So much to do, but still progress!

Weekends are always busy (and therefore not really weekends) for me, but I did still manage to accomplish a lot on my knitting!  The back of Agnes is nearly complete, and I’ve added 4 rows to Danica.

I’m trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with my work schedule.  I only have 1 day off a week, and I really need 2… preferably together.  I want to rearrange and get Thursdays off.  I am still stressed, but I am trying to do what is expected of me!

Ok… enough about life!  The Knitting Garden has pics up from the new Rowan mag. I wish I could give a review, but the pictures are so dark… and this seems to be true for the last several Rowan Mags (the last one was better.)  I always have trouble seeing the clothes.  There are a few sweaters I think I like, and then there are a few “oh my gods.”  Unfortunately, the pictures of those are clear.

 

It’s like… they just knitted sacks (or in the case of the second, knitted a blanket and then pinned it on.)

There are a few I think I like though, but I will have to wait for the magazine.

 

I find all the crazy things they throw on with the designs to be distracting.  I shouldn’t have to say “OK, what’s the knitted item in this picture.”  And also… enough already with unnecessary belting of sweaters.  All it does is make me think that your sweater doesn’t fit, and even if it does I cannot tell how the sweater is shaped.

There… that’s my rant for the day… but I withhold judgment on the new Rowan Mag.  I cannot tell from preview pics.

FO: Montego Bay Scarf

Pattern: Montego Bay scarf by Amy Singer, Interweave Knits Summer 07

Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk in Glacier, 1 skein

Needles: Size 6 US

Notes: It is finally finished! This scarf gave me fits, because the pattern was just so boring. I finally decided to just bind off, and magically it was long enough, even without finishing the skein! I chose not to make the braided fringe, because apparently my braiding skills are lousy, so I just made a plain fringe. I can always braid it later! My thoughts on Sea silk? Eh… I am not too impressed. I read on Knitter’s review (here) that the yarn is actually 70% silk and 30% seacell, of which 5% is actual sea product and the rest is tencel, and I think it shows. I love tencel, but not at the price of sea silk. It does tend to snag on things, which I did not like. I prefer wool/silk blends, but that’s a personal preference thing… I wouldn’t knit with 100% silk either.

The end result of my scarf is very light and lovely, and should make a nice accessory in the last month of summer. I just don’t think I will be making another anytime soon!

I did cast on for another scarf immediately – I have started my Danica! This is my second attempt at Entrelac, and wow is it ever easier when I’m not using Silk Garden. I have just finished all of my set-up triangles, and it is lovely so far!

I finally made it through the seed stitch portion of Agnes’ back, and it should go much faster now. Wow that was a lot of seed stitch! One thing I really like about this pattern is that you cast off the lower portion (is it a peplum?) and then pick up stitches from the WS, creating a decorative row… and ensuring that my slight gauge difference between my moss stitch and stockinette won’t show.

I am so relieved the scarf is finished, it’s making the rest of my knitting seem easier!

whew

Thanks for all the suggestions re: Martha and my gauge issues!  I’ve decided to put it away for now.  I may try it again later in a wool 4-ply yarn, as I don’t seem to have as many issues when knitting with wool as opposed to cotton.  Instead, I’ve finally been able to start Agnes!

Cotton Glace is lovely to work with, and I only had to go down one needle size!  So far I seem to be measuring about what I should be, so hopefully this one will work out!

And never let it be said that I am immune to impulse buys at the craft store.  I’m still working on my Montego bay scarf, but it should be done soon!  I thought it would give me motivation if I got another yarn to make my next scarf with, so I bought some Patons SWS in Natural Pink to make Danica from Knitty.

They didn’t have my first choice color (natural green) but I’m happy with this one.  It is different from my usual colors!  I made Marc a hat last year with SWS and it has held up extremely well.  I don’t really love the hairy quality of the yarn, but it is so lovely and shiny knitted up.  Maybe this will motivate me to finish my current scarf project!

I was looking for Cotton Ease as well, but it was nowhere to be found in Michaels.  Can I just say that Louisville does not have a great selection if you’re searching for basic brands of yarn?  Michaels seems to carry less and less, and now they seem to have rearranged the store again.  Hobby Lobby never has what I want, and we don’t have a Joanne’s or anything.  We do have Ben Franklin, but I do not live near one, and seldom find a chance to venture to either Middletown or Southern Indiana to visit one.

Ah well… tomorrow I will have to visit the craft store again – my Mom, her friend Patti and I are going shopping for ribbon to make pew decorations as well as anything else crafty I have forgotten about.

Work was better today- I am feeling my way around, and starting to understand my responsibilities and what is expected of me!

gauge troubles

Ok, here’s the thing… I know I’m a loose knitter.  I nearly always have to go down two needle sizes, and I’m ok with that.  Except as it relates to 4-ply yarn.  I’ve been trying to knit Martha.  I didn’t even bother swatching with the called for size 2s, but I did try size one needles, which weren’t small enough.  This required a trip to the LYS, where I bought size 0 and 000 needles.  I got gauge in stockinette on the size 0s, and those are small but tolerable for me.  Then I looked at the pattern and found that my gauge needed to be 7 st/in in the ribbed eyelet pattern, not stockinette.  I cast on anyway, but instead of 16.5″ I was getting 18″ across the back.  Ugh.  So I ripped and swatched with the size 000 needles (which are seriously like knitting with pins) and got something close to gauge in pattern, but here’s the thing… I am not going to knit an entire sweater on size 000 needles.  That’s just really ridiculous.  So how do I work on tightening up my gauge a bit, without causing stress to my fingers?  The reason why I knit so loosely is to avoid stress injuries since I need my hands healthy for work.  I used to knit more tightly, but then I also used to have some hand issues, which I don’t anymore.

Right now I’ve cast on with the 000 needles and done the required rows of garter.  I’m supposed to switch to the larger needles, but I need to figure out what I’m doing to make it so loose first.  Hmm…

Possibly I’m a little stressed about work right now – I’m totally convinced that they will realize I’m a giant fraud and fire me… even though I’m not a fraud.  I just feel stressed about being full time, and figuring out what that means.  Ah well… it will be ok, I just need to work on my self confidence!

So… any tips on tightening up gauge?  I knit continental, and the only (maybe) unusual thing I think I do it to hold my left index finger out from the work while guiding the yarn over it.  But when I try to move it in it looks sloppy… ugh.

So much to do!

My life is so busy right now – I had my first real day directing the choir yesterday (nerve wracking, but really enjoyable – I think I’m going to love this job!) as well as my second bridal shower in Cincinnati.  This week is filled with teaching, meetings (both at work and for the wedding,) crafting for the wedding, and a funeral (these are now part of my job.)

I thought that I should just focus on finishing up the montego bay scarf instead of starting something new.  I found, however, that I would do anything to avoid working on the stupid thing.  Instead of knitting I have now completely rearranged the cabinets in the kitchen and found tons of stuff to get rid of.  I have listened to hours of NPR while riding in the car (could have been knitting then!)  I got Marc hooked on watching Stargate, but even that didn’t inspire me to work on it.  So you know what?  I give up.  No, I’m not ripping the scarf, I’m just sending it back to second place.  It will get finished soon anyway, as the ball is getting much smaller.  I just can’t bear the thought that I have to work on it.

Instead, I am going to cast on for Martha, from Rowan 37, in Fennel 4-ply cotton  (I hate licorice flavored fennel very much, but it is a lovely color! )

 

I ordered the yarn from Richesse, where they are having a really great sale for July on Rowan’s cottons and a few wools, notably felted tweed.  And since they were having the sale, I was able to buy enough Felted tweed for Patti without breaking the bank!

The color is “Rage.”  I love it – it’s a super intense cranberry, and fortunately it is still among the reds I can wear.  I think I just can’t wear really orange reds.  I can’t wait to have a lovely red tweedy jacket for the fall!

I’m still waiting on my pattern for Agnes, so it will have to wait (stupid UPS – they were here delivering a wedding present earlier, but still no sign of my book!)  I was worried about having two green cardigans, but it turns out that 4-ply in Fennel is not so green, nor is it at all the color of fennel.  On the left is Cotton Glace in Ivy for Agnes, whenever it arrives.

Garnstudio is releasing their fall/winter patterns in English now, and I am not so impressed with most of the collection.  I see a lot of oversized things, and I am not so big on oversized, being a petite person… I look like I am playing dress up in the lovely slouchy styles.  I do, however, adore this cardigan.

The sort of slouchy funnel neck must be big for fall, as I’ve already seen at least 3 designs that use something similar.    It appears to be knit in a bulky weight yarn?  Too bad, because I don’t have any in stash.

While I have been cleaning my kitchen instead of knitting, I have come to realize that I love vintage kitchen stuff.  While we have received really nice appliances as wedding gifts, I am sort of sad to see the old things go.  I wish that avocado kitchens would come back.  I know I am alone in that wish, but there you go.  Look at this fondue set (which I am keeping, thanks!)

I like how the avocado looks with the brighter green walls.  Last year I convinced Marc that we needed a set of dishes like the corelle we had when I was growing up, and then we found this whole set at a garage sale for $1.25.

Didn’t everyone have these? I love the tiny green flowers!  The serving pieces are in great condition (I love the cream and sugar set) but I’d like to find the dishes in better shape… not that we need more, but I have a slight problem with accumulating dishes and coffee cups.  I am incapable of getting rid of either!

Fall previews!

The fall preview for Vogue is up on their website.  My thoughts on the preview?  Eh… I will have to wait for the issue.  I’m really happy to see that the Debbie Bliss sweater I liked is available for free!  I also like the free sweatercoat by Veronique Avery, although I don’t really want to knit a huge coat like that.

I have some Valley Yarns Amherst  that I think might work for the jacket.  It’s a dark charcoal… very nice!

The Interweave preview isn’t up yet, but thanks to Tammy for showing me where you can see some of the designs!  I love Eunny Jang’s sweater (yay for felted tweed!) and the placed cable aran is nice too!

I will wait until the magazine is out to judge the rest – they aren’t all up yet, and the photos are small.  I will say that overall it looks like a pretty strong issue!

Dreaming

I’m working on that *&%$ Montego Bay scarf today.  I’m determined to finish it, but I am so tired of making K2togs!  I’m also still waiting on my pattern for Agnes before I can start on that.  I cannot wait for fall knits now!  It was sooo hot and humid here yesterday.  I finally broke down and subscribed to Interweave Knits and crochet, and they gave me a shipping date of 8/15 for the fall knits issue.  Who knows what that means… In the meantime, I found two knits for fall that I’ve added to my list.

On the left is zephyrstyle‘s new pattern, the treejacket.  I think it has some cute details, although I will confess to a certain amount of suspicion towards any knit that includes garter stitch, because I fear stretching.  On the right is Patti, from Rowan Studio One.  I joined Rowan International a little bit ago, since they’ve lowered prices, making it about the same cost as 2 magazines, and I ordered this as a single pattern off their website, since I don’t care for any of the other designs in this book.  As an aside, has anyone ever done that, and how long did it take them to email you your patterns?  It’s only been a day, but I’m curious if I should check.

Patti is also lovely because she is knit in Felted tweed, which is of course still my most favorite yarn. I only hope I don’t get allergic to it the way I was to the alpaca in my pie shawl (I doubt it; the alpaca content isn’t too high, and it hasn’t bothered me before.)

I’m also printing little stickers to go on the favor boxes at our wedding.  We’re having little boxes of legos as favors, so here is the sticker I made (I got the idea online, it wasn’t mine!)

FO: Perfect Pie Shawl

 

Pattern: Perfect Pie Shawl by Veronique Avery, from Weekend Knitting

Yarn: Elann Pure Alpaca in Jasper, 4.5 balls

Needles: US 10

Notes: This was an easy and quick pattern.  Other than the yarn sub, it was made without alterations.  There is an error in the pattern, and if you decide to make it you should be sure to twist the stitch on all of your M1s in the lace section.  This is the opposite of what the pattern tells you to do, but it will result in a shawl that looks like the one in the book.  Other than that, the pattern was error free and fun!  I bound off in K2P2 rib, following the pattern, and I think it resulted in a nicer bind-off edge than a plain knit bind off. I do have one problem… I think I might be allergic the the yarn.  I haven’t had any skin reaction to it or anything, but it was making me a little stuff while I knit it.  I’m not sure if this might be due to the manufacturing process Elann uses, as I have been sensitive to the sizing they use in some of their cotton yarns.  I will wait and see if it gets better now that it is blocked.  After all, I have made (and frequently worn) an Alpaca sweater before with no problems.  It could even be the time of year, as I always have allergies in late July/August.  It’s hard to say… I will have to wait until the weather is cold enough to wear the shawl, and see how I feel then!

My shawl turned out maybe a tiny bit smaller than the one in the book, but I have decided for the moment to not add an edging.  I don’t really feel like searching for a complimentary yarn, at least not until I see whether I will need to give it away.

 

wedding wedding wedding

I think I officially have “wedding brain” now. I met with a florist this afternoon and decided on flowers. I’m doing simple flowers – only for the wedding party, no decorative flowers. Everything is in lovely shades of peach and rust, with scatterings of little green berries. My bouquet will look something like this, without the really orange flowers.

Other wedding things… our favors are mostly finished, and that is Marc’s domain anyway. I’m working on programs and placecards, but I am held back a bit by the non rsvp-ers (I just know I’m going to have to call around to my relatives!) We have contracts with the caterer and the bar people. I’ve decided on music finally, and lined up which of my wonderful fellow musicians will be performing. And we have rings!

Marc’s is titanium and mine is… something. It’s a family ring. I am glad that mine is so teeny, because I cannot play piano in large rings! I still have a lot to do, but I am not stressed… it will get finished, and all will be well!

I also (to keep it on topic) made a few more hexagons and joined them together. I really love the way these look, even if my acrylic leftovers are a bit brighter than my usual colors.

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the fall knitting magazines now, or at least the previews from Interweave knit and crochet, and from Vogue (I want to make the debbie bliss sweater on the cover!) I am so ready for fall knitting now, and I chose to wait on buying my birthday yarn until I could see what the fall magazines were offering.

Edited to add: This is the cover of vogue knitting I have seen, URL is here.

I love swingy cardigans!  This is, I’m pretty sure, also in Debbie Bliss’ new Cashmerino book as Romy.   And unlike most Debbie Bliss patterns it doesn’t call for crazy amounts of ease – the 32″ bust is 32″ inches, according to the schematic at the website above.

It’s all about the hexagons!

I must confess, my ripple blanket is in what may be permanent hibernation. I find myself unable to crochet for long periods without pains in my hands, and those rows are so long! But granny squares on the other hand… I can make those one at a time, and they aren’t stressful that way. But normal squares aren’t really my style, so when I saw the hexagon blanket here I knew I had to give it a try.

The hexagon on the left is very similar to the one I linked to above. The one on the right is one I downloaded a free pattern for, and it did not turn out so hexagonal. Beats me why… but I love the one on the left so much that I don’t care! I have a ton of random simply soft, so I have the idea of working on these when I’m bored. I can’t do more than one at a time (doing the two above was my limit) but I can certainly eventually produce enough for a little throw. Maybe. I really need to figure out what I’m doing when I crochet that makes my arms and wrists ache, because knitting doesn’t hurt them at all!

I am now nearly halfway through my perfect pie shawl, and it’s still going well! I love the pattern, which moves quickly and was super easy to memorize. It looks small, but I am confident that it will block much larger, because the swatch did!

Now I’m off to make soup for dinner, on this rainy Sunday evening.