I just can't stop talking about it...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Last post about the sweater. I updated the specs in the previous post with the basics.

Would I knit it again? Yes, definitely! I can see a solid color one in my future but I think it will take a lot longer: mentally AND physically.

What didn't I like about it?

1) Well, the underarms are/were really funky. I realize I forgot to grab a stitch somehow but there was quite the hole there by the time I was done (and the stitch didn't actually drop, it was just there... it was weird). I wasn't sure what the "proper" way to fix it was so I just turned it inside out and sewed it together. It puckers a little but, let's face it, not too many people look at my armpits. Still, I'd like to know why it happened, if it's a normal problem for top-down raglans, and what the real way to fix it is.

2) Knitting the neckline! Third time's a charm, I guess.

3) This is a silly little thing but I wish the pattern would have said bluntly: after you connect in the round, make sure to change colors on the side of the sweater instead of the "ends" where you were changing them before... because then they end up right in the middle of your front and are very noticable. Seemed obvious after the second stripe there but sometimes I'm a little thick and need these things pointed out.

But really, I loved it. I loved knitting it, I loved the challenge, I loved the Olympics and Knitting Olympics, it was a fun two weeks.

Next up: My scarf, which I'm not enjoying. Kurt needs new fingerless mitts too and all I want to do is knit myself another pair of socks. Boo. (You can see what's coming too? Yeah, knitting monogamy be damned...)

Where's my podium?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Thank you for the comments about my camera phone pictures. I'm still a little shocked at the quality too! Definitely makes the purchase seem a more worthwhile. Plus, last night, I realized that my resolution has been on Medium this whole time... wow, so I turned it up to high and took a couple pictures at the show last night. More on that later.

Also in the comments, Jessica asked about the Tubular Bind-Off. I did indeed find a great tutorial online. I have one for the Tubular Cast-On as well, but I think it's bookmarked at work. I'll try to remember to post it on Monday. *edit* Here it is!

And now for what you've all been waiting for... I finished the sweater! The knitting was done Friday night, the weaving in of ends yesterday at Kurt's archery class, and also the *gasp* tacking of the V-neck point. (Marisa, I was scared doing this for a couple of inches so I can't imagine going around a whole hat!) Then I washed and blocked it in time for me to rush out the door to Fargo yesterday for the Winter Carnival.

Is that worth a gold medal or what?

Essential Stripe Sweater from Knit and Tonic in the smallest size
Yarn: Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks in Pumpkin, Hollyberry, Iron Ore, and Mist. Almost two complete balls of Iron Ore and 1+ balls of the others.
Needles: US 7, 29 inch circulars and US 7 DPN's

I'll have to add the specs later (added) or I'll be late for knitting group. Oh, and I'll show you the high-res pics and other surprises about my camera phone tomorrow. For today, I'm going to bask in my Olympic glory. :)

P.S. The completed sweater picture was actually taken with the digital camera, not my phone. It was easier to set up for the timer.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Who needs a digital camera when your phone takes pictures like this?

I finally went out and bought the USB Card Reader for my phones memory card (which is roughly the size of a fingernail). Why didn't I think of getting one of these before? Only $20 and I could have been transferring pics from the digital camera I borrow from work to my computer at home instead of spending my breaks doing it at work and then transferring to home. And now I can just take pictures with my phone.

Here are the ones I took of my Knitpicks order when it finally arrived. You know, the ones I tried to email to myself for $.25 and forgot to attach. Doh. That's Essential sock yarn, and Wool of the Andes for my sweater and winter set.

And lastly, here's one Kurt took of me last night ripping out the cuff of my first sleeve. After careful calculations I knit it up, tried it on several times, and then at the last minute (before binding off thankfully) realized it was STILL too short.

As of this morning one sleeve was done and the other is about six and a half inches from completion. Then reknitting the neckband. I think I'm going to make it! But I'd better get knitting.

The Last Stretch

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This weekend is kind of a blur. I got my tax refund on Friday so there was a bit of shopping had on Saturday and a tiny bit yesterday. No yarn, sadly, it was for useful things I've "needed" during the year, put them on a list, and bought them with my tax refund. Stuff like: a new frying pan, bras (not even fun fancy ones), and a square cake pan. Oh, and an annual eye exam for Kurt with new glasses to come. Oh, and a down blanket... mmm, so warm. Okay so maybe some of it was fun.

Then I went out with some friends and had a gazillion things to do yesterday. So the weekend full of knitting turned out to be just a few hours of knitting. But I did get a lot done. I re-knit the neckline: still looks like crap. Did I mention that I knit it the first time and it looked like crap? Well, it still does. I'm going to rip it out again if I finish the sleeves in time.

Speaking of sleeves, and therefore arms, I have gorilla arms. Not hairy gorilla arms but giant long gorilla arms. I'm going for the long sleeve version (I'd love to do mid-sleeves but they just sort of bug me) and I have 7 and a half inches left. Can you believe that??

Plus, I have to make up the stripe sequence on the arms soon because they'll, obviously with my gorilla arms, be much longer than the sweater is.

But one great thing: the tubular bind-off. I LOVE the tubular bind-off. I hate to admit it, but I forgot about it until I was halfway through binding off the bottom of the body. But it was sooooo worth tinking back and doing it right. Just look at this baby:

Looks just like those sweaters I've heard you can buy at the store. ;)

I hope everyone's Olympic projects are going great. I actually watched quite a bit of Olympics while knitting this weekend and it was fun. The Freestyle ski jumping especially! Hopefully they have some more of that while I knit 7 and a half more inches of sleeves in the next few days!

Action Progress Shot

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Nothing like Olympic knitting to get you posting every day...

Here I am on my lunch break, modeling my sweater.

It's definitely a fitted sweater but so cozy comfy I didn't really want to take it off. As I was putting the stitches back on my circ's I started thinking that maybe I should keep the body stitches on the scrap yarn and pick up and knit the neckline. That way I would have a better idea of how much longer I should knit the body (since the neckline seems to really pull the sweater up and together). But I'm also beginning to worry about running out of certain colors... namely the color I was going to do the neckline in. If I decide at the last minute to make a the mid-sleeve version, is that cheating?

Maybe I should also mention that the only pullover sweater neckline I've ever done looked like shit. I'm kind of scared about that and kind of maybe just want to get it out of the way.

I love how some people are really doing the math on this and I'd like to set some real concrete (and realistic) goals for myself too but... the truth is I'm a bit scared to. So instead I'll just announce that I'd like to have the body and neckline done by Saturday sometime and the sleeves started by knitting group on Sunday. Especially since I'm going to be gone next weekend. It hurts to say that "outloud" but yes, I will probably not be getting ANY knitting done the last 2-3 days of the Olympics.

Okay, now I'm scared. Yipes.

Olympic slow-down

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

There's something getting in the way of my Olympic knitting. It's not like I didn't see this coming. I mean, it's the main reason I really consider this sweater a challenge for Olympic purposes (the actual knitting is pretty mindless). That something getting in the way is Life. Tuesdays and Thursdays are busy at the Red house. Kurt has martial arts classes, I walk/jog on the treadmill, minor grocery shopping sometimes happens, supper needs to be cooked and eaten, violin practiced etc. etc. Last night was no exception. Below I detail the changes Life has made in my knitting:

You might have to click it to see my great Paint-style handwriting. Yeah, I got about 7 rows done last night.

But tonight, there are big plans! To knit!


On another related note: Stephanie, aka the Yarn Harlot, has freaked me out with that countdown ticker on the side of her blog. Did you know the Olympics are already 30% over with? And I barely have half a sweater body! And I'd actually rather not mention: no sleeves, no neck band, and no ends weaved in. (more on ends later)


And last, but not least. I'm so proud of my little brain sometimes. I remembered the spit joining technique in time for the body of the sweater. Not in time for the first half but just looking at these pretty little joins (that don't have any ends to weave in) makes it all okay. (Yes, I realize this is gross but man is it ever helpful.)

Again with the clicky-clicky if you want to see my Paint-talent. Particularly the little sad face by the join-that-couldn't. No one will notice though - it's right under my armpit.

And with that lovely vision, I bid you adieu!

Flash your tools meme

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Now that everyone has probably forgotten about it, I finally got around to the Flash Your Tools meme. I took the picture this weekend (and didn't even think to snap a pic of the beginnings of the sweater) and popped the numbers on today. The box that fits all this junk, I mean, useful stuff is right on top of the number 5. A plain old cardboard checkbox. I can't believe all this stuff fits in there...

1) Rubberbands - remember when I made my own needles and then bent them and tried straightening them out by rubberbanding them together? Yeah, it didn't work. But I do use one rubberband to hold the box shut when I throw it in a bag to go knit somewhere other than on my couch.

2) Bells - I took these off my cats collars when I re-collared them in January. I thought I'd let them get used to the collar first, then the tag, them maybe put a bell on. However, they took their collars off within three days of me putting them on... repeatedly. So they're collarless again.

3) Balls and scraps of yarn - I can't seem to let things go. The balls come in handy when I need a bit of scrap yarn to hold stitches (like when I tried my sweater on last night - I used the dark blue). The scraps have specific purposes. The white one on the right if mercerized cotton so it works great for the crocheted provisional cast-on I use on my socks. The grey/ whiteish one I use to hold my stitches when I'm working a short row heel.

4) Pompom templates - Self explanatory, I think. Handmade cardboard templates.

5) Elastic/ grocery list/ scribbled notes about knee-highs. You know, I scribble on whatever is closest at the time, it works.

6) Scissors - I love these. I love them so much I don't even fold them back up unless I'm putting them in my pocket.

7) Stitch holders - Yeah.

8) Crochet hooks - Provisional cast-on, picking up stitches, etc. etc. I inherited most of my crochet hooks (I have a ton more) from my Grandma when she had to quit due to her eyesight.

9) Seam ripper - I have no idea why this is in my knitting box. I should put it away.

10) Tape measure - Uh-huh.

11) Stitch markers/ Row counter/ Darning needle - Also all inherited from my Grandma. The row counter is the coolest because it has a little tape measure inside that pulls out to measure rows.

12) Pen and pencil - I use these when I'm not typing on a computer.

And that's it. My tools.

Quickie post...

Monday, February 13, 2006

My big plans for Olympian knitting have been a bit scaled. Or rather, my big plans for documenting my Olympian knitting. Here I am, Day 4, having just taken the first pictures of my progress.

I cast on around quarter of six on Friday evening, while watching Akira Kurosawa's Dreams with my son. Beautiful, beautiful short films. I hadn't realized some would be so heavy and dark though... thank goodness the implications (nuclear explosions, radiation sickness, pollution, etc.) were almost completely lost on my son. I think our favorite was the one where a man steps into Van Gogh's paintings in order to talk to the master, played by Martin Scorcese.

Then, promptly at 7:00 pm we turned the movie off to watch the Olympics opening ceremonies. But... we got bored. So we switched between those and The Parent Trap, newer version. I like the old one better.

My goal for the sweater was to get the raglan increases completed and have it connected in the round in time for knitting group on Sunday. But with bread baking Sunday morning and house cleaning and laundry I barely managed to scrape by with connecting it in the round right before bed last night. But I did it!

At times, I've wondered if I chose a project that wasn't quite challenging enough. It seems to be flying by, and the stripes seem to make it go faster than if I had just done it solid. But it wasn't all smooth sailing. I have to admit I have been challenged, if only because of my slow little brain. I changed the first red color from the Cranberry to Hollyberry and now, even though I really like how it looks, I almost regret it. The colors are a little funky but everyone assures me it's beautiful. I had a couple short frog sessions and at least two tink back an entire row sessions. But last I left it, it was smooth sailing. Boring stockinette, reading-while-I-knit, sailing. Let's hope there's more of that tonight.

I hope everyone's Olympics are going well! I know Jessica hit a few snags. Might have just been sitting-next-to-the-Yarn-Harlot nervousness though. Just kidding, Jessica! It's more likely a bit of Debbie Bliss's fault. You should hop over to her blog and cheer her on!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

No I haven't taken a picture of my scarf yet. I've done three repeats of the final (did I say final?) cable pattern but I'm still not satisfied with the cast on edge. I keep hoping it will look better blocked but I know that's a heartbreaking way to think because... what if it doesn't?

In order to distract you, I have a link to the first news piece about the Knitting Olympics. It makes me grin to think I'm part of something this huge. It's fun, isn't it?

Training.... Commence!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My knitpicks order arrived on Saturday. Out of curiousity I decided to check my math, thinking that it arrived on the 14 day mark. Um, no, it arrived on the 17 day mark. So I guess I wasn't antsy for nothin'!

But it DID arrive. And in time for the Olympics! Whew. So I swatched this weekend for my Essential Stripe with my lovely misty colored Wool of the Andes. I was shocked to find that my stitch gauge was perfect but my rows are just a teensy bit shorter. Row gauge is 23 rows over 4 inches and I had 24. But I'm not too worried. I might just end up with an extra row or two of one color in there every once in awhile to even it out.

As for the beautiful yarn that I've just been drooling over here's a pic:

Oh, that's right. I took pictures with my shiny new camera phone but when I emailed them to myself I realized I forgot to attach them. Whoops. Guess I might need to consult my owner's manual after all.

Pictures on hold until I either figure out this phone (I really want to know how they look as a regular picture and not on a teeny tiny screen) or I get some with the digital.

After swatching, I jumped in and got started on my scarf. And then I frogged and jumped in again. And then I frogged and jumped in again. Or maybe I was just jumping in the pond during all my spare moments yesterday because as of last night when I went to bed the pretty Hollyberry yarn was absent from my needles once again. I started with a variation of the Irish Hiking Scarf but I didn't like my changes so I tried something else. Then finally I decided just to give in and knit the Irish Hiking Scarf as is: sort of boring three cables. But I couldn't decide on a Cast On. I think I'll check out the Knitalong and see what others have done and give it another go tonight.

Just had to share...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

So I finally attempted (for the second time) to put some elastic in my knee-highs last night. I wore them today to test it out and they actually stay up! I'm very excited and my feet are very happy.