Friday, April 26, 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Basics Basics Basics

I bought 3 skeins of Cascade 220 at the yarn tasting yesterday so I could start my swatches for the Basics Basics Basics class. This morning before work I wound my wool and read the entire packet. So far, I'm already glad I bought this course. I mean, yes technically I know how to do the increases and decreases taught in the first lesson of this course but in practice I don't use them.

The only increase I ever use are the bar increase (fondly called kfb in my book) when I want to be able to see where I last increased and the m1 that EZ employed, where you just loop some extra yarn in the spot you need another stitch. Then of course yarnovers, which don't really count because I only use them decoratively. Do I use the lifted increase? Do I mirror my increases? No. But I do mirror my decreases, which is kind of strange now that I think of it.

So actually having to take the time to work these different types of shaping and answer questions about them and practice them is definitely going to help open my eyes to different possibilities and, perhaps encourage me to use them more.

I already know that I have loose purls, and I'm going to try to combat this in the swatches by using a needle 2 sizes smaller in my right hand for the swatches calling for stockinette. I also want to knit these swatches when I actually have time to focus on them. Which is not right now. My son is currently pretending to be Littlefoot and trying to get me to buy a quarter from him. (?)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Yarn Tasting

My LYS held a Cascade Yarn Tasting event today, and I'm so glad I got to make it!
I tried:
Venezia Worsted
Venezia Sport
Ultra Pima
Eco Duo
Highland Duo
Eco Alpaca
220 Superwash Sport
Pima Silk
Luna Paints
(My favorite was Venezia Sport)

What a good time! I tried out the Knitter's Pride needles, too, but wasn't incredibly impressed.
Then I got lost on the way home.
Just like I got lost on the way there.
I wish I could plug the GPS into my brains sometimes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Headless Bodies

Ok Ok OK OK!
I admit it!
I never finished knitting the lamb I started for Easter.
I knitted up until the moment guests arrived.
The pieces are all done. I just have to sew them together.
But what's the point, now that Easter's over?

I'm eventually going to finish it up and give it to one of my many many nieces for Christmas.
Honestly I don't even think I mentioned it before on the blog. But I think part of my extended absence was my fear that regular readers were going to notice that I never actually seem to finish anything.

In other news, I'm NOT finishing anything tomorrow. I'm digging though the stash to find some good travel yarn for a shawl.

It's a sickness.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More Lace, a new project, and some good news

Yesterday I continued my ventures in lace, and worked up the fourth swatch while watching my son and his little cousins play in the sandbox. It is VERY IMPORTANT for me to mention that I was reading Sherlock Holmes while doing so, even though the author claims that "This is the most challenging pattern in the book."

Swatch 4: Leaves and Ladders Square
This square was not exceedingly fun to knit. Especially since you had to pay attention on the purl rows, too, so I had to break from reading for the middle 20 or so stitches every right side row and every other wrong side row.
But it did come out very pretty.

So this morning I cruised back to my blog, remembering the good ol' days when I used to post more frequently, and I read my comments (I love comments) and realized that swatching is my FAVORITE way to learn things.
So why, exactly, have I not signed up for the Knitting Guild Associations Basics Basics Basics course yet? I became a member of the knitting guild at Stitches West this February, and fully intended to sign up once I got my next paycheck. But continually I put it off and finally, this morning, I did it. After the Basics Basics Basics course, I plan on moving forward and taking the Master Knitter classes until I get my pin. In my dream world, I finish this before I'm 30. So I've got a good 5 years to finish 4 knitting courses. :)

In knitting news, I have cast on a new project.
The lace theme continues.
February Lady Sweater.
It's important to mention that I'm knitting a size that won't fit me, I am not attracted to the shape or fit of the garment at all, and I don't even like the color on my skintone.
Definitely a process knitter.
I swear I should knit sample sweaters for the LYS for money.
Happy knitting!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


So I bought the workbook Fearless Knitting a while back. I got it dirt cheap, used on Amazon, and was looking forward to knitting my way through it. Of course, it started with the knits and purls chapter and the very first swatch was a very boring ribbing sampler. Well I hate ribbing and I already know how to tell my knits and purls apart from eachother and so I put the book away and decided to trash the whole idea.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn't buy the book to learn to do knit and purl patterns. I didn't buy it to learn how to knit cables, or work increases and decreases. I bought it for the chapter on lace, so darn it I was going to skip the first few sections and start working on those lace swatches!

Swatch 1:Checkerboard Eyelet Square

This square was quite easy; I thought it went on too long, actually. I got the hang of the pattern repeats immediately (there were only 2 tier patterns, which were basically the same thing but offset from each other.) but it was good experience for reading both the chart, and the knitting itself. I rarely use charts, and it was refreshing to see how easy it was to read. If I ever got lost I could just count the holes and figure out where I was.

Swatch 2: Horizontal Sampler Square
This swatch was the toughest one of the three for me. The bottom third is uses a combination of SSKs and YOs to create a bias to the left, the middle uses a balanced fagotting technique, and the top uses K2togs and YOs to create a right slant. For some reason the bottom was easier for me to do than the top. The middle was very simple because it was just a 2 row repeat. I think what happened with the top was that I kept losing stitches. I frogged it twice actually, before I started really paying attention to find out what my problem was. Now that I look back on the first pattern, which was remarkably similar, and compare it with the third I see what went wrong. The first chart always had you end on a decrease. So you would do your last decrease and then either knit 1 and do your border or just do your border. So I was trying to do the same thing with the top chart. Unfortunately, the top chart asks that you end on a YO instead of on a decrease. So my brain would repeat like this, "yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog" regardless of where I started I wanted to end on a k2tog. Then I'd get to the end of the row, do my k2tog and then knit 1 or do my border. When I SHOULD have added one last YO. So then I kept on knitting on fewer and fewer stitches until I finally looked down and was like WHAT? A triangle?
So that was a good learning experience, and once I realized that was my issue I knitted it with no further problems.

Swatch 3: Tessellated Leaf Lace Square
This is my favorite square both to look at and to knit. Because the shapes are so obvious and the brain can see a leaf, your yo's and decreases are almost instinctive. Mistakes are glaring and fixing them is just a matter of envisioning a leaf. Also, though I used the same brand of yarn and size needles for all 3 squares, this one is much drapier and softer than the others.

I used Patons Classic Wool scraps for each of these squares, and size US 6 needles.

On the whole, I think this books is a nice addition to my collection. It is a little exhausting in it's explaining of each and every step, and like I said some of the earlier swatches are really better suited to beginners, but I do like it and I might work backwards towards doing some of the cable swatches as well.

Ya'll know how much I like swatching.

Anyways, happy knitting! I hope all my readers aren't missing me too much- I've been quite busy and my only camera is on my new (less technical) phone so I have been hesitating to post.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Things I learned...

1) I still hate Red Heart
2) I still hate intarsia
3) When part of me wants to follow the pattern and another part of me has a "better idea," I should seriously LISTEN TO MYSELF
4) I can't count, apparently. Or more importantly, when it becomes obvious that I mis-counted, I should probably go back and fix it.
5) Thinking, "Well it's going to be perfect once I steam block it," does nothing when you're working in acrylic.

So yeah. Wasted a bit of time today.

But I'm not ready to let this Christmas stocking beat me. I am going to have a re-do (I'm not even saving the yarn; this puppy went straight to the bin.) in Paton's Classic. I'm not going to do the stupid increases the pattern told me to do, which contradicted the chart. I'm not going to start the letters right after the ribbing, in spite of the pattern's direction, and by God I'm going to count!
And then?
I'm going to steam block the hell out of it and it is going to be so much better than this.

And I'm also going to have to go down a few needle sizes.