Procrastaknit

Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Fresh Off the Needles and Hook!

My baby turned one at the beginning of the month and I finished his crochet baby blanket on his birthday!  After a few attempts I figured out how to properly do the Crochet Intarsia that I had mentioned a few weeks back and here is the final result:

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I couldn’t be happier with how it looks!  I had to do some modifications to the chart, because it appeared to be off-centered so I shifted it a little so there are 8 stitches on both side of the widest part of the mushroom.  Then I sat back to admire my work and noticed that the eyes were also off-center. I thought I had miscounted, but when I looked back at the chart I saw that it was indeed uneven, with ten stitches on one side and eight on the other.  So I fixed that too. In the end, it was a little annoying to keep balancing things out but well worth it!

Another project that I have completed this month is one that has been hibernating in my craft closet since 2010! It is a beautiful tunic in which I had the body, one sleeve, and most of the second sleeve already done. I think I got stuck with the second sleeve when the directions told me to “reverse knit” the decreases. I didn’t know what that meant at the time and so I hid it; out of sight out of mind! I am so relieved, not only that I finished it, but that it fits me pretty well too. Let’s face it, a person’s body can change a LOT in 1,460+ days, especially after a pregnancy.

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Both of these pictures are before blocking, once that’s done it can only get better. Currently I am still working on the blue sweater, I have one sleeve done, I just need to keep adding length to the stockinette body and start the second sleeve so that this project doesn’t end up hibernating for four years too. besides that, I have some colorwork projects going on and I plan to cast on a baby sweater to steek. Yep, that’s happening. No more just talking and dreading it, I’m gonna put my yarn where my mouth is! Wish me luck!

 

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Hibernating Flower Shawelette Finally Blooms!

I have not done many lace projects, and in December 2011 I was overwhelmed with three different WIPs on my needles! Something had to give and so I put aside the Petal Shawelette Designed by Bonnie Evans (Book: Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders) to hibernate into my craft closet “for the winter”… HA! Years later and that shawl made a cross country move before it ever saw the light of day again.

Earlier this year my lovely new LYS offered a WIP Help class and I decided it was now or never for this shawlette. I didn’t know where I got stuck or why my stitch count wasn’t adding up, so I went for a little help. All it took to keep this shawl moving forward was a closer reading of the instructions. Turns out all I was doing wrong was not following the pattern. I thought that after Chart B I had to move onto Chart C, when in fact I needed to repeat Chart B! Once that was made clear by one of the knowledgeable and thorough staff of my LYS, I zoomed through the pattern happy as can be that it was finally starting to look like the photo in the book.

Of course I was also working on a few different projects and with a new baby, this shawl took a few more months to be completed. But complete it, I did!! I finished the leaf edging over the past week while sick in bed with a horrendous sinus cold. Now it is blocked and I just have to debut it!

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Fresh Off the Needles: Baby Items

I’ve finished two baby projects recently: a cap for a friend who is due this month and the Baby Surprise Jacket for my little guy.

My friend doesn’t know if she is having a boy or a girl, so I chose a gender neutral aqua from my stash to make this cute little hat.  Silly me though, I added the pompom to give it a nice finishing touch, but didn’t realize that by doing so it no longer was machine washable since it would likely fall apart in a second.

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Pattern: Foolproof Baby Hat            Designer: Clara Parkes                              Book: The Knitter’s Book of Yarn           Yarn: Cascade 220

 

This was my first try at making Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket and having done a few other patterns designed by her, I am a fan of her awesomeness.  I also loved the yarn that I found at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, Lismi Knit a local dyer here in CT.  It’s a superwash worsted weight that created a self striping rainbow, check out her Etsy shop if you’re interested: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LismiKnits The combination of the pattern and the yarn was pure bliss.  Unfortunately I did run out of yarn with just a few rows to go, so I added a few rows with some white yarn from my stash.  I made the last few rows with bobbles to make it look like clouds, I wasn’t sure if it was tacky or cute, but only one person in my knit night group said it was tacky, the others all thought it was cute so I stuck with it.  Just gotta block it and add the zipper so it can  be considered done.

I am also happy to announce that the sweater that I started before I knew I was pregnant will fit after all and I am making a lot of progress on it.  Look:

Pretty Heritage

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Guess who’s back? Back Again

Hello again!  First let me start off by saying I am sorry for my long absence; knitting slump aside there has been a LOT happening the past few months.  Mainly this:

 

Announcement

 

Yep, we are expecting a little baby boy in November.  🙂 We are very excited about the news and trying our best to get ready for his arrival.   I have not knitted too many things for the baby just yet, because I wanted to know the sex before casting on new projects (we just found out last month).  I did make the pair of booties you see in the announcement, an intarsia baby cap, and have a small baby blanket in the works.  Well, the intarsia baby cap had me in tears!  It was a simple design worked flat with only two colors and my pregnant brain just couldn’t follow the chart.  I never had a project – especially such a small and easy one – bring me to tears.  I think that discouraged me from knitting anything else.

But now my head is a bit more clear and I am not sleeping the day away, so I’m gaining momentum on my knitting.  Except for the fact that I have had to pack up all of my yarn stash, pattern library, and notions.  Over the past few weeks, we have had to shift our focus to packing up for our move next month.  I am living among boxes again and so I only have my current WIPs out.  Which is a good thing because earlier this week I finally managed to finish a pair of socks that I have been working on-and-off again since December!  Though the photo doesn’t do it much justice, it’s a beautiful cable pattern in the shape of hearts:

Pattern: Be Mine Desginer: Melissa Morgan-Oakes Book: 2-At-A-Time Socks Yarn: Dream in Color Starry

Pattern: Be Mine
Desginer: Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Book: 2-At-A-Time Socks
Yarn: Dream in Color Starry

Other WIPs that I have not packed up include: the aforementioned baby blanket, a sweater for myself, the Citron shawlette, and a small newborn cap.  With the exception of the sleeves of the sweater which have a lace pattern, they are all stockinette or garter stitch projects.  This could be a good thing or a bad thing.  Usually simple patterns bore me and cause me to cast on something more exciting and toss the mindless projects into the hibernating vortex of doom.  On the other hand, with so much to think about between the baby and the move, it’s probably a good idea to be able to just knit, knit, knit without concentrating on anything else.  I am not expecting to finish any of the large projects (the cap should’ve been done already!) before my move in 4 weeks, but hopefully I will get a lot of it done.

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Block Party!

Over the weekend I had a one woman block party – WOOT! Not only did I work on my report on blocking for the Master Knitter Program, but I also blocked two finished projects.

For those that don’t know, blocking is the finishing touch on a completed garment  Once you’ve casted-off your last stitch you’re not fully done with it.  You need to weave in your ends and then block out your pieces so that they have a finished look.  I don’t think I’m explaining this correctly to those that don’t knit and read my blog, let me demonstrate instead.

The first item I blocked was a scarf that I made for myself (Pattern: Inside-Outside Scarf, Designer: Elise Duvekot).    When I casted-off this scarf the garter stitch edge curled under the main body of the scarf, blocking it solved this problem.  Blocking it consisted of me washing it, laying it out on my blocking mats,  pinning it down and the letting it sit over night to dry.  That allowed for the garter stitch edge to lay flat and the scarf grew in length and width.

K1B Scarf Block 1

Here is what the scarf looked like before blocking. Notice how the edges are curled up.

K1B Scarf Block 2

Here is how it looked once pinned out. Pinning it allowed me to make sure that it had the same consistent width and it grew in length from 7 feet to 9 feet!!

The second project I blocked was a baby cardigan that I made as a gift for one of my husband’s fraternity brother (Pattern: Jubilee Cardigan, Designer: Cecily Glowik MacDonald).  This little cardigan was knit up in a week but unfortunately I won’t be able to gift it (I will have to tell you all of the troubles I had making it in another post).    But the important reason why this project needed to be blocked was because of the lace bottom half.  When you knit lace garments 9 times out of 10 the design is lost if not blocked.  Blocking lace projects allows for the design to bloom, without doing so the eyelets wouldn’t open up to show off all of your hard work.

Jubilee Block 3 Jubilee Block 1

It was great to feel like I accomplished something over the weekend.  I hope you have your own block party soon!

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My needles runneth over with yarn

I am currently experiencing an optimistic flow for making new projects.   At my Thursday knit night I actually casted on a swatch for a top down sweater.  Still haven’t found the right needle size,  but the effort is there.  About a week ago I printed out a pattern and dug out my stashed yarns for fingerless mittens.  A week or two before that  I made about 3 new swatches for the master knitting course and I think I might do some reading today in order to answer some of the written portion.  I am on a roll!

I am also really scared right now.  I just threw my lap top case into the washing machine – I am felting! ACK!  It is so hard to do something that you have been told repeatedly not to do.  This reminds me of a modern art exhibit that I went to while visiting family in Brazil back in September.  The artist had covered the floor of his display with broken glass and you were encouraged to walk on it, through and around the barriers he had on it.  Throwing my knitting into the washer is making me relive that experience and it makes me cringe.  You are not supposed to step on broken glass and you’re not supposed to throw your knitting in the washing machine – I don’t know how I am going to last through this wash cycle.

Well, actually I do.  I know that I have to open the machine every so often and check on it.  I was also told to put the knitted project inside of a pillow case so that the excess fiber does not clog up the machine.  And I am washing it only with like color clothing.  I know that denim would be ideal, but I  didn’t want to risk the blue staining the tan colored yarn.

OOoh kay, deep breaths, those are the normal sounds of the cycle.    So here are some photo of what the laptop sleeve before this experiment:

Laptop Felt 2 (2)

Sometimes I love the inside look of colorwork knitting as much as the as the outside pattern. I worked really hard to make sure my floats were even!

Laptop Felt 1 (2) Laptop Felt 3 (2)

It measures roughly 13 inches  x 17 inches (with about 2 inches for the flap).  It is currently too big and flimsy to be an effective lap top sleeve, so the felting process has to happen.

Here is the  project during, after one short cycle:

Laptop Felt 4 (2) Laptop Felt 5 (2)

And this is the final product after two short cycles:

Laptop Felt 8 Laptop Felt 7 Laptop Felt 6

It is near perfect!! A little cinched in at the middle, but that’s not so bad.  It measure 12 inches x 15 inches (I don’t think I measured it in the same place as before felting) , leaving enough room to carry a little extra in with my laptop.  I just need to take a sweater brush to remove some of the pill to make the pattern is more visible, then wait for it to dry.   Not sure about doing a lining for it.  I also didn’t make button holes, so I have to figure out a closure.  If I can bring myself to use a needle and thread then maybe a zipper would work.   I really hate sewing, for now this will have to do.   I can’t wait to take it to class on Tuesday!

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End of the Year Knitting Delusion

Xmas is next week and I still have to finish my husband’s sweater – ACK!  I am no good with knitting deadlines (terrible actually), but I am hopeful to get this sweater done in time.  At the time of this post , I have just finished seaming one shoulder and I swear that I will not go to sleep until I have the other should seamed as well.    That leaves only the sleeves and the hoodie to complete and with a bulky yarn, that actually seems plausible to me.  (I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself.)

The work of mischievous Knitting Elves

The work of mischievous Knitting Elves

If anything prevents me from finishing this sweater in time it will be my need to Procrastaknit.  Because I am trying to keep the final look of this sweater a surprise from my husband until Xmas morning, I casted on a pair of socks to work on when he’s home (and to count towards  my 2012 New Year’s Knitting Resolution).   But the knitting elves around my house didn’t like that idea so much and gave me a really hard time with winding up the yarn.  I am using Dream In Color Smooshy for these socks and on my first attempt to divide the skein into two balls created a tangled mess on my winder.  I am not sure how it happened, but it wrapped around the bottom of the winder’s base.  To fix that mess I had to recruit the hubby, and together we dealt with the yarn barf that ensued.  It took us a few minutes, but we got the yarn under control and I was able to start the 2-at-a-time socks while we watched the newest version of Casino Royale.

As if a new pair of socks weren’t enough to keep me from finishing his sweater, last week I worked on the last beaded row of my lace shawl.  This is the pattern I worked on during my cross country drive (I don’t recommend beaded lace projects on roadtrips) and then couldn’t find the beads after unpacking the move.  All that’s left to that project is the short row shaping and blocking to show off the lace work.   I hope to get this project done in time to wear it to a friend’s wedding on 12/30.

And then all of a sudden, the idea that I should knit something for me to wear on New Year’s Eve popped into my head yesterday afternoon after an unsuccessful shopping trip.  I keep thinking of how the New Lace Tunic, a crochet pattern by Lion Brand, would look great in the beautiful yellow yarn I got on my Cross Country Yarn Crawl.   And crochet works up quickly, so I can get that done by the 31st, right?  If not that, at least a quick cap inspired by the Lion Brand’s Russian Faux Fur Hat (publication is out of print, but you can see it on Ravelry).  I am not one for using Fun Fur yarn, but I have a skein of Plume by Prism Yarns, that is just super soft.

Then there are the other two hats that I have in the works.  One is for my husband’s colleague who commissioned a cap shaped like a brain.  The basic hat is done, now I just have a TON of I-cord to knit and attach to make it look like a brain (new car project).  The other is a hat that I want to make for my dad so that he has something to keep him warm while he is in New York in January.    Well, I haven’t started on that one yet, but it is on the back of my mind as one that I need to get going on.  Thankfully, these two can wait until after the holidays to be completed, I just have to stay focused on this sweater!

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