Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lace Rib Tank

That's a less than enticing photo below, but some of you may recall this project from last summer. This tank was started last August when I visited my mother in Atlanta and after I finished the first side, I put it down and didn't start the second side until I was leaving Atlanta this summer. Too funny, the circle of life.

Now, I'm finished knitting the body and one strap, just have one more strap to go. I'm at the point where I just want to finish it, but not really that enthused to do so. My head is being turned by many lovely new projects, but I feel a round of finishing coming up soon. This time the lace pattern and I really jibed and I zoomed through the body of it, but left the straps for 2 weeks. Finally this past weekend I picked it back up and worked on one side and finished it quickly. This project also requires seaming, but I haven't done that in awhile, so I suppose I'll have my chance.

Right now the knitting has been focused almost exclusively on the Sockapalooza socks. I did finish the first sock and am now on the heel flap of the second one. While this is no contest and I'm not the fastest knitter, especially with knitting socks, I think it's the Thuja pattern that keeps me going and I know that I need to finish these soon. The sooner I get them done, then I can move on to other sock patterns I want to try and the deadline monkey will be off my back.

Also, I finally got motivated to finish DFS and I worked on it for an hour or so two nights ago. I've only got this one repeat, 20 rows to finish. Now down to about 15. I'm trying to knock it out too. This knit has lingered a bit too long and while I desire the finished object, I'm also ready to finish it. The love is definitely not gone, but it needs to be on my shoulders and not smooshed in a bag. I also want to cast on for new lace and I have decided to allow myself to have more than one lace project, but I can have one shawl and one stole. I have yarn already wound for the next shawl, so I better get cracking on this one.

I'm sure you won't see a blog post from until next week as I'm preparing to go up with my girls to our knitting camp this weekend. Hopefully I can finish up a few things while there!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mystery Stole Dropout

In one of my joiner moments, I signed up for Mystery Stole 3. Hmm, it was sort of surprising that I did this, as it is totally against my nature. I love reading mysteries, but don't want to knit something that I don't already know what the finished item will look like. Because I had some lace gifted to me last year by my Lace Swap Pal, I thought this would be good to appropriate to Mystery Stole. But as I have about 1800 yds, I do feel I should use it on a shawl that uses a lot of yarn.

As I began knitting on MS3, so excited for my first clue, I was a bit surprised at how long it took for each row and these are not huge rows as it's a stole, not a triangular shawl that grows each row. I've gotten up to row 80 on the first clue, but I'm not feeling it. As I see others finished (up to clue 2 or 3), I don't really like the design. Nothing wrong with the design, it's just not my preference. M looked at one and labelled it a "table runner". It does sort of resemble one, but it just doesn't float my boat.

It's interesting on the list b/c someone said they didn't really like this design and decided to stop knitting it. Another list member said this was like a lace knitting workshop and that the person should finish it and give it to charity if they don't like the finished result and everyone had to determine what they wanted from the knitalong, her goal was to challenge herself. Obviously everyone can do whatever they want, but that response sort of chapped my hide. I totally disagree that you should just finish something because you started it, that's ridiculous in my book. It's a beautiful design, but not one that I would choose. Just because it's given to me, doesn't require my finishing it. Knitting Mystery Stole isn't for me to challenge myself. It's a more advanced lace design and I guess I don't feel the need to challenge myself with this. I actually feel like I challenged myself working on DFS.

So Mystery Stole is a mystery no longer. It's been ripped out and I'm ready to start some new lace. I'm in a mood for socks and lace right now, probably due to the heat. No desire for tanks right now, just lightweight, portable projects.

Above is a pic, but not a great one for Mystery Stole, as it wasn't pinned out. Sorry for the crappy shot, but I don't much care as it's all gone now.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sock Knitting Palooza

Hey all,

I've fallen off the deep end of the earth this week, reading more than knitting, although there has been knitting too. I'm on my second book this week and some nights have found me curled up with a book instead of knitting.

Lately, I've been a bit of a joiner. I signed up for round 4 of Sockapalooza, perhaps idiotically, but I participated in Round 2 and it was a good experience, so I'm chancing it once again. I've really be in a socks and lace mode as of late. My pal says that she prefers fall colors and I took that to mean oranges and reds. After further re-reading her information, I realized I didn't pay attention to the part that also mentioned her idea of fall colors was oranges, but also reds, blues and greens. Yikes! The colors I chose were more oranges and browns, so none of those other colors. I guess this should teach me to pay more attention to the full text of an email.

I contacted my pal to see what preferences she had in terms of cables, texture, stitch patterns or lace and she was pretty open to anything, which is good. I kept thinking I would do one of the new sock patterns I've seen on the web, but I also ended up switching yarns at the last minute. I started to use my Brick House Fearless Fibers yarn as socks for my Sockapalooza pal, but then realized that I think the yarn is pretty, but is very fine. I cast on for 72 stitches and honestly the love was not there to knit those socks and to also do it quickly as these socks need to be finished and mailed by the beginning of August and I'm casting on the 1st week of July. Yeah, a bit of a time crunch.

So new yarn to the rescue, Fortissima Socka mit Bambou. I saw this at one of my local LYSs and picked it up. Cast on shortly thereafter and by Monday of this week, I'd completed ribbing and started the heel flap. The colors in the skein were not indicative of a pattern, if any. I'm not 100% convinced I like it, but this is the final yarn as I'm not switching again. The bamboo gives the sock yarn a softer hand, but it is splitty like a mofo. No fun that.

I'm using a tried and true sock pattern favorite, Thuja. Man, do I love this sock pattern, so simple, but has a nice effect. I might even use this for socks for M. He's been hinting lately for a pair of socks.

Then, because I couldn't just have one pair of socks on the needle and for someone else, I had to immediately cast on for socks from my wonderful coffee swap pal, Kathy. I've cast on for a pair of short socks, not really anklets, but with a 4 inch cuff, some shortish socks with a K3, P2 ribbing (not exactly sure why I did that) with Sockotta. I like how the yarn is knitting up. I've dubbed them my Lemon Ice socks. I'm knitting them with 60 stitches on size 2 needles. This is really information for me, in case I forget by the time I cast for the second sock (ha!). Also, because it is the Summer of Socks, I obviously had to have new socks on the needles to count towards it, right? :-)

That's it for now chicas. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ballet Camisole revealed

Thanks for all the well wishes for M2. He really enjoyed reading them and was surprised that so many people that didn't "know" him would send him birthday wishes. He definitely enjoyed his 14th this year. And is attempting to act more maturely too! Yay for us.

The weekend went by too quickly as usual. A lot of time was spent on the Mystery Stole 3 (yeah, I signed up too this year). But I'm still so slow and behind. Anyhow, I've got something else to show you. FOs abound in this household lately.

Let me present to you a top I'm very pleased with. Knitting Ballet Camisole was fairly easy, but I decided to add short rows in the bust area.

If the pictures look a little wonky, sorry about that. I played around with the tripod and automatic timer feature on the camera. I took several photos and selected the best, as it were, but they are definitely not a substitute for having a photographer of the bf taking the photos for me.

A side view of the Ballet Cami, showcasing my faux "side seams"

Another view of the Cami:

Pattern: Ballet Camisole
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport
Needles used: US 6 (4 mm needles)
Start: end of May 2007
Finish: June 24, 2007

Modifications: for the most part, I knit this pattern as written. It was in the round, top-down, which is one of my favorite methods. However, another knitter on Ravelry admitted that she wished she'd added short row shaping at the bust. Since it's something I've wanted to try and understand successfully, I decided to incorporate it into this pattern. I also planned on having the knitting done up to the armholes before I went on vacation, but that didn't happen. I was forced to figure it out myself. Luckily for me, the internet is always open. Thanks to Bonne Marie and Lucia's tutorials, I was able to figure it out. I was ever so pleased with myself. I am typically not the the type to figure out things by pictures alone. I tend to prefer to have someone show me, usually just figuring out by a book method doesn't "stick" with me and I don't grasp the concept as clearly. I guess determination won out this time. So much so, I'm ready to incorporate bust shaping in another project soon.

That's pretty much it for this project. A quick and easy knit and it fits well, so I'm chuffed!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy 14th!

Today marks the birthday of my stepson, aka M2. He is 14 today. A little older, a lot taller, perhaps somewhat wiser? I'm so proud of the person he's becoming.

Happy Birthday M2! Let the festivities begin!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Opal socks finally completed

Yikes, these Opal socks went on forever. Granted, they were my "to-go" project, that mainly sat underneath the passenger front seat and got a few rounds worked on while waiting at appointments and such, so it was never a high priority sock. Although nearing the end of the school year, I simply could not focus on anything other simple stockinette socks. I did a lot of wrong things on these socks, but in the end, I think they're ok. They pretty much comforted me through the semester and gave me relief from the stress of class and what ifs. When I couldn't concentrate on my research, it was easy to knit a few rows of stockinette, always so soothing to this tired mind. At one point, I thought I should turn the heel, as I usually knit socks with a 5 1/2 to 6 inch cuff, but not much longer than that. Instead, after the 6 inch mark, I kept knitting and knitting b/c I needed the stockinette. Turning the heel isn't terribly difficult and I've done a million times before, but once I knit the heel flap, turned the heel and then picked up stitches, I'd have to pay attention to my decreases for awhile, whereas if I kept knitting, I didn't have to think about it.

I finally turned the heel and went on finished the first sock while in Boston. I proudly showed my finished socks (one each of Horcrux and the Opal socks) to Julia, while having brunch in Boston. She happened to ask me if my feet were tiny, then I realized that I decreased for the toe about two-three inches too soon and the foot while snug, did fit, but not very comfortably.

I duly cast on for the second sock and knitted happily away and then lost one of my needles while in Boston. Cyn kindly lent a pair of her dpns and I continued on knitting away. At one point back in Denver, I decided I didn't want the metal needles anymore and I picked up a pair of wooden dpns and switched to them. Except what I didn't realize was the needles I'd used to knit the socks initially were US size 1s (2.25 mm) and the needles I switched to were US 1.5s (2.5 mm). I noticed the sock fabric was a bit looser than I normally like and wondered what the cause could be and then realized the needle size was different. All of this long story to say, I finally finished them and went back and fixed the first toe, so now I can wear that sock too.

Whew, here they are:

Pattern: Basic stockinette socks, no pattern
Yarn: Opal sock yarn (about 5 years in the stash)
Started: January '07
Completed: July 3, 2007
Modifications: every one in the book

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Wonderful Package

I had a wonderful coffee swap partner, Kathy. This was quite the fun swap, actually knowing who your partner is. We kept in contact and I received my package from Kathy on Monday evening.

It certainly brought a smile to my face when I opened the package.

Once I opened it, I found lots of wonderful treats inside. A wild blueberry scone mix, a container of Hit Cookie, Creme Brulee flavored coffee (creme brulee is my favorite dessert, so I'm looking forward to having some of the coffee soon), a knitting diary and of course, yarn! Enclosed were two skeins of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (in a color I love) and it's so soft. And a skein of Sockotta. This is a cotton/wool/nylon mix and a sock yarn that I've not yet knit with before. The sock yarn is in colors I would normally not choose, but yet I was immediately in love with. These will make a great pair of summer socks!

Thanks again Kathy!