Monday, October 29, 2007

Sweater Goodness!

It's with great exuberance and pride that I get to share with you my just yesterday finished object: my very first sweater!!!!!!!
(Perhaps I should remember to pull it down before taking photos shouldn't I?)

The pattern is the "Bardot Sweater" from Debbie Bliss Book Four. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Merino DK in the deep turqoise colourway on US 3 and US 5 circular needles.

I have to say that I am absolutely, positively in love with this sweater. And the chances of that were pretty nil. I have never made a sweater before and have no concept of adjusting shaping. I can barely get a store bought to fit me at the best of time because of my.... um, "unusual size requirements". So what were the chance of my reckless, swatchless sweater fitting? I don't know but I must have some really good knitting karma built up. The colour is also gorgeous and suits me very well. I don't think I could be more happy with a first sweater!

If you're wondering how I got the time to knit a sweater, it was actually knit and seamed all in the two weeks after my summer job ended/before school started. But knitting that much sweater in such a short period of time meant that I was very tired of it by the end and couldn't bring myself to weave in the ends until just recently. And I'm happy I waited because now I have nothing but warm and fuzzy thoughts towards it and they certainly weren't so warm and fuzzy after two weeks of 8 hours of stockinette a day :)

Now to break out my reward yarn, heh heh heh...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hmm... I really didn't think that it had been this long since my last post. Well, we'll take that as a sign that I really have been way too busy. I feel like I should be getting people to send me helpful reminders to do such things as "sleep", "eat", "brush my hair", "watch where I'm walking so that you don't mow people down getting from place to place". You can safely imagine the state I've been in :)
Things on the knitting front have been slowly plotting through. I've been working on my Waving Lace a.k.a. "Thank you for hosting wayward mathematicians" socks and am nearly at the toe for the first one. They clearly won't be done by the end of the month but so is life. You also may have remembered me mentioning a secret project back in August. Well, it was supposed to be a surprise thing for the first day of university. While I did successfully knit it in the two weeks before classes started, I did so much knitting on it in such a little time that I couldn't bring myself to do the finishing. I am 7 ends in need of weaving away from being able to block and then show it. The plan is to do that tomorrow evening and hopefully I can sport it for Monday! What was my incentive to finish it? An entire sweaters worth of yarn purchased with the extra tutoring money I've been making. I have the pattern all picked out and I'm itching to cast on but I won't until this project is done. So close!
This past little while I've also been trying to challenge myself to push my boundaries and try some new things knitting wise. In particular in my sock knitting. I've gotten in a very comfortable groove with my dpns and can knit socks without a pattern now. Any who knows me would know that some good words for me would be "perfectionist", a bit "neurotic" and definitely "overachiever". I just hate thinking that there are all these other techniques out there that other sock knitters can do that I haven't even tried to look into. So I've set out to do some socks using other techniques. This aren't major knitting projects, but pick at when I get the time to try things out and just to learn.
The first sock is being made out of Duets "Lemonade Stand" on two US3 circular needles:
And then two socks on one circ magic loop style made out of Regia in the Kaffe Fassett line:
The socks on two circs are working out just fine. Though I am definitely not sold on the method. Though I think that may be because I'm not using the best needles and the cords are a bit long. It gets tiring pulling the knitting down the needles constantly and the extra points keep flapping and hitting eachother making insane clicking noises. Though that may be because I have yet to find a comfortable method of holding them too. But I promise to plod on. The knitting does look good and I'm not getting any ladders. And I also appreciate being able to try them on at all points while knitting (which I've always thought to be the main advantage why one would want to use two circs... oh, and it's much harder to lose a needle, lol).
The two socks magic loop are going a bit more...interesting. My cast on is too loose so there's some pretty gaping stitches. My m1's are leaving huge holes in the first round. This I attribute to it being my first time with the technique. I do have every intention of eventually ripping and re-knitting but I figure I should give myself time to get used to the method before I try again to hopefully avoid some of the folly the second time around. But my biggest problem would be that everytime I start a fresh round the two working yarns are twisted around eachother and I have to pick up one of the balls to untwist it (particularly unpleasant as I also have the yarn vomit to move at the moment too). Are there any ardent two socks at once on magic looper's out there who can tell me what I should do to avoid this? Any advice is appreciated.
I'm glad that I'm keeping myself on my knitting toes so to speak. I would also like to get my hand on Cat Bordhi's new book to try out new sock archetypes. However I'm at a bit of a road block as Chapters and don't carry it. Any Canadians know how I can get my paws on it? I'm just dying to try it all out. All this talk of lettered stitch markers is too intriguing!
But it's late I should get to some sleeping. Hopefully I'll have my big project to show you Monday. Have a happy Friday all!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

If anyone would like to know what I have been doing the last few days the acceptable answers would be a)marking or b)not sleeping. From Saturday afternoon to this morning I managed to mark about 100 assignments/tests. I would feel comforted in the fact that it's all done if it wasn't for the fact that I will get about that many again this upcoming weekend :P But I will survive. I may not sleep as much as I like but I will mark. And with any luck squeeze in some knitting.
Yesterday when I was at near gouging my eyes out with the knitting needles stress levels I had a lovely gift arrive in the mail to help take the edge off. It's the October mail out of the Sweet Sheep Self Striping Sock Yarn Club. Hooray! The yarn this month is by my current favourite indie dyer "Lovesticks" and is in the funnest colourway: "Frankensocks" and came with an adorable Frankenstein rubber ducky key chain. I kept it in front of the computer and petted it whenever I felt the need for a bit of stress relief. This is the super cool yarn I got to look at:
I'm sure you can see why it's so suitably named :)
Sunday afternoon my mother and I took a trip to visit my cousin, meet the baby for the first time and gift her with the baby blanket I had made. The little one is so adorable and such a good baby. She slept through mostly the entire visit but I held her while she slept for most of the time so I got some good baby cuddling in (which is also a big help in the stress department, I highly recomment it! Though I don't recommend picking up stranger babies, mothers don't tend to like that... I'm just saying). But what really warmed my heart is that apparently she had no idea I was making the blanket. I had told my aunt and grandma but they never passed that info on. My cousin mentioned that not too long before I arrived she had commented to her husband that her other two kids all had people knit for them and the new little one didn't have any handknits of her own and had to use her siblings knits. She was absolutely thrilled that I had taken the time to knit for her baby. So I promised that there would be more handknits in the future, there is no way that any little babies in my life are going to grow up with out wooly goodness to comfort them!
In the knitting department I have finished the first Hula Punch Jaywalker and have not yet cast on for the second. Hopefully that will be remedied by the end of the week. My real knitting progress has been on the Wavy Lace Socks as I'm determined to have them finished this month and there's less than two weeks left to do that in. I've just passed the heel on the first one and I'm loving the pattern. However I have hit a major concern. It's beginning to look less and less likely that I will indeed have enough yarn to finish it. For now I will keep blindly trucking ahead hoping the knitting gods don't feel any urge to smack me at the moment and pray for a miracle. If the miracle doesn't pull through I'll have to decide whether I want to rip back and remove repeats from the leg or if I want to engage in a hunt for more of this yarn in the same dyelot. It's Claudia Handpainted so it's atleast a very common and accessible yarn but it totally smacks of the kind that could have big variation between dyelots and that's not something I think I want to risk. What's a girl to do? Please think some good thoughts for the sock :) Oh, and the sock also seems to have something against being photographed. The colour just will not register with the camera. After many attempts I will leave you with the least crappiest of all the pictures, happy knitting this week!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

SP11 Package #1

Uh oh!
What did Mittens find? Nothing less than a fabulous package from my clearly equally as fabulous upstream pal. It was a lengthy battle trying to will the post office to get it delivered in under three weeks but we have success :) Take a peak at all the awesome things I received:
In there we have:
-2 skeins of Sugar 'n Cream
-2 dishcloth patterns
-Fall themed scrapbooking bits
-Cross stitch kit
-4 skeins of gorgeously coloured Debbie Bless Merino Aran
-A cd of Broadway songs
-A stitch dictionary
Awwww. It feels like Christmas, lol. Thank you so much upstream pal!!!
(P.S. To the Canadian Border Services Agency: Packages clearly marked as gifts under $50 fall under the tax exemption for gifts under $50. Hence you can imagine why I might be ticked that you charged me $8.83 to receive my package. Expect a phone call during business hours and an appeal form from me.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Back to blogging

Oh my, I really didn't realize that it had been almost two weeks since my last blogging. Ofcourse this means a whole pile up of accomplished knitting that needs to be talked about. I am amazed at how much I do have to show you because the reason for the lack of blogging is that I've been swamped with school/marking and this long weekend I have made it my goal to not do anything until today and enjoy the empty house that always comes with Thanksgiving (Happy Turkey Day to all my Canadian friends!).
The first thing to show you is a super huge accomplishment... the second baby blanket is done!!! It is such a huge relief to get the blankets out of the way so that I can finally focus on some various Christmas & sock knitting that I've been dying to get around to. So without further ado, here is Ducky modeling the baby blanket made out of a free pattern on the Bernat website:
I still haven't gotten to see this baby yet but my mother and I are hoping to go visit this upcoming weekend. I can't wait to meet her :)
Then there are some baby socks for the recently born baby boy to my friend. I had promised her baby socks but needed to wait until I knew the gender because the two toned socks really do need to be more so colour co-ordinated. I still can't get over how adorable little baby socks are. Hopefully because they're rather small they will fit him soon and I can finally see some of the socks I've made on real live babies:
Then, I'm not entirely sure if I've mentioned it (though I suspect I haven't), I've signed up for round 5 of the International Scarf Exchange. I've been dying to try making a Chevron Scarf so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. And I must say that I am loving it and cannot wait to make one for myself. I suspect that mine will be made out of my Yarntini. But that's in the future, right now I must be dedicated to making the scarf for my most excellent downstream pal. It's being made out of Cherry Tree Hill in "Winterberry" and Shibui Knits in a colourway I cannot remember at the moment. The goal was bright and funky and I'm sure you'll agree that this definitely qualifies:
I'm hoping she loves it as she definitely seems like that type of girl. And she also hails from a warmer climate than me so I think sock yarn will make it cool enough that it's not unwearable due to probability of heat stroke :) I think that's always a good quality in a scarf.
On the Christmas knitting front I have started some socks for my friend Ashley's mom who put us up for the night on the way back from Vancouver this summer. I agreed to make socks in exchange for the room and board. She picked out the yarn a good two and half months ago now but I told her that they wouldn't be started until after baby blanket completion. These are being made out of Claudia Handpainted in the colourway "Just Plum" on 2.75mm dpn's in the "Waving Lace Socks" pattern from "Favourite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave" (have I mentioned that I totally heart this book?). There's not much done yet but here is the start:
(Sorry for the sudden change in picture size, all the photos of it seem to have come out a bit blurry unless I decrease the size, hopefully there will be a better pic when I get further along.
And just to prove I am still making something for myself, the current state of the Hula Punch socks:
Happy Turkey Day!
P.S. To my SP, your package still hasn't arrived but there's no mail today because of the holiday, hopefully it'll come tomorrow, I can't wait!