Adventures of a Learner Knitter

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bad, bad blogger

So, Justine said I should post, so here I am posting.

What have I been up to lately? Well, I just got back from the Yarn Harlot's birthday party at Lettuce Knit. It was great fun. It was super exciting too to actually meet Stephanie in person, although it did feel kind of weird to just be meeting someone you feel like you know for the first time. And she signed my new bookbookbook3, so that was very exciting too! Poor blogger that I am, I didn't bring a camera, so I have no photographic evidence that I was there, but...

As a special birthday present to Stephanie (and as an awesome present to everyone else there!) all yarn was 20% off. So, I got me 2 beautiful skeins (400m each) of laceweight baby alpaca. They're so soft. And cuddly. And (shockingly) blue. I think they want to be a shawl, but I'm not sure what yet. Any suggestions?

My most exciting project right now is socks. I finished my first pair of socks ever...

and I love them. So I went out right after and bought two skeins of Koigu sock yarn in a variegated peachy colour, and I'm knitting them up with picot edging and short row heels (how exciting!).

They're actually much further along than they look in that picture, but in my digi-cam-less state, this is the most recent picture I have.

The baby sweater does not proceed apace. I knit one sleeve, the back, and one front, and the front is a different length from the back. So I stopped for a couple weeks to think about it (and to knit on my new socks...). I think I can totally live with it, and I really don't think the baby will care. So. I need to knit the other front, other sleeve, and the hood, and then figure out how to assemble all these pieces into a sweater. Oh. And figure out button bands. Yuck. Anyhow, here's what the sleeve looks like.

My brother's sweater has received no work lately, since I need to think about what happens next, and I haven't had much time for the thinking lately. It sure is wedding season here, and that combined with trying to get finished up in school, finishing up with my Guides for the season, and getting prepared to move to Vancouver for my new job (!!) in the middle of August... well, let's just say I'm not trying to do anything too complicated!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


The siren song of startitis has struck again. I'm not sure how many projects I'm working on right now, but it's a lot. Let's see:

Booga bag – finished and felted! I love the stripes. I really thought I was making the I-cord for the straps too long (I knitted 12 feet of I-cord), but they’re actually just the right length. It’s a bit smaller than I was hoping, because it felted quite rapidly in only one washer cycle (should have checked earlier…). Anyhow, it’s a good size, and I like it.

Branching out – tinked back to my mistake last weekend (I missed a row on the pattern… tinking back one stitch at a time you can figure out which pattern row you’re undoing when). I’ve just stitched back the repeats I tinked, so I really haven’t made any perceivable progress on this.

SockS! – I finished sock number one, and I’ve just picked up the gussets on sock number two. I can see how people get hooked on this – I really liked making them, and you can make them to fit people’s feet perfectly! Oh, I figured out why I was having problems turning the heel - my instructions were WRONG. That's right, they were wrong. But I bought Stephanie's latest book, and used her sock recipe for the rest, and it went very well. Incidentally, I really like the book. Although it left me with an overwhelming urge to knit a shawl. Maybe a lace shawl... Maybe I'll join The Amazing Lace too!

M’s sweater – limited progress – I’m not sure what to do with the colour pattern in the ribbing. I read somewhere that you should knit all stitches on the first row of a colour in ribbing to prevent the little bits of colour showing through. Any thoughts? I’m also a bit worried about the decreases that are coming up, so I’ve slowed WAY down on this.

Cotton sun hat (what? – it’s spring) – I think it’s going to be too small, and I don’t really enjoy this knitting with cotton business, so it’s pretty much at a stand still.

Steve Zissou hat for Martha’s friend in Australia – I started it, but then I ripped it out last night because it wasn’t going the way I’d hoped (plus I was trying to demonstrate things with the yarn). I’m sure I’ll cast it on again soon though!

Baby sweater for another of Martha's friends - I just started knitting a swatch last night because I bought some yarn for it yesterday. It's going to be a mint green sweater. I think it'll be a hoodie, unless I get sick of it in which case I might improvise something for the neck.

That's all (ha!) I'm actually working on right now. There are a couple of projects that are sitting on the far back burners for now... and will be until I get re-enthused about them.

And, since I don't have any knitting pictures to show you, I leave you with a picture of myself at my students association's dinner dance (with my friend Ken whose girlfriend kindly took the picture of us). This is exciting because that's the dress (well, top and skirt) that I made myself, with extensive help from my mom. Isn't the colour pretty! Oh, and you can't see but it's just goes to just below my knees and swings out at the bottom.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Lots of knitting, very little posting

So, since the last time I posted, I finished knitting my version of the Booga Bag. The differences from the "real" pattern? I'm not using the beautiful handpainted Noro Kureyon, but two shades of (surprise!) blue, which I've arranged in stripes from being mostly dark to mostly light. The i-cord for the handles was a challenge. The pattern says to make at least 5-6 feet, but I want significantly longer straps, so I now have... 12 feet of i-cord to felt to make the straps. Crazy, eh? I haven't actually felted it yet (due to not being at my apartment for long enough when the laundry room was open), but hopefully I'll be able to do it soon, and then I'll post some pictures.

I also went shopping with my brother for yarn for his requested Manly Sweater from Stitch 'n Bitch. We picked the Patons Classic Wool (same as I used for the Booga Bag, actually) in exciting grey, white and... BLUE! Mostly grey and blue with a bit of white. We got the yarn last Saturday, and less than a week later I'm more than halfway done the back. I'm not sure if I'm going to post photos of this though, since it is meant to be his Christmas present (see how I'm ahead of the game here? Totally on the ball...). Incidentally, I think I'm in love with this wool. It's a teeny bit scratchy, but it totally doesn't make my wrists hurt, plus, I have some awesome new straight bamboo needles for this project, and I'm loving them! Maybe I can make Rogue with this wool...

I felt so knitterly when I took my Branching Out with me on the subway yesterday. It's so light and portable - what could be better? And then on my way home, I saw it. A big honkin' mistake. I'm pretty sure I missed out a whole pattern row (not in the subway knitting, it's way too long ago for that). I think it's about 1 1/2 pattern repeats ahead of where I am now. Knowing me, I have to fix it. There is no way around it. Type-A knitter that I am, it has to be fixed. Plus, if I didn't fix it, when I work the scarf I would be forever pointing out the mistake to people rather than hiding it like a normal person. There is something about the idea of tinking back 15 rows that makes me want to poke my eyes out with DPNs. How do I figure out what row I was on anyways? Do I just rip it back the whole way and pick up the stitches, or do I slowly, slowly, slowly tink my way back? I'm for sure not going to be doing this for a while, since it will demand full concentration. Rats!

Anyhow, I'd better get back to work. I'm going out tonight with my friend Mary, who just finished her degree (yay!) and my friend Justine, who just finished her exams for the HR program she's taking. I'm quite excited, and right now I have the attention span of a 2-year old. Not an asset when trying to work on a computer. Only half an hour til the weekend!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In which our intrepid knitter learns to cable.

So this weekend I taught myself how to make cables. Not difficult, you say? Perhaps not, but when you don't read any special instructions, it's a bit complicated. I had a stitch pattern to go from, and it just said to put the stitches on the cable needle, put it at the back, knit 3 more stitches, and then knit the 3 off the cable needle. Of course, nowhere did it mention to knit the 3 stitches off the *other end* of the cable needle. I'm not quite sure why I thought it was pointy at both ends but... Anyhow, it doesn't work very well to knit of the same side as you put the stitches onto.

The good news is that it only took me 1 try to figure this out. Then I made two more successful cables one way and another one the other way (the earlier cables are at the bottom of the picture).

In other news, I'm trying to sew (I typed "make" before and then I realized some might think I was knitting these things, which I'm totally not - who knits outfits for summer wedding?) a skirt and top to wear to the various weddings I'm attending this summer. The first attempt at the skirt was thoroughly unsuccessful, but we got a new pattern last week and this weekend I got part way through making a new skirt. So now the exciting deadline is whether or not I will finish the outfit in time to wear it to the first wedding I have to attend, which is on April 23rd. Only 12 days left!

Monday, March 27, 2006


I finished my pink scarf on Sunday! As it turns out, being unwilling to walk around really gives me a lot of knitting time. Yesterday I was feeling sick, so I made all my preparations for getting sick (buying gingerale, checking that I have bendy straws, getting some jello, borrowing kids' books from the library) in the evening, and then I was feeling much better this morning! Thank goodness - I was a bit worried that I picked up some weird disease or plague at the hospital on Saturday (I know - I'm paranoid), but it seems that it was just a brief illness. Although it could still get worse (I just realized that I may have cursed myself with that statement). But I don't think it will.

I've started the matching hat for the scarf now. I cast on Monday morning (before school... I was soaking my foot to prevent an infection and had nothing else to do), and it's getting to the point where I can safely say that I *might* have cast on the right number of stitches. Clearly any time before I try the thing on is too soon to say for sure, but I have a good feeling about this! I'm also a bit excited about coming up with some decreasing for the top since I'm not following a pattern. I have some hat patterns to check out and compare, and I'll modify and moosh them together into some sort of hat top. I'm excited; it should be interesting!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lovely Saturday

My Saturday started out well - I went up to my parents' to do laundry and have my car emissions tested (it passed with flying colours - yay!). In the course of the beginning of my visit I winced when I stepped, and explained to my mom about how my foot was still hurting after stepping on a bit of broken glass a week ago (I dropped a drinking glass, I'm a spaz, I know). She managed to locate the remaining shard of glass that was now located inside my foot (the wound had healed over it - eww!), and I called the lovely Telehealth Ontario line to find out what to do. The nurse said to go to emergency. Crap. Luckily, I had brought my knitting with me! Anyhow, after lunch (clearly not that much of an emergency since I stepped on the glass a week ago), I went over to the hospital. 3 1/2 hours later (pretty good, really, considering how un-emergency-esque my foot was), I left having had my foot anesthetized (ow!), cut into, and the glass removed. The shard was absolutely tiny, incidentally; no wonder I didn't find it when I stepped on the glass. Anyhow, my foot hurts a bit now, and I get to soak it in water 3 times a day until it's healed, but other than that, everything is under control.

In related news, my pink scarf, which was less than a foot long this morning, is now over 32 inches long! I'm sure it'll be done by next week.


Great knitterly progress has been made - I took my subway sock with me when I went out for dinner with my friends Justine, Tara and Rob (who received and liked his hat - dark blue, light blue, and brown, and huge), and after dinner Justine taught Tara to knit (with my encouragement and support!) and we watched a movie, so I got lots of progress done on my sock. In fact, I'm now at the point to start making the heel. The problem is that I read the instructions in the pattern, and it says to use 15 stitches to make the heel flap, and set aside 30 for the instep. Only problem? I have 60 stitches. Was I supposed to have knit two together for a bit or something? Is there something wrong with the pattern? Is there something else I was supposed to do with the other 15 stitches? What's going on?

Other than that, Justine started a lovely feather and fan lace knitting scarf a couple of days ago in a beautiful mohair blend yarn. As it turns out, the first skein worth of knitting was a bit wonky, so we decided to frog that part. Justine undid the cast on and started frogging back. It did not go well. I know you can frog regular knitting backwards, but apparently that doesn't work so well with lace knitting. I ended up taking it apart at the join of the first and second skeins and frogging back from there. Thank goodness it worked! Now the scarf will be lovely and not wonky!

My pink scarf is going well - it's almost a foot long now. I think the fun colour is actually helping me to knit faster - I'm sort of hoping to have it done in a week for when Nikki and I go to Romni Wools! I'm so excited!

Friday, March 24, 2006

The little subway sock that could...

So I've been working on a sock for a while now. To be precise, about a month and a half. Progress is slow. Very slow. There are now 2 inches of ribbing, and about 1 inch of stockinette stitch to said sock. I think the problem has many levels to it:
a) I only knit the sock on the subway. When I'm reading a good book, it comes instead of the sock. Since I read many books, this is not good for the sock.
b) I really, really don't like ribbing. This is no longer a problem, but it was really holding me back before.
c) I'm pretty worried about turning the heel. That's where all the hard part comes in.

You'll notice that I've only committed to making one sock (so far). I figure *if* I finish it and *if* it fits (me or anyone else who likes it), then the time will come to think about making the other one.

In other news, I'm 9 pattern repeats into the branching out scarf. It's still lovely, and I've discovered that I knit it while I "watch" tv, as long as the tv I'm watching is the special features from the Lord of the Rings, because I don't really watch those so much as I listen, and look up when it's important. But, there are still about 28 more pattern repeats to go... so far so good.

I've also started a new scarf for myself, since the one I usually wear will be too bulky for spring. I'm making it out of the same boucle yarn as my existing scarf, but it's not blue... it's pink! Sort of a dusty pink, but for a girl who owns almost exclusively blue yarn, this is a big deal. I bought enough to make a hat and mitts too, but I feel that by the time I finish the scarf, I won't be needing hats and mitts any more (plus, the needles I'd need currently have branching out on them... and it won't be done for a while!). Also bad for the little subway sock - I brought the scarf on the subway with me today...