Experienced knitters don't make fewer mistakes than new knitters. They make bigger ones faster.

- Yarn Harlot -

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Wow, 2010 has been quite a year. A lot has happened, both good and bad. I went from a job that paid the bills while I lived with my parents to a job that allowed me to move to Indianapolis. My husband went from almost losing his current job to also getting a job down here. We went from maintaining a relationship 180 miles apart to getting married and living together. I've already asked 2011 to try to top that, without all the drama.

My craft resolution is to continue my Stashdown for the rest of the year. I have about 10 projects planned out, not including my sock challenge. Here are my goals for next year:

1. 12 pairs of socks in 12 months
2. colorwork
3. a pullover
4. knit from my handspun
5. beading
6. kool aid dyeing
7. charity donations
8. finish all works-in-progress
9. Make 52 baby hats in 52 weeks
10. make projects from books i own and haven't used yet

The sock challenge has it's own list of patterns/techniques i want to try, and yes, i have enough yarn for the entire year in my stash already.

My one non-fiber related resolution is to get more sleep, preferably all at night and all at once. However, that will probably cut into my crafting goals.

But that goal can wait until the new year. Now, off to a friend's for partying!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Stashdown FTW

Unfortunately, the laptop is still out of commission, so I'm using my husband's old laptop. That means this will be a photo-heavy post, since I have weeks worth of knitting to show off!

Overall, the Stashdown was a sucess. Everyone loved their gifts, and technically the only yarn I had to buy was for my husband's gift. So here goes...

Scarf of Doom
This is the seed stitch scarf that I've been working on for about 2 months. I worked on it at knit group, football at buffalo wild wings, a random coffee shop by the outlet mall back home, and of course at home. I love the texture of this scarf, but I will never make one again, even if it does look pretty good on me. I still have another ball of this yarn left over, so it may become one of several stripes in another scarf.

Spa Sets

Next are the spa sets for my Safety ladies. I matched them up with some soaps and lotions I had to make sets. These did not make enough of a dent in my cotton stash though.

Cable Clutch

Here is the clutch that I designed myself. Yes, I could have followed a pattern online, but I wanted to make it a challenge. I held one strand of Patons Classic Wool with one strand of Cascade 220 in similar shades of maroon. The cable design is my own, and I plan on writing it up properly and putting it up here.

I spent some quality time with my sewing machine and made the lining from a discarded t-shirt.

It is closed with both magnets under the flap, and buttons on the outside. It doesn't have enough structure for my taste, so if I make it again, I would add some plastic canvas or something under the lining. Overall, very cute.

Companion Cube

This was the super-secret project for my husband. It is the Companion Cube from the video game Portal. It's used to help you though the puzzle rooms, and it really does start becoming your companion. It is the first crochet project I've done in a few months and it was, well, intense.

8 corners, 8 corner covers, 6 hearts, 6 heart backs, 12 side covers = 40 pieces to sew together. Luckily this is a 3d project, so no ends needed to be woven in. 5 episodes of Battlestar Galactica Season 3 later, and we have a completed companion:

Oh and to top off the holidays, I finished my first Toe Up, Magic Loop, Short row heel socks! The heels are a little wonky and the socks don't fit like they should, but the are finished and look pretty good. And since they are anklets, I think I have enough yarn left for another pair, you know, to perfect the skill.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The lappy is down...

That reference may not make sense to some of you. First google "strongbad" and find the horrible Internet cartoon I used to watch in high school. Then find his email response to "do you listen to techno?"

The unfortunate truth is that my laptop had been out of service for more than a week now, and this blog is currently being typed on my iPod touch. Using the "free" theme of this blog, I very nicely asked the IT guy at work if he would take a look at it for me. It turns out that more than one person hs asked this of him, and he's more than happy to comply. So between actual emergencies at work, he's been working on it. No word yet though on how the poor lappy is doing.

And unfortunately, I have lots of holiday stashdown news to share, including my spinning wheel and adventures in wheel maintenance and emergency fixes.

I will give a full update as soon as the lappy is up and running, since I can't post pictures from my current device.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"No Pictures" is No Excuse

I've been putting off posting this weekend because I needed to take pictures of all the things I have to discuss. However, I don't know when I will get a chance to do this with the holiday coming up, so this post will be picture-less. But that will just make you come back to see updates on these mystery projects, right?

Holiday Stashdown Update

I finished the Man (or Anyone) Cowl from some naturallycaron.com Country in charcoal. The yarn is awesome, I have used it a few times and love how soft it is. The cowl worked up in only a few days, and the pattern is perfectly clear. I wish it had a little more stitch definition though. Any suggestions?

The official Holiday Stashdown project count is down to 3 now. The seed stitch scarf mentioned earlier is about halfway done, although this has to be the slowest scarf I've ever made.

Now onto....

Personal Knitting

I was very excited when I managed to knit my WIP bin down to a few projects. My Ravelry project list only had one row of works-in-progress (all with pictures which is rare), and I was determined to knock a few of those out as well. However, and I'm sure subconsciously, I was more determined to start as many projects as possible to get that page back to how it normally looks (disorganized). Startitis struck and I now have 3 newly cast-on projects.

My First Toe Up Socks have been calling to me to start them for a while now. I invested in an Addi Lace fixed circular needle so I could try socks on Magic Loop. I'm using Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson (from the library of course, though I may look for a copy). I started with the "easy" toe and am steadily knitting towards the heel. I have not decided what heel I'm going to use yet, though I'm leaning towards the short row heel, just because I haven't made one yet. I'm using Berroco Comfort Sock and LOVE it. It's super soft and the color is beautiful. It's called Beach house, in blues and teals, with some white and sage green thrown in. I hope it's durable, because at less than $8 a skein (which is enough for a pair of socks for me), I could use this all the time.

The Dr. Who scarf is next. This isn't acutally for me however, but this is a request from the best man in our wedding, Matt. He got a gift for both Travis and I, and I had knit something for practically everyone but him. So I asked him if he wanted anything and his answer was, "Can you knit me a Doctor Who scarf?" My head went blank at first. I know how long this scarf is in the series. I've seen the patterns and projects on Ravelry. But because I like Matt, I tell him, "Of course! It might take a while though, because I have about a dozen Christmas presents lined up already..." He tells me that's fine, there's no deadline. I recently asked him how long he *actually* wanted the scarf to be. The pattern is about 17 feet according to my calculations, and I hope his answer is somewhat shorter than that. I'm using the Season 12 pattern because it lists the Vanna's Choice colors. I'm using an array of Vanna's and Michael's brand Impeccable. I also changed it to  stockinette instead of garter stitch because I like how it looks more. I added a 3 stitch border also, so it would not roll up.

Last is the Swinging Stripe Cardigan from the pattern of the same name. I really wanted a basic open cardi pattern, and love the rolled collar on this pattern. I'm using some Universal Yarns Worsted I picked up at Tuesday Morning in green and brown, and I think things are going well so far. It is more of a guideline for the cardi than an actual pattern, so I hope it turns out ok. I don't have a lot of experience with top down raglans, but I'm not far enough along yet to know if I'm doing something wrong. I do plan, however, to take some advice I heard from the Knitmore Girls' podcast, and start the sleeves shortly after connecting the round for the armholes.

Aaaand, that's about it. This post was a little wordy, so hopefully I can knock out some photos and get those up here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday Stashdown 2010 and Bonus Handspun!

Well, I have been quite busy this week and have so much to update.

Pom-Pom Earflap Hat (x2)

This was made from leftover Impeccable and the Basic Earflap Hat. I added i-cord ties and a pom on top. Very easy to make, and the hardest part was figuring if this was going to fit its recipient.

And here is the second one, made from a random skein of Wool-ease I bought a while ago.

ok, so each took about half a skein, but that's one whole skein out of the stash, right? and to celebrate, i used up another skein making myself a hermoine hat from a skein of Berroco Vintage in Sloe Berry #5184. is it bad that i'm a little excited for cool weather?

And now, for the bonus. Spinning class on Thursday at Knit Stop was awesome! I've only been going for about a month, and have about 5 ounces of red corriedale spun on my drop spindle from Nomad Yarns. I had enough singles spun to start plying, and I got to use the shop's spinning wheel. Kate is an awesome teacher, and had me going in no time. After much research, I believe it is a Lendrum folding wheel, definitely double treadle, and boy do I want one now. The spinning was so much faster and smoother than on my drop spindle. I have about 125 yards plied and waiting to be soaked and whacked and hung dry. But here they are!

And in my weekend spinning fever, I spun up a couple of samples we were given a few weeks ago. They're probably only 25 feet a piece, spun and plied on my drop spindle, then wound into the cutest little skeins.

The official Holiday Stashdown count is now 4 gifts in 6 weeks. One is definitely coming with me to knitting tomorrow, although I doubt it will be finished anytime soon. Maybe the socks will come with me also...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Holiday Stashdown 2010 - exhibit 6

Presenting another successful week for the Holiday Stashdown!

Beanie and Mitts

This is the Men's Fingerless Mitts pattern by Piece by Piece. The pattern was very easy to follow, and I had no problems at all. The rest of the yarn turned into a beanie which I thought would make a nice set. However, I like the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted so much, I just might keep it for myself.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Socktoberfest Win!

I posted a couple weeks ago that I was using Socktoberfest as motivation to finish the pair of socks I'd been working on since about the end of September. This weekend I knew was Halloween, but it didn't occur to me that Halloween was also the LAST day of October. So, I got my butt in gear and finished 2/3 of a sock in 2 days. Here is my newest (and second ever) pair of socks!

I still don't know how I feel about the yarn (Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color) If there's only a small section knitted, it's pretty ugly. When it's a full sock, it's less so, but still not really my style. But either way, they're done and they're mine!

In Holiday Stashdown news, there's not much to report. The seed stitch scarf is coming along as well as it can be I suppose. However, I do know why people advised against it, since I'm already getting bored with it, and it's about 12" long. I'm not sure how long it will have to be yet, so all I can really do is keep knitting.

Or cast on a new pair of socks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Knive Chau!

Today was the costume contest/chili cook off at work. I was trying to decide between pirate (which i've been the past couple years) and anything else. I remembered that I'd made a scarf from the movie Scott Pilgirm Vs. The World. One of my favorite characters is Knives Chau. In the end of the movie, she comes out with an awesome black and white stripe scarf.

My version was started about a week after I saw the movie. It was part stash busting, part comic book nerd. It then languished in my "to finish" box for about 2 months waiting for all the ends to be woven. About a week ago, I decided I was definitely going to use it in my costume and started weaving in those ends. I threw it in the dryer to soften the yarn.

so today, I WAS KNIVES CHAU!!!

ok, not as angry or mean, but basically the same :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Holiday Stashdown 2010 - plus a bonus FO!

Well I didn't quite finished the next set of gifts by FO Friday, but on the bright side, I did finish gifts for 6 people!

Spa Cloths

These are the Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth, made from 3 colors of Sugar n' Cream and Peaches n' Cream that I'd picked up over the summer for market bags. I made a dozen, and 2 will be given to each recipient, plus a lotion probably. For the time being, i do not want to knit anything on the bias or any dishcloths for a while.

However, on a personal knitting note, I finished the Shalom! It looks like a cardi and fits like a cardi, so we're calling it a completed cardi. All it needs is a button, a soak (the wool is a little itchy), and a decent photo. This was taken inside, at night, on my phone, but it's a glimpse into the Shalom-y awesomeness.

Another "free" item: I listen to the Lion Brand Podcast and read their blog. On their Ravelry group, they started a topic about what their listeners wanted to hear about this season. I mentioned that I wanted to find resources for formulas for projects (sweaters, hats, etc) so i could customize more items. They answered my question on the podcast and suggested I check out Ann Budd's The Knitters Book Of Patterns and The Knitters Book of Sweater Patterns. These books are fantastic! Most patterns come in 6 sizes and 6 gauges, so it does most of the math for you. These are definitely on my wish list.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holiday Stashdown 2010 - exhibit 4

Wow, I'm really banging out gifts this weekend! I present to you, the Hermione Hat.

This is made from about half a skein of Patons Classic Wool in Jade Heather that I bought probably about a year ago with no planned use. I LOVE this pattern. It was so easy to read and understand, and I finished it in a day (granted, it was probably 4 hours or so of knitting). My row gauge was a little off, so I didn’t do as many rows of ribbing or as many repeats of the cable. I did decide to be picky and continue the eyelet/cable repeat through the crown, but I’m not sure if it’s really visible. I will definitely be making this hat again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Holiday Stashdown 2010 - exhibit 3

And we have another project knocked out!

Cousteau Cowl

This is made from one skein of Patons Classic Wool in Mercury, a dark steely gray that I bought a few months ago for a basic cardigan pattern. (This means that someone else will also be getting something from this yarn.) The pattern is Cousteau Cowl, free on Ravelry. I love making this cowl. It's simple but looks clean and finished. Made from worsted weight wool and knit on US 4, this will be nice and cozy for anyone that works outside.

After finishing this bad boy in 4 days, I've decided to take some time for myself and work on my second pair of Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks. I finished the first one of this pair fairly quickly, but with as many gifts as I've decided to make, they have taken a back seat. However, in honor of Socktoberfest 2010, I present:

Sock #2!

She isn't very far along, but I think I can knock out at least a few inches tonight. It's about time for scary movie marathons anyway, so I think I will be watching Dracula tonight. No, not the black and white classic, I mean the one with Neo (Keanu Reeves), Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins), and Sirius Black (Gary Oldman).

And yes, that is how I refer to them in my head. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Holiday Stashdown 2010 - exhibit 2 (FO Friday)

The lucky recipient of this hat will get a one-of-a-kind beanie based on the hat formula from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Knitting Rules. In the spirit of the Holiday Stashdown and free(dom), I checked this book out from the library, and the yarn is left over from various Vanna's Choice Afghan Swaps. I started with more navy than tan, but originally was going to knit even stripes. When I realized that it may not turn out like I expected, I started with thinner stripes of tan near the brim, and fatter stripes near the crown. This is also my first attempt at stripes in the round. At first, I realized the stripes were not lining up. So off to Knitty.com I went, and found this explanation for jogless stripes within this pattern. Ends were woven in just in time for FO Friday!

I also have a free but non-knitting related item to share. It is the free app for the ipod/iphone called iheartradio. It's every type of radio station from cities across the country that streams to your ipod. You can listen to local radio, any genre from any city, or mix both. My favorite feature is the "shake it" tab. You choose to lock or unlock location and genre, and literally shake the ipod to get a random selection. Talk radio from San Jose? Sure. Hits from Austin, TX? Of course. Hawaiian from Bismark, ND? Ok, maybe not, but those are both options available. This makes me wish I had wifi at work so I could use this. But then I would probably mess with my ipod more than I should be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Holiday Stashdown 2010 - exhibit 1

 In case family/friends come across this blog, I am not going to disclose who will be receiving the gifts in this series.

Vanilla Slippers

These are loosely based on the Knitmore Girls' Vanilla Socks. They are a women's medium. I CO 36 stitches, started with a 3x3 rib for 1.5", stockinette leg for 5", and followed the pattern for the rest of the slipper. It is made from I Love This Yarn! in navy. These will be very warm and cozy, and will probably make good boot socks also.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

So much has happened!

I'm married!!! 

Without getting into too much detail, the wedding went extremely well. Everyone looked great, everyone behaved, the food was awesome, the DJ was great, and I think everyone had a good time.

Here's a rundown of the gifts I made (all from stash)

My Wedding Shrug

Made from the Posh Wedding Shrug by Classic Elite. Yarn used was Sidar Snuggly Baby Bamboo. Ribbons added were left over from our invitations.

MIL Shawl

Pattern used was the Conifer Shawl from Knitscene Winter/Spring 2010. Yarn used was Naturally Caron Country.

Mom's Shrug

Pattern used was Anthropologie Inspired Capelet. Yarn used was Caron Simply Soft.

Darren's Cowl

Pattern used was the Cousteau Cowl. Yarn used was I Love This Yarn! worsted.

Everyone loved their gifts. My new MIL looked awesome in her shawl, and Darren, our reverend, lives in Chicago and rides his bike everywhere, so this was the perfect gift for him. There's even photographic evidence that my shawl looked awesome.

I also have updates of the startitis projects from before the wedding. 

Shalom has a completed yoke, though the arm holes turned out a little off. I'm going to power through it anyway and see if I can correct them. The problem is they are too big and seem to be set too far back. Perhaps the divisions for the arms are not set up like I thought. Or my math could be off. 

My Gabriel Shawl isn't too far along, though i did add an extra row so that I wouldn't have to p2tog for the eyelet row. I was having a hell of a time doing it because the yarn i'm using (Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy socks) splits like crazy. Now that i have it under control, i think it will go much faster.

My second pair of the Knitmore Girls' Vanilla Socks in Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color are halfway done. I CO 60 this time, and the first one fits very well. I finished it during lunch Friday, and immediately cast on the second one.

Tomorrow I should have an update on the Holiday Stashdown 2010.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Startitis Has Struck

Today was my last day as Miss Reilly at work! There were so many things i needed to get done today, packing, finalizing the music for the wedding (ceremony, not reception), gathering my gifts for the wedding party...oh i'm exhausted now. While waiting for iTunes to sync my ipod for the 3 hour drive north i will be making tomorrow, i started the Shalom cardigan using Cascade Yarns Eco +, a bulky weight wool, in a deep red/maroon color. The skeins are huge. My gauge using the suggested needle size was way off, but to get gauge I would have had to use something like a US 13. That fabric was not dense enough, so i backed down to a 10.5 and cast on 80 stitches to account for the gauge change. i'm about 15 rows into the yoke and it looks pretty good so far.

Then i realized i needed something to take with me for the weekend. i didn't want to lug around this huge ball of bulky yarn for a cardigan, so i started the Gabriel shawl using Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-dy socks. i bought this yarn quite a while ago, but never found a pattern for it. the stripes are too wide for socks for me (i wear a size 6, so a stripe is about half my foot) so i wanted to make a shawl that would show the color changes well. i figured this would be a simple enough pattern for me to work on during down time (if i have any). however, this yarn splits like crazy! the p2tog on the eyelet rows are probably going to kill me. i'll have to find another way. 

these are both in addition to my second pair of vanilla socks, c/o the knitmore girls. the first pair i made with zitron trekking xxl turned out great, but just a touch too small. so, i'm working on another pair in Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color in colorway 15. its a blend of browns and creams with gray bits mixed in. in the ball i thought it could be cool. but when i started knitting it, it's turning out a little ugly. i'm not sure, maybe i need to knit more of it and get a feel for the color changes. for these socks, i cast on 60 (instead of 56 like the pattern) but am going to work the rest of them as the pattern says.

Now that I've added 2 more projects to my WIP box, i feel relaxed enough to try to sleep. wake up is coming just as early as a normal work day. the morning means picking up the bouquets, turning up the ipod, and listening to podcasts all the way to lake michigan.

wish me luck!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I have to start somewhere.

Hi everyone, and thanks for giving my blog a look.

This all started from a challenge I gave myself for this Christmas season. Since I got back into crocheting and knitting, I've been making most gifts for close family and friends. But since my fiance and I just moved to Indianapolis, money has been a little tight. I decided that this year I would knit from my stash only. I also decided that the first things I would make for myself would also be from stash yarn. If I've paid for it, why not start using it. But I wanted to take it a step further. With the amount of money I spend on yarn, what's a couple more dollars for a pattern? But if I'm going to keep up this "free" theme, I'm going to use only free patterns found online or in books from the Indianapolis library.

But I don't want this to end with yarn. What other inexpensive things are there to do around the Circle City? To what extent can I utilize the FANTASTIC library in this county (even if they are cutting hours and things)? What will this new life hold for me? For my fiance?

That's right, I'm also getting married in 5 days. SO many new things are happening, all in a matter of a few months.

So, first thing's first. Time to get hitched. Then afterwards, Holiday Stash-down 2010 will begin.