More FO Catch-up

Ooh, two posts in a single day. I’m trying to be productive, kittens! So we’re almost to the end of 2011’s knits, and you’re going to notice a theme: everything is a toy and a gift. I’ve been in small project “hell” for the last 6-8 weeks. Small projects like toys and gifts are not my favorite things to knit. There are many reasons for this. They are often putzy and low yardage projects. The tension they’re knit at makes them a bit uncomfortable to knit for large amounts of my day, so they take all the longer. I love the end product but often hate the process…if I didn’t, I definitely wouldn’t make them myself. As I’ve been working on some test knits this year, I’ve been finding some aspects about toy knitting that I enjoy, but I’ll save those thoughts for a later post.

Onto the FOs!
First up is a project that I knit twice but only took a picture of once.

Pattern: Smith by Ysolda Teague
Needles: US Size 8 and 10
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed HW
I love Ysolda’s patterns. This really isn’t a secret. That I love her Whimsical Little Knits collections isn’t one either. (I’m so excited about WLK 3, what about you? I always get the digital and printed copies because the books are so small and sweet.) Smith is an easy and pretty straight-forward pattern. And therein lies the danger: I’ve now been knitting long enough that if I think I know what is going on, I stop paying attention to and actually reading the pattern. I skim. Usually this isn’t an issue, but sometimes, it doesn’t do me any favors. Both times I knit this pattern, I actually knit the body incorrectly; the first time, I knit the mid-section spikes wrong. It turned out cute both times; when I get to it, hopefully the third time will be the charm, and I’ll have executed the pattern perfectly.
I’m still not loving the KP City Tweed. Previously I had commented that it feels a bit like cheap carpet fibers and that opinion hasn’t changed. It’s a shame because it comes in rather attractive colors; I just can’t get over the slightly plastic-y feel it has and its lack of give when working with it. From a project I’ll share later, The Boy has informed me that it’s rather itchy when close to the skin, even after soaking. It’s an OK trait for toys. I’m not sure I’d want a garment out of it or not. (And yes, I do have two sweater quantities sitting in-stash that I’m now pretty sure I’ll try to sell. I think I’ll go with a higher end tweed for those projects.)
The first of these hedgies went to the family next door; their daughter turned 2 right around Veterans’ Day. The second went in a package to my best friend of 24 years; she had a baby at the end of September, and I was a bit behind getting things knit for her. Our car accident was on Veterans’ Day, and I was unable to comfortably sit for about 2 weeks afterward. I have a difficult time knitting while standing.
Also in that package was…

Pattern: Lucy’s Owl by Rachel Gallagher-Miller
Needles: US size 10
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted and Knit Picks Swish Bulky
This is my second time knitting this pattern. I still think it’s great and that you should go check out Rachel’s pattern page on Ravelry. The two test knits I keep bringing up, they were for her. I’m always pleased with how this owl turns out, and it’s a great choice for a baby gift. I’m hoping my friend and her little girl will like it as much as I do. ♥
This picture reminds me that while my faking-it “light box” set up works great for small items, for larger ones…not so much. I really need to get on making one that I can place bigger items in. If anyone else would like to use my trick, in a room with natural indirect sunlight, I lay down white paper or fabric on the ground and do the same for the wall behind the object. I then take the photos. The true white background helps my photo editing software properly color correct and saves me a TON of work with adjustments. I’ve never gotten the hang of manually correcting color…maybe someday I will. But for now, this trick works pretty well.
And the final project of 2011 was…

Pattern: Tiny Reindeer by Anna Hrachovec
Needles: US size 1.5 and US size 4
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Cream and MadTosh sock in Twig
Reindeer ornaments. The first was knit as-written in the pattern, but it was so futzy and the stitches so tight that I could not pick up the tail stitches. After, I switched to the larger needles and held the yarn double. It worked out much better, and I’m quite pleased with the results. I kept the first reindeer for myself and gave the second two as gifts to The Boy’s teacher and her room assistant.
The pattern was pretty easy to follow, but parts of it were a bit tricky to execute. Working at that scale and with a lower quality yarn like Palette meant I had to reknit some pieces and try again because the yarn would snap from the tension. It was quite frustrating. This experience has definitely convinced me that I would not want to use Palette for a larger project, and I’ll hold out for a higher quality fingering weight Shetland wool.
And there you have it, kittens. I’m caught up with my 2011 FOs. Now, I need to play catch up for January.

January 2012 Wrap-up

It’s already that time, kittens! The first yardage tally of the new year.

Yardage Totals 2012:


January: 817 yds
Year to date: 817 yds or .46 miles

Not a bad start to 2012, if I may say so myself. How about you, kittens? Has 2012 been a crafty year for you so far?

WIP-it Wednesday…

The, “What the hell is that doing back on needles?!” edition.

Kittens, this is my project for today.

For those of you who have been following me for at least 3 years, I bet it looks familiar. More than a year ago–maybe even two at this point–my mother told me that my brother’s hat had formed a small hole on top and it looked like some of the stitches had wiggled loose. It sounded like the end had come loose and it was slowly unraveling, a fairly easy fix. It didn’t help that he decided to wear it until the hole was large enough that his head was getting cold. When my mother and grandmother came to visit last month, she finally brought it down, and kittens, what I saw baffled me:

The end was still securely held in the last stitch, not woven in anymore, but not loose either. Random intervals of stitches, some 3-4 rounds down, had come undone. I looked at the long floats between loose stitches and couldn’t find broken plies or anything other logical reason why this happened. After pondering the problem for awhile, I chalked it up to black magic. Magic most evil and foul.

I didn’t have any black yarn to fix it at the time, so I stuck it away safely and put out an ISO request for a few yards so I could fix the hat. I decided not to worry about figuring it out until the yarn for it arrived. Two days ago that happened, and today I decided to tackle the hat project. So far it’s taken more than an hour to get the stitches back onto needles and drop down 2 rounds. I’m still trying to make sense of what happened as well as remember back 3 years in time and figure out what my super unhelpful project notes mean. This pattern must have errata somewhere…in the book it says one skein of each color will make the hat, I couldn’t get anywhere near the L size with one skein of the main color. The hat is a bit big on me, so hopefully, it will fit my brother.”

Of course, I did not leave myself any sort of note as to how I altered the pattern to make the hat work with the amount of yarn I had…but I do vaguely recall having to cut a few rounds out of the hat and being irritated that it seemed short and squat. I’m hoping to find a row or two that I can clearly read and then rework the decrease rounds with a few more thrown in for more height.

And then I’m weaving in a good 6″ tail so that sucker never comes loose again. This mending thing is the pits.


EDIT: Oh, even better, kittens. Now I AM finding sections where all but one plie is broken and can not be easily fixed. I’m going to mark them and partially felt the sections to try and give them some stability again. I think I’m going to knit my brother a new hat for his birthday or Giftmas this year.

Milestones

Ooh, two days in a row of blog posts! I hope this doesn’t set too high of a bar for the rest of the year. 🙂 Anywho, I wanted to ask all of you kittens out there a question about later this year. But first, I’ll set this up for you:

You see, July 2012 is going to be a pretty big year for both this blog and myself. 2O July I am turning 3O. Yes, 3O. A big adult number. Getting older doesn’t bother me per se, but the expectations that come with my aging do. (I’m not sure this blog is quite the place for this, but I have been playing with the idea of making this blog more multi-purpose in the hopes that I’ll update more.) Things about me and my personality that were seen as quirks are going to become less tolerable to those that think I should hurry up and grow up already. Most people are not willing to accept that Adults–especially not MOTHERS *pearl clutch*–can dye their hair mermaid colors, which I’m rather fond of doing.

Please excuse the web cam picture.

What growing up really means is debatable, but most days I feel like Allie from Hyperbole and a Half. I’m still waiting for my trophy for the days I’ve managed to be a full grown up; the rest of the time I’m wondering how other people manage to Do All The Things and not putz away their time on the internet.

Story of my life right there.

Back on track…. 26 July is this blog’s 5th anniversary. See where I began? I like numbers that are multiples of 5, and 5 years seems to be an acceptable milestone.
So I got to thinking: should I do something for my upcoming birthday/blog-iversary? I know I have a handful of regular readers, so I thought I’d ask you if there’s anything you’d like to see me do that month. Giveaway? Special posts? Silly contest of some sort? Something else?
???
Help me kittens, you’re my only hope.

How about a few FOs, kittens?

I’ve been taken down with the Cold Plague of DOOM part 3™ and feeling pretty wore down, but I wanted to post up a few FO pictures and keep up with blogging. (Seriously, I’ve been ill since Giftmas or the day after with no breaks in between. Just as I’m recovering from one cold another moves right on in. The first was awful, the second really mild, and now this third one is pretty cruddy again. I’ll eventually be healthy again someday…right?) In 2012 I’d like to get back to a couple of posts a week plus my end of the month and quarter posts. I’d also like to get better about being on top of current FOs rather than blogging them 6+ months later. Health and luck permitting, I should be able to do this.

*knocks on wood*

Anywho, let’s move into Fall 2011 and what all I worked on at the time….

Halloween was fun again this year. The Girl re-used her Hello Kitty hat with a new dress and tights and was perfectly happy with that as her costume. The Boy had a more specific request: he wanted to be Raccoon Mario for Halloween. Honestly, it would have been more cost effective to just buy a cheap, poorly made costume, but I was having none of it. So I went through the trouble and cost of finding overalls for a non-toddler boy–this is absurdly difficult and rather pricey, FYI, kittens–then I had to find a plain red long sleeve shirt, again, not the easiest thing to do…amazingly Walmart and Target do not carry these things for the over-5T boy. The hat I found from an Ebay store and that was the easiest piece to source. The Mario ‘stache is just some cheap black felt I had lying around and I free form cut it and stuck in on with scotch tape. Classy. Then, I bought some Knit Picks Swish bulky in brown and black and went to work knitting the raccoon components. It’s difficult to see the ears since the hat is a bit too large, and I didn’t think to place anything in them to make them stand up.

But look at that tail! Too cute. The Boy was so excited that during his school costume parade he kept hopping and leaping. He really got into it. I’m sure his teacher didn’t like me too much that day.

After that, I finally went to work on a mini monkey for The Husband, who was rather insistent that he needed one.

This resulted in M-800. While trying to pick out the color for the eyes, we both decided that we liked one of each; it made the monkey look like The Terminator and thus, the name. This guy was a pretty straight forward and drama free knit; but I did run out of yarn for the tail and half of a leg. Thankfully, Jill was able to help me out and sent me a few grams so I could finish. The Husband seems pretty pleased with his monkey, and we even gave the little guy a job this year….

He kept watch over us from our Giftmas tree.

That almost wraps up 2012’s FOs, kittens! It should hopefully be only one more post and I’m mostly up-to-date. I hope you’re all feeling better than I am today. ♥

What is this?

O hai thar, WIP-it Wednesday! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.

I’ve been working on quite a few things this month, but a couple are a test knit so I’m keeping those fairly under wraps at the moment. Before starting on my next installment for that project, I decided to cast on some socks for myself and try to bang them out pretty quickly. I had no desire to finish the rainbow socks yet (this is why I knit 2-at-a-time whenever possible), so I cast on with this insanely pink Bugga I’ve had marinating in my stash for 11 months. Can you believe I bought a sweater quantity’s worth of it?! I’m not sure what I was thinking, so now I’m looking for ways to use it all. I think I may gothify one skein along with some other yarn I have sitting in stash that would improve with some black stripes. I just need to find the motivation to reskein it for dyeing.

Not much to show off, but I am actually knitting, kittens. It’s been awhile. 🙂