Finished!

Finished the baby gift for my friend. I’m almost 100% sure she doesn’t check my craft blog. If I want to show her what I’ve been working on, she usually checks Flickr. So for now, I’m keeping the pictures off of that site but I thought it would be safe to post up here.

Needles: Knitpicks Harmony interchangeables US 7
Yarn: Lionbrand Cotton-Ease

Very fast knit. Took a week but had I not taken my time with it I could have finished much more quickly. I had forgotten how quickly these worsted weight baby knits work up. For the most part, I stuck to the pattern. It was a simple, basic construction. Nothing too fancy. It’s written for sport weight or DK yarn, so I cast on for the 0-3 month size and ended up with a sweater that fits my 9 month old. Which should be perfect for when her little guy needs a sweater this fall and winter.
I plan to heavily alter this pattern to make a sweater for my daughter down the road. I’m planning to make it short or 3/4 sleeved as well as a hoodie.

I discovered that felt is not the easiest thing to work with. But for a first time working with it and being a disgustingly bad hand sewer, I think I did alright.
So yay! FO #11 for the year is now complete. That number makes me a bit sad since it means I’ve been completing fewer then two knits a month. I’m hoping to have at least two a month for the rest of the year. If I do some smaller projects, I should be able to accomplish that.

Rethinking patterns for old yarn…

So, I have to admit, I have a stashing problem. I find a pattern, fall in love, and buy the yarn for a project or three. I’ve been knitting so slow that by the time I get through one or two, I’ve bought yarn for at least 5 more. It doesn’t help that there are beautiful new patterns I want to make coming out so fast I can not keep up. Then add the random sock yarn to it and my poor tote has long since been overflowing. I’m currently trying to get back into my tote and more importantly, use up some of the sweater quantities of older yarn I have sitting around.

Now I realize the easiest way to make the excess yarn disappear would be to destash. But for whatever reason, I’m too attached to these particular yarns to just let them go. Seriously, I get upset thinking about selling them, but can’t find the right pattern to use them. So they sit there. Grumbling at me from being in my tote for more then a year.

“Why don’t you use me?!”

“I’m not good enough for the ____ you planned to make with me?”

“I see you brought in more yarn, WHAT ABOUT ME?”

And on and on. I have been scrambling to find patterns to use up these yarns. Free or otherwise. Because you know you’re in trouble when you imagine that your yarn is talking to you.

Here are the worst offenders in my tote. They’re beautiful, but I just can’t figure out what to do with them.

First is that same Cashcotton DK I brought up on the blog before I went on vacation. It is still in my tote; I didn’t get around to using it while back in Wisconsin. I think I’m finally settled on what to do with it and if I’m lucky, I may make two tops with it. OK, not settled, but there are three patterns that would all be lovely in it. Yes, only three.

Then there’s the Rowan cotton 4 ply that was supposed to be a Jasmine, until I realized that is not the most flattering choice of top for me. It is such a beautiful raspberry color. It has been long since discontinued and was a chance grab from a Ravelry destash. A whole 10 skein bag. L-u-c-k-y. Good luck trying to find 10 skeins all from the same dyelot on a discontinued yarn. Only on Ravelry could you find something like that. It is screaming to be used. Right now, I’m waiting on the newest issue of France’s Phildar for a t-shirt that looks promising for this yarn. Good thing I can read French as I’ve seen no mention of an English translation for the current issue. And even if there were, it’s only the instructions. The magazine itself is still in French which I find amusing and rather quirky.

Last, there’s the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece I bought to make a second Rusted Root out of. I adore my Root, but have been questioning if I want a second brightly colored one and man, this stuff is a bright, electric blue. So pretty and Cotton Fleece knits up really nice. It’s a good yarn for hot weather.

Since I’m almost finished with the baby knit I’m working on, I decided to get a head start on my next knit and cast on last night.

Isn’t it lovely? Obviously, the Cotton Fleece was the winner, and I chose a brand new pattern to use it with. The winner is yet another Connie Chang Chinchio pattern, the Tie Back Shell from Knit.1’s Summer 2009 issue. It’s that tangerine colored top right on the home page. Very pretty and interesting. My gauge on size 7’s is spot on and I might have to play with the top part a bit, but I definitely am making the largest size for the bottom. I might make one size for the back and the largest for the front. I have time to give this some thought and see how things go. I have a hard time reading ahead and visualizing what I’m going to be doing, so I’m taking this one step at a time for now. My gift knit should be done by the weekend’s end and then I’m focusing on this and my socks for awhile.
Going back to my original thought, about patterns in particular, it’s hard to foresee where one will end up in terms of what she wants to knit 6 months or more down the road. At the time I bought all the previously mentioned yarns, I was knitting really simple patterns and had plans to make simple objects out of them. Now that I’ve been knitting for two years, I’m growing bored with simplicity and have been looking for knitting challenges. Knits that won’t put me to sleep. Knits that have beautiful lace patterns or unique features. This is probably why I like Chinchio’s patterns so much. Like me, she loves finer weight yarns. She takes classic shapes and updates them and puts in gorgeous lace. They’re not quick one week knits.
Speaking of which, has everyone seen her newest pattern she just released? Yowza. Must clear out my tote and make some room for that.
More knitting, less blogging and surfing Ravelry, I suppose. 🙂

Finis

The Soap Bubble Wrap is complete, whoo!

Needles: Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeables Size 8
Yarn: allHemp6LUX – Veridian
I started this knit on 06 April and finished 21 June. It took way too long, but after I lost my rhythm and want to knit it, it dragged. I had to force myself to work 2-4 rows a day on it. Overall, I’m so very happy with it.

The pattern is well written–though a bit too “block of text” in places, it’s easy to miss instruction changes if you’re a bit fuzzy and not fully concentrating–and yields great results. Connie never fails to please, as far as I’m concerned anyway. She’s one of my favorite designers and I have yarn for two more of her projects ready to go. I plan to do Uhura next, in my Caviar allHemp6LUX. I bought it thinking it would be enough for a teeshirt style top: there’s no way. However, I have plenty for a tank and in Texas, isn’t that what I really need more of? Everything she designs is just so wearable. Classic shapes, but beautiful lacework and patterns. Staple pieces you can really get some wear out of.

The hemp yarn grew on me as well, even after the Manly Maze debacle and I swore I would never touch hemp ever, ever again. It was a bit rough at first, but my fingers calloused and I got used to working with it. It’s a bit like kitchen cotton with how it works. It doesn’t have a ton of give to it.

Now that knit is over with, I immediately cast on for a baby project and it’s nearing the 50% done point with maybe 2 hours invested into it. If it takes more then 3 days to complete, then something happened and I stopped working on it. This is my first time working with Cotton-ease. So far, I don’t mind it. It’s rather soft and readily available. HOWEVER. Thanks to the acrylic content, it squeeks. Or creaks may be more appropriate. I hate the sound it’s making as I knit it. I could likely get over it to work on the occasional children’s piece since I much prefer this to 100% acrylic yarn. Washable, soft, and about half of it is natural. I would write more about what I’m doing, but the friend I’m making this for sometimes looks at the blog. So until she receives it, I’m staying fairly hush-hush. Though it shouldn’t be too long until pictures are posted up; it has to travel to San Antonio.

So. Close.

All the ends for the body are woven in. The neck border has been knit and seamed to the body. I’m about 15″ into the belt. Just that and the crocheted loops. Then I am done and I can move on.

I have serious finishitis on this project.

Teaser…

Tonight, I got around to seaming the body. All I have left to do is knit the neck border, weave in all the ends, crochet the belt loops and knit the belt. Then I’m d-o-n-e! Let me tell you, it could not be too soon (considering I started this knit the first week of April and I’m still working on it now). I’ve been ready to call this an FO for weeks and sadly, I’ve made a few minor sloppy mistakes at the end thanks to it. None were so bad that I felt a need to rip and redo, however.

To my relief, it will not need to be frogged. It’s at the point now where it fits more closely like a top then a jacket as it was intended, but this is what I was hoping for and I like it this way. I shortened the sleeves to a long short sleeve length, almost to the elbow. There were quite a few other design changes that didn’t start out as intentional but became so. Nothing helps one keep her focus on what she’s doing like a pre-schooler talking her ear off. 🙂 I completely missed the bubble pattern on the upper shoulder and decided to go on without it.

I know I’ll need that additional skein of yarn I ordered–and arrived today, HURRAY!–but at this point, I may not have needed much. Maybe not even 1/4 skein. Guess I won’t be able to call it until it’s done and weighed.

Anywho, nothing else on the needles being worked on, just this top as it has been for awhile now. I’ve been workin’ hard for the FOs.

Two in one night, I know…

But I had promised a post about my class and this one has a couple of pictures. None from said class, but I do have them of my yarn that was the result.

Overall, it was great. Amy was very friendly and a good teacher. The class was small, five of us total so it was personal and easy to ask questions. I had never thought of dyeing yarn in a crockpot or on a hot plate before. It was a basic class on the kettle dyeing method, so nothing fancy. It was fun to be able to splash color all over the yarn willy nilly and let it soak and even out. We had a limited number of colors, but everyone’s turned out so different. I sort of wish I had been in the afternoon session instead of the morning: two of my fellow Snobs were in that one and I suspect that the afternoon didn’t have to be as rushed as we did. We were supposed to dye two skeins of yarn but could only make it through one in the time alloted. Our first, which is what we dyed, is a fat skein of BMFA’s STR base. I want to say it’s 600yds. Our second skein, we got to pick between a few options and I grabbed a nice sportweight silk/merino blend. When I get a chance, I need to get some acid dyes and equipment I can dedicate to dyeing and work on that. I don’t foresee myself being so smitten with dyeing that I’d want to be an indie dyer, but it might change how I get yarn for projects. Because seriously, who wouldn’t want as close to 100% control over the color of their project as they can get? No more heartache over a color that there just isn’t enough of. Who hasn’t thought something along the lines of, “Oh if only this color were a bit more ____…” or “a bit less____…”?

I had been going for a charcoal color with teal splashes, but I don’t think we had quite the right dyes or enough time to tweek and play, but what I got was pretty nice.

I used black (which turned out more of a navy color), mouse grey, and at the end splashed on some teal. It’s a very manly colorway and strikingly similar to my first installment of Plucky Classics which was shipped to me about that same time.

More teal, less black, and more mouse grey and they could have been twins. Same concept, different results. I got a serious laugh about it when I saw the spoiler pictures on Ravelry.

Since I have so much yardage of my yarn, I’m planning to finally make Mr. Knitpicky some socks. Size 13 socks in fingering weight won’t be exciting or easy, but I’m pleased to know that I dyed the yarn that will be his colorway and that I’ll have enough to make them.

I can’t wait to see how this knits up.

Arrrrgh!

There is nothing worse then realizing you will run out of yarn and are so close you can see the end of the project. I finally found the oomph to finish my Soap Bubble wrap and too late, I realized that I am going to be about a half skein short. Which means I won’t be able to do the last few rows of the back piece, no yarn to seam with, and I still need to knit the belt. Before I started, I realized I didn’t have enough from when I purchased the allhempLUX on a whim. So I contacted the lovely ladies at Kpixie and they still had my dyelot. I knew I needed two more skeins and ordered three to be safe.

Should have made it four. *Groan*

I’m hoping lightning will strike twice and they still have one skein of my dyelot floating around in their shop; I’m anxiously awaiting an email. I have a sneaking suspician mine may be one of a discounted bundle of 4, which means I’ll have to overbuy, but at this point, it beats not being able to finish after I had to force myself to get moving again. (If I do overbuy, hemp makes great market bags and 3.5 skeins should be plenty to make one.) I even checked Ravelry for anyone destashing and couldn’t find any. I thought about making a post in ISO/Destashing, but that board is anything but friendly and I’d have to be seriously desperate to do it. I’m not quite there yet, so for now, I’m going to wait for my email and hope they can help me out. I just started my last yarn cake and it will take me a couple of days to work through. By then, I should have my yarn ordered and just have to wait for it to get here. I’m kinda bummed I’ll have to take another break on this knit though, that’s why it took so long in the first place. Once I lose my momentum, it’s really hard to get going again. I have plenty else to work on, I just don’t want to go through the drudgery of getting going, especially so late in a knit.

One knit at a time, that’s the way for me to go. I have to admit that I do not have a problem starting project after project. Maybe it’s that I do not have enough needles to afford the ‘luxury.’ Or maybe it’s because I know that I won’t finish anything if I allowed myself to flit from one to another to another. I love the process of knitting, but I love FOs as much or more. I just want this top finished so I can knock it off the list and start work on another. I have some socks hanging out as well, but I don’t see those as everyday projects. I have to be in the right mood for them and it’s not very often. Once I finish this wrap and a baby sweater for a friend, I’ll finish those and decide what to do next.

Good thing I don’t lack in projects in my queue.