Tuesday, February 27, 2007

honest, i did finish it

yes, really, i did finish the shawl. i just needed by blog model to return from her visit with auntie pam in l.a. so here it is.

i decided to go with the brown ruffle instead of searching around for more blue yarn. my sweet friend (who doubles as my fashion consultant) and i both agreed it would flow better if the ruffle were brown. and it does. but i do love the blue stripes. my next goal is to learn how to knit/weave in the yarn ends as i am knitting. most of the the stripes are only two rows in width so i had lots of yarn ends to weave in!

but it is warm and lovely. the wool is chunky and smooth. and, though the pattern is simple, i really like it. i look forward to knitting it up again with totally different yarns and colors. surgery is a week away, so i have not worn the shawl yet. the plan is to wear it home. i can't wait...or maybe i can.
(and, in case you were wondering, no, i don't have a model fetish. this room doubles as the sewing room so the pictures in the background are of fabrics and styles and the cuts of clothing that i like even if i don't dress anything like the pictures.)

knitter's block

i learned to knit specifically to knit socks. it was something i had always wanted to do. every time i come across a sock pattern i ohh and ahh inside and think about the yarns i would use, or the colors i would pick and who the socks would be for. but right now i am stuck at picking up the gusset stitches on the second brown sock. and i have been here for awhile, perhaps a week. every couple of days i give it a try, knit myself into a problem, try to fix said problem and end up ripping it out. i feel i am close, but i am not quite there yet. sometime soon there will be a breakthrough, and i will look back on this and chuckle. but until then, the sock just sits there in it's knitting bag, patiently waiting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

i had to finish something

so, with concentrated effort, the shawl is finished!...except for the blocking, which i plan to do right after this. it is lovely. will provide pictures as soon as it is blocked.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

the bug has bit

the upside of all of this sewing is i came across a bunch of leftover pieces from previous sewing projects. these leftover pieces once again got me thinking of knitting needle cases.

about a month ago i made a needle case for straight points but i made it to big. i made one big rectangle which i folded in half. the rectangle had the ability to store straight needles on either side of the fold, with the tops of the needles toward the center. the problem being, when being unfolded for use, half of the needles would fall out. also, since the rectangle was big and made of corduroy and flannel, it was a bit bulky.

so i cut the rectangle in half, sewed a flap into the open seam to protect/prevent the needles from escaping and voila! a new straight point needle case. it can hold about a dozen pairs of straight point needles of various sizes, as well as my size 3 dpn's and it is a lot less bulky.

the original plan was to make a circular needle case holder also. i had seen a couple of designs i liked which i thought i may be able to recreate somewhat. while figuring out the design, i discovered i have so many circulars, i would need a minimum of two of these type of cases. or, if i made it big enough, the case would be so big that it would be to bulky and i may not like it.

but i am really liking the newly revised single point holder! especially since all of my single points needles can be in one place and easy to transport.

Friday, February 09, 2007

so i made pants instead

i am participating in a costume "sweatshop" for the kids spring musical so i felt the need to finish up the pattern cutting clutter in the sewing room.

i finished cutting out the last pair of pants and decided to ride the pattern cutting momentum by continuing with the blouses. i have had various blouse material since forever and chose some white material for one of my favorite blouses. i got out all of the pattern pieces, laid them out on the material to make sure they all fit and proceeded to pin and cut. then i moved onto the next blouse. after gathering and arranging all of the pattern pieces i came to the conclusion whoever decided 2 and 1/8 yard of fabric would fit this particular pattern had not taken their morning medication. and then i noticed it, a stray pattern piece. pattern piece #13, a side back piece. i thought it odd since the pattern i was working on didn't have a piece #13 or a side back piece. and then it dawned on me. this was the side back piece from the previous pattern, which used up all of the material i had. so i had this very essential side back piece but no material in which to make it. and i had no idea where i got the material. had i picked it up at britex during one of our city jaunts or had it come from the local joanne's fabrics.

i sat there gobsmacked. between not being able to fit the second pattern onto material that, technically, should have been sufficient to finding a stray pattern piece i had no material for, i decided pattern cutting was over for the night.

so i looked through the various pant patterns i had cut out, picked the easiest one and started sewing, determined to finish them to wear the next day. thankfully they came together pretty quickly (2 cd's worth of time) and i had a new pair of black pants to wear to work on friday.

and i will take a swatch of the material down to the local joanne's fabrics in hopes they have it or a reasonable facsimile so i can finish making my favorite blouse. if my sweet friend stops laughing about this whole situation long enough, i may even take her with me.

Monday, February 05, 2007

switching gears

so i am a smidge over halfway done with the shawl. it looks great and i love it. but i had a pause for concern moment while working on it earlier this evening. i realized i may not have enough of the lake color yarn to finish with the pattern i had envisioned. the concern came because these were the only two balls of this color the LYS had. should i call around and see if other stores had this yarn in the needed color? or...

so i took a breath and realized maybe a tamarind ruffle on either end of the shawl would be nicer than the envisioned lake ruffle. there is plenty of tamarind yarn at the LYS and in my stash bag. and though the lake ruffle would match the stripes, it may be a bit jarring at the end of all that tamarind.

so i will have to see what happens when i get to that point. i will have to see what the shawl calls for. and until then, there is no need for pause.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

did i happen to mention...

sometime before christmas, while in s.f. for a work holiday luncheon, i walked to a well known knitting store to take a look see. while there i found madril's iceland washable wool in a chocolate brown, the perfect yarn to make my monk friend a scarf. while making the purchase, the woman behind the counter mentioned a newly released book which used this yarn to make a pair of men's hiking socks. my dream come true. so i purchased another ball of yarn, the book and off i went.

i cast on, using two circulars and started knitting. the ribbing was a cinch, the st st between the ribbing and the heel, no problem. the heel flap, ok. i thought to myself, this is going so quickly these socks will be ready for A2 when i see him next weekend. but then the heel turn came. a few rows into the heel turn and the instructions went a little vague. was the work to be turned or knitted till the end of the row? it wasn't stated. so i continuted knitting to the end of the row. it made the heel turn look a little odd. then i tried to p/u stitches. there were huge gaps in the knitting. this did not happen with the other sock i am knitting on size 3 needles. so i put the sock aside, missing the gifting date i had set for myself.

during the LYS holiday gathering, i brought the sock out for some suggestions. our master knitter said i had to knit back and start the whole heel flap over again. so, i un-knit it back to the start of the heel flap. started to re-knit it, but still had questions about the heel turn. took it back to the LYS at a tuesday evening gathering, where gisella, the sock guru, looked at the heel turn pattern and agreed there was something awry. she suggested the heel turn from another pattern. so i knit that instead. it looked great until i noticed that there were purl stitches on the knit side and knit stitches on the purl side. one of those knitting inside out in the round quirks. and the p/u stitches still looked a bit gappy to me. so i un-knit it again, bought an hour of gisella's time so i could re-do the heel turn and have her help me p/u the stitches for the gusset.

and it was well worth it. gisella went over the heel turn one more time; she showed me this great way to p/u stitches that produced no gaps and once again, i was off.

so here it is. my first finished sock. as i mentioned this sock is to fit a man with a size 9-12 foot so my foot doesn't quite fill the whole sock. and it is meant to be worn with boots. the yarn is quite chunky which makes it a relatively quick knit (i'll see if that prediction holds true while knitting the second sock!), and it is knitted with one size smaller of a needle then is called for on the yarn label. but it feels heavy and warm. and i am so very excited about finishing a sock! socks are what i have always wanted to knit. and now i have! yay! so on to the second one!