Thursday, September 27, 2007

You spin me right round, baby.

I have come to the conclusion that Di.Ve Teseo is my favorite scarf yarn. It has to be, or I wouldn't keep going back to it. I might have to do another one before the season's out.

As mentioned, I finished John's One-Row Scarf the other day, and am starting to swatch for the convertable mittens I'm planning. You know-- the kind where the part that covers your fingers folds up so you can do stuff without taking them off. Once I've figure out how to make this pair, I might do a pair for myself. I lost mine ages ago and miss them. They're pretty wonderful-- all the warmth of mittens without that pesky "muppet hands" problem. A word of warning however; they are awful in a snow fight.

Beyond that, I'm having some issues with project monogamy lately. I started Uzume, then set them down right at the toe of the first one and haven't picked them up again, mainly because I think I started shaping the toe incorrectly and don't want to sit down and fix it. Then I cast on and knit about seven inches of my Orbit Lace thingywhatsit, but began to suspect that it was a stupid idea to knit something that's rather summer-y when we're heading into fall. Now I've swatched (yet again), cast on, and knit the first couple of inches of the Currently Un-named Cardigan. What is wrong with me!?

I think I may force myself to sit down and rip back the Uzume socks so I can get back to working on them. I'm knitting them for a friend, and although she isn't aware that I'm knitting socks for her, I can't help but feel like I'm blowing her off by setting them aside.
I only have my mother to thank. She's gotten so good at giving guilt trips she's trained me to give them to myself!

Monday, September 24, 2007

There will soon be more projects thrown into my little knitting queue, since I found out today that my new sibling is going to be a boy!* I had been waiting to find out, mainly because I'm not the biggest fan of baby gifts in yellow. In fact, is there any other color people use for the non-gender specific? Cause yellow kind of makes me want to yack.

So now I have this overly ambitious plan to make a baby blanket, booties, and possibly a tiny sweater of some sort (in addition to all the other planned projects) by the time the baby is born, sometime around early December. It's a good thing I have no life these days!

I don't plan to give any of these to my father and his wife for a little while, however. There's been complications pretty much all along the way, some so bad my dad's wife had to be hospitalized for days at a time, so we're all taking a rather cautious approach for the time being. Nonetheless, I can't help but get stoked when I see all the cute baby patterns and now have a reason to make them.

*Don't worry, I'm very well aware of how odd it is, getting a new sibling at 25 years old. Luckily, I've had a bit of time to come to terms with the fact that my family is kind of odd.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bound off the Orange You Glad scarf tonight. Didn't do a whole hell of a lot else, because....

You see, the Boy snores. Most of the time I'm used to it (hell, we've been together a couple of years, according to most we're psuedo-married, I should be used to it by now.) But last night, E was atomic-snoring. I'm suprised he didn't wake up El and J, our friends/next-door neighbors. To be fair, I was also having a hard time quieting down my brain (which makes it doubly hard to sleep), but every time I would come close to falling asleep-- you know, that odd space between sleep and awake, just before you fall asleep for real-- E would launch one of his buzz-saw snores and jar me awake again.

So all I did today was work, then nap until it was time to go to my friend Dale's birthday outing.
But I fixed the Orbit Lace project last night. Apparently I casted on 56 stitches too many. Thats right, 56 stitches. I don't do math nearly as well as I thought I did, which is sad because it's one of my favorite parts of knitting. The whole mathematically-figuring-out-how-to-create-three-dimentional-objects-with-pieces-of-string-and-a-couple-of-sticks is what started me knittting in the first place. I blame it on my physics teacher.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Plans and progress

I figured out what E did with the camera batteries. He lost them in Alaska. No camera for me until I buy new ones!

I had planned to go into work to do some things yesterday, but when I woke up I promptly decided that work could go to hell and spent the rest of the day knitting and watching football.

I decided to take a break from Uzume in favor of the orange scarf I'm working on for my friend John. I had ripped the whole thing out after deciding that I didn't like my stitch pattern I had come up with-- despite my efforts, it still tended to roll just the tiniest bit, ie. just enough to annoy me. Instead, I'm using Stephanie McPhee's One-Row Scarf pattern, alternating skeins for a bigger stretch between color changes. (I wanted gradual color as opposed to stripes. It seems to be working.)

I also set to work planning my first cardigan. After what felt like a mile of swatching using different needle sizes, I think I've hit on the right gauge for my currently untitled project.* Knit on 7's, the fabric was rather thick and would have made an awesome jacket type thing, but I lack enough yarn to do that. Size 8's were neither here nor there, but 9's seemed to create the perfect fabric for the warm-but-not-heavy feel I'm trying to acheive. When I finished and announced that the swatch was done, E asked, looking mildly shocked, "That's a swatch?" (by this point it was about 11 inches long. I think he thought I was knitting a sleeve or something.) "Why would you spend so much time knitting something you're just going to take apart later?" he got the "importance of swatching" speech. He took it better than most knitters do.

*I should create a symbol for it and call it the Sweater Formerly Known As a Cardigan. Or SweFKAC for short.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

If I could only figure out where E put the rechargeable batteries, I'd be able to document my progress. Sometimes he has this habit of just putting things in random places that don't make a whole lot of sense, atleast to me.

As if I wasn't already busy with work, I made myself a little busier by adding in another project.

We've been wanting to install a desk in one of the closets ever since we bought the condo, which happened to be six months ago yesterday. Fast forward six months and one day, and our second bedroom is still full of boxes and barely useable. We had the desktop, we had the wood to install it, we just needed to cut everything down to size and put it in.

We kept talking about borrowing a saw from one of our friends that has one, but I started to realize that at this rate it would be another six months before we got it done. So I went out and bought my very own circular saw, a stud finder, and a couple of sawhorses and set to work.

I cut three 1x2's to attach to the wall inside the closet. Then I cut down a little off the sides of my desktop, as it was just a hair too big. After lots of measuring, lots of checking with my level and lots of using my handy dandy studfinder, I screwed the braces into the wall and rested my desktop on top. My cuts are a little wobbly (I blame it on not having used a circular saw in six years. ), and it seems like it's probably going to need a center crossbrace underneath before I start putting heavy things like books and my sewing machine on it, but otherwise I was pretty proud of having done it pretty much by myself. (E did take the closet doors off while I was busy cutting the top, but everything else was done by me.)

So there I stood, basking in my own handy-ness, when it started to occur to me that the whole thing looked a little bit.... tall. E and I had figured out exactly how tall we wanted this desk to be-- 28 inches high seemed like it would accomodate both him and I comfortably-- and I had measured EXACTLY 28 inches. But it still seemed to be a little bit higher up than I had thought.

I sat there scratching my head and being confused for a second until E walked up and asked, "Why is it 32-inches high instead of 28?". Then it dawned on me---

All that meticulous measuring and remeasuring and leveling and checking had been done 28 inches from the top of our 4-inch baseboards.

It's starting to grow on me however. I might just leave it that way and get a taller chair.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Note to self: Dead camera makes for boring, picture-less posts.

I think I've found my pattern for the Strikke-Along -- Hello Yarn's Pirate Mittens. While not at all traditional, they would be my first major stranded project*, so I think that will do. And they're probably going to be rather warm, so atleast I'll meet the criteria!

I made some pretty good progress on the Uzume socks, then hit a no-knit zone. Work has been kicking my butt-- twelve hour days, twice the business we normally do, and all of it physically and mentally taxing--- so thinking about anything when I got home was pretty much out of the question. Mostly I just laid around until I could work up the energy to climb the stairs to bed.

To make up for it, I've been reading and planning. I had been trying to come up with a cute (and complicated) cardigan design once I figured out the the Tangled Yoke was going to be a no-go without buying more yarn, but I decided instead to go with something pretty simple. Since I plan to do complicated (for me) things with other projects, I like the idea of a simple cardigan. I'm taking some ideas from my favorite store-bought cardigan, the one that is very rapidly falling apart from too much wear. I'm thinking a very deep 1x1 rib bottom, stockinette bodice, with maybe a little bit of fun detailing here and there.

As for reading material, I stopped by Barnes and Noble, originally searching for Poems of Color (no luck) and noticed that the Vogue Stitchionary books were 50% off! I spent yesterday evening perusing volumes 1 and 2. Some of the cables are giving me ideas for future projects, but for now the current line up looks like this:

-Uzume socks
-Pirate Mittens for Strikke-Along
-Scarf/mitten set-- I originally was just making up a stitch pattern, but I think I might just frog it and go with Yarn Harlot's One-Row Scarf pattern
-Cotton socks for my mommy
-Charade socks, possibly. Gotta keep up with the Summer of Socks!
-Orbit Lace project (maybe. I might back-burner this until spring)
- a lace scarf from some of the mohair I've been aquiring recently. I'm starting to really like lace.
-simple cardigan using the Stahl Big I picked up not too long ago.

That should keep me busy atleast until December!

*The more I think about it, this will proably be my first stranded project EVER. Yay for firsts!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I've always found that drunk posts are okay on livejournal, but is it wrong to drunk post on your knit blog?

Especially when all you have to say is, "I started the Uzume socks!"?

P.S.-- The friend I gave the Monkey socks to absolutely adores them. Tells me how much she loves them without me even asking. Not bad for my first pair of socks. :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Cooking up some yarn.

I made another dyeing attempt this week on my (much-needed) day off. I've been kind of obsessed with dip dyeing lately, but wanted to find a set up that was easy to clean up and easy to keep the dog away from. When the solution popped into my head, it was so simple I couldn't believe I didn't think of it sooner.

Enter the grill.

Using the gas grill on my patio gave me an option that let me keep Gus inside and avoid potentially ruining my kitchen. During the process I put a tray on the main grill surface to keep the burners from getting spilled on and give me an additional place to set things. I probably could have just as easily left the main part closed, but I kept bumping the side of the cover so I had to get it out of my way.

Here's where I felt pretty cool. I screwed in a plant hook I picked up at Home Depot and added a 36" extender chain that can be taken off when not in use. I think the two together cost a whopping $4.00.
Hanging the yarn from a clothes hanger, I was able to move it up the chain to change the dye strength.

I grabbed my dyes (Louet Indigo and Saltbush, in the interest of full disclosure) a couple of skeins of white/natural stuff out of the yarn stash, two of Naturally Yarns Harmony and one of Araucania Nature Wool Chunky, and did a test run.

I need to work on getting my dye ratios worked out, because I didn't get the brightness of color I was looking for, but otherwise the endeavor was successful. After dropping the hank into the dye bath and very gently stirring with a wooden spoon, I hooked one end around the hanger and hung it up, raising it a couple of links every few minutes.

The result is a very subtle variegation that shifts almost imperceptibly from very light to a medium tone, leaving me with two skeins almost the color of faded denim and one muted lavendery-but-not sort of purple.
I think the lack of serious color saturation has more to do with the fact that I'm using yarn that's been previously treated for this little test project. I threw in a small sample from a different type of yarn and it turned SUPER dark. So we'll see how it goes with some dye-your-own product the next time around. Either way, I'm incredibly happy with how easy everything was to set up/take down. I was able to clean everything up in ten minutes flat!
Alrighty, off to swatch and see how my newly colored fibers knit up!