Tuesday, November 23, 2004

whipped into a frenzy...

The holiday stress has already started. Thanksgiving is in a couple of days and I've got a feeling that there won't be much knitting to be had. My BF and I are going over to my aunts for lunch/dinner on Thursday and I'm going to be bringing dessert. I'm going to try making a Pumpkin Cheesecake...I had some at a local bakery a few weeks ago and have been obsessed ever since. This is the kind of thing that I wouldn't want in the house for fear of eating the whole thing. But, with family around, I'll get to try it and let other people take some home.

Also, my BF's mom and stepfather are in town this week. Oh, and his bother is flying in from Colorado Thursday night. So, we'll be having Thanksgiving dinner II on Friday. Then, Saturday is his sister's 30th birthday. (Mental note: gotta find a gift for her). And, to top it off, she just got engaged a couple of weeks ago and is trying to plan a wedding for early May! That will be one busy house!

Oh, and I'm hoping to hang out with my friend Jocelyn from college who is in town visiting her brother. The rest of her family will be converging on the DC area some time on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

a gold-studded holiday...

I just couldn't help myself. I had to order more yarn. But, it's for my Mom's Christmas present. Since I'm done with my Dad's sweater early, I have time to do some more holiday knitting. (Putting a picture up is still on my list of things to do). Anyway, I've decided to knit her a tree skirt. I found this pattern and plan to make the tree skirt but probably not the matching stocking.

Last year I knit her Sitcom Chic. She liked the sweater because the arms were short and she doesn't need to roll them. But, she said it was too warm. (I think it's the hot flashes). This way she gets something special and I don't have to worry about it being the wrong size or making her too warm.

A few years ago my Mom started switching to a very simple gold and winter white motif for her tree, once it seemed certain that my brother and I aren't going to be around to decorate the tree for her...leaving behind most of the ornaments that she had acquired over the years. My father is more than happy to oblige. Truth be told he's on the verge of getting a second tree to display the tacky/wacky/cool ornaments that are no longer allowed on the living room tree...This might be the year for his and hers Christmas trees!

So, instead of the traditional blend of red and green, my Mom's tree skirt will be made with Red Heart Fiesta, the main color is a cream wrapped in gold nylon (glade) and the boarder is tan wrapped in gold (wheat). The snowflakes will be done in gold Glitterspun. I figure acrylic is perfect for this project since it sits on the ground for about a month then gets packed up at the end of the season. I ordered the yarn from Joann's on Tuesday, so it should be her in time to start knitting over the Thanksgiving weekend. If time allows, I'm also going to make her some crocheted tree ornaments. Those will be done with gold crochet thread and clear bulbs.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Onde my god...

I'm not sure if anyone remembers, but back in August I ordered some Phildar Onde from Breiweb. I had never ordered from anyone overseas before so wasn't sure exactly how long it would take. Well, after waiting 6 weeks, I figured I'd contact Breiweb about my order. They were surprised to hear that I hadn't received my package and sent out another shipment.

This time, I asked that the package be sent to my work address. So, yesterday I was treated to a delivery at work! Here's my latest entry into the stash:

The color isn't quit what I expected. From all of the pictures of this color combination -- jeans & ciel -- I was expecting a black to grey transition. The jeans is actually a dark, navy blue...hmm, similar to the color of dark washed jeans...I guess that makes sense, huh? The ciel looks like a very pale blue (more like a tint of blue) with a darker blue wrapped around it. This should fit very well into my blue-based wardrobe.

I'm too late to be part of the Onde-along. So, I guess I'll have my own Onde-alone some time soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

keeping up with Peggy...

Once I finished Kirk, I started thinking about what to do with Peggy. I'm hoping for a solution that involves as little re-knitting as possible. But, in reality, it looks like I'm practically restarting this project. I also wanted a project to take with me on the plane today. And, this one is as good as any.

So, my plan of attack starts with knitting the sleeves. That's the only part that I had not started yet. I'm going to work the sleeves in the dye lot that I was able to get more of last week. That should make for good airplane project. I'm hoping to kick out one of them during the trip. Once I have the sleeves out of the way and know how much yarn is left from the 4 new skeins, I should be able to tell how much of the fronts/back will need to be ripped out.

I keep telling myself that this will be worth it in the end. I'm also just stubborn enough to make this work. Oh, and a gluten for punishment who sometimes enjoys doing things the hard way.

oops! no picture...

Kirk is done! I was able to get the zipper in place and sew it on. And, take it from me, it looks great. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a picture of it to put up. I was much too busy packing for my trip to Chicago. So, that will have to wait until next week.

It took me three attempts to get the zipper in place with the two sides lined up. Then I basted the zipper tape to the sweater. This was an essential step because there was no way that I would have been able to use my sewing machine with all of the pins in the way. But, the hardest part of the ordeal was the actual sewing. The cabled sections of the sweater were almost too think and there were a few points where the presser foot of my machine almost got caught on some of the stitches.

I love the look of a zipper. However, I don't think I will machine sew a zipper to a chunky knit. I am planning on putting a zipper in my BF's sweater, but it will be a much smaller gauge. Oh, and it will be a separating zipper, so I won't as much fabric to wrestle with.

Okay, picture next week. Promise!

Monday, November 08, 2004

zipper anxiety...

Yesterday, I trekked up the Pike to get a zipper. It's the very last piece that I need to finish Kirk. The seaming came out very well and the sweater looks wonderful...I'm just a little worried about how this zipper is going to turn out.

I am planning using my sewing machine to sew the front edge to the zipper tape. My main concern is making sure that the knit fabric doesn't get pulled while sewing...which could happen if the zipper foot got caught in a stitch. I think the best way for me to avoid this problem will be by pinning the zipper in place, then sewing on the wrong side.

Oh well, I'm hoping to pull my sewing machine out of the closet after dinner tonight. I'm only putting in a 10 inch zipper, so it shouldn't take too long.

Friday, November 05, 2004

the problem with Peggy...

I knew that this project was going to be worrisome...but I plunged into it anyway, full steam ahead! And now, it's coming around to bite me on the ass.

Problem #1: I bought the yarn because it was in the sale bin at the LYS; but, I didn't take the time to check all of the dye lots...I ended up with 5 of one lot and 3 of another. I know, that's a mortal sin and I will suffer for it.

Problem #2: I bought the yarn without a project in mind. And, instead of sitting down and thumbing through their books and magazines I went home to "figure it out." Well, once I did pick Peggy, I saw that I didn't have enough yarn to finish anyway. But, that didn't stop me! Which leads to...

Problem #3: I started the project instead of going straight back to the store and looking for more yarn in my "main" dye lot. (Boy, am I stubborn or what?). I knit the back, all in the "main" lot. I knit both left and right fronts, alternating dye lots to make it less noticeable. Well, when it came time to knit the sleeves I had about 1½ skeins of the "main" lot and about ½ a skein of the "other". That, along with the motivation to finish Kirk, is why this piece was put on hold.

I knew I would have to cross my fingers, trek back to the burbs and hope for the best. So, last night -- the only night this store stay open late -- I went back and dug through the sale bin again. Thankfully there were still some skeins in my color. I ended up buying the remaining 4 skeins that were in my "other" dye lot. So now, it outnumbers my "main" lot. Argh!

So, I'm milling things over in my head. Do I ditch this all together and find a project that only needs 7 skeins of wool cotton? and another that only needs 5? Do I start over again from the beginning? If I start over, I will need a much more definite plan of attack!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

seaming up election night...

Last night I was dead tired. I had gotten up early, voted, and made it home in one piece. Thought I would stay up until about nine then call it a day. But, for some reason, I couldn't turn the TV off. I ended up watching the NBC coverage of the election even though I could feel my eyes close up. Since I was up, I decided to go ahead and join the sleeves...At least something good came of last night.

At 10:30, I called it a day...With 2 perfectly seamed sleeves. I even had my BF try on the half-seamed sweater to see if the shoulders sat nicely...I also tried it on myself but it just hung on me like a potato sack, with the shoulder seams hanging down my arms and the body ending nearly at my knees. My dad is about 6'5", so it should be perfect for him.

Let me tell you, the sweater is very heavy! And very warm. Depending on what kind of weather the DC area gets this winter, it might be more like a jacket than a sweater.

Seaming the sides will begin tonight and this weekend's mission will be to find a zipper for the neck...Looks like I'll be riding the rails into suburbia. G St Fabrics, here I come!

Monday, November 01, 2004

entering the home stretch...

I had a fairly productive weekend...I finished the front of Kirk and put forward the extra effort to wash and block the front and back.

I was debating whether to wet block this sweater. I've seen differing views on whether you need to block ribbed items. I'm really glad I decided to wash the pieces. The laundry water turned a dark blue when I let the pieces soak in soapy water, even though I didn't have much dye come off when I was knitting. I also had some extra fuzz from the angora come out in the wash. Maybe that will keep the shedding down once my dad starts wearing it. I didn't want to stretch the pieces out too much, so I only blocked it to a width of 23 inches, instead of the 25.5 that is on the pattern.

Here's a shot of the front & back

Just the front

And a close-up of the neckline

I'm hoping to keep the ball rolling on this piece instead of leaving the finishing for later. Tonight, I will be washing and blocking the sleeves. I will also be seam the shoulder seams and knit on the collar. The only thing I'm missing is a zipper.

This will be my first attempt to put a zipper in a handknit item. I have sewn zippers in other pieces of clothing. I'll be refering to Bonne Marie's guide.