Fibersnob! Confessions of a Stashaholic

A little bit about me, all things knitting and the old day to day.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's been a few days since I posted but we've been a bit busy the past few days with home stuff and kid stuff and all that.

I've been doing a bit of sewing and a smaller bit of knitting so there's not much to report on the craft front. I had fallen off the horse a bit with O's sweater so I'm a bit behind where I would like to be with it but I'm going to make a big push on the body this week and see what I can get accomplished. Surprisingly it's taking way less yarn than I thought it would, so far at least, not even two balls in I'm more than 11" up the body.

Since I had finished the Jaywalkers and was needing an evening knitting project I cast on for Lady Eleanor from Scarf Style on Friday night in Silk Garden #84 (that was originally supposed to be Klaralund). It's going quickly and the colours are fantastic, very fall. I'm trying to be zen about the colour changes and just let the yarn transition naturally but I have done a bit of manipulating once when a ball ended and once when there was a knot that would have put a really drastic colour change right in the middle of a rectangle. I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this one and it's a fun knit.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Jaywalkers are done which makes two pair for me if the Sock Wars pair count that is. I liked the pattern in the end and they actually fit pretty well, they're not the easiest to get on but they're snuggly once they are. I'm glad I increased after the ribbing or there's no way they would have fit, for once my knitting neuroticism has worked in my favor. Pink isn't normally my thing either and I probably wouldn't have bought the yarn had it not been on sale but in the end I love the way it patterned out, I give up on this pattern with hand dyed yarns, the pooling makes me mental. I have some Vesper and some Trekking that I think would work well in this pattern too and I probably will knit it again, the Vesper for me and the Trekking for O. Now it's back to the Pom socks, wish me luck....

The swatch is done for M's seamless yoke but now that I'm doing the math I'm wondering how to handle the jog that's going to occur in the colourwork. With the yoke knit the way it is there's no way to hide it and I can't seem to find a solution that I'm really happy with so this will take some more thinking. I'm considering going with a ski sweater recipe (also EZ) so I can hide the jog of the main colour pattern in an armhole steek. My other idea was to use the Henley neck that EZ suggests as a way to adapt this pattern in which case I'd put the end of round at the center front so it'd dissapear when I steeked it open at the end. Things to ponder anyway. I do quite love how the colourwork came out seeing as how this is only my third go at stranding, the yarn (although it's superwash, bleh) is super soft and squishy and makes a really nice cushy fabric. The grey in the swatch will actually be blue when I go to knit the sweater and I'm going to reduce the flat cream rounds from three in the swatch to one on the sweater because it's more white space than I'm happy with.

O's sweater marches along an inch at a time but at this point even an inch's progress looks like nothing. Hopefully if I take this on the TTC Knitalong on the weekend it'll get enough attention to look like progress has been made. O worked from home a bit this week which has made working on it a bit difficult so I'm a bit further behind on it than I had hoped to be at this point but when he's away for a few days next month I'll have some proper time for it.

I'm needing some TV knitting too as I've now finished my second Grey's project so I might start Klaralund tonight, there may not be easier sweater knitting out there than four rectangles in garter and stockingette. Hopefully by the time we go to take a holiday photo of the family we can all be wearing our handknit Christmas sweaters!

In other great news I have tote bags to mail this week to the first few donors to the wheel fund. I did some sewing yesterday and will hopefully also have some time today to get another churned out. I love these little bags so and I hate to let them go but I'm hoping all the generous people will be as happy with them as I am (and really, how many tote bags does one person really need?).

Monday, October 23, 2006

Nov.7 update- if the paypal button is not working for you I appologize, I'm trying to get it going again so please bear with me. Payments can also be sent through regular paypal to smgrant at rogers dot com

New button at left over there <-----.

Those who know me are getting pretty tired of hearing my lust over the Lendrum DT spinning wheel I've had my eye on for some time now. Unfortunately it's not in the cards financially right at the moment so I stole an idea from Julie who managed to raise the money for her wheel super quick through donations so I thought I'd give it a try.

As I'm a faster sewer than I am a spinner at present so I'm offering to send a small knitting project bag made by me for every donation of $20 or more. I'll try to do my best and contact all qualified donators for their colour/fabric preferences. They're fantastic for small projects like socks and scarves and have pockets to put notions or your cell phone in. Some pics here and here.

At the end when I go to order my wheel I'll put the names of everyone who helped in a hat and I'll be drawing for some great prizes (I'm not sure what yet but I promise they'll be good!).

Also, because I love the boobies so, I'll be donating 10% of everything I collect to Breast Cancer research.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I'm dead, I got killed by a pair of super cute red socks sent by Fiberjoy who was my sock wars assassin. They're cushy and comfy and I love them even if it means I'm out of the race now. She also sent some saltwater taffy (drool, I'd take a pic but between O and I it didn't last that long) and a set of wooden circ needles her husband makes which are just beautiful (seriously, go and buy won't be sorry).

The second Jaywalker has been cast on and I'm into the pattern down the leg so that'll be evening knitting for the next few days. M was helping me yesterday while I found the beginning of the colour repeat so I can get my striped to match up, i had to wind off a bit of yarn. After another problem with the Pom socks, gaping YOs, they've been ripped back to the ribbing again. I think I've negative knit a whole sock on this project so far with all the restarts and frogging but I think I have a solution to the original problems well in hand now so we'll see how that goes after the Jays are done.

O's seamless hybrid is getting more time and attention than anything right now. I did the cast on for the body on Tuesday night and got down to business with it starting Wednesday. I'm committing to knitting one inch on the body each day, that's six rounds or just over 1600 stitches a day, which will hopefully keep me motivated to keep at it as it's stockingette in the round so it's pretty brainless but good knitting while I'm watching M play as I don't have to look at it to be making progress (this actually adds to my knitting time each day because when he's into everything I usually don't even bother trying to knit as I need to keep a super sharp eye on the sneaky little monkey). So far I've knit more than my goal each day since I started but at bare minimum if I meet my goal each weekday I'm sure to have the whole thing ready for Christmas.

I used a tubular cast on for the bottom ribbing and did it in the contrast colour and I love the effect, very polished I think (not bad for my second try using this c/o method I think). Looking at the sleeves though and how the increases fall I'm not sure how sold I am on the hem so I may rip and rib them to match the body ribbing. I just think that the body ribbing will be a more flattering fit on O. The sleeves get so wide so quickly with this sweater that I think the ribbing will at least nip them in a bit at the wrists and make them look sleeker and less bulky.

I'm in the process of swatching and picking charts for M's seamless yoke sweater which will be a warmup for the colour work in his Dale and the Telemark Ski Sweater I want to make for myself. I'm using up some Mission Falls 1824 wool for this one because I want it to be washable but I'm nervous because I really don't like working with superwash for anything but socks but we'll see how it goes. The yarn comes in so many fantastic colours that it's perfect for a project like this. I have more than enough yarn for the project so I may switch some of the main colour out to add a few more contrast colours. I'm still debating steeking a slit at the neck to make this a henley to make it easier to get over his head but we'll see when I have the design finished.

And just for some random cuteness I bring you M, asleep last night having building dreams maybe?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Okay, here's the post I was going to put up before I got sidetracked with the tutorial. Admittedly I get a bit flattered when someone wants my advice about knitting, it makes me feel clever.

The Sock Wars pair are done and are went in the mail today. I liked the yarn but hated the pattern (pretty obvious seeing as how I knit most of a cardigan and a sock while these sat waiting). I'm still alive but I know my socks are mere days from arriving.

My Knitpicks order finally came today. I ordered the colour card and one ball of Telemark to experiment with before I commit to a project's worth. The yarn actually feels pretty nice but the colours from the website as they show on my monitor aren't even close to the yarn in person, they're really nice but totally different. I'm tempted to try the ski sweater on the site as I ordered the pattern, a Norwegian knit with steeks! I might use up the rest of the gift cert for the yarn for that and a few extra balls to make some FI mitts.

I like the KP needles I've tried so far but I'm not blown away by the case, there's not room for anything more than the set (like a tape measure, scissors and other little things I like to keep in my knitting bag) but I suppose it's to try to get you to order their bags too.

So other than the sleeve I started for the tutorial this morning I've been working on the Pom socks a bit. The bigger needle size is making a huge difference along with rearranging the stitches. I'm hoping to spend some more time on them in the next few days.

M has been super fun the last few days, he's fallen in love with the walker Nana and F gave him for his birthday all of a sudden and he's cruising up and down the hallway with it. He gets to either the bathroom or the couch (the end of the line) then stands there screaming if you're not there in seven seconds to turn him around so he can go back the other way.

Yesterday afternoon when I was trying to clean the kitchen floor he was desperate to get into the bucket of soapy water to play (he licks floors so I've taken to cleaning them with dishsoap as not to poison him), so I found Doug (can't say "duck" apparently) and got him a bowl of water to play with, he had a riot. The floor was soaked but he was pretty pleased with himself.

I promised a tutorial about turned up contrast hems over at Zimmermania but I'm going to cross post it here as well. Blogger is not cooperating fully with the many many pics for this post so you'll have to bear with some links to pics. This tutorial will show you how to do the hem on the sleeve I posted about yesterday.

1. Gather your materials. You'll need your MC and CC, some waste yarn and needles in three different sizes. I use the needles I got gauge with (3.75mm), one size down for knitting the facing (3.5mm) and a few sizes up for joining the live stitches and the freed c/o stitches (5mm).

2. Cast on 90% of the stitches you want for your sleeve provisionally onto your smaller needles.

3. Knit one row with your MC. I do this so that my CC doesn't show when I go to knit up the hem, you'll be knitting two stitches of MC together rather than one of your CC and one MC which looks strange.

4. Join your CC and join the work in the round (if that's the way you're knitting, this also works when you're knitting flat but it's not as neat). You'll knit for however many rounds you want the hem facing to be minus one (I want my facing to be ten rounds so I knit nine rounds even).

5. Knit one round in CC *K9, M1 around to increase up to the number of stitches you want your sleeve to be around. If your stitch count didn't work out exactly here don't really worry about it. The sleeve here needs to be 53 stitches around so I c/o 48 (53-5=48 as I rounded, 90% of 53 is 47.7), just make sure to do enough M1 increases to get to your sleeve diameter.

6. Reattach your MC and knit one round and purl one round (this is the turning round and gives a neat finished edge). Alternately you could do a picot turning round or eliminate the turning round altogether (although the hem will lay neater with the purl or picot round but it's all what you're happy with the look of).

7. Knit around in your MC until the work and facing are the same length (fold up the hem to check this). I trim all the dangling ends and weave them in at this point, you don't need to but it makes everything neater and easier to keep straight.

8. Carefully unzip the provisional cast on, putting the newly live stitches on a spare needle. I like to use a small needle as it's easier to pick the sts up and I only free one needle's worth at a time (no need to have too many points going on at once) remembering that there will not be exactly as many c/o sts as live sts (you c/o 90% remember?). To deal with the different stitch counts you'll need to knit just the live stitch here and there to make up for the lack of c/o stitches.

9. Using your largest needles K2tog around your sleeve knitting one stitch from each the c/o edge and live stitches together (again, remember to knit just a live stitch every now and again as many times as it takes to make the stitch counts match. For this sleeve I had to do this five times 53-48=5). I use the larger needle as it reduces the hems propensity to flare a bit, if you use your working needles the K2togs will be tight and make a hard line around your sleeve that will be really visible on the RS of the work. It'll look like this when it's done.

10. Now you can knit away doing whatever else you need to do to the sleeve. Pics of the finished hem are here: the inside, and the outside.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

10 knitterly things you probably didn't know about me, a meme by Grumperina

1. I swatch. I knit 'em big with multiple needle sizes, I wash and block them, I knit them in the round if need be, I record my findings in a spreadsheet should I need to get that gauge with that yarn again. I don't really understand knitters who don't do this, they must be more tolerant of grand failure than I am. I know this means that I'm not a free spirit, I don't throw caution to the wind but I have yet to have a monumental knitting disaster. Seems to me that if I'm going to spend the time and cash you ought to get a predictable outcome. This is not to say that I've not knit things that I regret but I have yet to have something that didn't fit, ugly or not.

2. I am a terrible KALer, I have a hard enough time posting here a lot of the time that an additional blog to post at seems daunting. Saying that though I do join them pretty regularly. I am trying to get better but it's taking some work.

3. I take a "wait and see" approach to most new patterns. I hate how the knitting mags pose projects on models standing at odd angles, with so much going on in the pic that I can't really see what the garment really looks like. So I wait and see when they start to appear in blogland then make up my mind if it's something I really want to knit. Examples are Forecast and my Jaywalkers.

4. I knit almost exclusively for myself. If you've recieved a knit from me you're in a very exclusive group and I must love you a lot. I'm the only one that fully appreciates the time that goes into my knits, who's willing to try something on 87 times and who doesn't expect it to be done tomorrow. I do actually feel badly about this and really am trying to remedy it.

5. I hate superwash. I know it's great for kids stuff and for projects that will see multiple washings but it knits weird and does funny things in a bath. I am trying to improve our relationship though by knitting for M with it. I do so love it for socks though.

6. I couldn't knit without the internet. I stalk blogs, cruise the Knittyboard, fantasy shop for yarn (put a bunch of stuff in a virtual shopping cart then log off before actually ordering anything) and find help. I was taught to knit and purl by my Aunt, the rest is the internet's doing.

7. I crave blog comments. I think this explains #2, more posts on more blogs equal more comments. I know nobody reads my ramblings over here with any regularity so the odd comment here and there totally makes my day (that's a hint btw).

8. I am obsessed with fair isle. I haven't really knit much of it yet as I'm afraid that it will be my first collossal knitting failure, but it's my goal to make a Dale; that to me is like the holy grail of knitting, once I've done that I'll be a Knitter. I'm in love with Eunny Jang's FI projects and will maybe someday muster up the cahones to try one (namely the pullover in the upcoming winter IK).

9. I love knitting in the round and will do just about anything to convert a pattern to knit this way. I love a seamless construction and anything knit in one piece. I love my circs and dpns but can't stand either ML or 2 circs. I have it in my head that I can knit Klaralund all in the round, watch for that.

10. I can count on one hand the number of days in the last year that I've not knit, two. Even if it's only a few stitches here and there, I knit everyday.

Last time I posted I had my yarn for O's sweater but it was two different dye lots. So I knit a swatch half with lot 16 and half with lot 14...then I looked at it really close...then took it out into natural light and looked again...then washed and blocked it and still I can't see a difference between the two dye lots so as it turns out the dye lot problem isn't going to be a problem at all but just to be safe I'm still going to alternate rounds with the two lots. So I cast on for a sleeve seeing as how my needles still aren't here.

I love how the contrast colour looks inside the hem of the sleeve, like a little hidden bit of something special. I'll be working on this during the day while DH is at work so it stays a Christmas surprise, he thinks I'm knitting a sample for my LYS which I do from time to time so I didn't have to make up some odd excuse for having so much yarn arrive while he was home for lunch from work the other day.

One pink Jaywalker down and one to go. These are going pretty quickly but I'm not sure if I'm going to try and match up the stripes on the second sock or not yet as I'll have to see how far from the beginning of a repeat I am. I weighed the sock and the remaining yarn and it looks like I can get three socks total out of this ball so I might knit the third just in cast I lose one (I have a way of doing that) or I might knit a pair of baby socks from the leftovers (need to keep ahead of all those baby gifts I need to knit). I started these having cast on for the smallest size but got worried that they would be too tight as I've read that a lot of others have had that problem so I increased on the last row of ribbing to make the second size and they fit perfectly so I'm glad I did; this way the ribbing doesn't flare either.

I've ripped the beginnings of the Pom sock I started earlier in the week and am starting it again with bigger needles. I was having a terrible time seeing the stitches on the 2mm needles so hopefully the 2.5mm's will make all the twisted stitches easier. This time I'm going to move the stitches around on the needles a bit as I hate starting a new needle with a YO.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Finally we have pics of Lucy. I wore her to SnB last night. I had some trouble with the finishing as I couldn't for the life of me sort out how to graft in moss stitch so I just did it all the way across in stockingette then went back over it and faked the purl bumps with little back stitches before I wove in the ends. It fits really well and I know I'll wear her a lot. I'm thinking about a second one in another colour. More pics are here and here.

Actual Socktoberfest content today! The cuff on the left is the beginning of a Pomatamous and the right is the leg (and first row of the heel flap) of a Jaywalker. The Poms are going to be really pretty but they take some pretty good concentration and all the twisted stitches make my hands sore pretty quickly. Finally I've found a yarn that doesn't pool really badly for my Jays! Both were started Tuesday night and the Jay came to SnB at Lettuce Knit last night which is why I got so much more done on it.

Lolly asked:
Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern?
Not really, I like to shop the stash when I go to start socks so I pretty much buy what appeals to me at the time without any real plan in mind. I'm more careful about other yarns but sock yarn will always find a pattern even if it's a plain stockingette sock.

Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!)
No again, I don't really do a lot of travel or special yarn buying so most skeins are just what I've picked up here and there from LYS's.

The yarn for O's EZ sweater arrived yesterday but now I have a problem, it's two different dye lots so I'm going to have to swatch some of each up and see how noticeable it is. My needles aren't here yet but I plan on starting the sleeves until I can get the body going.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Lucy, my dear Lucy is done and resting from her bath. I'm loving her now than I was on Friday night let me tell ya. I had attached the sleeves to the body and was happily working away at the decreases when I stopped to count my stitches just for kicks. Remember last post when I said the rows were getting shorter? Yep, they were all right...probably because I was decreasing at the neck twice as fast as I should have been. There was a lot of frogging (almost a whole skein of Nature Spun which is 200+ meters), some crying, and even a moment when I threw the (now liberated) sleeves across the living room in anger. Really, the pattern couldn't be any more clearly written, my reading comprehension on the other hand is somewhat suspect. No matter, she's done now and I couldn't be happier or more eager to wear her (yes, I've been periodically giving her a once over with the blowdryer trying to make her wearable for SnB on Wednesday). My first Grey's KAL project is done and it only got me through the first three weeks of the season so I'm looking for a new project for the KAL. Pics will come when I can model her properly.

The Knittyheads have definately decided on Pomatamous so I'll be casting those on tonight I think. Hoping to have them done this month sometime for Socktoberfest. My yarn and needles still haven't arrived for my Zimmermania project so I don't have anything major on the needles at the moment. I'm thinking of using the Donegal Tweed I got a while ago for either a Tomten or Bog jacket for M instead of the DB pattern I had intended to make with it. I can't get gauge with it so I'm thinking the yarn has another destiny. Now that Fall is upon us, not that you could tell from the last few days of gorgeous weather, I want to make something warm to keep the little tyke from frosting over.

Happy thanksgiving to all. We had a great dinner at O's mom's yesterday, she and F did a fantastic job of it but we wondered how many people she had planned to feed!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Not a whole lot of news on the knitting front, Lucy chugs along but doesn't look like much when I take her picture so I'm going to leave the photos for another few days when she's done. The sleeves are on the body now and I'm working through the neckline and raglan decreases so at least the rows are getting shorter.

I had forgotten all about Socktoberfest until the other day and I still haven't cast anything on after the latest Jaywalker frogging. I can't decide what to make so I narrowed the feild to four possibilities (Jaywalkers version 6.0, Eunny's Bayerische, Ponmotamous from Knitty and the Snickety socks from MagKnits) so I posted a poll to let the Knittyboarders decide. As of right now the Pomotamous are leading. I'm thinking FA merino socks in an almost solid for these.

(notice my hand drawn charts? This is why all knitters need to own printers.)
I'm going to leave the poll up until Lucy is done then start on whatever the lovely ladies decide.

And now I bring you my answers to the Socktoberfest history questionaire:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I knit my first pair around this time last year, I knit the one of a pair of Knitty training socks then started my first real pair. I taught myself with the help of online tutorials and the Knitty coffeeshop.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first pair are a horrible acrylic, vareigated pair in nasty colours. They're too big (I didn't get the whole negative ease thing at the time) but I still wear them from time to time so I guess they've held up alright.

What would you have done differently?
Nothing, they came out pretty well for a first pair, probably because I frogged and reknit until they were just right. It was a good learning experience.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I love Koigu and Fleece Artist merino, the almost solids in particular. There are lots of yarns I'd love to try.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I don't crochet that well...LOL. I do them on sharp little metal dpns, I've tried ML and two circs and they just seem too fiddly to me.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I love a short row heel and I use it most often; I find it fits my foot better. I will knit flaps though, I just prefer the SR heel. I prefer to knit my socks toe up so the short row heel matches the short row toe nicely.

How many pairs have you made?
I can think of ten pairs right off the top of my head, maybe more, it seems like more.

Watch for another meme coming in the next few days.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I had written a great, picture heavy post this morning but blogger ate it so you're getting this revised and abbreviated version because I'm too cheesed to type the whole thing again.

My Gray's project chugs along, Lucy is a pretty fun and easy knit. I'm just about through the body (I'm adding a few inches to the length so it's not belly baring as I want it to be something I could wear to work). The texture is nice and the yarn is a bit heathered which adds a bit more depth to the finished fabric; it's nice that it's so geometric that I only had to peek at the chart for the first repeat and not at all since which makes it a great project to pick up for half a row here and there without having to find my place each time. I'm testing my continental knitting skills on this one, I've knit nearly the whole thing so far that way. One more buttonhole to knit then I'll put this aside for the sleeves.

Socks seem tot be the bane of my existance these days. The Sock Wars pair are still not finished. I don't like the fabric I'm getting even though I'm dead on gauge, it's loose and isn't holding it's shape very nicely. The colour is really pretty but overall I'm not loving them. The ribby socks are taking a vacation, as much because they're currently AWOL and I don't feel like pulling the place apart to find them as the fact that I hate knitting miles and miles of ribbing. I did start a new pair as a portable project though but I feel they're frog pond bound. I have a total love/hate relationship with the Jaywalker pattern. I love how so many others have knit them up and that it's a relatively simple pattern to follow, not quite mindless but good tv watching knitting. In their fifth incarnation, this time with STR lightweight, they're pooling terribly like every other pair I've tried and frogged. I can't seem to find a yarn that won't pool!

Crazy monkey trick #1: climbing stairs. Staying with my parents on the weekend to attend a friend's wedding (lovely day) M decided he didn't want to be left out of the action of the grandparents packing for a trip so decided to join them upstairs. We don't have stairs in the apartment and this is probably the third time ever he's been near enough stairs to climb but he went straight up without a problem on Saturday morning.

Crazy monkey trick #2- eating a nectarine. I know, big deal right? I had taken the fruit out of Mom and Dad's fridge along with some from O's mom to take home as we were packing to leave yesterday morning and M crawled over, poked around the bag for a moment then dove right in to a nectarine. He let me have it back breifly to wash it and remove the sticker but that was it until I had to wrestle the pit away from him five minutes later. He ate the whole thing. The pic is from his second one that I gave him later in the day as I didn't have the camera ready the first time.

Other than all that there's not a whole lot been going on around here. I used up some gift certs I had gotten in a swap a while back to order the yarn for my main Zimmermania project, the seamless hybrid sweater for O for Christmas (hopefully), and the needles to make it from Knitpicks. I ordered the options set plus one set each of the three longer cord lengths so I'm anxious to see how they knit. I've also added pics of the cropped cardi and forecast to the FO gallery that a few had asked for, go on over and have a peek (new hair in those pics too!).