Sunday, December 15, 2013

Time eating projects!

First- I did complete NaKniSweMo with 50000+ stitches. I have however misplaced my scrap paper that tallies my exact daily counts.

I have spent most of my knitting time working on two projects: the refashion of an old cardigan, and a pair of socks.

The front!
The cardigan is from a old issue of Knit.1 (Ravelry link). It's a boyfriend-type- long with little shaping. I knit it several years ago and early this past fall I noticed the elbow areas of the sleeves were a little thin, plus it has enough stretch that it gaped at the button band. Plus I modified the pattern when originally knit- I knit the sleeves top down- just picking up stitches from the shoulder on the front and back (the design had no sleeve cap shaping- just long trapezoids). However my gauge was off and it was tight around the armholes. So when I decided that it wasn't worth the time and space it took to hand wash and dry flat, I did something.

My original thought was to felt it and make mittens or something... But I follow this blog on clothes refashioning, and thought I could do something similar to this sweater. I knit it out of Paton's Classic wool in black, so procuring more yarn in a matching color wasn't going to be a problem. I ripped out the button band, and the sleeves- salvaging most of the yarn. I washed the sweater and  the salvaged yarn. Then did some math and picked up stitches for a sleeve- after some fancy math and several rip-backs I got a sleeve I liked, then duplicated it.They are looser, which allows me to wear it over long sleeved garments, and the shoulders are less likely to be pulled off my shoulders because of tight sleeves.

I'm having more problems with the button band. Okay, I didn't do enough planning before picking up stitches. The original was an inch and a half of 2x2 ribbing, witch matched the bottom and cuff ribbing. I am keeping the ribbing, but will add shawl collar shaping.  It's something I've never knit, and would like to try on a garment that is mostly an wear-around-the-over-one-hundred-year-old-deafty-house-sweater. In order to keep the intregity of the ribbing, I need to pick-up stitches symmetrically. This requires planning and placing stitch markers evenly around the front to facilitate in the process. I don't really feel like doing that. (/pout) I will get around to it because I need a warm comfy sweater, but for now I'm procrastinating.

The other major project is a pair of socks. I've had two skeins of Kroy FX in my stash for years and thought that they would be great for a free pattern on Ravelry: Scylla. It is a wonderful and wonderfully written pattern, but the colors changed to slowly to highlight the slipped stitches featured on the pattern. I frogged back to just after finishing the tos increases and left it.

After careful consideration, I decided to try my own toe-up sock. I've knit a few pair toe-up, but none of them fit wonderfully. So I'm writing my own. I was told it is similar to a Cat Bordhi pattern-in terms of toe-up shaping. After a quick Ravelry search, I'm considering that a compliment. The instep pattern is reminiscent of light passing through a prisim, you know when light is separated into is respective wavelengths- columns of twisted stitches move across the instep of the sock at different rates. Think back to basic algebra/geometry: slope! rise over run! It's fun. I'm not posting pictures because I'm toying with the idea of tweaking the pattern and trying to get it published.Worth a shot!

Before I get that far I have to complete the set. I finished the first and started the second- though I'm mirroring the pattern. I got half the foot done Friday night-a bout of insomnia kept me up so I took advantage and knit.Also got through the end of season five and the first third of season six of Dr Who.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stitch counts!!

Well, I've been keeping busy with my 1667 stitches a day.

Nov   1: 2016
Nov   2: 2280
Nov   3: 1684
Nov   4: 1848
Nov   5:   704
Nov   6:   201
Nov   7: 1542
Nov   8:   905
Nov   9:   704
Nov 10:   704
Nov 11: 1872
Nov 12: 2112
Nov 13: 2542
Nov 14: 3065
Nov 15: 1204

Total:   23382

That's 23,382 stitches for the first half of the month, only 1,618 stitches short of half done. That averages out to 1558.8 stitches a day, not bad!! What this doesn't account for is that I grafted the toe of my second sock. Wove in ends on the sock and on a pair of leg-warmers. I have yet to sew buttons on the leg warmers, but I have them picked out.

I also stitched some decorative lengths of I-cord for a pair of mitts. That is what brought down the stitch counts after the first week. I have yet to attach the I-cord to the mitts.

Yesterday I bound-off on a cowl I started on Halloween. It's a lovely pattern, Planet X Bandit, available free on Ravelry. (I can't access the site at the moment to provide a link.) I still need to weave in the ends and soak/block it, but I have high hopes it will become a winter weather staple.

Pictures will come in future posts.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaKniSweMo- without the Swe!

There is a group on Ravelry that that hosts an event every November -along side NaNoWriMo. The goal is to knit a sweater (approximately 50,000 stitches) during the month of November: NaKniSweMo.

The theory goes that if you can write a 50,000 word novel in a month by breaking it down into 1667 words a day, you can do the same thing with a sweater. Knit an adult sized sweater in worsted weight yarn doing 1667 stitches a day.

I have competed in years past, without finishing on time. I enjoyed it- but this year I have a really really bad case of knitting ADD. I have half a dozen projects in various states of completion-or lack of, to be specific. Plus I want to cast on a pair of socks for mom, and complete them before it gets too cold.

So I'm going to attempt 1667 stitches a day for the month of November. It's about 30-50% more than what I estimate I normally do in a day. So it will be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.

Stitch count from Nov. 1: 2016 sts on the second of a pair of leg warmers. (My own design)

So far today I've done 1680sts on the legwarmer and about 600 on the heel of a sock.

I also finished grafting the toe of the first sock- and have decided that short row toes are not to my liking. Size 0- needles are too small to do that many short tows that close together and too many stitched to graft at the end of it. I'm using the yarn-over style of short rows, so that may have some bearing on the tediousness of it all.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Today's WIP comes to you on behalf of Sweeterin's Blog Hop.

This WIP has been through many phases. It started ten years ago with the purchase of yarn. Caron Wintinuk-cheap acrylic that was on clearance at the time, but it was my first major yarn purchase and I was getting ready to be a poor college student... I got skeins in navy blue, variegated denim blue, cream and off-white.

Then came the design phase. I had enough to knit a blanket, so I figured find a stitch pattern that was simple, but enough to keep my attention for the span of blanket knitting. I chose a feather & fan pattern, and modified it. I call it garter feather and fan.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: k1, (k2tog twice, yo k4 four times k2tog twice) to last stitch, k1
Rows 3-4: Knit

To make the most of the yarn I decided to do wide stripes. When I mean wide stripes- I meant I knit as much of the skein as possible.  The cream and off-white clashed when I knit them in large blocks, but didn't look bad when knit in two-row stripes. So color stripes went as thus:
Chunk1: (Two rows of cream
two rows of off-white) repeat four rows in feather pattern
Chunk 2: Variegated denim
Chunk 3: Navy
Chunk 4: Variegated denim
Chunk 5: (Two rows of creamtwo rows of off-white) repeat four rows in feather pattern
Repeat chunks two through five.

Ak! A blue striped ghost!

I had enough yarn to do four repeats of "chunk" pattern. However after the third repeat it, the blanket was almost six feet long. So I bound off and wove in the ends. My roommates were awed. That was fall of 2006.  

After years of use, the blanket has stretched wider, making it less long. Shrinkage plus excess yarn still in the stash were major factors in my attempt to lengthen the blanket and de-stash. So in the fall of  2011 I un-did the bind off (and scoffed at how poorly I wove in ends) and put the blanket back on the needles. After one skein (variegated), I got tired of the project and put it back in storage.

When the idea of a WIP themed blog hop came up on Ravelry, I jumped at the chance to take one of my projects out of deep storage. I had to rip back most of the most 'recently' knit skein because I inserted an extra knit row, but since then I have been plowing through it-despite the unseasonably warm temps.

The most recently knitted is on the right, after a washing and use, it will open up like the rest of the blanket (see the cream part).

Monday, August 26, 2013

State Fair Success!!

I live in Minnesota.
I love living in Minnesota. 
One of my favorite things about Minnesota is the State Fair.
One of the best places at the state fair is the creative activities building. That is where they display the crafted goods of Minnesota residents.
This year I submitted items to be judged and (fingers crossed) displayed at the fair.
 I'm really proud of these mittens. A tubular cast on, jogless stripes, and two-tone thumb treatment. Plus I took the time to weave n ends neatly. Handsome Mittens, originally from Interweave Knits Fall 2008. Thumb design is mine- altered from pattern.
First Place Mittens!!

The pink ribbon is fourth place
 Wonderful winter sweater. The pattern is Freyja Sweater from Interweave Knits fall 2009, but available as part of a free e-book in the Knitting Daily community. I knit this almost three years ago, so this was the last chance I had to submit it to the fair, and I'm glad I did.
First item I identified after entering the building!

 My first cookiea socks! Sunshine from her first book Sock Innovation (Amazon link). I'm now a cookiea fan. No ribbon, but because of the bright color, they were easily spotted from just inside the entrance!
traveling woman shawl (Rav link). Lovely pattern, My yarn choice may not have been the best for the pattern, but I enjoyed making it and seeing it displayed!
Tucked in a corner of the main knitting display case

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blog Hop!

Over at the "The Blog Hub" forum at Ravelry someone suggested a blog hop and I decided to join in.

The theme for this hop is WIPS. Yup that's right finishing works in progress.  I can do this. I might even pull out a buried UFO and re designate it as a WIP in order to finish it. Or at least attempt to finish it.

The first project is the eggplant from a counted cross stitch kit. I started it in January and have just been putzing along, but I'm almost done, only a couple of square inches of the bottom left.

I've got a pair of socks and a shawl on the needles that will be finished at the end of the hop. (fingers crossed)

Projects that I hope to bring out of 'deep freeze' are a knitted blanket that I'm extending with the leftover yarn. The Corrie Fair Isle Vest kit from Knit Picks. A wedding quilt that is two years overdue, or at least the top of the quilt.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Checking in

Me-Made-May: I have been able to keep my pledge of wearing one self made garment four days a week for the duration of May. Unfortunately, I have no documentation of said garments. I have realized that most of my self fashioned garments are shirts- blouses, knitted tops (both sewn and hand-knitted), the occasional knitted cardigan. I have only worn one pair of me-made pants. This is because 1)Most of my me-made bottoms are dressier skirts that wouldn't be practical at work 2)The unseasonably chilly weather has kept me from wearing my me-made shorts/Capri's and 3)I have issues making pants that fit well and flatter.

The third reason is something I should, could and will work at changing. I can alter alter sorts of patterns for tops, for both me and my mother (we're shaped differently, have different tastes in clothing, so I use different skills), but I have yet to develop/translate those skills for use on day pants. (Now that I think about it, I can make great pajama pants...)

In knitting news, I finished my first pair of cookiea socks. The pattern comes from her book Sock Innovation and is called "Sunshine". I picked up a good quality bright yellow sock yarn from a local thrift store and thought "what the hey!?" The pattern uses both cables and lace, and I love it! I have several more cookiea patterns in my Ravelry queue.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Me Made May 2013

So I just signed up for the Me-Made-May 2013 at I found it through one of  the blogs I follow. I committed to four self-made garments a week for the duration of May.

What I want to add here is that I will create at least three new ones (probably sewn) during the month.

The blogger talks about how people make items but don't rotate them into their wardrobes. I don't believe I have that problem, but I will definitely find out in the next month.

In other craft related news, I finished Citron, just have to take it off the blocking board and weave in the ends. I used two skeins of Imagination by Knitpicks in the Enchanted Forest colorway. It's a lovely combination of bright emerald greens. Perfect for spring- and the 2013 color of the year by pantone.

I have also turned the heel on the first in a pair of socks, I've only paused to sew together parts of a jacket that's been on the needles for three years. Following a tip from Kniting Daily, I crocheted the side and shoulder seams using a crochet chain. It's nice and firm, much better than trying to sew with yarn and a needle. Hopefully it will make setting the sleeves easy, that's Saturday's big project. I'm excited to see it come together, especially after re-knitting the entire garment in January.

Monday, January 21, 2013

January: Banishing the UFO's

I kinda-sorta made a new years resolution to finish some of the crafty projects that I've had lying about for a while.

Now 'a while' ranges from a month (most recent socks 85% complete) to three years (a lovely spring sweater that has yet to be finished). And that's only the knitting projects. Only two of the knitting projects.

This weekend I finished a blouse for my mom. It took longer than planned because I had to redraft the pattern to fit her tastes in clothing. Also because the cats love taking the pins out of my pincushion, but that is another story. Oh, and I had to copy one of the redrafted pattern pieces because one of the aforementioned cats decided it was tasty and chewed it to bits.

Mom is planning on wearing it tomorrow, and if all goes well I will get a picture and post it. I'm really proud of the craftsmanship I put into this garment.

I guess that is why so many of my projects end up UFO's. I get frustrated or disappointed with the item and set it aside. Bordem is another cause of the size of my UFO pile. Like the nice green acrylic/bamboo sweater I just rescued from the pile. It's mostly garter stitch. Simple, but bo-ring. However as I un-buried it, I realized that in a couple of months it will feel lovely against my skin. (The high today reached a whopping -5*.)

Though I might set it aside to finish the toe on a sock. It's the second sock, and as it will only reach 0* tomorrow, a nice pair of socks will keep me warm on the bus ride to work...