Thursday, April 28, 2005

swatch watch...

My super-secret project hasn't been taking up all of my attention. Between my spurts of frustration I have managed to work on swatches for the next two projects that I am planning on taking on. Here's a preview:

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This one is for Toledo from Rowan 37. I'm going to knit this along with my friend Anne. She already knows how to knit, but has never made anything larger than a scarf or hat. She's making the same top but in a different color. I think this would be a good project for a novice because there are no sleeves and the stitch pattern is pretty easy to memorize. It's also interesting because the neckline is done with short rows and there is a garter stitch border at the neck and armholes.

I think I'm going to take this project with me when I go to Florida next week. (It's wedding time!) Since the front and back are knit alike, I'm hoping to work through one of the pieces so that I can warn Anne about any tricky spots before she gets to them. So far, Anne has done a swatch. Unfortunately, she didn't get gauge. I'm hoping that going up a needle size will work for her.

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Okay, I know this one is rather blurry. I just couldn't get the camera to focus. Anyway, it's a swatch for my first sock! If you go back to my Knit Year Resolutions, you'll see that this is one of the things that I want to accomplish this year. I had bought the yarn back in November, and have been waiting for a good time to start this project.

I'm using the Basic Ribbed Sock pattern from The pattern is actually broken up into little lessons that seem much less intimidating than other patterns. So far, I have cast on and knit about 4 inches of 3x2 ribbing. This is an ideal project to take on the bus because I feel like I get so much done. And, I don't have to worry about whether I can finish a row before I get to my stop! I have about 20 more rounds to work for the leg and then I move on to the lesson that goes over how to turn a heel!

grudge match...

Yesterday, I woke up feeling icky...Thanks to the high level of pollen in the area, I've been inhaling tons of crap for the last few weeks. I'm not an allergy sufferer, but when there's this much pollen in the air everyone suffers. So, I called in sick, and spent the first part of my morning trying to counteract my benedryl-induced drowsiness by drinking more coffee.

When I finally got my head on straight, I decided to devote the day to working on the super-secret project. First, I whipped out the sewing machine and all of the notions I needed. I was able to piece things together pretty easily, making my way over the speedbump that I mentioned the other day. Next, it was time to fit the knitting section with the sewing section...Unfortunately, knitting + sewing = more frustration.

I'd like to blame all of my problems on the instructions. It seems like the easiest thing to do at this point. Since I started the finishing for this project, nothing has gone smoothly! I had been thinking of making a second one of these for myself...Now I'm not so sure.

Well, not wanting to disappoint my secret pal, I had to persevere. So, I took a few deep breaths, drank some more coffee, and worked out a plan of attack. My entire thought process revolved around how to make knitting + sewing = finished product...hopefully, without having a lot of stray threads showing. And, I'm glad to say that after a 3-hour struggle, I was able to make the two pieces come together in harmony.

I have just one more thing to do. That's adding the crochet to the mix. I'm going to start working that when I get home tonight, and I will put on the final touches tomorrow when I have a planned day off.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

super-secret progress...

I think assembling the parts of this mixed-media creation is proving to be the hardest part. I was able to work out my seaming problems yesterday. And, thankfully, the seams don't look too wonky.

Next I pulled out some fabric that I had stored away and started working on that portion. I hit another speedbump similar to the seaming problem...I'm going to have to do some creative adjusting to get over this obstacle. Thankfully, this portion will not show on the outside once I am done. Tonight, I pull out the sewing machine!

To tell you the truth, I'm starting to feel the pressure. I know that I can get this project done by Friday if I just concentrate on one step at a time...But, there's this little voice that's getting really freaked out.

Monday, April 25, 2005

the final countdown...

There's just one more week until the end of SP4, and I'm getting pretty excited. I was able to breeze through the crochet portion of my mixed-media-SP4-finale. Unfortunately, I'm already having a hard time with the seaming. I started this morning on the ride to work, but hit a snag. So, I need to rip out all of the seaming that I have done and rework it. I also need to get working on the sewing portion.

Wow, that's a lot to do in one week. I can't wait to finish it and get it in the mail. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that on Friday when I have the day off.

I'm also excited to find out the true identity of Ms Amica Clandestina. I've really enjoyed the comments that she has been leaving throughout the SP4 exchange.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

cat meets dog...

Andrew and I have been wondering how Auggie would react to dogs. Actually, this is more for the benefit of his sister than anyone. She has a 1-year old schnauzer that she likes to take places. Not everywhere, but definitely to other people's houses. We would like for her and her fiance to be able to come visit and spend the night. At the same time, we don't want the little terror to completely freak Auggie out.

So, thanks to our upstairs neighbor, we were able to borrow a dog to conduct a little experiment.

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Nala is a 10-year old lab mix...She practically thinks she's a cat. The two got along just fine. Actually, once Nala drank all of Auggie's water, she had little interest in the apartment at all. She just wanted to go back outside and lay in the sun. Auggie, on the other hand, was quite fascinated and could have spent the rest of the day sniffing Nala from head to toe.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

quiet. a little too quiet...

I've been chugging away with my SP4 project. I have completed the knitting segment of the exercise and have moved on to the crochet. Of course, this meant I had to make another trek out to the 'burbs when I found that I didn't have the correct size hook.

The knitting went fairly fast, especially for a piece knit with 4-ply. I need to block the pieces next. Unfortunately, the pattern that I'm working does not include any sort of schematics showing the finished measurements...Thankfully the shape isn't too complicated and I should be able to work it out easily. The crochet also moves pretty quickly. With any luck, I will have those portions done by Friday...Leaving the sewing for the weekend.

I can't wait to show the mixed media project!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

yarn diet recap...

Last Friday was the last day of my yarn diet. I give myself a B for effort that I put in. In the three months on the diet. I completed one project with yarn pulled from my stash, and I started a second.

I can't say that this was a truly successful yarn diet because I did buy some yarn. I made one big exception when I bought new yarn to make the Rebecca wrap. Since I plan on wearing it to a wedding at the beginning of May, I didn't want to wait until the end of the diet to buy and start this project. The other yarn I bought was gifted to my Secret Pal. I also ordered some yarns that arrived on my birthday.* All in all, I spent about $135 on yarn in the first quarter of 2005.

I'm glad I went on the yarn diet...It really made me think about what kinds of projects I want to make and how much can be done with the materials I already have. However, I did not achieve the true goal of reducing the space that my stash takes up. Actually, it has increased in volume since January and I can no longer close the lid on the rubbermaid container. I'm not crazy enough to think about extending this diet, but I do need to get organized.

So, this weekend, I will be working up a list of possible projects. This will by my wishlist for the Spring/Summer. And, I'll start working these projects once I'm done with my final SP4 gift.

*I have been advised, by Ms Amica Clandestina (aka my Secret Pal), that this is fine.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

super-secret = super-fast

There are three sections of knitting for this projected. I have completed one and cast of for the second. If things stay slow, I truly hope to have the knitting done this weekend...That's when things get a little complicated.

There is also some sewing that will need to be done, and I'm not talking about seaming...I mean sewing! Hopefully, I have something that in my fabric stash that can be used. (Bet you didn't know that I have a small bit of fabric hoarded away, too). Plus, there will be some crochet detailing that will need to be done. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring that on the bus with me.

I'm really excited about this project. I can't wait to show it off after the big Secret Pals reveal.

Friday, April 08, 2005

new, super-secret project

I have finished the Rebecca wrap and plan on wearing it when I go out this evening. Of course, that left me with nothing to do on the bus this morning. And, I just couldn't have that!

So, I thought I'd pick up my Secret Pal project that has been sitting in my project bag for the last 3 weeks. I have a little over 3 weeks before the end of SP4 and my big reveal. Well, guess what? I wasn't all that impressed with the project anymore. It's still a great idea for a knitted gift, but I just wasn't feeling it this morning. Plus, I finally got my hands on a copy of the new Rowan...Let's just say that I had some yarn in my stash to make one of the new patterns, and I could hear it calling to me.

With 15 minutes left before I had to jump in the shower, I took a dive into the stash closet and pulled out some 4-ply cotton. I cast on before leaving for the bus and I've got about an inch and a half and growing. woohoo! I love impulsive beginnings!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

more finishing tonight...

Okay, last night, I finished the collar for the Onde Raglan. It makes the neckline look awesome...I've marked this as complete, even though I still need to get a button for it. I decided to make one little change when I put the neckband on. The pattern tells you to knit a small tab (9 st by 14 rows) that the button is threaded on. Then, it tells you to sew this in place, creating the small keyhole. Instead, I extended the neckband to include a tab. Once, I get the button, I will sew this in makes one fewer seam that I will have to weave in. (I hope you don't mind, but I'm not going to post a picture of the neckband until I can get a button that looks good on the collar).

I'm also working on seaming the Rebecca wrap. After blocking the pieces, I undid the bind off edges of the shoulders and replaced them with a 3-needle bind off. These seams are really sturdy and neat. Since my BF is out of the house this evening, I'll have plenty of time to concentrate on setting in the sleeves -- the part that I usually find the hardest. I also still have the ties to knit. I have read that other bloggers picked up stitches for the ties, instead of knitting them separately and then sewing them on. Since, they are knit in straight stockinette, I will most likely do that as well.

Monday, April 04, 2005

a very productive weekend...

Most of the morning on Friday was spent blocking the pieces of the Rebecca wrap. The blocking board, once again, proved to be very helpful. Figuring out how to pin out the curves at the front was a little tricky. But, the two match fairly well since I had the grid to work with. If I was to try this without the grid, I bet the two halves would been completely wonky.

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The afternoon was spent seaming the Onde raglan. This task went by quickly. Here's a picture of the neckline before I started working picking up for the neckband.
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It took me three attempts before I was able to pick up the correct number of stitches. I was tempted to just run with it...but, I knew I would never be able to live with it. As of this morning, I am 2 rows and a large button away from having this project finished. Hmm, I guess I'm going to have to go looking for a button.

Once I'm done with the neckband, I will begin piecing the wrap together. I would love to have both of these done for the weekend...Nothing like wearing new clothes on your birthday!