Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To destash or not to destash

Sometimes I humor the idea of destashing some yarn. I pull out all of my yarn (it's really not that much, just a quarter closet full), I separate the bins, and decide where I am going to put the "destash pile".

First I start with my massive amount of sock yarn. I pull out the skeins that I definitely want to keep, put them back into the bin. Then I pull out the ones that I have ideas for, put them back into the bin. Then I pull out the ones that I am not sure of and put them aside for the destash pile.

I do the same for the rest of my yarn weights. These don't take as much time because I like to knit with heavier-than-sock weights. These are often tagged for sweaters and gifts.

I give my destash pile a once-over and pull out the balls/skeins that still speak to me...crazy colors - SOCKS for my daughter, too-similar color - SHAWL for a gift, too small yardage - DOLL CLOTHES for my niece, you get the idea.

I then take a final look at my destash pile and wonder if people will really pay $5 for even a lot for the yarn I first bought when I started knitting 3+ years ago...

And there you have it...the answer to my post title.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blocked and ready to be seamed...

I finished knitting Max's sweater a few days ago. It has been washed and blocked. I've started seaming it. It is taking forever. Although I am glad that I learned how to seam (both for the learning experience and the fact that there are so much more patterns for seamed garments) I will probably always try to minimize doing so with the things that I knit.

Goomba Hat

As part of a gift, I made a Goomba Hat, using Fadecrazy's chart. Since I knit the hat in the round (I could not bring myself to knit it flat), I used duplicate stitch to add the face to the hat, with Plymouth Encore in brown and white, and Plymouth Encore Tweed (for the eyebrows). For the actual hat, I used the top-down hat technique from Cathy Carron's Hip Knit Hats. It's a cute hat and I hope that the recipient likes it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Doll Clothes

My niece has an American Girl Doll. Apparently, she LOVES her doll. I've seen books for these dolls and one of my knitting friends mentioned that some of them relate to different times in American History. I thought this was pretty interesting and humored the possibility of buying one for my daughter. Have you seen the cost of those dolls?!?! They are close to $100 retail. GAH! Plus the fact that my girl is not a girly-girl and isn't really all that interested, I dropped that idea faster than an overpopped popcorn bag. More shocking (to me, anyway) is the cost of the clothes for these dolls. Some of the outfits cost more than clothes that I buy for myself and my kids.

Anyway, my sister-in-law asked in passing if I could make clothes for her daughter's doll. I made a few for her last year and she seemed to like them; she still dresses her doll in those clothes. I figured I would make more for her this year (and practice my seaming - ha!). I made a dress for her in yellow Plymouth Encore and made a top in blue Berocco Comfort DK. I plan on making one more top in a pink color and will probably make some pants for the 2 tops. I also want to make a nightgown as well. If I have time, perhaps I can make matching sweaters...but at the moment that seems like a lot.

Hmmm...I almost wish my daughter was into these dolls. It would give me an(other) excuse to buy yarn and make more doll clothes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Who knew?

I reknit both the front and back parts of Max's sweater and am now blocking them and the sleeves.

I washed the parts in my washing machine, hoping to get all of them saturated and fully spun out. I am happy to announce that the stitches in the back evened out - I was worried because the bottom portion of it was knit with a size 8 needle and I reknit the rest of it with a size 10 needle. Yippee!! My gamble paid off.

Hopefully I can finish seaming it tomorrow and start on the ribbing. It will be awesome if it can be done by the weekend.

Happy Day!

But I got gauge...

I started to stitch together Max's sweater yesterday...and it looked like this:

Long arms, short body. The ribbing would only add 4 cm. GASP!!

So I frogged the front and totally reknit it yesterday, during my son's playtime at the mall playarea. Last night, I looked at my beautiful Goomba face on the back and decided that I would use a size 10 needle and just frog above the Goomba face. I am hoping (crossing my fingers hard!) that it evens out in the wash...I will block it better this time! I miss my top-down seamless knits :(

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Whining Zone

My house has a No Whining Zone. Actually the only rooms where whining is allowed is in my children's 2 rooms. Respectively. And I am very happy to say that it works.

Today, I took my son to the local mall playpark and he made lots of new friends and had a grand much that he did not want to leave. He cried the whole way car drive to our house that he did not want to go home and he wanted to go back to the playpark.

I reminded him that because we were home, he had to go to his room and finish whining. I closed his door, he opened it, I went into my bedroom to make the bed (better late than never, right?), locked my door and listened to him complain that my door was locked and he wanted to go back to the playpark. When I finished with the bed, I opened the door, asked him if he was done whining. He looked at me and whimpered a bit. I picked him up (mommy hugs always helps the whinies go away), carried him to the kitchen and asked him what he wanted for lunch. He chose Chef Boyardee Raviolis.

Now it is quiet and the whinies have returned to Whiny Land. I know they won't stay there but at least I and my kids know that if they return they are not allowed in the No Whining Zone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No Crying Over Dropped Stitches

I wore my Corntastic Equinox the other day. I loved the way it felt against my skin. So light, I didn't even feel it. It was heaven.

That evening, I was taking it off and I was horrified to see this:

I dropped a D*** stitch!

I figured out where the stitch was did this happen???

Well, being me, I decided to frog the whole top. Yes, the whole top. Besides this little oopsie, I've decided that the top is too holey:

I am going to reknit the top and close the stitches, i.e. twist the yarnovers when I purl them.

I am not as upset as you may think. I like the yarn and it frogs well, the pattern is easy, I like the results (aside from the holey-ness), and I've learned that you can't make a decent length sleeved top with only 550 yards. Good times.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Apple Hill Season!

I took my children to Apple Hill on Labor Day Weekend. My brother visited us for a few days and it was the first time that he has ever visited this wonderful place. We went to High Hill Ranch first. My children rode ponies (I am sad to say that I think my daughter will outgrow this soon...almost - it cost me $6 PER CHILD - GAH!) and got their faces painted. We visited the Fudge Factory and bought some nummy candy.

Then we headed over to the Larsen Ranch - a new ranch for us. We visited the museum there, where we saw some old cars, farm equipment, a covered wagon (rebuilt with the original hardware). We talked to a man whose father owned the original parts to the wagon. Also, there was a bison head on a wall that I had to take a picture of.

We also saw the oldest apple tree in Apple Hill. Believe me, it looked ANCIENT.

It was a nice day. My husband is missing out on our traditional visits to Apple Hill.

Flower without a cause

My daughter planted a pumpkin seed this spring. We were both really excited to see it bloom. She had high hopes of a nice big pumpkin to carve for Halloween. I am sad to admit that this will not happen. None of the flowers that bloomed in this precious plant have turned into a pumpkin. Now it is dying. I don't know how to break it to her.

Max's sweater: Goomba

Max is a Nintendo fanatic, especially Super Mario. He finished the Super Mario Galaxy - the WHOLE GAME (with Luigi and everthing) which is quite a feat. I think there are about 125 worlds or something crazy like that. He's defeated them all.

I fell in love with Rowan Kids. I was originally looking for a hooded vest for my daughter. I have this nutty idea to make one in blue with a wildcat paw print in white on the back. Fridays are Spirit Days at her school and she is always looking for blue clothes to wear. Given that she is a girl and always liked pink and purple, this has been a challenge. I figured what a perfect excuse to buy some yarn (snicker), practice my newfound seaming skills, and do some colorwork.

Rowan Kids is chock full of cute kids' patterns, sizes 5 - 12. I purchased one at one of my FLYs after looking high and low for an appropriate pattern. I thought surely it would be easy to find a pattern with my specifications: hooded vest, pullover, in worsted weight. Nope...except for Tait that is included in Kids. Finding a pattern for Max's sweater was such a bonus.

I am knitting Iggy. I am using Plymouth Encore Tweed. I thought that I would just knit it plain with no embellishment. However, when I knit, my mind wanders to the person that I am knitting for. In this case, I could not get Mario Brothers out of my mind and it occurred to me how cute it would be to knit one of the characters on the back. I came across the Goomba Hat Pattern on Ravelry. It's just a hat with a Goomba Face. I decided to put the face on the back of his sweater. I stranded the yarn for the main part of the face; I will use duplicate stitches for the eyebrows.

So far so good.

Monday, September 13, 2010

(Less) Holey Equinox

I am almost finished knitting the Equinox top. It is a very well written pattern and very easy to follow. The only modification I made was twisting the purl stitches after the YO rows (K*, YO, P1, P3tog, P1, YO), starting at round 9 for 10 inches after the front/back/sleeve separation. I knit the sleeves and bottom of the body as written (purling the YOs from the previous row).

So instead of:

(K*, YO, P1, P3tog, P1, YO) repeat around
Next 3 rows: (K*, P5) repeat around

I did the following:

(K*, YO, P1, P3tog, P1, YO) repeat around
Next row: (K*, Ptbl, P3, Ptbl)
Next 2 rows: (K*, P5) repeat around

This made the fabric a little tighter.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Corntastic Equinox

So one of my FLYS had a Labor Day sale this weekend. I have been wanting to knit Kristin Omdahl's Equinox Top, a lovely DK weight top, designed to be knit seamlessly in the round. Oh, I am in love with this top!

I did not have enough yarn in a DK weight to finish the top. Well, okay, I have enough silky merino, but I am afraid that I won't be able to wear the wool. Also Malabrigo does not frog very easily, and knowing my knitting style and the fact that this is my first go at this pattern, I did not want to take any chances that I would ruin the yarn or gain distaste for the pattern if I had to restart it.

So, having a full loyalty card and knowing that all of her "Green" yarns were on sale, I waited (im)patiently for her shop to open on Saturday morning, and sped over to lurk in the yarn aisles. I thought I wanted Bamboo and she had some lovely bamboo and silk yarn that knit 20 sts to 4 inches. Hmm, not exactly DK weight, but I thought I could knit a little tighter and it would be fine. However, I kept looking and something kept drawing me back to the the DK aisle. My eyes fell on the Corntastic Yarn was sitting in the middle of the aisle. One of the ball bands started staring at me and it yelled out "Machine washable and dryable!" (It did, I swear).

So I chose the Steel color and I am now using the 5 skeins that I purchased for the lovely Equinox Top that was begging to be knit. Knitting Life is good.

Max's sweater: Part 2

I've frogged the sweater 4 times - GAH! Something about the Mary Rich Goodwin pattern was throwing me off - perhaps the short rows for the back and the way I was knitting them was creating a hole between the collar and the body. I decided to switch to the Knitting Pure and Simple pattern that I have and so far this is working out. I will knit a Fair Isle motif at the bottom of the body to match the hat that I made for him. I am using a Men's pattern. The smallest size listed is a 38inch chest, knit at a 16 sts per 4 inches. However, I am knitting it at 5 sts per one inch, so I figure that this will take in the pullover enough so that it is not GINORMOUS on him. I am also consoled by the fact that Max is a growing boy; I swear, everytime I see him, he grows half an inch. Soon he will be taller than me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

It won't unravel, I promise

Before I became a Knitter, I was a beader. More specifically, I made beaded jewelry and sold them in shows around my area. It was fun for a while, and I like to think that I what I made was worth what I charged (I figured that if people didn't agree, they would not buy my items). One of the best compliments I got from a customer was that my jewelry was indestructible. She gave an anklet I had made to her sister. Her sister commented that no matter how much abuse she gave it, it did not break. Unfortunately, as is the case with a lot of things that are worn daily, some of the items that I made did break: badgeholders (mostly), and a watch that was supposed to be waterproof but was not (Grrrrrrr). I fixed these items for free, because this is what I felt was the right thing to do, but doing so cost me money and lots and lots of time. This is part of the reason that I stepped away from this creative venue.

When I knit, I think about how to make things "indestructible". I hate the thought of my projects unraveling or falling apart, especially the ones that I spend a lot of time on. I started making sweaters last year and after reading tips on how to prevent unraveling, I connected yarn with the Russian Join: .
I thought, "How perfect! Two yarns that look like one!" Only problem is the bulk that you get in the joined area. Then I started Spit Splicing (also called the Felted Join - less gross term):
. This actually a more satisfactory way of joining for me. However it only works with feltable yarns; Plymouth Encore and other animal/synthetic blends don't felt very well. More often than not, however, I didn't want to take the time to do these "fancy joins" and just started knitting with both strands for 3 stitches (and I tried to do this in the back of a garment if I could, where it was less noticeable). This works fine for animal fibers as they have more spring that disguises the bulk. However, I learned that this is not the case with other less elastic yarns.

This summer, I knit garments with cotton for the first time (after my discovery that parts of my skin do not like alpaca - boo for me). Worse yet, the yarn that I was using had small skeins. Therefore, I had to make several joins in the body of the top. I learned that could not join cotton the way you do with wool. I tried Russian Join (to prevent fraying), the felted join was not even possible, and I tried knitting both strands together. All of these attempts gave me ugly areas. UGLY. To the point that I wanted to cry at my LYS for help. Her daughter gave me a revelation: You don't have to do any of these fancy joins. All I had to do was to just start knitting with the new strand (but leave enough to weave in later). That's it - the knitting and the weaving-in keeps the yarn in place. I took this one step further: I weave the new strand in while I am still knitting with the old strand. When I have about 3 inches left of the old strand, I twist the strands together and start knitting with the new strand, while weaving in the old strand. Not really fact, it felt like a DUH moment, but YAY, no more bulky joins!