Friday, April 27, 2012

FOs: Stripey-ness

Have you heard that stripey yarns are all the rage now? I'm not one to advocate for following the bandwagon, but I succumb to it all the time. I've used stripey sock yarn before. Something about knitting with indie dyed yarns is fascinating though. I've been on such a kick (haha)! Perfect timing for the Stockinette Zombies March/April Self-Striping Yarns KAL. Better yet--I bought all of these yarns via destashes on Ravelry. It's great to get discounted prices + often free shipping. Oh yeaa!

When I saw this yarn, I had to have it--they're LSU colors, after all! When I got the yarn, though, the purple was a bit paler than I was hoping. Of course, I fixed that problem by buying more LSU-colored stripey yarn. Oops.

Pattern: LSU Stripey Socks (improvised: plain tube socks with after-thought heel)
Yarn: Twisted Limone Tangy 100 Sock in Sea Squirt (0.58 skeins = 253.5 yds; awesome because I bought 0.63 skeins in the destash)
Made for: Me
Size: Cast on 60 sts.
Needles: US size 1 (2.25 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 03.28.12-04.08.12
Cost: $10 (yarn cost)--YES! Hand-dyed indie self-striping yarn socks for $10. I got a partial skein in a destash and I knew I use approx. 0.65 skeins for a pair of socks, so it'd be perfect. It was!
Mods: Well, the whole thing was improvised... and I love getting the heels, cuffs, and toes to match.

I really wanted to try some Three Ewes Twisted in Fiber Self-Striping Sock yarn, and this seemed to be the only colors I liked on the destashes. Once I started working with this base, I had to acquire some more.

Pattern: Library Knitter (improvised: plain tube socks with after-thought heel)
Yarn: Three Ewes Twisted in Fiber Blue Ewe II in Library Knitter (0.66 skeins = 252.1 yds)
Made for: Me
Size: Cast on 56 sts. to get a tighter fit; Ended up making the foot just a wee bit too short.
Needles: US size 1 (2.25 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 04.13.12-04.17.12
Cost: $16.5 (proportional yarn cost) 
Mods: Improvised again, but the toes, heels, and cuffs matched without me doing much extra cutting & joining. Those toes turned out naturally that way!

After knitting my Library Knitter socks, I had plenty of the yarn left. I didn't want all of it to go to making hexipuffs, so I did a ravelry search for using up the amount of yarn I had left over. I think it makes the perfect baby hat!

Yarn: Three Ewes Twisted in Fiber Blue Ewe II in Library Knitter (0.3 skeins = 114.6 yds)
Made for: ?
Size: 6-12 month
Needles: US size 2 (2.75 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 04.18.12-04.19.12
Cost: $7.50 (proportional yarn cost)
-CO 96 sts.
-St st for 4.25” from the bottom of the rolling/ 7” from the CO edge when stretched out.
-For decreases, (K10, K2tog) around for the 1st round. Continue in pattern until K3, K2tog. Then decrease every round (8 sts remaining). (K2tog) around (4 sts remaining). K2tog, K2. Continue i-cord, according to pattern.

I think I did pretty well price-wise on these projects. Well, except for the fact that these projects prompted me to buy more yarn. Hrmph. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WIP Wednesdays: Finishing Up the Hitchhiker Trilogy

Hello! A lot of people seem to be reading my blog lately because of an FO post about the Color Affection shawl I had made. That shawl was already super popular, but now has become uber popular by the Yarn Harlot herself. Thanks so much for joining in on my (mostly) knitting/crafting adventures!

This is the obligatory WIP Wednesdays progress report of what I've been working on. Today, I'm focusing on my Hitchhiker. It's the last one I have to make to complete all 4 of the Hitchhiker "Trilogy" by Martina Behm. Have you seen her Hitch Hands and Hitch Hat? So cute. Smart woman for capitalizing on her popular pattern.

I'm knitting this out of Cakewalk Yarns Walk (etsy shop, blog), recently popularized by Susan B. Anderson, but even fabric-extraordinaire, Aneela Hoey, has been knitting with the yarn. Man--I feel like I'm just riding along in the bandwagon, huh? I actually bought a few skeins of Cakewalk yarns after (a) seeing the Ravelry ad for the yarns, and (b) trying to find out what all the fuss was about the "weenie"colorway after Leslie of the KnitGirllls talked about it. Okay-yes, maybe I did fall into peer pressure a bit. The yarns' colors are gorgeous, though, and her prices are very reasonable.

I've knit 23 teeth on the shawlette. The color is a lot more light blue than the picture is showing. Unfortunately, today is a cloudy, rainy day, so I worked with what I had. The brown is subtle in real life, but seems dominant in the picture. Hoping to get the majority of it done today while studying for tomorrow's exam. Eep!

I've also made tremendous progress on my Girly. This is another cutie pattern. It went really fast, and I just have the sleeves to work on. I don't really like knitting the sleeve cap after picking up stitches, so I've been stalling on this one. It would make some good stockinette stitch studying knitting, though, huh?

By the way, have you seen Joji Locatelli's newest patterns? I think I will be making all 4 of her Malabrigo Freelance Designer patterns. I have the yarns lined up for them already.

Finally, on a whim, I decided to cast on for some more socks. My twirl socks are a really fun knit. It's a free pattern (I saw numma numma working on it on an episode with the KnitGirllls), and I've had this yarn in my stash for a while. I love how the madelinetosh tosh sock yarn wears as socks--they're really soft but durable. I decided I needed some new socks to go with my new Birkenstocks

Speaking of which, I don't know why it took me so long to get these shoes! I had some Boston clogs in high school, which I loved and wore to death. The cork in the sole was pretty much run through, and I would slip everywhere and the heels of my feet would get wet because I had worn out the shoes so much. I knew they were pretty much the only style of shoes I would really wear that goes well  with hand-knit socks. Yes, they don't show off the socks completely, but I'm not comfortable wearing Mary Janes with hand-knit socks. I have been living in the new clogs I bought! They were only $47.50 (compared to the $100 I spent on my 1st pair), and I bought them with my credit card Thank You points. So, they were free, right? I have been really grateful that the weather has been cooler so I can enjoy my new shoes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Product vs. Process Knitter

Have you heard of the difference between a "product knitter" and a "process knitter"?

(Picture from my Minimalist Cardigan.)

The joyandsmiles dictionary states:
product knitter noun \pra'-dahkt nih'-tur\
one who takes great pleasure in completing knitted objects.

process knitter noun \pra'-ses nih'-tur\
one who takes great pleasure in the act of knitting.

I have thought quite a bit on whether I'm a product  or a process knitter. It's quite confusing for me because depending on my mood, I will switch amongst:

  1. loving every second of the monotony of knitting plain stockinette.
  2. frantically finishing up some stretch of boring, plain knitting to see what my FO looks like. I will promptly prance around in the FO showing it off to everybody (whether they care or not) in as humble of a way as possible. Do they think it's store-bought? Yes! I have succeeded in having very neat finishing.
  3. picking the most complicated stitch pattern I can get my hands on to let my brain revel in the beauty of k2togs, ssks, yos, cables, or (rarely) colorwork.
  4. furiously completing an intricately designed project just to marvel at how clever I am (never mind someone else designed the pattern). Do you see that complicated lace shawl I made? Yeap--I'm that smart.
(Picture from my Paisley Long Shawl.)

Some people are very clearly one sort of knitter or the other. I have friends who love finishing object after object and will often have the cutest little baby hats. Other friends take their time, but will produce magnificently cabled sweaters.

For me, I think my productivity/processivity depends on major things that are going on in my life. Sometimes I need little FOs just to feel like I'm accomplishing something. This will often happen when I'm slogging through a huge amount of studying and we don't have tests coming up. I want something to be done and finalized, so I'll often leave it up to my knitting to feel that way. Other times, (let's say, around exam time) I'm knocking things (exams) out every other day, so long boring stockinette stitch is absolutely perfect to just enjoy the relaxing repetitive motion of knitting. Guess what kind of knitter I am right now.

How about you? Do you find that you're sometimes a process knitter and sometimes a product knitter? Perhaps you're a product/process person! I'd love to hear your views.

Friday, April 20, 2012

FOs: Some Accessories

In between all of the large project knitting, I've been making quite a few small things. They're fun breaks and good ways to use up those bits of yarn.

Pattern: Lilac Wine by Amy Christoffers (ravelled here.)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina in the "rose" colorway (0.99 skeins), purchased from The Loopy Ewe. This was made from the leftovers from my Alexandria Cardigan.

Made for: Me
Size: One size
Needles: US size 7 (4.50 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 02.17.12-02.20.12
Cost: $29 (yarn cost)--The boy called me bougie for making a $30 merino-silk-cashmere blended cowl. Um, yea--I thought he had looked at the rest of the stash and knew about the insurance I have on my yarn.
Mods: none.

Pattern: Ringwood Gloves by Rebecca Blair (ravelled here.)
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in the "Cloudy Sky" colorway (0.96 skeins), purchased from Windsor Button in Boston. I've used this yarn for several bits and bobbles (Textured Shawl Recipe and Frost Flowers Cowl). I forgot what the original intention for this yarn was, but I do remember going back to Windsor Button to buy more of the yarn, but they had run out of the dyelot. I went ahead and bought more of the yarn in a different dyelot. They were drastically different when I brought the yarn home (didn't really understand the powers of dyelots.) The two gloves were knit in the 2 different dyelots--can you tell? I can. Anyway, I ended up with tons of this yarn, used it for 3 projects, and was able to destash the rest of it on ravelry. Woohoo for destashing!

Made for: ? Perhaps keep these gloves in the stash to gift to someone, as needed.
Size: Small, but it ended up kind of big for me.
Needles: US size 5 (3.75 mm)
Notions: 4 buttons purchased from Broad Ripple Knits
Dates: 01.11.11-02.29.12; Yes-over 1 year. I don't know why it took so long because honestly, it was a really fast knit.
Cost: Honestly, no idea, but my guess would be ~$9 for the yarn and ~$4 for the buttons, so about $13.
Mods: None.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Women are Powerful

My worlds collided with two of my most favoritist powerful women recently when Beyonce wrote an open letter to Michelle Obama. Check it out.

Here's a little bit of much-needed motivation for me, and maybe you.

I'm stepping on that gas pedal!

Friday, April 13, 2012

FO: Delancey Cardigan

While I was working on the White Pine Sweater (blogged here), I noticed that Threadpanda was oohing and ahhing over another KAL going on at the Selfish Knitting Sweater KAL group--The Delancey Cardigan.

The construction was so interesting to me--I had to make it!

The color inspiration for this sweater came from a striped sweater that my friend, Minah, bought from the Gap some years ago. I loved the khaki and red combination, and I especially loved the stripes. I had secretly always wanted the same sweater myself. When I ordered the yarn from Webs, I was expecting a much darker khaki/brown color for the MC. I was a little surprised at how light the color ended up being, and the final sweater looks a lot more like the original than I had intended. I don't mind at all because I love the sweater.

The back of the sweater does wing kind of funnily around the butt. I call them the love-handle flaps. It's not very obvious in the pictures, and I'm sure no one will notice them when I'm walking around, but I know they're there!

Anyway, overall-I'm so happy! It was a really quick knit. I took a hiatus in there to knit the sweater, but my detailed note-taking-while-knitting paid off.

Yarn: Berroco Vintage DK in 2104 Mushroom (2.27 skeins) and 2134 Sour Cherry (1.42 skeins) purchased from Webs; The yarn turned out to be amazing! I didn't have an experience to write home about when knitting with the yarn, but after washing and blocking, this is such an easy-to-wear sweater! It's an acrylic-wool-nylon blend, and it may be one of my go-to's for baby sweater knitting. I bought way more than I needed, especially since I shortened the sweater quite a bit.
Made for: Me
Size: 41" bust; I got perfect gauge with US size 7's (4.50 mm). I kind of wanted around a 38" bust size for the final pattern, and after seeing the FOs, I thought even the shortened version of the sweater may be too long on me. I decided to take a stab at the pattern by knitting with US size 6's and 41" bust numbers. I ended up getting a perfect fit, so I'm thrilled!!
Needles: US size 6 (4.00 mm)
Notions: 5 buttons purchased from Broad Ripple Knits
Dates: 02.21.12-03.30.12
Cost: $30 (yarn cost) + $3 (pattern cost; Sweatshop of Love discount!) + $4.50 (buttons) = $37.50 (The buttons seem to be the most cost-ineffective part of this pattern!)
-Added a few extra short rows for the collar.
-Knit the whole collar/bands with CC instead of alternating with CC/MC.
-Knit the shorter version of the sweater per instructions on the blog.
-Used only 5 buttons.
-Decreased every 8 rows for the arms instead of every 10 rows because I have short arms and I like sleeves that just barely touch my wrist. After finishing the required decreases for the sleeves, I immediately started the sleeve band.

That's a wrap.
Err... sweater.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP Wednesdays: Ramen Noodles

Welcome, Wednesday. I have been knitting quite a bit in preparation for you. In fact, I actually finished several items in the process of having things to show you, WIP Wednesdays. Ah well--here is what is actually on the needles currently:

Here are my Ramen Noodles, I mean Rock Island. It's interesting how the construction of this shawl works. Unfortunately, at the moment, it doesn't let me study all that well while working on it. I think after I'm done with the edging and pick up stitches for the body, I'll be good to go. I love Jared Flood--he is absolutely brilliant. He was a complete sweetheart when I was fortunate enough to meet him (and show off my Bridgewater while working on my Girasole.)

My Girly has been my go-to project for now as mindless knitting while studying. I haven't made much progress on it since you've last seen it, but that's because I've been working on other things in the mean time (that are now FOs). I think I've caught the Girly bug enough now to work on it quite a bit. Let's see if that holds true for a bit.

Finally, I've slowly been making my way through some more hexipuffs for my beekeeper's quilt. Do you recognize any of the recently-used sock yarn? It's fun to knit a few of these as quick gratification.

Monday, April 9, 2012

FO: Color Affection

Over spring break, I got a sudden urge to knit through a good bit of my lace weight. I didn't have a pattern in mind, but I wanted to knit something mindless. Unfortunately, I had several odd skeins of lace weight from an impulse purchase a long while ago from KnitPicks. They used to have samplers of their laceweight (something like 5-6 skeins for $25 or so), and I bought 2 samplers. I've been able to use up a decent amount of the yarn considering I had no project in mind, but there's still quite a bit of it left.

Coincidentally, when I heard Kathy Elkins, of the KnitPicks podcast, talking about using up stash yarn with the Color Affection, I immediately realized that was the perfect project for which I had been looking. I had eyed the pattern before, but for some reason I never realized that it's perfect for 3 small skeins of laceweight yarn. It was mostly garter stitch with just enough shaping to pique my interest.

The colors are not  something I would normally throw together at all, but I find myself drawn to its quirkiness. Plus, the 3 colors are colors I individually wear all the time, so it goes with a ton of my wardrobe. My blocking job wasn't excellent, but I wear this shawl all the time. It's just big enough to drape casually and cover a good bit of me/my neck. It's light and airy, but comfy. 

Pattern: Color Affection by Veera Valimaki (ravelled here.)
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Lace in 24199 Pinot (0.8 skeins) and in 24202 Mango (0.64 skeins) and Knit Picks Shadow in 23661 Sunset Heather (0.52 skeins)
Made for: Me
Size: Small/Lace. Didn't measure the FO, but I like the size.
Needles: US size 2.5 (3.00 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 03.14.12-03.19.12
Cost: ~$15 (yarn cost) + $5.24 (pattern cost) ~= $20.24
Mods: none.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

FO: Alexandria Cardigan

Woohoo! Another sweater! I finished this one quite a while ago. The project planning started sometime in the summer of 2010. I bought the pattern but did not know what yarn to choose. I really loved the feel of Madelinetosh Pashmina, so I wanted to make the cardigan out of this yarn, but I couldn't figure out what color I wanted. 

I stumbled across the "rose" colorway and loved it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single place that had the rose colorway in batches of 4 skeins, so I ended up buying 3 skeins from The Loopy Ewe and 1 skein from Eat.Sleep.Knit. Eat.Sleep.Knit actually had a little card that you could scratch off and potentially win something--I won some Malabrigo Sock in the Archangel colorway! The yarn has already been used up, too. I loved that.

The colors all ended up being severely different, so I had to alternate strands for the knitting. It's still pretty apparent in person where I switched colors. Can you tell?

Overall, the yarn and the pattern were both absolute delights to work with. Somehow, the final product wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it's wearable and soft. It looks a bit "granny" though, don't you think? When I wear decidedly non-"granny" things with the sweater, it's ok, but with jeans/khakis/most tops, I age myself tremendously with the sweater.

Pattern: Alexandria Cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio (who has the cutest baby ever; ravelled here.)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina in the "rose" colorway, 3.01 skeins; the yarn was very luxurious. After wearing the sweater, I notice the yarn slubs off onto my bags quite a bit, unfortunately.
Made for: Me
Size: 41.25"; Gauge ended up being 3.75" x 20 sts, so I knit a size up to get a 38" bust. The shoulders are a tiny bit too large for me because the drapy-ness of the fabric caused the shoulders to pull down a bit. It fits fine overall, though. 
Needles: US size 5 (3.75 mm) and US size 6 (4.00 mm)
Notions: none; I may get a clasp of some sort for around the neck. I'm unsure about this.
Dates: 01.26.12-02.16.12
Cost: $87.28 (yarn cost) + $6.75 (pattern cost) = $94.03; Considering I wasn't thrilled with how the colors worked, the shoulders fit a tiny bit weirdly, and the whole look of the "granny" sweater, it wasn't worth it. It's beautiful--just not for me. :-\ I was kind of disappointed, but I've been wearing it now and then.
-lengthened the body to 16.5" to have the cardigan cover my butt
-I made my waist shaping a little shorter (My projects page has more details on how I did this.)
-Made the sleeves significantly shorter. I like the sleeves of my sweaters to hit right above my watch. It seems like an awkward length (not full-sleeved, not 3/4). I'm picky about sleeves, though. I hate when my sleeve gets in the way and can accidentally get dipped in food/dirt. I like being able to tell the time without scrunching up my sleeves. Finally, I like being as covered as possible to be as warm as possible. My sleeves turned out the way I wanted them.