May 29, 2005

Up and coming

This summer is shaping up to be a season of repetition in my knitting To Do list. While working on the pretty multi-colored eyelet band afghan, I told my very patient husband that the very next thing I would make would be an afghan for him. Yesterday we just happened to be near a Joann Fabrics, so we made a quick detour to the yarn aisles, and picked out a pile of yarn in a cream with little flecks of black and brown. It's the sort of yarn that cries out for cables, so I'm already mapping out possibilities in my head (one of which will involve some clever grafting and figuring out how to convert an existing cable pattern upside down).

The multi-colored afghan that I have nearly finished is now going to go to one of my nephews. When we came home from the yarn store, I immediately logged in and placed a huge order for lots more afghan yarn - another stack of Red Heart Monet for a duplicate eyelet band afghan for the second nephew (since I figure identical blankets for brothers means one less thing for them to argue about - they are typical little brothers, after all!). I found a wonderful yarn that is a gorgeous swirl of bold, bright pinks and purples, which seems much more suited to my little niece, who adores pinks and purples and anything with lots of color.

That's three afghans so far - all of which will likely have the same eyelet band pattern (we'll see how it works in the purple and pink when the yarn arrives), but that's not all! Also on the To Do list are afghans for both brothers-in-law. I'd already intended to make one for my younger sister's husband (since there've been some dropped hints), and it just so happens I've got a huge pile of green yarn that will work perfectly. Still figuring out what to do for the other brother in law, but I figure if I make it through those five afghans and have time for the sixth, I'm doing great. Toss in a whole pile of candy cane socks (stocking stuffers for the women in the family) and at least one laceweight shawl that I have promised myself I will make this summer, and it's going to be a busy knitting season for the next five or six months!

Posted by Jenipurr at 05:43 PM

May 27, 2005

On the needles

Last week I was sick, and ended up staying home from work for a little bit...which meant once I had the energy I did quite a bit of knitting. I think I finally found a use for all that flame colored Lara Endless Summer collection cotton - the market bag from Folk Bags. I also think I have enough of this yarn to make up to three of the bags, so the first is finished and I'm about halfway through the second. Here's a quick closeup picture of the mesh - I'll post finished object pictures later.

Next up, the basketweave socks are still on the needles, which I actually haven't done much on since the last time I posted a picture. I really need to get back to work on those, because I really like how they are turning out. I've just been a little sidetracked by the mesh bags, and also by my third project in progress.

That third project would be an afghan for my niece. She likes pink, and I was going to use my stash of Bernat Berella 4 in a swirl of creams and pinks, but I only have six skeins, and it just isn't going to be enough. Naturally the color has been discontinued. I've posted pleas on various message boards, in case someone just might have an extra skein or two in their stash from years past, but I'm not holding my breath. I may still track down a coordinating solid pink and use that to make a border, which might make the swirly stuff stretch enough for a full-sized afghan, but...

In the meantime, I was smitten by the colors in Red Heart's Monet colorway, and decided to forge ahead on the afghan with a pile of that instead. I figure I've got one niece and two nephews so if, in some marvelous stroke of luck, I find more of the pink swirly yarn, this multicolored one can be for one of the boys. Here's a close-up of the eyelet stripe pattern I'm using, which is cobbled together from a number of different baby blanket patterns I found online (although this will be full-sized, since the hope is that it can be something they can use even when they're older).

Posted by Jenipurr at 06:39 AM

May 16, 2005

Goodies by mail

First things first - I finally have created a gallery of my finished objects (the link is on the side bar on my main page, under the Archives header). Yes, I know, it's about time.

And now for the goodies by mail. A final package arrived from my secret pal, who turned out to be Elizabeth from kittycafe.

She sent me a bar of delicious chocolate, a cute little felted bag full of stitch markers which are going to come in very handy (you'll see why in a moment), a little green Chibli (because when you live in a house with six small-object-stealing cats you need all the extras you can get!), and a gorgeous card that she made herself. I had fun immediately going to check out her journal and all her knitting projects (and, of course, her gorgeous kitties). So thanks, Elizabeth, for making my first Secret Pal adventure such fun!

Also in the mail (and the reason I am so happy to get those stitch markers) was a package from Knit Picks.

This came about because my husband was desperately wanting to replace his malfunctioning mp3 player, so I noted that if he got to spend lots of money on electronics, *I* would get to spend lots of money on yarn (although I don't think I got nearly an entire mp3 player's worth of yarn, so maybe there might have to be another order to Knit Picks and perhaps one to in the near future. Heh heh heh). It's all in teasing, of course, since he doesn't care if I buy yarn, and I'm not exactly immune to the lure of shiny new computer gadgets myself, but still, one must take any excuse one can to 'have' to buy yarn!.

Anyway, my new yarn includes sock yarn (of course), some lovely fuschia wool (destined to become Fuzzy Feet for me, because my old slippers began a slow death months ago), some blue and white Shimmer (for a scarf or something - I just couldn't resist) and four skeins each of two colors of alpaca cloud. Now that I've done Branching Out and the lacy cardigan for my mom, I've been bitten by the lace knitting bug, and I've determined that my next big project *must* be a shawl. I realize that I may very well regret this once I get started, but any huge lace endeavor certainly calls for stitch markers, of which I had none until my secret pal sent that package. Obviously this is meant to be!

Posted by Jenipurr at 05:24 PM | Comments (2)

May 13, 2005

Knitting here and there

I think, after last week's knitting insanity, that my ability to focus on one project has gone into hiding for now. I feel as if in the past few days I keep skittering from one thing to the next, casting on for this and that and then ripping it all out to start over again. The pieces for my Tasha bag sit, untouched, in a pile on the washing machine, waiting for me to seam them together. I did one more pattern repeat on my latest pair of socks but then set them aside. I flipped aimlessly through back issues of knitting magazines and finally settled on a little cabled bag, since I just happened to have the yarn it calls for.

I also placed an order with KnitPicks on Monday night. It was so hard trying to decide what I wanted to order, but I finally picked a good selection and am now eagerly awaiting its arrival. Included in the order is some of their Alpaca Cloud - a laceweight yarn - because I have come to the conclusion that lace knitting is fun, and I might as well get some yarn appropriate for it.

I also have another few projects to add to the list of things I need to do. My little sister (the one I sent the afghan to in April) noted in an email that her husband has been making noises about the fact that he and my niece might need their own afghans. Apparently my little sister isn't so good at sharing (heh). Luckily I've got the yarn for one of them already, and there's a short list of blanket patterns I've been wanting to try, only needing the excuse. How nice to be provided with a reason!

Posted by Jenipurr at 12:38 PM

May 08, 2005

Coming up spring

I finished my mom's Spring Fling Mother's Day sweater just in time. Granted I was hastily seaming the second sleeve and tacking on the hook and eye this morning, but technically that still means I got it done in time because by the time I handed it over after church it was complete.

I have now proven that it is possible to create a lacy knit sweater in less than a week (since I started this Monday night. Or was it Tuesday. Lack of sleep has robbed me of the ability to think clearly). All I know is that I have been getting up at 5 in the morning every day this week and staying up until after midnight prettty much every night to get this thing finished. Thus, I do not recommend this as something to do on a regular basis because lack of sleep + lingering winter cold means that by Friday my capacity for rational thought was pretty much gone.

I am not sure if my hands will ever forgive me, or if the blue dye will ever wash off of my fingers. I have callouses on my fingers from the needles. It is the weirdest feeling - or rather the weirdest lack of feeling in the very tips of my thumb and forefinger of my right hand. But these are just minor side effects. Enough babble. Here is the lacy cardigan, modeled by my mom.

Here's the front.

And here's the back.

And here's a side view as well.

I am really quite happy with how this turned out. I handwashed all the pieces as I finished them (in fact the back and one front panel went to work with me on Thursday, stretched out on a towel in my trunk because I knew they would dry faster by 'baking' in the car) and the lace pattern really popped. Despite the fact that it is such an open pattern, apparently it is still quite warm (that would likely be because it is made from that lovely soft superwash wool I picked up at the Tess Yarns booth back at Stitches West).

Posted by Jenipurr at 10:50 PM

May 05, 2005

Insanity is Highly Underrated

Faced with a selection of unpalatable choices with Soleil, and a shortage of time, I did the only thing I could do (and I even did it without crying at all). I frogged the whole thing. Yep - finished and seamed and the only thing left was the lining on the sleeves and neck and I pulled the entire thing back to little balls of yarn.

So, remember that shortage of time? This thing has to be done by Mother's Day? Surely only a crazy person would then decide to cast on for this, right? Need I even mention that I am making the largest size?

Tuesday night I swatched and made most of one sleeve (which is going to have to be ripped back to the cuffs because I completely screwed up the decreases - sigh). I'd been summoned for jury duty and was supposed to go in Tuesday, but it was postponed til Wednesday; never have I more fervently wished to actually be called (an entire day sitting in a courtroom with nothing to do but knit!). Alas, they didn't need me after all. But I woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat. And while I might normally have just sucked it up and gone to work, I eyed the pile freshy-frogged yarn, and called in sick.

I knit until after midnight on Tuesday night, and then I knit all day - from when I got up at 5am until I finally gave up at about 11:30 pm because my hands were curling into painful little claws and I just couldn't knit any more, and here is what I have so far - a completed back piece and the start of the first front panel.

In case it wasn't obvious, this picture was taken exactly one millisecond before diving to rescue the front piece from Azzie and informing him that my knitting is not a cat toy. You can see how well they all listen to me about that - getting Rosie (who is eying the sweater on the left) to quit rolling around on the back as a challenge too.

I will note that the lace pattern in this pattern is just perfect for the yarn I am using, but it's a lot slower going than just plain old stockinette, or even some nice ribbing. Here's a closeup.

The back is about 23.5 inches long and about 25 inches wide (or rather, it will be that wide once I block it - ribbing is very elastic), for some perspective. I'm almost to the armhole decreases on the first front piece and am crossing my fingers that somehow - between work and choir practice tonight - I will manage to finish that part tonight. Tomorrow night is craft night and I might be able to get part of the second front piece done....but the recipient will be there at craft night too so I may be reduced to working on socks (wait, did I just say 'reduced'?). I sense a very late Friday night and all day Saturday spent on this (and I expect by the time I reach the sleeves I may well be blathering idiotically into my project bag and jittery with caffeine overload), but right now I think I might actually be able to pull this off. Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha....oh, sorry. Insane, remember?

Posted by Jenipurr at 06:30 AM | Comments (2)

May 02, 2005

Falling short

Sigh. I finished the right front of Soleil and seamed the shoulders...and it just isn't working. I think somehow it has ended up far too large, and I'm not so sure I like the shaping in the pattern. But I am also well aware of the fact that Mother's Day is less than a week away and the number of knitting hours available are ticking away far too quickly. So I am pondering whether or not to scrap this whole thing, or to rip it back to midway through the body to where the shaping started, and start over.

I also have discovered that, for some strange reason, on this project my stitches are rather obviously larger when knitting back and forth than when knitting in the round. The number of stitches per inch across is the same, thank goodness, but I get one less row per inch when knitting side to side. Ouch.

Sigh. Well. If I do end up ripping it back to the midpoint, I suppose I could then make the modifications to the neckline I'd wanted to make - to raise the starting point on the neck up at least an inch, if not higher. I think I can still make this work if I do the neckline decreases on every row instead of every other row...gah. I really thought this was going to be a nice easy project, and for once I wouldn't have to rip out huge chunks and start over (something that has been a common theme in every non-sock project I have ever made). But looks like that just might not be the case.

Off to pick out the seams I just so very carefully created. Grumble. Lets just hope the second time's the charm and the next time I reach seaming status I'm not just as frustrated as I am now.

Posted by Jenipurr at 09:25 PM | Comments (3)

May 01, 2005

Shades of blue

I should really have been working soley on Soleil, but I could not help myself. Socks go so quickly, and the Pebbles colorway from Treking XXL is just so very pretty, and adding in a lace pattern to each side of a sock makes what might otherwise be very boring stockinette just fly by. Add to this the fact that I've actually had a lot of opportunity to do sock-only knitting (in other words, knitting where it required a project small enough to cram into my purse) this past week. All this is simply to say that I am proud to present my lovely new Dublin Bay socks.

Soleil is also coming along nicely, however, despite the socky distractions. I've finished off the left front and am eying the right front next. Looks like I'll have a fair chunk of this lovely yarn left when I'm done and I'm pondering whether or not I may need to make a pretty little lacey scarf out of it.

We went to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Friday night and I brought along the second of my Dublin Bay socks (which I then finished off yesterday afternoon) to keep me occupied while we sat in the theater and waited for it to begin. I had expected it to be fairly crowded, but we went to an earlier show, and while it did eventually fill up, most everyone didn't come bursting into the theater until the last possible minute.

It was a fun movie, even if it did seem like they got a little confused when trying to meld too many stories into one plot. And Richard and I were not the only ones who left the theater singing 'So Long and Thanks For All the Fish" under our breath. It seems to stand to reason that any opening credit song that is 'performed' by dolphins would naturally have an extremely catchy tune.

Oh. And I suppose I must admit that this morning, faced with the fact that, now that the Dublin Bay socks were finished, I had no portable project on the needles, I had no choice but to immediately drag out a ball of Trekking XXL in Prairie, and cast on for these.

I cannot help myself. And besides, if I thought a little lace insert made socks fly by, I was completely unprepared for how quickly a little basketweave pattern would knit up. I'm already up to the heel flap on the first sock, and the pattern and the color (which doesn't come out so well in this picture because you cannot see the hints of periwinkle and every shade of blue) are just gorgeous. See?

Posted by Jenipurr at 05:27 PM