Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thank You Baby!

Show and tell! Look at the knitting love I received on my birthday from my family!

A delicious cake. Yellow cake, lemon meringue filling and buttercream frosting. Oh yeah!

A Namaste, clutch bag. This bag is BAAAAAhhhhD! I really like it. I'm going to be a little fashionista with my clutch/knitting bag. It opens up to store needles and then there are two insides. One side for small/sock projects and the other is for my ID, credit cards, keys. Thank you to my dear hubby. He must be tired of seeing me run out the door with my purse, diaper bag, and overflowing burlap knitting bag.

I also received a gift certificate to Nana's Knitting shop, a knitting pattern book from my friend Kelly and, this cute little card.

Hmmm, my husband always gives good love, but I never expected him to throw a little yarn goodness my way. He never seems to thrilled to share my affections (LOL). Will there finally be peace between my yarn and my man? Aww, there will be because he loves me. I love you too babe.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Birthday Wish


Happy Birthday to me. Thank God for birthday cake, cupcakes, buttercream frosting and another glorious year of life. Praise Him!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm Slippin' and Knittin,' My First Slip Stitch Pattern

Woo hoo! I'm just bubbling with delight over this sock I'm working on. The yarn, the needles, the pattern, all lined up! ooooo la la! And, as a perfect topping, this project is a gift! Oh the love. OK first of all, the yarn. It's a stash bust! Well over a year ago, I purchased some happy spring colored Plymouth Sockotta. I tried to pull up the color, but I think it may be discontinued. I also have one ball of solid red Plymouth Sockotta. I didn't think I would like knitting with it because it felt kind of waxy in the skein, but so far, so good. Together, the colors make me crave the Skittles rainbow! Knitting and sugar high? Delicious.

I'm a maverick, knitting these babies on 9" size 2 circulars. Every time I knit a stitch, I start singing "isty bitsy spider, goes up the water spout..." It's so small and really drives home the reality of knitting on small needles. I must say though, I'm flying through the rows. Ladder problems? Gone. I love knitting socks on these circulars. Time to give knitting 2 socks on "normal" size circulars or the magic loop method a whirl. Don't get me wrong, dpns are workable, but this is so much faster! These circulars are going to have me strung out on socks!

The pattern is Birds of a Feather from Sock Pixie. It's a very simple pattern. I've never knit the slip stitch for color work. The happiness of the multicolor yarn is leaping for joy with the red. I really love it! C'est tres facile!

Birds of a Feather I love you. Just don't tell Baudelaire.

P.S. The stars are lining up for a season of sock knitting. My LYS, Nanas Knitting Shop, just started a sock club and they'll be teaching sock classes for every level in May. Beginner, toe-up, magic loop, 2 socks on circulars and pattern making! That Tricia, such a talent.

P.S.S. Going to see Yarn Harlot tonight, who should I take BF or B? Oh the decisions. Oh, I'm so shady. As Jill said on "The Real Housewives of New York City" "I've been a very bad girl" tee hee! Yes the show is a guilty pleasure. I love it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Yipee! One sock done, now I'm waiting for the other shoe, or sock as it were, to drop. But it won't do it by itself. I've got some knitting to do.

This pattern is the baudelaire sock by Cookie A. from It is a toe-up design. I edited the length to make it an anklet with a picot bind off. Toe-up sock knitting comes in handy when you are unsure about the available yardage of your yarn. I bought two skeins of beautiful lace weight cashmere (Nep A-96) at Habu during my NY trip. I only have 200 yards total. I know, yikes. So, I combined it with a skein of School Products lace cashmere. The aqua of the lace cashmere brings out the orange and aqua flecks in the Habu cashmere. Voila! An anklet is born.

The pattern is straight forward and if you lose your place, the lace repeat is easy to pick-up/find your way. I've only made one full pair of socks before, also toe-up, but with short row shaping for the heel. This pair or ahem, sock is a gusset heel with wrap and turns. I think I like short row shaping better. I had a difficult time figuring out how to lift up and knit the wrap stitch. To give a fair opinion, I have knit 2 individual toddler socks from top down and three-quarters of a man sock top down. I still prefer toe-up.

This time I tried a different cast on method. The provisional cast-on yields a nicer toe than the figure-eight method in my opinion. If you are interested, there's a great archive article in knitty that explains several toe-up cast on methods.

The only thing I'm curious about is the width of the ankle. It's a little loose. I think next time, I'll toy with doing some decreases to get a better fit. I'm also curious about size. I wear an 8.5 shoe, should my sock be a smaller size? My finished sock is a little big, particularly at the heel.

Baudelaire sock, you're so cute. I'm going to knit you a partner real soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Glutton For Punishment

OK, today was my first day back in blog and online knit land. I did a lot of cyber cruising to catch up (man I missed some good stuff! Happy Belated Birthday again to Crimson Purl and Nik and Kamika! Knifty Red finished a whole lot of stuff AND vacationed! Thank you to Tricia at Nana's for putting out a friendly APB on me! Passionknit unwittingly sent me on a cruise for cupcake blogs. I LOVE CUPCAKES! The crazy thing is I was just thinking today what fun it would be to have a cupcake and pizza birthday slumber party).

But I digress, the real reason for a second post in one day is to show you something I just saw over at Vogue Knitting totally connected to my previous post. The Spring Summer preview is out. Check out this link and guess what I'm eyeballing. Yessssss I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm bout to man up and go get'em! I must redeem all of the pouting and complaining. If get up the needles to do this, it will be one helluva redemption. In the queue it goes...

And thank you so much to everyone who has already left notes of encouragement on my previous post. I don't know how to get your email addresses so that I can respond back individually, they don't come through to my inbox. But thank you thank you thank you. They really warmed my heart!

Fair Isle Vest for KAL Complete

It's been a month since I last blogged, but I have been knitting. Truthfully, part of the reason I hadn't blogged was because of my discouragement with the vest. I didn't want to verbalize my issues and be a wet blanket for the world. Then, I was working on a very large project that kept me strapped to the computer on overdrive. I couldn't bear one more second to get on and blog. (that's right get out the violins and hats to join my pity party). I wanted to share another FO, but this post is dreadfully long. Sorry. I tried to make it reader-friendly by numbering each lesson.

I completed the vest almost two weeks ago and wore it last week. It was a great beginner fair isle project since the pattern area is relatively small. It looks decent in this photo, but just wait until I start to "expose" all of the issues!

Pattern: Rib/Fair Isle Vest, by Melissa Matthay, Vogue Knitting Fall 2005

Here are all the hard lessons learned:

1. This piece is knit in two flat pieces but fair isle is better done in the round. Thankfully, my personal knit gauge was consistent so the rows lined up for seaming, but the edges were a little messy adding time to finishing

2. Somehow my gauge for row height was off when I started knitting, which affected the pattern because it was supposed to be a deep neck "v." I think knitting in the round would have alleviated this issue. It could have also been my stranding technique that lengthened the stitches. I ended up with more a low crew neck because the pattern called for the neck shaping to start the row after the armhole decreases ended. Had I understood the construction before hand (note to self: read AND understand pattern before starting), I could have made adjustments. Additionally, because of the row height problem, the fair isle starts at point that intersects my breast. I was expecting it start and the base of the bust. I have a small bust and the intersection combined with the crew neck gives me a flat chest look.

3. The fair isle pattern was confusing. The chart is like 18 stitches, but is a repeat. However, the chart wasn't built to be one-size-friendly, meaning go the end of chart and repeat. For my size, I had to mentally figure out the motif and adjust where I started to keep the motif consistent. Unfortunately, I didn't figure that out until the back was completed, which brings me to lesson 4.

4. I like the colors I chose, but together, they don't show the motif as well as the pattern sample. The blue and green harmonize such that the pentagon doesn't stand out and then the fuchsia vibrates because it is complimentary to the green. Instead of an identifiable pattern, it looks like gratuitous color blotches in my opinion. I used this to my advantage...I didn't frog the back. I don't think someone can easily tell the pattern is off unless they are closely staring at my back, which could happen if I wear it in the ice-cream line.(I know that was real janky on my part)

5. When ribbing flat, take note of where you end so that when seaming, you don't end up with a single knit or purl column at the seam. I probably could have alleviated this by starting each row with 1 knit or 1 purl or starting the front k2 and the back p2. With my arms down, one can't tell, it will be my personal issue. I almost reseamed to make a big ole' purl column in an effort to camouflage my mistake with a design element, but what the heck, my vest in all its glorious imperfections mirrors life.

6. Don't use superwash yarn for fair isle garments. As I read more about fair isle and gained hands-on experience, I learned wool was better to use because the fibers will stick together as you knit and fill out during blocking. Overall, mine is OK because it is a small area, but had I knit a sweater completely in fair isle, I think you would see some gaps. I was really worried during blocking and actually put the vest in the dryer on air to fluff it out some. Even still, the one superwash (Lorna Laces green) is a little unruly in the group. It was beautiful to knit with, very soft, just the wrong project.

7. Use the same brand yarns. I stashed busted to put this vest together. The fair isle portion I used Lornas Laces Superwash, Cascade 220 wool and a mystery ball of superwash (I can't remember the name) They were the same gauge, but the ply looks different in all of them (this is me knit picking) which I didn't notice until after the project was done. (Note to self: Pay attention to your swatch!)

8. I used Jaeger extra fine merino aran for the ribbing. As I blogged about it earlier, it wasn't very forgiving in terms of stitch definition until it was blocked. It also lengthened more than I expected in blocking and didn't draw back up. It is piling a little after one wear as well. In the fair isle pattern, this yarn did not play well with the others.

9. I had problems with stranding, but scheherazaad gave me good suggestion on how to run my English stitches in the back instead of the front. I also watched a Knit and Crochet Today episode where the new strand is run under the old strand.

10. OK after 9 complaints, I'll end with a mother-in-law was impressed! She liked it. I worked on it one night in the ER with her and when I wore it last week, she noticed and was happy to have seen it in construction and then complete. So it was a good opportunity to connect with her. My mom liked it too, but that doesn't count because I could make a backward rag and my mom would gush with praise, that's what mom's do!