Sunday, April 29, 2007

Spring's Bounty

I haven't been doing much knitting, which isn't like me at all. Part of it is because I have a lot of homework, but its really not the whole story. I've been doing other things that I've been neglecting, like reading...for fun! I've read two books in the last few weeks. Plus, I've been cooking up a storm! I've been searching the city high and low for the best organic produce and I've been trying to cook and eat more meals at home to save money and to be healthier. I've been doing fairly well, although I have eaten a few meals out.

Here is one my creations from this weekend:

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Strawberries are in season and really cheap, so its strawberry shortcake time. You'd better bet that's real whipped cream, too. Mais oui!

I've been back to knitting the last few days, so I'll have photos soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Closing In

Whiskey is almost there. Just a bit more to go. I have 2 sleeves knit and blocked. I have the left front knit and blocked. I have the back knit and block. Last night I finished knitting the right front, soon it too will be blocked. All that is left on Whiskey is to make the button band and to give it a collar. The pattern calls for the sweater to have a hood, but I don't really think it needs a hood, so my version will simply have a shawl collar (I think). I have finished all the knitting that needed to be done with the contrast color and still have one full skein left. Last time I measured I still had about 8 oz of my 1lb cone left, it is so nice to not be worried about running out of yarn.

I may not get around to doing the button band or collar for a bit. I have picked up Forest Path again which means that my size 2 needle is back to being used on a different project. Besides, it is hard to feel any finishing urgency when it was 86 degrees yesterday.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Is That My Class Project?

Well, no. I have been working on it and I'm almost done with the back. Tonight, when I got together with the girls, though, I had a glass of wine and attempted to relax while taking a break from the multi-tasking hell of what is known as "putting myself through school while keeping an A average and working on my Master's thesis". Anyway, I felt I couldn't concentrate on it and drink wine and catch up with everyone. So, something had to be sacrificed. Hopefully, Dave the Knitting Guru won't be too disappointed in me. I have tomorrow off from one job, so although its an opportunity to do homework, its also possible that I may get several uninterrupted knitting hours.

Besides all of that, I couldn't work on my class project because I was busy getting input from everybody on what colors I should use for my Under the Hoodie. I have already done my typical changing my mind three times. I'm still not convinced its perfect. Sometimes, I think its dark and dreary. Other times, I think its masculine-looking, but I'm not sure why since it's purple and I don't know too many guys who will wear purple. Other times, I think it looks really cool. There isn't any other combination I've found that truly wows me, so I'm sticking with this, I think.

Here's a photo of what I've done so far:

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Here's a closeup of the colors:

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What do you think?


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Socks, Some Rock & Some Trek

Last Thursday I mentioned that I was starting a new pair of socks using Socks that Rock for the yarn, and following a Cookie A pattern. Yesterday, on the Orange Line I finished the first Twisted Flower Sock. In order to finish I had to be a bit creative, you see, this was the only knitting I had with me and I didn't have a book to read so I needed to get the sock done and to start the second or I would be sitting on the T with nothing to do (I can't handle that). I didn't have a sewing needle to use for a kitchener stitch nor did I have another knitting needle to use fora 3 needle bind off, so what was I to do? My solution was to take the plug part from my Ipod headphones and use that as a 3rd needle which let me do a 3 needle bind off. I had no scissors so I had to break the yarn by hand, which I didn't find to be easy. After finishing the sock, I cast on for the second sock and started working on the ribbed cuff, then my T ride was over. Now the second sock has been set aside so that I can try to make a second trekking sock.

Months ago I created this sock:
It is my own design, unfortunately, I didn't leave myself good notes about how I made it. I made a note of when I started the gusset increase and how many gusset increases I used (it is a toe up sock with heel flap and, obviously, a gusset). I did not write notes on how I turned the heel, and more importantly my toe instructions tell me how to get up to a certain number of stitches then include the phrase "too big." Unfortunately, looking at the first sock, it appears that I did toe increases to the number of stitches written before I noted "too big," so, while I started the toe following my handwritten instructions I am quite concerned that I will have to rip it all out because it won't match the first. I have no idea what my "too big" referred to, was my toe too long? My first sock fits so it clearly isn't too wide around. My notes were in pencil, did I erase the number of my original increases? This will be something of a mystery, and a lesson on why detailed notes are required for designs.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There Has Been Knitting

But, there isn't really anything interesting to show you. School is crazy right now, but in addition to that, I have the next installment of my sweater design class on Saturday. I haven't done any work on my project in six weeks or more, so I'm cramming this week. As a result, I haven't finished Sahara yet. It won't take long, but every spare minute that I have for knitting needs to be used for the class project. Hopefully, I'll have the back finished by Friday so I'll have a good photo. I made quite a lot of progress last night and I'm now 4 inches or so into the armhole shaping.

Instead, I have non-knitting photos.

I took this picture of my neice, Savannah, when we went out to dinner last Friday night. She did this pose herself - it wasn't staged or anything. Even though she's only 19 months, she's about as big as a 3-year old! The doctor told her parents she's going to be over 6 feet tall. She's also a skinny beanpole, so she's lucky to have gotten those genes from her mother.

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I got this shot of Teacup yesterday. I guess having the window open in the bedroom was a bit too chilly for him, so he took refuge by wrapping himself like a burrito in the comforter.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Frog is a Four Letter Word

On Saturday I blissfully picked up Seasons of Darkness and Winter of Light and pleasantly knit and knit on it. Then I went to bed. Sometimes while I am sleeping good ideas come to me. My mind is freer and less constrained and sometimes creative. Sometimes, though, while I am sleeping I realize that I made a major mistake somewhere.
Sometime between Sat night and Sun morning, as I was sleeping, I realized I might need to frog some of Season of Darkness. I thought that I would have to frog the work I did on Saturday, the first work that I have done on this sweater in months. You see, as I was sleeping I remembered that I have to have some steek stitches in the sleeve so that I can create a front and a back. I remembered that these steek stitches get inserted a couple of inches before approximately half of the stitches are cast off. The work I did on Saturday left me about perhaps 20ish rows away from the cast off area, and this was closer than I remembered for the steek stitches to start.

As I compared the finished left sleeve with the right sleeve I realized that I am 3ish inches past where the steek stitches should have started. I did not knit 3ish inches last night. Apparently, I started making this mistake before Seasons got set aside. (See photo on the right )
Fortunately, working on the piece on Saturday reminded me of how happy this project makes me. Perhaps even more fortunately, my office isn’t open on Patriots’ Day (a Massachusetts Holiday that occurs on the day the Boston Marathon is run), so I had plenty of knitting time in which to correct my mistake, which I did. I guess, in the spirit of stupid optimism, I could look at the mistake as a way to prolong my enjoyment of this sweater and not look at it as a set back. Could I be that “glass if half full”? By Sunday night I was past the progress that I made on Saturday, and I had finished my skein of dark brown, so I set this aside so I can wind the dark brown into a new cake.

Since I still had another full day in which I could knit I started the second sleeve for Whiskey (by the way, I had managed to finish the left front on Saturday (I think)). Here is my new Whiskey progress:

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Farmer's Market Day

I don't really have anything knitting-related to show you. I did finish the knitting on Sahara, but I didn't feel like doing the finishing, so I started a second Under the Hoodie out of the new Cotton-Ease. I didn't have time to take any photos, though, because I spent the day shopping and cooking.

I went to the really awesome Farmer's Market in Hillcrest that is held every Sunday morning from 9-1. I went with Cora, our sometimes guest blogger. I made a decision a couple of weeks ago that I would do more cooking and trying to eat healthier. I generally have a healthy lifestyle, but my diet leaves something to be desired. I eat out a lot and I eat a lot of frozen food. Its really my schedule that causes this, but I think that with a little pre-planning I could cook on the weekends and have leftovers for the week.

Toward this end, I've ordered some new cookbooks and done some shopping at Whole Foods to stock up on whole grains, beans, nuts, fresh vegetables and some good cheese to make it all taste good. I tend to eat vegetarian (except when I'm chowing down on Phil's Bar-B-Q, but that's another story), so I've really stocked up on the veggies. I decided that a trip to the farmer's market would be an ideal place to get really good quality, seasonal, tasty, fresh, organic produce.

I think the market in Hillcrest is the largest in all of San Diego. They have many, many stalls carrying anything from handmade baskets to cheese to organic lettuces. For all of you locals, Bread and Cie has a booth where they sell freshly baked treats like croissants, as well as loaves of their delicious bread. I mostly stocked up on produce, picking up mushrooms, basil, parsley, beets, and zucchini. Cora got some truly gorgeous strawberries. Then, we pored over my cookbooks and chose a few delicious looking recipes to try out what we'd bought. I ended up roasting beets and making a beet, sour cream and herb chutney kind of thing to eat with Pierogi - very Russian. I also made a leek, mushroom, potato and swiss chard soup. I have some leftovers for the week, so I think I'm off to a good start. Tomorrow, I'm going to make an asparagus and goat cheese tart - yum! I can't wait for that one.

I highly recommend that, if you live in San Diego, you should check out the Farmer's Market in Hillcrest.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jezabel is Finished!

I finished my modified Jezabel* this afternoon.

If you remember, this is a Louisa Harding pattern. The original, which you can see on the left, had a high neck and was made in a solid yarn (obviously one of her own). I decided to use some Freedom Spirit yarn instead. I enjoyed this yarn, though it is a bit fuzzy. I didn't have problems with the yarn splitting, however, at points the twist seemed none existent and I felt like I was knitting with unspun yarn. I also changed the neck-line. I didn't like the idea of the collar being that high around my neck, so I gave the sweater a V neck. I am not positive how I like what I did with the collar on mine, but I am living with it for today to see how I feel about it latter. I am actually not sure how I feel about the entire sweater. My sweater feels a bit short on me. If I were to use this pattern again, I would make it longer before starting the waist shaping. I haven't blocked the sweater though, so perhaps if I try blocking I could force the FO to be longer. (Sorry about the stupid facial expression. I was getting sick of trying to take a photo of myself by this point.)

*ordinarily I would spell the name "Jezebel" but the pattern apparently uses and a after the z, so I am using that spelling.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Four Letter Words

Were said on Tuesday night. After posting about my speedy progress on Whiskey I went home and worked some more. I was nearly done with the left front when what did my eyes see?

Can you see the problem?

Maybe not, perhaps this is too much of a close up on the problem area. This is how it should look:

As you can see, the squares should line up so that the dark diamonds form a diagonal stripe, and the light diamonds form a parallel diagonal stripe. Is that what mine does? No, somehow I managed to put two diamonds of the same color above one another.

Time to frog.

I certainly did not feel like frogging on Tuesday night, so instead, I dug into my smallish stash and pulled out some Socks that Rock yarn. I have never posted a photo of this purchase, and I stopped making socks shortly after I bought the yarn. I found my sock mojo again when I discovered the collection of fabulous sock patterns by Cookie A. Cookie A, you may recall, is the designer of Knitty's Pomatomus socks and many other Knitty socks. I will show you progress on this soon.

By the way, you can see that Isis is ready for her close up Mr. DeMille. I tried to shoot the yarn without her, but she clearly wanted to be the focus of the photo.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Slow, Slow Sahara

I don't know what' s up with this sweater, but it seems to be taking me forever. I think it's because there's only 4 1/2 weeks left in the semester so there's a ton of work to be done and I'm trying to get some work for the summer. Not much time for knitting. Its the only thing I'm working on, though, so its getting there.

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I just did the bottom lace portion last night, and since it was off the needles, I tried it on and I really like the fit. For the first time, I designed decreases to actually match the shape of my VERY long torso. Basically, the distance from the underarm to my waist is around 11 inches and from my waist to where I like sweaters to end is more like 4 inches. But, doing it this way resulted in something that follows the curve of my body well.

Here's an extra Wednesday treat. A photo of my niece from Easter. Isn't she growing up nicely?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Whiskey Continues

Having time off can be a beautiful thing. With it, you can make all sorts of knitting progress. After finishing the first Whiskey sleeve I cast on for the left front of the cardigan. I have already done my armhole shaping and am nearing the end of the front. Considering that this is being knit with size 2 and size 3 needles, I am amazed at how quickly it is going. I finished the sleeve and most of the left front in under a week, which I consider to be good progress. Details of the plaid and cabling:

Please ignore the evidence of Isis sitting on my knitting, she was looking to be the center of my attention.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's A Sleeve!

I picked up Whiskey again. I moved Forest Path Stole onto some spare size 2 needles until I figure out if I am buying more yarn and cast on a sleeve for Whiskey. I spent two days in PA working on the sleeve and now it is finished! I have a back and one sleeve done, so I think I am about 1/2 way finished the sweater. Somehow though I still have a ton of yarn left on my cone. It is really nice not to worry about running out of yarn.

On another front, my Blackberry Ridge yarn for Season of Darkness has arrived! Unfortunately, I was already in PA when I got the email letting me know it was here, so I haven't picked it up yet, but expect to get back to Season in the very near future.

As for PA...I went to the King Tut exhibit at the Franklin Institute, I can't show you any photos because cameras were not allowed. After going through the exhibit I went through some of the rest of the museum, including the giant beating heart. As a child, the heart was always the thing that stood out most in my memory. The heart is big enough to walk through, it is labeled and lets you know as you travel through the different parts, including letting you know when you leave the heart. It was everything that I remembered it being, except that it was much narrower than I remembered it being. I guess perspective really matters. It was fun going through the museum and pretending to be close to a child again.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Not My Class Project

Even though I'm supposed to be slaving away at the two sweaters I'm making for my design class, I'm working on Sahara instead. Its much more fun to work on when I'm swamped with work. Its also good "relax at the end of the day while catching up on Netflix" kind of knitting.

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Here's where I'm at. I joined it together at the front last night and I just finished the waist decreases (which I naturally had to change from the original pattern to accomodate my long torso. Now, I have to figure out how to change the increases to accomodate my bedonkadonk. I hope you have a happier Friday planned than I do. Work, work, work! Running around like a nut! Is it the weekend yet?


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Finished Vest with Photos!

I did it! Yes, I finished the vest, but more importantly, I got him to pose for some photos! Actually a single photo, but still.

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I have an early dentist appointment, so I'll have to be brief with the details, so here goes:

Pattern: Pretty much my own, although I stole the stripe from a vest in Men in Knits called the Jazz Vest, or something like that. I haven't given it a name, though.
Yarn: Cotton-Ease in Stone (main color), Taupe and Charcoal for the stripes. I used 4 of the main color, and just a tiny bit of the others.
Size: Finished chest measurement was 46". I was intending to have it be 44" or a little less, so it's a tad big on him. Cotton-Ease stretches like mad, too, so I'm a little concerned about that.
Gauge: Using size 7 needles, it seemed like I got a gauge of 4 1/2 sts/in instead of my usual 4 3/4 - 5 sts/in with the old stuff
Overall thoughts: This is my first pattern. I utilized the skills that I've learned in the classes I've taken with Dave Kraft (except that I didn't swatch - yikes!) and I think it paid off. I deserve to have it not fit since I didn't swatch, but I figured, heck I work with Cotton-Ease enough, it should be OK. Bad, I know.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Finally I have finished knitting the sleeves of Jezabel. They felt like they would never, ever be done. I have sewn one & a 1/2 sleeves onto the sweater, and closed up one side of the sweater. I haven't blocked it, but perhaps I should have. I need to loosen the rib a bit, it looks tiny, and I am not tiny. All that will be left after the sewing is done is to figure out what I am going to do with the collar.
Forest Path is still moving right along, which means that Whiskey is still paused.
I head to PA tomorrow to visit the family, and to see the King Tut exhibit in Philly.


Monday, April 02, 2007

New Week, New Project

I finished Joe's vest over the weekend and wash/blocked it last night. I had hoped to take photos this morning, but he was out the door before I got a chance. He promised he'd sit still tonight, so we'll see.

Anyway, since that was my easy/stockinette/TV knitting project, I had to start something else to fill that void. I decided, at long last, to make Sahara.

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I'm using Cotton Fleece in Tea Rose on size 7 needles. With that combo, I'm actually getting pretty good gauge, both row and stitch. It means the fabric is drapey and will likely stretch a lot, but that should make it similar to the silk yarn called for in the original pattern. While some colors of Cotton Fleece are quite flat, this one has a nice sheen to it that makes it good for this pattern. Like many of Brown Sheep's yarns, it's not particularly sexy in the skein, but it's gorgeous on the needles. I've always been happy with the projects I've made out of this yarn.