yarn alone. I may not have gotten much knitting done, but somehow I really didn't mind.

Posted by Jenipurr at 07:40 PM | Comments (3)

December 02, 2004

Hat hat hat scarf scarf...

The second scarf is finished and I've cast on for the third.

If I ever think that making 3 scarves in a 1x1 ribbing out of sock yarn in a short amount of time is a good idea again, will someone please smack me repeatedly until the feeling goes away? I am getting very, very tired of ribbing.

Only one more. I am consoling myself from the tedium of miles of 1x1 ribbing by the fact that at least they're pretty.

Posted by Jenipurr at 08:06 PM