Granny Square Blanket

I found out one of my best friends was pregnant at the very beginning of 2005.  I knew I wanted to make her something, and at that time I was much more comfortable crocheting than knitting; finally can you ask for more notice a 8 months?  I settled on a granny square blanket that I had seen in a book.  I liked that it wasn't the usual granny square, it seemed more delicate than the square composed of many groupings of chain 3.  And the colors were great, vibrant reds, oranges, and pinks but we didn't know if she would have a boy or girl.  After plotting with her father over the phone and via email I settled on a yarn Plymouth Dream Baby DK (a soft microfiber acrylic) as well as a color scheme of blues, purples and teal (just like dad's hair!).  I started crocheting in March, the pattern calls for 48 squares plus a border.  I figured if I could manage one square a night for most nights I'd been done in no time. No problem.

By August of that year (when the baby was due) I had managed to crochet 5 squares plus one center. 

And then I found out about all of the other handmade (crocheted, knitted, quilted) blankets my friend had received (when the project was fresh in my mind it was a chance I wanted to take, once the project stalled that was yet another reason to not pick it up).  I went out and bought a bunch of cute outfits for S when she was born instead.  However I did get a chance to fix a few runs in one of S's crocheted blankets 🙂

I'm not sure who I will give this baby blanket to when I finish.  The pattern's finished measurements are supposed to be 20" by 26" which is very small even for baby blanket standards.  Maybe it will become S's doll blanket.  Maybe it will be a blanket for a potential sibling of S's.  Or maybe I will just keep it (sorry).  I like granny square blankets, I particularly like this blanket, even if it isn't quite as awe inspiring as the Koigu granny square blanket that was in an issue of Interweave Crochet (22 skeins, oh my!).

Anyway, the Dream Baby Granny Square blanket is my August UFO challenge.  I doubt I will finish it in August, but I sure hope I get more squares crocheted than at my last attempt.  I had to do a new gauge swatch though since I couldn't remember what hook I was using.  So far I've managed to crochet two more squares, though one doesn't count since I messed up the color order on it.

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August 3, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

More knitting

Sorry for you folks who'd like to hear about the rest of my life.  I'm not doing much really.  Okay, so I am traveling to Atlanta to go to a friend's wedding this weekend.  I'm very excited, I get to see my best friend and her family for the first time in almost a year (and hopefully other friends).  Plus I still regret missing another college friend's wedding due to work craziness almost two years ago (they hit a crunch period and were not approving vacation time, a work-buddy nearly quit over that).  Other than, I'm not doing a whole lot I swear.

Anyway, my knitting progress.

I made TheHusband a camping hat to keep his head warm at night (since nights do get a bit chilly).  This is thinner and lighter than his alpaca hat I made him in December.  It is my basic hat non-pattern, I didn't do a gauge swatch and just did a test fit after about 3 inches.  Which meant of course that I had to rip out those three inches and cast-on 8 stitches fewer than the first time.  Here are the stats:

Yarn: RYC cashcotton DK in sage and RYC cashcotton 4 ply in seafoam held double
Needles: US5 (16" bryspun circs, then bamboo dpns)
Cast-on: cable (I know it isn't very stretchy but I like the look), 112 stitches
4 rows or so of garter stitch then stockinette, no clue how many rows…

I am also almost done with the toddler sweater that I started at the end of March.  March people, sigh, it is a good thing I picked the larger size otherwise the recipient might have outgrown it before I finished (fingers crossed).  I think it is what I deemed my June UFO challenge, cause I was just getting tired of knitting it, and now it appears to be part one of my July UFO challenge.  I have about 8 more rows to go on the sleeves, the bottom edging, the sleeve edging, blocking, some seaming, the shawl collar, and more seaming and blocking plus a button to find and attach.

I am knitting the sleeves at the same time, which is both a blessing and a curse.  I've had to stop a couple times to count my rows because I forgot which direction I was knitting and had one sleeve on each end of the needles.  But no wonder if feels like it is taking forever:

The sleeves (which I am knitting at the same time, sigh) are way bigger than the front.  Oh the front pieces went so quickly once I got over the shaping hurdle.  What are those pink threads?  Various markers of mine to keep my brain straight.  I have a pink bit between the sleeves so I don't knit them together, I have pink stitch markers so I know when I finally get to stop doing my decreases, I have a pink line from when I got mixed up in which direction needed to be knit and the number of stitches did not help (no more knitting this while visiting with friends).  And I really need to finish these sleeves* so i can use the needles for my next project, a pink tank top, and hopefully finish while it is still warm enough to wear it.

*the edging and collar is worked on a smaller needle

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July 11, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

the socks are done!

Remember these socks? How could you, have I written about knitting anything else?


They've been sitting around my house like that since the beginning of May.  I stalled at the kitchener stitch.  I had never done it before and so I looked at my handy Vogue Knitting Quick Reference.  It walked me through the first two steps, but on step 3 it through me in the middle of the work.  Agh.  I checked other knitting references; FantasyLibrarian sent me copies of the pages from her knitting go-to book, but I still was stuck at the same point, "when do the stitches come off the needles and where do I insert the needle on step 3?".  I looked at Knittinghelp.com's video of kitchener, which was better, she finally mentioned that the first stitches on either needle are not treated quite the same as the rest of the stitches, but it went so fast that I couldn't keep it straight or remember how to do it once I picked up my needles.  I let the project linger and moved on. 

Almost two weeks ago I sat down to figure kitchener stitch again (it sort of made me feel a little better that Grumperina has to check her notes before sitting down with it as well).  I watched Knittinghelp.com's video (scroll down to the section on finishing), taking notes and hitting pause and rewind many times.  Then my friend J sent me the link to this Knitty article.  Oh if only I had started there instead.  I practiced a couple times on swatches I made just for that purpose (now what should I do with a 3" white square with one red stripe?).  Oh, and for anyone who is interested in trying a "knitted" kitchener check out TECHknitter's instructions (it wasn't the needle that scared me off though I found this idea interesting).

Finally with the help of the following on a note card:

step 1: purl #1 front stitch
step 2: knit #1 back stitch
———-
step 3: knit #1 front stitch, slip
step 4: purl #2 front stich
step 5: purl #1 back stitch, slip
step 6: knit #2 back stitch
——
repeat steps 3-6, the second stitch is now the first.

Muttering, "knit slip purl, purl slip knit" also helped a lot.  Then to end it I used knitty article guidelines (when there is only 1 stitch on each needle you do step 3 and then step 5).

Of course today I sit down to finish these socks and can't find my handy-dandy note card, the knitty article came to the rescue.  Now I have these socks almost all done (I hid the ends for picture-taking-in-daylight purposes).  I finally finished my May UFO (or was it April).

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July 11, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 1 comment.

Remember those socks?

The pair that I was working on for my March or April UFO Challenge?

Yeah, those socks.  This picture was taken at the beginning of May.  I know kitchener stitch probably isn't that hard but I'm having the darn-dest time getting it started.  FantasyLibrarian was kind enough to send me a couple pages from her knitting book on kitchener stitch but that still didn't help much.  I've watched the video on Knitting Help, I've looked at my knitting books. Anyway, I think I will be making some phone calls to the LYS to get a private lesson.

In other not exciting knitting news I'm still working on the sweater I alluded to here?  I'm still working on it, I'm almost half-way through the sleeves but it is going very s l o w l y.

And the exciting stuff.  I went on a tropical vacation.  Hopefully I will get around to sorting through the 150 or so pictures, deleting the duds and putting some online soon.

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June 8, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

I shall conquer the sock

Warning: this is probably in more detail than a non-knitter will be interested in, heck I'm not even sure if other knitters (successful sock knitters at least) will want to slog through this long post. 

I have now knit 4 heel flaps and turned 2 heels*.  I still don't have 1 sock to show for it.  Yet a number of my friends who started knitting after me have successfully knitted socks.  I'm sort of jealous.

Last May I went and bought my first skein of sock yarn and the LYS gave me a free pattern to go with it.  She assured me that the pattern would work with the yarn so I didn't bother with a gauge swatch.  Which might have been mistake #1 (but I figured, a sock will fit someone at some point).  I started the leg band ribbing in May, I turned my heel some time last summer as well, but it felt so weird and I was pretty sure that I did something wrong.  Then it sat waiting to be worked on during the fall, mistake #2.  Then I borrowed the size 2 dpns for another project in December, mistake #3.  So when I picked up the sock for the UFO Challenge I ripped out the heel and heel flap because I couldn't figure out how to pick-up the live stitches on the heel.

But the real downfall was the pattern.  And my inability to read the pattern.

I re-knit the heel, and turned the heel with no problem.  I started to pick-up the gusset stitches.  This is where the pattern failed me.

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The photo on the left is my 6 picked gusset stitches.  The photo on the right is the rest of the heel flap.  Why is this the patterns fault?  It told me to knit the heel flap until it was 2" long.  The pattern was written for everything from a child's shoe size 3 to an adult large foot.  The pattern never actually mentions gauge.  After a quick email to knitter friends I discover that 1) many sock patterns specify a number of rows to knit for the heel flap (my google searches did not confirm this) and 2) it is roughly twice the number of stitches that you must pick-up for the gusset.  

So, frustrated I pull out my stitches and procede to make the Training Sock from Knitty.  Other than a bit of laddering at the leg I had zero problems knitting this sock.  Zero.  The number of stitches at the side of the heel flap was exactly the number of stitches I need to pick up for the gussets.

Back to the original sock, why is this my fault?  I messed up reading the heel instructions, I did *S1 purlwise, K1* across the right side rows and then *S1 purlwise, P1* across the wrong side rows.  The pattern actually says to S1 purlwise, purl remaining sts on the row for wrongside rows.  Doh.  It also explains why I don't remembering having this issue last summer when I picked up the gusset stitches.  Re-reading the Sock chapter in Knitting Rules helped me figure this out.  I noticed that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee mentioned three types of heel flaps, I didn't knit any of them.  So I looked at my pattern again and discovered it pretty much described the eye of the partridge heel.  No wonder the stitches were so snug and hard to knit.  No wonder it took SO many rows to get to 2".

But I figured this out after I knit 16 rows of heel flap #3. Which you might notice (photo below) is nowhere near 2" inches the pattern suggested.  It is also not square which both Elizabeth Zimmerman (according to my Knitting Without Tears book) and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee say it should be.  I'm glad I left in that life-line at the top edge of the heel, it made ripping out heel flap #3 slightly less painful.  And I have a feeling that the 4th heelflap will be much easier to knit and everything will be downhill from here.

*So 5 heelflaps and 3 turned heels for one pair of socks, not counting the training sock and hoping for no more obstacles ahead

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April 3, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 1 comment.

A finished object report

I managed to clear out almost 7 GB worth of stuff on my hard-drive!  And was able to finally pull new photos off the camera.  So now, in no particular order, what I've been working on lately.

Curtains!
The fabric wasn't my first choice, or even my second choice (since the first choice turned out to be mythical fabric of my imagination), but it was quite a bit cheaper than my second choice.  I took a few shortcuts (like no pre-washing) since I don't actually anticipate using these curtains again (watch me eat my words) and I ended up using only half the curtain clips I purchases (umbra clips from Target in pewter or nickle).  I ended really liking the fabric, I love the way the light filters through them yet they aren't actually sheer, I love the draping effect from the clip placement, I love how they push back to expose the whole window; And the color goes really well with the futon cover in that room (check the baby blanket photo).  Small curtain tip: I made a cardstock paper jig to help me iron the right hem length (single fold with about 1/2" ironed under) and I will definitely do that in future curtain making ventures.

Brother's Hat
I finally conquered the seaming phobia just in time for 82 F high temps where he lives.  Oh well, he can wear it next year.

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Nephew's Blanket
I acutally finished this over a month ago (wrote an excited post pre-weaving ends in), it took me another month to weave in the ends, then another week to get up the nerve to throw it in the washing machine pre-blocking.  I've stumbled a little when I discovered that some of the ends have frayed and showed up again.  Any tips on how to combat this before I send it off to him?

More thoughts on the baby blanket will follow as well as a photo of the apron I made for my grandmother (finished it yesterday, but had no decent lighting to photograph it).

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March 25, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 2 comments.

Knitting Vocubulary, or the difference between a UFO and a WiP

First off, if you are a muggle as the Yarn Harlot so cutely says, UFO is an unfinished project and WiP is a work in progress.  They sound deceivingly similiar, and in the hands of the right knitter they are quite similiar.  But in the hands of many other knitters there is a vast difference between these two acronyms (if I, knitter for 1-3 years depending on how you count, can speak for the all knitters).  It is all about intentions and determination to get to the FO (finished object).

This is a UFO, my first UFO of 2007 in fact.  I stopped knitting it when I realized that there was simply no way it would fit on the head of an 18 month old.  I know this because it is decidedly smaller than the hat I knit for an infant that fits on a 2 year old (if a bit short).  And since it was already the beginning of February and I wanted to send S her mittens (notice the yarn, same skein) and wasn't in the mood to restart this project (considering the my UFO challenge project for January wasn't done yet…).  So I declared it a UFO and decided to shove it in the closet and deal with it later, much later, an unknown later.

This is a WiP.  It is my brother's christmas hat.  The hat that 2/3 the way through he decided was too long and didn't like all that much.  But after looking for yarn that said, "make me into a hat for your brother" for over a month I decided to just re-do it.  I had already ripped the hat out so the yarn was nicely wound into two seperate balls just waiting for me.  I pulled it out when I put the pink hat away.  I am using the Tychus pattern from Knitty, except instead of casting on 38 stitches I cast on 32 stitches and adjusted from there.  Honestly I sort of hate when I want to make my object in the same colorway as a pattern example, but Brother's school colors are red & white and he got a letterman jacket this year, so what is a sister to do but make his hat in red & white.

Of course a UFO can accidently be created as well.  You get excited about a new project before finishing one on the needles, perhaps that new project and/or need to use the needles from that other WiP and suddenly it has been a few months and one WiP has magically turned into a UFO.  These cute socks feel victim to UFO land in this manner (where are the needles? I scavenged them for Mittens v. 1.0).  I think I even turned the heel, which is apparently a magical thing.  However I have no clue how I did it and am pretty sure I did some stuff wrong (like the SSK bits).  So I am going to rip out the heel and start over, being more mindful of what I am doing.  This sock is my other February UFO challenge

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February 22, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 2 comments.

End of January Update

Okay, so it isn't January.  The end of January had some pressing personal stuff to deal with.  But now for some January UFO challenge updates.  Can I add another excuse?  Craft posts beg for pictures, and I just got to do a photo shoot at the earlier this week (guess it is a good thing the stuff has been waiting for me to get it to the PO).

I sent my Dad's christmas hat to him.  I finished the hat in time to wrap it, but it turned out to be about 1" too long for his head.  No one wants a hat brim that hits your eyelids, and the brim was not designed to be folded over, so I ripped it out and re-did it, but didn't finish before we returned home.  Then it sat, waiting for me to check the length before weaving in the end.  I checked the length a couple days ago and sent it to him yesterday.

Then there were S's mittens.  Pair one was completed in early December but turned out to be way too small (the bottom of the cuff hit the heel of her hand I was told).  After S's Dad brilliantly scanned the mittens with a ruler and detailed explanations of current fit by S's Mom I was able to start pair two in January.  I finished the first mitten and was able to test-fit it on a local 2 year old, it worked.  But I didn't have enough yarn for mitten #2.  I went and bought new yarn and knit mitten #2, which of course didn't match mitten #1 but duplicate stitch would take care of that, until mitten #2 turned out not to be anything close to a mirror image of mitten #1.  Are you still following?  End result: 3 mittens knit, 2 mittens sent to S.  I started a hat too but that definitely won't fit her so it is becoming my first UFO of 2007.

The baby blanket:  I just finished skein #5 (or is it 6?) and row #142 this morning.  18 more rows to go :)  No pictures until it is sent to my SIL.  She requested I knit/crochet a blanket, so I'm witholding details until she gets it.

Sewing projects: Not entirely finished but my bedroom now has two, two curtains panels on the window.  Yay!  And ignoring the unfinished hem (I'm letting the fabric settle and then some) it looks lovely.

Now I get to decide what I want to cast-on next and as soon as the baby blanket is done, which UFO I will tackle next.  Hmm, maybe I will let myself do three projects.  One new cast-on for me, the hat for my brother (if I ever find yarn that will work for him) and the next UFO…

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February 9, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. Leave a comment.

Not finished yet but…

I finished row 95 on the baby blanket yesterday (I am estimating it will take 160 rows to complete the blanket).  More knitting tonight, maybe I'll make it to row 100!

I seamed three sides of the bedroom curtains I've been meaning to make since October.  I am using curtain clips at the moment, but might redo it and create a rod pocket.  I am also planning on going back to buy another panel of fabric so I had the recommended 2 times window width.

I cut out the top panel of a planned fabric baby blanket today and will cut the bottom panel and batting tonight as well.  Hopefully tomorrow I will baste the three together in preparation for hand quilting it.

I am at the point of decreasing in the first of S's mittens.  I plan on being done with mitten a by Wednesday so I can test fit the mitten on a friend's toddler before knitting the second mitten and sending them to S.

Pictures will probably be done after completing each of these projects (and for the baby blankets, after I send them to my SIL).

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January 23, 2007. Tags: , . Thoughts. 1 comment.