24 August 2007

Surprise! It's a baby (jacket).

I've moved on to multiple projects at the same time. Which really amounts to me concentrating on the one that is easiest and more enjoyable to knit.

Right now, most of my attention is going to Elizabeth Zimmermann's baby surprise jacket. Her directions are not bad, but not really super drawn out, which is kind of important for me. I'm still really a novice knitter, so I need things to be as obvious as possible. It is fantastic because it's all knit, so it goes pretty fast. I can do about 3-4 rows on each leg of the subway ride to/from work, and then I invariably work on it a bit in the evening while watching tv or playing video games. I'm doing it in Knitpicks Merino Style yarn in Tide Pool, Asparagus, and Storm. The plan is to vary the colors throughout. Next time, I'd love to try it with a variegated yarn. The one on the helloyarn.com blog done like that is very cute.

I found a cheat sheet for the jacket, which is helping my progress a lot. I'm also trying to do it to be about 5-6st = 1" range, so the jacket is on the bigger size. He is only a month old now, and it's going to be at least another 2 months before the weather is conducive to wearing wool. I know nothing about baby sizing, but according to this, it will work out to about a 15-18" chest diameter. What that means in size of clothing, I can only guess, but I vaguely recall something around 6-8 months? Even if it's on the big size, it is still better than too small--they grow fast, them baby things. And 6-8 months should be right around the middle of winter.

Hopefully I'll have it finished before I see the recipients again. Well, that's probably not too hard, since they live 250 miles away, and I don't have any plans to go up there any time soon. The nice thing about small projects like that, is they are fairly fast to knit. And the way everyone I know is getting married and knocked up lately, I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to make a few of these before long.

And in the Way Overdue section, I finally got some glitter vinyl to make my neice's birthday (3 weeks ago) present. The pieces are HUGE, which is nice, and it's super shiny & pretty. The price was wonderful too (most people sell it upwards of $17-22/yd), and they shipped it (quickly) on a roll, instead of folded, so it's not got any creases or wrinkles. Yes, they call it Sparkel, which I was quick to correct, but evidently that's how the manufacturer wants it spelled. Go figure. I got a yard each of the hot pink & silver (which is more like white with silver glitter), and a sample of the purple & kiwi (which hopefully are enough to make some cute shapes).

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to make--a tote or bowling-ball bag of some sort I suppose. I ordered some (a bit overpriced) tubular frames from Ghee's to give it a bit of structure, but I didn't think of that until yesterday, so it may be a while until I get started. There are sellers on Etsy called Hippofabulous and also Stitchpixie. They make very amazing stuff out of vinyl. I love the whimsical and cute designs they do, so hopefully some of that talent and inspiration gets to work on my brain, so that I can make some crazy original design for my neice.

I have kind of a low-end sewing machine, and no teflon foot for it, so I'm sure sewing two layers of thick vinyl will be quite the adventure. I hope it doesn't blow up. I guess if it does, it'll be a good excuse to get the same Brother sewing machine my siblings and I got for my mom on her last birthday. Which she hates because it's too newfangled, not understanding that ALL machines are like that now. *sigh* The reviews for it are pretty fantastic. A friend also recommended the Euro-Pro, which also looks like it has good reviews. Really, I'd love a Bernina, but I can't really justify dropping $1000+ on a sewing machine, since I don't sew a tremendous amount.

15 August 2007

The frogination

Almost done with the first sock. It seems to have gone slowly, but I was only knitting on the subway ride to and from work. I've turned the heel and everything—which wasn't scary at all, in fact it was pretty easy. Whew.

bellatrixHowever, the set of circular bamboo needles I'm working with are giving me huge problems. At size 0, they are a bit *too* flexible. I've broken the same needle on one of the pairs TWICE, so I'm left with a 2-inch stump. The other pair of size 0 circulars now has a split forming in one of the needles. I will say, though, that 2 circular needles are the way to go. 2 is more awesomer than 4.

I'm not very happy with the way it's turning out. It looks ok, but not as good as I'd like it. I think the Magic Stripes yarn is just a tad bit too bulky for this pattern, even on tiny needles. I'm going to redo this pattern later, but with a finer/softer wool. I've got a nice stash of some merino sock wool from Stick Chick, and a few small skeins of sale sock yarn from KnitPicks on their way to me which I think will work a lot more nicely.

...Frogged! (It didn't help that a bunch of stitches fell off the needle at some point as well. D'oh).

This yarn is being rewound into a ball. I think at some point I will use it to make socks, but with a very plain pattern. I just don't think the thickness and stiffness of this particular yarn holds up to delicate and/or lacy designs.

I went a little yarn crazy today. I have some (hopefully real) alpaca yarn coming from eBay to do the Alexander McQueen knock off sweater (which I keep calling STEVE McQueen. heh); some midnight blue fingerling alpaca yarn by Yarn Treehouse to make a Clapotis for my mom's xmas present; some purple, black, and clematis heathered knitpicks Palette yarn to make 2 pairs of Endpaper Mitts for various people; some knitpicks Merino Style yarn in 2 blues and a green to make the Baby Surprise jacket for my boyfriend's ex-landlords who just had a baby; and some new circular knitting needles (IN METAL) to replace the ones I just broke (and the others I will likely break soon).

I took an entrelac knitting class this past weekend—one of the local fabric stores offers knitting classes (yet doesn't sell yarn...). It makes a lot more sense now. It is still really complicated, but at least I understand the underlying construction technique. I'll finally be able to make that Danica scarf after all. After those 59392 things on my "to knit" list. Heh.

03 August 2007


I've made quite a bit of progress on my first sock (considering I've only really been knitting on the subway). However, I really think the Magic Stripes yarn is too thick for this particular pattern and/or the needles are too big. I don't want to have to frog it, but it's looking too big and lumpy. I don't know if going down to size 1 needles will make much difference, but I may give that a try. I just really like this pattern. On the upside, there is a bit of a mistake on the cuff, which is bothering me almost enough to frog it for that reason.

Of course I could just do the pattern that came with the sock. But that's so plain. Heh.

I have also just found some cheap sock yarn on etsy. It's undyed, so I can finally use some of the 2057 packets of koolaid that I have stocked up to make some obnoxious pink-orange socks.

01 August 2007

Of socks and soap

Whoa. Socks aren't too bad. Of course I've only done about an inch of ribbing, but the small circumference thing isn't as frustrating as I thought it would be. I'm sure when I get to the heel, it'll be a different story.

The twisted rib was a little awkward at first, but it's fast going now. I cannot wait to start the actual pattern. heh.

The pattern is called Bellatrix. I'm sure the socks will be full of subservient evil.

I tried the silk soap, only using the hot-process method instead of my normal cold-process. While the method itself was not as hard as I thought, it produced a sticky weird soap that is too goopy and sticky to come out of the molds. Maybe I'll try freezing it...

I have made a few bathbombs which came out pretty well. I think the trick is to use almost no water. Even then it's hard to form all the individual bombs before the ingredients dry out, which is difficult to re-wet, as it tends to mess up the texture. I guess I just make smaller batches or bigger bombs. Duh.