Friday, February 29, 2008

Girlyness!

I have been one busy lady! I have two FOs to show off today (one won't be quite as exciting since you've already seen most of it), but regardless, I'm still excited. What took me so long you ask? Getting to the store to buy that darn ribbon! I finally mozied on over to pick it up at 1 am Wednesday morning after I finished my late shift at work. By 2 am I had ribbon in hand and was ready to finish these little items off! Brace yourself, here is the first:Um....I can't even handle it. Can you handle it? I can't handle it. Let's consult the "girlyness" meter for a moment shall we?:
  • There is pink
  • there is lace
  • there is ribbon
  • there is a bow
  • and you can't see it in that picture, but there's also a pearl.
This Girlyness reading tops the charts at: OBSCENELY GIRLY! This top has it all and is enough to make any tomboy cringe.

The pattern itself is from the book "Special Knits" by Debbie Bliss. Overall, I'd say this little top was way more tedious than it needed to be, but mostly due to user error [knitting in the wee hours...] rather than pattern default. I will say though, thank goodness for Ravelry! There is no picture in the book of that cute little keyhole button closure in the back, and trying to make sense out of that part of the pattern without seeing it first would have been madness. Ultimately though, this top makes me complete and I can't wait to send it off to Leah. Here is a montage of more awesomely girly photos!

(My photoshop refused to make that bigger, but all of those photos are uploaded onto Flickr here!)
As if the top weren't girly enough, The already adorable hat has gotten a cuteness makeover. What is showing up on the girlyness meter this time?

  • there's a ruffle
  • there are stripes
  • there are pastels
  • there are eyelets
  • and, to top it all off, there is coordinating ribbon!
This Girlyness reading comes in at a close second of DISTURBINGLY GIRLY! Question: What more could a baby girl ask for? Fact: not much. Girlyness abounds in this apartment and after a trip through the wash, these little items will be wrapped in tissue paper and sent off to Virginia to their new home! I love happy endings...

**Oh! I apparently got a little bit of a shock out of some when I mentioned that I was colorblind in my last post. To shed a little more light [har har], I am red/green deficient. That basically means that I can still see colors, just different versions than the ones you see (try wrapping your mind around that!). There is a small spectrum of colors in the olive greenish brownish yellowish area that I could not distinguish for the life of me--they fall into an aptly named "grey area" for me. Essentially, what it comes down to, is that I wear a lot of neutrals (greys, blacks, whites, & browns) and then add a punch of color to spice them up. This way I don't have to worry about my colors clashing horribly or making myself a public spectacle. I often will ask for color help from nearby shoppers or sales clerks if I have questions about colors, but ultimately it ends up being an adventure rather than a hindrance--but yes, it does sometimes make knitting a little interesting! **

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Quirky

Uff da. I just finished up a crazy week of projects, studying, meetings, work, and exams--and let me tell you, this girl is exhausted! I've been pretty much useless this week in the realm of knitting, and all I had to show for myself is about 4.5 inches of stockinette stitch on a baby garment for Leah's little one. It's not too exciting yet (stockinette rings never are), but here's what it looks like as of 11:45 this morning...
How riveting. Luckily, stockinette goes quickly and now that I have some free time, this little monster shouldn't take much longer. I'm using KnitPicks shine sport in the color Coral which I got on clearance for $1.99/skein [!]. It is so soft I can't even handle it--perfect for sensitive baby skin. Eventually, it'll be turning into this adorable baby top (I apologize for the increased amount of "cute" content lately, it'll stop soon). here it is:In other news, I was recently tagged by Susan and Rachel to talk about 7 things that make me "unique" (my first thought was "heh, just seven?!"). Due to lack of good knitting content, I figured this would be as good a time as any to do so. Here it goes:
  1. I prefer to walk/always be on the right side of people
  2. I always check my back seat before getting into my car--thanks a lot Urban Legends.
  3. I've never eaten a McDonald's hamburger before. I've heard I'm not missing much...
  4. I collect sugar packets wherever I go.
  5. I managed to make it into the .5% of women who are colorblind. Hooray for heredity.
  6. My right thumb is about 1/2 shorter than my left. (Causes to consider: problem with growth plate in wrist, shop class, UFO abduction...[lol?])
  7. And lastly, I learned how to land an airplane after becoming paranoid reading Gary Paulsen's "The Hatchet".
So there you have it. I am what some people might consider "quirky", which I actually rather enjoy. I could have gone on, but seven was the lucky number. I'm not keen on tagging people for these sorts of things, so if you haven't been tagged yet and are interested in doing this, consider yourself TAGGED! Also, thank you to Sarah for awarding me the "You make my Day" award, it (for lack of better words) made my day!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blackout

Everyone knows what a blackout is, yes? Some people have medically related blackouts, some have anger blackouts, and then there's me: I have knitting blackouts. What do I mean by this? I mean I sat down to talk with a [close] friend last night and about three hours later I had 3/4 of a children's hat completed.

I don't [consciously] remember choosing to make this hat, finding the yarn, downloading the pattern, checking gauge (okay, realistically I know I didn't check gauge on this one), or any of the other preparation type activities that go into starting a new project. I'm starting to think that this might be the cause of my accumulated WIP collection though....sigh. I give you: Thorpe
Mr. pumpkin is hiding underneath this time...maybe he's camera shy tonight, who knows. Anyway, this hat was made for my fantastic manager's [sited here] daughter, Allie. She will be turning 2 in April, and cozy hats are never too plentiful this time of year in Wisconsin! Here are the stats:

Pattern: Thorpe
Designer: Kirsten Kapur
Needles: US 10 Addi turbo circulars
Yarn: Plymouth yarn Indiecita Baby Alpaca Grande
Start date: sometime (?) early a.m. 2/18 End Date: Afternoon 2/18

So exactly what happened during those hours between midnight and 3am, nobody will ever know. What is known is that a cute and simple toddler hat was born in the process. Modifications? Well, my gauge was obviously smaller so that's how I go the hat to be kiddy sized. Since the pattern size was making the hat longer and I didn't know Allie's actual head size, I opted to leave off the earflap part, despite how cute it would have been. Also, I used magic loop from the top down which was challenging at first, but better than futzing with DPNs in my opinion (also I didn't have any, and in my "haze" I decided I didn't care). The alpaca knit up so smooth and dense, and the double thickness of the colors will really help keep Allie warm!

Also, here is a shot of my pet chicklet helping me show off the other label Lindsey graciously gifted. This one is a little more feminine than the one I sewed into Koolhas, and I love them both equally.

And yes. I know that's not a real chicken, but I don't have cute cats to drape my knitting over...wind up toys will have to do.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Awwww....

I have been busily working on finishing up some baby items for my friend Leah, who (as evidence by the photo below) is one of the cutest pregnant ladies ever. Leah would be classified under the "one of my favorite people of all time" category. I met her in high school and she, being several years older, acted sort of as my adopted big sister during those years. She married a wonderful man (also pictured below) my sophomore year of hs and now is expecting a little baby girl within the next few weeks.

Can you even handle how cute she is? I can't. Speaking of cute...

Enter the most adorable baby hat ever. (I should make it known ahead of time that ruffles excite me almost as much as poms do)

This hat, graciously modeled by Mr. Pumpkin, makes me so unbelievably happy. My mom had made one [Ravelry] several years back and I um..."borrowed" the pattern from her so I could make one while I was at school.

Why the holes in it you ask? Well, in a few days this hat is going to get even cuter (as if that's even possible) than it already is. Yes, ribbons get tied through those little holes and are looped around the whole hat. The original pattern called for twice as many ribbons as will be on mine since I think there is a very fine line between "adorable ribbons" and "nauseating ribbons". I'm opting for adorable. More photos and pattern info coming once it's actually finished, I just couldn't resist showing it early. Oh, and I almost forgot....

One of the coolest features of the Artist's Koolhas hat was that it was the first time I'd been able to use my new labels (!) given to me by the artist's sister--we'll call her "Lindsey". This was such a thoughtful gift from her and I absolutely love them! Thank you so much Lindsey!

Friday, February 15, 2008

For the Artist

Oh who are we kidding, I can't keep anything from you guys! No more secrets! I cheated on my promise and there's no getting around it--100% guilty as charged. Heck, I was even apprehended by one of the local police officers who, after reading of my promise, caught me knitting this forbidden item on one of my shifts! That's when you know you've crossed the line. I know I said I wouldn't slip, but that being the case, at least my fall from grace was not done in vain...

My outcome was a surprise Valentine's Day gift for my [patient] boyfriend, whom from this point on I'll refer to as "The Artist" (per our mutual decision). I noticed immediately that one of the things that was really popular throughout blogging communities was the creation of "aliases" for family and friends whose identities were too sacred (or too something) to be made public. Most of you know by now that my name is Rachel, but the bf was intrigued by the idea of picking a codename for himself (what guy wouldn't be...?)

"The Artist" is just about as suitable a name as could be chosen--Art is as much his passion as knitting is for me, if not more so. Right now he's a TA for the ceramics department at our university and, [unfortunately] he had to work tonight. At least I was able to get some fun aerial shots of him in his "element" while he was there! He is by far one of the most talented artists I know and I am constantly amazed by the FO's (potters have them too!) that are coming out of his studio. (More photos can be seen here!)
I spliced in some silly pictures too. The one of me being anxious to share this hat with you on Tuesday, and of course the middle shot of my beloved summer splurge paired with the Artist's work shoes. What can I say, we both love patterns on our feet! Oh for heaven's sake, enough about shoes--bring on the knitting! Here are the stats:

Pattern: Koolhas
Source: Interweave Knits, Holiday 2007
Designer: Jared Flood
Needles: US size 2 & size 7 Addi Turbos
Yarn: Berella Muskoka --100% Superwash Merino
Start Date: 2/10 End Date: 2:12

I loved making this! Something snuggly (err...manly) to keep the Artist's head warm was WAY overdue, and this pattern was the perfect remedy. This hat went very quickly and was so fun to knit! It's a very easy pattern to memorize, and without a cable needle, all of those little twists were fun rather than tedious. I highly recommend this pattern.

That's all for now, perhaps now I will get back on track now that I got that hiccup out of my system. Or maybe knitters just weren't meant to have these sorts of boundaries...?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sneak Peak

It's confession time, for I fear I have let you down.

My lack of willpower can be seen here on Ravelry (apologies for those who can't access yet!). More [and much better looking] photos to come later this week-- stay tuned!

Friday, February 8, 2008

How on Earth?

So here's something knitters don't exactly love to do-- showing everyone our mistakes. I was knitting along on Tree Jacket when I realized I'd made a mistake...or two...or three. I was definitely in denial about the back of this sweater. Keeping in mind that this was primarily football knitting, so it's possible that some of the mistakes came when an interception was thrown or an opposing team threw a touchdown. Yeah. That's where the mistakes came from...

So first, here is the front of the sweater (aka what it's supposed to look like):See how the rows all go straight back and the stitches between the lace portions all match? The front, minus the wrinkles from being stored in a Ziploc, is looking good.

Now, to show you the [misbehaving] side in question:Most of the problem has been contained to that middle column. I have no idea how, but I've slowly been losing stitches (which means I've added them somewhere else since my stitch count is still dead on).

It has gotten to the point where I can no longer deny that this is a problem. What's even worse is that I've started to strongly dislike working on this sweater because of the mistakes--I know I wouldn't wear it often either. As a result, I've decided to frog back to the start of the lace pattern. Do I have the support of the masses on this one? Am I making the correct choice to remove my Treebeardy from the needles to make it right again?

Regardless of my decision, I'm staying positive on this one. The lace pattern on this one knits up so quickly it won't really be a setback. I do hate ripping out afternoons of work though-- It's a good thing it's in my favorite color...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

There's Always Money in the Banana Stand

Any knitting Arrested Development fans out there? Check it OUT! That's right, we've made some serious ground as far as getting our presence known! The Arrested Development Documentary project is sweeping the nation to interview die-hard AD fans for their film! I'm a huge advocate of this project (who wouldn't be?) and wanted to spread the word. Especially because it has now been made known that we collectively (as knitters) love the show! Here is a link to their trailer for the project!

And I know it's posted right on the side of my blog, but again I proudly state:



Saturday, February 2, 2008

I promise it's not cheating...

Okay. So I know Foliage wasn't exactly on my list of things to finish. Okay fine, it wasn't on there at all. But here's the thing: rather than jumping right into my second Bird-in-hand mitten, I opted to work on something a little lighter, a little more slouchy. *Enter Le Slouch*. Le slouch and I had been having this sort of love/hate relationship all along. Meaning I loved the way it was looking in my hands but absolutely hating the way it looked on my head. For whatever reason, it just wasn't a good fit. So I put the beret on "time out" (which is quite typical for my knits when they get into trouble) until I was in a better state to deal with it.
























That state never came, and I knew I had to take account of my situation. On the one hand, I have 200 yards of gorgeous Malabrigo worsted, and on the other hand, I have a hat I'll never wear. *Enter Foliage*. This hat pattern was well written, cute, fast, easy, and everything else a good hat should be. I barely even remember making it next to casting on last night and finishing early this afternoon. Here are some stats:

Pattern: Foliage from Knitty Fall 2007
Yarn: 1 skein Malabrigo Worsted - Polar Morn
Needles: I decided to do it all on magic loop size 7's for body and 2's for brim
Cast on: 2/1 Cast off: 2/2

So there you have it . One project done, 6 more to go!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Absence Makes the Gauge Grow Smaller

Has this ever happened to anyone else? I leave my mittens alone for 2 weeks and what do they do? They changed gauge on me! (as if this is their fault...). Sometimes I forget that I'm controlling my knitting and not the other way around. It's almost as if I look down and smile sweetly (like one would do to a small child) and think "Ohhh, is that what we're doing now?". Sigh. Essentially my change in gauge means that my mittens actually started to fit rather than being fit for, say, a linebacker. Well, at least a linebacker with huge hands.This not only was my first experience with stranded knitting, but also my first run in with the Kitchener stitch. Now, after hearing horror stories about this part of the finishing process, I was a little tentative to sit down and do it. Who wants to ruin their weekend with that? However, being the "go-get-em" college student that I am, I decided to tackle this move in one play (yes, I am looking forward to the Superbowl).
Despite a minor error on my part (which was conveniently blurred in this photo), the grafting was completely seamless (ba da-bum *ching* hehe). But in all seriousness, it really was quite simple! Primarily because I was following Sandi Wiseheart (of Knitting Daily)'s guide to Grafting on the Needles. Now, I don't know if her tricks are any easier than a normal ones (since this is my first time) but this description was definitely easy to remember & execute! So there you have it. Updated photos + me well on my way to staying true to my promise! I consider that success.