Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Knitting in Las Vegas, Socks, and BBBB#3

So, I have been in Las Vegas for 3 days, but haven't had the chance to find a knitting store. There are plenty according to a quick Google search I did, so there are some, but since we haven't left "the strip," I'm thinking I won't see one just wandering down the street. I'll keep my eye out, though. An interesting thing I learned here, the slot machines don't have slots for coins. I suppose that proves I don't ever gamble, and "they" probably removed the slots from the nickel and quarter slot machines ages ago, who knew?

Pattern: Relax and Breathe from Knit Socks! by Betsy McCarthy
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore D.K. in 4 colors (217-black, 1383-orange, 3335-green, 517-blue) 75% Acrylic, 25% wool
Needles: US size 2 (2.75 mm)
Began: April 20, 2007; Finished: TBD

Before I left home, I started in on a pair of socks for Tortuga Lad to wear on days when he has tests. He might not wear them then, but that's my incentive. I got the pattern from Knit Socks! by Betsy McCarthy. I changed some of the colors that the pattern calls for, but I'm basically following the pattern for the smallest size. This is the first time I've done any kind of Fair Isle style knitting, and it's been a challenge to use two yarns at once, but I'm getting better at holding one color yarn in each hand to improve tension. It's working pretty well, as long as I can remember which hand throws the yarn clockwise and which counter clockwise. I'm almost up to normal speed, though! I took these photos before I start in with a third color, but the socks are starting to look striped as you can barely make out in this photo:

I think that it will be even more challenging as I start to include the pattern for the words in the sock. I mapped it out on graph paper, one sock will say "Breathe, Relax" and the other will say "Relax, Breathe." I may have to make another pair with less acrylic in them. As you both know, acrylic and other man-made fibers are difficult for me to handle very much. I am making a big sacrifice here to get TL the socks he wants! He is very excited that I'm making him something again, though. I haven't knitted for him in about a year.

BBBB#3 Update Number 3
I've been working at BBBB#3 for a while now and have taken another photo of it while here in LV. The blanket measures about 28" by about 12", so I'm nearly 1/2 way there. At the 1/2 way point, I'll switch to doing each row in knit and then purl stitches to the other way around, purl then knit. You can see what I mean in the photo, I think.

Pattern: Big Bad Baby Blanket from Stitch 'N Bitch
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Baby Pom Pom (41% cotton, 49% acrylic, 10% Polymid)
Needles: US size 5
Alterations: I cast on 164 stitches to account for the difference in the yarn gauge.
Began: March 24, 2007; Finished: TBD

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bib Project - 2nd (and final) Installment

Pattern: Simple Baby Bib
Yarn: Filatura di Grignasco Big (50% cotton, 50% acrylic, so it can be washed on a "normal" setting)
Needles: US size 8
Alterations: I cast on 30 stitches instead of 25 to make the bib larger.
I thought that a 6" square bib is just a little too small, especially when the baby is a toddler.
Began: April 16, 2007; Finished: April 19, 2007

I left earlier than usual yesterday evening (it was 5:05 instead of 5:30) and picked up TL from school, so I could rush to my LYS to pick up some double-pointed needles and a button. They close at 6, so I almost never get there during the week. After dinner, I finished off the bib! I made my first 3 button holes in knitting and they look pretty much like button holes!

I was a little concerned that the strap might not be long enough, so I asked TL to model it for me, and at the longest setting, it goes around his neck just fine. So I think that this will work, in terms of size, for several years for the recipients. The final product is very nice and soft, but appears to also be absorbent. It is also quite stretchy, so I'm hoping that if it shrinks in the laundry, it will also stretch back out somewhat. No, I didn't test or anything rational like that. I should have done a tad more than check to see if the yarn could be safely tossed in the washer, but I was in an hurry.

I tried to take a photo of the cute little cow button I found, but none came out well, even on my "real" camera. I am posting the best one I did get, because I can't find an image of it online.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bib Project

Pattern: Simple Baby Bib
Yarn: Filatura di Grignasco Big (50% cotton, 50% acrylic)
Needles: US size 8
Alterations: I cast on 30 stitches instead of 25 to make the bib larger.
I think that a 6" square bib is just a little too small.
Began: April 16, 2007; Finished: TBD

I started a bib project on Sunday for another friend who's having her first baby in June. The baby shower is on Saturday, though! I am using the pattern that Sari discussed in her post Easy Baby Bib Pattern. And she's right, it's pretty easy so far. I do still have to get a button for the closure, but that shouldn't be too hard at all. I am using a leftover ball of yarn that I found in my bag of yarn. I must have given away whatever I made originally, because I don't have anything like it. I meant to finish the bib last night, but I got very sleepy after I sat down to knit and fell asleep on the couch. Hopefully, I can get it done tonight. If I get the button on the way home.

I was also going to post a photo to show how much progress I've made on BBBB#3, but it came out blurrier than I realized and I have to retake it. Maybe I'll get it posted tonight.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Another Baby Hat, BBBB #3 and books

I knitted another baby hat on Saturday evening. It looks remarkably like the last one I knit, so I haven't bothered to take a photo. I made it pretty much exactly like that one, color of yarn included. I'll be making a more feminine version soon, so I'll take a photo of that one.

I also haven't yet taken a new photo of BBBB #3, but will soon, hopefully today. The blanket now measures approximately 10.5" by 28", and so is coming along nicely for something I keep neglecting for other projects. I am still hoping that I can get it done by April 27, when my first ever knitting class starts. The hope is no longer quite as high as before, though.

On Saturday I went to the book store and purchased two new knitting books. Well, new for me. I finally got Mason Dixon Knitting, because after Wendel Kate mentioned that cushion cover and all those cute baby gift projects I couldn't hold out any longer! I think it's going to end up being a very important source for patterns for me. This is just to agree with Sari and Wendel Kate, I really like the book.

I also got (and read most of) a very handy book called Knit Fix: Problems
Solving for Knitters by Lisa Kartus. I thought it would be a good idea to have a concept on how to fix problems/mistakes/errors before I take this knitting class. Maybe that's weird, but now that I've been knitting for a couple of years, I think it's a good idea to have some idea of how to make a stab at fixing mistakes. So far, I've both taken the whole thing apart and started again, or (and more likely) to say that it makes my piece Unique. Now I know that either philosophy will work, but now I know that there's more than one way to fix a problem, and it doesn't have only involve ripping or ignoring. Anyhow, if you haven't seen this book, you should at least browse it to see if it's for you.

Rating: 3

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Easy baby bib pattern

Here is the baby bib pattern that is sort of like the Mason Dixon baby bib. I think you could adjust the sizes easily for a larger child.

There are variations in the pattern if you want to use different sorts of yarn. I think this make a nice baby gift for the work acquiaintance.

Of course, if you like to knit baby stuff, there are many worthwhile projects like The Preemie Project too.

Dog knitting is THE BEST

I got this book yesterday, and it is #2 on my list of dog knitting books already. And it is #1 for cats. There is a purple and fun fur throne in this book. How many cats don't need that? Especially Siamese cats.

There are also some really easy patterns, and ways to use up novelty yarn. The cartoons are funny and the measuring instructions are pretty complete. I will make a few things from this book right away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Learning, learning

After 2 years, I still am only at the scarf/hat/dog sweater level. I think it is because I knit to relax, and I am usually doing something else like watching trashy tv or riding in the car. Or maybe, it could be my fascination with new I got a new cell phone, a Nokia 6265i.

It has EVERYTHING--camera, video,calendar, etc. If I can get it all to work, (and that is a big if), I can use it to take pictures of my knitting, right? Or, learning to use the damn thing will take all of my free time....too soon to tell if I like the phone or not, but it does seem sturdier than my Razr....replaced 3 x in a year.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Another Sock Project - Finished!

I finished the baby socks tonight. I don't have a suitably-sized model on which to show off my knitting (unlike some co-bloggers!), so I stuffed these with a tissue each so they'd stand up and look nicer. I need to make things for people who live in the same house so I can have models for my stuff! Who knew?

Anyhow, it took me longer than I anticipated because I didn't knit everyday since my last post. So I suppose they took about the same number of hours I expected them to, but it took me more days to get those hours in. These are the first pair of socks I have knitted any kind of a pattern into, and I think they came out pretty well. They have a very nicely even scalloped edge at the top, which I like.

I enjoyed making them and have learned that knitting socks (or probably anything else) with a pattern/lace doesn't seem to have to be as terrifying as I initially thought it would be. I took one photo of the cute little socks with a quarter, so you can get an idea of the scale.

I do have some pretty darn crooked size 1 double-pointed-needles to show for my work, though. Since this is the first project I've used them on, I fear for their lives. I do tend to make even the sturdiest looking embroidery needles curve, but somehow I didn't expect it from bamboo. Do you both end up with curvy needles? Am I just being obsessive about tension, perhaps I need to relax in order to save my poor needles?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Another Sock Project

Last night I decided to get a start on knitting infant socks to match the Fuzzy Wuzzy Baby Hat I made on Monday. I am using a pattern from Knit Socks! by Betsy Lee McCarthy. This is the first pattern of hers I've attempted, but the directions seem very clear and easy to follow. Good since this is the first time I'm attempting to make any kind of lace, besides making tiny socks. I cast on 36 stitches on size 1 (2.25mm) needles, using Tweedy Cotton Classic 100% mercerized cotton #420 (blue). This is the left overs from the hat yarn. If all turns out as planned, the socks will be about 3 3/4" long when done and fit a 0-9 month old baby. I decided to try to knit both socks at once, so I got a second set of needles and I'm working each part of the sock on one, then doing the same part on the other sock.

I've officially wandered down the path of having two unfinished projects in my bag at once. (Evil!) I usually refuse to start a second project until the current one is complete. All these babies coming near the same time is making me adjust my normal working principals. Probably for the good ...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Last Night's Project

Last night I took a break from the BBBB to whip up a baby hat for a completely different baby. I took about 4 hours (give or take) and knit this hat up. It is called a Fuzzy Wuzzy Baby hat and I knit most of it on a 16" size 6 circular needle, but used dpn at the end for the last decreases. I cast on 72 stitches and used both the variegated and eyelash novelty yarn for the first 4 rows. I have it displayed here on a vase, but it doesn't do it justice. I have enough yarn left over to make a matching pair of infant socks! I am going to make another set for another baby boy who is also on his way this spring. Is everyone experiencing a baby boom in their areas?

Just so you know, I did intend to post this last night, but after the knitting binge, I ran out of steam to get the camera out and write this up. I got done just before midnight, so I decided that I could post this "first thing this morning." I realize it's afternoon now ... :)

Monday, April 2, 2007

Suss Cousins Home Knits

Ordinarilly, I don't check out knitting books from the library, because I keep them too long.  I should have turned this one in on time.  It is a beautiful book, with many interesting ideas--knitted lampshades, vase covers, pillow covers, bedthrows--but most of the patterns are made more fabulous with her yarns.

Knitting Class!

Good News: I have registered and paid for my first ever knitting class! I'm very excited to be taking "Knit Your First Sweater" on Friday mornings at my LYS, Great Yarns. It runs for 6 weeks and meets for 2 hours on Friday mornings. I'll have to take some leave time, but there have been no objections. More sweater details as they happen. The class doesn't start until April 27th.

I am going to knit my first sweater for Tortuga Lad, he is going to be so happy that one of my big projects is finally for him. He's getting tired of my "not this one, honey" responses. I was struck by the idea that, in just much-too-little time, he's going to not want me to consider making anything for him. I must strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. I'm not taking up metal work, though, no matter how big a freak Wendel Kate thinks I am!

BBBB #3 -- Second Installment

So, I don't have a photo this time to prove that I've made progress on BBBB but I've been knitting in between everything else I had to do this week. I knitted in the waiting room of the pediatric dentist, I knitted in the waiting room of my dr., and I knitted while waiting in line at 6 am on Saturday morning at the Y (and again at registration at 9 pm), and I knitted while waiting for the piano lesson do be done. The blanket is now 6 1/4" long and I'm 1/2 way through the 2nd ball of yarn. Not bad, I think I'll be done by the end of April (or that's the goal).

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sassy Girl Scarf

I don't pretend to be a skilled knitter. I like to use knitting as a way to meditate, and I need to work on easy, repetitive projects that don't require counting, making swatches, etc.

I made about 6 scarves for the Red Scarf Project.

I think this one turned out the best--it is made from Sassy Girl Yarn, available at Hobby Lobby. Regular price=$9.99/skein, 1 skein makes a scarf about 60 inches long. Watch for sales at Hobby Lobby--I got this stuff for about $3.99.
I used a simple pattern of 2 rows garter stitch, 1 row twisted drop stitch.