Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Random Wednesday

The spring has finally come to Florida! Woo hoo! Contrary to popular belief, Florida does get cold (the temperature got to the 30s in North Central Florida). I made good use of my scarves, sweaters, hats, and other wooly goods this winter (and far into the month of March too). Of course now that winter is over, it is time to put this lovely items away and keep them safe for next year.

Here is my process...
  1. Convince myself that I should wash my knits now and not next week (this step takes a few weeks).
  2. Gather all of my knitted items, my wash bin, salad spinner, wool wash (whatever wash that was on sale or that I have a free sample of), trash bags, towels, and pins.
  3. Pick out a few items that are similar in color that will fit in my wash bin.
  4. Take the items, wash bin, salad spinner, and wool wash to the bathroom.
  5. Fill the wash bin with water and a bit of wool wash.
  6. AFTER the tepid water is in the bin, I place the items in the water. NEVER put the items in first and then turn the water on unless you like felting your items.
  7. While the items are soaking, I clean up my living room a bit, and place trash bags on the floor and then towels on top of them. I have allergy problems, so I don't like the idea of the carpets getting damp.
  8. After 30ish minutes, I take one item (or so) out of the bin, squeeze gently to get out some of the water.
  9. Then I place the item in the salad spinner, and spin the item damp.
  10. Finally, I gently take the item over to the living room and place it on the towel.
  11. If the item requires blocking, I proceed to pin the item into shape.
  12. After several hours (usually overnight) I flip the item over, so it dries thoroughly.
NEVER, place a damp item in a drawer, unless you are a fan of moldy clothes. After this is all done, I have all of my knitted items tucked away with a bit of lavender to keep the bugs away. I haven't had a problem here in Florida, but I like to be prepared.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday: WIP Day!

Another Monday, another go at the Boyfriend Socks otherwise known as the Blackrose socks in Knitty. I am working the decreases on the gusset now. I must admit that I was really confused by the instructions for the gusset decreases, but like many knitting instructions, if you just do what they say, it will all make sense. So in the case of these socks, the designer wants you to do a k2tog with one of the lace pattern stitches. I was horrified. Wasn't that going to move the whole pattern and make it look weird? Well, yes and no. Yes, the pattern does move down the side of the foot, but no the pattern doesn't really move. The whole thing was so clever. Now I understand why no one was posting on ravelry that the pattern needed errata.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Book Review: Stitch 'n Bitch

For Christmas 2004, I decided that if I was going to live in New England, I should learn how to knit and make myself some scarves. After a quick review of the knitting books on Amazon, I bought myself the book Stitch n' Bitch by Debbie Stoller. I loved this book, because I felt that Stoller and I were on the same wavelength. She was edgy, funny, and educational all in one. I taught myself how to knit with this book. I went chapter by chapter and did all the projects from the garter stitch scarf to the ribbed scarf (the final beginner project was a kerchief and that did not appeal to me at all). Although I did go to a few other books for additional diagrams, Stoller's book had great drawings of everything. In addition, I really liked a ton of the patterns in the book. Unlike some of the other beginner knitter books, I have returned to this book again and again for both basic patterns and for more advanced patterns. This book has scarf, sock, hat, sweater, and a variety of other patterns. Most of these patterns are not for the conservative, but you can definitely tone down the "hipness" of the patterns, if you want.

My knitting projects from this book: 1 Go-Go Garter Stitch Scarf, 2 Ribbed-for-Her-Pleasure Scarves, 1 Hot Head hat, and I am currently working on the Alien Illusion Scarf.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Random Wednesday

Yes, I know it is Thursday, but I had to watch LOST and Glee, so time got away from me. My lovely sock is coming along, and I am ready to pick up stitches for the gusset. I hate picking up stitches for the gusset and the decreases that come next. I feel like it goes really slowly, because I have several more stitches that I had been working with. Then, (have you noticed this too?), the foot seems to take ten times longer than the leg, even though it shouldn't. I am a fan of just knitting the leg and heel. I don't really need a toe or leg or gusset when it comes down to it. I mean, no one is going to see those parts anyway. :)

Alright, I better hit the sack, so I can be awake enough tomorrow to pick up my gusset stitches. I never seem to be able to pick up the same number of gusset stitches on both sides!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday: WIP Day!

I have been bitten by the sock bug. I cannot believe that I keep wanting to knit the same thing over and over again, okay just twice, but still it is wacky for me. The only item I have knit twice is the Yo Drop It! scarf, because I can knit one in a sitting. What is that saying again? Madness is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result?

I started the Blackrose socks on Saturday, and I just cannot stop knitting them. I think this is because everything else I have been knitting recently has had a somewhat complicated pattern to follow and so far this pattern requires a 17 stitch lace pattern and a lot of simple stockinette. I like stockinette. I am three repeats away from the gusset!

The yarn that I am using is Tosh Sock. My boyfriend bought me the yarn when he was away on spring break. Yep, he's a keeper! Going back to the yarn, this yarn is amazing. It is so cushy and soft. I want to cuddle with it. The yarn is 100% merino with no nylon, so I am a little worried about holes. At the same time, I have a darning egg, so I might as well learn to use it if it comes to that. My other concern is the crazy pooling that is going on. I think I am going to have two vertical stripes on this sock, one green/blue streak and one black/bronze streak. I am just going to hope for the best, because the pooling doesn't really bother me too much. Once I finish the sock, I will have a better picture of the pooling.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review: Knit Socks!

I remember buying Knit Socks! as a present for myself. I bought the book, because I liked the shape (the book is shaped like a sock!) and because the patterns are written very simply with very little for the knitter to have to figure out on her/himself. I should note that I bought this book as a beginning knitter and instructions that didn't require me to figure anything out was a plus (the patterns even list how many stitches I should have on each needle (the patterns are written for 5 DPNs, but that is easily converted). While I am at it, all of the socks are written from the cuff down.

The first part of the book goes into detail about how to knit socks and sock anatomy. The rest of the book is a set of 13 patterns. What I like about the patterns is that there is a variety of plain socks, kid socks, fun socks, "technical socks" (i.e., intarsia), and more conservative socks. Also, some of the socks are written for worsted weight, some are for fingering weight, and others are written for both worsted and fingering. This is one of the few sock books that I have that has such a large range of sock types.

I have not completed a pair of socks from this book; however, I did start two pairs of socks from this book. I started them before I had a real understanding of sock construction, and they lingered for a while, before I just gave up and frogged them. With that said, the patterns were well written.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tools of the Trade

I have been relistening to the KnitPicks podcasts recently and rediscovered a great podcast on knitting tools. I am the knitter so is always bringing her WIP with her but always forgetting the important essentials like a ruler to see when I can stop doing garter stitch or extra stitch markers or moisturizer (my hands seem to dry out when I want to knit and have no moisturizer). Anyway, the KnitPicks podcast inspired me not only to create a tool kit to keep with me, but to create three tool kits, so I always have one. I keep one in my living room, one in my purse, and one with my knitting stuff as an emergency back up. I cannot tell you how pleased I have been with my kit! It has almost everything I need (more on that later).

Here is what my kit contains:
  1. a collection of darning needles in various sizes so I can graft, darn, or weave in ends
  2. two different sizes of post-it notes (normal and tiny), so I can write notes or track progress on a chart or set of instructions
  3. a measuring tape
  4. a bottle of travel sized moisturizer so my hands are never dry when I want to knit (I take them from hotels when I travel)
  5. a needle gauge, stitch measurer, and ruler so I can double check that my needle is really a 2.25mm, that my gauge is correct, and that my cloth measuring tape is giving me proper measurements even though it is old and worn
  6. two row counters One attaches to the needle, the other one attaches to me.
  7. a black pen so I always know that I have one because I always seem to need one when I don't have one
  8. two cable needles so that I can cable with a variety of yarn weights. I am a fan of the ones that are shaped like a J; they seem to get the job done without getting in my way
  9. a few price tags (white piece of paper attached to string) so that I can mark a swatch with the gauge or a knitted piece with information that needs to stay with the garment. These are really great to attach to a garment if you know that it is going to the retired WIPs for gauge issues, missing pattern, whatever. This way, when you pick it back up, you can quickly see why you stopped working on it in the first place.
  10. a variety of stitch markers including brass rings, locking stitch markers, and flexible stitch markers (NOTE: I do not keep my fancy stitch markers in these kits just in case they go missing.)
  11. point protectors so I can keep my stitches on the needle when I am not working on my project
  12. a yarn cutter so that I always have something sharp with me to cut the yarn. I like the yarn cutter better than scissors, because it is smaller and cuts better.
  13. a small crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches and for beading
  14. two "ends" and a key to my KnitPicks interchangeable needle set, so that I can take the needles off or un/tighten my needles whenever I need to do so
Believe it or not, but all of these objects fit into a pretty small bag and many of the items fit into an altoid container. Now, there are a few things that I am currently still adding to my kit: (1) I need to add basic knitting instructions like the Kitchener stitch so I have it when I am ready to graft a sock and (2) a bobbin of crochet thread for provisional cast ons and lifeline.

What do you keep in your tool bag?

Hi Again...

It has been a while since I posted here. Life (and more importantly graduate school) has gotten in the way. For the past several months, however, I have been thinking about this blog and different types of posts that I would like to do. I realized that when I used to blog, I was knitting fairly often, so I could show off a lot of progress. Now, I do not have as much time as I used to have, so I my progress is slower and I hate to show pictures of the same thing over and over again. Also, after I found Ravelry, I felt that I didn't need to reinvent the wheel over here. Things have changed for me now. I am knitting more, and I have realized that there are other knitting related topics I want to post.

So what does this mean? This means that I am going to start posting on a regular basis about current WIPs, FOs, knitting books, and other knitting related topics.