Thursday, January 17, 2008

I've transferred this blog to

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Finishing is Hard

It's been really foggy lately, even though it's been a littler warmer. Daffodils are even blooming, although I can't remember where I saw them. Spring always seems to come earlier than I expect it to. I guess that's because of the extremely long growing season in the Northwest. I've been finishing up writing a pattern, and debating whether to finish some of my unfinished projects. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether it's worth it. Mostly I have this problem with sweaters, and I am not sure whether it'll look good, and if it's worth my time. A lot of times I'll finish something and I still can't tell if it looks good or not. I can always spot things that I'd redo. Hopefully, that's helping me become a better knitter, and not just being a better perfectionist.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First Year Socks

I finished these Spey Valley socks, using Knit Picks Essential tweed, in Inca Gold. I also have the blue tweed, and the brown feels more substantial, which is weird. I hope the Essential holds up well, since I have a bunch of it. I don't care if it pills, just that it doesn't wear through. I don't think I'm that hard on socks though, since even my cheap store bought socks last for years. I've started the other Conwy sock, and now I remember why I didn't want to do the other one. The pattern turn out nice, but it's annoying to do the twisted stitches. I have to finish 3 more single socks before I'm allowed to do anything else.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last Finished Projects

I figured these two projects would be the last of 2007. I actually wanted to finish a pair of Spey Valley socks I'm working on, but I just didn't have enough time. I did finish these two projects, the Puff Sleeved Feminine Cardigan from Fitted Knits, and the quilt. I used about 7 balls of Knit Picks Merino for the sweater and size 6 needles. I lengthened the sweater a little bit. I think I'm going to redo the neck, and make it shorter. But the sweater fits well, and it was a good simple project. The quilt I've been working on is done now. I think I started it in March or April, and then it sat for a while until I put on the back. My sewing machine has a hard time sewing a straight line lately, so the quilting and binding isn't great. I think for my next quilt, I'm going to do a sampler, so I don't have to do the same pattern over and over.
I've been designing a sweater lately, so that's been taking up most of my time. I found a good webpage for calculating decreasing, increasing, and other stuff. It's hard trying to figure out the math equations for some of that stuff. So this makes it a lot easier. For the next year, I want to finish all my single socks, and all the WIP's I've got now. It's starting to be a lot, so I can't start any until they are done. I also want to knit from stash for the whole year, which is definitely possible. I have a couple of projects lined up that will use size 2 or 3 needles, and that alone will take time. I also want to try designing more, doing more crochet, and doing a lace project. I also want to do more artwork. This year, I ended up doing a lot more knitting than anything else. I want to try focusing less on one thing. Well, those are my goals for next year, with knitting from stash being the most important. I will force myself to do that one. I just can't look at sales posted on Knitty or Ravelry, and I should be fine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Short Sleeved Winter Cardi

I have been working on designing a pattern for a while, so most of my other projects have been put aside. But I was tempted into starting a new one, as a quick project. I started the Short-sleeved Cardigan from Fitted Knits, in Patons Shetland Chunky Tweed. I'm not sure about this yarn, because it has acrylic in it. But I thought a bulky 100% wool sweater wouldn't be useful for more than a month or two in my climate. I just need to make quick, simple projects when I working on more difficult stuff. So far, I added short rows to the back, so it will be a little longer. I've noticed the front always sits too high and the back too low, with the top down raglans. I also didn't want to use the yo increases. I had plans to make some socks as a Christmas present, and ordered yarn in October. But I guess it was on back order, because I still haven't heard anything from the online store. I wanted that particular kind of yarn, then I ran out of time, so even if could choose another yarn, I wouldn't be done in time.
I don't really like to celebrate Christmas anyway. It would be nice, if there weren't the frenzy of buying presents. I like the idea of a winter holiday to celebrate the solstice, and to celebrate with friends and family, but I hate that it only seems to be about a shopping frenzy. A week after Christmas, the same products and sales are still there, and they are coming up with new reasons for us to shop again. Valentine's Day, Easter, etc. It cheapens the whole holiday. I guess I would feel differently if the traditions of Christmas were ones my family had practiced, but we didn't, so I don't associate them with my own life. I only see them in the media, as an advertisement, so I don't relate to it. Other people might see the whole thing differently, and not be so bothered by the media advertisements. I don't like that the media seems to tell us what we should be doing, and we all have to do the same thing, and decorate our houses and everything in the same way. I wish there more regional holidays, where each state or area celebrated a holiday differently, and there was a lot more diversity. That would be really interesting.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Unintentional Christmas Socks

I started this sock in October, I think, and was making pretty good progress on it. I'm halfway down the foot by now, on the first sock. The pattern is Roza's Socks from Spring 2007 Interweave Knits, and I'm using Knit Picks Bare. I dyed it with Kool aid, using tropical punch and lime green, and a small amount of lemonade. I like the way the colors are coming out. It's difficult to see in a photo, but in each color section, there are bits of the other colors too. I'm working on another project that due on Christmas, so I haven't done anything else lately. It burns me out to work on one project exclusively. I don't even like reading one book at a time. Another exciting thing is that I finally got the Knit Picks Options needles, which are much better than the ones that I had. I tend to use a lot of cotton, and it's so much smoother with the metal needles. Using bamboo with cotton is just too hard on my hands.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Good Luck Cats

I have been working on a bunch of different projects sporadically. Right now, I've got two socks in progress and four sweaters. They are on hold while I finish some Christmas stuff. Two of the sweaters are cotton and they were kind of hard on my hands. I'm using Cotton Ease for both of them, which I like, but it definitely isn't as nice to knit with as wool. I got some new Dream in Color Smooshy, in Strange Harvest and Good Luck Jade, and it's hard to keep myself from casting on another project. I like the muted colors.
I at least want to finish two of the sweaters by the end of winter, so I'll have to wait to cast on. I also was looking back at the first sock I did, Baudelaire, and realized it was too big. It seemed okay at the time, but now after making a few others, I realize it could definitely fit tighter. With that pattern, I originally started with the size large, and now will end up at size small. It's always hard to tell how well something will fit, even if you do know your size. If I could somehow knit two sizes at the same time, then try them both on, that would help. But, I really liked those socks, so I don't mind doing them over. A lot of the patterns I have lined up are top down, so those will be a nice change.
I happened to get this picture of my cats, which I thought was funny. They like to lick each other's ears, for some reason.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monkeys are Truly Done

I hadn't realized it's been a month since I posted anything. I've been busy, but also nothing seemed interesting enough to post about. In fact, I've been knitting, but none of that seemed really exciting. I've been trying to finish all the lone socks I've got, so I can actually wear them, but it is somewhat less interesting the second time around. I've actually worn some of the socks I've made which is interesting. I do notice the difference between my store bought socks, which is that the other ones feel softer, but fit differently. I guess I'm used to the elastic in the store bought socks. Anyway, here is a picture of my Monkeys, which took forever, because I had to reknit the first one. I didn't follow the rule about using the exact same needle for both socks, even if it technically says they are the same size. These fit well, except they fall down a little bit when I wear them. I haven't blocked them, so I wonder if it's just the lace trying to scrunch back up. I'm now trying to finish my Spey Valley socks from Knitting on the Road, and it should be faster, once I get past the patterned cuff.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Swatching Starsky (but not Hutch)

I started working on Starsky from Knitty, and have been learning how to cable without a needle. I used these directions, and it is so much easier. For some reason, I kept thinking it would be a lot more difficult, and now I wonder why I wasn't doing it sooner. So far the pattern is working, except for the gauge. My gauge seems to be the same, yet it's turning out kind of small. I'm doing the medium size and hoping it to be around 41", but the back is about 19", so I don't know what's happening. I'm going to try washing my swatch and then measuring. I actually swatched this time with two different needles, size 9 and 10, to make sure I got the right gauge. But I must really tighten up my knitting when I do the actual project, or something. Hopefully I won't have to start over and knit the large size. I'm using Cascade Ecological Wool, which I really like. It's soft, but seems like it'll be strong.
I also finished a Waving Lace sock, using Merlin the cat bamboo sock yarn. I like the yarn, but I think I should have used a solid color with this pattern. It is pretty much lost with the bright colors. I don't really want to rip it out, though.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

I went to a knitting group for the first time on Thursday night. I didn't really know about any in my area. But I found out about one and had some time in my schedule. It was way in kind of an odd place, but I guess it's hard to book rooms in this town. I was surprised to hear that to book a room in the library, it's $50 an hour. In any case, it was interesting actually seeing other people knit in person. I rarely see anyone knitting in public and don't know any other knitters. I also got this new wool and mohair yarn, which is unlike anything I've got in my stash.

It' s also Blog Action Day for the environment. I was glad to hear that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with some other scientists, for their work on global climate change. I recently got a bus pass, and am trying to use the bus more often. I didn't own a car for a long time, but now that I own one, I start to get in the habit of driving everywhere. Another thing I want to start doing is reducing the amount of trash I produce. I think if I just buy less packaged food, a huge part of it is reduced. Some things seem to be ridiculously packaged, where each individual thing is inside another package, so I don't get stuff like that. The last thing I want to do is just to buy fewer things. A lot of environmental problems come from buying stuff without really needing to, and then just throwing it away, like plastic water bottles or disposable coffee cups.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Left Handed Trials

I started knitting using my left hand to hold the yarn, so I can eventually knit faster. Once my tension started to improve, it did seem easier to switch between knit and purl stitches. When I first started, my tension was horrible, so the knitting looked really uneven. Here is an example. It looks more puffy and uneven in real life, so I'll have to redo both fronts of the cardigan. It's Bianca's Jacket from Fall 2006 Interweave Knits, and I'm using Lion brand Cotton Ease. I actually redid the back too, because my tension was off, which is frustrating. But, I picked this project because it had so much stockinette, and wanted to practice using my left hand. I want to do more fair isle knitting, but it always bugged me that my left hand felt so awkward. Other than that, I've been knitting socks. Single socks only. It's so hard to start knitting the mate, after already doing the project. I don't understand how some people say it takes them only about 3 or 4 days to knit a pair of socks. It seems like it's been taking me months to knit just one sock.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thousands of Quilted Triangles

Quilt square
Originally uploaded by sphilange.
I've been working on this quilt for months now. I decided I don't like sewing up triangles, so it took me a long time to work on this quilt. Now, it's almost finished, and I just having the actual quilting part. My sewing machine won't do free motion quilting, so I usually just outline the squares. Some of the areas don't work out as well, but so far, this is the most complicated quilt I've made. This is one example square. On the next quilt, I've decided just to do a sampler quilt of all different squares. It's less tedious and I think it would be interesting to try to fit all the different squares together.