Friday, May 31, 2013

FO : New Skills Aquired

Hello everyone,  Today I have two FO's on the theme of learning new things. The first one is Octopode Pandemonium.  I knit this pattern in order to practice crocheting in the round without dropping or adding a stitch. It was a huge success!!

Yarn was left over STR medium weight sock yarn in the Dragon Dance color way. BTW, have I mentioned I used to think that I hated crochet because I associated it with really cheap, splity, acrylic? It's taken me this long to realize that crochet can be just as nice as knitting if you use just as nice yarn ^^;;  Who knew?
Anyway, loved the pattern so much that I've already cast on another one. Perfect work project because it fits in my pocket and is hard to mess up!

Next up is my Two-at-a-time practice sock. I knit this with random left over  yarn, and they knitted up at pretty different gauges. The pink is red heart  and the yellow is Vanna's choice.  I learned a lot and completed it on my first try, without merging the two socks, so I'm considering this a success. However, I have some notes.

When they tell you that Magic Loop works best with a larger cable needle, that does NOT mean to try it on a 60" needle. Lesson learned.

I'm fuzzy on sock anatomy and had trouble placing the toe decreases as the instructions just said "On the instep" I originally had a stitch marker at the correct place, but removed it thinking that I knew what I was doing. I didn't. Doesn't really matter because nobody is going to wear these socks, but I'm sure the decreases were uneven.

The pattern I used gives nice clear instructions on how to use a cable needle to get these :

In a position for doing the decreases :

I ignored that and just did whatever. Don't have the patience for cable needles. The socks survived.

And thats it. It was easy once I got started, I got really bored towards the end and stopped waaaay before the pattern said to for the toe. (I think I still had like, 14 stitches or something, the pattern has you decrease to 8). I look forward to making real socks this way.


Somehow I managed to consistently twist the stitches on the outer edge sock (the one that you do the purl stitches for ). I'm not sure why that happened, but I'm sure it will seem obvious with time.

That's all. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Enthusiasm WIPS

Hello everyone,  Have I got some WIPS today!
I'm happy to say that an awful lot got done in the knitting department this past week!
First, I got this awesome package in the mail.

All I needed was one tiny little crochet hook to do beads with, so it makes perfect sense that I had to buy other things in order to make the $4 shipping worthwhile, right?  In addition to the .75mm crochet hook I got a 40" pair of US00 ADDI Lace circulars, and a little gauge pendant  that is for SOCKS AND LACE.

This means that the smallest size it measures is a 6-0   (that's SIX zeros. ) and the biggest size is a US6. Perfect for me because the smallest size my regular Susan Bates gauge can measure is a US0 and I need at LEAST US00 for most socks!

Speaking of which, great progress has been made on my jeweled cowl with the adaptation of the crochet hook. Up until now I've just been using one of those wire beading needles and they are such a pain to use. Not only are they tiny and practically invisible if you drop them on the floor, they are super bendy and break easily! Not only that, as someone with a slight oral fixation, I have had the bad luck - on more than one occasion - to have stuck it in my mouth only to get it stuck on my tongue! (literally, I lost a piece of my tongue pulling it out. Am I over-sharing right now?)
Anyway, the crochet hook is a huge help, it makes the whole thing super quick and easy, and honestly I don't know why regular craft stores don't carry them.  I had to order it on-line because the big name craft stores near my house persist in only carrying the larger more standard sized needles and hooks. But it's totally worth it and I don't know why I waited so long to do so!
All that said though, the jeweled cowl is almost done but I'm not expecting to be very thrilled with it as a finished project. It was fun learning to do beaded lace, but I made too many mistakes on it, didn't pick appropriate yarn for the project, and in general don't see myself ever wearing it. Oh well, I'm still going to finish it, too close to stop now!

Not to end on a down note, my friend and enabler got me started on doing two-at-a-time socks yesterday.  This technique is something I'd heard of but never tried, and I am loving it!  Seriously, I was like a kid with a new toy when I cast on yesterday. Knitting relaxing fun patterns is great and all, but nothing gets my blood rushing more than working on something new and challenging!  I decided to play it safe and am doing the "practice" sock in two different colors of worsted weight yarn, so while it is really really challenging, I wouldn't say it was "hard" just yet (granted I haven't done the gusset yet...)
However, I'm thinking about what it would be like to knit this way with sock yarn, with both socks being the same color.... and it frightens me a little. That my friends, is the holy grail of weeping-in-the-dark difficult knitting. I can't wait to try it.

What extremely complicated knitting technique is your favorite? What would you like to learn?

Sock knitting is getting so main stream! I had no idea they sold these things in craft stores now. Found this in a hobby lobby. What do you think? Cool, or lame? Should I try it?

As always, check out Tami's for more WIPS!

Friday, May 24, 2013

FO : Bramble

Hello everyone, what a lovely morning! The sun is shining through my window, I got to sleep in for two whole hours, and I have finished my Bramble Shawl!
I knit this on US 2 size needles with Madeline Tosh Lace, in the Turquoise color way. From a purely fiber perspective, this has got to be my favorite lace-yarn so far. It's light and airy while still maintaining a feeling of substance and warmth. And soft, don't even get me started on how soft!

Let me tell you, this thing  was a trip!  I love the garter section at the beginning, but it certainly took a long time to finish. Even after I stopped working on my other projects to focus on Bramble exclusively, progress still crawled.

I'm finishing this a month late for the Gratitude KAL. But honestly, I don't know what I was thinking when I joined in. Clearly getting married half-way through was more time-consuming and distracting than I thought it would be!

Check out Tami's for more FO's, and check out my project on Ravelry for more photos ;)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pandemonium - Crochet

Hello Everyone!  How are you today?  I'm doing good, suffering through warm-but-not-really-warm-enough-for-outdoor-pools weather right now. I even put on my swimsuit and wore it around the house for a few hours today, hoping to coax the sun to come out - alas in vain. But that's neither here nor there.
Decided to take a break from my numerous knitting WIPS in order to work on my crochet skillz. Specifically, I have been struggling with crocheting in the round and accidently either increasing or decreasing stitches, so I figured a little octopus toy like this one would be perfect for practice. It's basically a bunch of tubes sewn together. Easy Peasy!

 So far I've got the body done:

For reference, here are the resources I used to help improve my crochet in this project. Crochet in the round video.  How to tell the wrong side of crochet.  (I'm still not sure I actually have the correct side facing, but I feel my guess is more educated now. ) and Stitching pieces together. (I used a slip stitch through the back loop. ) 

This little hole is left in the back to make sewing in the legs easier, the body gets stuffed last so that all the little ends can be pushed in ;) 

Don't forget to check out Tami's for more WIPS!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bloggable Bags

Hello and welcome to another WIPW post!  If you've come to me from Tami's, hi! Welcome :)  I'm recovering from a bit of a bloggers dry spell and since I've already shown you the Bramble shawl a bajillion times, and since it still isn't done looks the same, I guess I will distract you with random photos!

I've been catching up on the Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast, and by catching up you should understand I mean watching them all from the first episode in order. Hello. I'm crazy. But anyway, I started getting a little jealous because she has all of these cute project bags, and each project has it's own bag so they don't get all tangled up and the pattern for the project you want is easy to find. Now, I'm too cheap to buy these things I and I don't have a sewing machine. So, bags pictured above?  They are the pull string cloth bags that   bed-sheet sets come in. You know, the cheap ones sold at Wallmart and Target?  They make perfect project bags.

The red one contains my beaded lace cowl and the plaid one has my spinning WIP. I might have mentioned this before but there is an Alpaca farm 11 minutes from my house. I know right????  It's my first time spinning Alpaca (I have 2 ounces of it ). Not sure what to think. On the one had it's SUPER soft, like a bunny, BUT the fiber is on the hairy wiry side, so it feels like I'm holding a cloud of super soft dog hair. which is both pleasant and icky at the same time for me (not a dog person. ) 
Anyway, I'm about halfway done, and I think I want to do it as a two ply, but I'm not anticipating having enough yardage to actually knit anything. Just kinda want to get a feel for what Alpaca is like to spin! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bliss in Bramble

Hello everyone, I know it's been about a month  since my last post and I'd just like to say, my bad people.  I haven't been making much progress knitting wise lately, I've been knitting exclusively on the Bramble Shawl ever since I started it as part of the Fat Squirrel's Gratitude KAL. That KAL ended what, April 28th?  But I'm still working on it.

I really don't have much to say at all, except hi and I hope to be coming back to regularly spaced posts soon. Here is a photo of some gorgeous yarn. I'm so Lucky not only to have wicked awesome friends, but I'm also lucky that those friends have wicked taste and like shopping for luxury yarn. Wow. Thanks Girl ;)

Oh, and I'm a fairly bad looser, so normally I'd be pissed off about missing the KAL deadline, but in the spirit of it being a GRATITUDE KAL, I'm actually pretty happy that I got to knit it on Sunday :

Also cool is having a crafty sister who learns how to cross-stitch. She made this for the ring bearer. How awesome is that? 

That's all for now. Just realized I totally missed the fact that Dr. Who is back on, so I have 7 whole episodes to catch up on 0.0